BostonGlobeonforeignaidIII - THE BOSTON GLOBE With the...

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THE BOSTON GLOBE With the Christian Hospital in Sahiwal, Pakistan, running far below capacity, nurses frequently check on patients. (Dina Rudick/ Globe Staff) PART 3: THE MUSLIM WORLD | EXPORTING FAITH Together, but worlds apart Christian aid groups raise suspicion in strongholds of Islam By Susan Milligan, Globe Staff | October 10, 2006 SAHIWAL, Pakistan -- The X-ray machine at the Christian Hospital here is emblazoned with a USAID sticker to promote the US government's donation of top-of-the-line medical equipment. So is the blood bank refrigerator, the auditorium for medical lectures, and the radiology computer -- all sparkling new messages of help for the people of Pakistan, a crucial ally in the war on terrorism. With a cleanliness and order that are in stark contrast to the crowded and filthy municipal hospital across town, the Christian Hospital, run by the Christian group World Witness with US government assistance, seems an easy choice for the nearly all-Muslim community it offers to serve. The public hospital is understaffed and underequipped, with patients slumped in dirty hallways and anxious parents holding crying, sickly babies awaiting a doctor's attention. But like many Christian facilities in this Muslim nation, the Christian Hospital is an entity apart. It cares for 14,000 to 15,000 patients a year, compared with 1 million at the municipal hospital, and the neediest patients say they can't afford the few dollars for admission and a few blood tests.
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Only a dozen or so patients sat in the waiting room during a recent visit, their traditional Muslim dress looking out of place in a facility with tile crosses in the walls and a New England-style chapel in the courtyard. A rifle-carrying guard patrols the entrance -- a grim sign of the danger Christian groups face in a nation whose citizens believe their Muslim faith and brethren around the world are under attack by the largely Christian West. Christian groups are running health care, education, and disaster relief in many Muslim nations, and USAID has awarded about $53 million from 2001-05 to fund projects by Christians in Pakistan, Indonesia, and Afghanistan alone. Both the aid organizations and the US government hope the projects will sow good will in a region growing increasingly wary of the West. But the war in Iraq and the detention of Muslims at Guantanamo Bay have greatly angered Muslims, and residents are finding it hard to separate the policies they vehemently oppose from the activities of Christian aid groups, said local Islamic leaders. ``People hate America as a whole. People in general think the West, and Bush especially, have a double standard for Muslims. They are killing Muslims," said Ameer-Ul-Azim , secretary of the Jama'at-e-Islami party in Lahore. ``It can come to the point where it can affect the relationship between the Muslim community and the Christian community." Fighting terror with Christ While Christian Hospital officials insist they are there to heal, not to proselytize, World Witness's
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BostonGlobeonforeignaidIII - THE BOSTON GLOBE With the...

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