I’m sure there are lots of Christian who’d say they feel deeply uncomfortable about the Muslim missionaries who star in this video. But of course, it’s a mirror image of what Christianity has done for centuries.
In the slick three-minute job, we see British Muslims traveling to Papua New Guinea to bring tribespeople the amazing message of Allah.
As always with mission types, it’s difficult to identify the intended beneficiaries of the effort. Is it the people who, though they’ve had their own distinctive culture for millennia, must now be brought to kneel before a warlord “prophet” who lived 1,400 years ago and 7,500 miles away? Or does the benefit accrue to the religious meddlers themselves, who score brownie points with their chosen god and build bragging rights in their community back home?
The video description reads,
The Prophet said if 1 person accepts Islam through you, it is better than the whole world and everything in it.
Maybe there’s our answer.
The footage is extraordinary, and not in a good way. To drive home the otherness of the people the Muslim missionaries have suddenly decided to care about, the white ringleader is shown painting his face to resemble the faces of the tribal elders.
He then constructs a whole narrative that emphasizes how dangerous and primitive he wants us to believe the villagers are; and by extension, how brave he and his posse were to wade into their midst.
For instance, one minute and 14 seconds in, we see a slow-motion medium-closeup of a modern ax held (non-threateningly) by a local man, a shot that’s there to suggest possible violence; and over a tense cinematic soundtrack we’re told that the crowd’s demeanor was skeptical, hostile even, resistant to the Good News.
Instead, says the voiceover, the tribe
“…expressed their frustration, and started questioning our points. We were outnumbered in a remote village on the other side of the world.”
“With scary savages,” is the subtext.
“We continued to give da’wah [proselytize], we continued to clarify their misconceptions, we continued to answer their questions, and we told them more about the similarities between Islam and Christianity.”
That last bit, about Christianity, is relevant because the people of Papua New Guinea are a well-plowed field for Christers, who’ve imposed their religion on the population for centuries — and with great success. Today, ninety-six percent of Papua New Guineans identify as Christians. Proselytizing Allah aficionados aren’t working to stamp out animist beliefs and ancestor worship; they’re trying to reprogram baby-Jesus believers into Muslims.The video voice amps up the drama:
“As we were about to leave the village, people began surrounding our car. They wanted something from us.”
There’s no footage of this.
“To take the Shahadah!” [the Muslim profession of faith]
Right. Cue a brief scene of maybe 15 Papua New Guineans repeating the (to them) meaningless Arabic phrases.
Continues the pleased narrator:
“A remote tribe from Papua New Guinea who may have never even heard of Islam before recognized the truth and accepted it.”
I’d say there’s a roughly 98 percent probability that there was a different reason for the on-camera villagers parroting the foreigners’ incomprehensible sounds. Money is the most obvious one — they were likely paid in cash, or given some other material incentive, for complying with the director’s instructions. If not, maybe they just wanted to get these human parasites out of their village, and repeated whatever magic words would hasten that departure.
The chance that any of the “converts” in the video consider themselves Muslims today approaches zero.
I’m glad the majority of these “tribe reacts to <insert bullshit> for the first time”-type clips are outright fake. Once the show is over they dump the skirts and make-up, count their money, and go back to whatever.
It’s a decent enough guess.
Speaking of counting money, in the end that’s what the video is all about. We’re encouraged to give the “price of a cup of coffee per day” (so about £1,000 / $1,200 a year) via the website of an Islamic organization called iERA that says it raises money for more missions. Though the group is registered as a tax-exempt non-profit in the U.K and the U.S., it isn’t listed on Charity Navigator. Maybe someday.
If you can spare the equivalent of a cup of coffee a day, please consider one of the hundreds of humanitarian organizations that wouldn’t dream of visiting a village of “exotic” people just to act like saviors for a couple of hours.
The missionaries in the video reveal themselves to be cocky exploiters whose hubris is inversely proportional to their respect for the populace they came to “help.” I hope future targets show them what a real hostile reception looks like.