Pastor Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Dallas church in Texas has argued that President Barack Obama has "blood on his hands" for failing to address growing Christian persecution around the globe, which Jeffress argued comes down to Muslim anger at the historical Christian support for Jewish people.
Jeffress appeared on "Varney & Co." on the Fox Business channel on Tuesday to comment on a recently released report from Italian sociologist and author Massimo Introvigne, which found that over 90,000 Christians were killed in 2016, while between 500 to 600 million face persecution for their faith.
The megachurch pastor claimed that Obama and Sec. of State John Kerry "have blood on their hands for a lot of this," arguing that the administration's actions have ignored Christian persecution, and have fueled it in different parts of the world.
He noted that according to Introvigne's study, based in part on statistics compiled by the Center for Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Muslims are the number one persecutors of Christians.
"It's not because Christians are going around saying 'turn the other cheek' — nobody is offended by that — what Muslims hate is that historically, Christians have been the Jewish people's best friend," Jeffress said.
The pastor argued that the Islamic prophet Muhammad "saw Jews and Christians as the same, and called them 'the people of the book.'"
Much like he did last week in another interview on "The Sean Hannity Show," Jeffress criticized Obama and Kerry for America failing to veto a controversial United Nations resolution which deems Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory East of Jerusalem to be illegal.
"John Kerry and Barack Obama are on the wrong side of history," the First Baptist Dallas minister said. "They are on the wrong side of God on this."
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"This land that we call the West Bank — that includes Bethlehem, that includes Jericho — biblical sites that have been inhabited by the Jewish people for thousands of years. God says this land belongs to Israel," he pointed out.
When asked what ties he believes Obama might have with Muslims or Islam, Jeffress responded:
"I am not one of those who says he is a closet Muslim. I don't know what he is. But obviously, Islam has had a great influence in his life, through his father and stepfather."
The pastor suggested that Obama's sympathies for Muslims are leaving him blind to what Christians are going through.
"I think Barack Obama thinks that Muslims are the ones being persecuted, and he has to change that. The fact is he is contributing to Christians being persecuted, not only around the world, but in America as well," he argued.
Introvigne's report clashes with figures from some persecution watchdog groups, such as Open Doors USA, which estimates that only 7,000 Christians were killed specifically for their faith this past year.
"However, this is an extremely conservative estimate, as we only track those we have confirmed details about name, location, etc," Open Doors Director of Communications Emily Fuentes told The Christian Post last week. "There are likely many more."
"Over the past several years, we have seen a rise in violence in many African countries. However, our findings note that most violence against Christians worldwide is due to Islamic extremism," Fuentes added.
"In African nations, we see large numbers of Christians killed by groups like Boko Haram or al-Shabab, but tribal antagonism also plays a large role in persecution of Christians."