Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Monday said “Allahu akbar” is a “war chant” that sends him running for cover. “When somebody yells ‘Allahu Akbar’ in the Middle East, I duck,” the senator said on Fox News radio. “It’s not like, ‘Hey, how you doing Lindsey,’” he said on Fox News radio.
The HILL Graham was asked about the phrase, which translates to “God is great,” in light of Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) remark that people shouldn’t find the phrase offensive.
“For someone to say ‘Allahu akbar,’ it’s about as offensive as someone saying, ‘Thank God,’” McCain said earlier this month. But Graham, who is a friend and ally of McCain’s, said he’s sees it differently.
“’Allahu akbar,’ I associate with a war chant,” Graham told host Brian Kilmeade. “It’s not exclusively owned by al Qaeda. I’ve seen people kill al Qaeda guys and yell, ‘Allahu akbar.’”
In early September, McCain was showed a video on Fox News of a Syrian rebel allegedly yelling the two words after attacking one of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s helicopters. Many Islamic radicals have yelled “Allahu akbar” before committing terrorist attacks or acts of violence.
Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) criticized McCain’s take on the phrase, calling his comment “ignorant and offensive.”