Monday, February 24, 2020

World Watch List 2020: '260 Million Christians Experience High Levels of Persecution'

"...Not only does 'Islamic oppression' remain the chief 'source of persecution' faced by Christians in 7 of the absolute ten worst nations, but 38 of the 50 nations composing the list are either Muslim majority or have a sizable Muslim population."

A Global Catastrophe: '260 Million Christians Experience High Levels of Persecution'
by Raymond Ibrahim, February 3, 2020

The global persecution of Christians has reached unprecedented levels: “260 million Christians experience high levels of persecution” around the world, notes the recently published World Watch List 2020, an annual report that ranks the top 50 countries where Christians are most persecuted for their faith.

Additionally, “2,983 Christians were killed for faith-related reasons. On average, that’s 8 Christians killed every day for their faith”: “9,488 churches or Christian buildings were attacked,” and “3,711 Christians were detained without trial, arrested, sentenced and imprisoned.” (Note: All quotes in this article are from the WWL 2020 report.)

Dictatorial paranoia continues to make North Korea (#1) the worst nation. Christians found there are instantly “deported to labor camps as political criminals or even killed on the spot.”

Otherwise, and as has been the case in all statistics and reports on the global persecution of Christians, not only does “Islamic oppression” remain the chief “source of persecution” faced by Christians in 7 of the absolute ten worst nations, but 38 of the 50 nations composing the list are either Muslim majority or have a sizeable Muslim population.

"Perhaps the most disturbing trend is that the amount of persecuted Christians continues to grow year after year."

The overwhelming majority of these Muslim nations are governed by some form of shari‘a (Islamic law). It is either directly enforced by government or society or, more frequently, both, though societies—family members in particular—tend to be more zealous in its application. Brief summaries of the seven Muslim nations making the top ten follow:

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Raymond Ibrahim: 'Islamic reform? Top Muslim university says no'

"Renewal is in no way possible concerning those texts which are irrefutable in their certainty and stability." 
- Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb 
"The problem is that many of the worst teachings plaguing the Islamic and non-Islamic worlds are derived directly from those texts deemed entirely reliable." 
- Raymond Ibrahim

Islamic reform? Top Muslim university says no

by Raymond Ibrahim, American Thinker, February 16, 2020

Pope Francis greets Egypt's Azhar Grand Imam Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb at Abu Dhabi Conference in 2019

Largely unknown to and unreported in the West, a large, two-day conference was recently hosted (Jan. 27–28) by Al Azhar University in Egypt and attended by the leading clerics and politicians from 46 nations. Titled "Renewal in Islamic Thought," it is currently the most significant response to Egyptian president Sisi's calls for reform, which he forcibly made on January 1, 2015.

The conference focused on the most pressing topics affecting the Islamic — and in some cases non-Islamic — world, including women's rights, government and society, and the question of "radicalization" and the emergence of jihadi terror groups such as the Islamic State.

I've watched many of the panels with great interest, and in the coming weeks, I hope to remark on some of these, but for now I wish to discuss what can be learned from the closing remarks of the grand imam of Al Azhar (and Pope Francis's good friend), Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb.

First, he — in agreement with the other clerics present — closed the door on the possibility for reform on a great number of issues: "Renewal," he announced, "is in no way possible concerning those texts which are irrefutable in their certainty and stability; as for those texts that are not entirely credible, they are subject to ijtihad [reinterpretation, especially based on changing circumstances]."

'The problem is that many of the worst teachings plaguing the Islamic and non-Islamic worlds are derived directly from those texts deemed entirely reliable.'

In plain language, the teachings of those Islamic texts that are deemed entirely reliable — chief among them, the Koran as well as certain hadith, including, according to mainstream Sunnism, all nine volumes of Sahih Bukhari — are not subject to any change; only those secondary Islamic texts, including many other volumes of hadith, the sira (biography of Muhammad), and other works of history, are open to debate.

The problem is that some — many — of the worst teachings plaguing the Islamic and non-Islamic worlds are derived directly from those texts deemed entirely reliable. The Koran, for example, very clearly permits the sexual enslavement of non-Muslim women, the beating of one's wife, and polygamy. The Koran calls on Muslims to have hate for and when convenient to war on non-Muslims just because they are non-Muslims. 

Thursday, December 5, 2019

William Kilpatrick: 'Europe Is Falling to Islam. Will America?'

