Friday, January 31, 2014

'Extremists have no place in Syrian political processes' – Russian and Antioch church leaders

Interfax via Pravmir — January 31, 2014

Moscow, January 30, Interfax – The leaders of the Russian and Antioch Orthodox Churches have called for peace in Syria and its independence.

“The two Churches believe that it is only through an open and honest dialogue that it is possible to guarantee a real peace in Syria, her independence and territorial integrity and to ensure equal rights and opportunities for her citizens,” according to a common statement by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East, who ended his visit to Russia on Thursday.

Michael Coren: 'The War on Christians in the Middle East'

"The 2010 Baghdad attack was just one example of the war on Christianity that has been under way for so very long. An exhaustive list of the acts of terror, violence, abuse, and militant discrimination is almost impossible, but it's so important that we know of the routine, grinding nature of daily life for Christians in the Islamic heartlands."

The War on Christians in the Middle East
By Michael Coren
Catholic World Report via AINA — January 31, 2014

In the summer of 2012, I interviewed an Evangelical minister and activist on my television show in Canada. I've hosted this nightly current affairs program for almost three years now, and I try to discuss the international persecution of Christians, especially within Islamic countries, whenever I can. Tragically, there is never a shortage of newsworthy and timely opportunities.

Our Lady of Salvation Syriac Catholic Church, Baghdad, following the Muslim bombing attack of Oct. 31, 2010, which killed at least 58, and wounded at least 75.

On this occasion my guest, who had vast experience with the horrors faced by followers of Christ within Muslim majority states, asked me if he could put a Bible on the desk in front of him. I am always reluctant to resemble the host of a Christian television show. I am not criticizing what they do, but it is simply not my mandate and does tend to exclude many potential audience members. I politely told him that I'd rather he didn't. Gracious and understanding, he said he fully understood. But, he continued, this particular Bible might be of interest to the viewers as he had been given it by an Iraqi Christian who attended Our Lady of Salvation Syriac Catholic Cathedral in Baghdad. The church had been attacked during the evening Mass on October 31, 2010 by a Sunni Muslim terrorist group known as the Islamic State of Iraq. At least 58 people were murdered and more than 75 injured in that attack.

The large, heavy book being held in front of me was, I realized, almost beyond reading. Its pages were thick and glued together in lumps, soaked and sticky with the blood of the men, women, and children who had been slaughtered that warm evening in a place of peace, in a city where Christians had lived and flourished before Islam even existed. This was not a holy book to be preached from, but a holy book of martyrdom that preached. Its illegible pages spoke entire volumes, its red turned to brown strains cried out to a still largely indifferent or even hostile world.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

First-Class Islam: Eric Holder Puts Muslims Above Terror Suspicion

by Dr Timothy Furnish, PJ Media — January 28, 2014

From 2008 to 2011, I was a guest lecturer at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (the primary DHS training facility, located in coastal Georgia) and at Joint Special Operations University (which brings foreign officers to learn of U.S. irregular warfare, located in Tampa). At both venues I was asked to lecture on the history of terrorism.

I did so in an even-handed and comprehensive manner, exploring the issue across place (Europe to East Asia), time (ancient Assyria to al-Qaeda), and ideology (religious: pagan, Jewish, Christian, Hindu, and Muslim; and political: right-wing, left-wing, anarchist, environmentalist, etc.). Only 14 of the 44 PowerPoint screens in my presentation dealt with Islamic terrorism, although several of those actually mitigated against the concept.

Nonetheless, in June 2009 I was told that I could no longer lecture at FLETC, because the edict had come down from the new Obama administration that “no trainer who uses the term ‘jihad’ shall henceforth be used.” (This was over two years before the Obama administration was openly hostile to realistic training about Islam.)

JSOU continued to utilize me until late 2011, when I was told by the course instructor that Muslim student officers had complained that “I talked too much about Islamic terrorism.”
I was actually surprised that I had not been yanked the year before, when references to Islam and jihad were stricken from Obama’s kinder, gentler National Security Strategy document. That same year, noted Islamic studies expert Eric Holder told the House Judiciary Committee that foiled Islamic suicide bombers in the U.S. were motivated by “Islam that is not consistent with” that religion’s “true teachings.”

Now, the Obama administration — led by Holder — has decided that Islam is a “race,” and therefore to examine or even to adduce a Muslim’s Islamic beliefs about jihad, beheading, violence against kuffar (“infidels”), or re-establishing a caliphate is tantamount to racism. This administration behavior is rationalized because “federal authorities have in particular singled out Muslims in counter terrorism investigations and Latinos for immigration investigations.”

It is difficult to express just how willfully ignorant of reality these statements and accompanying policies are.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

One Every Five Minutes

Book Review of Raymond Ibrahim's book, Crucified Again: Exposing Islam's New War on Christians

by John Constantine, for the New English Review

Raymond Ibrahim, a Coptic Christian, has written the definitive work on the persecution of Christians and Jews. In his book, “Crucified Again, ” Mr. Ibrahim contends that Muslims are waging a war of annihilation against Christians. Over 95% of Christians are killed by Muslims in 47 majority Islamic nations.

Ibrahim states that a Christian is killed by a Muslim every 5 minutes somewhere in the world. Do the math to reach a horrifying conclusion. That means 12 Christians are killed by the followers of Allah every hour. Every day these mad Muslim monsters murder 288 followers of Christ. The monthly total of slaughtered Christians reaches a staggering total of 8,640. Yearly almost a 104,000 Christians are shot, hung, crucified, beheaded, stoned and murdered by these Muslim savages.

Muslims are also gleefully killing Hindus, Jews, Sikhs, Buddhists, atheists, and moderate Muslims in huge numbers. All these people are being killed by the direct command of Mohammed who wished to have the world populated by Muslims with all the non-believers turned into corpses rotting in the sun.

Notice we are not including in these terrible statistics the hundreds of thousands of people injured in explosions. Or the women who have been brutally raped. Nor the poor people who have suffered amputations or floggings, or disfigurement with acid.

'Captain Phillips' and the Somali Pirate Jihad

I had the opportunity to watch the Tom Hanks film, Captain Phillips, the other day, and thought it provides a good opportunity to briefly comment on pop culture, as well as to correct some of the imprecisions of the movie. After my comments, I am re-posting an article on Somali piracy as an aspect of Islamic jihad.

Oh, and by the way, Spoiler Alert...

The film is named after a real person, the heroic merchant marine Captain Richard Phillips, and is based on his book, A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS, and Dangerous Days at Sea. Phillips' ship, the Maersk Alabama, was hijacked by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean in Spring 2009. Phillips was abducted off the ship into the Alabama's lifeboat, and was eventually liberated by a team of U.S. Navy SEAL snipers, who took out three of the Somalis with three simultaneous shots.

