Friday, February 28, 2014

Counterjihad, Solzhenitsyn and Righteous Indignation

This is a significant article, which has a pointed message for Christians and our responsibility to resist the onslaught of Islam:

Christians' support will eventually come to the Counterjihad as it came to the issues of abolishing slavery, of civil rights and of ending the Soviet empire. Our Counterjihad is a matter of 'charity and justice'.

It is worth remembering that St John the Baptist rebuked King Herod for his illicit affair with the wife of his brother. 'Speaking truth to power' was one of the core principles of the Byzantine Christian empire. Links on the left panel of this blog point to special posts on great saints of the Church, who fearlessly denounced Islam as a false religion and heresy, and openly condemn the violent, twisted character of Muhammad which set Islam in motion.

We don't need to pick fights or deliberately stir up hostilities, but we Christians today must stand for truth, justice, and specifically for the exalted Christian anthropology around which all people, Christian or not, should be able to rally to repudiate and defeat the evil of Islam.  

But we will never convince or inspire anyone if we ourselves are not striving to absorb and live in our own lives the divine vision of man's destiny in Christ. The exalted call which God has given to mankind is the most radical paradigm shift of human history. It is contained in the Incarnation, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection and the Glorification of the God-Man Jesus Christ. We are called to abide in Him, to become like Him, to become by grace all that He is by nature.

If Christians can't make the case for the absolute criminalization and censure of Islamic jihad, no one can.

Counterjihad, Solzhenitsyn and Righteous Indignation
by Kenneth Roberts, Political Islam — Feb 27, 2014

We in the Counterjihad need to show more righteous indignation, as did Martin Luther King, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Alexander Solzhenitsyn in their various righteous struggles. We should study their examples to see what our approach should be to defeat political Islam.

The Counterjihad is, in fact, young, only about 13 years old. We have so much to learn about getting our point across effectively and to make it reality.

Why would our struggle be safe or easy? After all, it wasn't easy for the anti-slavery abolitionist movement or for the American civil rights movement or for the democracy and freedom movement behind the iron curtain of the evil Soviet empire. Nor did it seem obvious or easy to the Abolitionists or to King's civil rights marchers or to the Samizdat movement in the USSR as to what they should do next! One thing that is common to those three struggles is the unrelenting moral indignation that led them to victory. Righteous, moral indignation was their strongest method.

Assyrians in Turkey Receive Deed for Lands of St. Gabriel Monastery

"The return of the land of the monastery marks the largest property restoration in the history of the Turkish Republic in terms of size."

By Okan Konuralp

Hurriyet Daily News via AINA — Feb 27, 2014

The lands of the historic Mor Gabriel Monastery located in Turkey's southeastern province of Mardin have been returned to the Syriac community, completing an important step in the slow-running restoration of the group's property.

"The process regarding the 12 parcels of land of 244,000 square meters has been finalized. We are happy to receive back the deed of the land without coming to the European Court of Human Right phase," said the president of the Mor Gabriel foundation, Kuryakos Ergun.

"Mor Gabriel is one of the oldest monasteries that remain still active in our country. This return of the land will contribute a lot to protecting that monastery and enable it to revive its mission freely. It will have good implications for the Syriac community in particular," he said, hinting that the move could convince many Syriacs to return to Turkey.

"They will live much more at ease in the land where they belong," he said.

The return of the land of the monastery also marks the largest property restoration in the history of the Turkish Republic in terms of size.


Al Qaeda openly applying Dhimma Contract in Syria, just like 7th century Muslim warlords.

This article does an excellent job of presenting the situation in an accurate fashion. The dhimma contract and jizya tax are explained, as are the three choices presented to the Christians by their Muslim captors. For an expanded and highly readable treatment of what all this means, with context spanning the centuries and all geographic areas where Islam has spread its dark rule, purchase and read Dr Mark Durie's book, The Third Choice, and Raymond Ibrahim's, Crucified Again.

by Dr. Susan Berry, Breitbart News — Feb 27, 2014

Syrian Jihadists — Photo © Reuters
Christian leaders in Raqqa, Syria who had been captured by a former al-Qaeda affiliate, have signed a treaty this week that bans them from practicing Christianity in public in return for protection by Islamist rulers.

