Evangelist Franklin Graham has once again warned that allowing tens of thousands of Muslim refugees to enter the United States would place Christians in danger, arguing that religion is behind the violence and jihad currently seen around the world.
Graham, 64, made his comments over the weekend in a Facebook post in which he referenced the killing of a Christian priest, 85-year-old Father Jacques Hamel, in Normandy, France by supporters of the Islamic State terror group last week.
"President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and some other politicians want to allow tens of thousands of Muslim refugees into this country. A few days ago two Muslim men went into a Catholic Church in France in the name of ISIS and brutally slit the throat of an 85-year-old priest," wrote Graham, the president of Samaritan's Purse and Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
"The self-proclaimed ISIS soldiers shouted 'Allahu Akbar' as they ran from the church," Graham pointed out, adding, "Unless something is done, it's just a matter of time before we see this happen here in the United States."
According to the BBC, the killers were identified as 19-year-old Adel Kermiche from Northern France and Abdel-Malik Nabil Petitjean, also 19, from Eastern France. They were shot and killed by authorities as they exited the church after murdering the priest. Both had been on intelligence services' radar and had tried to go to Syria.
In a Facebook post shared a short time later, Graham criticized Pope Francis for stating that while "the world is at war," it's not a war of religion.
"If I talk about Islamic violence, then I also have to talk of Catholic violence. Not all Muslims are violent, just like not all Catholics are violent," the pontiff told reporters of why he doesn't discuss "Islamic violence." "It's like a mixed fruit salad. There is a bit of everything. There are violent people in all religions."
Graham contended that despite what Francis says, religion is undeniably behind the violence and jihad seen in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and here in the United States.
"It's a religion that calls for the extermination of 'infidels' outside their faith, specifically Jews and Christians. It's a religion that calls on its soldiers to shout 'Allahu Akbar' ("God is Great" in Arabic) as they behead, rape, and murder in the name of Islam. Radical Islamists are following the teachings of the Quran. We should call it what it is."
For the past several months, Graham has vocally advocated for a ban on Muslim refugees and argued that politicians in Washington who disagree with him "seem to be totally disconnected with reality."
After four Marines and a sailor were fatally shot at military facilities in Chattanooga, Tenn., by a Kuwait-born U.S. citizen from a conservative Muslim family, Graham emphasized that the country should "should stop all immigration of Muslims to the U.S. until this threat with Islam has been settled."
"Every Muslim that comes into this country has the potential to be radicalized - and they do their killing to honor their religion and Muhammad," Graham wrote at the time. "During World War 2, we didn't allow Japanese to immigrate to America, nor did we allow Germans. Why are we allowing Muslims now?"
He later added: "Our politicians are not listening to the truth - my prayer is that God will open their eyes. This affects our security and the future of our nation."
Meanwhile, on Sunday, hundreds of Muslims joined Catholics in attending attended mass in churches around France in solidarity and sorrow following the murder of Father Hamel.
"I thank you in the name of all Christians," Rouen Archbishop Dominique Lebrun told them, according to Al Jazeera. "In this way you are affirming that you reject death and violence in the name of God."