Rev. Graham: 'About 100,000' Christians 'A Year Are Being Killed For Their Faith'
Discussing the World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians, held in Washington, D.C., evangelical leader Franklin Graham explained that "about 100,000" Christians worldwide are killed because of their faith, and in Iraq, for instance, Christians "liberated" from persecution are seeing their land and villages being given to the Iranians by the Iraqi government.
During an interview on Washington Watch about the summit, host Tony Perkins asked Franklin Graham, "Let's talk about this summit first. Explain the focus of this summit and why you're calling these leaders together."
Reverend Graham said, "It's because of what's happening at an alarming rate around the world, Tony, where thousands of Christians have been killed. It's up there - the rate is about 100,000 a year are being killed just for their faith."
"We're seeing entire areas of the Middle East that are being eradicated," he said. "I was just in northern Iraq over Easter and went out to the Nineveh plain. The Christians that were forced off, out of their villages, forced off this area of the world, are not really being invited to come back now that they've been liberated because the government of Iraq is making a deal with the Iranians so that this land will go to the Iranians."
"They don't want Christians to even come back to their homes," said Rev. Graham, "so they're not going to provide any services, they're not going to provide security for these Christian villages."
Rev. Graham continued, "This is happening not just at the hands of Islam but is happening, we see, around the world where Christians, where they're the minority, where they're being persecuted."
Vice President Mike Pence and Rev. Billy Graham shake hands at the World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians. (BGEA)
"I want our politicians to see what's happening and I want the voices of these people who've been persecuted, I want their voices to be heard [at the Summit]," said Graham. "I want to give them a stage from where they can tell their stories. And do it right there in Washington where, hopefully, we can see some policy changes."
Tony Perkins replied, "I'm not sure people realize just how significant this problem is, as you pointed out. According to the statistics compiled by the Center for the Study of Global Christianity, at the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, in 2016, 90,000 Christians throughout the world were killed for no other reason than that they followed Jesus Christ. And that has been growing over the last few years."
"You and I have talked about this several times," said Perkins, "but I think in large part it's driven by the indifference toward religious freedom here at home is sending a message to the terrorists and the tyrants abroad that they're free to do as they please when it comes to Christians."
In addition to hosting Washington Watch, Tony Perkins is president of the Family Research Council. Franklin Graham oversees the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) and the international Christian aid group Samaritan's Purse.Franklin Graham, Tony Perkins, Family Research Council, Martyrs, Washington Watch, Christians 100K annually