Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Syriac Bishop Flavien-Michel Malké Beatified on 100th Anniversary of His Martyrdom at the hands of the Muslim Turks

Glory be to God for this holy hierarch who laid down his life for his flock and earned his crown as a true witness for Christ. May we learn from him and all the martyrs to stand firm in our faith in Jesus Christ, preferring to die rather than to deny Him who laid down his life for us.
When his friends and acquaintances urged him to withdraw from Gazireh to a safer location, he replied, “Even my blood I will shed for my sheep.” 
One of the bishop’s most striking phrases comes from when he was pressured to renounce the faith and to convert to Islam. Rather than giving in, the bishop replied, “I will defend my faith to the blood.”

Syriac Bishop Will Be Beatified on the 100th Anniversary of His Martyrdom
In 1915, Flavien-Michel Malké said, “I will defend my faith to the blood.”
National Catholic Register, August 11, 2015

Bishop Flavien-Michel Malké of the Syriac Diocese
of Gazireh, who was martyred Aug. 29, 1915,
and will be beatified Aug. 29, 2015.
DIYARBAKIR, Turkey — On Saturday, Pope Francis approved a decree recognizing the martyrdom of Flavien-Michel Malké, a Syriac Catholic bishop who was killed in 1915, amid the Ottoman Empire's genocide against its Christian minorities.

The decision was made during an Aug. 8 meeting between Pope Francis and Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

Bishop Malké will be beatified Aug. 29, the 100th anniversary of his martyrdom, during a liturgy celebrated by Ignatius Youssef III Younan, the Syriac patriarch of Antioch, at the convent of Our Lady of Deliverance in Lebanon. It is expected that thousands of Syrians and Iraqis displaced by the Islamic State will attend the beatification.

“In these painful times experienced by Christians, especially the Syriac communities in Iraq and Syria, the news of the beatification of one of their martyrs, will surely bring encouragement and consolation to face today's trials of appalling dimension,” read an Aug. 9 statement of the Syriac Patriarchate of Antioch.

“Blessed Martyr Michael, intercede for us, and protect especially the Christians in the Orient and all the world in these hard and painful days.”

Monday, August 31, 2015

Exploding the Myth that 'Jihad…is a perversion of Islam'

Excellent refutation of the false narrative so prevalent in the media, and among government and Christian leaders, that "Jihad…is a perversion of Islam." 

The Face of Jihad: “When you meet the unbelievers, smite their necks..." - Koran 47:4

This impressive article by Robert Spencer uses actual Islamic texts and authorities to prove the continuity linking the original doctrine of offensive jihad as found in the Koran and life & example of Muhammad, through the centuries of classical Islamic writings, advocated to the present by all four schools of Sunni jurisprudence, on down to the Muslim clerics and jihadis of our own day.

Spencer proves that offensive jihad, just as in the 7th century, continues to be recognized as a mandatory obligation upon all Muslims, and that modern Muslims themselves seem to be warming to the jihadist call, as evidenced by the tens of thousands flocking to join the Islamic State Caliphate.

"Bill O’Reilly: 'Jihad…is a perversion of Islam, we all know that',"
by Robert Spencer, Jihad Watch, August 28, 2015

“The spiritualism falls apart in the face of the jihad, okay, which is a perversion of Islam, we all know that.”

Do we, now?

Leave aside the fact that jihad is a central tenet of Islam for all Muslims, although all don’t endorse the terrorist form of it. Obviously O’Reilly is referring to jihad terrorism, which we are constantly told that the overwhelming majority of Muslims reject.

So is jihad terrorism a perversion of Islam? Most politicians and pundits in the West take for granted that it is. But there is, unfortunately, evidence to the contrary. Certainly Islamic terrorists believe that what they are doing is jihad, and that it is justified by the Qur’an and Sunnah:

“Jihad was a way of life for the Pious Predecessors (Salaf-us-Salih), and the Prophet (SAWS) was a master of the Mujahideen and a model for fortunate inexperienced people. The total number of military excursions which he (SAWS) accompanied was 27. He himself fought in nine of these; namely Badr; Uhud, Al-Muraysi, The Trench, Qurayzah, Khaybar, The Conquest of Makkah, Hunayn and Taif . . . This means that the Messenger of Allah (SAWS) used to go out on military expeditions or send out an army at least every two months.” — Abdullah Azzam, co-founder of al-Qaeda, Join the Caravan, p. 30
“If we follow the rules of interpretation developed from the classical science of Koranic interpretation, it is not possible to condemn terrorism in religious terms. It remains completely true to the classical rules in its evolution of sanctity for its own justification. This is where the secret of its theological strength lies.” — Egyptian scholar Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd
“Many thanks to God, for his kind gesture, and choosing us to perform the act of Jihad for his cause and to defend Islam and Muslims. Therefore, killing you and fighting you, destroying you and terrorizing you, responding back to your attacks, are all considered to be great legitimate duty in our religion.” — Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his fellow 9/11 defendants
“Allah on 480 occasions in the Holy Koran extols Muslims to wage jihad. We only fulfil God’s orders. Only jihad can bring peace to the world.” — Taliban terrorist Baitullah Mehsud
“Jihad, holy fighting in Allah’s course, with full force of numbers and weaponry, is given the utmost importance in Islam….By jihad, Islam is established….By abandoning jihad, may Allah protect us from that, Islam is destroyed, and Muslims go into inferior position, their honor is lost, their lands are stolen, their rule and authority vanish. Jihad is an obligation and duty in Islam on every Muslim.” — Times Square car bomb terrorist Faisal Shahzad
“So step by step I became a religiously devout Muslim, Mujahid — meaning one who participates in jihad.” — Little Rock, Arkansas terrorist murderer Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad
“And now, after mastering the English language, learning how to build explosives, and continuous planning to target the infidel Americans, it is time for Jihad.” — Texas terrorist bomber Khalid Aldawsari
All of these, of course, may be dismissed as “extremists,” although they were also all devout Muslims who were determined to follow their religion properly. One finds the same thing, however, when one turns to the authoritative sources in Sunni Islam, the schools of Sunni jurisprudence (madhahib). Compare the “extremist” statements with these:

Shafi’i school: A Shafi’i manual of Islamic law that was certified in 1991 by the clerics at Al-Azhar University, one of the leading authorities in the Islamic world, as a reliable guide to Sunni orthodoxy, stipulates about jihad that “the caliph makes war upon Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians…until they become Muslim or pay the non-Muslim poll tax.” It adds a comment by Sheikh Nuh Ali Salman, a Jordanian expert on Islamic jurisprudence: the caliph wages this war only “provided that he has first invited [Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians] to enter Islam in faith and practice, and if they will not, then invited them to enter the social order of Islam by paying the non-Muslim poll tax (jizya)…while remaining in their ancestral religions.” (‘Umdat al-Salik, o9.8).

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Christians Debate: Is it OK to 'Act Muslim' to Save Their Lives

The very asking of this question serves to underscore the fact that we are living in a new Age of Martyrdom. 

The Martyrdom of Bishop Teodor of Vrsac, Serbia.

Before exploring the contemporary debate, we might be wise to take a look back at a previous age of martyrdom to see how the Church survived a very similar trial.

The question of Christians committing apostasy in order to save their lives, and how to deal with those who did so, was experienced on a widespread scale in the middle of the 3rd century when, under Roman Emperor Decius (249-251), a fierce new outbreak of persecution against the Church was launched.

From Fr. Alexander Schmemann, The Historical Road of Eastern Orthodoxy:

One of the primary reasons for the decline in Christian intensity had undoubtedly been the lull in the persecutions. From the death of Marcus Aurelius (185) until the middle of the third century, the Church lived in relative security... 
The persecution that suddenly burst upon the Church in the year 249 seemed a terrible and unexpected trial and exposed in full clarity how far many, many Christians had departed from the original intensity of faith and way of life... 
[Emperor Decius] gave first priority to the restoration of state worship, and this inevitably led to conflict with Christianity. Except for Nero, Decius was the first representative of Roman power to take the initiative in these persecutions as opposed to the system of private accusation followed by test. In a special edict he ordered all his subjects to prove their loyalty to the national gods by making the sacrifice. 
The Church again responded with the blood of martyrs, including not only Origen... but Bishop Flavian of Rome, Babylas of Antioch, and Alexander of Jerusalem. But what startled the Church was the mass apostasy. 
“Fear struck them,” wrote Bishop Dionysius of Alexandria, “and many of the more influential Christians gave in immediately, some giving way to fear, others, as civil servants, to the requirements of their positions, still others drawn along with the crowd. Some were pale and trembling, as if it were not they who were making sacrifices to the idols but they themselves who were being brought to sacrifice; and therefore the crowd mocked them.” 
 The same picture appears in the letters of Cyprian of Carthage: “There were some who did not even wait to be summoned to climb onto the Capitol, or to be questioned to renounce their faith. They ran to the Forum themselves, they hastened to their [spiritual] deaths, as if they had wished it for a long time. And — O ultimate crime! — parents brought their children with them, so that they might lose in their childhood what they had received on the threshold of their lives.” 
The persecution passed liked a whirlwind and quickly abated, but it left the Church in ruins. The question arose as to how to deal with those who had lapsed, who now rushed back for forgiveness and reconciliation. While the Church had recognized a “second repentance” at the beginning of the century, now the question was posed anew and more acutely.

