THE British Medical worker Karen Woo murdered in Afghanistan earlier this month with 9 colleagues, mostly Western, were funded by the International Assistance Mission (IAM). There were part of an ostensibly medical team but are accused of being quasi Christian Missionaries. A spokesman for the group commenting on their deaths equivocated over their objectives “they were not there as missionaries nor were they aggressively (sic) proselytising” They reportedly carried bibles written in the local language. The mission leader Tom Little (also among the murdered) had been previously expelled from the country in 2001 by the Taliban for his Christian missionary work. They did admit to being faith based and hoping their example of self dedication would shine through to the locals. While Dr. Woo may have been driven by humanitarian motivations she may not have been (as stated) a humanist - that is a non believer in God, an atheist or at least an agnostic.

Are there not sufficient poor and sick Christian countries in Africa without adventuring into staunch Muslim ones? Do these religious zealots even know the Koran? Any person who reads this particular divine book and does not accept it is dammed to hell. Conversely Muslims even considering another religion are courting eternal torment. IAM can be seen by the Taliban as condemning their brothers with perpetual purgatory. Knowing their reputation are we surprised if they react violently? We in Britain are only just getting over 400 bloody years between Protestants and Catholics. Imagine the extra aggravation if one side had the same religion as the occupying power?

Missionaries don't always use the cover of medics but also surprisingly under the guise of miners! To escape persecution the Mormons finished up in Utah principally because no one in the US wanted this barren dessert state. A barren surface perhaps but not below. They developed mines all over the state and became highly skilled in among other mining skills explosive use. While working in New Guinea our mining operation had need of this expertise so we engaged a Salt Lake City company to provide this engineering help. Unfortunately these specialists were all members of the Church of Latter Day Saints and with, to a man, a commitment to bring the Word (of their particular God) to the world. The Stone Age natives must have seemed like manna from heaven. They weren't. They rebelled at the implied insults to their ancestors but by the time we discovered the Mormons covert proselytising the rot had set in. An island wide revolt ensued for this and other grievances and led to the biggest open mine in the world (Bougainville Copper) being abandoned. It remains so. Fanatics of all types should be avoided and consideration given tagging and restricted them to house arrest!

Mike Lillico, Playa de Palma