21
Oct
08

On air: Should aid workers be allowed to preach and convert?

A Christian aid-worker was killed in Afghanistan yesterday – accused of trying to convert Muslims from their faith to hers- though the charity denies she was proselytising. The case has clearly touched a nerve.

But where do you draw the line? This columnist thinks people shouldn’t use aid missions to spread their faith.  But this US blogger thinks Christians should be praised for their work, not censored.

So shouldn’t aid workers always separate material needs from spiritual ones? Don’t they have a duty to provide aid without setting preconditions for it? If you can’t preach or convert, shouldn’t your aid be available to all- or should you prioritise people who share your faith?

Aid workers in Afghanistan have been targeted before for their faith. So have aid workers in other countries- among them, Somalia.

But can it ever be legitimate to ban people of religious conviction from expressing their faith? What is an aid worker to say- whether they are Muslim, Christian, Hindu- if they are asked about their religion by someone they’ve just helped? Can they really be expected to say nothing?


173 Responses to “On air: Should aid workers be allowed to preach and convert?”


  1. 1 GretchenDawntreader
    October 21, 2008 at 15:08

    Proselytizing is part of Christian schtick. It’s what they do. I’m no defender of the Taliban, and I don’t think it should be a capital offense, but if you got someone who is so religiously devoted that they want to join a Christian aid group and go to deadly places, they are going to be talking about their faith. Otherwise, if the “Christian-ness” of their Mission wasn’t the focus, then they could just join the Peace Corps or something.

    There was a discussion in my city about 12-step recovery programs and church groups were complaining that secular 12-step programs were “denying them much-needed converts.” I found and still find that disturbing.

    Organized religion has a bad record of seeking out vulnerable populations as easy pickings for new members of their flocks. Be it poverty, or war, or drugs, or alcohol, or crime…people who are down and desperate, time to introduce them to a new life in Jesus.

    I don’t doubt for a second they were there to extend the love of the Lord to these poor heathen sinners. Well, the local government doesn’t allow that, and they paid the price. Hope it was worth it.

  2. 2 Roy, Washington DC
    October 21, 2008 at 15:11

    Absolutely not. They are there to help, not to “help”. Privately practicing one’s own religion is one thing, but proselytizing is another thing entirely. It’s okay to answer questions about their religion, but they should never try to convert. Trying to convert people in such a strongly Muslim country as Afghanistan is going to make the West look arrogant, and will be counterproductive.

  3. October 21, 2008 at 15:11

    Its human nature to be inquisitive if someone helps me I am bound to be curious and ask why he did.I personally dont think that the Christians in hostile territorries are killed coz they try to convert. They are killed some religions are in awe to thinking if they(the helped) begin to be love this Christian aid worker they might ask him why he helped them and the motive behind his generosity. After all Christ never force converted anyone he just told people “I am the way the truth and the life whoever follows me has everlasting LIFE.” Its jealousy propelling these killers.

  4. 4 Dan
    October 21, 2008 at 15:13

    Being an Aid worker and proselytizing are two entirely different activities.
    However there should be nothing stopping anyone from talking about their faith and why they believe as that is personal to them.
    Muslims seem to be afraid that Islam is so weak and insecure that when presented with an alternative will without hesitation abandon Islam and rush to whatever other religion appeals to them.
    Thus, Islam has decreed death (do they have any other punishment) to any apostate or anyone who talks about another faith.

  5. 5 Jennifer
    October 21, 2008 at 15:25

    It is never legitimate to ban someone from expressing their faith. People should not try to convert others but if a person receives aid they should not have qualms with the aid worker being a different religion if that is the case.

    It is hard to separate spiritual needs from physical ones but aid workers should take care to not try to convert others. I don’t think it’s appropriate to provide aid with religious strings attached. However, even if someone does try to do so; it’s not something to kill them for. People should not be receiving aid from “religious zealots” if they are afraid of talking about or being exposed to other religions.

  6. 6 Jay-Bloomington Indiana, USA
    October 21, 2008 at 15:33

    Should we blame the speaker or the listener. There are two sides to free speech, The right to say what you like and the right for others not to listen. It is unfortunate that there are still countries that take this freedom from people. Murder does not quite religions it makes martyr’s. What must happen is Aide Workers and Agencies must make their reasons known before they go into an area. Aide agencies have to be more delicate when dealing with religiouslly heated area’s. My question is How must we (as a world and species) deal with people that want to take our right of free speech and those who would oppress?

  7. 7 1430a
    October 21, 2008 at 15:36

    Hello everyone,
    Well,its not the matter of ‘right’ to preach or convert someone into your own religion.
    And why just the aid workers?There are many military men who have married Iraqis during the war.These men were obviously forced to convert into Islam.So who could stop them?
    There is also a matter of choice.If i choose to convert for the sake of marrying an Iraqi then thats not called preaching but if I am forced to convert that is called preaching.
    Well this incident in Afghanistan is sad one.I remember reading a book :’Things fall apart’ by Chinua Accebe.In this book some Christians set up in a city of Africans and convert their religion through peace and harmony.Well some people did call this preaching but its obviously not preaching.They set up in a small piece of land,opened a missionary and started teaching about Jesus Christ.No one was forced learn but soon many people gathered.It was nothing but true faith and worship.
    Thank you
    Abhinav

  8. 8 Kelsie in Houston
    October 21, 2008 at 15:37

    @Jennifer:
    That’s not the issue–the issue is: should aid workers be allowed to preach and convert? Many NGOs undoubtedly have members of many faiths in their ranks, but those members are not allowed to proselytize. The issue is not one of the aid recipients disliking the faith of the aid worker, but rather one of the aid worker exploiting the trust they command as a member of a relief organisation to preach and convert. There’s a definite difference.

  9. 9 Jay-Bloomington Indiana, USA
    October 21, 2008 at 15:39

    @ Gretchen

    I am not sure religions are “preying” on the downtrodden, it is the purpose of most religions to help and these are the people who need help the most. If you are a doctor and you can only spend time with one patient, One has a split lip and the other is in cardiac arrest, which one do you help? The answer is easy. Don’t let your hatred for organized religion blind you to what is really going on, most religious people believe they are truly helping. It is unfortunate that the 12 step christian program was spoken of in such a camaille way, however they do not represent all christians.

  10. 10 Luz Ma from Mexico
    October 21, 2008 at 15:43

    First, I think the killing of the aid worker in Afghanistan is an atrocious act that should be widely condemn.

    Here are my answers to your cuestions:

    So shouldn’t aid workers always separate material needs from spiritual ones? I think many aid workers are in that line of work because of an spiritual need to serve others. You don´t get rich and most of the time is a risky job, so definetily what moves them is the spiritual gain in their work.

    Don’t they have a duty to provide aid without setting preconditions for it? I don´t think there should be preconditions to provide aid, however, it is not a crime or something you should be kill/harm/prosecute from. By the way, I think most aid organizations do not set preconditions to provide aid.

    If you can’t preach or convert, shouldn’t your aid be available to all- or should you prioritise people who share your faith?As I said before, I think most aid organizations do not discriminate. Specially in places where aid relief is greatly needed or they are at risk of being harm or kick out.

    But can it ever be legitimate to ban people of religious conviction from expressing their faith?I think is ilegitimate and morally wrong to ban people from expressing their faith. For me, countries were there is not freedom of religion are simply retrograde.

  11. 11 Angelo
    October 21, 2008 at 15:43

    I think this debate trivializes the fact that an aid worker was brutally murdered by zealots.

    An aid worker’s first and foremost concern would be for well being of the recipients of aid and the religious matters would be a very distant second.

    Gayle Williams was working for Serve Afghantishan and according to the BBC’s updated news report 21/10/2008 1901 the Taleban say “she was killed for being a spy”

  12. 12 Kelsie in Houston
    October 21, 2008 at 15:44

    @the original question:
    I believe this should be handled on an organization-by-organization basis; obviously traditionally religious NGOs cannot be regulated as regards their religious activities while delivering aid. However, whatever one’s creed, when participating with secular, non-religious NGOs, no proselytizing should occur.

    Religious NGOs who elect to engage in missionary activity alongside their relief efforts should be prepared to face hostility in regions that are traditionally antagonistic vis-á-vis outside faiths. There is an element of “common sense” and “at your own risk” that plays into any missionary effort–aid relief is no different.

  13. 13 Luz Ma from Mexico
    October 21, 2008 at 15:51

    @Kelsie
    The issue is not one of the aid recipients disliking the faith of the aid worker, but rather one of the aid worker exploiting the trust they command as a member of a relief organisation to preach and convert. There’s a definite difference.

    Yes, there is a difference, but it is not something they should be killed for. There is not excuse for that, don’t you think?

  14. 14 Dan
    October 21, 2008 at 15:51

    Luz made an interesting comment in that Aid workers have a spiritual need to serve.
    I agree!!
    Suddenly it occurred to me “Where are the Muslims with a Spiritual Need To Serve?’ which of course would obviate any need for any Muslim to hear something from the outside world.

  15. October 21, 2008 at 15:52

    Whatever gets the job done, what ever they can use that motivates their selves and others. Sadly it is a lot of confusion about life and the real world but again if it works, let it be.

    The major problem is the Military. They have no right to rule a country but they rule the world. Everything else about every country is propaganda. If the people of all nations had them removed there would be no wars and civilization will have begun.

  16. 16 Kelsie in Houston
    October 21, 2008 at 15:58

    @Luz Ma:
    No, no–definitely not: I agree with you there–no justification for murder. But people 1. need to be mindful of the risks they’re taking; and 2. Accept the reality that, in a region traditionally opposed to the religion one is propagating, one could be killed for religious reasons. Proper precautions are essential. Furthermore, I am not opposed to religious propagation by religious organisations…but not as part of a secular, non-affiliated NGO.

  17. October 21, 2008 at 15:58

    Aid workers have no business trying to convert Muslims. Muslims have no business killing Christians.

    Did the Christians learn anything, like maybe it is dangerous to try to teach lions to eat grass? That is sort of what you are doing when you try to reason with certain humans……who think they are building brownie points when they kill Christians.

    troop

  18. 18 Vijay
    October 21, 2008 at 15:58

    Should aid workers be allowed to preach?

