Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Scandal of the Cross for Islam

The Leavetaking of the Feast of the Universal Exaltation of the Precious and Lifegiving Cross is tomorrow, Sunday September 21. On this solemn occasion it is essential to revisit Islam's vehement and violent stance against Christianity.

The Universal Exaltation of the Cross, and its Scandal for the World

by Fr. Steven C. Kostoff — Orthodox Christian Meditations
September 13, 2014

As we behold the Wood of the Cross exalted on high, let us magnify God who in His goodness was crucified upon it in the flesh.  (Small Vespers of the Feast)

We are approaching the Feast Day of The Universal Exaltation of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross - to give the Feast its full title – this coming Sunday, September 14. This is the day that we liturgically commemorate and venerate the Cross that will be placed in the middle of the church toward the end of Great Vespers on Saturday evening.   The Feast will then have a full "octave" for its celebration – thus making it an eight-day Feast which serves to stress the importance of the Cross in the life of the Church and in our personal  lives.  To further turn our attention toward the Cross, we recall the Third Sunday of Great Lent - the Adoration of the Cross; and the less well-observed Feast of the Procession of the Cross on August 1.  And, importantly, every Wednesday and Friday is a day of commemorating the Cross, one of the reasons that we fast on those two days on a weekly basis.

Prominent though that the Cross may be for Christians, it is the Apostle Paul who very succinctly and profoundly captured the unbelieving world's attitude toward the Cross in his well-known text:

For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.  (I COR. 1:23-24)

This leads the Apostle to one of his most astonishing and paradoxical insights:

For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.  (I COR. 1:26)

The "scandal" for the unbelieving Jew would be the claim that the Messiah was crucified.  The "folly" for the Greek/Gentile would be the claim that the divine would even enter the realm of flesh and blood and "become" human, let alone suffer death on a cross.  Yet God, in and through Christ, transformed what is shameful, weak, lowly and despised - a crucified man - into "our righteousness and sanctification and redemption" (I COR. 1:30)  The entire passage of I COR. 1:18-31 deserves careful, close and constant study. 

It remains fascinating, and highly instructive, that even non-Christians who profess to have a great respect for Jesus Christ, struggle terribly with the scandal of the Cross.   This is clearly the case with Islam.  Jesus is treated with great respect in many passages in the Qur'an:  even to the point of acknowledging His virginal conception in a passage that clearly resembles the Annunciation form the Gospel According to St. Luke! (Qur'an, 3:45-47)  However, the Crucifixion is treated in a way that bears no resemblance to the Gospel accounts:

"yet they did not slay him, neither crucify him, only a likeness of that was shown to them." (Qur'an 4:156-159)

The Muslims believe that someone else - a figure unidentified by the Qur'an - was crucified in the place of Christ, but not Jesus Himself.  The Muslim scholar Dr. Maneh Al-Johani wrote:  "The Qur'an does not elaborate on this point, nor does it give any answer to this question." 

Clearly, the "scandal" of the Cross is too much for Muslim sensibilities, since Jesus is for them a great prophet sent by God.  Muslims further believe that Jesus was raised to Heaven, yet before He died, clearly an odd teaching that again is meant to completely distance Jesus from His crucifixion.  If there is anything that is agreed upon today among New Testament scholars - believers and skeptics alike - it is that Jesus of Nazareth was put to death by crucifixion by orders of Pontius Pilate in the early 30's of the Christian era.  This lends a certain fantastic quality to these claims of the Qur'an.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Jihad in Australia: 600 police in huge counter-terror raid in Sydney and Brisbane

"This network was apparently connected to the Islamic State — again illustrating the appeal of the caliphate to so many young Muslims worldwide."


Australia: 600 police in huge counter-terror raid in Sydney and Brisbane
by Robert Spencer, Jihad Watch — September 17, 2014

“It is believed that a terrorist network had been planning to carry out a series of attacks in Australia.” This network was apparently connected to the Islamic State — again illustrating the appeal of the caliphate to so many young Muslims worldwide.