According to Elhanan Miller writing at The Times of Israel, the submission document, which displayed the stamp of al-Qaeda, was signed Sunday and distributed through Islamist Twitter accounts. The document states that the Christian community in the northern province of Raqqa, captured last March by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, ISIS), had been given three options: to convert to Islam; to remain Christian, but vow submission to Islam; or to “face the sword.”

Christian leaders reportedly chose the second alternative, which is known as “dhimmitude,” a reference to the Muslim ruler’s protection, or “dhimma,” in exchange for a tax known as “jizya” that must be paid by Christians and Jews living under Muslim sovereignty.

As The Times indicates, the document states the Christian leaders chose to sign the “dhimma” treaty over war because they received a commitment from local ISIL commander Ibrahim Al-Badri, also known as Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, that they would not be physically harmed or subjected to religious targeting.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Iraqi Christians Facing 'More Than Desperate' Crisis

Canada Free Press via AINA — Feb 27, 2014

Canon Andrew White, known as the "Vicar of Baghdad," has requested urgent prayer for the church in Iraq during this time of intense violence in the country. With frequent bombings and shootings in cities such as Baghdad and Mosul, monthly death tolls have soared recently. January's toll of more than 1,000 killed was the highest in almost six years.

Canon Andrew, a partner of The Voice of the Martyrs, recently shared that some of the young people at the church he leads have been among those tragically killed. His Christian friends are leaving and begging him to leave too.

"Hundreds of our people have left the church because they have left the country," he explains. "The hundreds left are those who cannot afford to leave, so the poverty and needs seem greater than ever. I honestly cannot tell you how terrible things are. We are in more than a desperate crisis. We need your prayers."

Yet Canon Andrew remains resolute. "I will not leave my people here, however bad it is," he says. "I am not leaving, and neither is God."

FBI agent: U.S. has evidence to indict CAIR for terror

Contends feds won't prosecute due to political reasons

WorldNetDaily — Feb 24, 2014

The Justice Department has enough incriminating evidence to file terrorism charges against the Council on American-Islamic Relations and its founders but has chosen not to indict the Washington-based group and its leaders at this time, a veteran FBI agent reveals in a shocking new book.

“There is enough evidence to indict CAIR, but the government chose not to do so at this time,” said former FBI official John Guandolo, author of “Raising a Jihadi Generation: Understanding the Muslim Brotherhood Movement in America.”

He suggests the government balked at throwing the book at CAIR for political reasons.
CAIR has cultivated a number of political supporters, mainly among leading Democrats in Washington – including senior White House officials. Secret Service entry logs show CAIR officials have visited the White House several times during the Obama administration.

Despite its designation as an unindicted terrorist co-conspirator in 2007, the Muslim pressure group in recent years has successfully lobbied for changes in federal policies dealing with the war on terror. For example, CAIR took credit for helping persuade Attorney General Eric Holder to prohibit religious profiling in terror cases, a decision his department is expected to announce formally soon. It also played a key role in the Pentagon’s recent decision to change long-standing uniform rules to allow military personnel to wear Islamic beards and head coverings.

Moreover, a controversial new rule issued earlier this month by the departments of State and Homeland Security to relax U.S. immigration for Palestinian and other foreign “refugees” who have provided “limited” material support to terrorists also dovetails with CAIR lobbying.

Under the Bush administration, the Justice Department implicated CAIR in a criminal conspiracy to raise money for Hamas, a U.S.-designated terrorist group.

Saint Philothei the Martyr, Consoler of Christians under the Yoke of Islam (Feb 19)

Here we are presented with another great saint of the Orthodox Church, who humbly but bravely labored in charity and mercy, strengthening the faithful against the predatory Muslims. St. Philothei shines like a female Kosmas of Aitolia, a teacher and encourager of the Church during the dark time of the Ottoman tyranny. She was martyred by the Turkish Muslims due to their hatred of the light of Christ which shone from her upon all.

"Philothei aimed at protecting the daughters of Athens from the disgrace of conversion to Islam... strengthening those under duress or sending them away and hiding them. This was done until their consciences recovered or the danger subsided; and until fear was replaced by a spirit of faith and sacrifice for the sake of the Christian Faith."

Muslims kill 59 boys in boarding school attack, take girls as war booty

at Creeping Sharia — Feb 26, 2014

Religion of peace, killing for an Islamic state. via Nigerian Islamists kill 59 pupils in boarding school attack | Reuters.