The film is brave and gritty in its depiction of the harrowing events, and Hanks gives an incredibly convincing performance, so immersing himself in the role that he disappears. The American view is balanced by an earnest attempt to present the Somalis' backstory and motivations. We are given a glimpse into the impoverished world of a village of fishermen, whose desperation to survive makes them easy prey for a thuggish crime lord, who gets a gang of young men to go on another pirate raid to rake in some big money for him, and some loot for themselves.

And here is where the filmmakers frame their narrative, fastening brazen criminal acts on the high seas to poverty and African organized crime, all the while ignoring the real motivations for the huge sums of money sought in the hijacking and kidnapping.

Monday, January 27, 2014

National Religious Freedom Day and Obama's War on Christians

Last summer I wrote about Obama as the anti-Constantine, based on his deliberate striving to repeal the Edict of Milan at home and abroad. This article presents a good review of Obama's anti-Christian jihad.

by Ken Klukowski, Breitbart News — January 26, 2014

January 16 was Religious Freedom Day. Despite the fact that religious liberty is the fundamental right that led to the permanent colonizing of America for people looking for a new country to live out their faiths, most Americans did not even know about the celebration. 

Or maybe the fact that such an event can go unnoticed shows why the Obama administration and the far left can get away with a veritable War on Christians.

The White House issued a Presidential Proclamation to commemorate the event, though if you held your breath waiting for media coverage you would have eventually passed out. If you were to regain consciousness and read President Obama’s proclamation, you might pass out again.

Obama begins by citing a 1786 Virginia statute written by Thomas Jefferson. That was one year before many Virginians would gather in Philadelphia to write the Constitution. Jefferson wrote that religious liberty was a natural right, so attempts to violate religious liberty are “a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of our religion, who being Lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either.”

The Obama administration raised red flags with religious-liberty supporters when Obama took office in 2009, as it started discussing religious freedom as the “freedom of worship,” carrying the implication that you are free to believe whatever you want so long as you confine it to your church building on Sunday morning. This would deny your fundamental right to live out your faith in every aspect of your life the other six days of the week.

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Ken Blackwell shakes his head that Obama had the audacity to quote Jefferson’s 1786 statute and wax eloquent about it in a proclamation. As Blackwell wrote with the Family Research Council’s Bob Morrison in Catholic Online, “The Obama Mandate is the Gravest Threat to Religious Freedom in 226 Years.”

Ironically, Blackwell notes that the 1786 statute Obama quotes specifically protects people from having to give tax money to churches whose teachings or practices they do not support as a matter of individual conscience. Nonetheless, “President Obama doesn’t care what you think, so long as you join him in helping to destroy the unborn on demand. And help him by paying for it.”

Historic Joint Appeal to the Geneva II Conference on Syria, by Pat. John X of Antioch and Pat. Kirill of Moscow and All Russia

"We call upon all parties to show humaneness and mercy."

DECR via Pravmir — January 27, 2014

On 26 January 2014, His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Great Antioch and All the East and His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia made a joint statement addressed to the participants in the Geneva II International Conference on Syria. Taking part in the Conference are representatives of the opposing parties and the world community. The text of the Statement is given below:

We, Primates of fraternal Orthodox Churches, the Church of Antioch and the Russian Church, met in Moscow in order to once again bear witness to love in Christ, the love which our Churches have preserved intact through centuries and which is addressed to all people regardless their nationality, religion or political views.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Miracle of Holy Theotokos in the Christian town of Saidnaya

The Mother of God protects Syrian monastery from Muslim rocket attack.

Prakash Varghese (OCP Delegate – UAE, Gulf & Levant Region)
OCP News Service – Exclusive
January 26, 2014

Syria/Saidnaya: A miracle by the Holy Theotokos was reported at one of the  monasteries of Saidnaya.  This town is one of  the most famous Christian inhabited and pilgrimage places in the war torn Syria. The incident was told by one of the Syrian Christian who visited her homeland recently. The ongoing civil war has destroyed several Christian institutions and displaced thousands of Christian families in Saidnaya.

The Miraculous incident took place last month when a rebel group fired rockets at one of the monasteries. The Nuns inside the monasteries experienced huge sound and vibration as part of the rocket launch. They were sure that the rocket would kill them and also damage the monastery complex. But nothing happened as they expected and the nuns wondered on ‘fate’ of the rocket.

A few days later one of the Military Generals from the Syrian Army visited the monastery to convey Nativity and New Year greetings. During the conversation the Officer asked whether the monastery experienced anything unusual recently. The nuns told about the rocket which was fired by some rebels at the monastery but did not strike them. The officer was amazed to hear the same and he confirmed that even he saw the rocket fired towards the monastery, but he along with some others saw something very strange and unusual. The rocket was about to hit the monastery but suddenly a women dressed in blue vestment appeared in the sky and took the rockets by her hands and threw it away. This was great wonder to all of them. The General wondered who that lady would be, who is dressed in blue with amazing grace allover her. Finally they realized that it was none other than the Holy Theotokos the mother of Christ our Good, Lord and Savior.

Bishop Yazigi says nuns seized in Syria are fine

RelatedPatriarch Youhanna X Appeals for Peaceful Solution to Political Crisis

Daily Star Lebanon via Pravmir, January 26, 2014

HERMEL/BEIRUT: The group of nuns seized in the ancient Syrian town of Maaloula last month are doing well, Greek Orthodox Patriarch John Yazigi said Saturday, and a security source told The Daily Star negotiations to secure their release were still ongoing.

“The nuns are fine, I personally spoke to them over the phone a few days ago at the patriarchate’s headquarters,” Yazigi said before leaving Beirut’s international airport to Russia for a papal visit.

“They are at one of the homes inside Yabroud and they are fine but it is not enough for us to know they are okay: we hope they will be released with the two kidnapped bishops soon because they carry a message of peace in the service of others,” he said.

Thirteen nuns were taken by Syrian rebels from their convent in Maaloula in December. The rebels are believed to have taken the women to the nearby town of Yabroud, where they are reportedly staying in the home of a Christian family.

Aleppo’s Greek Orthodox Archbishop Paul Yazigi and Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim were also abducted in April by armed men while en route to the northern Syrian city from the Turkish border.

Their whereabouts remain unknown.

