Friday, March 27, 2015

Key Concepts Having Different Meanings for Muslims and Westerners

"All these concepts are defined in ways that promote Islamic Supremacy: freedom is freedom from unbelief; peace is found only in the practice of Islam including the imposition of Sharia law, and more grandly, that on a global scale; tolerance is found in subjugating non-Muslims and equality is only found within the same “band” of the religiously defined social hierarchy."

This is an outstanding article, which peels back the layers of obfuscation, deception (taqiyya) and confusion on the part of Westerners when it comes to Islam. To use another SciFi example, it's as if Captain Kirk and crew have beamed down to a planet where even the famed Star Trek "Universal Translator" can't help us, because key concepts have such radically different meanings for Muslims.

This is a long article, but well worth it for all the insights. Be sure to explore the Footnotes, which expand a great deal further our understanding, and are very helpful. Be sure to also visit the IslamWatch site, as it has many more helpful resources.

Key Concepts Having Different Meanings for Muslims and Westerners
by Jon MC, IslamWatch
Thanks to Bill D.

In this article I shall address four key concepts as generally understood in the free western world and the Islamic world.

My experience when talking to Muslims is that when these (amongst other) words are used we “talk past each other” in that each is trying to convey a different concept to the other. Thus I might just as well have titled the piece “Western concepts misunderstood by Muslims”.

That said, I also have to acknowledge that some Muslim speakers exploit this disconnect in order to “say one thing whilst facing west and another whilst facing east”. In other words they use these “conceptual discrepancies” for the purposes of Taqiya.


The Western viewpoint:  In the West “freedom” is used to describe a whole range of things encompassed in civil, political and individual rights.

Perhaps the most succinct definition of “freedom” is that of Thomas Jefferson: “Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others.”

He went on to say: “I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often [nothing] but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.”

Quite explicit in Jefferson's definition is that all people have equal rights. Implicit also is that all (non-tyrannical) laws must apply equally to all people without exception. (This idea was put in British law as the law acting “indifferently” -as in “without difference” - towards all people.) Jefferson also neatly balances the sometimes contradictory ideas of “freedoms” and “rights” which so bedevil much of modern politics.

Freedoms are generally understood to be things that the government won’t stop you doing, whilst rights are things that the government will help protect for you. In other words the government shouldn’t tell you how to live your life, but at the same time it should ensure that everyone’s rights are being equally protected.

The Islamic viewpoint:  The entry on freedom, or “hurriyya”, in the "Encyclopedia of Islam" describes a state of divine enthralment that bears no resemblance to any Western understanding of freedom as predicated on the workings of the individual conscience, nor does it speak of rights. According to the encyclopedia, Islamic freedom is "the recognition of the essential relationship between God the master and His human slaves who are completely dependent on Him."

Ibn Arabi, a Sufi scholar of note, is cited for having defined freedom as “being perfect slavery to Allah”.

To put it another way, Islamic-style "freedom" is freedom from any form of unbelief (“Khufr”) in Islam.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Tajik IS Militants Threaten 'Jihad' At Home (Or Even In The Kremlin)

Tajikistan is a former Soviet Republic which gained independence in 1991 with the breakup of the USSR. Predominantly Muslim, it ranks 45th in the Open Doors 2015 World Watch List of worst countries for persecution of Christians.

Radio Free Europe (RFE) via BigNewsNetwork
March 23, 2015

Screen grab from the Tajiki IS Militants' YouTube video.
A group of Tajik militants who claim to be fighting with the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria has posted a new video in which it threatens to transfer its activities from the Middle East and fight in Tajikistan, RFE/RL's Tajik Service, Radio Ozodi, reports.

The 16-minute video was shared on the Russian-language Odnoklassniki social network on March 19 and shows a group of 16 masked militants, most of whom appear to be Tajiks. It is not possible to independently verify the date or the exact location in which the video was shot.

Tajikistan's security authorities have yet to comment on the video, Radio Ozodi reported.

One masked militant said that the video was the militants' final address from Syria and Iraq and that their next video could be filmed "from the mountains of Tavildara in central Tajikistan, or the Tajik capital, Dushanbe -- or even from the Kremlin."

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

New Martyr Fr. Ragheed Ganni and his Three Sub-Deacons (†2007)

"The Chaldean Church immediately mourned for them as martyrs. Benedict XVI prayed for them from Rome. Father Ragheed was one of the most limpid and courageous witnesses of the Christian life in a country among the most afflicted."

