Franklin Graham sees Obama 'beginning to acknowledge the plight of Christians being persecuted and killed by Islam'

ReutersAmerican evangelist Franklin Graham hopes that 'the bloody rampage of ISIS will be halted in the new year.'

Reverend Franklin Graham, who has long been criticising President Barack Obama's lack of support for Christianity, says he is pleased that the president is now "beginning to acknowledge the plight of Christians being persecuted and killed around the world by Islam."

Graham was referring to the statement made by President Barack Obama in Honolulu two days before Christmas last week where he said that he and his wife Michelle "are praying for persecuted Christians as the world prepares to celebrate Christmas."

Obama noted that the Islamic State's occupation of some areas in the Middle East will mean Christians there will have to keep their beliefs and celebrations quiet.

"In some areas of the Middle East where church bells have rung for centuries on Christmas Day, this year they will be silent," Obama said in the statement released by the White House.

"This silence bears tragic witness to the brutal atrocities committed against these communities by ISIL," he said, referring to one of the acronyms of the Islamic State which controls territories in Syria and Iraq.

Graham conveyed a similar message on his Facebook page. "Beatings, beheadings, crucifixions, and other atrocities are commonplace as Islam tries to exterminate Christians within their reach and expand their territories," he wrote on his Facebook page.

"These aren't just numbers and places in the news — they're real people and they are suffering. Some places in the Middle East where Christianity has its roots — where Abraham, Moses, the apostles, and even Jesus Christ walked centuries ago — Christians are virtually extinct this Christmas. They've had to flee or fall."

Graham hopes that the next holiday will be safer and happier for these Christians who want nothing more than to greet the new year with the freedom to express their faith. "We need to remember those suffering unbelievable hardship and danger because of their faith and pray that the bloody rampage of ISIS will be halted in the new year," he says.

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