John Yazigi expressed hope that the bishops were safe and said he would discuss the two cases during his stay in Russia.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Huffington Post: “Muhammad’s beliefs on how to treat religious minorities make him a universal champion of human rights”

The timing of this HuffPo article and Robert Spencer's devastating critique of it couldn't be better. Having just posted a 2010 interview with Mark Durie about his peerless book on Islam, The Third Choice, Durie's words were still fresh in my mind, specifically his assessment of Muhammad:

[After 9/11] I knew I had to try to understand Islam properly. So I read the hadiths, the Koran, and Ibn Ishaq’s biography of Muhammad in the months after 9/11, with the eye of a theologian – I was constantly asking how this material would form people’s spiritual identity. This exploration made me deeply troubled. The persona of Muhammad which arose before me from Islam’s primary sources shocked me to my core. I thought, “If this man’s life is supposed to be the best example, we are all in deep trouble.”

Durie's response to examining Islam's primary sources is the proper, healthy response. Distorting or concealing the truth about Muhammad and Islam is to advance a lie. Christians, by virtue of their desire to forgive their enemies and think the best of others, are especially susceptible to the temptation to paint a halo around Muhammad and think of Islam as a nearly compatible religion. It cannot be emphasized enough that no saint of the Church has ever been soft on Islam or Muhammad. See St John of Damascus and St Gregory Palamas as two prime examples. And consider the words of Righteous New-Martyr Fr Daniil Sysoev:

One must respect mistaken people but not their mistakes. Truth is one, that which contradicts and negates truth is a lie, and respect for a lie is contempt for the truth.

Education is essential when it comes to Islam, and refuting the clueless and deceptive paeans praising Muhammad as a paragon for modern, pluralistic society, or as a prototypical defender, protector and guarantor of rights and safety to Christians and other religious minorities, is the duty of those who value and uphold truth, freedom and human dignity.

Huffington Post: “Muhammad’s beliefs on how to treat religious minorities make him a universal champion of human rights”
by Robert Spencer, Jihad Watch — January 24, 2014

This article is as risible as Karen Armstrong’s likening Muhammad to Gandhi, and is as gracefully written as a seventh grader’s book report. But for the Huffington Post, accuracy and quality are of no import: if it downplays the grim reality of Islamic jihad terror, then it’s good enough for them.

The author of this piece is Craig Considine, who has likened Muhammad to George Washington and claimed that Christianity has a concept of jihad just like Islam’s. He pulls off these feats of legerdemain by employing a very simple method: ignoring what doesn’t fit his thesis, as he does here.

“What Studying Muhammad Taught Me About Islam,” by Craig Considine in the Huffington Post, January 21:
Muslims worldwide have recently joined together to celebrate Mawlid al-Nabi, the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. This day is an opportunity for Muslims and non-Muslims, such as myself – a Catholic – to reflect upon the life and legacy of the prophet of Islam. In this short essay, I want to share with you what I have learned about Muhammad and how his legacy informs my understanding of Islam. 
Muhammad’s beliefs on how to treat religious minorities make him a universal champion of human rights, particularly as it pertains to freedom of conscience, freedom of worship, and the right for minorities to have protection during times of strife. 
Muhammad initiated many legal covenants with Christians and Jews after establishing his Muslim community. For example, in one covenant with the Christian monks at Mount Sinai, Egypt, Muhammad called on Muslims to respect Christian judges and churches, and for no Muslim to fight against his Christian brother or sister. Through this agreement, Muhammad made it clear that Islam, as a political and philosophical way of life, respected and protected Christians.

[Regarding this spurious document, also called the 'Charter of Privileges', see also my post here.]

This document, the Achtiname, is of even more doubtful authenticity than everything else about Muhammad’s life. Muhammad is supposed to have died in 632; the Muslims conquered Egypt between 639 and 641. The document says of the Christians, “No one shall bear arms against them.” So were the conquerors transgressing against Muhammad’s command for, as Considine puts it, “no Muslim to fight against his Christian brother or sister”? Did Muhammad draw up this document because he foresaw the Muslim invasion of Egypt? There is no mention of this document in any remotely contemporary Islamic sources; among other anomalies, it bears a drawing of a mosque with a minaret, although minarets weren’t put on mosques until long after the time Muhammad is supposed to have lived, which is why Muslim hardliners consider them unacceptable innovation (bid’a).

The document exempts the monks of St. Catherine’s monastery from paying the jizya. While it is conceivable that Muhammad, believing he bore the authority of Allah, would exempt them from an obligation specified by Allah himself in the Qur’an (9:29), the Achtiname specifies that Christians of Egypt are to pay a jizya only of twelve drachmas. Yet according to the seventh-century Coptic bishop John of Nikiou, Christians in Egypt “came to the point of offering their children in exchange for the enormous sums that they had to pay each month.” The Achtiname, in short, bears all the earmarks of being an early medieval Christian forgery, perhaps developed by the monks themselves in order to protect the monastery and Egyptian Christians from the depredations of zealous Muslims.

MUST READ: Dr Mark Durie speaks about his book, 'The Third Choice'

This excellent discussion with Mark Durie about Islam, dhimmitude, and his landmark book, The Third Choice, dates from 2010. This book should be required reading for anyone seeking to understand Islam and the threat it poses. It is an engaging read, and is a great educational tool, equipping us with not just historical and theological facts about Islam, but also an understanding of the ideological system of Islam, and what that means for non-muslims.

If you don't have The Third Choice, buy it today. If you do have it, you know how important it is. — Buy copies as gifts for your friends and family and/or recommend it to them.

The Third Choice
Article and Interview by Mark Tapson, September 20, 2010

Before it was innocuously renamed Park 51, the Ground Zero mosque development had been known as the Cordoba House, which proponents claimed referred to a supposed golden age of multi-faith tolerance under Islamic rule. What they neglect to mention is that historically, non-Muslims under Muslim rule have been presented with three choices: conversion to Islam, death, or the subservient status known as dhimmitude.

A new book sheds light on that little-understood condition and its contemporary relevance. The Third Choice: Islam, Dhimmitude and Freedom by Dr. Mark Durie was released in February (2010) by Deror Books and short-listed for Australian Christian Book of the Year. A former linguistics scholar, Durie is now the Vicar of St. Mary’s Anglican Church, Caulfield in Melbourne, Australia. He writes and speaks extensively in Australia and internationally about Islam, interfaith dialogue, religious conflict, and the persecution of religious minorities, especially Christians living under Sharia law.

I caught up with the author just prior to his recent arrival in Los Angeles to promote the book.

MT: Dr. Durie, I’d like to begin talking about The Third Choice by asking what inspired you, as an Anglican priest, to write a study of Islam and dhimmitude?