My sincere thanks to Curt for sharing with me about Fr. Ragheed's witness for Christ. He was not merely martyred for his faith, but he was a profound struggler and a courageous confessor, battling despair and fear within himself, and strengthening the faith of his flock by choosing to suffer with them and encouraging them with true pastoral love. You can immediately sense his powerful faith in the Risen Christ and the Eucharist. His is a powerful example for us of Christ-like love and self-sacrifice.

See also:

The Last Mass of Father Ragheed, a Martyr of the Chaldean Church

They killed him in Mosul, together with three of his subdeacons. In a tormented Iraq, he was a man and a Christian of limpid and courageous faith. Here is a portrait of him, written by someone who knew him well.

by Sandro Magister

ROMA, June 5, 2007 – They killed him on the Sunday after Pentecost, after he had celebrated Mass in his parish church, dedicated to the Holy Spirit, in Mosul. 

They killed Father Ragheed Ganni, a Chaldean Catholic priest, together with three subdeacons who were with him – Basman Yousef Daud, Wahid Hanna Isho, and Gassan Isam Bidawed. The assailants led Bidawed’s wife away, and struck down the four men in cold blood. Then they placed vehicles loaded with explosives around their corpses, so that no one would dare to approach them. It was late in the evening before the police in Mosul were able to defuse the explosives and collect the bodies. 

The Chaldean Church immediately mourned for them as martyrs. Benedict XVI prayed for them from Rome. Father Ragheed was one of the most limpid and courageous witnesses of the Christian life in a country among the most afflicted. 

He was born in Mosul 35 years ago. After graduating from the local university with an engineering degree in 1993, from 1996 to 2003 he studied theology in Rome at the Angelicum, the Pontifical Saint Thomas Aquinas University, pursuing a license in ecumenical theology. Apart from Arabic, he spoke fluent Italian, French, and English. He was a correspondent for the international agency “Asia News,” of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions. 

The day after his martyrdom, “Asia News” published this portrait of him:

"Christ challenges evil with his infinite love, he keeps us united and through the Eucharist he gifts us life, which the terrorists are trying to take away". 

"Without Sunday, without the Eucharist the Christians in Iraq cannot survive": that was how Fr Ragheed spoke of his community’s hope, a community that was used to facing death on a daily basis, that same death that yesterday afternoon faced him, on his way home from saying mass. 

After having fed his faithful with the Body and Blood of Christ, he gave his own blood, his own life for Iraq, for the future of his Church. 

Pew Report: Christianity Most Persecuted Faith Worldwide

  • A Baker’s Dozen of the chief miscreants were Muslim states: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Brunei, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Uzbekistan.
  • The rise of anti-Semitism is particularly worrisome, especially in Europe.
  • Religious persecution occurs in virtually every Muslim state.

Report: Christianity Most Persecuted Faith Worldwide
by Doug Bandow, CNS News, March 19, 2015

'Our Lady' church in Baghdad, 2010.
Americans take religious liberty for granted. It is the First Freedom, guaranteed by the First Amendment. But four of five people around the world lack the freedom to worship and live faithfully. And the percentage of the world’s population lacking religious liberty recently edged upward. Attacks on Jews hit a recent peak. Even Americans cannot afford to take their freedoms for granted.

The Pew Research Center, with Peter Henne as lead researcher, recently issued its latest study on religious liberty. The report makes for a sad read. Many organizations address religious persecution, which occurs in virtually every Muslim and authoritarian state, plus a diverse mix of other nations. Pew also assesses equally threatening social antagonism, ranging from discrimination to hostility to violence.

In some nations governments take the lead in suppressing the faithful, imposing a range of restrictions backed by the state. Examples include bans on particular faiths, prohibitions on conversion, and restrictions on religious practice. In other countries the people make their societies unfriendly to minority beliefs, imposing a wide range of less formal sanctions. Such behavior includes harassment, intimidation, and violence, including murder. The overall global environment to religious faith is hostile. Concluded the study: “restrictions on religion were high or very high in 39 percent of countries. Because some of these countries (like China and India) are very populous, about 5.5 billion people (77 percent of the world’s population) were living in countries with a high or very high overall level of restrictions on religion in 2013, up from 76 percent in 2012 and 68 percent as of 2007.”

