Franklin Graham Tells Offended Muslim Students Who Forced University of Maryland to Cancel 'American Sniper' Screening to 'Leave America and Go to a Muslim Country'

Bradley Cooper playing Chris Kyle in 2014's 'American Sniper.'
Bradley Cooper playing Chris Kyle in 2014's "American Sniper." | (Photo: Reuters/Warner Bros. Entertainment)

The Rev. Franklin Graham has said that the offended Muslim students from the University of Maryland who last week forced the school to cancel a screening of the film "American Sniper" can "leave America and go to a Muslim country."

"Can you believe that the University of Maryland canceled a screening of the movie American Sniper after Muslim students complained? This afternoon, I'm going to meet with wounded military veterans and their spouses who served this nation with honor — fighting to preserve our freedoms and many times shedding their own blood," Graham wrote on Facebook Friday.

"Shame on the University of Maryland for listening to these voices! If these Muslim students can't support the military members who do their job to protect us, let them leave America and go to a Muslim country."

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The evangelical's comments are in response to the Muslim Students Association at the University of Maryland successfully petitioning the school to cancel the screening of the film.

The 2014 American war drama film, directed by Clint Eastwood, follows the life of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, who served several tours in Iraq and is recognized as the deadliest marksman in American military history.

The Muslim students argued in a petition that the film promotes Islamophobia and makes a "mockery" of the pain of the victims of the Iraq war.

"This war propaganda guised as art reveals a not-so-discreet Islamaphobic, violent, and racist nationalist ideology. A simple Google search will give you hundreds of articles that delve into how this film has fueled anti-Arab and anti-Islamic sentiments; its visceral 'us verses them' narrative helps to proliferate the marginalization of multiple groups and communities — many of which exist here at UMD," a statement on the site read.

"This movie dehumanizes Muslim individuals, promotes the idea of senseless mass murder, and portrays negative and inaccurate stereotypes," it added.

"Hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians suffered greatly in the Iraq war; innocent people were deposed from their homes, traumatized by war, and lost their spouse, parents, and children. This movie serves to do nothing but make a mockery out of such immense pain."

The university's Student Entertainment Events explained in a statement online that it postponed the screenings of the film after meeting with concerned student groups, but will seek to "possibly create an event where students can engage in constructive and moderated dialogues about the controversial topics proposed in the film."

The school insisted that it supports freedom of expression and said that it hopes to "create space for the airing of opposing viewpoints and differing perceptions."

Breyer Hillegas, president of the university's College Republicans, told Fox News' Todd Starnes that it was wrong for the school to cancel the screening.

"Universities are always trying to satisfy the political correctness police and worry about who they might offend — rather than standing up for principle and the First Amendment of the Constitution," Hillegas said.

"If the university prevents a movie like that from being shown — it promotes intolerance and stifles dialogue and debate — and goes directly against the atmosphere that the University of Maryland is supposed to support," he added.

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