Saturday, August 31, 2013

Obama's Attack on Syria Begins with John Kerry's Grand Tour of Big 5 Sunday News Shows

Secretary of State John Kerry (AFP Photo / Mark Wilson)
Politico and other sources are reporting, based on a White House source, that Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to make the Grand Tour tomorrow and hit the 'Big 5' Sunday News Shows. Per RT:

Ahead of the congressional debate on a possible Syrian strike, US Secretary of State John Kerry will try to win the hearts of Americans by arguing the administration’s case on five major US talk shows, politico reported citing a White House source. Kerry is planning to appear on NBC's "Meet the Press," ABC's "This Week," CBS's "Face the Nation," CNN's "State of the Union" and "Fox News Sunday." 
If memory serves me, the last time an Obama Administration official made the full round of the Big 5 Sunday News Talk Shows, it was when Susan Rice (then U.S. Ambassador to the UN) presented the completely fallacious White House talking points on the terrorist attack on our Benghazi facility where four U.S citizens (including our ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens) were killed.

Islamic Teaching: Non-Muslims Equal to Dogs

Lest you think this sort of mindset only manifests in the Muslim world overseas, let me share a conversation I recently had.

A few weeks ago after liturgy, several of us were discussing Islam and Orthodoxy. The teenage daughter of a couple I know related an episode that happened to her at school. First of all, this family is from Syria, so they look "Middle Eastern," but the children do not speak English with any accent. It seems the teenage daughter was wearing her cross, and a friend of hers, a Muslim girl, noticed it. The Muslim girl whispered something under her breath in Arabic. Our teenage confessor understood it and confronted her at once, asking, "How dare you call me a dog!"  The Muslim girl tried to make excuses, then begged our teenage heroine not to tell anyone, to which she graciously consented. However, the next day, when her mother came to pick her up at the school, the mother of the Muslim girl was there too, and gave her an evil glare... 

The lesson of the story: Even in America, Muslims are raised to think of Christians as infidels, no better than a dog.

Islamic Teaching: Non-Muslims Equal to Dogs
by Raymond Ibrahim — 8/29/2013

Among those familiar with the true teachings of Islam, it is well known that the life — or as articulated in Arabic, the “blood” — of an infidel, that is, a non-Muslim, is not equal to the life/blood of a Muslim.  Few know, however, that among some of  Islam’s respected hadith collections, the blood of a non-Muslim is no better than the blood of a dog.

(Dog-lovers should bear in mind that, in Islam, to be compared to a dog is about the worst and most degrading insult.)

Brother Rashid (a former Muslim turned Christian) recently discussed this during his Arabic-language show, Su’al Jari’ (“Daring Question,” which I recently appeared on to discuss my book, Crucified Again).

According to a hadith recorded among other places in Sunan Ahmed (Hanbali jurisprudence) and Sunan al-Bayhaqi (Shafi’i jurisprudence), during the course of a discussion about non-Muslims, Caliph Omar al-Khattab — one of Sunni Islam’s “four righteous caliphs” —  declared “They are heathens, and the blood of one of them is [like] the blood of a dog.”

Cup of Water Sparks Death Sentence for Pakistani Mother

This is a shocking story, now almost three years on, which reveals the dark and murderous heart and soul of Islam.  Prayers up for Asia Bibi...

Asia Bibi, sentenced to death on trumped-up blasphemy charges in Pakistan, has dictated and published memoirs through her husband.

The Clarion Project — 8/29/2013

Protesters hold up placards while demanding the release of Asia Bibi, a
Pakistani Christian woman who has been sentenced to death for blasphemy.
On November 8, 2010, a Christian mother of five was sentenced to death by hanging under Pakistan's blasphemy laws.

While languishing in prison for the last four years, Aasiya Noreen, known as Asia Bibi,  wrote her memoirs in a book called Blasphemy, where she tells of her ordeal and her years in prison. The book was dictated to her husband, who was helped in publishing the book by French journalist Anne-Isabelle Tollet.

Jimmy Carter: Christianity Mistreats Women as much as Islam

Former president Jimmy Carter equates Islam's oppression of women (which Muslims believe is sanctioned by Allah as declared by Muhammad's "revelations" and as manifested by Muhammad's example as "the most beautiful pattern of conduct") with the transfigured personhood revealed by Jesus Christ through the Christian faith.

This is exactly the sort of "religious equivalency fallacy" and Western self-loathing of its Christian foundations that must be refuted as ably as possible. I'll intersperse my comments with the below article.

Jimmy Carter: Women's Plight Perpetuated By World Religions
By Bill Barrow - Huffington Post - 06/28/13

ATLANTA — Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter says religious leaders, including those in Christianity and Islam, share the blame for mistreatment of women across the world. 

The human rights activist said Friday religious authorities perpetuate misguided doctrines of male superiority, from the Catholic Church forbidding women from becoming priests to some African cultures mutilating the genitals of young girls.

Friday, August 30, 2013

OCA Holy Synod calls for prayers in wake of Egyptian crisis


On August 30, 2013, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon and the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, issued a statement calling for prayers for all who are suffering in the crisis currently gripping Egypt, and especially that nation’s minority Christian community.

The complete text follows.

Concerning the Conflict in Egypt and its Christian community

It is with deep concern that we have witnessed the mounting difficulties and sorrows suffered by Christians and non-Christians alike across the Middle East, and especially in Egypt and Syria. Of special concern is the plight of the Coptic community in Egypt. The situation in that land is indeed a complex one—one for which we offer prayers on behalf of all people of good will, Christian and non-Christian alike, that the ongoing conflict will soon end in a peaceful resolution. Nevertheless, in mid-August we witnessed disturbing images and reports of the burning and destruction of dozens of Coptic churches across Egypt, together with attacks on the faithful and their homes, families and businesses. While this is not the first time Egypt’s Christians have had to endure such pain, the magnitude of the recent attacks is unprecedented.

The Church, from apostolic times, has endured suffering and persecution. “Blessed are you when men shall revile you and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake,” our Lord reveals in Matthew 5:11. Since the time of Cain and Abel, the nature of this fallen world has pitted brother against brother. However, we have been called to look beyond this fallen world and to set our sight on the Kingdom of the Prince of Peace. In this manner, we will fulfill the prayer offered by our Lord on the eve of His life-creating death, “that they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me” [John 17:21].

It is in this spirit that we call upon the faithful to beseech our Lord to grant peace to our Coptic brothers and sisters in the midst of their trials—and to all Egyptians of good will, in search of that “Peace which passes all understanding” [Philippians 4:7]. May the promise of the Kingdom remain before them as they continue to witness to Jesus Christ in circumstances that, for us, are unimaginable. May we speak up in their defense through whatever means are at our disposal. And may those who have lost their lives in the conflict be granted eternal rest with the saints, in the bosom of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit” [Romans 15:13].