Gunmen from Islamist group Boko Haram shot or burned to death 59 pupils in a boarding school in northeast Nigeria overnight, a hospital official and security forces said on Tuesday. 
Some of the students’ bodies were burned to ashes,” Police Commissioner Sanusi Rufai said of the attack on the Federal Government college of Buni Yadi, a secondary school in Yobe state, near the state’s capital city of Damaturu. 
Bala Ajiya, an official at the Specialist Hospital Damaturu, told Reuters by phone the death toll had risen to 59. 
“Fresh bodies have been brought in. More bodies were discovered in the bush after the students who had escaped with bullet wounds died from their injuries,” he said.
Rafai, who had given an earlier estimate of 29 killed, said all those killed were boys. He said the school’s 24 buildings, including staff quarters, were completely burned to the ground. 
President Goodluck Jonathan called the attack “callous and senseless murder … by deranged terrorists and fanatics who have clearly lost all human morality and descended to bestiality”. 

The FBI’s Two Faces on US Terror Compounds (with video)

via Creeping Sharia — Feb 22, 2014

Patrick Poole (@pspoole) follows up on Ryan Mauro’s expose on Mahmoudberg and the Islamic groups behind it. via The FBI’s Two Faces on US Terror Compounds

During the 1980s and 1990s, federal law enforcement authorities considered Jamaat al-Fuqra to be one of the most active domestic terrorist groups in the country.

Operating in the U.S. as “Muslims of America,” annual State Department terrorism reports up until Sept. 11, 2001 described the group as “an Islamic sect that seeks to purify Islam through violence.” Dozens of Fuqra members have been arrested for more than a dozen murders, firebombings, gun running, drug trafficking, defrauding government agencies, amongst other crimes. In 1993, the Anti-Defamation League published a report chronicling the group’s continuing terror campaign.

But an ongoing ”For The Record” investigation has discovered that the FBI and other government agencies have been playing a longstanding double-game with Jamaat al-Fuqra.

Documents obtained from the FBI on al-Fuqra by national security analyst Ryan Mauro, through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and first made public in this week’s episode of “For the Record,” show that at the same time that FBI special agents were picnicking and hosting award ceremonies with members of the group at their Hancock, N.Y. headquarters, internally the FBI continued to acknowledge that the group remained an active terrorist threat.

Islamism's Unfolding War for the Middle East

"The Shia empire of Iran now faces the Sunni empire of Saudi Arabia (which supports the rebels in Syria, as well as various other Sunni governments in the region). Each acts as if campaigning for the job of power centre..."

By Robert Fulford
National Post via AINA — Feb 22, 2014

In Qamishli, a northeastern Syrian city of 200,000, members of the country's ethnic Kurd minority are working on a constitution. They are unrecognized by the UN or any national government; but amidst the centrifugal chaos of Syria's civil war, they are managing to act a lot like a small state.

Syria's Kurdish population is tiny compared to its Arab majority. Yet they are creating an autonomous government. Their police, the People's Protection Units, authorized by the Kurdish Democratic Union Party, keep the streets comparatively safe. Their municipal government issues building permits. Schools teach Kurdish. They expect democracy will come to Syria as a federal system, with a Kurdish province. Looking farther, they dream about a pan-Kurdish nation, uniting them with Kurds from Iraq, Iran and Turkey.

Iran today clearly hopes to becomes a regional hegemony, much like the Turks in Ottoman days or the Persian empire. Iran's Shiite Muslim rulers connect with the Alawite rulers of Syria and the Shiite populations of Iraq and Lebanon. By funding and training Hezbollah, Tehran transformed Lebanon into a de facto Iranian province. Hezbollah now has enough seats in the Lebanese government to veto any bill, an army at least as powerful as the government's and its own broadcasting system. With Hezbollah as its willing partner, Iran can now destabilize any power in the region. Many countries, including Canada, call Hezbollah a terrorist organization. But it's closer to a shadowy version of a state.

In the current issue of Middle East Forum, Jonathan Spyer has an article entitled "Do Syria, Iraq and Lebanon Still Exist?" Of course they do, but parts of them are effectively dependencies of Iran.

The Shia empire of Iran now faces the Sunni empire of Saudi Arabia (which supports the rebels in Syria, as well as various other Sunni governments in the region). Each acts as if campaigning for the job of power centre. Iranian officials now attack the Saudis with a vehemence they once reserved for Israel and the United States. Senior officials call Saudi Arabia a "takfiri" (heretical) Wahhabi regime that co-operates with Americans and Zionists. The magazine of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards calls for "a decisive and crushing response" to the Saudis.