    In the UK,I remember pasty faced young Mormon men used to come around my neighbourhood every year and try and get converts,one of my fathers freinds was catholic and had eight children,he converted to Mormonism, why because they offered him a better deal than the Catholic church,all his children were educated and provided jobs some even moved to Utah and got married.

  19. October 21, 2008 at 16:02

    In my opinion an aid worker is there to provide just that, aid. If they wish to preach and convert, they should plan a mission trip to provide aid and mission in the same package.
    I understand and respect ones right to discuss their beliefs, but they are there for a reason and task. If their actions hinder their task or others with whom they are working or distract away from that task, they need to re-evaluate their goal and perhaps utilize another method to spread their beliefs.
    Now if the aid organization is a faith based aid organization, then yes, its members should be allowed to preach their faith.

  20. 20 Nikitas
    October 21, 2008 at 16:06

    Absolutle no.

    They should be completing their faith’s work by supplying people
    with much needed aid in the form of food and medicine. Nothing more.
    It is not the place of westerners to change the face (or faith in this case) of ancient cultures and civilizations because of their self-serving views that they’re somehow saving these people from eternal damnation. Their focus should not be the after life but the life after the devastation of war, famine and disaster. No more. These people have enough to worry about!

  21. October 21, 2008 at 16:06

    If a person enters a country with the permission of that country and agrees to abde by their laws then they need to respect thse laws, If they decide to break those laws they must know that by their actions they are saying, “I am willing to pay the price of your punishment to break your law”. In other words taking the punishment is worth it to them. isn’t that the ultimate act of Christian compassion? To lay down your life for a friend? I don’t think we need to arrogantly enter a country with the intent of breaking their laws, but when the instance arises that we must choose to either break the law or deny Christ everything changes, but we must be willing to py the price. I think Gail Williams knew exactly what she was doing. And I think all aid workers must know that they may be called to exactly the same thing,and be willing to do the same. After all if we are not willing to die for the cause of Christ then we cannot call ourselves Christians. I fear the second death more than the first.

    blessings, Penny Raine

    http://pennyraine.com/blog

  22. October 21, 2008 at 16:09

    look, people can do whatever they want.

    If you want to tape a $100 bill to your butt and run naked through central park, you can. IF you want to go deep see diving with bleeding raw fish in your wet suit, you can. If you want to walk through the projects with a clan hood on yelling “N want a watermelon?” you can do that. If you want to interrupt a church session of marines by walking in holding a burning flag and yelling, “Death to America, Allah is great!” You can do that. It is your right. If you want to go preaching the virtues of Christianity in an area known for irrational extremist Muslims, you can do that too.

    However, practicing your rights doesn’t absolve you of the consequences. This concept is one we really struggle with here in the west.

    I mean if you want to you can draw artificial boundaries, force people from different tribes to act like a country, forcibly install your own perspective of governance, and plop oil wells and market places in the middle of the cultures sacred grounds. It is your right.

  23. 23 Vijay
    October 21, 2008 at 16:09

    Should aid workers be allowed to preach?

    If aids workers either go to countries or regions where conversion is not common then they should prepare for martyrdom if they insist on evangelising because their preaching will not be appreciated , local people and religious organisations would disapprove and react violently.

    However in countries such as the USA and UK where society is more liberal no one really minds too much as long as the group advocating a religion don’t behave like a cult.

  24. 24 Julie P
    October 21, 2008 at 16:13

    Look they can do whatever they want, but they also assume the risk that goes with it.

  25. 25 steve
    October 21, 2008 at 16:14

    Last I checked, killing someone is worse than trying to convert someone. If someone finds their religion that important that they will kill over it, then they need to be informed of the fictional nature of the deity they worship.

    However putting yourself in a position to be killed over your religious beliefs is not that intelligent either, as it’s still a fictional deity you died over.

    But again, killing is worse than trying to convert, so this question should be, should people be killing missionaries?

  26. 26 Jennifer
    October 21, 2008 at 16:14

    @ Kelsie

    What is not the issue?

  27. October 21, 2008 at 16:15

    @ Dwight:
    However, practicing your rights doesn’t absolve you of the consequences. This concept is one we really struggle with here in the west.

    Well, that pretty much sums this one up.

  28. 28 Kelsie in Houston
    October 21, 2008 at 16:16

    @Jennifer:
    “It is never legitimate to ban someone from expressing their faith.”
    That’s not the issue–the issue is whether or not proselytizing as part of an aid relief organization is ever acceptable or not.

  29. 29 steve
    October 21, 2008 at 16:16

    Notice she was “accused” of trying to convert others. There as no trial, some wondeful, peaceful people, murdered her based on an accusation, without any due process, yet we’re criticizing her, and not the insane, religious freaks of nature that killed her. I’m curious, if the person who had killed her had been converted, do you think he would have still been insane enough to kill her? Perhaps if conversion would make people less violent, it’s a good thing. That is of course, unless you like people getting killed over religion.

  30. 30 Jay-Bloomington Indiana, USA
    October 21, 2008 at 16:19

    @ Julie and Dwight

    I think the question is dealing with, Are the consequences matching to the actions. Speaking about religion is a little different than pissing off marines. I really don’t think this aide work was trying to get an adrenaline rush from speaking about his/her religion. You are just saying that MURDER is a decent consequence, who right is it to hold someone’s life in their hands. Don’t be absurd.

  31. 31 steve
    October 21, 2008 at 16:22

    @ Brett

    “However, practicing your rights doesn’t absolve you of the consequences. This concept is one we really struggle with here in the west.

    Well, that pretty much sums this one up.”

    I might be mistaken, but didn’t you sing a different tune when it comes to free speech? Agreeing with that comment is basically saying that you are to blame for muslim violence due to cartoons.

    So in the future, if more cartoons are drawn, and people get murdered on the street for it, will we say “yes free speech, but….”

    The fact is, someoen was insane enough to kill a woman based just on an allegation, that offended their wittle religious sensibilities, another reason why religion needs to be eliminated.

  32. 32 Nikitas
    October 21, 2008 at 16:31

    Re: Dwight From Cleaveland

    You can’t be nude in the state of New York

    You can’t dive anywhere without the waters having be zoned for diving by
    local/national/international authorities and not without particular training
    ie. PADI

    To get to the point, the idea is that these people shouldn’t be doing what they’re doing not that the forces of nature don’t permit them. People who do what they want without respecting boundary or law are called, CRIMINALS!

  33. 33 Nikitas
    October 21, 2008 at 16:31

    Re: My own response…

    You can be of course nude in the state of New York, just not in public :p

  34. October 21, 2008 at 16:32

    I might be mistaken, but didn’t you sing a different tune when it comes to free speech?

    Not sure what tune your speaking of. Care to refresh? Maybe I can explain…

  35. 35 steve
    October 21, 2008 at 16:35

    @ Brett

    I never figured you as one of those “I believe in free speech, but with responsibility” types that basically says you have free speech, except for when you might hurt someone’s feelings.

    Again, some lady is dead because of insane people and their fictional sky friend. The real question is how you stop insane people from doing that, not limiting free speech. If Iran wants to host more holocaust denial conferences, more power to them. My feelings won’t get hurt, and I wouldn’t even think of killing them over it. I guess I’m just sane, but I don’t know.

    How crazy do you have to be to kill over a fictional book character? Can this monsters be stopped or are they beyond all hope and need to be caged in?

  36. 36 Dan
    October 21, 2008 at 16:35

    @Dwight
    If you want to interrupt a church session of marines by walking in holding a burning flag and yelling, “Death to America, Allah is great!” You can do that.
    **************************************************************************************

    I understand your point but you cannot do that. There are limits to free speech.

  37. October 21, 2008 at 16:36

    Agreeing with that comment is basically saying that you are to blame for muslim violence due to cartoons.

    Acknowledging that there is or may be a reaction is not the same as agreeing with that reaction or placing blame on the initial action.

    Look back at the Women blame and Rape topic, its a similar circumstance of action, reaction, and discretion when needed.

    Yea you can do all sorts of things, doesn’t make it a good idea.

  38. 38 Dan
    October 21, 2008 at 16:37

    Hey WHYS People….where are the Muslims with the spiritual need to serve which would make this question moot?
    If they will not serve their own people and they have allowed other religions to enter the picture then they get what they get.

  39. 39 Julie P
    October 21, 2008 at 16:37

    @Jay,

    The question is “Should aid workers be allowed to preach and convert?”

    When a person decides to preach and convert where it is known that this could be the consequences of their actions, then they are assuming the risk. No one can discount that there are places where attempting to preach and convert to Christianity is unacceptable and could result in death. I do not approve of murder, but I also know that some places are very different than where I live and it is dangerous for me to go there, so I don’t go.

  40. 40 steve
    October 21, 2008 at 16:38

    @ Dan

    There are limits within a legal framework. The people burning the flag and shouting death to america in the church can be asked to leave and expelled if they don’t comply. That’s greatly different than killing someone.

    The “limits” to free speech in the US never result in death. Only in extreme situations do they result in jail, and usually it involves civil action. Ie, if I defame you, you can sue me for defamation, But you can’t physically stop people from speaking without a injuction or court order, or something like that. People don’t get killed over speaking their minds here, regardless of whatever hypotheticals people can think of , I can think of crazy ones too, like a KKK Grand Wizard speaking in from of a Black panther group…

  41. October 21, 2008 at 16:40

    I never figured you as one of those “I believe in free speech, but with responsibility” types that basically says you have free speech, except for when you might hurt someone’s feelings.

    Speak all you want, but there may be consequences. It doesn’t mean I agree with the consequences and doesn’t mean they are the correct consequences, but its action and reaction.

    Again, some lady is dead because of insane people and their fictional sky friend.

    Lets be fair here. She is dead because of insane people and their fictional sky friend. She was peddling her sky friend too. Both sides had sky friends which in your eyes are equally unfounded and crazy. Not saying the response was proper, but maybe she should have been doing her job. Could discretion have avoided this mess?