“ASIO and hundreds of police raid Sydney and Brisbane homes in biggest counter-terrorism raid in Australia’s history” 
by Simon Benson, The Daily Telegraph, September 18, 2014:

ASIO and counter terrorism police have swooped on homes across north-western Sydney and other states this morning in what is believed to be the largest anti-terrorism bust in the nation’s history.

Several arrests have reportedly been made in the secret pre-dawn raid, which is still in progress.

The arrests follow the execution of a number of search warrants in Beecroft, Bellavista, Guildford, Merrylands, Northmead, Wentworthville, Marsfield, Westmead, Castle Hill, Revesby, Bass Hill and Regents Park.

The raid is believed to have been mounted following months of surveillance of people linked to the terrorist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Obama's "not Islamic" Islamic State Claim Ridiculed

Not included in the IPT article was this satirical cartoon, which sums it up nicely (h/t Jim).

by IPT News — September 11, 2014

President Obama's assertion Wednesday night that the Islamic State terrorist group "is not 'Islamic'" is drawing derision from a number of quarters.

The claim, also made by Obama's predecessors, is "preposterous," Daniel Pipes wrote for the National Review Online. "To state the obvious: As non-Muslims and politicians, rather than Muslims and scholars, they are in no position to declare what is Islamic and what is not."

Orthodox Christian Nun warns against Islam, slams media silence (with video)

“The reason for all this disaster is the Qur’an.” Sister Hatune Dogan - See more at:

"The reason for all this disaster is the Quran." 
— Sister Hatune Dogan

via 'Muslims Slice off the Breasts of Kidnapped Christian Girls in Syria and Iraq'
Sharia Unveiled, September 16, 2014

Sometimes it takes a David to defeat a Goliath – or, in this case, unassuming nuns to speak where the media remain silent. Speaking out for Christians persecuted in the Middle East, Mother Olga Yaqob and Sister Hatune Dogan slammed the American media for keeping silent. 

The nuns spoke with MRC (Media Research Center) during the In Defense of Christians (IDC) Inaugural Summit in Washington, D.C. Sept. 9-11. Both told the stories journalists ignore: of refugees displaced and Christian girls “repeatedly raped” and “misused” – some as young as 5-years-old. 

Mother Olga of the Daughters of Mary of Nazareth, an Iraqi native recognized by the Iraqi government for her care of the poor, recently established a religious order in Boston.

Raised in Germany after fleeing from Turkey, Sister Hatune Dogan, is an Orthodox Christian nun who aids Christians in Syria and Turkey through her organization, “A Helping Hand to the Poor.” Addressing the American coverage of Christian persecution in the Middle East, Mother Olga stressed, “In the early months, there wasn’t much coverage.” “Some of the Christian networks – media networks – were covering [the persecution]. But not very much the secular media.”

Sister Hatune expressed similar dismay. “The media make a mistake,” she began, “Because they don’t say the truth.” She criticized, “But the media has big duty to tell the truth, to make Americans see what is really going on.”

That truth, she explained, consists of “slaughtering, raping, kidnapping, taking ransom, killing, crucifying, and ridding the Christians of what they need.”

As one of her “thousands of stories” of Christian persecution, Sister Hatune began:

Monday, September 15, 2014

Raymond Ibrahim — Beheading Infidels: How Allah ‘Heals the Hearts of Believers’

Essential article on the Muslim jihadi mind. As gruesome as the below pictures are, this article is ultimately about Islamic and Koranic spirituality. It reveals starkly how Muslim jihadis are avidly following pure Islam. Read and share widely.

"When young Muslims express their anger and frustration at the state of affairs of the Islamic world, their clerics council them to go to the jihad in Iraq and Syria and decapitate themselves an infidel—which, according to the Koran, should “heal their hearts.” [...] 
"Such Muslims join the jihad, and not only do they decapitate, but they mutilate, humiliate, and laugh at the disgraced enemies of Allah—in perfect emulation of the Islamic glory/gory stories they grew up on. 
"This is the true cult of jihad which few non-Muslims can begin to comprehend..."

by Raymond Ibrahim — September 11, 2014

What will “heal” and “remove the rage” from “the hearts of the believers”? Infidel carnage, says the Koran.

