• First published in 2004 as Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion (BNOR).

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The Iraqi General and the Pentecostal Missionary

Claims by a former Iraqi general that Saddam Hussein smuggled WMDs into Syria aboard converted passenger planes have been creating a bit of a stir. The New York Sun reported a few days ago:

The Iraqi general, Georges Sada [var. George Sada], makes the charges in a new book, “Saddam’s Secrets,” released this week.

…Mr. Sada, 65, told the Sun that the pilots of the two airliners that transported the weapons of mass destruction to Syria from Iraq approached him in the middle of 2004, after Saddam was captured by American troops.

…In his visit to the Sun yesterday, Mr. Sada was accompanied by Terry Law, the president of a Tulsa, Oklahoma based Christian humanitarian organization called World Compassion. Mr. Law said he has known Mr. Sada since 2002, lived in his house in Iraq and had Mr. Sada as a guest in his home in America. “Do I believe this man? Yes,” Mr. Law said. “It’s been solid down the line and everything checked out.”

…Mr. Sada is an unusual figure for an Iraqi general as he is a Christian and was not a member of the Baath Party. He now directs the Iraq operations of the Christian humanitarian organization, World Compassion.

Sada is apparently Iraq’s Rommel; a non-Baathist military career man who found himself in the unfortunate position of working for Saddam Hussein. His agent provides a brief biography:

Georges Hormis Sada graduated from Iraq’s Air Academy in 1959…Georges Sada was born into an Assyrian Christian family in northern Iraq and became a born-again believer in 1986…

Now retired, Georges is director of the Iraqi Institute for Peace and also serves as spokesman for the newly elected prime minister of Iraq. He is also the president of the National Presbyterian Church in Baghdad and chairman of the Assembly of Iraqi Evangelical Presbyterian Churches.

In recent years, Georges held the position of principal advisor to the former Iraqi Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi. Additionally, he acted as the lead consultant for the reconstruction of all three branches of the Iraqi defense system. In June of 2003, Georges received the prestigious International Prize for Peace and Reconciliation presented by the Bishop of Coventry, England…

Conservative blogger Mark in Mexico has rounded up various other internet tit-bits, particularly concerning Sada’s refusal to execute prisoners in Gulf War I, at some danger and discomfort to himself. Sada’s book is published by Integrity Publishers, a Christian publishing and recording firm that operates out of Tennessee, and was co-written by Jim Nelson Black, a Charles Colson associate and stalwart of conservative outfits such as the Heritage Foundation and Accuracy in Media. Curiously, Black’s name is absent from the book cover that appears on Amazon, and it doesn’t appear to have been cropped off by accident (compare with image on publisher’s website here).

Particularly interesting for our purposes, however, are Sada’s links to the Pentecostal Terry Law and World Compassion. Law started out with a Christian “contemporary music” group known as Living Sound, which he founded while at Oral Roberts University in 1969. However, in the early 1970s he decided to turn his attentions to the Communist world. He gives his reasons on World Compassion’s website:

In 1971, in South Africa, I was praying during a service when I felt the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ in the room with me. I did not look up, but I knew He was there in His Glory. His presence was overwhelming. I heard Him say, “I am going to send you to minister among the closed countries of the world. You will do things there that most men will believe impossible. If you trust Me and are obedient, I will protect you.”

His music group then headed for Eastern Europe, where they eventually found favour with the Cardinal of Krakow, Karol Wojtyla. Law’s author bio at Harrison House has further details:

Terry has been ministering the Gospel in dangerous places for 35 years and has preached in over 60 nations, including countries like Russia and the Republics of the former Soviet Union, China, India, Vietnam, Laos, Burma, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and most recently Iraq…In 1990…”World Compassion” was formed to help meet the needs of people who were not only in need of the Gospel, but also in need of food and medicine…

Since September 11, 2001, World Compassion Terry Law Ministries has focused on Afghanistan and Iraq. Through the delivery of humanitarian aid, God has opened doors for Terry to go into refugee camps to light a candle of hope through the ministering of the Gospel in the darkness of postwar Afghanistan. A church plant in Afghanistan is already ministering to more than 500 people.

Terry and his organization, World Compassion, have teamed with International Health Services Foundation to provide a medical clinic for Kabul University, through which medical care, along with prayer, is offered to the students and faculty of the premier school in the country…

God has enabled Terry to establish connections at the highest levels of government in these countries and in our own country, as well. Plans are being laid for the planting of two Signs and Wonders churches in northern and central Iraq.

The Alumni Foundation of Oral Roberts University gives a bit more information (from 2003):

“We are praying that the new constitution of Afghanistan, which our country is helping to write, will include a clause that will allow some freedom of religion,” Law said. “We are opening an underground church in Kabul, Afghanistan, the first one, working with Ulf Ekman (a member of the ORU Board of Regents and pastor of Livets Ord Church in Uppsala, Sweden).”

Ekman is a well known Prosperity Gospel preacher; he’s also a fervent Christian Zionist (his church was the subject of a very good anthropological study by Simon Coleman back in 2000). Law’s efforts in Iraq include help with founding the Kurdzman Church, which currently serves around 300 Kurdish ex-Muslims.