Again we pray for those who are being persecuted for their faith, especially the Christian faithful of Egypt and across the Middle East, that the Lord God will send down upon them every spiritual weapon to endure their tribulations; and that He will grant that Peace which passes all understanding upon the region, and throughout the whole world, as a foretaste of His heavenly Kingdom.

[Perhaps it should be mentioned that in our personal prayer rule we can and ought to remember those being persecuted for their Christian faith. As we become better informed, we may come to know of specific names, parishes and missions. Just as Orthodox Christians in the 1960s and 70s prayed for the Catacomb Church in the former Soviet Union, so ought we intercede for our brothers and sisters under the Sword of Islam.)

Sen. Rand Paul defends Christians in Syria from Obama and Al Qaeda

This is precisely the position to take, and Senator Paul's reasoning is perfectly sound. Both morally and theologically it is imperative that the Christian West aid and defend persecuted Christians in the Islamic world, where they face certain genocide at the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda, the Salafists and Wahhabists, and other Islamist extremists.

But Obama, by siding with these extremist factions, is throwing the Christians to the wolves, and abetting religious and ethnic cleansing of Christians throughout the entire Muslim world.

Rand Paul to Obama: Don't Use U.S. Weapons to kill Christians in Syria
by Awr Hawkins, Breitbart News — 8/30/2013

In an August 29 interview on Gov. Mike Huckabee's radio show, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) pressed President Obama to think before attacking Syria in a way that will result in the deaths of any of that country's minority Christian population. 

According to The Hill, Paul said Obama needs to realize there are more "Christians living in Syria... than just about anywhere else in the Middle East," and "they're on the other side in this war."

Paul made it clear there is no room for recklessness or haphazardly lobbing cruise missiles into the country. He added pointedly,  "I don't want to see my kids or weapons of the United States being used to kill Christians in Syria."

Paul told Huckabee that if Obama is "contemplating war, or contemplating offensive action against Syria," he should come before "a joint session of Congress." The Kentucky Senator said Obama should try to "convince [Congress] of the need for it. He should try to convince us how it's in our national security."

Added Paul: "To my knowledge, there is no evidence that Syria is any threat to any U.S. personnel here, abroad or anywhere."

Egyptian Christian Leader: 'Shame on Obama'

CBN News — 8/28/2013

An Egyptian Christian leader is calling out President Barack Obama and his administration for not doing enough in face of intense persecution against the Church by the Muslim Brotherhood.

Following the recent barrage of church burnings, Father Rafic Greiche, the chief spokesman for the Catholic Church in Egypt, criticized President Obama for not speaking out against the worst violence against Egyptian Christians in nearly 700 years.

"President Obama when he made a speech he just touched on the burning churches instead of telling the Muslim Brotherhood that they are terrorists and they are making terror on Egypt," Greiche said. "He did not speak loud for this and shame on him if he is a Christian that he does not speak out loud."

"The spokesman of the White House who…was asked 'What is the red line for the Christians in Egypt?' he mocked and said, 'I didn't bring my red pen," he noted.

Culture of Death Democrats pray condemnation on themselves by praying for Abortion Rights

Way off topic for my blog, but a shocking indication of how completely perverse many so-called Christians have become, as they pray to enable murder and infanticide. Total apostasy. What God are they praying to?

Not the Holy Trinity, who says "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you." Not the Lord Jesus Christ, who said "Let the little children come unto me and forbid them not..."

These pathetic and deceived people should be remembered along with King Herod I on December 29, when we commemorate the 14,000 Holy Innocents slain in Bethlehem in Herod's mad effort to kill the Christ Child.

Too strong a condemnation? You decide, as they explicitly pray "for women in developing nations, that they may know the power of self-determination. May they have access to employment, education, birth control and abortion," and as they conclude, "we pray for the families who have chosen. May they know the blessing of choice."

Woe to you who call evil good, and who call a curse a blessing.

They are self-condemned. Lord have mercy on them and lead them to repentance.

Dr. Susan Berry, Breitbart News — 8/29/2013

Iowa Democrat gubernatorial candidates joined abortion activists in a prayer for increased access to abortion at a rally held Wednesday.

Similarly, Life News reports the “prayer:”

We give thanks, oh Lord, for the doctors, both current and future, who provide quality abortion care. 
We pray for increased financial support for low-income women to access contraception, abortion and childcare. 
Today, we pray for women in developing nations, that they may know the power of self-determination. May they have access to employment, education, birth control and abortion. 
Today we pray for the families who have chosen. May they know the blessing of choice.

Iowa Democrat candidates for governor, Jack Hatch and Tyler Olson, participated in the prayer.

In April, President Obama, in attendance at the annual Planned Parenthood gala, told the abortion industry, “You’ve also got a president who is going to be right there with you, fighting every step of the way.”

At the conclusion of his speech, Obama said to the crowd of Planned Parenthood supporters, “Thank you. God bless you.”

Photo source: The Iowa Republican/YouTube

Head of Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America expresses gratitude to the Russian Church for her concern for Christians in Syria

DECR via — 8/30/2013

His Eminence Philip (Saliba), Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America, head of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, sent a message to the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, which reads, in particular: “We monitor with gratitude your tireless efforts in support of the Christians, and all the God-fearing people of Syria.”

His Eminence Metropolitan Philip expresses his conviction that the forces responsible for stirring up the conflict in the country “have ulterior motives in mind, not the least of which is to expunge the area of Christians who have been living in that land peacefully with Muslims for many years under the secular government…”

The hierarch of the Church of Antioch thanked the Russian Church for carrying out the fund-raising campaign and sending the money collected “to help the needy, homeless and downtrodden people of Syria” who have been suffering from “the uncivil war that continues to rage.”

“Throughout history, Russia has protected the Orthodox of the Middle East in times of need and it seems history is repeating itself once again,” the letter reads. His Eminence Metropolitan Philip expressed his gratitude to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia for his support in this difficult time and asked him “to remember the victims of this barbarism” in his prayers.

Protesters in Georgia try to stop construction of minaret

Mosques and minarets are hugely symbolic for Muslims, and are foci for Islamic supremacism and open jihad, as is clearly seen in this quote:

The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers… — Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister of Turkey

Protesters in Georgia try to stop construction of minaret
Interfax via — 8/30/2013

A group of Orthodox Christians blocked a road in Georgia on Thursday to prevent the return of the metal skeleton of a minaret to the village from where it had been removed for an alleged customs formality.