MD: I first became interested in Islam when doing linguistic field work in Aceh, Indonesia, in the early 1980’s. The Acehnese people are proud of their Islamic identity, but despite enjoying countless discussions about religion with them, I made no attempt to study Islam formally; my whole focus was on linguistic research. But I couldn’t escape learning about jihad, because it played such a large role in the historical consciousness of the people. An amazingly large number of works of Acehnese literature are jihad epics. Another aspect of my experience was contact with local Christians; this is how I came to know of the difficult circumstances of non-Muslims living in an Islamic society.

When I left academia to become an Anglican minister, around 1998, I thought I was leaving Islamic jihad well behind me. I had no idea of the depth and breadth of the global Islamic movement. Then as I watched the burning World Trade Center towers collapse in the New York morning sunshine, I knew there was no ideology on this earth other than Islamic jihad which could have inspired such an attack. It was no surprise when verses from the Koran reportedly found in the backpacks of the terrorists were exactly the same verses which had figured so prominently in Acehnese jihad epic poems from over a century ago.

At that point I knew I had to try to understand Islam properly. So I read the hadiths, the Koran, and Ibn Ishaq’s biography of Muhammad in the months after 9/11, with the eye of a theologian – I was constantly asking how this material would form people’s spiritual identity. This exploration made me deeply troubled. The persona of Muhammad which arose before me from Islam’s primary sources shocked me to my core. I thought, “If this man’s life is supposed to be the best example, we are all in deep trouble.” 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Kerry Boasts of ‘Pluralistic’ Syria Once Assad Gone

by Raymond Ibrahim — January 23, 2014

U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, was recently interviewed about Syria.  While many of his assertions can be debated, one especially requires a response.  Throughout the interview, he repeatedly insisted that, if Bashar Assad would only leave power, everything would go well — especially for all of Syria’s minorities.

In his words: “I believe that a peace can protect all of the minorities: Druze, Christian, Ismailis, Alawites — all of them can be protected, and you can have a pluralistic Syria, in which minority rights of all people are protected.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Kerry declared that “The world would protect the Alawites, Druze, Christians, and all minorities in Syria after the ousting of Assad.”

The problem here is that we have precedent — exact precedent.  We’ve seen this paradigm before and know precisely what happens once strongman dictators like Assad are gone.

As demonstrated in this article, in all Muslim nations where the U.S. has intervened to help topple dictators and bring democracy, it is precisely the minorities who suffer first.  And neither the U.S. nor “the world” do much about it.

After the U.S. toppled dictator Saddam Hussein, Christian minorities were savagely attacked and slaughtered, and dozens of their churches were bombed (see here for graphic images). Christians have been terrorized into near-extinction, so that today, a decade after the ousting of Saddam, more than half of them have fled Iraq.

The “world” did nothing.

Social Studies Textbook Review in Tennessee and Texas

On the heels of a report from Alabama, a pair of cases regarding biased textbooks in Texas and Tennessee. Via Creeping Sharia:

Readers frequently ask how they can get involved. Here’s one. via Citizen Warrior: Social Studies Textbook Review in Tennessee and Texas.

The following was written by Roy White, Chapter Coordinator for ACT! for America in San Antonio, Bexar, and Kendall:

We all know of plenty of examples of the bias in social studies textbooks revealed by various groups and individuals. Concerned Tennessee citizens formed a group called Textbook Advocates that conducted reviews of over 50 textbooks that can be found here. Many of those errors involved Islam to include incomplete information on Muhammad, overstating Islam’s influence and simple disparity in word/sentence count on discussions of Islam versus other religions. Their findings are not surprising to readers of Citizen Warrior and others who follow this topic. 
The cleverly named, The Textbook Tattler was published to provide citizens with a synopsis of the typical errors found. It is likely these same errors are found in many of the textbooks found in states around the country. Tennessee’s efforts resulted in the current methodology of textbook selection to be under review and will most likely be replaced in the next legislative session. Their landmark success has inspired others to follow their lead including a group in Texas. 

Alabama: Board of Ed submits school kids to whitewashed Islamic history

courtesy of Creeping Sharia, Jan. 22, 2014

The Alabama state school board put to rest two controversial issues Friday and also placed the Selma school system on notice that the Alabama State Department of Education is planning an intervention.

With a pair of 5-2 votes, board members approved new social studies textbooks that had sections on religion some accused of being “pro-Islam” and a new math and language arts curriculum, which is based on Alabama’s College and Career Ready standards that pull somewhat from the controversial Common Core curriculum.

Fears of religious bias derailed an earlier vote on approval of new social studies textbooks.

Bice canceled a vote on the textbooks in early December when conservative groups in the state raised concerns about 12 books on the approved state list, which included more than 500 textbooks. They were concerned that the books were too pro-Islam and misrepresented some aspects of Christianity.

Specifically, the Eagle Forum and Act! For America sent letters to board members last month complaining that the books in question omitted references to Islam being spread by violence and don’t spend enough time on Christianity’s positives.

Al-Qaeda training British, European and American jihadists in Syria to set up jihad terror cells at home

A follow up to these reports of American and European Muslims traveling to Syria to wage jihad, establish an Islamic sharia state in the Levant, and cleanse the region of the last remnants of Christianity. And now they are targeting us. 

Related: Number of French citizens going to Syria to wage jihad has quadrupled since May 2013

Al-Qaeda training British, European and American jihadists in Syria to set up jihad terror cells at home
by Ruth Sherlock and Tom Whitehead for the Telegraph, Jan. 19, via JihadWatch

British people fighting in Syria are being trained as “jihadists” and then encouraged to return to the UK to launch attacks on home soil, an al-Qaeda defector and western security sources have told the Telegraph.

In a rare interview on Turkey’s border with Syria, the defector from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) said that recruits from Britain, Europe and the US were being indoctrinated in extremist anti-Western ideology, trained in how to make and detonate car bombs and suicide vests and sent home to start new terror cells.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Word for our Christian Brethren Suffering Persecution in Muslim lands

I was dumbstruck by this brief passage, as it sums up the apocalyptic challenge our brothers and sisters in Christ face throughout the Islamic world. And it is coming to America and Canada already.

Many thanks to Matushka Constantina for relating this divine 'word'...