  42. 42 steve
    October 21, 2008 at 16:41

    @ Brett

    What is worse, this is the real question. What is worse, speech or violence in response to speech? Which is the bigger problem?

    It seems to me, and it should be to any logical person, that violence is worse than speech. So the violence is the problem. There’s nothing you could say to me that would make me react violently,a nd I’ve had some really nasty things said to me. I realize not everyone has self control, but think about it, someone is dead right now over religion.

    if God wants to prove his existance, he can participate in this blog.. But in reality, there’s no such thing as God, everyone knows this, just some cling. cling to the hope, because they can’t stand the thought of being alone in teh universe without some guidance. Someone is dead because of a percieved slight to the fictional sky friend. That’s the problem. Not speech, not preaching. Killing over a fictional deity shows how stupid, moronically stupid, some people are. I guess it explains why the US is planning a mission to Mars, and Afghanistan is still in the 9th century.

  43. 43 Nikitas
    October 21, 2008 at 16:41

    Re: Steve

    ‘The “limits” to free speech in the US never result in death.’

    …REALLY? HAH!

  44. October 21, 2008 at 16:42

    And of course we will probably never know all of the true details of exactly what she was doing. Does anybody have a cell phone video of her standing on a street corner waving a bible? …… I didn’t think so.

    blessings, Penny Raine

    http://pennyraine.com/blog

  45. October 21, 2008 at 16:42

    And keep in mind Steve… Afghanistan has a vastly different legal framework than the US, especially when in regard to free speech it seems.

  46. 46 steve
    October 21, 2008 at 16:42

    @ Brett

    Yes, she was peddling her fictional sky friend too, but it seems to me, she was also helping people, and certainly didn’t kill anyone. What is worse? Preaching or killing?

  47. 47 steve
    October 21, 2008 at 16:44

    If this turns into a “when in Rome, do as the romans do” then in the west, we need to stop accommodating people. No double standards.

  48. 48 Jennifer
    October 21, 2008 at 16:45

    @ Kelsie

    First line-last paragraph of original post info:

    “But can it ever be legitimate to ban people of religious conviction from expressing their faith?”
    ___________

    The woman was accused of trying to convert Muslims. I don’t think that is fair at all. I want to know how she tried to convert them? Wearing a cross necklace? Mentioning God in a conversation? I don’t think it’s appropriate to restrict someone who is offering aid by telling them they can’t be true to their beliefs.

    The answer is not to eliminate all religions. However, maybe Islam is……….

  49. October 21, 2008 at 16:45

    What is worse, speech or violence in response to speech? Which is the bigger problem?

    Violence in response to speech, no doubt. But this topic was about aid workers being allowed to preach and convert.

  50. 50 steve
    October 21, 2008 at 16:45

    @ Brett

    “And keep in mind Steve… Afghanistan has a vastly different legal framework than the US, especially when in regard to free speech it seems.”

    Yes, exactly. I guess that explains why the US sent men to the moon and Afghanistan is a failed state, completely worthless, does nothing productive, and is a burden to the entire world. Perhaps it’s their system that is the problem? Oh wait, I’m sure Opium addicts love Afghanistan.

  51. 51 steve
    October 21, 2008 at 16:47

    @ Brett

    Then that’s the wrong question to ask. The BBC has it wrong, unless they think that preaching is worse than killing. Or are we operating under an unspoken PC premise, that everyone knows, but is too afraid to say, that these people are savages and will kill over anything, don’t dont we dare say it?

  52. 52 Vijay
    October 21, 2008 at 16:47

    Should aid workers be allowed to preach?

    No aid workers should not be allowed to preach?
    They should do their good deeds inconspiciously.

    In India a journalist from a Hindi national paper introduced me to one of his friends, a BJP(Bharay Janata Party)”Youth” leader(youth leader =political thug),this person accused me of being a christian missionary who had come to India to convert Hindhus,apparently I couldn’t fool him and he knew what I was up to,I looked like one of those foreign preachers.
    I told this person my family had lived in the region for many centuries ,and due to my fathers untimely death and susequent litigation I found myself in India and he was welcome to checkout my story with his local leaders and political opponents.
    He said he would keep an eye on me and I should be careful.

    The journalist had tried to play the role of an agent provocateur
    ,I guess it was a slow news day and he needed a story.

    Aid workers be wary of dodgy journos who are only interested in a story and not fairness,truth or justice.

    .

  53. 53 steve
    October 21, 2008 at 16:50

    @ Jennifer

    Didn’t you read the court decision by the Taliban? It was an 50 page opinion, the first part stated the facts.

    Okay, in reality, this woman was completely denied due process and was killed based on a mere allegation. yet we’re questioning if people should be allowed to preach, and not the complete denial of due process, the denial of life, over a mere allegation.

    Just imagine if someone in the west did this, there would be war crime allegations, the media would go crazy. Do we just expect this sort of behavior from people outside of the west? Isn’t that a little racist to think that others are incapable of respecting thigns such as due process, and we just say “you should have known better”. We would never make that excuse for life in the west.

  54. October 21, 2008 at 16:52

    @ Steve:

    So we label them as savages and all acknowledge that killing due to speech is wrong. What does that accomplish in an area where they don’t really care whats right and wrong in our eyes? We say “Oh sure, with our blessing, go convert”, they get themselves killed, its wrong, we all know it, but theyre still killed…

    Meanwhile if we tell them to do their job, provide aid, and if they want to put themselves in danger, do so on a mission trip. They come home quiet but alive.

    I couldn’t expect to run around trying to convert people at my job. I’d get talked to about it. Its my right under free speech, but I have a job to do and need to focus on that. Now it could be argued that this womans free speech which got her killed also put other aid workers in danger, should they be expected to suffer the consequences for her sky diety because she wanted to go talking about it in an area which youve noted are “savages and will kill over anything”?

    Again, it doesn’t make it right, but be defensive in your actions. Especially when dealing with people like that.

  55. 55 Jay-Bloomington Indiana, USA
    October 21, 2008 at 16:54

    @ Julie

    You are blaming the victim here. Whose fault is it when a girl gets raped, the woman or the rapist? I don’t care if she was naked and around rapists, sure she should know better but she didn’t ask to be raped.

  56. 56 steve
    October 21, 2008 at 16:55

    @ Brett

    Good point. But I wonder how stupid a people can be that they’re going to drive out help groups, from an already totally failed state, making life even worse. Are these people mentally retarded? I’m being serious here. I can’t imagine anyone being so stupid. I guess they truly believe their fictional afterlife is going to be better than their real life. Someone might want to inform that they you’re wormfood when you die, nothing else.

  57. October 21, 2008 at 16:57

    @ Jay:
    You are blaming the victim here. Whose fault is it when a girl gets raped, the woman or the rapist? I don’t care if she was naked and around rapists, sure she should know better but she didn’t ask to be raped.

    I don’t think shes blaming the victim. Shes acknowledging that all over the world there are people who don’t operate within standard accepted values. Every action has a reaction, whether right or wrong, good or bad, legal or illegal. She is pointing out that one needs to be defensive in their behavior.
    It doesn’t absolve her killers of any responsibility or blame… They are to blame, they are guilty. But answer me this, could the situation not have been avoided if she would have just shut up and do her job?
    Its harsh, maybe mean, but thnk about it.

  58. 58 Kaidala Danappiah
    October 21, 2008 at 16:57

    I am afraid people cannot do whatever they want when they are on some sort of official duty. Helping people in need is a noble deed. However, it should be

    You can certainly have fun but not outside a defined area. Who has got the right to decide? Well…the employer…always. In this case, the employer is a christian charity.
    Now some questions, although some of them may seem naive;
    Was ‘religion’ a criterion when aid workers were recruited? Such a shame. Charity can be christian, it needn’t have christians to work.
    Did they want to help people or rather help themselves?
    Was preaching a part of the original task list given to them? (If yes, then it forms a great AID FORCE indeed, what nonsense!)

    We should condemn the act of killing and the killer in the afghan case. However, giving aid in the name of religion further divides this much divided blind world.
    The charities, irrepective of what religion they beleive in, should realize this fast.

  59. October 21, 2008 at 17:00

    Steve:
    But I wonder how stupid a people can be that they’re going to drive out help groups, from an already totally failed state, making life even worse. Are these people mentally retarded? I’m being serious here. I can’t imagine anyone being so stupid. I guess they truly believe their fictional afterlife is going to be better than their real life. Someone might want to inform that they you’re wormfood when you die, nothing else.

    I know, its mind boggling that people are driving out groups which are there to help them. I guess you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink…. Some people are just plain stupid and unfortunately it affects others.

  60. 60 steve
    October 21, 2008 at 17:03

    @ Brett

    I wonder if they ever give IQ tests to the extremists they capture. It might explain a lot.

  61. 61 Jay-Bloomington Indiana, USA
    October 21, 2008 at 17:03

    @ Brett

    She(being a christian) was doing her job. The bible tells christians to go out and talk to the people.

  62. 62 Pangolin-California
    October 21, 2008 at 17:06

    I’ve heard more than one “Christian” preacher advocate that it was acceptable and valuable to force people receiving aid of some kind to kowtow in some way to their religious practices. Frequently this involves listening to some kind of prayer or sermon but may go so far as requiring participation in some group prayer or ritual of affirmation before the aid needed is distributed.

    In some states in the US there are even “Christian” wings in prisons where special privileges are handed out to those willing to play along. Ask to many questions, refuse to participate in rituals or not seem eager and enthusiastic enough and it’s back to overcrowding bad food and longer prison sentences.

    I have no problem with locals pushing back against preachy aid workers. No problem at all.

  63. 63 gary
    October 21, 2008 at 17:06

    “Provision of humanitarian aid” describes the activity completely. Except by invitation of the hosts, all other activities must be proscribed. An ordinary, reasonable person would not have the effrontery to comment upon a host’s bodily odor nor his choice of cuisine, why would demeaning his life-long spiritual beliefs be acceptable? Of course, there is the obvious consideration: Patting oneself on the back for having the good sense to be a member of the only religious sect assured of eternal life probably isn’t healthy even in private; pointing out the philosophical, cultural and canonical errors of folks with guns is simply insane.
    g

  64. October 21, 2008 at 17:08

    Jay:
    She(being a christian) was doing her job. The bible tells christians to go out and talk to the people.