Law has strong beliefs about the reality of miracles and supernatural phenomena. This site gives a summary of his views about the physical characteristics and attributes of angels and demons.

george-sada-and-terry-law

(Name variations (from a discussion forum): Giwargis Hurmiz Sada, Gewargis Hormiz Sada, Gewargis Hormis Sada, Gaggo Sada, George Sada, Giwargis George, Gaggo Tayyar)

9 Responses

  1. Fantastic stuff, Bartholomew.

    I am pretty sure Rommel was a fan of Hitler personally, but not of the Nazis. In other respects the comparison is apt. I’m sorta mildly going through a biography on him now, but it might be a bit off. 1950s by a British General

  2. per Law, International Health Service Foundation…how they function…
    the following excerpt from Todd Robberson, The Dallas Morning News reporting from Kabul, Dec. 11, 2004:

    Afghans who have experienced proselytizing by Christian aid groups say it is not the difference of religious views that most upsets them. Rather, they say it is the seeming lack of respect by evangelicals for the deep devotion Afghans have to their own religion. Muslims recognize Jesus as one of several prophets who preceded Muhammad, the Muslim prophet who, they believe, delivered the final instructions and message of God.

    “We don’t want to cause any problems for them or their religion, but we won’t allow them to interfere with our religion, either,” said Dr. Ihsan, a dental surgeon who declined to give his full name.

    He and about 150 other doctors attended a week-long dental-surgery course in 2002 sponsored by the U.S.-based International Health Services Foundation. The doctors were extremely satisfied with the level of training they received, Dr. Ihsan said.

    But they erupted in angry shouting and threats of violence when, at the conclusion, they received free medical-instrument kits and were told that they were a “gift from Jesus.”

    “They told us, ‘Every time you use these instruments, you must remember who it came from,’ ” Dr. Ihsan recalled. “That was their big mistake. Everyone started shouting, ‘No! No!’ We told them that if they came here just to convert us, they should take their instruments back.”

    Most of the new dentists returned the instruments to the director of the clinic.

    Dr. Nasir Ahmad Hamid, director of the main Kabul periodontology hospital where the training session took place, said he was taken by surprise when the seemingly professional seminar turned into a proselytizing session.

    “If I had known they were here for that, I would not have allowed them through the door,” he said.

    According to an evangelical Christian who was present at the time, Afghan translators who worked with the American medical team received death threats. There was one report of a bomber who attempted to kill members of a medical team at a Kabul University clinic operated by evangelical Christians.

    “They told the translators, we will kill you first, then we’ll kill the Christians,” the evangelical said.

    A Russian-made hand grenade was thrown at the feet of some foreign Christian clinic workers, they said, but it didn’t go off. The man who threw it ran away, and the incident was reported to the U.S embassy.

    Out of the hundreds of patients who have visited the clinic, only one or two have converted to Christianity since 2001. One of those, a man, eventually had to leave the country because his father threatened to kill him.

    “The law is very strict. Anyone who converts receives three days’ time to reconsider. After that, he must be killed,” said Muhammad Maarouf, 26, imam of the Kabul University mosque. He added that “many, many” students had come to him complaining about the clinic’s activities.

    A former translator for the clinic, who asked not to be identified because of death threats he had received, said Afghan staff members ultimately agreed among themselves to deliberately mistranslate any proselytizing remarks made by the Christian doctors.

    “They would tell the patients things like, ‘Listen to Christian radio, pray to Jesus, read the Bible.’ We would translate it as, ‘Get lots of exercise, be a good person and be friendly to others,’ ” the translator said.

    At the Kabul University clinic, Dr. Mylin Rabara, a Filipina Christian, declined to discuss specifics of any evangelical activities taking place at the facility. She said the original American team operating the clinic departed more than a year ago and left an all-Filipino staff to continue the work.

    She said her group was “just here as an NGO,” or nongovernmental organization, to help and serve the country. “For security reasons, we don’t want to endanger the Afghans who work with us,” she said. “We know it’s a restrictive country.”

    No Christian symbols or words are in evidence anywhere within the clinic, which was packed earlier this week with Afghan patients. The only indication that religious concerns might color medical duties was located on a six-step list of procedures posted for staff to carry out during patient emergencies.

    Step 5 reads: “Intercession. Assist with escorting all patients out of the clinic. Stand just inside the room out of the way and PRAY! PRAY! PRAY!”

  3. […] was featured on this blog previously, after his claims to have heard about Saddam’s WMDs being moved secretly to Syria received […]

  4. […] the globe”: particularly, it seems, former Iraqi General Georges Sada, whom I blogged on here. Hunt’s wife Kailea is also involved; she works for Global Impact Ministry at Lon Solomon’s […]

  5. […] to Oral Roberts and an underground church in Afghanistan; I’ve touched on his activities in the past. Ingolf Ellssel, Pastor and Chairman of Pentecostal European […]

  6. […] with a controversial church in Congo; and Prosperity Gospel promoters such as Myles Munroe and Ulf Ekman. Hess has also edited a book that puts Maeliau in Charismatic A-List company: Restoration of the […]

  7. […] with Georges Sada, the evangelical Iraqi general who received considerable media interest with his claims about Saddam Hussein’s WMDs. Sada painted a very positive picture of the KRG-controlled area, […]

  8. […] the Culture Wars. Incidentally, White has links with two other people I’ve blogged in the past: Georges Sada and Irene Lancaster. See here for background to the […]

  9. […] Prosperity Gospel megachurch Livets Ord (a church which I mentioned previously in a blog entry here). However, the notion of exorcism through “blasting” is Jane Whaley’s original […]

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