Blessed Augoustinos Kantiotes: A Word for Gospel Workers
via Lessons from a Monastery, January 22, 2014

The world that lives far away from God hates you. It hates light and truth. The disbelieving, corrupt world never forgives you, because you say “no” to the nameless desires of this generation. You raise a lash, smite their evils, and brand their sins. If it were possible, they would crucify you in the town square! Lies, intrigue, and slander are the rewards with which Satan fills your world. And what will you do? Will you seek revenge? 
Rather than sacrifice one iota of Gospel law, make sharp rebukes against error and evil, but be sympathetic and forgiving to people who hate you, raise you on  a cross, and subject you to the most fearful martyrdom.  
Pray the Lord to give you forbearance to forgive them, so that you can repeat the words of the First-Martyr Stephen, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin” (Acts 7:60). This will be the loftiest sermon of your life, and it cannot possibly leave souls unmoved.  
There are aromatic trees which when cut bathe the ax with fragrance. Faithful servants of the Lord, aromatic trees in Christ’s Church, you also should bathe with the aroma of heavenly forgiveness the world which strikes you and crucifies you. 
(From Blessed Augoustinos Kantiotes’ Follow Me, translated by Asterios Gerosterigios, pp. 184-185)

Can you read these words and possibly doubt that they proceeded from the heart and mind of a great saint? Blessed Augustinos Kantiotes was a bishop in Florina, in Northern Greece. He reposed in 2009 and left us his life and many books as everlasting examples of a true shepherd, an apostle to this corrupt generation. May we have his blessing!

Nazareth Christians Warned Against ‘Slandering’ Allah

from Israel Today, January 21, via JihadWatch

As Christians of every stripe in Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth begin to again take a real stand for their faith, local Muslims are warning them not to overstep the boundaries of their traditional place in the Middle East (hint: they must remain dhimmis, or second-class).

A large billboard hanging at a central point in Nazareth features a picture of an Israeli stop sign, along with the English translation of a verse from the Koran cautioning Christians (and Jews) to speak only the “truth” regarding Allah.

The poster (and Koran 4:171) reads:

“O people of the Scripture (Christians)! Do not exceed the limits of your religion. Say nothing but the truth about Allah (The One True God). The Christ Jesus, Son of Mary, was only a Messenger of God and His word conveyed to Mary and a spirit created by Him. So believe in God and His messengers and do not say: ‘Three gods (trinity)’. Cease! It will be better for you. Indeed, Allah is the One and the Only God. His Holiness is far above having a son.”

Evangelical Christians from Nazareth have become a growing and integral part of the overall Messianic body in the land, while traditional Christians (Catholics, Greek Orthodox, etc) have been waking up to their historical and religious connection to the Jews and are joining the Israeli army in ever greater numbers.

Syrian Church Delegation to speak at DC area Church Sunday, January 26

If you live in the Washington, D.C. area, there's still time to register.
h/t Abraham

Marked for Destruction:
The Plight of Syria's Christians
Syrian Church Leaders

   Sunday, January 26th
4:00 - 5:30 p.m.

at St John the Beloved Catholic Church
6420 Linway Terrace, McLean, VA 22101

On Sunday, January 26th, the first delegation of Syrian Church leaders to visit the United States since the start of the civil war will give a talk at St. John the Beloved about the current crisis facing Christians in Syria. The delegation is visiting the U.S. between January 25–29th to raise awareness of the threats against Christians in Syria and the growing plight that they face. The visit will provide opportunities for these Church leaders to discuss various options and steps that can be taken by the global community to protect Christians and religious minorities in Syria. The delegation is being hosted by the Westminster Institute and Barnabas Aid.

Delegation members include:
  • Rev. Adib Awad, General Secretary of the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon.
  • H.E. Bishop Elias Toumeh, The Orthodox Bishop of Pyrgou-Syria.
  • Rev. Dr Riad Jarjour, Presbyterian clergyman from Homs, Syria, formerly General Secretary of the Middle East Council of Churches (1994-2003).
  • H.E. Bishop Dionysius Jean Kawak, Metropolitan of the Syrian Orthodox Church.
  •  His Grace Bishop Armash Nalbandian, Primate of the Armenian Church of Damascus.
Katharine Cornell Gorka, Executive Director

St. Thecla’s Tomb Desecrated by Syrian Rebels, Nuns Still Missing

"They want to extinguish the last vestige of Christianity and void out her existence.”

Patheos via Pravmir — Jan. 23, 2014

Twelve nuns kidnapped from the Mar Takla Orthodox convent are still being held by our friends, the Syrian “rebels.” They were taken away in early December in a raid by terrorist Abu Jafar, leader of the Battalion of the Martyr Abu Taan. Jafar pillaged the monasteries there, andsold off the goods in Lebanon.

On January 12th, Jafar and his family were all found murdered, likely due to rivalries among warring factions.

With his death, new reports are emerging about just what happened at the monasteries, including the desecration and looting of the Tomb of St. Thecla. The fate of the nuns is still uncertain.

The Christians In The Crosshairs

For context when reading this article, which repeatedly claims that the danger to Christians in Syria is not from Muslims, we must keep in mind that the Muslims in Syria with whom the Christians used to coexist peacefully are largely of the Alawite sect, which is considered a heretical branch of Islam (and therefore 'infidels') by the Sunni Muslim jihadists who have been pouring into Syria from not only Muslim countries, but from Europe, America, and around the globe. 

by Witold Dudzinski, Niedziela via Pravmir — Jan. 23, 2014

Every 5 minutes somewhere in the world, every year over 100 thousand Christians are killed – the papal organization Help to the Church in Need alarms. The guest of the Warsaw presentation of a report on persecutions of the Christians was the patriarch Grzegorz III Laham.

The presence of the unusual guest – the Catholic patriarch of the Melkite Church Grzegorz (Gregorios) III Laham at the presentation of a report of the organization Help to the Church in Need was not accidental. The document draws a particular attention to the exodus of the Christians from the countries of the Middle East, including Syria. Its authors point out to the fact that Syria overwhelmed by the civil war, where the Muslims are 93 percent of the society, is at present the most dangerous country for the Christians who are a small minority – about 5 percent of inhabitants. The everyday life of Syria consists of kidnappings and sales to captivity and encouragements for rapes on the Christians. 300 thousand Christians have already escaped from the country.

- In Syria about 2 thousand groups are fighting, not necessarily the Syrians, these are groups of criminals and bandits, which are out of any control. Therefore, the biggest danger for the Christians is nor from the Muslims, but the chaos – the patriarch emphasized.

[This is not true, as it is Muslim jihadists pouring into Syria who are motivated by Islam to wage jihad, establish an Islamic state, and purge the territory of all Christians. See my comments below under 'They bring chaos and destruction'.]

