Prominent evangelist Franklin Graham recently penned an open letter to President Barack Obama urging him to establish "safe zones" inside of Syria, as millions of citizens continue to be displaced amid civil war and an ongoing threat of terrorism.
In the letter, which was posted to Facebook on Thursday, Graham cited his four decades of experience in helping refugees in Europe, Africa, Southeast Asia and the Middle East, in asking for specialized zones that would help millions of refugees.
The 64-year-old president and CEO of both the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse then warned of what could happen if no action is taken.
"This would allow Syrians fleeing from areas of conflict inside the country to find safety, food, medicine, and shelter, and stay within their borders, nearer their homes, until a political and military settlement has been reached," Graham wrote."Most refugees that I have worked with over the years desire to eventually return home."
He continued, "As we have all seen, fleeing to another country adds great risk to their lives and exposes the refugees to exploitation by unscrupulous people who deal in human trafficking."
Creating safe zones would require the U.S. to work with its allies, with America offering a considerable commitment to the cause, Graham asserted.
"Without action I believe this crisis will only escalate. Europe and the United States will be unable to handle the flood of people," he wrote. "And the long-term implications are great with the possibility of ISIS infiltrating the refugees and bringing their terrorist activities onto our shores. It is more effective, more economical, and safer to work with our partners and deal with the problem there."
In closing his letter, Graham asked Obama to "lead the way in an alliance to provide safe zones inside Syria's borders," and said he is praying that God will give the president wisdom in making his decision.
In an earlier Facebook post that was published on Wednesday, Graham warned that the "Middle East is collapsing," as thousands of refugees are pouring into Europe in an attempt to find safety. He encouraged his followers to pray for those seeking respite, offering a reminder that Jesus Christ himself was a refugee.
"When Jesus was a baby his parents, Mary and Joseph, had to take him and flee to Egypt to escape the murderous ruler, King Herod," Graham wrote. "Can you imagine what it would be like to have to flee your home with only what you could carry? Join me in praying for the millions of refugees and for solutions to be found for this staggering crisis."