Yeah, this is going to win the Iraqi’s hearts and minds:
Fallujah, the scene of a bloody U.S. offensive against Sunni insurgents in 2004, has calmed and grown less hostile to American troops since residents turned against al Qaida in Iraq, which had tried to force its brand of Islamist extremism on the population.
Now residents of the city are abuzz that some Americans whom they consider occupiers are also acting as Christian missionaries. Residents said some Marines at the western entrance to their city have been passing out the coins for two days in what they call a “humiliating” attempt to convert them to Christianity.
In the markets, people crowded around men with the coins, passing them to each other and asking in surprise, “Have you seen this?”
The head of the Sunni endowment in Fallujah, the organization that oversees Sunni places of worship and other religious establishments, demanded that the Marines stop.
“We say to the occupiers to stop this,” said Sheikh Mohammed Amin Abdel Hadi. “This can cause strife between the Iraqis and especially between Muslim and Christians . … Please stop these things and leave our homes because we are Muslims and we live in our homes in peace with other religions.”
Above and beyond the fact that the U.S. military has an official policy that forbids this sort of activity, this is the sort of thing that’s only going to piss off the Iraqis. Supposedly the incident is being investigated, but I doubt much will come of it. It would be nice, however, if our own military would stop making things any harder in Iraq than they already are.