Graham Takes Islam to Task; Son of Famous Evangelist Isn't Backing Away from His Criticism of Muslims. (Religion)

Article excerpt

The Rev. Franklin Graham concedes that he's not the diplomat his famous evangelist father is, and he doesn't mince words about Islam.

"I have many Muslim friends," he said on a visit to Washington, "but I want the people of this country to know that the God of Islam is not the Christian God. The God of Islam is not a father. The God of Christianity was the father of Jesus Christ.

"There's a mood in this country that we'll believe a generic belief. That is not acceptable. Political correctness has run amok in this country."

The 50-year-old evangelist--the fourth child of the Rev. Billy Graham, who has preached to more people than any man in history--is making his dislike of certain Islamic practices known far and wide. Recently on Fox News' Hannity and Colmes, he said the Koran preaches violence and that Islamic extremism is "a greater threat than anyone's willing to speak [of]."

The next night, while signing copies of his latest book, The Name, at a downtown Washington Barnes & Noble, Graham said God had blessed the United States because of the nation's Christian heritage. "This country was not built by Hindus, nor Muslims, nor atheists," he said. "It was built by Christian men and women."

Seated at a black wooden table, wearing a black jacket and matching cowboy boots, Graham signed his books with a black marker. He told about 10 listeners that Christians should get involved with AIDS victims and steer clear of extramarital sex.

"We need a sexual-education program that warns young people of the hell they'll create with their own bodies," he said. "Outside of marriage, sex kills." He cites his own experience; he was "sexually active" before his 1974 marriage to his wife, Jane.

He repented of his rebellious past, he said, and founded Samaritan's Purse, a Christian aid group. During the last few years, he has increasingly been filling in for his ailing father, including the delivery of the opening prayer at the 2001 inauguration of President George W. Bush. He and the Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell, who delivered the benediction, both were criticized by nonbelievers for praying, as Christian, clergymen do, in the name of Jesus Christ.

The president later was sued over those prayers, he said, by Michael Newdow, the California atheist whose lawsuit against public schools regarding the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance won a favorable ruling in June from the 9th U. …