Muslim Group Wants Graham Meeting
Boone, N.C., Nov. 20--(AP) A Muslim advocacy group wants to meet with evangelist Franklin Graham to discuss his recent statement that Islam is "a very evil and wicked religion," a group spokesman said Tuesday.
Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the group hasn't heard from Graham since its executive director faxed Graham a letter on Monday. "Negative impressions of Islam are most often based on a lack of accurate and objective information," CAIR executive director Nihad Awad said in the letter.
Graham didn't have an immediate comment on whether he would meet with CAIR officials. He has been traveling and just returned to his North Carolina office Tuesday, spokesman Jeremy Blume said.
Hooper wondered about the implications of Graham's comments. "If that is his belief, what does that say about him being accepted in mainstream Christian thought?" Hooper said. "You've got everybody from the president to the pope saying Islam is not evil and wicked."
Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham and heir to his father's ministry, prayed at President Bush's inauguration. On Sept. 17, Bush called Islam "a faith that brings comfort to a billion people around the world." But on Friday's "NBC Nightly News," Graham said: "We're not attacking Islam but Islam has attacked us. The God of Islam is not the same God. He's not the son of God of the Christian or Judeo-Christian faith. It's a different God, and I believe it is a very evil and wicked religion."
In a statement released Sunday, Graham said his calling is not to analyze Islam, but added that he was concerned about Muslim treatment of women and "the killing of non-Muslims or infidels." Graham is his father's successor as the chief executive of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. He also is founder of the international relief organization Samaritan's Purse, headquartered in Boone.