Yechiel Eckstein

Several years ago, religious extremism, that is the use
of religion for political objectives, became an essential
element of geopolitics in the Near East. When certain
sectors and the media constantly blame Islam for all
problems, commentators never mention the responsibility of
the Protestant churches that contribute to the aggravation
of the conflict.

The importance that the evangelical church known
as “revivalist” acquired in the United States is well
known; it has significant influence over the policy of the
Bush administration. It is also known that the members of
that church are the most passionate supporters of Israel
and they reject any concession of land to the
Palestinians. The Evangelicals, who fall within the group
of Zionist Christians – a Protestant fundamentalist group
born late in the 19th century according to which the
establishment of an Israeli State is the realization of
the biblical prophecy [1]-, not only support Israel
morally. Their money is used to back the return of Russian
and Ukrainian Jews to Israel. According to rabbi Yechiel
Eckstein, who heads one of the main fund raising agencies
for Israel among the US evangelical people, his
organization collected, in seven years, more than 100
million dollars. [2].
In October 2003, Zionist and evangelical extremists met at
the King David hotel in Jerusalem in the presence of
Richard Perle – then President of the Pentagon’s Council
for Defense Policy and influential advisor of George Bush
II – and several ministers of the government of Ariel
Sharon to celebrate “the birth of the celestial Jerusalem
that will take place after the destruction of Islam”

 [3]. It is also known that the evangelical trend, that
claims to have more than 70 million followers in the
United States and apparently has hundreds of thousands of
paid propagandist-ministers”, is rapidly expanding to
Latin America (Evangelical Union of South America), mainly
in Brazil where it could have more than 30 million
followers. [4]),
Japan, Africa (see, for example, the role played by the
evangelical church favorable to President Gbagbo, in the
events of Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire)), Europe and even in
India (Indian Missions Association -IMA) or in China… Less
known is their role in US policy towards the Arab world.
It is evident that the White House, Congress and the CIA
follow and support with great interest the expansion of
evangelical churches. Their hatred for Islam and their
contempt for Christian Arabs turn them into the favorite
instrument of the US policy that seeks to cause a division
within the Arab world in order to organize a “Great Middle
East” completely subordinated to the influence of
Washington and its Israeli allies.

The actions of the evangelical churches in the Arab world
has three aspects:

 Anti-Muslim propaganda for which it has enough means and
which holds Muslims responsible for all the problems in
the world. Thus, the evangelical church was the first that
organized, in complicity with US neoconservatives whose
pro-Israeli commitments are well known, campaigns aiming
at tying Islam and terrorism, that is, at associating this
religion with the “Axis of Evil”. One of the favorite
objectives is Saudi Arabia, a country against which they
maintain a constant campaign and at the same time they try
to encourage certain brotherhoods to create religious
division within that country.

 The use of Arab Christian communities that are currently
developing in Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and Iraq.

In Lebanon, evangelical missionaries travel across the
country every summer following an itinerary planned in
cooperation with the US embassy. Groups of youths organize
concerts, festivals and meetings on beaches, among other
activities, before going into more specific meetings to
try to convince young Christians, mainly Maronites, to
join the evangelical church offering to pay for their
studies, visas to travel to the United States and every
other kind of opportunities. These activities are
accompanied by a strong anti-Muslim proselytism that has a
lot to do with the aggravation of denominationalism in the
country of the cedar [5]. The
evangelists use the same methods in Syria, although they
do it in a more discreet way due to the vigilance of the
authorities. In Iraq, the missionaries of evangelical
sects arrived with the US troops and their influence is
significant today. With their dollars, they try to
convince the Christian Iraqis to give up their traditions,
of Arab and Eastern nature, and to settle in separate
communities. The arguments are always the same; they try
to encourage Christian Arabs to abandon their traditional
religion in return for a job, subventions for their
children or the promise of a visa. Like the Vatican, Iraqi
traditional churches denounce the threat posed by US
evangelists, some of whom have been executed by the Iraqi
resistance. According to the priest of the Christian
village of Ain-kawa, near Mosul, “In religious ceremonies
we explain to the faithful that these missionaries are
actually US agents trying to bribe Iraqis with their
money, foreigners who want to erase our history and to
provoke denominational conflicts in Iraq. We tell them not
to receive these people in their houses or in places where
they can meet with their children”
. Iraqi Christians
affirm that these evangelists “not only can cause the
dispersion of the faithful but also can create an
environment of denominational confrontation that did not
exist in Iraq before. These foreigners try to disturb our
good relations with the Muslims and [erase] a thousand-
year-old climate of understanding”
 [6]. A very similar process is being
developed in occupied Palestine, where the evangelists
make significant efforst to conquer the faithful and later
encourage them to leave the country.

