"The Stealth Crusade," Mother Jones magazine's May/June cover story, takes
readers inside a Southern university where evangelical Christians are
trained to go undercover in the Muslim world and win converts.
Reporter Barry Yeoman wrote the article after attending an intensive two-week course
at Columbia International University in South Carolina. The CIU course,
taught by Rick Love, international director of a Christian group called
Frontiers, focused on stealth strategies for winning converts while
disguised as teachers, aid workers, or businesspeople.
Love acknowledges that Muslim converts face "imprisonment, torture, even
martyrdom," and critics point out that stealth proselytizing disrupts the
delivery of humanitarian aid and fuels resentment of Westerners. "But to
those at the heart of the movement, including Rick Love's students," writes
Yeoman, "any damage done by their work is outweighed by the importance of
their mission: to wipe out Islam." As one fellow student who worked
undercover as an English teacher in Kazakhstan put it to Yeoman, "Satan has
deceived [Muslims] away from a relationship with their creator God."
One of the more controversial tactics taught by Love and others is
"contextualization," a technique that calls on missionaries to take on
Muslim names, dress in veils and other local clothing, prostrate themselves
during prayer, and even fast during Ramadan. As CIU Professor David Cashin
put it, "We must become Muslims to reach Muslims." This practice is
particularly troublesome to other religious groups that provide
humanitarian relief without proselytizing. As Donna Derr of Church World
Service told Mother Jones, "Groups that have the need to proselytize color
us all with the same brush," making it harder to win the trust of
communities her group is trying to help. Mother Jones reports that the
number of missionaries trying to convert Muslims has increased fourfold in
the past decade, to more than 3,000. The urgency they feel about their
mission is underscored by Warren Larson, who directs Muslim studies at CIU.
"Islam is biologically taking over the world," Larson told his class.
Excerpts from the article:
"We see Islam as the final frontier," says David Cashin, a professor of
Intercultural Studies at CIU [Columbia International University] who used
to don Muslim clothing and pursue converts in the tea shops of Kalioloir,
Bangladesh. Like many of his fellow evangelicals, Cashin regards the
Islamic world as the hinterland that must be penetrated before the Messiah
To read entire article, pick up the May/June 2002 Mother Jones magazine at
your local newsstand or go to http://market.motherjones.com/