"Once legitimate criticism of Islam becomes a hate crime punishable by imprisonment, opposition to the Islamist agenda will quickly dry up. And the pace of change will continue to speed up."

William Kilpatrick surveys recent developments and draws ominous conclusions concerning the Islamization of the West. As always, essential reading from one of Christianity's most incisive writers on Islam.

Europe Is Falling to Islam. Will America?

BY WILLIAM KILPATRICK | DEC 2, 2019  |   Turning Point Project

“Within five years,” said former French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb, “the situation could become irreversible.”

He was referring to the rising tide of violence resulting from Muslim immigration. His comment was from an interview that took place almost two years ago. If Collomb’s calculations are correct, France only has a few years “to avoid the worst.”

Significant social change usually takes place over the course of many decades, but sometimes gradual trends enter into an acceleration phase, and massive social transformations take place in a matter of years. A few years ago, who would have imagined that the demands of the transgender “community” would become the determining factor in the decisions of school boards, corporate boards, and athletic associations? Who would have thought that the “right” of boys to enter the girls’ locker room, or the “right” of drag queens to conduct story hours in public libraries, would someday outweigh all other considerations? Yet, here we are.

Thus far, the Islamization of several major European states has been a gradual process. But there are signs that this trend is now set to accelerate. After a 9/11-style plot was recently foiled by French intelligence services, the new Interior Minister, Christophe Castaner, revealed that 60 such attacks had been foiled since 2013.

Meanwhile, 235,000 complaints for rape or attempted rape were filed in 2018; this was 62,000 more than in 2016, and an astonishing 225,000 more than in 2005. In 2018, there were also more than a thousand anti-Christian attacks (mostly, the desecration of churches), and 541 anti-Semitic acts—up 64 percent from 2017, and a shocking statistic when one considers that Jews make up less than one percent of the French population.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

New Book: 'Can Islam Transform the West?: The Evidence Considered'

An essential new book from scholar and instructor William DiPuccio, "examining actual instances in which Islamists are changing, or might be changing, Western culture in regards to free speech, religious hatred and violence, antisemitism, education, and entanglements with Islamic extremism."

I was one of the first to purchase this new work, and eagerly look forward to reading it in the days ahead.

Bill D. (who occasionally contributes to this blog, and also helps run an Orthodox Christian study group on Islam) is a rare gift to the counter-jihad movement. Sober, precise and understated in his writing style, he allows the facts and documentation to make his case for him, without polemics or hyperbole. The result is always convincing and compelling.

Also from William DiPuccio:

There are already two reviews over at Amazon if you're inclined to see what reactions other folks have before making your purchase.

Available from Amazon:
Kindle Edition - $3.99
Paperback - $9.99

From the publisher's description:

Islam has become a sensitive, political topic in America. The issue is highly polarized, pitting critics of Islam against its apologists and those who feel Islam is being unfairly maligned. This book poses the question, Can Islam Transform the West? Or, more specifically, can Islamists transform the West?

The author undertakes an even-handed, nuanced analysis by considering important differences among Muslims, looking carefully at the statistical data on Muslim beliefs and practices from numerous polls, and analyzing the ingredients which would be required to bring about cultural and political change. Unlike some presentations on this topic Dr. DiPuccio avoids hype, exaggeration, inflammatory language, and highly emotional appeals.

The book concludes by examining actual instances in which Islamists are changing, or might be changing, Western culture in regards to free speech, religious hatred and violence, antisemitism, education, and entanglements with Islamic extremism.

With 70 illustrations (including tables and graphs), and over 180 linked citations, Can Islam Transform the West? is written to raise awareness by presenting the facts and allowing readers to make up their own minds.

About the Author

William DiPuccio has a Ph.D. in Religious Studies and produces articles, educational materials, and documentaries on Islam. He is the Director of the Muslim Global Demographic Project and Producer of the documentary, What a Billion Muslims Believe (YouTube).

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Hundred Thousand Holy Martyrs of Tbilisi (+1227)

"The invaders goaded the people to the bridge, ordering them to cross it and spit on the holy icons. Those who betrayed the Christian Faith and mocked the icons were spared their lives, while the Orthodox confessors were beheaded."

This is one of the most compelling mass-martyrdom accounts in Christian history. Of course, the "Turkmen" referred to are the Muslim Turks, who during the thirteenth century were waging jihad to expand the dar al-Islam.