Saturday, August 29, 2015


This is a timely publication which provides a penetrating examination of Islam, its religious and political dimensions, and the "clear and present danger" to Christians and Western Civilization which arises from its ideology. It is a relatively slim volume (208 pages), yet is densely packed and rock-ribbed, and makes for a great introduction or handy reference on the threat of Islam.

What is perhaps most amazing is that, although this work was first published several years ago in hardcover, and therefore lacks any specific reference to ISIS (the Islamic State Caliphate) or certain other jihad terrorist groups which formed more recently, it is shockingly contemporary, as jihad ideology itself is essentially unchanged from the days of its founder, Muhammad. As one reads 'House of War', one experiences a steady flash of light bulbs turning on, of "Aha! moments", as the true goals and motivations of Muslim extremists are detailed from the supremacist sacred texts of Islam.

The author, Gregory Davis, is an Orthodox Christian, and a dear friend and encourager to me. The original edition of this book, and his documentary film, Islam: What the West Needs to Know, were two of my early sources which spurred me on to write Facing Islam and launch this blog. I cannot commend Greg's work highly enough.

Order two copies and share one with that interested soul looking to understand Islam. Publisher's description and link to order below.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Iraqi priest: “There’s no such thing as moderate Islam…ISIS represents Islam one hundred percent”

“Wake up! The cancer is at your door. They will destroy you. We, the Christians of the Middle East are the only group that has seen the face of evil: Islam... 

“Please, if there’s anyone who still thinks ISIS doesn’t represent Islam, know that they are wrong. ISIS represents Islam one hundred percent.”

— Fr. Douglas al-Bazi, Iraqi Catholic Priest and Confessor for Christ,
captured and tortured by Muslim jihadists in 2006.

Let us all try to do something — whatever we can — in the face of the tsunami of evil wiping away our Christian brothers and sisters in the Middle East, Egypt and North Africa, Pakistan, Indonesia, throughout the entire Islamic world. Let us pray for them, even as we start to heed the warnings and cries of the new confessors and martyrs like Fr Douglas al-Bazi, who daily follow Christ to their Golgotha, bearing their unimaginable cross!

Speaking in 1980, Blessed Hieromonk Seraphim (Rose) of Platina had this to say about Golgotha:

It is a law of the spiritual life that where there is Golgotha—if it is genuine suffering for Christ—there will be resurrection. This resurrection first of all occurs in human hearts, and we do not need to be too concerned what outward form it might take by God’s will... 
Our inward, spiritual resurrection is what we should be striving for, and the events in Russia give us hope that there will yet be a resurrection of true, suffering Christianity, not only in Russia, but wherever hearts have not become entirely frozen. But we must be ready for the suffering that must precede this...

Are we in the West ready for this? Golgotha does not mean the incidental sufferings we all go through in this life. It is something immense and deep, which cannot be relieved by taking an aspirin or going to a movie. It is what Russia has gone through and is now trying to communicate to us. Let us not be deaf to this message. By the prayers of all the New Martyrs, may God give us the strength to endure the trials coming upon us and to find in them the resurrection of our souls.

— Fr. Seraphim Rose, The Orthodox Revival in Russia as an Inspiration for American Orthodoxy, The Orthodox Word #138, 1988, p. 51. (From a talk given in 1980.)
Obviously, what Fr Seraphim was speaking of regarding the New Martyrs of Russia in the 20th century under Communism is equally true about the New Martyrs of the 21st century under Islam. Let us heed his prophetic voice and rouse ourselves to zeal and perseverance in following our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ!