The metal frame was made in Turkey, imported last month and installed in a mosque that was opened recently in the private house of Jambul Abuladze in the village of Chela, near the town of Akhaltsikhe. On Tuesday, the Revenue Service had it dismantled it and taken to Tbilisi for a formality that had allegedly not been performed during customs control in July.

The frame was on its way back to Chela when a group of people from Akhaltsikhe blocked the road it was being transported on.

"In many democratic countries it is forbidden to put up minarets, from which a mullah calls Muslims to prayer for the entire neighborhood to hear. Why shouldn't there be such a ban in Orthodox Georgia? There should be a referendum on the issue of construction of minarets in Georgia. No one should be allowed to put them up at their homes if they like to," one of the protesters, Oleg Sandroshvili, told reporters.

Georgian media said there were police on the protest site.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

BREAKING: Obama falsifies intel to justify rush to war in Syria

Late this afternoon, The Daily Caller reported that the Obama Administration has falsified intelligence in order to try to make its case and gin up support for military action against Syria.

This is a damning report. Thank God it came out now, not later. Will it be enough to stop the rush to war, which would only benefit Islamic jihadists and Al Qaeda extremists at the expense of Christians in Syria?

Verify chemical weapons use before unleashing the dogs of war
by Kenneth Timmerman, President, Foundation for Democracy in Iran
The Daily Caller — 8/29/2013

The Obama administration has selectively used intelligence to justify military strikes on Syria, former military officers with access to the original intelligence reports say, in a manner that goes far beyond what critics charged the Bush administration of doing in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq war.

According to these officers, who served in top positions in the United States, Britain, France, Israel, and Jordan, a Syrian military communication intercepted by Israel’s famed Unit 8200 electronic intelligence outfit has been doctored so that it leads a reader to just the opposite conclusion reached by the original report.

British Prime Minister loses Syria war vote in Parliament

All the major news outlets tonight are reporting on David Cameron's "stunning defeat," with CBS noting there was "not a lot" of public support for British military involvement in Syria.

With recent polls indicating only 9% of the US approve of military action against Syria, "not a lot" of public support may be quite the understatement on this side of the pond.

So now we come full circle to the wry observation Mark Steyn made some time ago, only now we should relish applying it to David Cameron and Barack Obama, not merely to Assad and the Al Qaeda-linked cannibal jihadist rebels Obama and Cameron have chosen to support:

Gee, it's a shame they can't both lose.

St John the Baptist: Speaking Truth to Power

"The most important thing in our lives is to correctly honor the truth." — Met. Hierotheos Vlachos 

To those who would compartmentalize life, relegating "faith" to the unseen world only, and denying that the Life in Christ should have any influence over our life in the world, we respond with the example of the Holy Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist, John, who spoke truth to power.

Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos writes:

What is admired about Saint John the Forerunner was that he was a herald of the truth. He spoke of Christ who is the Truth, and led people to the Truth. His words were not shallow, conciliatory and false. He rebuked people who approached him as well as Herod, indicating to them the correct way, the restoration of justice, and to align their lives with the Law of God. Of course, this had consequences for him, namely imprisonment and finally beheading unto death. But the most important thing in our lives is to correctly honor the truth. 
We must be people of the truth and not falsehood, of simplicity and not duplicity and hypocrisy. The Honorable Forerunner, after the All Holy Mother of God, has great boldness before Christ, which is why we must call upon his intercessions and imitate his example.

Through the example of St John the Baptist, a Christian is emboldened to confront and repudiate sin and falsehood, in himself first, then also in politicians, leaders, and corporations who support depravity.

Today, August 29, we commemorate the beheading of St John. In the Savior's words, "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake."

Today, we are reminded that we live in dire times, when the love of many has grown cold, when peoples' conscience are deadened, when our leaders stand against morality and truth, seeking to force upon the world immorality and lies.

Today, we contemplate the example of St John the Baptist, who preached repentance to all, preparing the way for Christ. He preached even to the mighty and powerful, who could have received Christ had they repented.

St John the Forerunner calls to us today:

Speak truth to power, that the powerful may know they are weak, that the Truth is eternally triumphant, and that the Way, the Truth and the Life is Jesus Christ alone.

May we boldly witness to the Truth, with our lives, and if need be, through our death.

Public Pressure Slows U.S. Rush to War in Syria

From AK: Regarding Syria, please call your Congressional representatives as soon as you can. As you can read in the story below, public pressure is already making a difference. The liars who want this war are in a rush... They know that if the public has the chance to think about it, ordinary citizens in the U.S., U.K., and France will reject this nonsense. This is *war* we're talking about ... Does anyone in his or her right mind want to rush into this, especially when the evidence presented is so flimsy? I still remember Bibi Netanyahu saying back in 2002 that the U.S. had to rush into invading Iraq. How did that turn out? Please call Congress immediately. No to #AnotherIraq.

Syria resolution dies at U.N., British lawmakers balk
The moves are a setback for the U.S. bid to strike Syria militarily for its alleged chemical weapons use.

By Paul Richter and Henry Chu — 8/28/2013

UN officials investigate attack site
in Syria (United Media Arbeen)
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration's move to punish Syria's government for allegedly using chemical weapons in a deadly attack last week appeared to suffer a setback Wednesday when the U.S. failed to get United Nations approval for use of force and British support was thrown into question.

The collapse of diplomatic efforts aimed at securing a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Syria was expected. The British impediment was not.

The developments came as President Obama warned in a TV interview that chemical weapons "that can have devastating effects could be directed at us" and made clear he is considering limited military action against Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces.

Pope Francis, other Christian leaders condemn Western intervention in Syria, Warn of 'World War'

“The disappearance of the Christians is a danger not only for Syria, but for all of Europe.” [The presence of Christians in the Middle East] is “the essential condition for a moderate Islam, which exists thanks to the Christians.” — Syrian-born Patriarch Gregoire III Laham

by Hilary White, LifeSiteNews via — 8/29/2013

Pope Francis, as well as other Christian leaders in the Middle East and around Europe are sounding the alarm of a possible global conflict should the US and other western powers launch an attack on Syria.

The Syrian Chaldean Catholic bishop of Aleppo,
Antoine Audo, warned of a possible "world war"
if the West intervenes in Syria.
In an interview with Vatican Radio yesterday, the Syrian Chaldean Catholic bishop of Aleppo, Antoine Audo, said that armed intervention in Syria could unleash a “world war.”

“If there is an armed intervention, that would mean, I believe, a world war. That risk has returned,” he said.

