Friday 22 November 2002

Evangelist's killing raises fears of anti-Western resurgence

Being a Christian and delivering sermons in the most Islamic city in Lebanon at this juncture in history is about as sensible as playing Chicken with a pissed-off buffalo!

by Robert Fisk

She had been warned. Her friends had told Bonnie Weatherall that Christian evangelism in the rigidly religious Sunni Muslim city of Sidon could be dangerous. Lebanese friends had suggested a missionary role in this part of southern Lebanon – where thousands of Palestinians in the city's huge refugee camp have now allied themselves to Islamist movements – could be a very perilous occupation for the young American nurse.

And, yesterday morning, someone shot her three times in the head outside the clinic she helped to run in Sidon.

"May God forgive them," was all the medical centre's director, the Reverend Sami Dagher, could say of her murderers. But was Mrs Weatherall, who was married to a British doctor, killed because of her religion or her nationality?

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