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Back March 24th, 2004 Forward
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Missionaries target for violence in Iraq


This article in The Age talks about Christian missionaries in Iraq who are making it more dangerous for all humanitarian aid groups to operate:

Fears are growing that the presence in Iraq of foreign Christians will increase the risk of violence against foreigners and local Christians alike. Paul McGeough reports from Baghdad.

After the declaration of "a war for souls" by US Christians, the arrival in Iraq of missionaries with almost a million Arabic translations of the Bible has become a new security flashpoint.

Non-religious aid workers accuse the missionaries of exposing all foreigners to more attacks because of the risk of inflaming Muslim sensitivities.

After the murder last week of four US missionaries at Mosul, in the north, an American church worker refused to talk to The Age, because the reporting of any identifying information could make him and his church a target. "You guys (reporters) are spotters for snipers," he said.

A spate of deadly attacks on foreigners has left US occupation officials in Iraq confused as to whether the four were targeted because they were foreigners or because they were missionaries.

But they have taken the precaution of removing a list of about 50 Christian aid groups from public files in Baghdad.

Sheikh Fatih Kashif Ghitaa, head of Baghdad's Strategic Studies Centre, was in no doubt: "Most Iraqis think the US wants to erase Islam, so this would have fed into the thinking of the attackers at Mosul. There will be more such attacks."


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