The comments follow an urgent appeal by Pope Francis this weekend for the world’s powers not to intervene in the escalating Syrian conflict. On Sunday, Pope Francis called on the international community to do everything they could to avoid military action, calling for them “to be more sensitive to this tragic situation and make every effort to help the beloved Syrian nation find a solution to a war that sows destruction and death.”

“The increase in violence in a war between brothers, with the proliferation of massacres and atrocities, that we all have been able to see in the terrible images of these days, leads me once again raise my voice that the clatter of arms may cease," he said during the Angelus. "It is not confrontation that offers hope to resolve problems, but rather the ability to meet and dialogue.”
Bishop Audo added to Vatican Radio, “We hope that the Pope’s call for real dialogue between the warring parties to find a solution can be a first step to stop the fighting.”

L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s quasi-official paper, also criticised the threats by Western powers, accusing US President Obama of pursuing a policy of “political expediency” rather “than of substance.”

Minya, Egypt: Schools, Churches, Orphanages burnt to erase all traces of Christian presence

"Despite of what you did, we ask God to forgive you."

Asia News via — 8/28/2013

With at least 20 attacks against churches, Christian schools and orphanages, Minya Governorate is the part of Egypt where Islamists struck with greatest violence and brutality.

"The Islamists", one resident said, "burnt and destroyed everything. Their goal was to erase all the traces of a Christian presence; even the orphanages were looted and destroyed."

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

ACT for America Petition

Obama crosses red line by supporting jihadi terrorism...

... making jokes about Muslim Persecution of Christians.

by Raymond Ibrahim, via Jihad Watch — 8/28/2013

By now it should be obvious that whenever the U.S. interferes in another nation's politics in the name of "human rights," that that is only a pretext. So it is in Syria, as Obama prepares to plunge America in a war with that nation, and, inevitably, its allies. The United States' stated reason for intervention, as articulated by John Kerry, is that Syrian President Assad used chemical weapons on the rebels, many of whom are jihadis -- including terrorists, rapists, and cannibals -- and thus violated their human rights.

Kerry is certainly consistent. Earlier he worried about the "human rights" of Nigeria's genocidal Islamic terrorists, Boko Haram, while ignoring their victims -- thousands of slaughtered Christians and destroyed churches.

Moscow Patriarchate: acting as “international executioner,” the US is sacrificing Muslims and Christians in Syria

Metropolitan Hilarion warns that "radical extremist forces will come to power... with the help of the United States."

AsiaNews via OCP Media — 8/28/2013

Speaking to AsiaNews, Metropolitan Hilarion, head of the Department for External Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, condemns threats of NATO intervention without a UN mandate. More victims will be “sacrificed on the altar of an imaginary democracy”.

Moscow (AsiaNews) – As a Western military intervention against the regime of Bashar al-Assad appears increasingly likely, the Russian Orthodox Church expresses “strong concern” about possible developments of the crisis, this following US charges that the regime used chemical weapons against civilians.

“Once again, as was the case in Iraq, the United States is acting as an international executioner”, said Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Department for External Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate.

Speaking to AsiaNews, the representative of the Russian Orthodox Church strongly criticised the US position, which is “completely one-sided.”

“Without the endorsement of the United Nations, they want to decide the fate of a whole country of millions of inhabitants.”

“Once again,” Hilarion warned, “thousands of lives will be sacrificed on the altar of an imaginary democracy;” among them, according to the Metropolitan, there are, first of all, “Christians, about whose fate no one cares.”

They are at “risk of becoming hostages to the situation and the main victims of radical extremist forces, who, with the help of the United States, will come to power.”

“The international community,” he concluded, “must do everything to avoid that events develop in this direction.” (M.A.)

Syrian Bishop Warns Intervention Could Spark ‘World War’

Chorus of Christian voices expressing concerns over the West's rush to another war in the Middle East.

AFP via OCP Media — 8/28/2013

A Syrian Chaldean Catholic bishop on Monday warned that an armed intervention in Syria could unleash a “world war”, while the Vatican’s official newspaper called for more “prudence” from Western powers.

“If there is an armed intervention, that would mean, I believe, a world war. That risk has returned,” Monsignor Antoine Audo of Aleppo told Vatican radio.

“We hope that the pope’s call for real dialogue between the warring parties to find a solution can be a first step to stop the fighting,” he said.

Audo is also the head of the Syrian arm of the international Catholic charity Caritas and has repeatedly warned about the human cost of the war.

The Vatican daily, L’Osservatore Romano, meanwhile criticised Western powers in an editorial.
“The drumbeat of an armed intervention by Western powers is becoming ever more insistent and ever less restrained by prudence,” it said.

“Several representatives of these countries say they are convinced that the accusation that the Syrian army used chemical weapons is founded — a question which the United Nations is investigating,” he said.

Pope Francis on Sunday called for the international community to help find a solution to the civil war.

“I launch an appeal to the international community to be more sensitive to this tragic situation and to commit itself to the maximum to help the dear Syrian nation find a solution to a war which spreads destruction and death,” he said.

© 2013, Assyrian International News Agency.

VIDEO: 'Wasn't it always the Christians who were doing the persecuting?'

This is a must-watch interview with author and scholar Raymond Ibrahim, who in just a few minutes encapsulates the reasons why you must buy, read and share his landmark book, Crucified Again: Exposing Islam's New War on Christians.

Raymond covers the horrific breadth of Muslim persecution of Christians, from Egypt and Syria and the Middle East, to northern and Sub-Saharan Africa, and east across Asia and Southeast Asia.

The highlight for me was when the interviewer, at about the 1:23 mark, bluntly asks, "Throughout history, wasn't it always the Christians who were doing the persecuting? Why does it seem now the tables have turned?"

Raymond actually chuckles a little as she puts the question out there, not in any way ridiculing the host, but welcoming the question as an opportunity to explain the false Western paradigm, which thinks of Christians as the aggressors, and Muslims as the victims.

For some reason I couldn't get the embed code to work, so watch the video, buy the book, inform your friends and family.

Opposition to US military involvement in Syria

One of my most trusted correspondents, who is a U.S. foreign policy analyst and writer with expertise in the Islamic world, and an Orthodox Christian, shared this with me. Let us heed his advice and register with our elected representatives in Washington our opposition to U.S. support for the Al Qaeda-linked jihadists in Syria, and direct US military involvement against the Syrian government.


Feel free to turn this into a post for the "Facing Islam" blog.  I wrote this for my Facebook page, and I don't have time to turn this into a more formal article.  

It is our responsibility as American citizens to contact our political representatives immediately.