In this atmosphere of shifting alliances, sectarian violence has grown. One result is that terrorists are using terror tactics against other terrorists. Iran, for all its strength, is often a target.

Consider the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), another statelet, a cousin of al-Qaeda that claims sovereignty over a chunk of territory in both those countries. This was the place where 21 would-be suicide bombers and their instructor recently were killed when the instructor accidentally used a live explosive in training.

In January, ISIS set off a bomb outside the Beirut headquarters of Hezbollah, killing four and wounding more than 70. The bulletin claiming responsibility boasted that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria penetrated the security system of the "Party of Satan [Hezbollah] in the heart [of] what is called the security zone."

That was one of five major suicide attacks against Hezbollah or Iranians in Lebanon during the last four months. The most recent was on Wednesday, when five people were killed at the Iranian cultural centre in Beirut. Reporters identified it as "a twin suicide attack." The perpetrators called it a "double martyrdom-seeking operation."

These were Sunni bombers, supporters of the rebels in Syria, killing themselves in order to punish Hezbollah and Iran for helping the Assad government. The Middle East, struggling to escape colonialism's legacy, still can't rid itself of ancient Islamic enmities.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Seven Christians Executed in Libya

See also: Coptic Orthodox Church condemns killing of Egyptians in Libya

by Raymond Ibrahim — Feb 24, 2014

*** Horrific photos at ***

Libyan authorities came across the slain bodies of seven Christian Copts in the region of Garutha, less than 20 miles west of Benghazi, on Monday afternoon.

According to Libyan authorities, “The slain were killed by gunshots all over their bodies.”

Pictures (reproduced above and below) confirm that the men were killed “execution-style,” including one Copt whose head and face were partially shot off.

The ages of the dead range between 17 and 25.

Since the ouster of the decades-long dictator of Libya, Gaddafi, Christians in general, Copts from neighboring Egypt in particular, have been suffering abuses at the hands of the empowered Islamists — from evicted nuns, to Christians arrested, tortured and killed for “proselytizing,” to the bombing of the few churches in Libya.

This latest atrocity is simply following an increasingly familiar pattern.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sudanese Authorities Demolish Church Building in Anti-Christian Campaign

Morning Star News — Feb 20, 2014

JUBA, South Sudan (Morning Star News) – Sudanese authorities on Monday (Feb. 17) demolished a church building in Omdurman without prior notice, area sources said.

In what Sudanese Christians believe is part of a campaign by Islamist President Omar al-Bashir to rid the country of Christianity, bulldozers accompanied by local police and personnel from the National Intelligence and Security Services destroyed the Sudanese Church of Christ building in the Ombada area of Omdurman, across the River Nile from Khartoum, they said.

Police watch as Sudanese Church of Christ building in Omdurman is demolished. (Morning Star News)

“The government has confiscated the land where the church was built – please pray for the church to get a place for worship,” a Christian who requested anonymity for security reasons said. “We had not any prior indication from the officials that the church would be destroyed; they have not even warned us.”

Officials gave no reason for the demolition except that, as it was located in a “Muslim area,” the 300-member church was not wanted there, the church member said. Another source, a church leader, confirmed to Morning Star News that authorities destroyed the building and confiscated the land without warning.

“We have orders from above to demolish this church building,” the police officer in charge of the demolition told the church member, sources said. “We do not want any church in this area.”

The orders came from the Ombada locality, or city council, the sources said.

Following the secession of South Sudan in July 2011, Sudan since 2012 has expelled foreign Christians and bulldozed church buildings on the pretext that they belonged to South Sudanese, but officials did not offer that basis in this case.

“Generally, the church is not wanted in the area,” the church member said.

Leaders of the church have yet to determine a site for worship this Sunday.

13,000 teens complete Hamas training camps to emulate ‘suicide martyrs’

Numbers more than double in second year of Gaza’s ‘Pioneers of Liberation’ program; females also trained.

BY ELHANAN MILLER, Times of Israel January 15, 2014

A child practices disassembling an AK-47 during the Hamas-run 'pioneers of liberation' camps in Gaza (photo credit: Hamas interior ministry website)

The Hamas government in Gaza celebrated the graduation on Monday of paramilitary camps geared at training high-school children “to follow in the footsteps of the suicide martyrs.”

