In reference to the 12 Christians who reportedly were thrown overboard and killed by Muslim passengers crossing the Mediterranean Sea from Libya to Italy this week, Rev. Franklin Graham said it happened because Islam contains a "deep and relentless hatred" for Christians.
Italian authorities have arrested 15 people from the boat on suspicion of murder. CNN reported that, "Muslims who were among migrants trying to get from Libya to Italy in a boat this week threw 12 fellow passengers overboard -- killing them -- because the 12 were Christians, Italian police said Thursday."
"The Italian police have arrested 15 Muslims for throwing 12 people overboard and watching them helplessly drown in the Mediterranean," said Rev. Graham in an Apr. 17 Facebook post.
He continued, "Why? Just because they were Christians! Because Islam has a deep and relentless hatred for people who bear the Name of Christ. These Christians were among a group of 105 people who were trying to escape war and poverty in Africa and were headed to Italy to look for work."
Rev. Graham also urged people to read the CNN report on the murders and to "remember to pray for persecuted Christians living in Muslim countries around the world."
The CNN report said that 105 people left Libya in a rubber boat on Tuesday, Apr. 14, and "sometime during the trip north across the Mediterranean Sea, the alleged assailants -- Muslims from the Ivory Coast, Mali and Senegal -- threw the 12 overboard, police said."
The 12 people who died reportedly were from Nigeria and Ghana.
Franklin Graham, 62, is the son of world-renowned evangelist Billy Graham, and is president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the international Christian relief group Samaritan's Purse.