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Anti-missionary sentiment runs high after Lebanon murder
After the murder of American missionary Bonnie Penner (which news sources have seemed to settle on as her last name instead of Witherall or Weatherall), one would be justified in expecting some sort of backlash. After all, officials are trying to figure out whether she was killed out of general anti-American sentiment or if she was specifically targeted as a missionary—but in either case the culprit is almost certainly a Muslim. As it turns out, the backlash continues to be against evangelical Christians, not extremist Muslims.

In Lebanon, the influential Muslim magazine The Pulpit of the Calling editorialized against the Christian and Missionary Alliance, Penner's sending agency. "They destroy the fighting spirit of the children, especially of the Palestinian youth, by teaching them not to fight the Jews, for the Palestinians to forgive the Jews and leave them Jerusalem," the article said, according to The New York Times. The magazine also claimed that the C&MA tells children and young men that it can arrange an education in the United States—but only if they convert to Christianity.

Sheik Maher Hammoud, a Sunni Muslim cleric in the town where Penner was killed, said that the Unity Center where she worked promotes Judaism more than Christianity. That's just an outright lie to inspire anti-Jewish hatred against Penner's coworkers.

But it's not just Lebanese Muslims who are condemning Penner's missionary work. Bishop George Kuweiter of the Greek Catholic Church likened the missionaries to terrorists, saying they operate in "cells" under the guise of Christianity. "Even we wonder who is behind them, who brought them and in whose name they operate," he told the Associated ...

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November 2002

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