The camps, titled “the pioneers of liberation,” are run by Hamas’s ministries of education and interior. Some 13,000 students in grades 10-12 participated in the one-week training camps this year, compared to 5,000 last year when the program was launched, Israeli sources with knowledge of the program said.

Indonesia: Armed Muslim mob blocks construction of church

by Robert Spencer, Jihad Watch — Feb 21, 2014

Islamic law forbids Christians to build new churches or repair old ones, so that their communities will be in a perpetual state of decline and the hegemony of Islam assured. That is what is behind this action in Indonesia and others like it, and is why “the process for building a church in Indonesia – Catholic or Protestant – is quite complicated and may take five to ten years to obtain all permits required by law.”

As part of that process, “permission must be obtained from a number of residents in the area where the building is to be constructed and the local Group for Interfaith Dialogue.” It’s a bitter irony that the Interfaith Dialogue on which Western Christian leaders have placed so much hope and in which they have invested so much time and money is used in Indonesia to deny Christians equal rights.

“South Sumatra, hundreds of Islamists block the construction of a Protestant church,” by Mathias Hariyadi for Asia News, February 21:

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Late yesterday afternoon, hundreds of armed men, led by local Muslim leaders, stormed and forcibly occupied a plot of land owned by the Indonesian Christian community Huria Kristen Batak Protestan (HKBP). The incident occurred in the village of Talang Kelapa , located in the sub-district of Alang -alang Lebar in the regency of Palembang, South Sumatra province. The raid was motivated by an attempt to build a place of worship. In fact, on February 17 the ceremony of laying the first stone was held, amid protests from local residents. A decision that has created discontent among Muslims, who organized a task force to occupy the land – two acres in all – and to send a strong message to HKBP leaders: churches are not allowed in the area.

Tony Blair Condemns Muslim Brotherhood, Supports Egypt

by Raymond Ibrahim — Feb 11, 2014

In an age when Western mainstream media and governments — especially the United States — are busy serving alternate realities, it’s refreshing to see one well-known Western leader speaking the truth.

Despite the widespread narrative that Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and former president Morsi are victims of a military coup, the UK’s former prime minister, Tony Blair, recently called it as it is — as Egyptians know it to be. According to the Guardian, “Britain’s former prime minister said Mohamed Morsi‘s Muslim Brotherhood had stolen Egypt’s revolution, and the army who deposed him last July had put the country back on the path to democracy.”

“This is what I say to my colleagues in the west,” said Blair, after visiting Egypt. “The fact is, the Muslim Brotherhood tried to take the country away from its basic values of hope and progress. The army have intervened, at the will of the people, but in order to take the country to the next stage of its development, which should be democratic. We should be supporting the new government in doing that.”

During his televised interview, he further added: “Right here in Egypt I think it is fundamental that the new government succeeds, that we give it support in bringing in this new era for the people of Egypt. And, you know, we can debate the past and it’s probably not very fruitful to do so, but right now I think it’s important the whole of the international community gets behind the leadership here and helps.”

Compare and contrast this with U.S.  Sens. John McCain’s and Lindsay Graham’s visit to Egypt, when they condemned the people’s revolution and called for the immediate release of Brotherhood leadership, who are currently being tried for terrorist related activities.

Blair’s position is in keeping with a realist perspective concerning the region.  Back in 2011, during the first revolution in Egypt, he predicted that if Mubarak goes, the Brotherhood would come to power: “They [Brotherhood] are extremely well organised and well funded whereas those people who are out on the street at the moment, many of them will be extremely well intentioned people but they’re not organised in political parties yet.”

Many observers made the same warning, but in spite of it — or perhaps because of it — the U.S. administration pushed and hurried Egypt for immediate elections, which played out exactly as predicted, with a Brotherhood take over.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Reports of first church in Saudi Arabia are false, says Coptic Orthodox Church

Rumors and stories like this are likely to raise the hopes of those who don't know the history or doctrines of Islam, nor the extreme anti-Christian stance of Saudi Arabia. It would be highly unlikely for the Wahhabi-sect Saudis to ever allow a church to be built in their kingdom. Per the words of Muhammad:
"I will expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula and will not leave any but Muslim." (Sahih Muslim 19.4366)
Recent news reports out of Saudi Arabia present a very consistent anti-Christian position. Follow these links for further reporting and info:

Reports of first church in Saudi Arabia are false, says Coptic Orthodox Church
Christianity Today via Pravmir — Feb 23, 2014

The Coptic Orthodox Church has issued a statement refuting reports that the Coptic Pope has met Saudi Arabian officials over the creation of the first church in the country.

