We already knew through the work of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation that there were American Christian groups urging their followers in the military to try and convert the Iraqi people from Islam to Christianity (one group actually had permission from the Pentagon to send care packages that included Arabic translations of the Bible). Here’s a report that they’re actually doing it. Excerpt below the fold.
At the western entrance to the Iraqi city of Fallujah Tuesday, Muamar Anad handed his residence badge to the U.S. Marines guarding the city. They checked to be sure that he was a city resident, and when they were done, Anad said, a Marine slipped a coin out of his pocket and put it in his hand.
Out of fear, he accepted it, Anad said. When he was inside the city, the college student said, he looked at one side of the coin. “Where will you spend eternity?” it asked.
He flipped it over, and on the other side it read, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16.”
“They are trying to convert us to Christianity,” said Anad, a Sunni Muslim like most residents of this city in Anbar province. At home, he told his story, and his relatives echoed their disapproval: They’d been given the coins, too, he said.
And this is not isolated:
Now residents of the city are abuzz that some Americans whom they consider occupiers are also acting as Christian missionaries. Residents said some Marines at the western entrance to their city have been passing out the coins for two days in what they call a “humiliating” attempt to convert them to Christianity.
In the markets, people crowded around men with the coins, passing them to each other and asking in surprise, “Have you seen this?”
An investigation has begun:
“Iraq is investigating a report that U.S. military personnel in Fallujah handed-out material that is religious and evangelical in nature,” said Rear Adm. Patrick Driscoll , a U.S. military spokesman, in a statement e-mailed to McClatchy . “Local commanders are investigating since the military prohibits proselytizing any religion, faith or practices.”
This just underscores how important the work of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation is. This kind of thing has to stop immediately. Those soldiers who are doing it need to be punished under military regulations. And those groups who are encouraging this need to be kept as far away from the military as possible.