Notice the practice of beheading by the Muslims, used by the Islamic State today, following the example of Muhammad, who personally beheaded between 600 and 900 Jewish men and boys from the Quraiza tribe at Medina. (See The Life of Muhammad, by Ibn Ishaq, trans. A. Guillaume, New York, 1980, pp 463-464).

The Hundred Thousand Holy Martyrs of Tbilisi are commemorated by the Orthodox Church on October 31 (which is today, on the 'Old Calendar').

See also:

OCA - Lives of the Saints - 100,000 Martyrs of Tbilisi by the Mongols


The Hundred Thousand Holy Martyrs of Tbilisi  (+1227)

from Lives of the Georgian Saints, by Archpriest Zakaria Machitadze
St Herman of Alaska Press, Platina CA, 2006, pp 403-404.

From the book, 'Lives of the Georgian Saints'

In 1227 Sultan Jalal al-Din of Khwarazm and his army of Turkmen attacked Georgia. On the first day of the battle the Georgian army valorously warded off the invaders as they were approaching Tbilisi. That night, however, a group of Persians who were living in Tbilisi secretly opened the gates and summoned the enemy army into the city.

According to one manuscript in which this most terrible day in Georgian history was described: "Words are powerless to convey the destruction that the enemy wrought: tearing infants from their mothers' breasts, they beat their heads against the bridge, watching as their eyes dropped from their skulls...."

A river of blood flowed through the city. The Turkmen castrated young children, raped women, and stabbed mothers to death over their children's lifeless bodies. The whole city shuddered at the sound of wailing and lamentation. The river and streets of the city were filled with death.

The sultan ordered that the cupola of Sioni Cathedral be taken down and replaced by his vile throne. And at his command the icons of the Theotokos and our Savior were carried out of Sioni Cathedral and placed at the center of the bridge across the Mtkvari River. The invaders goaded the people to the bridge, ordering them to cross it and spit on the holy icons. Those who betrayed the Christian Faith and mocked the icons were spared their lives, while the Orthodox confessors were beheaded.

Order the book from St Herman Press!
One hundred thousand Georgians sacrificed their lives to venerate the holy icons. One hundred thousand severed heads and headless bodies were carried by the bloody current down the Mtkvari River.

0 ye thousands of stars, the chosen people guarding the Georgian Church with your golden wings, intercede for us always before the face of God!

Friday, November 8, 2019

VIDEO: Islam, Holy Icons & St. John of Damascus

A superbly produced video documentary of St John of Damascus, with in-depth presentations of his denunciation of the heresy of Islam, his systematic exposition of the Orthodox Christian Faith, and his defense of the holy icons against the ruthless persecution of the iconooclasts (literally, "icon smashers").

This is yet another excellent video from Trisagion Films, which has rapidly established itself as one of the premier Orthodox Christian platforms on the internet.

The writers frame the narration using the old Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times," noting at the conclusion that John not only lived through such "interesting times," but himself made major contributions to the defense and advancement of the Orthodox Christian Gospel during a time when the Church faced grave challenges from within and without.

Holy St John, pray to God for us!

Source: Trisagion Films.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

VIDEO: Why it is of the Utmost Importance to denounce and expose the 'Same God Heresy'

At the root of today's confusion over Islam is the widespread acceptance of the 'Same God Heresy'.

"When the Church is being betrayed and the faithful led astray, it is no time for compliments and polite 'dialogues', nor for placing sympathy above truth." 
 ~ Blessed Hieromonk Seraphim of Platina
Consider this brief video, and the exhortations from Church Fathers on standing for the Truth and not remaining silent when Christ is being blasphemed:

Lastly, consider this excerpt from the Epilogue to my book, Facing Islam:

WHEN I WAS A YOUNG CONVERT new to Orthodoxy, the late Archbishop Michael (Shaheen) of the Antiochian Archdiocese came to our parish. In delivering the homily, he stated unequivocally that (and I paraphrase), 
“We must embrace the Muslims, the Hindus, the Buddhists, for we all worship the same God; we just worship in different ways, and are merely traveling different paths to the same destination.” 
In doing so, he was blatantly standing against Jesus Christ, the Apostles, the Fathers of the Church, the Seven Ecumenical Councils, the Confessors and Martyrs and all true Orthodox believers of every age. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Sword and Scimitar: 'Compelling Reminder of the Terrifying Dynamic which Continues to Drive the Islamic World'

An in-depth, "must read" review of Raymond Ibrahim's most recent masterwork.

