Evangelist Franklin Graham and his plentiful followers are taking on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over Canada’s recent decision to formally apologize and pay compensation to a former Guantanamo Bay prisoner who pleaded guilty to war crimes.
The Canadian government awarded $8 million (in U.S. dollars) to Omar Khadr after a Canadian court ruled that his rights had been abused while he was in custody.
Graham made clear in his Facebook post that he loves the Canadian people, but...
“As an American, I am shocked and hurt by the action Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has taken to award millions of dollars to someone who was a member of al-Qaida and killed an American soldier and blinded another,” said Graham on Facebook.
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“I’m stunned, as I think a lot of others are as well. Why would Prime Minister Trudeau do such a thing? Does this disturb you like it disturbs me?”
Graham’s followers, most of them Christian and conservative, shared the post 9,100 times in 24 hours and made 7,500 comments, many of them accusing Canada’s government of being leftist and insensitive to relatives of the American soldier believed to have been killed by Khadr in Afghanistan.
“It’s very disturbing how many Canadians are acting so blindly and had been so deceived, they no longer know right from wrong,” posted Jo Ann Ticse Atterbury on Facebook.
“In any further economic transactions or negotiations with Trudeau we absolutely have to remember this extremely strong message that has been sent to us by him!!!” posted Robert Mc Cune.
“As a Canadian I am shocked and ashamed of this prime minister of ours. He has been an embarrassment from day one,” posted Sarah Wall.
A backlash over the federal payout to Khadr is gaining momentum among conservative U.S. media outlets, with some calling it a “terrorist payday” and “Canada’s Terrorist Sweepstakes.” Among the Fox News headlines: “Canada pays ex-Gitmo detainee who killed US soldier millions, but soldier’s widow may never see a dime.”
CBC News in Calgary Canada reports the payout is equally controversial in that country, with Conservative Calgary MP Michelle Rempel slamming the government over the deal: “Most Canadians, I think, are quite outraged and quite disappointed by this state of affairs,” Rempel told host Tucker Carlson on CBC during an interview Monday.
The Washington Post reports Trudeau has defended the apology and financial compensation to Khadr, saying they were the price of violating Khadr’s constitutional rights while he was held at Guantanamo Bay for over a decade.
Canada’s constitution “protects all Canadians, even when it’s uncomfortable,” the Posted Trudeau as quoted as saying.
The conservative news site CBN reports the Canadian-born Khadr was a teen when he was captured by U.S. troops following a firefight at a suspected al-Qaida compound in Afghanistan. U.S. Army Sgt. First Class Christopher Speer died in the firefight and Khadr was suspected of throwing the grenade that killed Speer.