"An American missionary proudly watches as a sea of Iraqi arms rise in witness to Jesus Christ and choruses of "Amen" compete with distant rattles of gunfire. The faithful sing familiar Christian hymns in Arabic, their voices bouncing off the shipping containers that protect the church from car bombs.
Every Sunday, more than 400 Iraqis travel to this well-to-do neighborhood far from the protection of an American base to worship in the National Biblical Christian Federation Church. Converted from Islam and from other branches of Christianity, they are the first ripple of a tidal wave that evangelical leaders pray will inundate the Middle East."
"An influential Shiite Muslim leader, Sheik Fatih Kashif Ghitaa, said, "Iraqis already see the American occupation as a religious war." Ghitaa said Shiite and Sunni clerics have discussed issuing a fatwa, or religious edict, against missionaries.
The missionaries — a mix of professional proselytizers and novices with little or no preparation — are buoyed by President Bush's evangelical bent, his oft-repeated biblical references and his vision of freedom spreading out from a saved Iraq.
"God and the president have given us an opportunity to bring Jesus Christ to the Middle East," said Tom Craig, an independent American missionary working in Iraq and Cyprus. "This is my commandment. No amount of danger will stop me.""