Thursday, July 31, 2014

Archbishop Mark (Arndt) of Berlin on Islam and Muslim Persecution of Christians


Islam is at its core anti-human... Reading the Quran, you will see that all of this [extremism] lies at the foundation of Islam. One must look truth in the eye: this is all anti-human, it is directed against humanity... 
Yes, there were times when Muslims tried to live in peace with their neighbors, they even acknowledged that we Christians are people, too. But for many, those times have passed, and now they reveal who they really are.  — Archbishop Mark (Arndt) of Berlin (Full citation below.)

How refreshing and encouraging to read clear, direct truth from an Orthodox Christian hierarch, in which he does not offer such false platitudes as the following:

Monday, July 28, 2014

Islamic State now aggressively pursuing Christians in Nineveh Plain

July 24, 2014

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) – The militia of the self-proclaimed Islamic Caliphate having successfully driven all the Christians and Shiites from the city of Mosul in Iraq, has stepped up their campaign on ruthless persecution.

“The attack started from a village controlled by jihadists,” Father Paul Thabit Mekko, a Chaldean priest told the Fides news agency, “but was rejected by the Kurdish Peshmerga troops.

“In the night, panic had driven dozens of Christian families to flee to Dohuk, but the Kurdish soldiers who were controlling a checkpoint told them that the situation was under control and could return home.”

Both towns lie north of Mosul. It was at this besieged Iraqi city that an ultimatum from the Islamic State last week . to either convert to Islam or die, left the ancient city devoid of Christians. The Peshmerga are known to be fierce troops, fighting for a Kurdish independence movement in the north of Iraq.

As the Fides news agency outs it, on the one hand, the attack represents proof that the militia of the Islamic Caliphate are not content with controlling Mosul and would like to extend control over the Nineveh Plain. 

Patriarch decries ‘mass cleansing’ of Mosul by ‘a bed of criminals’

“We have to tell them that we have been here for millennia. We don’t have any ambition to fight any people, any community, or have ambition to govern or to make coup d’etat, but we have the right to live peacefully in the land of our forefathers as we did for the past 2,000 years.”

Pravmir — July 26, 2014

WASHINGTON (Today's Catholic News) — Syriac Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan, in Washington to meet with federal government representatives and members of Congress, decried the “mass cleansing” of Christians from Mosul, Iraq, by what he called “a bed of criminals.”

“We wonder how could those criminals, this bed of criminals, cross the border from Syria into Mosul and occupy the whole city of Mosul … imposing on the population their Shariah (law) without any knowledge of the international community,” Patriarch Younan said July 25, referring to Islamic State fighters, formerly known by the acronyms ISIS or ISIL.

“What happened is really kind of a cleansing based on religion. You have heard about what they did: proclaim — they announced publicly with street microphones, the ISIS — there’s no more room for Christians in Mosul, that they either have to convert, pay tax, or just leave. And they have been leaving now since then with absolutely nothing,” he added.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Tolkien’s 'Long Defeat'

When applied to the global persecution of Christians by Muslims (and secularists), Fr. Stephen's reflections on our 'Long Defeat' ought to invigorate us with renewed clarity, perseverance, and ultimately, hope. As our Savior tells us:

"When these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh." (LK 21:28)
* * *

Tolkien’s 'Long Defeat'
by Fr. Stephen Freeman
Glory To God For All Things — July 15, 2014

“Actually I am a Christian,” Tolkien wrote of himself, “and indeed a Roman Catholic, so that I do not expect ‘history’ to be anything but a ‘long defeat’— though it contains (and in legend may contain more clearly and movingly) some samples or glimpses of final victory” (Letters 255).
The Mirror of Galadriel: Insight into our new 'Dark Ages'.

History as a long defeat – I can think of nothing that is more anti-modern than this sentiment expressed by J.R.R. Tolkien. It is a thought perfectly in line with the fathers and the whole of Classical Christian teaching. And it’s anti-modernism reveals much about the dominant heresy of our time.

We believe in progress – it is written into the DNA of the modern world. If things are bad, they’ll get better. The “long defeat” would only be a description of the road traveled by racism, bigotry, and all that ignorance breeds.

And our philosophy of progress colors everything we consider. The scientific concept of evolution (please do not jump on me for mentioning the subject) only suggests that there is a change in living things and that the change is driven by adaptation and the survival of those adaptations that are generally advantageous. If such a theory is granted, it says nothing about the direction of the process nor about the process as improvement or progress. That “evolve” has come to mean “change for the better” is a purely ideological assumption with no warrant in science.

... for the first time in recorded history, the young did not expect to be as well off as their parents ...

