U.K. Muslims Want Preacher Franklin Graham Banned for Spreading Anti-Islam Hate Speech

Rev. Franklin Graham speaks during Franklin Graham's 'Decision America' California tour at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds on May 29, 2018 in Turlock, California. Getty Images

The leading Muslim organisation in the U.K. has urged authorities to ban preacher Franklin Graham, who is set to speak in the country later this month.

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), an umbrella organisation for hundreds of Muslim groups, has lent its support to calls from three members of parliament and thousands of members of the public to deny the preacher a visa for spreading hate speech.

Graham—son of the late Billy Graham—is scheduled to speak at an event in Blackpool, in the northwest of England, later in September.

Opponents say that he has incited hatred of Muslims and the LGBTQ community, and ought not to be allowed into the country.

The MCB in a statement to The Guardian said: "In the past the government has banned individuals whom they claim are 'not conducive to the public good'. Mr Graham's remarks are on record and clearly demonstrate a hatred for Muslims and other minorities.

"We would expect the government to apply its criteria here. If it does not, it will send a clear message that it is not consistent in challenging all forms of bigotry."

A supporter of President Donald Trump, Graham has described Islam as "evil" and a "religion of war," claimed that Barack Obama was "born a Muslim," claimed that Satan is behind the movement for LGBTQ rights. He has praised Russian leader Vladimir Putin for opposing the "homosexual agenda" in his country and his controversial "gay propaganda" ban.

Members of the public have also called for Graham to be banned, with more than 8,000 people calling for the home secretary to deny Graham a visa in an online petition. Lawmakers Gordon Marsden and Afzal Khan of the opposition Labour Party and government whip Paul Maynard all oppose the visit.

The MCB though has itself faced criticism in the past for refusing to back a visa ban on a Muslim preacher who called for apostates to be killed and alleged George W. Bush was behind the 9/11 attacks. It has also been criticised for ties with a group accused of fostering sectarian hatred in the U.K.

Graham is scheduled to be headline speaker at the Festival of Hope in Blackpool on September 21, an event organised by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and supported by 30 local churches.

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association UK has not responded to a request for comment.