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Christian leader condemns Islam
Preacher Franklin Graham calls Islam ‘wicked, violent’
On the first day of Ramadan, Franklin Graham's comments last month about the Muslim faith are causing problems for the Bush administration.
By Jim Avila
Nov. 16 2001 The Bush administration continues to be careful about what it says concerning the religion of Osama bin Laden. However, it turns out that one of Bush’s close friends in the American religious establishment has had some very harsh words for the Muslim faith. There is fallout from such remarks made last month by Franklin Graham.

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       FRANKLIN GRAHAM is one of America’s most powerful Christian leaders. He delivered the benediction at George W. Bush’s inauguration. His father, Billy, counseled a long list of presidents. But now Franklin is in trouble with political friends for comments made recently, calling the entire Islamic religion “wicked, violent and not of the same God.”
       “I don’t believe this is a wonderful, peaceful religion,” said Graham. “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.”
       Asked by NBC News to clarify his statement, Graham repeated his charge that Islam, as a whole, is an evil.
       “It wasn’t Methodists flying into those buildings, it wasn’t Lutherans,” said Graham. “It was an attack on this country by people of the Islamic faith.”
       Meanwhile, Ramadan, the holiest season of the Muslim year, has begun. Graham’s comments came as Bush, himself a deeply religious Christian, wished the world’s 1 billion Muslims, “health, prosperity and happiness during Ramadan.”
       “Islam never teaches hatred, Islam never teaches terrorism,” says Imam Hassan Al-Qazwini of the Islamic Center of America.
       The White House also distanced itself from Graham’s remarks Friday, saying the president “views Islam as a religion that preaches peace,” and that the terrorists do not represent what Islam teaches.

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       None of the other Christian leaders contacted by NBC News, including Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, would comment on Graham’s attacks.
       “Obviously, Mr. Graham is tone deaf in this respect,” says Newsweek religion editor Ken Woodward. “He’s certainly not his father’s son in terms of discretion.”
       A presidential friend and supporter now finds himself at odds with both the Muslim world and the message from the White House.

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