Sword and Scimitar: “A Compelling Reminder of the Terrifying Dynamic which Continues to Drive the Islamic World”

10/02/2019 by Raymond Ibrahim

Note: The following book review of Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West was written by Terry Scambray and first appeared in the Sept. 2019 issue of the New Oxford Review:

We judge individuals by what they say and what they do. We judge cults, religions and ideologies the same way; that is, by their doctrines and history.

Which is common sense, of course.

Apparently though, common sense is abandoned when it comes to ideologies like Marxism which has largely escaped such scrutiny by our schools and popular culture; and now the same cover up is happening with Islam.

But Raymond Ibrahim, fluent in Arabic, is an equal opportunity Middle East scholar committed to truth rather than conforming to dangerous fads.

Ibrahim gained attention with his revealing translations in his 2007 book, The Al Qaeda Reader, which showed the difference between what Osama bin Laden said in Arabic to Muslims and what he said for receptive, if not gullible, Western audiences.

Ibrahim’s second book, Crucified Again, showed the murder and destruction that Christians are enduring at the hands of Muslims throughout the world.

In Sword and Scimitar, Ibrahim begins by explaining Mohammed’s doctrine of jihad or “holy war”: “Whereas the rewards of the pre-Islamic tribal raid were limited to temporal spoils and came with the risk of death, the deified raid (jihad) offered rewards in the here and the hereafter – meaning it was essentially risk free – and thus led to a newborn fanaticism and determination.” In other words, robbery, murder and enslavement were sacralized and then transformed into a prodigious engine of Islamic conquest.

Conquest being the major feature of Islam’s 1,400 year history, Sword and Scimitar takes the reader on a tour – “a tour of force” – as represented by eight significant battles and an array of lesser clashes.

Skillfully relying on first person descriptions, Ibrahim’s narration of these battles is gripping and suspenseful while also evoking the pain and terror of warfare. Especially after the current revival of jihad, his recounting of these barbaric episodes and their consequences is not comforting.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Video: Raymond Ibrahim - 'The Past and Present Persecution of Christians'

A brisk and essential presentation by my dear friend, the great Raymond Ibrahim, on the historical continuity of Islam's persecution of Christians, from the time of Muhammad to today.

Watch and share widely:

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

England, Anglican Church continue submission to Islam, openly denying Jesus Christ in Royal Cathedral

A Koran reading in Westminster Abbey follows other recent incidents of Islam being proclaimed in Anglican cathedrals as the multifaceted apostasy of England and the COE continues to metastasize, like a spiritual cancer.  

How many of the congregants took their faith in Jesus Christ seriously enough to get up and walk out of this blasphemous invasion of a Christian gathering by a hostile, antichrist spirit? I suspect the number is zero.

Protestant and Catholic England is doomed. Orthodox England is small, but holds out hope for faithful Christians.

Regarding this latest abomination, Bishop Gavin Ashenden, who resigned as Queen’s Chaplain after objecting to the reading of the Koran in Glasgow Cathedral in 2017, warns of the spiritual force of these blasphemies: 

“Reading the Koran in cathedrals... validates Islam’s teaching that is predicated on the claim that the resurrection was a fraud and Jesus lied to his followers and the world.”  
"By welcoming an uncritical reading of the Koran, Westminster Abbey asserts the legitimacy of Mohammad and in so doing repudiates Jesus. One has to wonder what their claim to be a Christian cathedral rests on at that point?" 
— Bishop Gavin Ashenden 

Koran read at Westminster Abbey as Royal Cathedral bows to Islam
September 16, 2019,Jules Gomes, Rebel Priest:

Britain’s royal cathedral—the nation’s coronation church since 1066—and the final resting place of 17 monarchs approved a Koranic reading from its lectern at a memorial service last Tuesday.

Husein Kavazović, the Grand Mufti of Bosnia and Herzegovina, read from Koran 16: 90-97 at a Service of Thanksgiving for the life of Paddy Ashdown—a British politician and former diplomat who served as leader of the Liberal Democrats.

Ashdown, who died on 22 December 2018, became a passionate advocate for the Muslims of Bosnia and Herzegovina during the wars that led to the break-up of Yugoslavia.

The Koranic reading was in Bosnian and preceded biblical readings from Isaiah 52: 7-12 and Paul’s second epistle to Timothy 4:1-7.

Expressing his consternation, Islamic jurist Yasser Hussein who spoke to Rebel Priest media, said that such an act could imply that the deceased may have secretly converted to Islam.