U.S. dentist slain in Afghanistan wouldn't proselytize, brother says

The Anchorage Daily NewsAugust 9, 2010 

The twin brother of one of the 10 medical volunteers killed in Afghanistan last week spoke out Sunday about the nature of his brother's work, saying there was no element of Christian proselytizing.

Dr. Thomas Grams was a dentist based in Colorado who had been on eight or so medical missions to Afghanistan as well as missions to other impoverished countries, including Nepal, India and Myanmar, what used to be known as Burma, said his twin, Tim Grams, 51, a longtime Anchorage resident who recently retired as a helicopter pilot with the Alaska Air National Guard's 210th Rescue Squadron. "He had absolutely no religious agenda. He was strictly there to help the people with their dental care," Tim Grams said.

Tom Grams usually volunteered through Global Dental Relief or the Afghanistan Relief Organization, neither of which appear to have a Christian affiliation, according to information on their websites.

According to a Denver Post story, Tom Grams joined the recent mission to Afghanistan on short notice because he loved helping people who never had received dental care before. It was led by a Christian organization called International Assistance Mission, Global Dental Relief group director Laurie Mathews told the Denver Post.

In media reports from Afghanistan, the Taliban said they slaughtered the 10 workers because they thought the group members were spying and trying to convert Muslims to Christianity.

"Absolutely false," Tim Grams said, referring to his brother's role in the mission. "He knew the laws in Afghanistan and the other Muslim countries that you could not proselytize. He was keenly aware of that."

"He went to these countries because he liked to help less privileged people. He liked the mountainous regions. He respected their cultures. He respected their religions" whether they were Buddhists or Muslim or something else, Tim Grams said.

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