What do you get when you drop mega-tons of explosives upon two “heathen” countries, crumbling their economic infrastructures, all the while causing their citizens to live in a state of utter chaos? For a missionary, Afghanistan and Iraq are a morbid sort of Disneyland. Never mind the reportedly tens of thousands of civilian casualties, nor the rampant looting, disease, and hunger; this is a perfect climate to get out in the desert in an attempt to change the lives and religion of these most unfortunate people. This neo-crusade is the focus of Time Magazine’s deeply troubling, yet informative piece entitled “Missionaries Under Cover”. Informative–because the article truly sheds light on the ulterior motives that drive many aide workers; troubling–due to the fact that the world’s largest news magazine presents such a short-sighted perspective.
On the cover of this American news institution, a powerful hand is shown grasping a cross with the words emblazoned below “Should Christians Convert Muslims?” In addition to the title, the overall tone of the article speaks not as to why the actions of the missionaries are immoral; rather that this is a volatile time in the Muslim world for them to be on the proselytizing path. The attitude that seems to be used throughout the piece makes Muslims look like some backcountry cult, who are meeting their more civilized saviors. As a Muslim, it seems as though they never intended for me or for any of my brethren to pick up this issue. The photos of scared Bible students with their heads covered and imagery of the “reactionary Islamists” that are used throughout the piece seem to speak more of propaganda, rather than a newsworthy article.
The mission of this movement is described early on,” Touched by Muslims’ material and (supposed) spiritual needs, convinced that they are one of the great “un–reached mega–peoples” who must hear the Gospel before Christ’s eventual return, Evangelicals have been rushing to what has become the latest hot missions field.” It continues on to describe what lengths these individuals go through in order to do what they perceive as “God’s Work”, in addition to ultimately fulfilling Biblical prophecy.
While the first bombs from campaign were seemingly still in mid-air, the Reverend Franklin Graham’s organization “The Samaritan’s Purse” was headed to Iraq. Although some have credited Graham with allegedly distributing hundreds of millions of dollars throughout the destitute corners of the world, Muslims know him as a mere hate-monger, who continually slanders Islam and its Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). While his charitable contributions may emulate the teachings of Jesus Christ (which ironically Muslims also observe), he has also taken the liberty of labeling Islam as an “evil and wicked religion”. You would be hard pressed to find a single sermon by this individual where he does not unleash an attack another religion. This type of behavior has not been attributed to Jesus, or any of his apostles for that matter.
As the Time article goes deeper into the world of the predominantly Evangelical missionaries, we learn of the unscrupulous, and somewhat sacrilegious tactics that these “Tools of God” are using. It is a well-known ploy of the missionaries to proselytize to the feeble, sick, and hungry. There isn’t a more vulnerable time in an individual’s life than when one must stand in line and collect food and medical supplies just to survive another day. But one person’s misfortune is also evidently another person’s opportunity. Many view these missionaries to be jackals or vultures, hovering overhead and waiting for their prey to reach its weakest point. Nothing comes for free, however, not even charity. If the poor want to eat, then they must swallow some religious material for desert. It is apparent however, that this method has not worked well enough; therefore even more dishonest techniques are being employed.
According to this new breed of messenger, if that loaf of bread doesn’t get your Muslim counterpart Abdullah to accept Christianity, then it is acceptable to deceive him outright, and to eventually deprogram him. Many Evangelicals in Islamic countries have decided to “camouflage their faith” i.e. disguise themselves as being Muslim in order to lure real Muslims away from their faith. Establishments known as “Jesus Mosques” have been constructed in order to lead unknowing individuals to a place of Islamic worship, where they are to receive a subtle, yet constant brainwashing that would ultimately lead to them converting to Christianity. While the unknowing Muslim is led to this “mosque” by a person who professes the shahada “There is no God, Save Allah, and Muhammad (p.b.u.h) is His Prophet”, he is in reality dealing with a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
At this point we are all asking ourselves, “How can a person who claims to be serving God, stoop to such a low level?” Throughout the history of mankind, people have gone to great lengths in order to exercise superiority over others in matters of religion. Places of worship have been torn down (just like India’s Babri Mosque in the 90’s), villages have been razed to the ground, and entire races have been nearly wiped from the face of the earth (as in the Jewish Holocaust), all with religion in mind. Heck, even Presidents of some of the most powerful nations in the world nowadays are claiming that they often converse directly with God himself in order to draw up plans on which nation to bomb next. Sound familiar?
While so-called “adherents” of every major religion have been guilty of this crime at one time or another throughout history, this latest example is a clear example of how Christianity has been hijacked by a small, yet powerful faction of its followers. The warped mentality of this bloc is epitomized in which a missionary named Barbara is quoted as saying “Islam is the terrorist, Muslims are the victim.” This echoes the sentiments of Graham, and so many of his cohorts within the Evangelical sector. It is their hypothesis that the teachings of Islam are the problem, and that they hold the solution. Barbara ends her soliloquy, as a beacon of tolerance saying, “We pray that the weapon of mass destruction, Islam, be torn down.” Something tells me that this may not be the best way to lead people to your faith, Barb.
Even though there are missionaries of every color, creed (including Islam), and culture out there in the world today, you would be hard pressed to find battle tactics such as these being employed. It seems as though goodwill between religions is reaching an all-time low, thanks to individuals like Franklin Graham, Pat Robertson and the aforementioned Barbara. In a time in which people should be calling for tolerance and understanding, chasms are being formed in order to speed up fulfillment of religious prophecy. Will this trend continue on? If the bread, the medicine, the camouflage and the “Jesus Mosque” don’t sway Abdullah, then what will these sinister individuals employ next? Something tells me that Graham and his cronies are already cooking up a plan for that.