“It’s not like, ‘Hey, how you doing Lindsey,’” he said on Fox News radio.
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.’”
The Arabic phrase is used often; it's said during every call to prayer in the Muslim tradition.
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.
The Arabic phrase is used often though; it's said during every call to prayer in the Muslim tradition.
Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) criticized McCain's take on the phrase, calling his comment “ignorant and offensive.”
“Good people, whether they’re Muslims, Christians or Jews don’t scream, ‘Thank God’ when they kill people. It’s completely outrageous he’d say such a thing," Amash said on the Laura Ingraham radio show.
This story was updated at 1:12 p.m.