The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim-rights group designated by the Justice Department as a terrorist co-conspirator, is calling on Donald Trump to drop Rev. Franklin Graham as one of six clergy who will offer prayers at the Jan. 20 inauguration ceremony.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations has demanded that President-elect Donald Trump scrap his plans to have the Rev. Franklin Graham among the clergy at Friday’s inauguration.
The group labeled Graham a “notorious Islamophobe.”
“If President-elect Trump truly seeks to unite our nation as he promised in his acceptance speech, he will limit the list of those offering prayers at the inauguration to religious leaders who work to bring us together, not to create divisions between faiths,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad in a statement.
“Rev. Graham’s ill-informed and extremist views are incompatible with the Constitution and with American values of religious liberty and inclusion,” said Awad.
CAIR pointed to Graham’s comments 15 years ago in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
“In the name of Islam, 6,000-plus Americans were slaughtered on Sept. 11, and that was done in the name of the God of Islam,” he said then. “The God of Islam is not the same God of the Christian or the Judeo-Chrstian faith. It’s a different God, and it’s, I believe, a very evil and wicked religion.”
CAIR’s inauguration demand was criticized on Twitter.
This is not the first time CAIR has attempted to have Graham banned from official Washington functions. In 2010 the group celebrated its success at having Graham dropped from The National Day of Prayer at the Pentagon.
CAIR’s Awad said his organization hailed the decision “as a victory for common sense and good judgment.”
“Promoting one’s own religious beliefs is something to be defended and encouraged, but other faiths should not be attacked or misrepresented in the process,” Awad said.
Graham has been outspoken in his criticism of Islam, saying Muslims are “enslaved by Islam” and characterizing it as a “very evil and wicked religion.” Following the attack by two Muslims that left more than a 14 dead and 22 seriously injured in San Bernardino, Graham warned, “Every Muslim that comes into this country has the potential to be radicalized – and they do their killing to honor their religion and Muhammad.”
CAIR’s demand is unlikely to carry any weight with the Trump transition team. The president-elect, during his thank-you event last month in Mobile, Alabama, praised Graham and credited him for contributing to his victory.
“I want to thank so many great people, but having Franklin Graham, who was so instrumental, we won so big, with evangelical Christians, we won so big,” Trump told the crowd of 20,000.
Graham has previously prayed at the 2001 inauguration of George W. Bush and his father has prayed at the same event for other presidents, from Richard Nixon to Bill Clinton. That both Grahams have always concluded their prayers in the name of Jesus Christ — and Franklin Graham certainly will again — can only add to CAIR’s displeasure.