    If you want to look at it in a spiritual context then she was doing her job and was made a martyr. God has a place for her in heaven then.

    If you want to look at it in a worldly regard, then no, she was not doing her job. Her job was to provide aid and she got killed by straying from that job taking it into her own hands to decide what she thought was right and what she thought those people needed.

    Again, doesn’t make it right, but it wasn’t an intelligent move on her part if you think logically not spiritually.

  65. 65 steve
    October 21, 2008 at 17:09

    @ Pangolin

    Interesting, doesn’t “pushing back” include killing them? You do realize that poor people in third world failed states are entitled to squat. If there are conditions on aid, then beggars can’t be choosers. They aren’t entitled to jack s***. No more of this “gimme that!” mentality.

  66. October 21, 2008 at 17:10

    I wonder if they ever give IQ tests to the extremists they capture. It might explain a lot.

    LOL! That would be an AWESOME study for them to do. Maybe they could have actually done something productive at Abu and GBay.

  67. October 21, 2008 at 17:11

    I don’t think Afghanistan – or any Islamic nation is the place to go preaching Christianity. Well not until there are laws in those nations that people can worship as they see fit.

    I suppose this is where the Whabbists, and Taleban have Islam wrong – in the Koran, I believe – any Muslim can correct me if they wish, it does say that all other religions have to be respected and even protected with force if needs be.

    Maybe this is a case that she was killed because of the bastardisation of the religion and its teachings?

    Unfortunately this happens with the Christian religion, or some parts of it, too.

    Without the full scenario surrounding her murder we won’t know. But, personally, I would advise aid workers to be very careful in these countries and until the country is stable enough to have freedom of religion I would keep mine to myself.

  68. 68 John in Salem
    October 21, 2008 at 17:11

    It’s called natural selection – If you go into a country and ignore local attitudes and restrictions and something happens to you, it means you will not be producing equally stupid offspring.

  69. 69 steve
    October 21, 2008 at 17:14

    @ Will

    There is lipservice given to respecting other religions, but I would not want to be a non muslim in a muslim nation. Apostasy is a capital offense in Islam. That is, people are killed for leaving the faith, thus this woman was allegedly doing something that would lead to apostasy of muslims. But it’s perfectly okay to convert people from other religions to Islam, but you gotta die if you want out. Sounds like soemthing is wrong with the religion.

  70. 70 steve
    October 21, 2008 at 17:15

    @ Brett

    I bet Richard Reid’s IQ is below room temperature.

  71. 71 Syed Hasan Turab
    October 21, 2008 at 17:15

    An aid worker may be classified as Super Natural humanbeing with out any political & religious issues in his own personality.
    Religion & Political matters are kind of sensative personal issues, this is why each & every society member suppose to be carefull & reserves in this regard specially International community not to involve in touchy matters.
    Any way being an aid worker itself is a blessing & respect, we suppose to maintain dignity & quality in this profession.
    According to the histry this profession been used & abused by Birtish in south India’s low cast Hindoos community, same technique may not be applied on Afghan Muslim society as they dont have Division, cast & discrimination of typical Hindoo Society.

  72. 72 Jeff in Cleveland Heights
    October 21, 2008 at 17:16

    @Original Question

    I really do think it’s the absolute epitome of arrogance to go to a foreign country and try to convert the citizens to your religion. In my mind, all religions that are based on loving yourself and the world and people around you are equal, regardless of the higher power that is worshipped. I think a much better idea would be to go there, give physical aid and study their beliefs to foster greater acceptance and understanding amongst the different religious groups that exist today.

  73. 73 steve
    October 21, 2008 at 17:22

    @ Jeff

    “I really do think it’s the absolute epitome of arrogance to go to a foreign country and try to convert the citizens to your religion.”

    But it isn’t arrogant to expect them to accomodate you like what happens in the west? Perhaps the reason why people leave third world countries is because something is wrong there,a nd then we accomodate these things?

    no more double standards. If when in rome, do as the romans do applies there, then it also must apply here. Stop acommodating people.

  74. 74 Mandy
    October 21, 2008 at 17:32

    When I was young I was living on the streets and learned that a lot of aid came with a sermon attached to it. It made me feel tricked. I came to feel that people offering help always had a hidden agenda, an ulterior motive in mind….the pushing of their religion, and it disgusted me then, and does today. Years later, I was going to a soup kitchen at a church in another city far away from my earlier charity experiences and they never preached. the level of trust and the lack of tension felt around those religious people was tenfold. They helped simply because they truly felt that giving and helping those with less was the right thing to do….not because they were trying to take advantage of those in a down and out position or state of mind in order to preach and convert them. they were without judgment or hidden motives and it made the entire experience much more positive and humane.

  75. October 21, 2008 at 17:40

    Absolutely not. Humanitarian aid must be separate from faith-based initiatives in various regions in need. Should faith be allowed to play a role either overtly or covertly, the main objective of delivering aid is shadowed by religion playing a larger role in colonizing these regions with faith-based superiority. Moreover, it isn’t a selfless act if the recipient of the aid is coerced into “giving back” to a specific religion in varying ways. Aid should not be contingent on faith complacency.

    Any assistance or act of humanity in the larger framework of religious determination, superiority, and in some examples bullying is fundamentally out of balance with the very core of religious principles and human morality. Although what happened in Afghanistan is a horrible act, continuing to push a faith based agenda veiled as aid should be separated from the start.

  76. 76 Andrew, Australia
    October 21, 2008 at 17:41

    There is a wider question to be asked, would it be proper for any organisation/group offering aid be able to preach its message. When a government offers aid it will expect allegiance from the donor recipient. Japan, as an example, offers aid in return for positive consideration in its whale hunting and votes for that matter. Aid is always contingent on some reciprocal arrangement. Large companies offer aid in return for markets, drug companies seek test populations, etc. No aid is or is ever likely to be condition free so to ban religious groups would be hypocritical when considering what else goes on in the world for less humanitarian reasons such as pure profit.

  77. 77 Pat, Belize
    October 21, 2008 at 17:42

    No way should any Christian or Muslim or any body else for that matter try and change or convert anyone to a belief other than their own.

  78. 78 Jay-Bloomington Indiana, USA
    October 21, 2008 at 17:44

    After thinking about it heavily, I have decided there is no right way here. This is one of the insignicant pieces of history that plague our species. This is what happens when to sides of a spectrum come together.

  79. 79 Jens
    October 21, 2008 at 17:46

    the issue is that we continue to tolerate the intolerable.

    i just don’t get it, that there are people who actually give reason to her death on the basis that she was in a muslim country. this is absolutly intolerable. i am an athisist and i would never for a millisecond condone the death of a person based on there religion. the radical muslims are nutjobs and we have to stand up against them. otherwise they will take us over, since they are prepared to kill and die for their sky fairy.

  80. 80 Pangolin-California
    October 21, 2008 at 17:46

    Interesting, doesn’t “pushing back” include killing them? You do realize that poor people in third world failed states are entitled to squat. If there are conditions on aid, then beggars can’t be choosers. They aren’t entitled to jack s***. No more of this “gimme that!” mentality.- Steve

    When a foreign country invades your country, disrupts the normal state of affairs, kills your relatives; all for the actions of people not related to you in any way. When that happens and the President of that country is quoted as saying it’s a “crusade.” When the VP candidate from his party claims it’s a mission from God…..

    Well when the pitiful food supplies the invaders bring along come with a bit of foreign preaching the preachers shouldn’t be surprised to be catching bullets. It’s a “Darwin Award” contestant who plays in that sandbox.

  81. 81 Roy, Washington DC
    October 21, 2008 at 17:47

    @ steve

    But it’s perfectly okay to convert people from other religions to Islam

    Muslims don’t go door to door, canvassing neighborhoods to spread their faith. They don’t send missionaries overseas to convert people. The ONLY people that do this belong to the various flavors of Christianity.

  82. 82 Sulaita Kule
    October 21, 2008 at 17:49

    Yes. They went to moralize the communities where they work. It unfavorable to work where people are unable to understand you.

  83. 83 Nicholas in Melbourne, Australia
    October 21, 2008 at 17:54

    I can’t be alone in thinking that it is a twisted, tragic irony that it is the fear-based doctrines of the ‘our way is the only way’ monotheistic religions that inspires the great majority of conflict in question. Religion just doesn’t earn its place on its grand pedestal, as the untouchable dealbreaker. If the Grand Poohbah, the Alpha and the Omega, The Final Inquisitor is the sort to take a side in violent conflict, I’ll book my place here and now to surf the lake of fire with Beelzebub; at least you’ll find some decent tunes down there.

  84. 84 Steve/Oregon
    October 21, 2008 at 18:00

    absolutely not this reminds me of a episode of South Park:
    There is a christian missionary in some downtrodden African village. At one point all the africans are in church, the missionary is trying to get them to read the bible pulls down a screen and says remember, “reading the bible+accepting jesus = FOOD.

    Now i know that isn’t exactaly what these missionaries are doing though if you boil it down to brass tacks it is. therefore no they should not be able to take advantage of the people they are trying to provide aid to.

    Though if questioned about it they should be free to answer questions

  85. October 21, 2008 at 18:06

    I vehemently disagree with anyone who wants to censor free speech. While those who do “package” their views in seemingly positive ways, their views are anything but positive.

    Here in Canada we have come to the realization that we don’t really have true free speech anymore. Anyone who says something publicly that is not politically correct can be, and often is, hauled in front of assorted kangaroo courts where they are almost always effectively silenced.

    Now in Afghanistan we have some silencing free speech through violence and intimidation … and we have some on here defending the end effect of these actions? Shame. Truly, shame on you!

  86. 86 steve
    October 21, 2008 at 18:12

    @ Roy

    Yes, I’m sure the attackers of Vienna and Spain were there to deliver pizzas and not to spread Islam.

  87. 87 Dan
    October 21, 2008 at 18:14

    I wonder if those of you who are adamant saying NO!! Christians have no right to proselytize will be just as adamant saying NO!! to Muslims recruiting on WHYS, in prisons, street corners etc?
    Maybe your double standard is showing?