Monday, March 23, 2015

Yemen: At time of mosque bombing, worshippers were chanting “death to America”

To watch this video play out is to see the tragedy innate to Islam. That so much hatred could be stirred up and perpetuated consistently for fourteen centuries is hard to fathom, but there is no denying it. Notice the young boys chanting the death slogans and curses too. Generational curses handed down age after age. And the hatred endemic to Islam explodes in their midst. Tragic.

posted by Robert Spencer, Jihad Watch, March 22, 2015

In full, they were screaming, “Death to America. Death to Israel. Curse upon the Jews. Victory to Islam. Allah Akbar. Death to America. Death to Israel. Curse upon the Jews. Victory to–” The last part got caught off by the bombing, which, oddly enough, was not set off by an American or an Israeli.

“Worshippers Chant ‘Death to America’ at Moment of Houthi Mosque Bombing in Yemen,” MEMRI, March 20, 2015:

Following are excerpts from a video of the bombing at the Houthi Al-Hashoush Mosque in Sanaa, Yemen, which was posted on the Internet on March 20, 2015:

Preacher: Our belief in Allah will increase after today. We will triumph over their deceit and their arrogance. Allah is with us…

The worshippers chant: Death to America. Death to Israel. Curse upon the Jews. Victory to Islam. Allah Akbar. Death to America. Death to Israel. Curse upon the Jews. Victory to…

An arrow on-screen points to a man walking through the crowd, a bomb goes off and worshippers cry out.

Mark Durie: 'Killing Infidels the Key to Paradise: the Islamic State’s Hacking Division'

"Fighting to kill non-Muslims can be a ticket to glory, win or lose: either you kill and gain a get-out-of-hell free card, or you are killed and gain a get-into-paradise-free card. This is a win-win proposition for the jihadi."

by Mark Durie, March 23, 2015

Last week the Islamic State's ‘Hacking Division’ released the names and addresses of one hundred US military personnel.  It urged the ‘brothers residing in America’ – i.e. Muslims in America – to ‘deal with’ them, which is to say, it wants them killed.

It is worth giving careful consideration to the Islamic legal reasoning given by IS in support of their call to kill non-Muslims.

The Hacking Division quoted two verses of the Qur’an:
  • Sura 9:123 ‘fight believers who are near to you’ and 
  • Sura 9:14 ‘Fight them; Allah will punish them by your hands and will disgrace them and give you victory over them, and satisfy [actually yashfi ‘heal’] the breasts of a believing people’.
These two verses include the word qātilū, translated here as ‘fight’, although the Arabic actually means ‘fight to kill’ (see discussion here).  The verbal root q-t-l from which qātilū is formed means ‘kill’.

CBS 60 Minutes: Iraq's Christians persecuted by ISIS

More than 125,000 of Iraq's Christians have been forced to flee the homeland they have lived in for nearly 2,000 years because of ISIS violence and threats.

CBS News, 60 Minutes, Lara Logan reporting
March 22, 2015

The following script is from "Iraq's Christians" which aired on March 22, 2015. Lara Logan is the correspondent. Max McClellan, Jeff Newton and Richard Butler, producers.

There are few places on earth where Christianity is as old as it is in Iraq. Christians there trace their history to the first century apostles. But today, their existence has been threatened by the terrorist group that calls itself Islamic State. More than 125,000 Christians -- men, women and children -- have been forced from their homes over the last 10 months.

The Islamic State -- or ISIS -- stormed into Iraq's second largest city, Mosul, last summer and took control. From there, it pushed into the neighboring villages and towns across this region, known as the Nineveh Plains, a vast area that's been home to Christians since the first century after Christ. Much of what took almost 2,000 years to build has been lost in a matter of months.

Monastery of St. Matthew, overlooking the Nineveh Plains

On the side of a mountain, overlooking the Nineveh Plains of ancient Mesopotamia, is the Monastery of St. Matthew. It's one of the oldest on earth.

The voices of its monks have echoed here since the fourth century, uttering prayers that have not changed.

Islamic State Relied on Egyptian Salafi Book to Slaughter 21 Copts in Libya

Further proof of the mainstream Islamic theological and jurisprudence foundations of the Islamic State.

by Raymond Ibrahim, March 17, 2015

Dr. Ahmed Karima, professor of Sharia at Al Azhar University, Egypt,  recently exposed the fact that the Islamic State received its justification to slaughter 21 Coptic Christians in Libya from a book titled (in translation) Christians in the Koran.  

