These are the words of a Christian missionary from Kansas who recently appeared on National Public radio. The missionary went on to say “I left my life in Kansas to come to Kurdistan (Northern Iraq) because I believe that God will use the Kurds to rip the heart out of Islam.”
Now as of yet these Christian missionaries have not had that much success in their attempts to spread Evangelical Protestantism in Northern Iraq amongst the Kurdish population. There have been a small number of Kurds who have left Islam in order to become Evangelical Christians.
The tactic that is being used by missionary is not the usual Christian messages of the love of Jesus or the necessity of being born-again; the missionaries are using an odd-tool and that is Kurdish Nationalism.
The Kurds are being told that Prophet Muhammad (sas), who was an Arab, founded an Arab religion and that Arabs have used to Islam to dominate Kurds for centuries so in order to throw off the yoke of Arab oppression Kurds have to leave Islam. The missionaries are also referring to George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Bush The Elder as Christian warriors and saviors who have delivered the Kurds from Saddam Hussein in a way that Old Testament Prophets delivered the Jewish people from tyranny.
In this sense missionaries are not only doing the religious act of conversions but they are spreading a political ideology as well. This is an ideology which puts America on the side of God, Muslims and Arabs on the side of Satan, Israel on a sacred pedestal and calls for an absolute Holy War in the middle-east to be waged by Western armies in order to tame the Lion of Islam and stop the spread of the deen in the West.
It is unclear at this point in time as to what kind of support these missionaries and political activists are getting from the US government if any. We do know that a large percentage of the US Armed forces are made-up of Evangelical Christian and amongst that group there have been widespread reports of religious radicalism in the military ranks.
Many were surprised in 2004 by the comments of Lieutenant general William Boykin who described the war in Iraq as a fight against the devil and a false G_d. However those who have followed the military in the era since the national draft has been rescinded have noted that unlike in generations past today’s military officer corps is overwhelmingly Evangelical, conservative, Republican and in support of the administration and this trend not only is in the military but exists in domestic law-enforcement as well.
A number of US soldiers have come home to America to state that they in fact have been using their time in Iraq to attempt to spread Christianity. Indeed the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention has been helping to equip Baptist soldiers to spread Christianity in Iraq has made Iraq a top priority.
Many other missionary organizations saw the War on Iraq as a golden opportunity. John Brady the head of the IMB middle-east division said “Southern Baptists have prayed for years that Iraq would somehow be opened to the gospel.” And like a European warrior-king from centuries past President George W. Bush opened Iraq for them.
Rick Love, an icon of Christian missions in the Muslim Ummah told Mother Jones Magazine in 2002;
Love fixes his gaze on a studious, spiky-haired missionary dressed in Patagonia clothing. “If people ask you, ‘Why are you here?'” he asks, “what do you say?” The young man, on leave from Southeast Asia, squirms in his chair. His jaw opens but nothing comes out. “Bingo!” Love says with a smile. “You bite your fingernails, and people go, ‘Of course he’s not hiding anything.'” Love notes that before he went to western Indonesia to proselytize among Sundanese Muslims, he went back to school and earned his credentials to become an English instructor. That way, he says, he had an excuse to be in the country. “I could look someone in the eye and say, ‘I am an English teacher,'” he explains. “‘I have a degree and I’m here to teach.'”
That, he says, is the model for winning converts in the Islamic world: Find another pretext to be in the country. Build friendships with the locals. Once you’ve developed trust, then it’s time to try to gain new believers. But don’t reveal your true purpose too early. “How did Jesus explain why he was there?” Love asks the class. “Indirectly,” volunteers a veteran missionary. “He’d say, ‘Why do you think I’m here?'”
So Muslims are dealing with a dual stealth nature with Christian organizations in Iraq and Kurdish areas in particular; on one had they are not putting their cards on the table and are not revealing the true nature of their existence in the area and secondly they are a disruptive influence in the region as they are seeking to encourage the Kurdish-Arab conflict in order to spread their sect of Christianity.
The vast majority of Evangelical Protestants today believe in American supremacy and are whole heartedly nationalist. Go into almost any Evangelical Church and you will find an American flag behind the pulpit. Their message is clear; America is Gods nation and in order to be a true American you have to be a Christian and God will use the American military to not only spread American might but to spread Christianity.
In Northern Iraq they are attempting to spread a similar sort of nationalism amongst Kurds in a divide and conquer fashion. Islam discourages nationalism and separations on lines of race and says that the Ummah is one and this produces a threat to not only those who seek to win Muslim Souls but to the political enemies of Islam who would like to see further division in the Ummah.