  88. October 21, 2008 at 18:14

    I don’t believe that the woman who was shot in Kabul Afghanistan was proselytizing. The Taliban has a sinister purpose in eliminating foreign aid of any kind: if they can make life bad enough for the people of Afghanistan then they hope those people will reject the occupation forces and support the Taliban instead. So, I think this discussion is off base.

    But, as long as WHYS is trying to drum up some controversy, I must say that aid workers should never, ever require ANYTHING from the people they are helping: neither conversion, as Christian missionaries often do require, nor sex, as we’ve heard UN aid workers have required from refugees.

    If Christians want to go places and help people because it’s the right thing to do, then I commend them; but if they want to go places to create more Christians, then they are evil sinning wrongdoers. Christian missionaries create more problems than they solve.

  89. 89 Roy, Washington DC
    October 21, 2008 at 18:15

    @ Sulaita

    Religion and morality are two very different things.

  90. 90 Tom, Australia
    October 21, 2008 at 18:15

    Proselytising has absolutely no place in providing foreign aid. It causes more harm than good. If I was an aid worker, I would focus my concern on the health and welfare of the people I was working with and trying to help. I would discuss my atheism only if asked about it, and then carefully and objectively.

  91. 91 Graham
    October 21, 2008 at 18:16

    -The Christian religion (and all religions) advocate doing good, without expecting a reward for it.

    -Getting a person to convert to your religion can be seen as a reward, thus converting is not a very Christian thing to do.

    -Graham

  92. 92 steve
    October 21, 2008 at 18:20

    To the people who think that aid should be no strings attached, an entitlement thing, I suppose then it should be wrong to give cash to homeless people because they might use it on drugs or alcohol. so don’t you dare ever say “you may not use this change on drugs or alcohol” without being a hypcrite.

    Nobody is entitled to anything, beggars can’t be choosers.

  93. October 21, 2008 at 18:21

    Jay, Dan, Nikitas

    My point is laws made by man are only punishable by laws made by man. The punishment is the consequence. In free and democratic society if you want to do something, but you don’t like the legal ramifications, then you can petition the legislators to change the consequences. Say you want to burn the flag as a form of political speech. It may be illegal when you first come up with the idea, but you may petition the courts to make a ruling on the idea. In the end they might find that it is a form of speech. However in less regulated environment, laws are irrelevant. I guarantee that even though the courts have said it is not “criminal” to burn the flag, and that assault is criminal, you can be certain that burning a flag on an army base will be followed shortly by an assault.

    Should you be killed for preaching the way of Jesus Christ, no. Jesus Christ shouldn’t have been killed for preaching the words of Jesus Christ. It wasn’t right, but it was a most expected outcome of his actions in the environment he lived in.

    BTW, you can be naked in New York in public. I can’t go into the details, but it is certainly possible.

  94. 94 Jessica in NYC
    October 21, 2008 at 18:23

    Why is it that Western religions always try to convert the eastern world. While some eastern religions, let you take whatever you find helpful from their religions. Buddhist and Hindu aren’t trying to convert us in the west.

    On personal note, as a Christian I have always found Christianity is threaten by free will or thought. I purchased a book about world religions from the UN and when my religious conservative family saw it all the wrath rained down on me about how wrong Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism were just in case I was think of converting. That Christmas I got three lovely bibles.

  95. 95 Tom D Ford
    October 21, 2008 at 18:24

    The Abraham religions have always been on the attack since the day they created their “One God”; their missionaries are just the spear point of their attacks.

    They just use aid as an excuse in their passive-aggressive infiltration of other cultures and religious locales.

    Remember, to paraphrase Clausewitz:

    “Religion is politics by another means”.

    Religion is just another version of business. A particularly odious version.

  96. 96 Scott (M)
    October 21, 2008 at 18:24

    TRUE BELIEVERS ARE NEVER VIOLENT-YEAH RIGHT

    I dislike religion and the people who spread it. But, aid workers can do what they want. If people don’t like it, they don’t have to take the aid or they don’t have to listen. But, they certainly don’t have a right to kill because of it.

    But, I almost forgot, religions are all apples and apples according to most on this blog—and violence by Muslims isn’t anything to do with the religion but it is the people. What a load of sophomoric simpleton garbage. It’s like saying all movies are movies—and none are better or different from others.

  97. 97 Jessica in NYC
    October 21, 2008 at 18:25

    Aides and missionaries are absolutely different.

    Aide work should not be tied into religion with the purpose of converting people. If religious people choose to enter a country who is hostile to their believes then, they should exercise caution. Practicing one’s own religion is one thing and should always be acceptable, but trying to convert starving people by bribing them with aide is not acceptable just as killing someone for their beliefs.

  98. 98 Thea Winter - Indianapolis IN, USA
    October 21, 2008 at 18:25

    All aid workers should be given training before going into a country so they know the laws. Unfortunately other countries do NOT believe in freedom of speech and freedom of religion. However, from what I know, I believe that murder is bad no mater what religion. So it is the law of MAN that needs to be change.

  99. October 21, 2008 at 18:27

    @ Steve re: entitlement:

    well, you are entitled to your opinion.

    Homeless people on the streets in the US are a very different scenario from refugees and people living in war zones. NGOs who go into those war zones and refugee camps should be doing so for the satisfaction they get from knowing they are helping people. If they’re going in there to try to do a TRADE, such as some food in exchange for conversion, for example, then they really have no business going there in the first place because as I said before they cause more problems than they solve.

  100. 100 Juampe
    October 21, 2008 at 18:27

    I think that no State has to prohibit preaching, providing that the preached message is pacific. And christians are pacific people!

    Thank you!
    I like your programme!

    Juampe (Spain)

  101. 101 Pangolin-California
    October 21, 2008 at 18:29

    Now in Afghanistan we have some silencing free speech through violence and intimidation … and we have some on here defending the end effect of these actions? Shame. Truly, shame on you!

    Oh, sorry. I didn’t realize that there was a right to free speech in Afghanistan. I’m sure there’s all sorts of things you could say that would have the US Army and Karzai sending some copper jacketed punctuation your way.

    A religious nutcase did something stupid in a war zone and lost her bet with reality. The only reason it’s international news is because she was a) Western and b) Christian. When a muslim, man or woman in Afghanistan is killed there is no international wailing.

  102. 102 steve
    October 21, 2008 at 18:30

    That wasn’t me who said “but he adds, locals should be free to push back” that on air statement read was someone else, but I said the first part that was read.

  103. 103 Tom D Ford
    October 21, 2008 at 18:31

    If their “God” was really all powerful he would show up in person and clean up his own dirty work, after all he created all of the problems that afflict people; poverty sickness, greed, the seven deadly sins, all of it!

    Some God.

    Some worshipers.

    Yuck!

  104. 104 steve
    October 21, 2008 at 18:33

    @ pangolin

    Nice to see you reveal your beliefs.

    (1) The nutcase was the one who killed someone

    (2) we don’t know if she was preaching. She was denied due process by being killed over an allegation

    (3) People in third world dumps aren’t entitled to any aid. So if they get it, their wittle feelings come second to whether they want food or not. They can say no if they don’t like the message.

  105. 105 steve
    October 21, 2008 at 18:34

    @ Jesse

    So would you rather people in these nations starve?

    It causes more harm? I suppose people are better off starving to death?

  106. 106 Scott (M)
    October 21, 2008 at 18:38

    Many religions feel it is part of their worship to try to convert and preach to people; conversion is the faithful practicing their religion. And, if you take it away, you take away a portion of the freedom of religion.

  107. October 21, 2008 at 18:39

    I should say that people who go into religious extremist and preach a religion of forgiveness, tolerance, and peace are brave, insane, or stupid. It is sometimes hard to tell the difference between these traits. They are the front line of Christianity. The front line is a dangerous place to be. I am glad to see people so dedicated to the cause. There is a level of respect that even rises to the level or above that of a soldier for people willing to lay down their life for such causes. I mean they are fighting the war against extremism with out weapons or armor.

  108. 108 Jeff in Cleveland Heights
    October 21, 2008 at 18:39

    @Jessica

    I think that you’re right – a woman in our area wrote a story in the paper about exploring different religions/churches in the community. After awhile, she said each started making the claims that they were the only real option and criticizing the other choices. My aunt, who’s Catholic, told me once that she’s sorry that she wouldn’t see me in heaven because I’m not. Kind of hard to believe that of all the billions of people on the planet that only the small select group that are a member of your church are correct – there’s more than one way to do just about anything!

    @Steve

    I just saw your post but I’m not sure I understand what you mean by accomodating people here. Could you please clarify your point?

  109. October 21, 2008 at 18:41

    @ Steve:

    Yes, missionaries who exchange food for conversion cause more harm than if they just stayed away. They create social divisiveness through the oppression of people who choose to retain their own belief and the economic elevation of people who agree to convert. In short, missionaries create a form of class warfare by starving people who stick to their own principles and feeding those who are desperate enough to say, sure whatever, so and so is my lord and savior, just feed me.

    Would I prefer they starve? Of course not. I’d prefer we had a global government with its own emergency relief arm that could effectively provide aid with no strings attached.

  110. 110 Martin Prochazka, Graz, Austria.
    October 21, 2008 at 18:41

    While I’m very much in favour of charity, as an atheist I’m strongly opposed to proselytizing, especially when it comes to people in need.
    People who have just gone through the ordeal of a natural disaster or had to flee from a war zone need our help as quickly as possible. Due to the trauma they have gone through they might be more susceptible than others to be influenced by religious teachings, which makes it even more unethical to take advantage of their situation. From my point of view, being indoctrinated with religious superstitions like Christianity is the last thing those people need.

  111. 111 Jenny
    October 21, 2008 at 18:43

    I’ve worked in South Asia in human rights for the last five years, and I am an atheist~or secular humanist as some call it. I find it wrong that the line between proselytizing and development (or human rights) work has become blurred and religious groups exploit human tragedy as a way to convert those hit the hardest by war and natural disasters.