“‘There’s No Such Thing as Moderate Islam’: An Iraqi Priest Describes the Christian Genocide,” by Matteo Matzuzzi, Il Foglio, August 26, 2015 (translated by Francesca Romana, Rorate Caeli), courtesy of Jihad Watch:

Rome. “Please, if there’s anyone who still thinks ISIS doesn’t represent Islam, know that they are wrong. ISIS represents Islam one hundred percent.” Father Douglas al Bazi, an Iraqi Catholic parish priest in Erbil, raised his voice during an intervention at the Meeting in Rimini, with a choice of words – in a provocative way and in hard tones – that few had ventured use so far.

He carries on his own body the scars of the torture he underwent nine years ago, when a band of Jihadists kidnapped him for nine days, keeping him in chains and blindfolds along with a broken nose from being kneed: “For the first four days they didn’t even give me anything to drink. They would walk past me saying ‘Father, do you want some water?’ All day long they would listen to the reading of the Koran to let the neighbours hear what good believers they were.”…

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Pakistan: Christian Flood Victims Forced to Renounce Jesus Christ, Become Slaves to Muslims or Die

Sharia applied to disaster relief for Christians in the Muslim country of Pakistan: 
"More than 60 Christian families in the western Pakistani region of Kasur lost their homes and all worldly possessions when the deluge hit this summer... left to starve if they don't convert to Islam or become modern-day slaves in order to receive help from Muslims or the government..."

by Samuel Smith, Christian Post, via Pravoslavie, August 26, 2015

As torrential flooding spanned across various regions of Pakistan this summer and washed away thousands of homes, Christians in Kasur have received very little humanitarian aid and have been left to starve if they don't convert to Islam or become modern-day slaves in order to receive help from Muslims or the government.

Wilson Chowdhry, the president of the British Pakistani Christian Association, told The Christian Post that there are more than 60 Christian families in the western Pakistani region of Kasur that have lost their homes and all worldly possessions when the deluge hit this summer and washed their mud homes and everything inside them away.

While Muslims in the region have benefited from temporary shelter, clean water and food provided by Pakistani government agencies and Muslim charities, Christians have largely been without those bare necessities and medication needed to fight illnesses that can occur after flooding.

Chowdhry explained that some Muslim charities are giving Christians the option to convert to Islam and renounce Jesus if they want to receive help.

"We are are aware that this community has previously been offered aid from Muslim charities if they convert but they never accept conversion. They hold strong to their faith. They believe God will be their provider," Chowdhry explained. "These families have literally been struggling without food. Churches have opened up their doors but can't provide them much aid because the churches themselves in the region are struggling. We are talking about a very rural part of Pakistan."

Chowdhry added that as desperation started to get the best of the Christian population in Kasur, many Kasur Christians ended up signing bonded labor contracts in order to receive aid from Muslim landlords before BPCA arrived in the region.

Monday, August 24, 2015

'Breaking of the Crosses' in Syracuse Part 2: The Sharia Doctrine against the Cross

The huge response to my recent post on the conversion into a mosque of a century-old Roman Catholic church in Syracuse, NY, gives us reason and opportunity to explore Islamic hatred of Christianity and the Cross in more depth. 

This well-researched article by Ryan Mauro of the Clarion Project elaborates the sharia doctrine behind Islam's jihad against the Cross, and helps explain the significance of Muslims breaking and covering 10,000 crosses in Syracuse.

We will only see more such examples of Islam's jihad against Christianity and the Cross in the dark days ahead. This is truly a Sign of the Apocalypse.

Al-Qaeda Declares 'We Must Eliminate the Cross'

This follows sharia doctrine that says Christianity's ultimate elimination will be carried out by Jesus,who is really an Islamist.

by Ryan Mauro, The Clarion Project (originally posted April 27, 2014)

Senior Al Qaeda leader Nasir al-Wuhayshi recently appeared in a video made in Yemen during the largest and most dangerous gathering of Al Qaeda in recent years.

Al Qaeda recently released a video of a large meeting in Yemen showing senior leader Nasir al-Wuhayshi preaching, “We must eliminate the cross” and explained that, “The bearer of the cross is America.”

Al-Wuhayshi was referencing sharia doctrine about the ultimate elimination of Christianity at the hands of the Islamist version of Jesus. It couldn’t be clearer: Their jihad is not about Western foreign policy. It’s about global conquest.

The Al Qaeda leader’s comment is important because it displays the end goal of even the “moderate” Islamists who insist that sharia governance is tolerant to Christians and Jews because it does not require a change in faith.

In truth, the system is designed to contain Christianity and Judaism and minimize their sustainability, but even this modicum of acceptance is not permanent.