The author of said book is Mahmoud Lutfi ‘Amr—president of Damanhur’s Ansar al-Sunna al-Muhammadiya, that is, “The Supporters of Muhammad’s Example.”

Karima further warned that this book is readily available for all willing eyes to see and ears to hear from it in the district.

Fate of 220 Assyrian Christians Abducted by ISIS Remains Unknown

"Islamic State jihadis have now executed around 2,000 Assyrian Christians, including 1,266 civilians, the [Syrian Observatory for Human Rights] says."

by Jordan Schachtel, Breitbart News, March 19, 2015

The fate remains completely uncertain of around 220 Assyrian Christians who continue to be held captive in Syria by the Islamic State terror group.

With each day that passes, the likelihood that the majority of the Assyrian men, women, and children survive captivity diminishes, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported.

“Sheikhs of Arabian clans are still working privately to release the detainees, amid fears by SOHR on their lives after the fake promises by the IS to release them,” reports the Observatory.

Islamic State jihadis have now executed around 2,000 Assyrian Christians, including 1,266 civilians, the human rights group says.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Jihadis Cleansing Pakistan of Christians

Imagine what it must be like to worship the Holy Trinity during the Divine Liturgy under the constant threat of gunfire and bombings. 

Sometimes when I hear the Beatitudes sung during the Liturgy, I wonder what our brothers and sisters must think and feel when they sing and hear Christ's words, "Blessed are you when men shall revile you and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely for My Name's sake. Rejoice! And be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in the heavens!"

For our Christian brethren in the Islamic world, these words are made real. They are experiencing the truth of Christ's words day-by-day in a profound, life-and-death manner we cannot even begin to apprehend in our land of comfort and entertainment.

God forgive us and help us to remember and pray for our persecuted brethren — these confessors and martyrs — and that we may strive just a little more earnestly to deepen our own faith, that we may share in the Resurrection with these witnesses for Christ!

Jihadis Cleansing Pakistan of Christians
by Raymond Ibrahim; March 21, 2015

On Sunday, March 15, as Christian churches around the world were celebrating morning mass, two churches in Pakistan were attacked by Islamic suicide bombers. At least 17 people were killed and over 70 were wounded.

The two churches (located in Youhanabad, Lahore’s Christian quarter) were St. John’s Catholic Church and Christ Church (Protestant). The Taliban claimed responsibility. It is believed that the group had hoped for much greater death tolls, as there were almost 2,000 people in both churches at the time of the explosions.

According to eyewitnesses, two suicide bombers approached the gates of the two churches and tried to enter them. When they were stopped — including by a 15-year-old Christian who blocked them with his body — they self-detonated. Witnesses saw “body parts flying through the air.”

Thus did the jihadis “kill and be killed,” in the words of Koran 9:111, the verse most often cited to justify suicide attacks.

According to an official statement of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Episcopal Conference of Pakistan, despite all the threats received by the churches, authorities only provided “minimal” security:
Agents present at the time of the attack were busy watching the cricket match on TV, instead of carrying out their duty to protect churches. As a result of this neglect, many Christians have lost their lives.

The statement further urged:
… the government to adopt strong measures to protect churches and other religious minorities in Pakistan [since] the Christian community of Pakistan was targeted by extremists in the past.

Less than a year-and-a-half earlier, on September 22, 2013, in Peshawar, suicide bombers entered the All Saints Church right after Sunday mass and blew themselves up in the midst of approximately 550 congregants, killing nearly 90 worshippers. Many were Sunday school children, women, and choir members. At least 120 were injured.

One parishioner recalled how “human remains were strewn all over the church.” (For an idea of the aftermath of suicide attacks on churches, see these graphic pictures.)

In 2001, Islamic gunmen stormed St. Dominic’s Protestant Church, opening fire on the congregants and killing at least 16 worshippers, mostly women and children.

Less dramatic attacks on churches occur with great frequency. Days before last Sunday’s twin attacks, three armed men entered Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church in Kasur district, Punjab, and took church personnel, the assistant parish priest, and congregation hostage. Before leaving the premises, the terrorists stole mobile telephones, cameras, and a computer.