 The work to convert Muslims is the most spectacular
aspect of evangelical activity. The US strategy of
evangelization for Muslim people has the support of
several networks and also has an evangelical message
adapted to the Koranic message. The specific targets of
this kind of evangelization are some Muslim communities
whose ethnic origins could be used in the context of anti-
Arab and secessionist projects, as in the case of the
Kurdish minorities of Iraq and Syria, as well as the
Kabils and Berbers in Maghreb.

According to the Algerian newspaper Al Watan [7], the evangelization in Kabilia
is “the result of proselytism organized and financed by a
strategy of evangelization of the Muslim people. In
Algeria, the evangelical groups take advantage of the
humanitarian factor and choose their targets among the
most disadvantaged people, those who convert to
Christianity for money (2000 dinars, equivalent to 20
euros), to get medical attention or in exchange for visas
to travel abroad since European foreign ministries are
more likely to grant visas to enter the Schengen zone to
Algerians who claim to be “persecuted” Christians. More
than 74% of the people that attend mass do it mainly to
obtain financial assistance from the missionaries”

 [8]. One of the most recent
actions of the Evangelical church in Constantine was aimed
at high-school students proposing “free school support.
In addition to the classes they were offered, the students
received CDs, books and other documents of evangelical
propaganda. This method (...) was also used in Tiaret and
in other cities”
 [9]. According to our
information, the “diplomats” of the US embassy in Algeria
frequently visit the Kabil territories and promote
evangelical proselytism.

Josh Mc Dowell

In Morocco, a large number of
evangelical organizations, mainly American, covertly
operate in poor regions and also in big cities. The
official objective of an organization like Arab World
Ministries, an international evangelical missionary
society, is “the announcement of the Good News of a
Savior to the Muslims of the Arab world”
. This church
apparently has more than 800 secret agents, more than
three times the number it had in 2002. They disguise
themselves as doctors, nurses, humanitarian personnel,
teachers, engineers and even business people [10]. In January 2005,
during the visit to Morocco of television announcer and
evangelical preacher Josh McDowell, as representative of
the Crusade for Christ International (with 7,000
volunteers around the world), the publication Journal-
wrote “Morocco attacked by US neo-Protestants”

The work of the American evangelical groups is joined by
the propaganda of numerous radio and television stations
that have the support of the United States, mainly of
Congress and the CIA, like Radio El Mahabba, that
broadcasts 24 hours a day through the audio channel of the
Eutelsat Hotbird 3 satellite, the CNA-Channel North Africa
network, Life-TV, Miracle Channel, etc., not to mention
the US propaganda network in Arabic Al Hurra. The
evangelical propaganda is also part of projects of
programs for the development of the Internet like the GIPI
(Global Internet Policy Initiative) undertaken by the
State Department in the context of the MEPI (Middle East
Partnership Initiative) that has now been expanded to
Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan,
Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, the
United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Palestine.

Of course, this action of supposed evangelization,
encouraged, financed and protected by the US government,
is not motivated by any sincere religious feelings. Its
goal is to sow discord among the Arab countries in order
to weaken and destabilize them. Its development
artificially stirs up the clash of civilizations and is
part of the project that began on September 11, 2001, to
stigmatize Islam. It is simply part of Washington’s policy
to remodel the “Great Middle East” and to expand US

[1Donald Wagner in Daily Star
(Beirut), October 8, 2003.

[2Sources: Radio-Canada, program “Free
January 23, 2004: “Les chrétiens sionistes”...

[3See our article “Sommet historique pour sceller l’Alliance des guerriers de Dieu, Voltaire, October 17,

[4cf. Le Monde, May 7, 2005: “L’Église
brésilienne face à la montée des évangélistes”

[5Testimonies from Lebanon...

[6Cf. Hebdomadaire
, Beirut.

, July 26-27, 2004.

[8Algiers (AP), May 15, 2004.

[9Algerian newspaper le Jeune
, August 16, 2004.

newspaper Le Matin, March 17, 2005.

[11See Le Journal-hebdo, January 8, 2005.