As ThinkProgress reported yesterday, groups like the Military Religious Freedom Foundation are protesting an upcoming speech by evangelist Franklin Graham, who will deliver a lecture on National Prayer Day at the Pentagon. The groups object to Graham’s speech because of his past history of hate speech against Muslims. This morning, Graham appeared on Fox and Friends to defend his upcoming appearance at the Pentagon. When asked about his views on Islam, Graham affirmed the concerns of critics, saying that he was speaking out “for those who are enslaved under Islam” and implored Muslims to convert to Christianity:
GRAHAM: First of all, I want Muslims to know that I love them …. They don’t have to die in a car bomb they don’t have to die in some kind of a holy war to be accepted by God … But when you look at Islam, I love the people of Islam but the religion I do not agree with the religion at all and if you look at what the religion does to women and the women alone it is horrid. And so yes I speak out for women, I speak out for people who live under Islam, who are enslaved under Islam, and I want them to know they can be free by Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ alone.
Yesterday, a military spokesman said that it is considering withdrawing Graham’s invitation. Army Col. Tom Collins told the Associated Press that withdrawing the invitation is “on the table.” The Defense Department estimated that 3,409 Muslims actively served in the U.S. military as of April 2008.