When I called my congressman and senators, this is what I said. I expressed my strong opposition to a bombing campaign against Syria. I asked what the representative's position was. (All three offices said that their representative hadn't released a public statement yet.) I said that I wanted answers to three questions. 
1) Where is the proof that the Syrian government ordered a chemical-weapons attack? I remember Colin Powell's 2003 presentation to the U.N. regarding Iraqi WMD. Most of the claims have since been revealed to be incorrect. Are we really going to make the same mistakes again? 
2) What will we do if the Syrian government retaliates? If, God forbid, American sailors are killed, are we planning to escalate the conflict? If Syria bombs Saudi Arabia or Jordan or Turkey [or Israel], will we get further involved? 
3) If jihadist groups like the Al-Nusra Front take over Syria, what will we do then? Will American ground troops be sent in to secure Syria's chemical weapons? If we don't want that, why are we planning to bomb the Syrian soldiers who are preventing the jihadists from gaining control of the chemical weapons?  
I cannot believe that after 4400 American soldiers were killed in Iraq, we are about to repeat the same disastrous mistakes regarding Syria. I urge every American citizen to call his or her representatives immediately. 
(I give permission for this post to be copied and re-pasted, in whole.)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

'When the evil starts from Syria, start praying!'

by Matushka Constantina — Lessons from a Monastery — 8/28/2013

Below is a translation of a recent prophecy concerning the difficulties that await us.

The ever-memorable Bishop of Sisanion and Siatisti (right)
and Fr. John Kalaidis (left).
I just returned from my spiritual father, [himself] a spiritual child of the late [Bishop] Anthony of Sisanion and Siatisti [2005], who many venerate as a modern saint. [My spiritual] father is solely committed to the salvation of souls, he avoids statements about future events, but in speaking about the ever-memorable Bishop, he revealed some things which he himself was witness to and which demonstrate that the ever-memorable [Bishop], with all the gifts he had, received great revelations from God.

[In the words of the Bishop's spiritual child]:

“He often told us, and many times with sorrow, that  in a time of prosperity, ‘Great famine will come to Greece, my child, great famine…’ and we found it difficult to believe him.

“The last time he was in the hospital after his final surgery, as soon as they brought him in the room he looked across at the icon of the Crucified Lord and cried like a little child, saying in his well-known humble [manner]: ‘Why, my Christ made me worthy and revealed all these things to me!’, it was clear that he had seen something about the future…

“When we asked him: ‘What did you see, Despota?’ he answered us with difficultly because he had a problem with his voice: ‘When the evil starts from Syria, start praying!’ And he repeated it, ‘There, when it starts from Syria…’ signifying that afterward the storm will hit us… We asked him again: ‘What else  did you see, Despota?’ and he told us: ‘I will tell you later…’ but afterward he fell asleep [in the Lord]…”

This was obviously the will of God.

Source (Greek)

There is much talk of war and famine these days, many warnings are being passed around that the prophecies about the last, great war are about to be fulfilled. These prophecies (such as ones by St. Cosmas the Aitolos – you have to scroll down the page to see his prophecies, Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain, and Elder Joseph of Vatopedi) may or may not be on the brink of becoming reality. In any case, I think that if we haven’t started already, we need to start praying for God’s mercy – no matter what awaits us.

Russia's Deputy PM: "The West behaves in the Islamic world like a monkey with a grenade"

Russia Warns of 'Catastrophic Consequences' If US Meddles in Syria
MOSCOW, Aug. 27, 2013


Tomahawk Cruise Missile Launch, Battleship New Jersey.
Russian officials today hit back at the United States and its allies after Secretary of State John Kerry warned Monday that the Syrian government would face consequences for last week's alleged chemical weapons attack.

A statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry this morning warned of "catastrophic consequences" for Syria and the region if the United States and its allies intervene. It also expressed "serious disappointment" after the United States announced it would back out of a meeting this week with Russian officials to plan a long-delayed peace conference.

Protestant Attempts to Influence the Coptic Orthodox Church

This is an essential article, which documents not only Protestant missions in Egypt, but also the condescending attitude towards Coptic and Orthodox Christians held by the vast majority of Protestants in America and the West. In spite of their good intentions, Protestants do not believe Eastern Orthodox are true Christians, thus they endlessly seek to proselytize believers from the most ancient Christian confessions.

Protestant Attempts to Influence the Coptic Orthodox Church 
Part  I – The first Protestant missions in Egypt 
by Fr Peter Farrington — The Glastonbury Review — #123, Feb. 2013

It would be a mistake to consider that any criticism of the influence of Protestant practices, teachings and spirituality within the Orthodox Church is due to a judgemental attitude towards the members of Protestant communities. On the contrary, apart from those Protestants whose actions are deliberately intended to subvert and undermine the Orthodox Faith and Tradition, this issue is one which is entirely to do with the Orthodox Church itself, and the concerns are with the responses of those who are formally Orthodox Christians to the attractions of a variety of Protestant cultures. “For the time is come that judgement must begin at the house of God”[1], as St Peter instructs us. What does this mean? Surely not that we should adopt a judgemental attitude towards one another, but that at all times the members of the Church must allow the life of the Church to be subject to the judgement of God, and that of the Holy Tradition which is entrusted to each generation. As St Paul commands those in every age, “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which you have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle”[2].

This paper is concerned with what it means to “stand fast and hold the traditions” which we have been taught, in an age when the members of the Church are liable to be influenced by a very wide range of alternative cultures and lifestyles, many of which are inimicable to the Orthodox Faith and Life. It will especially consider the first influence of Protestant missionaries in Egypt. For many past centuries, the faithful Christian members of the various Orthodox communities have lived out their Orthodox Faith in situations of relatively stable social and religious environments. There have been wars and rumours of wars, there have been periods of persecution, but generally speaking the culture of Egypt, or Syria, or Ethiopia, or any of the countries in which Orthodoxy had been established has changed slowly and such changes as have taken place have been accommodated in a more or less successful manner.

But over the last century and a half the Orthodox Churches have found themselves facing an increasing and even overwhelming tide of cultural and religious influences, and the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria has not been immune from the pressures these influences have produced.

Washington Post assails Non-Profit Status for Churches

Certainly Ben Shapiro is correct in the context of his article. Writers like Dylan Matthews and Matthew Yglesias are the "bad cops" in the mainstream media, bullying religious groups with the threat of losing their tax-exempt status.

Our churches have become soft and pliable by relying on the non-profit privilege. If the state can grant something, it can also take it away. If the privilege seduces us into complicity with evil, then we ourselves should throw off its shackles.

