Preacher's Anti-Islam Remarks Mobilize White House
President Bush is distancing himself from Franklin Graham after the preacher and close ally of the Bush family recently called Islam "wicked and violent." According to "NBC News," Graham reiterated his comments Friday, the first day of Ramadan, the holiest season of the Muslim year.
Speaking after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Graham had commented, "I don't believe this is a wonderful, peaceful religion." The president of Samaritan's Purse, a Christian relief agency, added: "When you read the Koran and you read the verses from the Koran, it instructs the killing of the infidel, for those that are non-Muslim."
"NBC News" reported Friday that when asked to clarify his statement, Graham repeated his charge that Islam, as a whole, was evil. "It wasn't Methodists flying into those buildings, it wasn't Lutherans," he said. "It was an attack on this country by people of the Islamic faith."
However, the White House disagreed with Graham's remarks, saying the president "views Islam as a religion that preaches peace," and that the terrorists do not represent what Islam teaches. "NBC News" said the Bush administration "continues to be careful about what it says concerning the religion of Osama bin Laden."
Meanwhile, according to "The (London) Daily Telegraph," President Bush--eager to improve America's reputation in the Muslim world--was today due to welcome 50 ambassadors from Islamic countries for a traditional meal and prayer at the White House to mark Ramadan.
It is believed to be the first time that Muslims were to participate in a formal ceremony in the official home of American presidents. In another unprecedented event, the Muslim chaplain of Georgetown University last week officiated at the opening prayers of the House of Representatives on Capitol Hill, the "Telegraph" reported.