Commentary: US Taxpayer Money Funding Propogation of Islam in Iraq!

By Ken Joseph Jr.

Baghdad, Iraq - `The American Taxpayers are paying for the propagation o Islam in our country. We We think this is different than the ideals of democracy, freedom of religion and a just and fair society` says 32 year old Remon George

 `In a Democratic society there should be no religion at all on TV or it should be shared, fairly between all` the Assyrian Christian continues - `not just one religion, broadcast all day long. This is the wrong message to send to the new Iraq!

 What George is talking about is an American funded Television Station called `Al Iraquia`. Amazingly and quite brazenly, the station stops all programming four times a day to broadcast moslem programming including the reading of the koran and moslem prayers.

 Every Friday there is a two hour block where moslem `televangelists` preach through the airwaves on various moslem teachings, all paid for by the American Taxpayer and every moslem holiday is a daylong cavalcade of moslem clerics teaching in a non-stop `televangelist` style the koran.

 More amazing is a quick check of the station itself and one is surprised to find many of the staff are not moslems. `We feel very bad having to do this, but what can we do` says a staffer, afraid to give his name `it is a moslem country and this is how they do it. It is not right. I come from Lebanon and in our country we are careful to do any religious programming fairly between all religions - or none at all. It does not seem to me to be the right message to give if you are trying to create a democratic society. But after all, I just work here.`

 When reminded that the Transitional Administrative Law clearly protects freedom of Religion he says `We were told it is a moslem constitution and so this is the right thing to do.`

 So much for those who argued that the much debated Article 7 which states `Islam is the official religion of the state` would have no effect because it was balanced by a bill of rights!

 At a time in the United States when it is not even legal to post the Ten Commandments and any discussion of religion in a public place is a hotly debated topic - abd rightly so, why would the US Government fund a TV Station trying to persuade the hearts and minds of the Iraqis toward Democracy but do just the opposite in programming?

 Another station staffer is much more defensive `I`m sorry we cant comment on that. We are simply doing what our contract says`

 In a pattern seen across Iraq and in many, many other instances policy in Iraq on the ground is guided by a clear `pro moslem` bias` say the Assyrian Christians.

 From the recent inauguration of the new Government which was opened with a moslem cleric who gave a long talk followed by a prayer - no other religious leaders invited or allowed to speak  - to a conference in Washington sponsored by the Defense Department titled `The Future of Iraq`, in which a meeting led by the new Iraqi Ambassador and two members of the Iraqi Government, again opened by a moslem cleric with a long message and prayer - no other religions allowed.

 `The message they are giving to the people is tha the Americans are supporting the moslems. It is exactly the wrong message to be giving to Iraq when we are all working together to try and create a free, open and democratic society. I cannot understand it! If I were an American I would be very angry to know that so many Americans had sacrificed to create a moslem country in Iraq. Do they know about this?``

 Back at home we are watching TV when suddenly they break in for the moslem programming. The Christian family all turn way, put their hands on their ears and express their disdain.

 His words haunt one `Are the American people aware that their taxes are being used to propogate moslem teaching in Iraq?`

 The answer most probably is `no`, and Judge Moore of `Ten Commandments` fame would sure be one that would like to know.

 Is the message getting across to the Iraqis? Yes, and they are voting with their feet. In recent days nearly 400 Christian families have left the country according to Christian sources and the one Buddhist in Iraq begs for help to whoever will listen as the moslem state begins to take shape.

 `The only ones who can help us are the Americans. We donít think the American people want this to happen. Cant they help us so we do not end up like Iran?` plead the Assyrians.


Rev. Ken Joseph Jr. is an Assyrian and has been in Iraq since March, directs and is writing a book about his experience in Iraq entitled `I Was Wrong!`

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