Troops Try To Give Iraqis Religion
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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.
How desperately we need this story to be untrue. MNF-I says, inauspiciously, “Local commanders are investigating since the military prohibits proselytizing any religion, faith or practices.” Far far far more comforting would be a flat denial. For the Iraq war to actually take on the overtones of a Christian crusade — in any way, shape of form — would herald an ever-greater disaster that would be difficult to reverse. The Iraq war will be hard enough to cauterize — think of it as a self-inflicted national wound — without millions of Muslims having evidence of U.S. forces trying to get them to no longer be Muslims.
In interviews, residents of Fallujah repeated two words â€” “humiliation” and “weakness”.
“Because we are weak this is happening,” said a shop owner who gave his name as Abu Abdullah. “Passing Christianity this way is disrespectful.”
Please let this not be true. How could MNF-I not have any training in place to tell soldiers and Marines not to proselytize?