Non-profit status for churches gives the government leverage and influence regarding church policies. Government moves (as in the California legislation discussed below) to rescind tax-exempt status of churches that "discriminate" are examples of using the non-profit exemption as a club to beat Christians into submissive silence. Churches will be under exponentially increasing pressure from the federal government to recognize and perform same-sex marriages, provide contraceptives to church school children, support abortion on demand, advocate physician assisted suicide, etc., in America's demonic push to outdo Sodom and Gomorrah.

It is time for the Orthodox Christian jurisdictions in America to seize the moment and pro-actively rescind their own tax-exempt status. Such a move would immediately evict the government from any influence in Church life by removing its only weapon, the non-profit status club. 

Then when the government begins to use naked force to order us to comply, its evil will be fully revealed, just as in the Soviet Union almost a century ago.

Washington Post assails Non-Profit Status for Churches, rips Americans for giving.
by Ben Shapiro, Breitbart News — 8/23/2013

The assault on America’s churches has begun, with commentators like Dylan Matthews of the Washington Post and Matthew Yglesias of Slate calling on the government to tax churches. “Whichever faith you think is the one true faith, it’s undeniable that the majority of this church-spending is going to support false doctrines,” Yglesias wrote on Thursday. He added, “upgrading a church’s physical plant doesn’t enhance the soul-saving capacity of its clergy.”

This is part of the new assault on religion in America that has seen its apex in the New Mexico Supreme Court decision to force religious photographers to cover same-sex weddings, and the California legislature’s bill that would strip non-profit status from any religious organization that “discriminates” on the basis of factors including religion or sexual orientation. 

Halki Seminary to undergo status change to allow for reopening

If this takes place, it would be a welcomed precedent. But for now, consider me skeptical of Turkish intentions.

Hurriyet Daily News via Pravmir — 8/26/2013

Over 900 students have graduated from Halki, with 12 of them ultimately becoming
the Istanbul Greek patriarch. Daily News Photo/Emrah Gürel
The Halki Greek Orthodox seminary on Istanbul’s Heyebeliada island will revert to its pre-1971 status as part of an indirect method of allowing the long-closed clerical school to reopen while avoiding constitutional regulations on private institutions, according to daily Radikal.

The seminary’s reopening, which has been an ongoing point of debate for years, may be achievable once its higher education status reverts to its previous state as part of a new democracy package, meaning the school will fall outside of constitutional limitations on private universities.

The Turkish Constitution at the time banned the opening of private universities, which also included Halki, due to its higher education status. Officials have objected to the decision, stating that the school was a high school where graduates will proceed to the priesthood and not continue to any other kind of university.

The reopening of the school has been postponed due to a lack of clarity over its status, as well as the principle of reciprocity with Greece, which has refused to allow Turkish minorities to elect their own religious officials. According to the terms of the Lausanne Treaty of 1923, Turkey and Greece are bound to treat their respective minorities with reciprocal rights, meaning that every implementation regarding the Greek population in Turkey and Turks in Western Thrace should be equal.

If the new package succeeds in altering the current private education institution regulation, the change may pave the way for the opening of Halki, according to Radikal.

Over 900 students have graduated from Halki, with 12 of them ultimately becoming the Istanbul Greek patriarch.

The new package, however, will not alter the much-debated Article 301, which calls for the punishment of insulting Turkishness or Turkish people, despite earlier reports. The election threshold will also remain untouched, daily Radikal reported.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Why Muslims Are Necessarily Fundamentalists

Photo by George Daley
by Enza Ferreri — 8/20/2013

There is an incompatibility between Islam and the ideas which are fundamental to Western civilization.

There are logical contradictions between the principles at the basis of Islam and the West. One cannot resolve logical contradictions, they cannot be solved in the way that problems can. You simply cannot square a circle.

It’s got nothing to do with terrorists, or fundamentalists, fanatics, or Islamic radicals of various sorts.

I’m here talking about mainstream Islam and the fact that it is in serious, direct and open contradiction with principles which are at the core of Western civilization and form the very basis on which all our Western world is erected.

Saints Adrian and Natalia (Aug 26)

As we see a new age of martyrdom coming upon us, beginning with our brothers and sisters in the Islamic world, it is wise to fortify our souls with the lives of the martyrs of all ages. Saints Adrian and Natalia are especially revered as an example of married saints. The story of Adrian's martyrdom is similar in many respects to that of the Holy Neo-Martyrs under the Ottoman Muslim yoke. Whether through Roman pagans or Muslim pagans, the enemy strives to tempt and threaten Christians to deny the Lord Jesus Christ.

OCA — See also Pemptousia — 8/26/2013

The Martyrs Adrian and Natalia were married in their youth for one year prior to their martyrdom, and lived in Nicomedia during the time of the emperor Maximian (305-311). The emperor promised a reward to whomever would inform on Christians to bring them to trial. Then the denunciations began, and twenty-three Christians were captured in a cave near Nicomedia.

They were tortured, urged to worship idols, and then brought before the Praetor, in order to record their names and responses. Adrian, the head of the praetorium, watched as these people suffered with such courage for their faith. Seeing how firmly and fearlessly they confessed Christ, asked: “What rewards do you expect from your God for your suffering?” The martyrs replied: “Such rewards as we are not able to describe, nor can your mind comprehend.” St Adrian told the scribes, “Write my name down also, for I am a Christian and I die gladly for Christ God.”

The scribes reported this to the emperor, who summoned St Adrian and asked: “Really, have you gone mad, that you want to die? Come, cross out your name from the lists and offer sacrifice to the gods, asking their forgiveness.”

St Adrian answered: “I have not lost my mind, but rather have I found it.” Maximian then ordered Adrian to be thrown into prison. His wife, St Natalia, knowing that her husband was to suffer for Christ, rejoiced, since she herself was secretly a Christian.

She hastened to the prison and encouraged her husband saying: “You are blessed, my lord, because you have believed in Christ. You have obtained a great treasure. Do not regret anything earthly, neither beauty, nor youth (Adrian was then 28 years of age), nor riches. Everything worldly is dust and ashes. Only faith and good deeds are pleasing to God.”

On the pledge of the other martyrs, they released St Adrian from prison to tell his wife about the day of his execution. At first St Natalia thought that he had renounced Christ and thus had been set free, and she did not want to let him into the house. The saint persuaded his wife that he had not fled from martyrdom, but rather had come to give her the news of the day of his execution.

They tortured St Adrian cruelly. The emperor advised the saint to have pity on himself and call on the gods, but the martyr answered: “Let your gods say what blessings they promise me, and then I shall worship them, but if they cannot do this, then why should I worship them?” St Natalia did not cease to encourage her husband. She asked him also to pray to God for her, that they would not force her into marriage with a pagan after his death.