Mainstream sharia doctrine holds that Jesus was not crucified or resurrected, but instead ascended to heaven. According to the doctrine, one day he will return to defeat the Islamic version of the Antichrist, which is called the Dajjal.

IslamWeb, a website that honors Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yousef al-Qaradawi, states in Fatwa 82061 that “the first people to follow him [the Dajjal] will be the Jews.” The Antichrist will be on earth for 40 days and then Jesus “will come down from heaven and kill him.”

IslamWeb Fatwa 124824 says Jesus will “break some crosses and command people to do the same”... 
The objective is to make Christians accept that their interpretation of Jesus is wrong and to convert to Islam.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE: Muslim 'Breaking of the Crosses' in Syracuse NY

Muslims cut down, paint over 10,000 crosses to convert former Roman Catholic church to mosque. Plan approved by Syracuse Landmark Preservation Board.

This is surely another sign of our times, a sign of the impending apocalypse. The breaking of crosses and conversion of churches into mosques is widespread in Europe, but not yet so much in America.

The Final Mass at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Syracuse NY (February 2010).

For Christians, it is a reminder of the warning of our Lord Jesus Christ: "When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8).

The number of crosses covered over — 10,000 — is a deeply symbolic, Biblical number, and was no doubt chosen by the Holy Trinity Church founders based on Revelation 5:11, where the seer John beholds the myriads of angels around the throne of God:

Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands...

This scene comes immediately after "the Lamb who was slain" (who is, of course, Jesus Christ) takes the scroll with the deepest mysteries of God, sealed front and back with seven seals, and is immediately praised:

Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll,
And to open its seals;
For You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
And have made us kings and priests to our God;
And we shall reign on the earth.” (Rev. 5:8-10)

Following this ecstatic worship of the Lamb by the four living creatures, the twenty-four elders, and the prayers of the saints, the "ten-thousand times ten-thousand" worship Him too:

... saying with a loud voice: 
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
To receive power and riches and wisdom,
And strength and honor and glory and blessing!” 
And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: 
“Blessing and honor and glory and power
Be to Him who sits on the throne,
And to the Lamb, forever and ever!” 
Then the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever. (Rev. 5:12-14)

The whole point of chapter 5 of the Apocalypse is to show that the Lamb — Jesus Christ — is equal with God the Father, that He is worshipped just as the Father is, by all the hosts of heaven, all the saints, and by "every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth."

Such is the significance of the 10,000 crosses, and the name of the former parish, Holy Trinity. It was one of the most visible, richly symbolic representations of the Christian presence in Syracuse, and in New York State and the United States by extension.

Though it is certainly a temporal tragedy that such a symbolic church would be desecrated, let the significance of this serve to enkindle our zeal. The collapse of institutional Christianity is happening all around us, but Christ promised us that "Even the gates of hell shall not prevail against His Church."

During the desecration of Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church, Syracuse NY.

Desecration accomplished: the former home of Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church
is now a functioning mosque. Lord have mercy.

As for observant Muslims, this will be seen as a victory over Christianity, and a powerful sign of Islam's new global resurgence, of Islam's eventual domination over the United States and the Western world, and especially, as an eschatological sign of the end times, when, Muslims believe,
Isa (the Muslim Jesus) will return and "fight the people for the cause of Islam. He will break the cross, kill the swine and abolish jizya” and establish the rule of Allah throughout the world (Hadith from Sunan Abu Dawud, Book of Battles, 37:4310).

Orthodox Christians! Let these dire signs rouse us to fervent faith and love for the Lord and His Church! As Blessed Hieromonk Seraphim of Platina wrote:

"Now one cannot be a half-hearted Christian, but only entirely or not at all."

Syracuse: Muslims cut down, paint over 10,000 crosses to convert church to mosque
Creeping Sharia — August 17, 2015 (Comments in italics below in original post.)

Holy Trinity Church of Syracuse, before the "breaking of the crosses..."

For background on this story, see also:

ISIS destroys Christian symbols in the Middle East. Boko Haram attacks churches and churchgoers in Africa. In the west, the process is more refined… for now. 
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Two gray church spires grow out of a bumpy plain of city rooftops along Park Street. The skyline is the same as it has been for the better part of a century until you look closer at Holy Trinity Church: There are slim copper crescents where, for 100 years, there had been crosses. 
The six crosses were removed and replaced at the end of June. Four of them were massive: 600 pounds of concrete each, and more than 4 feet tall. The step was the last, and most visible, in the building’s change from church to mosque.

