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Graham aims to rebuild churches in the Sudan



Published: Sat, October 21, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



The minister estimated the rebuilding cost at 5 million.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- The Rev. Franklin Graham plans to rebuild hundreds of burned churches and maintain a hospital in Sudan despite violence that's occurred during his years of ministry there.

"There's a war taking place against the church of Jesus Christ in Africa," he said. It's a battle that pits Muslims against Christians in countries such as Sudan and Ethiopia, he said.

Ebrahim Moosa, a professor of Islamic Studies at Duke University who grew up in South Africa, said the issue is not as stark as Muslim vs. Christian. He said portraying it that way only stokes more hatred.

"There are intractable political problems in which religion becomes a language to express political grievances," Moosa said. "It's an abuse of religion."

His goal

Graham, who heads Samaritan's Purse, the international Christian relief organization based in Boone, said he wants to rebuild every church that the government or its militias have burned in Sudan. He has identified 226 destroyed churches and has completed or is now building 34.

Graham estimated the cost of the rebuilding at 5 million.

In recent years, Sudan has been wracked by the Darfur genocide, in which Arab militias financed by the Sudanese government have killed or displaced hundreds of thousands of Africans in the northwest region.

"It's world domination. When they dominate an area, they'll let other belief systems exist, but they'll persecute them so that [people] convert to Islam and there's total domination," the Rev. Mr. Graham said. The son of evangelist Billy Graham has grabbed headlines in recent years with his tough talk on Islam, which he doesn't back away from.




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