  112. 112 Chukwukadibia
    October 21, 2008 at 18:46

    STRICTLY SPEAKING, AID WORKERS SHOULD RESPECT THE LEGAL AND RELIGIOUS FRAMEWORK OF WHERE THEY WORK.

    ButI really don’t see why a person should be killed for mere expressing his beliefs.

    While I respect the right of the locals to right to personal belief. There should be moderation in the way we react to conflict of belief.

    IT IS WRONG TO TAKE LIFE IN DEFENCE OR SUPPORT OF ANY RELIGION.

  113. 113 Ulric
    October 21, 2008 at 18:47

    Would anyone have the decency to stop claiming they have a right or a duty or a necessity to impose their worldviews and their beliefs on others ? Mixing “serving the community” and “serving god” seems so pretentious. Help people and keep your religion to yourselves if you have one – if serving your god is so important, I’m sure this guy will take care of you and your soul just because you have helped others, even if you refrain from advertising him. Your decent discretion would be his best help. If you think your god needs help, that is. Mine doesn’t.

    Ulric Schollaert
    Brussels
    Atheist

  114. 114 Pangolin-California
    October 21, 2008 at 18:52

    Steve~ My apologies if you were painted with my words.

    The nutcase that shot, or whatever, the aid worker accused of preaching was just as crazy but had the moral advantage of a) being somewhat closer to home and b) not following in the wake of an invading army c) understanding that “due process” lacks coherence as a concept in Afghanistan.

    You’re right; people in third world dumps aren’t entitled to any aid. We aren’t entitled to complain when they blow up our buildings. Physics doesn’t have a moral component. But…..

    Strangely, it works better for all of us if we look after the needs of defenseless people or even defenseless plants and animals. Every person alive today has the benefit of somebody else’s labor and knowledge that they cannot pay back. It could be our turn to pay it forward.

  115. 115 Sashi Kanth
    October 21, 2008 at 18:53

    I have a question, why do people from one faith go and help people from other faith? Do they think that no one from thier faith need any help. I think religious aid workers give “helping” as means to convert people.

  116. 116 lisa
    October 21, 2008 at 18:53

    I came in late here, and not sure if I’m pointing out the elephant in the room, but where are the Muslim aid organizations?

  117. 117 Dan
    October 21, 2008 at 18:54

    @Pangolin-California October 21, 2008 at 6:29 pm
    Free Speech should be a basic human right worldwide.

  118. 118 Kathy
    October 21, 2008 at 18:56

    I think proseltysing by anyone is unethical. It shows disrespect of the other person’s/group’s beliefs because it is a conversation in which the proseltyser is only focused on delivering his/her message & is not willing to seek to understand & value the other person(s). Discussing religion or philisophical beliefs is fine amongst friends who can choose to participate or not.

    Good topic

  119. October 21, 2008 at 18:56

    Say people are hit by a natural disaster. There are two fears. One is a fear for personal life and safety. The other is a more cultural fear. A worry that your whole culture might be wiped out. Considering that second fear, you could see where one might be aggravated by somebody coming in and trying to change their culture as they know it.

    However, with out the drive of selfless values that many attain through religion, there might not be aid to be handed out.

  120. 120 Jordan
    October 21, 2008 at 18:57

    Do faith base aid organizations have policies in place as to how an aid worker is to respond to a person he or she is giving aid to when that person asks about the aid worker’s religion? Is this part of the training aid workers must go through?

  121. October 21, 2008 at 18:58

    Rachel at Revise Reform

    I think that Gail Williams acted to bring light into the lives of those disabled children in the best way that she knew how. Her ability to bring light was fueled by her belief in Jesus. Now Jesus never asked us to convert others in an ungentle fashion, he told his disciples to kick the dust from their feet and move on when doors were shut in their faces and St Paul reached the people where they were at and became like one of them. Conversion should come about not because people are forced to submit to a Western and often more powerful force but because there is something attractive about the person demonstrating Christ – that those people being helped by aid workers see this light shining forth and begin to be curious and want this truth for their lives. I am hoping that what was seen through Gail Williams was not some ideology to which the disadvantaged felt they should conform but that gentle spirit of a person wanting to bring the righteousness of Jesus into people’s lives in very real ways – by reaching them in their communities and meeting the real needs of real people right where they are. I am sure that Gail will have been trained to do it this way.

  122. 122 Jennifer
    October 21, 2008 at 19:00

    @ Steve

    I attempted to click on the link in the post info but it did not come up. CNN had a story on it that gave some details but not any reports. It did not say how she attempted to convert Muslims except that she was “preaching christianity”. Do I preach christianity because I own a Bible, when I wear a necklace with a cross on it in public, or would I have to be standing on a stage with a microphone speaking to a large crowd? The same for converting….I could leave a Bible on my coffee table, etc…..would I be attempting to convert people?

    If an organization is faith based; receiving aid goes hand in hand so if you want aid at least be respectful of other religions. If people do not want aid from people who are religious because they feel it would threaten their own beliefs; they shouldn’t accept it.

  123. 123 Zunorain dodhy
    October 21, 2008 at 19:00

    in conclusion ,to my comments on line, there is no justifaication of the killing of the woman. Absolutely none.
    ( I am a muslim)

  124. 124 steve
    October 21, 2008 at 19:04

    @ Jeff

    I mean by accomodating them, if we’re going to do the “when in rome” thing, stop accomodating and bending overbackwards to accomodate people who leave their homes and come here. Instead of creating jewish or shariah courts in Britain, instead of banning piggy banks, instead of mandating prayer time at work, etc, let’s follow the maxim “when in rome, do as the romans do” but HERE and THERE.

  125. 125 Robin, Arcadia, FL, USA
    October 21, 2008 at 19:10

    Thank you so much. As a Christian, I often feel very isolated in my faith. I believe that God doesn’t really care what we call Him, just so long as we call Him. The basis of all religions is: BE NICE!!! Take care of one another.

    I was in tears as I listened to your caller from Bahrain speak my faith. He re-enforced my knowledge that the world is filled with people of all faiths that care for one another, just as God intended.

  126. October 21, 2008 at 19:22

    I was born and brought up in GOA in India. I am an orthodox Hindu Brahmin. However I have studies in a school attached to a roman Ctholic church in rural Goa. Much before I went to the church school I have seen the same church doing aid work mainly distributing free food sourced from US-AID. This was in 1960’s and 70’s. But I never heard of any convrsion or any attempts to convert. We all had mutual respect to the other religion and to the church. Then I studied in a college run by a Catholic institution. in Goa. Again the same, there were never any attempts or even suggestions to preach. Helping others wthout having anything to do or even know there religion makes the work more Noble.

  127. 127 Jeff in Cleveland Heights
    October 21, 2008 at 19:23

    @Steve

    I think you’re absolutely right. While I do think that everyone has the right to worship as they choose, it doesn’t mean that our secular institutions have to accomodate every religion on the planet.

  128. 128 Tom D Ford
    October 21, 2008 at 19:24

    What is really sad is that in this day and age of the Hubble Space Telescope, mankind having gone to the moon, the International Space Station, and all the rest that science, mathematics, and engineering has brought us; what is really sad is that Religion still exists at all, that anyone on this planet is so ignorant that they believe in some supernatural being.

    With the exception of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, of course, the Paragon of Pasta.

  129. 129 M Hassan
    October 21, 2008 at 19:25

    I believe life is sacrosanct and must be protected.i also believe that we should leave preaching to preachers.Aid workers are employed to carry out humane work and should do so without influencing people’s lives as regards their chosen deity’s practices.

    we should keep Religion to places of Worship.

  130. 130 Jens
    October 21, 2008 at 19:28

    Robin,

    you must be kidding, isolated as christian in jesusland……try atheisme, now that is isolated.

  131. 131 Tom D Ford
    October 21, 2008 at 19:28

    @ Pangolin-California October 21, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    “Strangely, it works better for all of us if we look after the needs of defenseless people or even defenseless plants and animals. Every person alive today has the benefit of somebody else’s labor and knowledge that they cannot pay back. It could be our turn to pay it forward.”

    I second that motion!

  132. 132 viola
    October 21, 2008 at 19:29

    Well, the extremists within Islam kill themselves as suicide murderers for their religion. They also, apparently, believe in murdering Christians for their religion. What’s with all the murdering? Over here, lots of Christians proseletize non-Christians. It’s against the law to murder them for doing so and few people, if any, have any desire to murder them. Shouldn’t be a law against proseletizing anywhere in the world. Social pressure works better and you won’t go to hell for murder, a big no-no in every religion. And, yes, it was murder.

  133. 133 Tom D Ford
    October 21, 2008 at 19:37

    @ Dan October 21, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    “@Pangolin-California October 21, 2008 at 6:29 pm
    Free Speech should be a basic human right worldwide.”

    It is, see:

    On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights …

    .un.org/Overview/rights.html

    And:

    Convention on the Rights of the Child

    .unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/k2crc.htm

  134. 134 John
    October 21, 2008 at 19:49

    It is Christ like indeed that person would leave the safety and comfort their land to help the people who wish them dead. Her presence there convicted her as a Christian.

    May I suggest a revision to the Afghanistan “laws”, if a country whose people would defend such actions respects such?

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” ~United States Bill of Rights, First Amendment.

  135. 135 Dan
    October 21, 2008 at 19:55

    @lisa October 21, 2008 at 6:53 pm
    We have been asking the very same question but all of them seem to be in hiding as they cannot answer that question.

  136. 136 James Karuga
    October 21, 2008 at 19:57

    I am a Christian but we avoid helping people as Christian because we are wary of opinion that we might convert.We are duty bound to answer if asked of our faith.

  137. 137 Jack Hughes
    October 21, 2008 at 20:10

    What page are we on ?

    I thought we established a few weeks back that we are all world citizens, but

    Roy writes “…a strongly Muslim country as Afghanistan…”

    Kelsie likes longer words “…regions that are traditionally antagonistic vis-á-vis outside faiths…”

    Nikitas says “It is not the place of westerners to change the face … ”

    Dwight: “…practicing your rights doesn’t absolve you of the consequences”

    Julie P sums it up: “I do not approve of murder, but …”

    I’m even more confused now. The PC handbook says that meeting lots of people from different religions and different cultures, speaking different languages, makes my neighbourhood more vibrant. There’s even a special chapter about Diversity. Do they have a different PC handbook in Afghanistan ?

