Monday, May 04, 2009

Winning hearts and minds

By insulting their religion?
A former Afghan prime minister has called for an inquiry after Al Jazeera broadcast footage showing Christian US soldiers appearing to be preparing to try and convert Muslims in Afghanistan.

Ahmed Shah Ahmedzai said there must be a "serious investigation" after military chaplains stationed in the US air base at Bagram were filmed discussing how to distribute copies of the Bible printed in the country's main Pashto and Dari languages.

Questioned about the footage, US colonel Greg Julian told Al Jazeera: "Most of this is taken out of context ... this is irresponsible and inappropriate journalism.

"This footage was taken a year ago ... the bibles were taken into custody and not distributed.

"There is no effort to go out and proselytise to Afghans."

The footage has surfaced as Barack Obama, the US president, prepares to host Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan's president, at a summit on Tuesday and Wednesday focusing on how to tackle al-Qaeda and Taliban bases dotted along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

Denial may work for this event, but we know that the fanatical fundamentalists have overtaken parts of the military and have tried to make these wars into a holy crusade.

Being told they must convert or die doesn't inspire trust, does it?

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