Every 5 minutes

Every 5 minutes one Christian is killed in the world, every year – 105 thousand. There are 200 million brutally persecuted followers of Christ, in over 70 countries of the world the right for religious freedom is breached, and 350 million of the Christians are subjected to various forms of discrimination – the report is alarming. The editor of the Polish version of the report in a form of a book, whose presentation was held in the headquarter of the Secretariat of the Polish Episcopal Conference, is the Polish section of the organization Help to the Church in Need. The presentation began with a prayer for Syria, conducted in Arabian by the patriarch Grzegorz III. Before saying it, the patriarch had announced that the text refers to the conversion of St. Paul on his way to Damascus, and he added that he had been saying the prayer every day recently.

‘A report about persecutions of the Christians in the years 2011- 2012. Persecuted and forgotten’ describes a situation in a dozen countries. It draws a particular attention to the difficult situation of the Christians in Syrian and the countries of the so-called Arabian spring, but it also devotes much attention to China, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Russian Islamic Video Threatens Sochi Olympics: 'We will give you a present...'

Associated Press, via The Blaze — January 19, 2014

MOSCOW (AP) — An Islamic militant group in Russia’s North Caucasus has claimed responsibility for twin suicide bombings in the southern city of Volgograd last month and posted a video threatening to strike the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

In the video, two Russian-speaking men sitting in front of black banners with Arabic verses warn President Vladimir Putin that if the games are held, “we will give you a present for the innocent Muslim blood being spilled all around the world.”

They add that “for the tourists who come there will be a present, too.”

The video was posted Sunday on the website of the militant group Vilayat Dagestan.

There had been no previous claim of responsibility for the bombings, which killed 34 people and heightened security fears before next month’s Olympics.

More, with CNN Video Report here.

Archbishop of Canterbury covers for Islam, denies it is the cause of Global Muslim Persecution of Christians

via Christians called to ‘martyrdom’ says Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby
VirtueOnline via Pravmir — January 17, 2014

Modern Christians are “called” to suffer and even die for the faith in a new era of ‘martyrdom’, says Archbishop of Canterbury.

Christians are facing a new age of “martyrdom” across much of the world, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.

Speaking in Istanbul, Turkey, the Most Rev Justin Welby singled out the persecution of believers across the Middle East and said Christians are still “called” to suffer and even die for the faith in the 21st Century.

But he insisted that religion is often just a “pretext” for violence and not the real cause.

[This is the sort of contorted logic that afflicts most Christian leaders today, who apparently are so fearful to confront the truth about the religion of Muhammad that they wind up excusing it of any culpability for Muslim persecution against Christians throughout the Islamic world. This in spite of the fact, documented again and again, that the Muslim persecutors themselves describe their efforts in purely religious terms, motivated by their desire to please Allah and establish Islamic rule. In Raymond Ibrahim's recent analysis of the Open Doors report on Persecution of Christians, he pre-refutes Justin Welby's ridiculous exoneration of Islam:

The one glaring fact that emerges from [the Open Doors] report is that the overwhelming majority (82%) of Christian persecution around the world today is being committed at the hands of Muslims of all races, languages, cultures, and socio-political circumstances: Muslims from among America’s allies (Saudi Arabia) and its enemies (Iran); Muslims from economically rich nations (Qatar) and from poor nations (Somalia and Yemen); Muslims from “Islamic republic” nations (Afghanistan) and from “moderate” nations (Malaysia and Indonesia); Muslims from nations rescued by America (Kuwait) and Muslims claiming “grievances” against America.
The global Muslim persecution of Christians is characterized by specific targeting of Christians, attempts at forced conversions to Islam, and wholesale destruction of churches and slaughter of entire Christian villages, all to screams of "Allahu Akbar." Sadly, the head of the Anglican communion is completely wrong about the root cause of Muslim persecution of Christians. But it's easy to see why he prefers his fable to the truth: If even 10% of the nearly 2 billion Muslims worldwide are supportive of and inclined to active jihad against infidels, this gives us a staggering number of 200 million extremist Muslims. It's more comforting to choose to believe the fiction that the religion of Islam has nothing to do with persecution of Christians "at the hands of Muslims of all races, languages, cultures, and socio-political circumstances."]

He made his remarks at the end of a two-day visit with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholemew I, the most senior cleric in the eastern Orthodox church.

Muslim Persecution of Christians: Unreported Atrocities

Headline Stories that you won't see in the Mainstream Media, with links to sources.

Raymond Ibrahim — 'Confirmed: U.S. Chief Facilitator of Christian Persecution'

by Raymond Ibrahim, National Review Online — January 19, 2014

Prominent indicators confirm that the U.S. is the chief facilitator of the persecution of Christians around the world today.

According to the recently released 2014 World Watch List, which ranks the 50 nations where Christians are most persecuted, Syria is the third worst nation in the world in which to be Christian, Iraq is fourth, Afghanistan fifth, and Libya 13th. All four countries receive the strongest designation, “extreme persecution” (other designations are “severe,” “moderate,” and “sparse” persecution).

Aside from being so closely and harshly ranked, these four nations have something else in common: heavy U.S. involvement. Three—Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya—were “liberated” thanks to U.S. forces, while in the fourth, Syria, the U.S. is actively sponsoring “freedom fighters” against the regime, many of whom would be better labeled “terrorists.”

The Syrian situation alone indicts U.S. foreign policy. According to Reuters:

Open Doors, a non-denominational group supporting persecuted Christians worldwide, said on Wednesday it had documented 2,123 “martyr” killings, compared with 1,201 in 2012. There were 1,213 such deaths in Syria alone last year, it said. “This is a very minimal count based on what has been reported in the media and we can confirm,” said Frans Veerman, head of research for Open Doors. Estimates by other Christian groups put the annual figure as high as 8,000.

While most Americans are shielded from the true nature of the war by the U.S. media’s reluctance to report on it, Arabic media, websites, and activists daily report and document atrocity after atrocity—beheadings and bombed churches, Christians slaughtered for refusing to convert to Islam, and countless abducted for ransom or rape—at the hands of those whom the U.S. supports.

It’s enough to point out that “the largest massacre of Christians in Syria,” to quote a top religious leader, was left wholly unreported by any major U.S. news network.

At any rate, the statistics speak for themselves: Syria, which used to be religiously tolerant, is now, in the context of the United States’ trying to bring “democracy” to it, the third worst country in the world in terms of “extreme persecution” of Christians.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Michigan: Catholic college designates prayer room for Muslims

As Christianity abandons the Lord's command to "Go and make disciples of all nations," the deception of interfaith dialogue and harmony becomes the highest goal. The silent assent of Roman Catholic leaders at Marygrove College when presented with Muslim theological claims that "all roads lead to god" amounts to denying Jesus Christ, and is another case of the rampant apostasy sweeping through Christianity.