But the metaphor of improvement remains a dominant theme within our culture. A few years ago a survey of young Americans revealed the utterly shocking conclusion that for the first time in recorded history, the young did not expect to be as well off as their parents. It was a paradigm shift in American progressive thought.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Syrian Jihadis' First Imminent Threat to the West Is to Norway

by Enza Ferreri — July 25, 2014

First, Norway. The UK could be next. There will be an Islamic atrocity sooner or later.

Norway’s security services, PST, warned of an imminent, “concrete and credible” threat to the Scandinavian country in the week that marked the third anniversary of the mass killings by Anders Behring Breivik. 

The terrorist attack, "probably within a few days", will come from fighters involved in the conflict in Syria. The target, how or when such an attack would take place is unspecified.

According to PST’s assessment, about 50 people have travelled from Norway to fight in Syria. Half of them have gone back to Norway, and the intelligence agency could not rule out that people involved with this threat are already in Norway.

Buchanan: Is Putin Worse Than Stalin?

Sober reasoning and understanding of historical context from Pat Buchanan.

Is Putin Worse Than Stalin?
by Patrick J. Buchanan — Townhall — July 25, 2014

In 1933, the Holodomor was playing out in Ukraine.

After the "kulaks," the independent farmers, had been liquidated in the forced collectivization of Soviet agriculture, a genocidal famine was imposed on Ukraine through seizure of her food production.

Estimates of the dead range from two to nine million souls.

Walter Duranty of the New York Times, who called reports of the famine "malignant propaganda," won a Pulitzer for his mendacity.

In November 1933, during the Holodomor, the greatest liberal of them all, FDR, invited Foreign Minister Maxim Litvinov to receive official U.S. recognition of his master Stalin's murderous regime.

On August 1, 1991, just four months before Ukraine declared its independence of Russia, George H. W. Bush warned Kiev's legislature:

"Americans will not support those who seek independence in order to replace a far-off tyranny with a local despotism. They will not aid those who promote a suicidal nationalism based upon ethnic hatred."

In short, Ukraine's independence was never part of America's agenda. From 1933 to 1991, it was never a U.S. vital interest. Bush I was against it.

When then did this issue of whose flag flies over Donetsk or Crimea become so crucial that we would arm Ukrainians to fight Russian-backed rebels and consider giving a NATO war guarantee to Kiev, potentially bringing us to war with a nuclear-armed Russia?

From FDR on, U.S. presidents have felt that America could not remain isolated from the rulers of the world's largest nation.

Ike invited Khrushchev to tour the USA after he had drowned the Hungarian Revolution in blood. After Khrushchev put missiles in Cuba, JFK was soon calling for a new detente at American University.

Within weeks of Warsaw Pact armies crushing the Prague Spring in August 1968, LBJ was seeking a summit with Premier Alexei Kosygin.

After excoriating Moscow for the downing of KAL 007 in 1983, that old Cold Warrior Ronald Reagan was fishing for a summit meeting.

The point: Every president from FDR through George H. W. Bush, even after collisions with Moscow far more serious than this clash over Ukraine, sought to re-engage the men in the Kremlin.

Whatever we thought of the Soviet dictators who blockaded Berlin, enslaved Eastern Europe, put rockets in Cuba and armed Arabs to attack Israel, Ike, JFK, LBJ, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan and Bush 1 all sought to engage Russia's rulers.

Avoidance of a catastrophic war demanded engagement.

How then can we explain the clamor of today's U.S. foreign policy elite to confront, isolate, and cripple Russia, and make of Putin a moral and political leper with whom honorable statesmen can never deal?

What has Putin done to rival the forced famine in Ukraine that starved to death millions, the slaughter of the Hungarian rebels or the Warsaw Pact's crushing of Czechoslovakia?

In Ukraine, Putin responded to a U.S.-backed coup, which ousted a democratically elected political ally of Russia, with a bloodless seizure of the pro-Russian Crimea where Moscow has berthed its Black Sea fleet since the 18th century. This is routine Big Power geopolitics.

And though Putin put an army on Ukraine's border, he did not order it to invade or occupy Luhansk or Donetsk. Does this really look like a drive to reassemble either the Russian Empire of the Romanovs or the Soviet Empire of Stalin that reached to the Elbe?

As for the downing of the Malaysian airliner, Putin did not order that. Sen. John Cornyn says U.S. intelligence has not yet provided any "smoking gun" that ties the missile-firing to Russia.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Hieromonk Job Gumerov - Monotheism, Part 3: Islam

This is a much welcomed and profound study of Islam by Hieromonk Job (Gumerov), the third in his series on Monotheism being published by Pravoslavie. 


Monotheism, Part 3: Islam
by Hieromonk Job Gumerov, Pravoslavie — July 23, 2014

"Islam, having arisen in Arabia in the seventh century, appeared as the religion of the law six centuries after the God of the chosen people of the religion of the Law fulfilled its purpose." 


