In a Facebook post Monday, Christian evangelist Franklin Graham denounced the world’s silence in the face of a true genocide being carried out by the Islamic State.
“It is genocide—and the world seems largely silent about it,” Graham wrote. “Genocide perpetrated by the Islamic State against Christians, Yazidis, and other religious minorities of Syria and Iraq.”
Graham has been openly critical of Islamic practices, particularly its claim to be a religion of peace and its unjust treatment of women, a stance that caused him to be disinvited from the 2010 National Day of Prayer event at the Pentagon because of his critical remarks about Islam. “When you look at what the religion [Islam] does to women and women alone, it is just horrid,” he said.
In October 2014, Graham publicly questioned whether Islam is really a religion of peace. “Islamic State justified kidnapping women as sex slaves in the new issue of their online magazine. They said that it is a ‘firmly established aspect of Shariah’ and anyone who denies this is denying the Koran,” he wrote.
Graham, son of Billy Graham and head of the international aid organization Samaritan’s Purse, also slammed President Obama for remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast earlier this year when the president equated the evils that ISIS is carrying out with Christian violence of ages past.
Graham’s hardline stance against Islamic extremism has won him opprobrium from mainstream media who have labelled the pastor as “intolerant.” This summer, The Atlantic wrote that Graham’s “rhetoric seems to be growing more extreme,” while his “behavior seems to be growing more erratic.”
“The son of America’s most prominent evangelist was once known as a leading humanitarian, but he has now traded that legacy for a pot of partisan porridge,” writer Jonathan Merritt quipped.
In Monday’s post, Graham said that the methods employed by the Islamic State are “unimaginably cruel and heinous.” As examples, he put forward the recent case of three Assyrian Christians who were executed in late September on the Muslim “Feast of Sacrifice” as well as “the horror” of 12 other Christians murdered in August for refusing to renounce their faith in Jesus Christ.
“Eyewitnesses said that ISIS militants crucified a 12-year-old Christian boy and his Syrian missionary father along with two other men after mercilessly brutalizing them. They cut off the boy’s fingertips to try to get his father to convert to Islam,” he wrote. “They left their bodies hanging on the crosses for two days under signs reading ‘infidels.’”
On that same day, “ISIS militants publicly raped two Christian women in front of a crowd and then beheaded them along with six others when they refused to convert to Islam,” he added.
If such a denunciation qualifies as “intolerance,” it is a badge to be worn with pride.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome