Religion

Franklin Graham blames terror attacks on Islam, sends team of chaplains to Paris

Franklin Graham in 2014. He heads the Charlotte-based Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
Franklin Graham in 2014. He heads the Charlotte-based Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. AP

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is sending a rapid-response team of chaplains to Paris.

The move comes as Franklin Graham, who heads the Charlotte-based group, continues to make waves by blaming the latest ISIS terror attacks on the religion of Islam and calling for restricting Muslim immigration to the United States.

“In the hours after the horrific attacks, some said ‘Terrorism has no religion.’ Do not be fooled. ... In this case, terrorism does have a religion – its name is Islam and its god is Allah,” Graham wrote in a Facebook post Saturday. “Islam is at war with us – we’ve witnessed its evil face firsthand over and over.”

In a second Facebook post Saturday, Graham reiterated his call for reform of America’s immigration policies to exclude Muslims. “We cannot allow Muslim immigrants to come across our borders unchecked while we are fighting this war of terror,” he wrote. “If we continue to allow Muslim immigration, we’ll see much more of what happened in Paris – it’s on our doorstep.”

Graham’s comments came the same day Muslim groups in Charlotte and around the world condemned the mass murder in Paris, saying ISIS is a perversion of true Islam.

“It is clear that ISIS not only represents everything contrary to Islam, but also everything contrary to humanity,” the Muslim American Society of Charlotte said in a statement. “Their acts are indiscriminate of race, religion or region. They attack Muslim and non-Muslim alike. Humanity must band together and stop all forms of violence and injustice regardless of the perpetrator. Our prayers and condolences go out to the families of all the victims and survivors. May God help bring peace and justice to the world.”

The Paris attacks also come as a stream of Syrian and other refugees fleeing war and the brutality of ISIS seek safe resettlement in the United States and other Western nations. That is likely to prove even more controversial in the wake of the Paris killings.

There also was this report Saturday from Reuters: The holder of a Syrian passport found near the body of one of the gunmen who died in Friday night’s attacks passed through Greece in October, a Greek minister said, and another suspected attacker was thought to have entered Europe the same way.

Meanwhile, the team of chaplains from the BGEA are expected to arrive in Paris on Monday morning to offer emotional and spiritual care in the grief-stricken French capital.

At the direction of Franklin Graham, an international consortium of BGEA’s rapid-response teams in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom has coordinated sending six French-speaking, crisis-trained chaplains. They will work directly with a church and three Christian organizations in Paris. This will be BGEA’s first internationally coordinated relief effort since the Haiti earthquake in 2010.

“We’ll be there for the people in the streets, the storekeepers, the café workers to listen and provide comfort,” said Jack Munday, international director of the BGEA Rapid Response Team. “They need to know that God loves them and hasn’t forgotten them.”

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