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Franklin Graham Backs Jeb Bush’s Assertions That U.S. Should Accept Syrian and Iraqi Refugees Persecuted for Christian Faith

( [email protected] ) Sep 18, 2015 01:56 PM EDT
Rev. Franklin Graham has backed Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush's views on how the United States should respond to the massive refugee crisis emerging out of Iraq and Syria.
Residents wait in line to receive food aid distributed in the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus, Syria Reuters

Rev. Franklin Graham has backed Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush's views on how the United States should respond to the massive refugee crisis emerging out of Iraq and Syria.

During a Thursday interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, the former Florida Governor stated that allowing Syrian and Iraqi refugees into the United States is "a bad idea if there's no screening," as militants with the Islamic State group could hide among those fleeing the conflict, creating a jihadi pipeline.

However, he emphasized that "we should take in every Christian Iraqi and every Christian Syrian" whose lives are in danger if they stay in their respective countries.

"That's the world that - a Christian lives in the Middle East with Islamic terrorism, we have a duty, I think, to help people," the presidential hopeful explained.

The best way to solve the "tragic" refugee problem, Bush charged, is to "lead the world in creating a third way, which is to eliminate ISIS from the face of the earth, and to remove Assad, so that there could be a stable Syria."

In a Facebook post shared on Friday, Graham, who is the president of humanitarian organization Samaritan's Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, clarified that while he is "not endorsing any candidates," he agrees with Bush on this "important issue."

"He's right," Graham contends.

According to an official UN report, more than 220,000 lives have been lost and over 12.2 million people remain displaced since March 2011 when the Syrian conflict began under the authoritarian regime of President Bashar Assad. Many of those fleeing persecution and economic hardship seek refuge in the neighboring nations of Jordan and Lebanon, or attempt to enter Europe. 

In light of the growing problem, White House press secretary Josh Earnest announced on last week that the Obama administration has decided to raise the number of Syrian refugees admitted to at least 10,000 in the fiscal year beginning in October from fewer than 2,000 this year.

Europe is also seeing a record influx of migrants fleeing the conflict: Germany has agreed to take 800,000 asylum seekers, France 20,000 and Britain another 20,000.

In an earlier Facebook post, Graham urged Christians to pray for Samaritan's Purse teams working on the ground to provide aid to those in need as well for the thousands of refugees pouring across the borders into Europe.

"Our Samaritan's Purse teams will begin distributing backpacks filled with desperately needed supplies to women and children in Macedonia," he writes. "We're giving them things like rain ponchos, blankets, towels, toothbrushes, granola bars, diapers, and more. Please pray for the refugees-and for our local church partners and staff on the ground working to help in this desperate situation."