Muslim leaders and three members of Parliament are calling on the government not to allow evangelist Franklin Graham to enter the United Kingdom.

Graham is scheduled as the featured speaker to Lancashire Festival of Hope, to be held in the northwest coastal town of Blackpool. More than 30 churches in the area are supporting the event.

Among those lining up against Graham’s admission to the United Kingdom are the Muslim Council of Britain and local parliamentarians.

“In the past the government has banned individuals whom they claim are ‘not conducive to the public good,’” the council said in a statement. “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.”

The Rt. Rev. Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn, says he is neutral about Graham’s participation in the event. Neither the bishop nor his leadership team will attend Festival of Hope.

“I don’t think I’ve been to any country where everybody was supportive,” Graham told Premier Radio in January, when protests began. “There’s always churches or groups who don’t like my theology or that we associate with this group or that group.

“I’m not coming to preach hate. I’m here to preach about a savior, Jesus Christ, who can make a difference in our lives if we put our faith and trust in him.”

John Martin

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