  138. October 21, 2008 at 20:13

    1. NO!

    2. “@Pangolin-California October 21, 2008 at 6:29 pm
    Free Speech should be a basic human right worldwide.”

    The perfect ideal which will only ever remain an ideal whilst the powerful retain their grip over the powerless. And no (without any exclamations appertaining to Jove) it will never be a universal truism – only for those who believe in pie in the sky – and Miss American Pie has just the same problems with the tolerant acceptance of those who would disagree with US nationalistic mythology.

    Regards,

    Mick

  139. 139 Bert
    October 21, 2008 at 20:32

    So, amid all the usual pandering to ideas that should be indefensible, will the western cultures eventually allow this sort of fundamentalist Islamic law to be applied among Moslems in the West?

    Question: what happens if an immigrated Moslem decides to leave Islam? Do we let his mosque decide on this hapless person’s fate? What happens if some airport Christian missionary should be so bold as to approach a Moslem treveler in your hometown airport? Same thing?

    When I see the notions that a death sentence is applied to those who want to leave Islam, or to those who may have attempted to convert a Moslem, and I see these presented as if any open-minded person should understand and respect the practice, I can only conclude that we are indeed many worlds apart.

  140. October 21, 2008 at 20:37

    Jack Hughes
    October 21, 2008 at 8:10 pm

    The PC handbook says that meeting lots of people from different religions and different cultures, speaking different languages, makes my neighbourhood more vibrant. There’s even a special chapter about Diversity. Do they have a different PC handbook in Afghanistan ?

    Hmmm. Is that PC for ‘Post-Colonial’ per chance?

    B)

  141. 141 Jamily5
    October 21, 2008 at 20:44

    eSo, Williams held a weekly bible study, that is not exactly proselytizing, but, even if she were, she should not have been murdered.
    What concerns me is:
    “”Our [leaders] issued a decree to kill this woman. This morning our people killed her in Kabul.””
    “”The sharia calls for the killing
    of those who convert and the people who proselytise should be killed too.” ”
    If we are to believe this article, then, it would only be prudent for aid workers to be cautious when even sharing their faith with others.
    And, as our muslim friends have continuously stated, this is not the correct interpretation of sharia law. Here is an interesting question:
    By this flawed interpretation of sharia law, aren’t those who are converted also suppose to be killed?
    So, were they all murdered and the BBC just did not report on supposed muslims killing other former muslims?
    Or, were they not killed at all?
    I am not suggesting or implying that there should be more killings.
    Iam just pointing out how flawed this interpretation is.
    Maybe this is just a tactic of using Islam to excuse and justify a crime.

  142. 142 Tom D Ford
    October 21, 2008 at 20:50

    @ crikeycooperative October 21, 2008 at 8:37 pm

    “Hmmm. Is that PC for ‘Post-Colonial’ per chance?”

    Yow! Perfect.

  143. 143 Jens
    October 21, 2008 at 20:55

    @ jamily,

    these guys want to life in the 9th century then so be it. i suggest we just leave them rot in their own failed ideology. some people just cannot be helped.

  144. October 21, 2008 at 21:26

    Jack,

    The one world view requires an understanding and respect for each individual culture and its right to exist. Is what happened with this aid worker right and just? No! But it is an outcome that would be expected. If it wasn’t then we wouldn’t even have a case for a need to have soldiers over there right now.

    Had this incident happened here, in the good ole U.S. of A, the guy who did the shooting would have been tried and convicted and sentenced to some kind of long prison sentence. Well that is unless the shooter claimed not that victim was preaching Christianity, but stealing a VCR from his neighbors house. In that case it would have been perfectly acceptable for him to shoot the guy in the back as he ran away. The shooter wouldn’t have even been charged. Hopefully, in Afghanistan they will tri and convict this shooter. Make an example of him, and the culture will take a baby step forward. We here in the US are a long way for the shootout in the street at high noon because your honor was offended. Heck we even had a president die in a duel. We have to remember that the3y are not that far ahead.

    The point is this. The world is made up of people of varying intellect, tolerance, and rationalities. Everything we do from sitting here reading my blatherings to jumping from a perfectly good airplane comes with a percentage of risk to ones health. Preaching in Afghanistan the merits of Christianity also comes with great health risks. It happened. What do you want the US to do? Send troops?

  145. 145 archibald in oregon
    October 21, 2008 at 21:35

    Within the context of religion (ie. all religious faiths), there are all manner of actions and reactions that are justified, if not glorified as a righteous response to those acts which are demonized by that same religion etc. and so on. Then there is reality………..At this point in our history there is no place for the fantasies and fanaticisms of religion. Murder is a crime against humanity, nothing justifies it, especially not belief in fantasy.

  146. 146 L. Walker
    October 21, 2008 at 22:05

    hm. so the religious kiddies can’t play well together in the same sandbox?

    the only thought that came to mind is that if it’s alright to kill someone for any reason, just based on allegation and rumor… maybe they do need to be proselytized to… :/

    and i keep hearing this ‘they’re not following Islam correctly’… when anything distasteful involving Muslims happens… what does it mean??

  147. 147 Bert
    October 21, 2008 at 22:32

    By the way, when indulging in hyperbole, it would be good to make this obvious to those from cultures that can’t tell the difference.

    Killing in self defense is permitted in the West. Not killing for a VCR.

  148. October 21, 2008 at 22:55

    Bert,

    I beg to differ. Joe Horn was cleared of all charges. He shot two theives who were stealing a VCR from a neighbors house and posed no threat to Joe himself.

    lol, you know, for those who can’t tell the difference.

  149. 149 Bert
    October 21, 2008 at 23:07

    Still to be determined, Dwight. Far as I know, during a home invasion, yes, killing may be permitted. But outside, except in self defense, no. That’s probably why the operator kept telling him not to go outside.

    In our typically western zeal to indulge in political correctness, we should not make light of unspeakable acts of violence, IMO.

  150. October 22, 2008 at 00:07

    Bert,

    It has been determined. He was cleared of all charges. I found a bad CNN article that just listed the story headlins and thought the one I posted would be more revealing of the actual incident. Here is a link to the story that talks about him being “cleared”.

    See we have different values. It seems that if you preach and persuade others in a way that may take away members of your spiritual culture, Islamic tribes justify shooting you on site. In the west, if you take our materialistic stuff, we are allowed to shoot on site. I can see where we are far superior in our reasoning they are. They are such heathens. I mean killing people over stuff is way more advanced thinking.

  151. October 22, 2008 at 00:28

    Dwight~

    This issue was resolved in the Enlightenment. The only way rational men can keep score is by the accumulation of goods and services and security. Economies that applied that philosophy prospered, and the ones that didn’t ie Islam (communism) withered in influence and power.

    Who is to blame for Islam’s decline? Check out Bernard Lewis.

  152. October 22, 2008 at 00:48

    Portlandmike,

    Nice. Great article. So much insight considering it was written when a housing bubble was talked about like some lunitic conspiracy theory.

  153. 153 viola
    October 22, 2008 at 01:01

    Face it. The woman was killed not for being Christian or proselytising or preaching. She was killed because she was a Christian helping others because her religion teaches her that value. The Taleban and other extremists cannot afford for Muslims to see a Christian practicing any admirable values. Extremists know they’re on shaky ground going around murdering others so of course they do this to try to put a righteous religious aspect to their murderous acts.

  154. 154 Daniel
    October 22, 2008 at 01:38

    The reality of living in a Muslim country is that religion is not taboo. It is often the first topic that comes up. Christians living in that context will naturally be asked about their faith (especially if that faith is perceived to be the motivation for moving to a country that most people are trying to get out of, and for serving people that most people would rather not bother with.)

    Certainly there should be no conversion pre-requisite to getting aid, and from what I know about Serve Afghanistan, this was definately not the case. Afghans are converting away from Taliban ideology, and the Taliban are looking for someone to blame. But killing aid workers will only further expose their hollow sadism.

  155. 155 DENNIS@OCC
    October 22, 2008 at 01:57

    I think that it is never a good idea, for aid workers to preach and covert….

    Just, Do the good work of providing “care and comfort” for
    the people that are in need!

  156. 156 Larry
    October 22, 2008 at 02:21

    Christians are motivated by Christ’s sacrifice for them, when they were enemies of God. They are motivated by the teaching that God created humans in His image, thus giving all people ultimate value. Christians have been reaching out to help since Roman times. While Galen and the Roman medicos headed for the hills to avoid the plagues, Christians stayed behind to nurse their own and their non christian neighbors. I remember floods in the Midwest and hearing of Mennonites pack their tools and head off to help anyone in need. If anyone could document the number of Christians who have gone to New Orleans to help, you would be amazed. Most are doing it still, with no desire to be recognized by the press.

    I don’t think there is any evidence that the woman killed by the Taliban was “proselytizing” ( such a negative term these days), nor that she was preaching or converting. However, since most people on this blog would believe in free speech, I think that the use of “proselytize” and “pluralism” as someone said on the radio today, are terms used to shut people up. Pluralism used to mean that everyone had the right to have their say. Now it is used to say that you can’t say anything that might offend someone somewhere. Are people proselytizing for peace? They believe in peace, and stand for peace, they lobby for it, hand out pamphlets for it. Stand up for what you believe. Argue for it, help people understand what you mean.

    If all you can do is condemn, and kill, and burn down, maybe you don’t have a good argument, or a way of life that is good for all people.

  157. 157 Balthazar
    October 22, 2008 at 03:18

    Of course, they are entitled to preach and convert as long as they don’t use force or pressure.

    Christians love and respect everybody even if they are different and hostile to them. Muslims who engage in killing non-moslems can find the legitimacy to do so in the Quran. Christians who engage in any violence are betraying Christianity’s teachings and can find no legitimacy to do what they do in the New Testament. It’s very sad that many people in the Moslem world do not know the meaning of truth , honesty and love. Most of them don’t have those three things in their life, they’re spiritually lost.