The executioner ordered the hands and the legs of the saints to be broken on the anvil. St Natalia, fearing that her husband would hesitate on seeing the sufferings of the other martyrs, asked the executioner to begin with him, and permit her to put his hands and legs on the anvil herself.

They wanted to burn the bodies of the saints, but a storm arose and the fire went out. Many of the executioners even were struck by lightning. St Natalia took the hand of her husband and kept it at home. Soon an army commander asked the emperor’s approval to wed St Natalia, who was both young and rich. But she hid herself away in Byzantium. St Adrian appeared to her in a dream and said that she would soon be at rest in the Lord. The martyr, worn out by her former sufferings, in fact soon fell asleep in the Lord.

Islamic Throwbacks Are Erasing Civilization

The problem is that these "throwbacks" think they are the future... And, God help us, they just may be.

By Giulio Meotti — Israel National News via AINA —  8/26/2013

Back to the days of the Mongols. Burn, pillage, destroy.

"Dozens of churches were burned and destroyed in the largest attack on Coptic houses of worship since 1321", reports the Wall Street Journal about the latest persecution of Christians in Egypt.

A symbol of Egypt's national culture, the ancient churches of Minya, did not hold religious services for the first time in 1,600 years. The churches had been destroyed by supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi.

The Coptic Pope Tawadros II, who appeared at the side of General Al Sisi during the announcement of Morsi's dismissal, is now hiding in a secret location for fear of terrorist attacks.

Christian shops and homes have been marked by a black "X", while the Muslim buildings are marked with a red "X". At the end of the clashes, the black painted buildings were destroyed, while the red ones were left unharmed. It was an operation of religious cleansing.

Last July, a Christian was beheaded by Islamists and there have been least seven deaths among Christians in the last few days.

The guru of the Muslim Brotherhood, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, gave formal approval for the attacks against Christians. In a video, Qaradawi says that "Christians" have been "recruited (by the military junta) to kill innocent Muslims."

Videos from Egypt show burned churches and Islamists who embrace and kiss each other, congratulating one another for the destruction of the buildings of "infidels." In the city of Sohag, Islamists raised the black flag of al Qaeda on a church and executed a Christian couple after asking for their identity cards.

The Franciscan School of Beni Suef has been destroyed by Islamists and nuns have been forced to march in the streets as if they were "prisoners of war", while the cross in front of the building was torn down and replaced by the terrorists' flag.

Meanwhile, in the church of Mallawi, the statue of the mother of Jesus was literally decapitated.

Islamists are obliterating non-Muslim heritage in the Middle East. Their targets are Jewish shrines, Christian churches, monuments and cultural masterpieces.

On the Path of Saint Kosmas

There are numerous 'pearls' in this talk by Metropolitan Hierotheos of Napaktos, which we modern Orthodox would do well to apply in our daily lives...

MYSTAGOGY — 8/24/2013

The following speech was delivered at the presentation of the book by Maria Mamasoula titled The Paths of Saint Kosmas in Enslaved Romiosini in Agrinio.

By His Eminence Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou


The Path of Saint Kosmas

Saint Kosmas had the attributes of the Saints of our Church. He was a prophet, an apostle, a venerable one and a martyr.

He was a prophet and thus accepted by the people, which is why they would welcome him by chanting the apolytikion of the Prophet Elijah. He had an apostolic conscienciousness which is revealed in the beginning of his homilies, where he refers to the work of the Apostles. He was a venerable ascetic who lived an ascetic and evangelical life. Lastly he was made worthy of a martyric death and he ended and perfected as a martyr of Jesus Christ.

Throughout his life he gave witness to the Orthodox faith and suffered martyrdom to the glory of God.

Alternate Paths to the Saint

Every path has its alternate path. This is true also with Saint Kosmas. He himself walked along the prophetic, apostolic, venerable and martyric path, but people view him from other smaller paths, alternate paths.

One such alternate path is the misinterpretation of the life and work of Saint Kosmas, which is an alternative path of the enlightenment. Some interpret his work as if he was a part of the enlightenment.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Forgiveness and Jihad: Breaking the Chain of Evil, Part 4

See Parts One and Two and Three . . .

I plan to attempt some observations in Part 5 to try to apply the Church's teaching on forgiveness to our situation vis a vis Islam and Muslims.

Today's quote:
The great example for Christians would be their Christ-like martyrs who have not allowed themselves to be touched by that evil, what Evagrios calls “allowing the devil to rejoice two times.” You are sinned against; the devil rejoices. You react with vengeance or without forgiveness, and the devil rejoices two times. Never give the second joy.

You spoke of the division in us between the Christ-self and the legion of other selves — two natures at war within us. Is it that one nature has ultimately to be transformed? You also spoke about a person who is free and yet has no choice — this is a totally transformed being, isn’t it?

We would say there’s a human nature that when it is truly itself is full of the grace of God and in communion with God and is, therefore, deified and becomes one with the divine nature. On the other hand, there is the human nature that is broken, fragmented, estranged from its real foundation and in need of salvation. The transforming power of grace is there. But in a sense, it takes all of time to be deified. There are no miracles on this level. The degree of suffering that has to take place is very great.

It’s an incarnated struggle on this level.

Yes, and I believe it can’t be done alone. You need a community.

Our culture places great emphasis on improving oneself. There is a difference between that and being made whole, being brought to your true nature.

The saints speak about spiritual hedonism, where you want peace and joy but you don’t want reality. That’s why Saint Paul says that you can give your body to be burned but if you have not love, you are nothing.

Observations on the Egypt crisis by Abba Seraphim of the British Orthodox Church

This is a must read article, for its summary of recent events in Egypt, the historical context it provides, and its expression of the Coptic Orthodox Church's faith in the Lord of Hosts.

by Metropolitan Abba Seraphim, Primate of the British Orthodox Church, Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate

British Orthodox Church via OCP Media — 8/24/2013

Events in Egypt over the past few days have both shocked and saddened, and as reports of continuing incidents and civil disturbance increase we pray fervently that peace and security may return to that land.

Revolutions are destabilising events and come in many shapes and sizes. The Egyptian revolution of 1952 was a military coup by the Free Officer Movement, which established the military regime which was to hold power for the next 59 years. It lacked democratic legitimacy and was both corrupt and venal. The 2011 Revolution, however, was a popular uprising more in keeping with the spirit of the 1919 Egyptian revolution in its embracing all sections of Egyptian society in a patriotic movement to restore freedom and justice. It is worth noting that initially the Muslim Brotherhood declined to support this uprising, but once it saw the rapid success of this momentum for change, it offered its support.