To understand why the Islamic State not only decapitates its “infidel” captives, but also mutilates and mocks their corpses—and all to sadistic laughter—one need only turn to the Koran and deeds of Islamic prophet Muhammad.

The Koran exhorts believers to “Fight them [those who oppose Islam], Allah will torment them with your hands, humiliate them, empower you over them, and heal the hearts of the believers, removing the rage from their hearts” (Koran 9:14-15).

As usual, to understand the significance of any Koran verse, one must turn to the sira and hadith—the biography and anecdotes of Muhammad, respectively—for context.

Thus we come to the following account concerning the slaughter of ‘Amr bin Hisham, a pagan Arab chieftain originally  known as “Abu Hakim” (Father of Wisdom) until Muhammad dubbed him “Abu Jahl” (Father of Stupidity) for his staunch opposition to Islam.

After ‘Amr was mortally wounded by a new convert to Islam during the Battle of Badr, Abdullah ibn Mas‘ud, a close companion of Muhammad, saw the “infidel” chieftain collapsed on the ground.  So he went to him and started abusing him.  Among other things, Abdullah grabbed and pulled ‘Amr’s beard and stood in triumph on the dying man’s chest.

According to Al-Bidaya wa Al-Nihaya (“The Beginning and the End”), Ibn Kathir’s authoritiative history of Islam, “After that, he [Abdullah] slit his [‘Amr’s] head off and bore it till he placed it between the hands of the Prophet. Thus did Allah heal the hearts of the believers with it.”

This, then, is the true significance of Koran 9:14-15: “Fight them, Allah will torment them with your hands [mortally wounding and eventually decapitating ‘Amr], humiliate them [pulling his beard], empower you over them [standing atop him], and heal the hearts of the believers, removing the rage from their hearts [at the sight of his decapitated head].”

The logic here is that, pious Muslims are so full of zeal for Allah’s cause that the only way their inflamed hearts can be at rest is to see those who oppose Allah and his prophet utterly crushed—humiliated, mutilated, decapitated.  Then the hearts of the believers can be at ease and “healed.”

This is surely one of the reasons behind the Islamic State’s dissemination of gory videos and pictures of its victims: the new “caliphate” is trying to heal the hearts of every believer inflamed for the cause of Allah.

If this sounds too farfetched, consider the following picture of a decapitated “infidel” from the Islamic State’s websites.  The Arabic caption to the left says “healing for hearts”—a clear reference to the aforementioned Koran verse:

Russia fears the eastward spread of 'jihadist cancer'

"Eyewitnesses indicate that, on the territory it controls, IS is able to provide order — naturally, within the boundaries outlined by its rigid ideological paradigm. IS has created more jobs; work is not badly paid; criminal activity has decreased; the land is farmed; and trade is functioning. Part of the population — in any case, the Sunnis — are already getting used to living by the new rules. It is scary, but stable."

by Vitaly Naumkin, AL Monitor — September 11, 2014

The military successes of the Islamic State (IS); the possibility of the ‘jihadist cancer’ spreading to Iraq and Syria’s neighboring countries; the uncertainty of the situation in and around Syria; the growth of internal tensions in a number of countries in the Arab Mashreq; the high level of violence and cruelty; the unresolved Palestinian issue; the interfaith and intrafaith (sectarian) rifts; the anxiety engulfing the population in many parts of the region — all this, against a background of shrinking cooperation between Moscow and the West, increases the former’s concern about the future of this part of the Arab world, to whose fate Russians are certainly not indifferent.