    If Jesus came back tomorrow, he would go right away to the Moslem world to show them the way. Will they try to kill him too?

  158. 158 Vincent Phiri
    October 22, 2008 at 07:45

    It’s not right for aid workers to take part in such sensitive issues such as religion affairs. All they should do is stick to their primary task of offering aid to the needy and not try to convert them in any way.

  159. 159 Eden Cory
    October 22, 2008 at 07:47

    People of all faiths feel a legitimate need to help their fellow man and when there seems to be such a lack of respect for human life in the world we need all the altruism we can get. If the selfless acts of love & caring shown by aid workers (whatever their spiritual beliefs) leads a person to deeper questions as to what drives him to such compassion, then ask away. (I suppose one could question whether there is ever pure altruism in a person as there will inevitably be a “feel good” payback, but this is a moot point in all reality.)

    The word ‘conversion’ too often hails back to a cruel time and smacks of ‘crusade’ whilst spiritual belief is an intensely personal thing and if a person explores human nature, the goodness that can come from it and concludes that a specific religious denomination is for them then nobody has a place to object.

    There can be little doubt that this girls life was taken through hatred and fear with the some other erroneous shadow of justification for it following on. Lets face it, when did someone last justify cold blooded murder with the excuse, “my love for his/her position in the world so filled me with compassion for the human condition that my friend and I simply had to brutally slaughter him/her to abate their misery”?

  160. 160 Pangolin-California
    October 22, 2008 at 08:16

    Reading some of these arguments one would think all the good Christians were just lambs of god walking innocently among the evil muslims who slaughter them for sport. It’s so syrupy I’m getting diabetes just reading it.

    From the Islamic point of view one professed Christian flies the bomber that drops 1000 lb bombs into the middle of wedding parties and another heats chapati and dahl down at the orphanage. They see a lot more of the armed and armored Christians than the demure and humble ones. Creating orphans with the right hand and feeding them with the left isn’t exactly a way to make friends.

    In all likelihood the people who shot this woman just didn’t care if she was an angel or not. She was of the same group as the enemy and outside their protection. Just like US soldiers don’t ask for CV’s of all occupants when they shell a house used as a shooting position. War is hell. If you don’t like it, quit invading other countries.

  161. October 22, 2008 at 11:53

    I think aid workers should focus on the jobs which they set out to do, which is rendering humanitarian services t vulnerable people. They should not dabble into spreading their religions.

  162. 162 Vernon
    October 22, 2008 at 12:57

    As to the “fictitious character” comment regarding revenge on Christians, perhaps the reason for the attack was that another “fictitious character” namely Satan drove them to shoot the aid worker to prevent the truth being accepted by the Afghans. He certainly wouldn’t want that to happen.

  163. October 22, 2008 at 13:11

    If Afghanistan prohibits Christians from converting Muslims or other citizens of Afghanistan, then the Christians should obey the law. After all, Jesus Christ once said: “Render unto Caesar what is Caesars and unto God what is Gods”.

  164. October 22, 2008 at 14:02

    alvarezgalloso,

    The quote was about taxes, and by greater extention, materialistic items. Jesus and his father had some pretty explicite about killing people. The lesson to take form the bible equated to this issue would be his death. He knew his preaching would get him killed, but in his death he lives in infamy.

  165. October 22, 2008 at 14:13

    There can be not justification for the action of those responsible for the killing of the aid workers. It is anti-religious and barbaric. My heart goes out to the family of the aid workers.
    Finally, Aid workers all around the world are people with diversity selflessly helping those in needs. I hope those misanthropes will be brought to justice. If not, face the wrath of God for their evil.

  166. 166 Peter
    October 22, 2008 at 14:38

    Wait a minute, let me figure this out.Are we going to ban the preaching of faith via word of mouth or tract or aids but enthusiastically allow those who avidly bomb everyone else in the name of their faith every platform in Europe and indeed the rest of the world to propagate theirs???Very cute!I swear by all that is holy that it if I am correct then it is utterly brilliant of you all.Superb thinking,dear west.

    By the way,what then do we do about those who believe, or then disbelieve, in global warming or GM products or Obama for president or abortion or whatever else men have been known to believe in since time?Or are we all so daft as not to realise these are all faiths and beliefs???Oh,Im beginning to get it:the rage is all about religion.Ah,but just think,if we succeed in placing a masking tape over the mouth of those who preach religion(which focuses also on teaching of morality),it will be only a matter of time and the right of parents to teach their kids good behaviour will also be stamped out??Where the flaming dickens are you headed,dear west???

    Besides – oh,God speed the plough – why is it that what raises the ire here is the preaching by mere words of an aid worker and not the wanton and inhuman slaughter of that woman by a people who similarly preach their own faith all over Europe and spare no energy to inform us is a religion of peace.Well,peace my butt-end if this is what their peace looks like.I’ll tell you something: I dread that western capacity to think clearly and rationally has over time been marred by all those additives in their foods.It’s definitely affecting their brains.This can be the only reason Muslims are presently running rings around you all.

  167. October 22, 2008 at 16:17

    spreading the word of god is the major reason they offer aid. Non-christian religions of many types also spread their faith in return for helping others. This is just a religious turf war.

    Government agencies are often not affiliated with religion and promote their nation and national values as the reason for charity.

  168. October 22, 2008 at 19:17

    Recently, I flew back to the USA from DUBAI and I met a white, American fellow (who sat next to me) en route from Afghanistan. He was a genial fellow – quite earnest in his role as some kind of educator there. I revealed that I was a Muslim and also have dual British and US citizenship. He was a bit confused by those realities yet our conversation maintained a healthy temper.

    He stressed that there was little money for “books for children” and that there was great poverty in Kabul. All the while, as a well informed Muslim on macro political issues and history – I could only restrain myself to advise him of the history of (that) region.

    I also could not shake the feeling that many of those “books” will be BIBLES. While many details of the Christian bible are relevant to the Koran – the deification of Isa (or Jesus Christ) is considered heretic, and just plain silly. Any attempt to proselytise a good Muslim to Christian, heretic ideals is a crime in every sense of the word. By historical measures this is a monumental offense. Conversion of colonised peoples are the spoils to victors of war. The audacity of any Christian mission in Afghanistan is incredible and will not be tolerated by any Muslim state.

    To the philistine, civilian participant this kind of activity is seen as “kindness” — subversion of a foreign culture into a modern bedlem of sophistry. Or what we call FITNA. I can only suggest to you in a few english language words, the liability, that this behaviour will charge the Christian world with.

    Islam is not some primal animism or neo-Buddhist, American fetish. It is the empire of TRUE faith to God. Christian crusades have only been able to stem Islamic progress by propping up tertiary cults to aid their selfish goals throughout history. The modern Christian is particular insane and confused – certainly not for the good of God. I can advise you in my humble and individual opinion: Christian proselytisation will not stand today or anytime hereafter in the Muslim world. No army of Nuclear bomb can alter that fact.

  169. 169 Jay - The Netherlands
    October 22, 2008 at 20:22

    I found the exchanges on today’s programme very interesting.
    My wife and I have founded a small NGO that has a malaria reduction programme in Uganda. In common with many similar organisations we have a lot of support from Christian Churches.
    Those who support us know that we are working in communities which are a mixture of Christian, Muslim and Traditional believers. We never attempt to preach or convert and will never do so because we respect the different faiths. Our Christian supporters have no expectation that we take such action. They accept as we do that we are all God’s children and actions speak louder than words.
    We have friends and associates active in other areas of the world all receiving support such as we do and they also encounter the question why do we do this work. They as us do not have an ulterior motive they just want to help and share the good fortune that we enjoy.
    Could it be there is an element of jealousy from some individuals in other faiths who have seen the effect of this help and support has had on some of their followers.
    Finally both my wife and I have been privileged to have travelled and met many individuals of different faiths Hindu, Muslim, Jew and Christians we have also met compassion, kindness and generosity in all faiths.

  170. 170 Jack Hughes
    October 22, 2008 at 21:16

    Time for a brain check now.

    This woman was brutally murdered by these religious maniacs.

    Why do some posters here try and excuse this evil act ?

  171. 171 selena in Canada
    October 22, 2008 at 22:56

    @Jack

    Why do some posters here try and excuse this evil act ?

    I don’t think anyone is excusing anything. It is just that it is impossible to get a clear picture of good and evil.

    Today Nine Afghan soldiers were killed and four others injured by a U.S. airstrike on an Afghan army checkpoint Wednesday in an apparent friendly fire incident in eastern Afghanistan, according to Afghan and U.S. military officials.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/22/AR2008102200176.html?hpid=topnews

    After a time we become sensitized to just about everything happening in war.

  172. October 24, 2008 at 09:32

    Well, its certainly not a “war” is it? Americans have not been a very competent world power over the last 90 + years. Their hubris has always gotten the better them esp after a lopsided victory of a miniature poorly armed country. They had a chance to take CUBA just after the turn of the century – and hesitated – just as they did in Vietnam and now in Iraq. A coloniser must take the action of the tiger ( as Churchill and Kirchner did in Africa) and finish the job. Now the USA will fade to a bookmark in the history of fallen empires. God willing …

  173. October 24, 2008 at 17:03

    Hi WHYSers!

    Again, I missed this discussion. However, for what it is worth, I would like to add that I do think that there is a line to be drawn between assisting the physical needs of a community and spiritual ones. With the little information I read/ heard in relation to this topic, I can see where the questions posed at the topic may seem like valid ones in terms of whether or not an aid worker can really help people without talking about their faiths. However, I do believe that a word to the wise is sufficient. Someone ought to have reminded, if they had not already done so, that the Taliban does not brook opposition of this kind. It is always best under such circumstances, I presume, to keep your head down and see to the immediate task at hand – assisting those you came to assist.

    Of course, this does not at all excuse the brutality and horror of the murder of an innocent women, whose only crime, it appears, was her faith. It is completely unacceptable to kill people on these grounds! This is a matter of very serious concern which is not adequately addressed by a simple news report. Religious persecution is an infringement of our basic human rights as people – the world over!


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