Franklin Graham On Obama's Controversial Mosque Visit: 'The Foundations of This Nation Have Nothing to Do With Islam'

( [email protected] ) Feb 04, 2016 01:25 PM EST
The Rev. Franklin Graham emphasized that the "foundations of this nation have nothing to do with Islam" after U.S. President Obama visited a mosque in an effort to recast what he said was "a warped image" of the Muslim faith.
U.S. President Barack Obama waves farewell to students after his remarks at the Islamic Society of Baltimore mosque in Catonsville, Maryland February 3, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

The Rev. Franklin Graham emphasized that the "foundations of this nation have nothing to do with Islam" after U.S. President Obama visited a mosque in an effort to recast what he said was "a warped image" of the Muslim faith.

On Wednesday, the president delivered a speech at the Islamic Society of Baltimore in which he speech decried what he views as the problematic treatment of American Muslims.

"Let me say as clearly as I can as president of the United States: you fit right here," he said, according to CNN. "You're right where you belong. You're part of America too. You're not Muslim or American. You're Muslim and American."

"And so if we're serious about freedom of religion - and I'm speaking now to my fellow Christians who remain the majority in this country - we have to understand an attack on one faith is an attack on all our faiths." 

The President went on to insist that Americans cannot be "bystanders to bigotry," stating, "Together, we've got to show that America truly protects all faiths. As we protect our country from terrorism, we should not reinforce the ideas and the rhetoric of the terrorists themselves."

Obama cited a long history of Islam in America, and demanded more positive depictions of Muslims in movies and television.

"We have to ... lift up the contributions of the Muslim-American community not when there's a problem, but all the time. Our television shows should have some Muslim characters that are unrelated to national security. It's not that hard to do," he said.

Later on Wednesday, Graham, who is the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse, weighed in on the controversial visit: "The foundations of this nation have nothing to do with Islam, but everything to do with the Church of Jesus Christ, he wrote. "Islam cannot save anyone from Hell or open the gates of Heaven."

The 64-year-old son of evangelist Billy Graham continued: "Only One can do that-Jesus Christ, the Son of God who paid the debt of sin for all mankind by giving His life as a sacrifice on Calvary's cross where He suffered and died for our sins, took our sins to the grave, and on the third day God raised Him triumphantly to life. He's alive today. Muhammad is dead. I worship a risen Lord! Islam can't compete with that."

A number of Republican presidential candidates, including Sen. Marco Rubio and businessman Donald Trump,  have also criticized Obama's assertion that Muslims are being unfairly discriminated against.

"I'm tired of being divided against each other for political reasons like this president's done," Rubio said at a town hall in New Hampshire, according to The Guardian. "Always pitting people against each other. Always."

Rubio continued: "Look at today: he gave a speech at a mosque. Oh, you know, basically implying that America is discriminating against Muslims. Of course there's discrimination in America, of every kind. But the bigger issue is: radical Islam. And by the way, radical Islam poses a threat to Muslims themselves."

Speaking to Fox News host Greta Van Susteren, Trump suggested that the president went to the mosque because "maybe he feels comfortable there."

"I think that we can go to lots of places. I don't know, maybe he feels comfortable there," Trump said on Wednesday, the Washington Post reported. "We have a lot of problems in this country, Greta. There are a lot of places he can go and he chose a mosque. I saw that just a little while ago. So that's his decision, it's fine."

Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, one of the country's oldest and largest pro-Israel organizations, also denounced Obama for visiting a mosque. Speaking to the New York Times, Klein argued that the leaders of the mosque have among other issues criticized Israeli military actions. "Going to such a mosque only encourages radical Muslims to harm Americans," he warned.