Rumors circulating about the possibility of the US airstrikes on IS positions inside Syria have generated lively debate in the Russian expert community and in the media. Obviously, if such attacks were carried out without the consent of the Syrian authorities, Damascus would regard this as a violation of the country’s sovereignty, and Moscow would support this position. In diplomatic circles, rumors are also spreading that the Syrian government would not mind if Russia used airstrikes in areas where the forces of IS militants are concentrated in Syria. No official request, however, appears to have come from Damascus. Thus for now, we can only say that the Syrian government would prefer that such course of action be taken — in case it becomes necessary to stop the onslaught of the terrorists — by Russia, rather than the United States and other forces hostile to Damascus. Yet, it is safe to assume that Moscow is unlikely to intervene militarily in the conflict, even if such an official appeal were to be issued.

Russian analysts are very concerned about the scenario of “squeezing” IS out of Iraq and into Syria, and then “sealing off” the Iraqi-Syrian border (though the complete closure of a border is hardly possible) by Iraqi forces and the anti-IS coalition, with the support of the US Air Force and possibly, in the future, of other Western states. In this scenario, the likelihood of ultraradical Islamists attacking the positions of Syrian government forces rises dramatically. Here, a simple fact demands attention: Contrary to the pictures on television channels, IS fighters do not only torture, maim, behead and shoot all those citizens who disagree with them, though they do indeed commit all these atrocities. Eyewitnesses indicate that, on the territory it controls, IS is able to provide order — naturally, within the boundaries outlined by its rigid ideological paradigm. IS has created more jobs; work is not badly paid; criminal activity has decreased; the land is farmed; and trade is functioning. Part of the population — in any case, the Sunnis — are already getting used to living by the new rules. It is scary, but stable.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

ISIL’s Ottoman “Caliphate” Forbears Brutally Slaughtered 250,000 Assyrian-Chaldean, and Orthodox Christians A Century Ago

This devastating report proves the underlying allegiance of so-called "moderate" Muslims to the Global Jihad, who are not only siding with ISIS but committing the worst of atrocities against their Christian and Yazidi neighbors. As Andrew Bostom relates from eyewitness testimony:

"Local Sunni Muslims, the Christians' erstwhile 'neighbors', not only aided and abetted ISIL, but were more responsible for killings, other atrocities, and expulsions than the 'foreign' invading jihadists."

It is important to keep in mind that the historical episode Mr. Bostom cites from a century ago of Islamic jihad/genocide against Middle East Christians, is only one small component of the wider thirty year Orthodox Christian holocaust (1894 — 1922), during which over 3.6 million Eastern Christians were killed by their Turkish Muslim 'neighbors'.  

ISIL’s Ottoman “Caliphate” Forbears Brutally Slaughtered 250,000 Assyrian-Chaldean, and Orthodox Christians A Century Ago
by Andrew Bostom — August 15, 2014
h/t Fr A

Albeit belated, and ever grudgingly, the non-Muslim world has been compelled to acknowledge ISIL's ghastly, murderous jihad rampages against both the Christian and Yazidi religious minorities of northern Iraq.

Even now, however, no U.S. television network has been willing to air the explicit testimonies of both Yazidi and Christian refugees from these jihad depredations about the following salient issue: how local Sunni Muslims, their erstwhile "neighbors," not only aided and abetted ISIL, but were more responsible for killings, other atrocities, and expulsions than the "foreign" invading jihadists. For example, Sabah Hajji Hassan, a 68-year-old Yazidi, lamented,

The (non-Iraqi) jihadists were Afghans, Bosnians, Arabs and even Americans and British fighters. But the worst killings came from the people living among us, our (Sunni) Muslim neighbors. The Metwet, Khawata and Kejala tribes-they were all our neighbors. But they joined the IS [Islamic State; ISIL], took heavy weapons from them, and informed on who was Yazidi and who was not. Our neighbors made the IS takeover possible.

Saudi anti-Christian sweep prompts calls for US involvement

"Saudi Arabia is continuing the religious cleansing that has always been its official policy." — Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom

by Benjamin Weinthal, Fox News — September 10, 2014

Dozens of Christians arrested at a prayer meeting in Saudi Arabia need America's help, according to a key lawmaker who is pressing the State Department on their behalf.