Islamic State is 'beheading, raping, and selling' Christians while Obama does nothing, asserts Justice Group

The American Center for Law and Justice is pressing the Obama Administration to act swiftly to stop the genocide of Christians and other minorities in the Middle East, highlighting the administration's inaction on several fronts. But action is unlikely to be forthcoming. 

As Raymond Ibrahim has shown, reporting of Muslim persecution of Christians does not fit "The Narrative" which the Obama Administration holds to, that Islam is innocent and there is no religious dimension to the strife in the Middle East and Africa. Therefore the plight of Christians will likely continue to be ignored by the U.S. government as a matter of Obama's anti-Christian, pro-Islam policy.

Such is the political dimension of this new age of martyrdom in which we live. 

ISIS is 'beheading, raping, and selling' Christians while Obama does nothing, Justice group asserts
by Thomas D. Williams, PhD, Breitbart News, August 21, 2015

The American Center for Law and Justice is urging President Barack Obama to defend Christians who are suffering intense persecution from Islamic State terrorists, especially by naming an ambassador to fill the vacant mission of Special Envoy to Promote Religious Freedom of Religious Minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia.

The ACLJ has drafted a petition appealing to the Obama Administration to act swiftly to stop the genocide of Christians and other minorities in the Middle East. The petition has already garnered more than 93,000 signatures.

The organization reminds the administration that ISIS is “beheading, raping, and selling Christians” and that hundreds of thousands of Christians have been forced to flee or die. But while ISIS tracks down Christians for sale and slaughter, the Obama Administration and other Western leaders stand by idle.

For more than a year, the justice group states in an article on Thursday, “President Obama has failed to appoint an Ambassador to lead a Special Envoy to Promote Religious Freedom of Religious Minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia.”

“While Christians and other religious minorities are decimated in that region, the Obama administration leaves this vital position unfilled. This is why the ACLJ has urged them to fill this spot and will continue to do so,” it said.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Islamic State bulldozes 1,500-year-old Syrian monastery, captures over 200 Syriac Christians

Islam's war against Christianity continues to advance. In this report you see it all: Muslims conquering, destroying Christian sites, taking of captives, offering the "three choices" — convert to Islam, pay the jizya, or death." And tens of thousands of Muslims from all over the world are flocking to the Middle East to join the Islamic State because they see it adhering to pure Islam.

Islamic State bulldozes 1,500-year-old Syrian monastery
by Robert Spencer, Jihad Watch — August 21, 2015

Besides removing supposed temptations to idolatry, Islamic jihadists want to destroy the artifacts of non-Muslim civilizations because doing so testifies to the truth of Islam, as the Qur’an suggests that the destroyed remnants of ancient non-Muslim civilizations are a sign of Allah’s punishment of those who rejected his truth:

Many were the Ways of Life that have passed away before you: travel through the earth, and see what was the end of those who rejected Truth. (Qur’an 3:137)

This is one of the foundations of the Islamic idea that pre-Islamic civilizations, and non-Islamic civilizations, are all jahiliyya — the society of unbelievers, which is worthless. Obviously this cuts against the idea of tourism of ancient sites and non-Muslim religious installations. V. S. Naipaul encountered this attitude in his travels through Muslim countries. For many Muslims, he observed in Among the Believers, “The time before Islam is a time of blackness: that is part of Muslim theology. History has to serve theology.” Naipaul recounted that some Pakistani Muslims, far from valuing the nation’s renowned archaeological site at Mohenjo Daro, saw its ruins as a teaching opportunity for Islam, recommending that Qur’an 3:137 be posted there as a teaching tool.

“Isis in Syria: 1,500-year-old Mar Elian monastery bulldozed by Islamic State in Qaryatain,” by Gianluca Mezzofiore, International Business Times, August 21, 2015 (thanks to David):

Islamic State (Isis) militants have bulldozed parts of the ancient monastery of Mar Elian in Qaryatain, a strategic town located in the central Syrian province of Homs which has been seized from forces loyal to president Bashar al-Assad earlier this month. IS-linked Twitter accounts posted pictures of the destruction of the monastery, which was founded in 432 on the claimed spot of St. Elian’s death, for “worshipping a God other than Allah”.

According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), IS also transferred dozens of Assyrian Christians, who were kidnapped after the capture of Qaryatain, near its northern Syria de facto capital of Raqqa.