As St Gregory the Theologian warned, "By your silence you can betray God."

See also: Catholic school to host terror-tied Muslim group CAIR.

Marygrove College designates a prayer room for Muslim students
Arab-American News via Creeping Sharia — January 17, 2014

DETROIT — Marygrove College, a private Catholic school, has established an interfaith prayer room, which will serve as a space for prayer for Muslim students. Marygrove’s president and staff, along with students and representatives from the Muslim community, celebrated on Wednesday Jan. 15, the grand opening of the room, reflecting the college’s diversity.

President of Marygrove College Dr. David Fike said the celebration of the interfaith prayer room is “symbolic” of our coming together as diverse communities and individuals in the journey of life.

Imam Hassan Al-Qazwini of the Islamic Center of America stressed the common spiritual goal of all religions.

“All roads lead to god,” he said. “We worship him in different languages, and he’s the one who understands all languages. By celebrating the grand opening of this chapel, we are celebrating our commonalities. And I’m sure our commonalities outnumber our differences.”

[In point of fact, not all roads lead to the True God. Imam Qwazini's deceptive ecumenical blather is aimed squarely at the gullible, and sounds suspiciously like the Muslim open letter to Christian leaders, 'A Common Word Between Us and You'. See Dr. Mark Durie's Notes For Christians Regarding A Common Word to be forewarned against such examples of Islamic dawah, or proselytism.]

Full article here.

Challenging Mosques: Tools for Education and Legal Resistance

In Islam, mosques are more than meeting places for Muslims, analogous to a church building. They are also frontier outposts, and key to expanding Islam into new territories. Studies over the last fifteen years consistently show that 80% of all mosques in the United States promote jihad, Islamic supremacism, and the replacement of the U.S. Constitution with sharia law.

To learn more about mosques, see my article Challenging Mosque Expansions — The Time Is Now, which links to many important resources, and also this post, Book of Jihad (in the Vast Majority of Mosques in America).

I also highly recommend that you purchase, read and share The Mosque Exposed, a thin but powerful and well researched book which presents Islamic theology, history, and modern practice regarding this overlooked and underestimated aspect of stealth jihad and the Islamic threat.

But beyond reading articles and books to educate ourselves, what can we do?  Thankfully there is now real, practical assistance for English-speaking citizens.

Is there a mosque coming to your neighborhood, or is a current mosque expanding? Are you having parking problems on your street due to mosque attendance? Are your concerns being ignored and dismissed by zoning committees and neighborhood councils?

Perhaps Mr. Gavin Boby can help.

Gavin Boby is a planning and zoning attorney in the United Kingdom, and is now making his services available to concerned citizens in the United States, Canada and Australia. You can learn about Mr. Boby's highly successful work and about his Law and Freedom Foundation in the article, Mosques are the Battleground of the War Between Islam and the West, by Enza Ferreri, which also includes a must-watch video of a zoning meeting for a mosque expansion that is a real eye-opener.

Watch Gavin Boby's video about his professional services below, in which he discusses what happens to a neighborhood when a mosque moves in, and visit his site, to contact him if you need help resisting a mosque development or expansion in your area.

This is one of the most encouraging developments in our struggle yet, a practical, legal approach that works at the grass roots level using local zoning laws.

To request Gavin Boby's help in resisting a mosque application, fill out the online form here.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Current Headlines in the Counter-Jihad Section

Some of these won't make it to the mainstream media, so here you go, a sobering collection of stories to check out:

New Jersey: Muslim freed from pipe at water treatment plant, faces criminal charges - Jihad Watch, with background on recent jihad threats against American water supplies.
He "purposely climbed a six-foot fence with three or four layers of barbed wire on top."

Benghazi timeline: Obama missed intel briefing five days in a row before jihad attack - Jihad Watch, with graphic comparing timeline of events in Banghazi with Obama's schedule.

This surveillance scandal arises out of our national bipartisan unwillingness to face the reality of Islamic jihad. Because we all agree that Islam is a religion of peace, we can't possibly address where the threat is really coming from, and monitor mosques or subject Muslims with Islamic supremacist ties to greater surveillance. Instead, we have to pretend that anyone and everyone is a potential terrorist, and surveil everyone. Our freedoms and privacy are now at risk because of our refusal to admit the truth about Islam.

Friday, January 17, 2014

All Shrines of Ma'loula destroyed or desecrated

Pravoslavie — January 15, 2014

A radical Jabhat al-Nusra "opposition" group, which occupied the small Christian town of Ma'loula in Syria in the last months of 2013, desecrated absolutely all shrines of the town, reports al Hadas portal with the reference to materials of the al Akhbar Lebanese newspaper.

According to evidence of eyewitnesses who fled from Ma'loula during the latest warfare in the region, members of al Nusra tried to change the religious and architectural-historical look of the ancient Christian town entirely: completely destroying some churches, the militants brought down all bells from other ones. The fate of two other world-famous monuments of Ma'loula was no less tragic: extremists blew up the statue of Christ the Savior, which had stood at the entrance of St. Thecla Convent, as well as the statue of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, which had stood close to the Safir hotel, the latter of which served as the main shelter for Takfirists for many months.

Nevertheless, many artifacts that were stolen from the town have survived, becoming smuggled goods. According to the information received by al Akhbar from reliable sources, the al Nusra militants are currently the most active dealers of black market antiques of the Middle East. Local smugglers are helping with "exporting" of the Ma'loula's antiquities abroad, transporting Christian monuments to many European countries—mainly to Italy and Turkey. It was reported that a great number of ancient icons, (icon) settings, crosses, reliquaries, and statues have already been taken out from Syria and sent abroad.

In close connection with this, there are ongoing attempts to release the Ma'loula nuns, who disappeared from the town in December 2013. Last week, Robert Abiad, head of the Lebanese Orthodox Council, accompanied by relatives of the kidnapped nuns from St. Thecla Convent, met with major general Abbas Ibrahim, chief of the Lebanese security service. In his interview with al Akhbar following the meeting, R. Abiad noted that "the negotiations were very fruitful, for all possible, serious efforts were being made to secure the release the kidnapped nuns." "Fortunately, security forces of Iraq have also joined negotiations with the kidnappers, as one of the abducted girls is a citizen of the Iraqi Republic," added the head of the Council.

Moreover, as it became known, on Sunday militants from the Jabhat al Nusra group had abducted Archbishop Abdo Arish, brother of the Metropolitan of Melkite Catholic Church in Homs, in the Syrian town of Ma'loula, reports ITAR-TASS.