Some 28 people were rounded up Friday by hard-line Islamists from the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice in the home of an Indian national in the eastern Saudi city of Khafji, and their current situation is unknown, according to human rights advocates. 

"Saudi Arabia is continuing the religious cleansing that has always been its official policy," Nina Shea, director of the Washington-based Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, told "It is the only nation state in the world with the official policy of banning all churches. This is enforced even though there are over 2 million Christian foreign workers in that country. Those victimized are typically poor, from Asian and African countries with weak governments."

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Five Christian Patriarchs meet with President Obama at the White House

This likely won't lead to any substantive US support for persecuted Christians. Obama wishes to deny Islam's global persecution of Christians, claiming the perpetrators are "not Islamic." From the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt to ISIS in the Middle East to Boko Haram in Nigeria and extremist groups in Indonesia, Malaysia and elsewhere, Muslims all around the world describe their jihad in terms of adherence to pure Islam. 

Modern-day Muslim persecution of Christians throughout the Islamic world — including by the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) — is the strongest refutation of President Obama's absurd statement that "the Islamic State is not Islamic." 

And 1400 continuous years of Muslim jihad against Christians throughout the Middle East, Africa, Europe (Spain & the Balkans), Russia, Asia Minor, Central and Southeast Asia, is the second strongest refutation as it proves — by its continuity spanning centuries, geography, cultures and languages — that Islam is always looking to go on the attack, conquer, subjugate and rule, until it conquers the entire globe. 

Though it is hardly comforting, knowing the truth about the Islamic State — that it is pure Islam as commanded by the Quran and lived by Muhammad — is better than listening to endless lies from deceitful leaders who themselves are conducting political persecution of Christians right here in America.

Five Christian Patriarchs meet with President Obama at the White House
Syriac International News Agency via Pravmir — September 13, 2014

WASHINGTON, Sept. 11, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — For the first time in history, five Christian Patriarchs representing Christian communities in the Middle East visited the White House to discuss the protection of Christians in theMiddle East with President Obama and National Security Advisor Susan Rice.

In Defense of Christians President Toufic Baaklinisaid, “We want to thank President Obama at this critical moment in history for meeting with the representatives of these Christian communities from the Middle East who face suffering and hardship for professing their religious beliefs.”
Attending the meeting with the President are:

Friday, September 12, 2014

Islam Analyst: ISIS in America - Estimated 1.5 million practicing Muslims present real internal threat to U.S.

"ISIS and their supporters are operating in America and we will soon be provided proof in the way of isolated terrorist attacks simultaneously all across our great country."

by Dave Gaubatz, Family Security Matters — September 2, 2014

More Americans are beginning to catch on that there are very evil people who in the name of Islam commit atrocities unimaginable to the human mind.  ISIS represents Islam in its purest form.  Mohammed would be smiling from ear to ear if he were able to see ISIS carrying out his planned agenda for world domination.  For years I have been conducting first-hand research at mosques around the world.  For years I have been warning innocent people that Islam in its purest form is being taught in the mosques.  Most people have ignored the warnings and blamed the violence on just a few ‘radical Muslims'.  Many people continued to believe there are moderate Muslims and Islam is being hijacked.

[See my post on mosque studies, indicating upwards of 80% of mosques in the U.S. teach jihad and the overthrow of the U.S. and institution of sharia as the law of the land.]

In plain terms a moderate Muslim is a non-practicing Muslim.  They do not exist and these people who claim to be Muslims are actually Apostates of Islam.  Indeed they are good people who do not desire physical Jihad and world domination.  Nevertheless they are ignoring the true teachings and basic beliefs of the Islamic ideology.  These people are subject to death in accordance with Shariah law and groups such as ISIS are fulfilling the deeds of Mohammed.  Around the world practicing Muslims are killing men, women and children who have departed from Islamic teachings.