Democratic legitimacy

Much has been made of the overthrow of Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, but it is important to recognise that democracy is more than periodic recourse to the ballot box. Having achieved a narrow victory over his main rival on a turnout of just over half of the electorate, the new president might have endeavoured to use his position as a means of unifying and reconciling a fractured society. In his inauguration oath he swore to “respect the constitution and law, to take care of the people’s interests, a complete care.” Later, in an emotional speech in Tahrir Square he announced, “I came to you as I believe that you are the source of authority and legitimacy which is above all. There is no place for someone, an institution or for an authority to be above this. The people are the source of all authority, judge and decide, convene and insulate … There is no authority that is above this.”

Although he resigned as Chairman of the Freedom and Justice Party as he had promised during his election campaign, which gave him the opportunity to serve as president of all Egyptians, his concerns and sympathies proved to be narrow and sectarian. Sadly, it soon became clear that the electorate had actually installed the Muslim Brotherhood in office and that the real power lay with its Supreme Guide, Mohamed Badie, whilst Mohamed Morsi was merely the holder of the presidential portfolio.

During the first year of his presidency the democratic aspirations of the revolution were steadily undermined, culminating in his assumption of unlimited legislative powers without judicial oversight or review of his acts. After the Supreme Constitutional Court’s dismissal of the People’s Assembly for electoral irregularities, only the consultative Shura Council remained of a bi-cameral legislature, yet new legislation was still enacted, including the propagation of a new Egyptian Constitution. Having repeatedly clashed with the judiciary, attempts were made to intimidate the judges and to remove many of them through enforced retirement.

It was as a result of the steadily-growing domination of the Muslim Brotherhood in all areas of the state and society and the encouragement of their narrow vision and divisive social policies, that the popular uprising against Morsi ensued. It expressed the fears of the great majority of Egyptians that their aspirations for a free and just society, inclusive of all, was in danger of being lost for ever. It should be recalled that the National Socialist German Workers’ (Nazi) Party rose to power through democratic election, after which they consolidated their grasp on the state and cynically discarded the democratic process.

The role of the church

Since the Egyptian revolution of 2011 the religious leaders in Egypt, both Christian and Muslim, have consistently called for justice and reconciliation and both the Grand Sheikh of Al Azhar (Mohamed Ahmed El-Tayeb) and the Coptic Orthodox Church (under the late Pope Shenouda III; Metropolitan Bakhomios as locum tenens and Pope Tawadros II) have worked together to encourage national unity. Following the removal of President Morsi, Pope Tawadros appeared alongside the Sheikh of El-Azhar at the inauguration of the new interim president. Having eschewed political involvement since the beginning of his papacy, he made it clear that he was there to support “honourable people whose sole aim is the interest of Egypt and Egyptians, excluding no one, marginalising no one and excepting no one.”

Western governments

Western governments have been quick to condemn the violence and loss of life and have called for dialogue. William Hague condemned “the use of force in clearing protests” and called on the security forces “to act with restraint.” As supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood are also armed and have been responsible for murdering soldiers in Sinai and armed attacks on police stations, restraint is required from all sides. Invitations to dialogue by Al-Azhar have been completely rebuffed by the Brotherhood, as have invitations by the interim President to reconciliation meetings.

Western media bias

It is disconcerting to note the clear bias of much of the Western media in favour of the Muslim Brotherhood. The use of emotive words, such as ‘coup’, ‘massacre’ and ‘legitimacy’, with the failure to report widespread violent attacks on churches, police stations, government offices and neutral cultural institutions, such as the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, lacks the impartiality one might expect from independence sources, such as CNN and the BBC; as does identifying all snipers as belonging to the army, when live news broadcasts clearly showed armed rebels firing guns. 

Despite its denial of bias, the Qatar-backed channel Al Jazeera depicts the Muslim Brotherhood in a sympathetic light and, according to one of the 22 staff  who recently resigned in protest, “the management in Doha provokes sedition among the Egyptian people and has an agenda against Egypt and other Arab countries.” 

The Irish media, the Irish Times and the Sun in particular, recently relayed reports from the children of Hussein Halawa, the Imam at Dublin’s largest and most controversial mosque in Clonskeagh, who just happened to be inside the Al-Fateh mosque when it was cleared by the security forces. Headlines such as “Irish family held in Egypt jail hell. Holiday nightmare as relatives fear they’re tortured” hardly suggest impartiality.

Attacks on Christians go largely unreported

During President Morsi’s term of office, attacks on Christians became more frequent. Since his removal they have increased alarmingly with over fifty churches attacked, damaged or destroyed in the three days following the Brotherhood’s call for a “Day of Rage.” Vicious denunciations of Christians – now opprobriously labelled “crusaders” – and unrestrained assaults on their property and churches show the true nature of those who support the Muslim Brotherhood. 

There have been instances of soldiers and Christians lynched by the mob, who then proceeded to desecrate their corpses in the most disgusting manner, in much the same way as Private Lee Rigby was treated by his murderers on the streets of Woolwich.  

In many instances local Muslim communities have joined Christians in protecting their places of worship, clearly demonstrating that this is not a battle between Christians and Muslims but is a struggle against terrorism and fanaticism. 

In a recent interview with His Grace Bishop Angaelos on Al-Jazeera, after it was noted that “some Christians have blamed Brotherhood supporter for the attacks”, he was asked if he had any evidence about “who is attacking your churches”. His observations that these attacks, which appeared to be orchestrated and synchronised, and coming on the tail of “certain events”, with the rhetoric, incitement and reported attacks on individual Christians, suggested “some sort of connection”, showed more balance and perception than his interviewer.

In an official statement, the Coptic Church said that whilst it holds in deep appreciation the honourable, friendly States who understood “the nature of the events in Egypt”; it strongly denounced the falsities and errors propagated in the western media. “We invite the media to objectively read the realities on the ground, and to refrain from offering an international or political shield to the bloodthirsty, terrorist groups and all who belong to them. These groups are attempting to spread ruin in our land. We call upon the local and international media to offer the real image of what happens in Egypt faithfully and truthfully.”

The statement went on to say that it strongly stood by the Egyptian police, armed forces, and all the institutions of the Egyptian people in the face of the armed violence and black terrorism from inside and outside Egypt. It denounced the “assaults against the State and the peaceful churches, and the terrorisation of Egyptians—Muslims and Copts—that goes against all religious, ethical and human values. We absolutely reject any attempts to drag Egypt into sectarian strife.”

“If the hands of evil come to Egypt to kill, burn, and ruin; the hand of the Lord is there to guard, strengthen, and rebuild. We put our faith in Divine support, and are confident that it will help Egypt along this critical period, and take her to a better tomorrow and to the bright future of peace, justice, and democracy which this noble Nile people deserve.”