The Islamization of Germany in 2013

Treaties signed with Muslim communities highlight the rise of Islam and Islamic extremism in Germany in 2013. 

by Soeren Kern, The Gatestone Institute — January 15, 2014

In December, two new studies, one funded by the German government, found that the majority of Muslims believe that Islamic Sharia law should take precedence over the secular constitutions and laws of their European host countries. 
"Critics of Islamic ideology and its organizations are constantly confronted with lawsuits and have to legally defend themselves against the accusations of blasphemy or incitement-to-hatred. Even if it does not come to a conviction, such processes cost a lot of time and money…Thus... we are experiencing a de facto application of Islamic law." — Felix Strüning, Gustav Stresemann Foundation Report. 
"[It] must be recognized: democracies must beware of those who believe a free society is something that needs to be vanquished." — Die Welt.

What follows is a chronological review of some of the most important stories about the rise of Islam in Germany during 2013:

In January, the Turkish-run Kuba Camii Mosque in Eschweiler, a city situated along the German-Belgian-Dutch border and about 50 kilometers (30 miles) west of Cologne, for the first time began publicly calling Muslims to prayer.

The call to prayer was described as an "historical event" and was attended by numerous dignitaries, including the Turkish consul and the Turkish attaché.

The Turkish imam of the Kuba Camii Mosque, Bahri Ciftci, declared his hopes that "the public prayer call will be a symbol of a tolerant, intercultural and interreligious common coexistence."

The mayor of Eschweiler, Rudi Bertram, said, "Tolerance must be practiced on a daily basis. We are all responsible for ensuring that there is a co-existence."

The mosque is one of a growing number of Islamic institutions in Germany publicly calling the Muslim faithful to prayer—five times a day, seven days a week—with cries of Allahu Akbar! ("Allah is Greater!").

The sonorous prayer calls (known in Arabic as adhan) can be heard from great distances when amplified through electric loudspeakers. Critics say some German towns and cities are beginning to evoke the sounds and images of the Islamic Middle East.

On January 14, the City-State of Bremen signed a so-called state treaty with city's 40,000-strong Muslim community. The agreement guarantees the protection of Muslim community properties, the approval of the construction of mosques with minarets and domes, the allotment of land for Muslim cemeteries, the supplying of halal food at prisons and hospitals, the recognition of three Muslim holidays, Muslim representation in state institutions and several other rights and privileges.

According to Erol Pürlü, the spokesman of the Koordinationsrat der Muslime [Muslim Coordination Council], a Turkish-Muslim umbrella group, the treaty with Bremen "sends a clear signal that Islam belongs to Germany."

Bremen is the second German state to sign a treaty with local Muslim communities. Hamburg, the second-largest city in Germany, concluded a "historic treaty" with the city's 200,000-strong Muslim community in November 2012.

Critics say the agreements do little to encourage Muslim integration into German society and instead will boost the growing influence of Islam in the country by encouraging the perpetuation of a Muslim parallel society.

Read the alarming full article here.

The Existential Elephant in the ‘Christian Persecution’ Room

by Raymond Ibrahim, via CBN News — January 17, 2014

2014 World Watch List global map of Christian persecution (darker colors more severe).

Open Doors USA recently released its widely cited 2014 World Watch List—a report that highlights and ranks the 50 worst nations around the globe persecuting Christians.

The one glaring fact that emerges from this report is that the overwhelming majority of Christian persecution around the world today is being committed at the hands of Muslims of all races, languages, cultures, and socio-political circumstances: Muslims from among America’s allies (Saudi Arabia) and its enemies (Iran); Muslims from economically rich nations (Qatar) and from poor nations (Somalia and Yemen); Muslims from “Islamic republic” nations (Afghanistan) and from “moderate” nations (Malaysia and Indonesia); Muslims from nations rescued by America (Kuwait) and Muslims claiming “grievances” against America (fill in the blank __).

A common denominator, a pattern, exists, one that is even more extensive than Open Doors implies.  According to that organization’s communications director, Emily Fuentes, “of the 50 worst nations for persecution, 37 of them are Muslim,” or 74%.

In fact, while this number suggests that the other 13 countries making the top 50 are not Muslim—for example Kenya and Ethiopia—those doing the persecution there are.

In other words, those persecuting Christians in 41 of 50 nations are Muslims; that is, a whopping 82% of all persecution around the globe is being committed by the adherents of Islam — sometimes in Christian majority nations; for example, the Central African Republic which, after the 2013 Islamic takeover, now ranks #16, “severe persecution” (the Christian-majority nation did not even appear in the previous year’s top 50).

As for the top ten absolute worst nations, where, according to the 2014 World Watch List, Christians suffer “extreme persecution,” nine—that is, 90%—are Muslim.  (Indeed, Open Doors’ global map of Christian persecution can easily be confused with a global map of the Islamic world, with the exception of China (ranked 37, “moderate persecution”) and some sporadic countries dominated by crime and godless tyranny, Columbia, North Korea, etc.)

Similarly, a recent Morning Star News report listing 2013’s ten most horrific anecdotes of Christian persecution around the world finds that nine out of ten—again, 90%—were committed at the hands of those professing Islam.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Egypt’s Christians Vote on New Constitution

Seeking stability, Copts appear resigned to support "highly flawed," sharia-based document.

Morning Star News — January 15, 2014

Finger dipped in ink indicating Egyptian woman
has voted. (Morning Star News)
CAIRO, Egypt (Morning Star News) – Across Egypt, Christians are lining up today and Thursday to vote on a new constitution that many consider highly flawed but the best option – and a substantial improvement over the last constitution drafted by Islamists.

The nation’s Christian leaders are urging the rank-and-file to vote in favor of the constitution to bring stability the country has lacked for the past three years, but detractors say the document maintains Christians’ second-class status in Egyptian society.

“I will vote tomorrow – I will vote yes, but I am not happy about it,” Issac Saleeb, a pharmacist and Coptic Christian in Cairo, said yesterday (Jan. 14). “[The constitution] means we are ruled by Islamic rules. Still, it’s very, very good compared to [ousted President Mohamed] Morsi’s.”

The biggest problem Saleeb and others see in the constitution is the way it renders Christians and other non-Muslims second-class citizens through Article Two, which establishes Islam as the state religion and sharia (Islamic law) as the  “principle source of legislation” for the country. Article One establishes Egypt as an Islamic state, albeit not one run by Islamists such as the Muslim Brotherhood, the now banned group backing Morsi. Both articles are relics from the constitution drafted under Morsi, as well as from the constitution in place when Hosni Mubarak was forced to step down from the presidency in 2011.

Some human rights activists agree with the criticism but take it a step further.