THE WISDOM FUND: News & Views
Newhouse News
March 27, 2003

Christianizing the Enemy

by Mark O'Keefe

Two leading evangelical Christian missionary organizations said Tuesday that they have teams of workers poised to enter Iraq to address the physical and spiritual needs of a large Muslim population. . . .

Graham, the son of legendary evangelist Billy Graham, has been less diplomatic about Islam than his father has been. Two months after the Sept. 11 attacks, Franklin Graham called Islam "a very evil and wicked religion" during an interview on NBC, the television network. In his book published last year, "The Name," Graham wrote that "The God of Islam is not the God of the Christian faith." He went on to say that "the two are different as lightness and darkness."

On the eve of the Southern Baptist Convention in St. Louis last year, the Rev. Jerry Vines, a former denomination president, told several thousand delegates that Islam's Allah is not the same as the God worshipped by Christians. "And I will tell you Allah is not Jehovah, either. Jehovah's not going to turn you into a terrorist," Vines said. . . .

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"Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession."-- Psalms 2:8, The King James Version (Authorized)

[Franklin Graham, son of the Rev. Billy Graham and one of the nation's most outspoken critics of Islam, said Wednesday he has relief workers "poised and ready" to roll into Iraq to provide for the population's post-war physical and spiritual needs.

Graham, who has publicly called Islam a "wicked" religion, said the relief agency he runs, Samaritan's Purse , is in daily contact with U.S. Government agencies in Amman, Jordan, about its plans.--Deborah Caldwell, "Poised and Ready," BeliefNet, March 27, 2003]

["First came the bombs, pulverizing the Iraqi military. Now come the Bible brigades, intent on saving Iraqi souls."--Carol Eisenberg, "A Controversial Crusade: Evangelizing may backfire, some say," Newsday, April 21, 2003]

["The U.S. government this week launched its Arabic language satellite TV news station for mostly Muslim Iraq. It is being produced in a studio - Grace Digital Media - controlled by fundamentalist Christians who are rabidly pro-Israel."--Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman, "U.S. Hires Christian Extremists to Produce Arabic News," AlterNet, May 2, 2003]

["In an unusual public rebuke, leading evangelical Christians condemned derogatory statements about Islam by the Rev. Franklin Graham and others among their fellow religious conservatives."--Rachel Zoll, "Evangelical Leaders Condemn Statements," Associated Press, May 7, 2003]

["Evangelical scholars and leaders cite several reasons for their quickening interest in Islam: the American defeat of a major Muslim nation, Iraq, which may open it to Christian missionaries, while other Muslim nations remain closed; the 2001 terrorist attacks, which led many Americans to see Islam as a global threat; the greater numbers and visibility of Muslims in the United States, and the demise of Communism, once public enemy No. 1 for many evangelical organizations."--Laurie Goodstein, "Seeing Islam as 'Evil' Faith, Evangelicals Seek Converts," New York Times, May 27, 2003]

David Rennie, "Bible Belt missionaries set out on a 'war for souls' in Iraq," The Telegraph, December 27, 2003

Charles Duhigg, "Evangelicals Flock Into Iraq on a Mission of Faith," Los Angeles Times, March 18, 2004

"Missionaries' war for souls raises Iraq tension," The Age (Australia), March 25, 2004

Jim Lobe, "Neocons Seek Islamic 'Reformation'," Antiwar.com, April 8, 2004

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