Islam: Origins

Jibril (Gabriel) appears before Mohammed, drawing

The religion of the Law, which for 15 centuries prepared the chosen people for the coming into the world of the its Savior, the Incarnate Lord Jesus Christ, preceded New Testament religion. According to the Holy Apostle Paul, "the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ" (Gal. 3:24). It was all in all only "a shadow of good things to come" (Heb. 10:1). When the Savior came into the world, Old Testament religion had fulfilled its purpose. Our Lord Jesus Christ revealed to us the mystery of the Heavenly Kingdom and established the New Covenant, which was foretold by the prophet Jeremiah. "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people" (Jer. 31:31-33). 

Man was redeemed from original sin and its consequences by the voluntary death on the Cross of Jesus Christ as Savior of the World. He entered into an entirely new period in terms of his relationship with God in comparison with the Old Testament: instead of the law, there was a free condition of sonship and grace. Man received new means for achieving the ideal set for him of moral perfection as a necessary condition for salvation. 

Islam, having arisen in Arabia in the seventh century, appeared as the religion of the law six centuries after the God of the chosen people of the religion of the Law fulfilled its purpose. 

The difference between the Old Testament religion of the Law and Islam is not only that the latter emerged more than two thousand years after God gave on Mount Sinai the Ten Commandments and other precepts that governed life for the chosen people. The most important difference is that the Law of Moses has a Divine source. The book of Exodus gives a narrative of the majestic Epiphany. "And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice. And the Lord came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the Lord called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up" (Exod. 19:17-20). 

The founder of Islam, however, did not have a Divine revelation. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Meriam Ibrahim lands in Rome, meets with Pope Francis

by Elise Harris, Catholic News Agency via Pravmir
July 24, 2014

Vatican City, Jul 24, 2014 / 06:44 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A Sudanese woman spared of a death sentence for refusing to renounce her Christian faith arrived in Rome with her family Thursday, where they met with Pope Francis a few hours after landing.


Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim and her child Maya at the Vatican's Santa Marta residence, July 24, 2014. Credit: ANSA/Osservatore Romano

“Pope Francis was very tender with her, her husband, who was in prison, and thanked her for her courageous witness to perseverance in the Faith,” Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi said of the encounter in a July 24 statement.

Describing the meeting between the young family and the Roman Pontiff as “very serene and affectionate,” Fr. Lombardi explained that for him encounter was “a gesture of closeness and solidarity for those who suffer for their faith.”

According to Vatican Radio, Ibrahim and her husband Daniel Wani, a U.S. citizen, as well as their two children, 1-year-old Martin and 2-month-old Maya, who was born in prison, met the Roman Pontiff in the Vatican’s Saint Martha guesthouse at 1:00 p.m. local time.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi also welcomed the family at the airport, calling it “a day of celebration.”

After 2000 years, Last Christian forced to leave Mosul

by Tera Dahl, Breitbart News — July 20, 2014

ERBIL, Iraq - The last Christian reportedly left Iraq's second largest city of Mosul at 12:00pm on Saturday, ending over 6,000 years of Assyrian history in the city. Assyrians have lived in Mosul for over 6,000 years, converting to Christianity over 2,000 years ago. This all came to an end on Saturday, when the last Assyrian Christian left the city.

On Thursday, July 17th, the Islamic State (IS)-- formerly the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS)-- released a statement demanding the Christians in Mosul either to convert to Islam, paying the jizya (tax on non-Muslims), leave the city, or be killed. The threat was to be implemented on Saturday.  It is being reported locally that by noon yesterday, every Christian had chosen to leave.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Islamic State torches 1,800-year-old church after expelling Christians

"The day before their final exodus, Christians were informed jizya was no longer an option. The order came to convert, leave, or die."

"With Baghdad as the prize in mind, [ISIS] has grown in size from 3,000 by earlier estimates to 20,000 as last month’s offensive bolstered their standing."

The abolition of the jizya tax is the most important part of this story.

by Adam Chandler, The Wire (via JihadWatch) — July 22, 2014
with comments by Robert Spencer and Ralph Sidway

ISIS, which recently rebranded as the Islamic State, has solidified its control over Iraq’s second-largest city by imposing Sharia law and expelling Christians who won’t convert to Islam. The end of last month marked the first time a mass wasn’t held in the city in more than 1600 years.
Then, matters got worse. From the Daily Beast:

Friday at noon was the deadline for Christian families to meet ISIS’s demands: Convert to Islam, pay an anachronistic Islamic tax for non-Muslims known as jizya, leave Mosul, or be killed. But the day before the final exodus, Christians were informed jizya was no longer an option. The order came to convert, leave, or die.