There are an estimated 1.5 million Christians in the strictly Muslim country but they are not allowed to worship publicly.

Muslims Demand ‘Right of Return’ to Spain

"Descendants of Muslims expelled from Spain are believed to number in the millions... Granting citizenship to all of them, Spain, virtually overnight, would end up with the largest Muslim population in the European Union."

Spain has one of the more fragile economies of Europe, struggling like Greece has in recent years. A massive Muslim immigration jihad could quickly overwhelm the shaky Western European country.

by Soeren Kern, Gatestone Institute, Feb 21, 2014

Muslim groups are demanding Spanish citizenship for potentially millions of descendants of Muslims who were expelled from Spain during the Middle Ages.

The growing clamor for “historical justice” comes after the recent approval of a law that would grant Spanish citizenship to descendants of Sephardic Jews expelled from Spain in 1492.
Muslim supporters say they are entitled to the same rights and privileges as Jews because both groups were expelled from Spain under similar historical circumstances.

But historians point out that the Jewish presence in Spain predates the arrival of Christianity in the country and that their expulsion was a matter of bigotry. By contrast, the Muslims in Spain were colonial occupiers who called the territory Al-Andalus and imposed Arabic as the official language. Historians say their expulsion was a matter of decolonization.

In any event, the descendants of Muslims expelled from Spain are believed to number in the millions—possibly tens of millions—and most of them now live in North Africa. Observers say that by granting citizenship to all of them, Spain, virtually overnight, would end up with the largest Muslim population in the European Union.

Imagine Spain turning dark blue on this map, overnight. Imagine the end of 'Christian' Europe.

Much of the Iberian Peninsula was occupied by Muslim conquerors known as the Moors from 711 until 1492, when the Moorish Kingdom of Granada surrendered to the Catholic Monarchs of Spain (Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon), in what is known as the Christian Reconquest.

But the final Muslim expulsion from Granada did not take place until over a century later, beginning in 1609, when King Philip III decreed the expulsion of the Moriscos.

The Moriscos—Moors who decided to convert to Catholicism after the Reconquest rather than leave Spain—were suspected of being nominal Catholics who continued to practice Islam in secret. From 1609 through 1614, the Spanish monarchy forced an estimated 350,000 Moriscos to leave Spain for Muslim North Africa.

Today, up to five million descendants of the Moriscos are living in Morocco alone; there are millions more living in Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Tunisia and Turkey.

PLO Official: Al-Qaeda To Target Lebanese Christians

By Jamie Dettmer — The Daily Beast via AINA — Feb 8, 2014

Foreign jihadists are recruiting among Lebanon's Palestinian camps and plan to start targeting Lebanese Christians with suicide bombings, according to a former top PLO official.

Al-Qaeda-affiliate jihadists are redoubling their recruitment in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and are likely to try to further fan sectarian tensions in the country by targeting Lebanese Christians in a suicide bombing campaign that until now has focused on Shia Muslims, warns a top Palestinian official.

NJ judge rules NYPD didn’t discriminate against Muslims with counter-terror surveillance

Related Story: NYPD Designates Mosques as Terrorist Organizations

Common sense still rules... for now. When the vast majority of all terrorist acts are committed by Muslims, and 80% of all mosques in the U.S. preach jihad and the overthrow of the Constitution, where better to catch "budding terrorist conspiracies" than in mosques.

The next step would be to close mosques proven to be a hotbed for jihad terror plots.

The judge ruled: “The police could not have monitored New Jersey for Muslim terrorist activities without monitoring the Muslim community itself. … The motive for the program was not solely to discriminate against Muslims, but to find Muslim terrorists hiding among the ordinary law-abiding Muslims.”

NJ judge throws out NYPD spying lawsuit
Washington Post, Feb 20, 2014 —  (h/t Jihad Watch):

NEW YORK — The New York Police Department’s intelligence unit didn’t discriminate against Muslims with far-reaching surveillance aimed at identifying “budding terrorist conspiracies” at Newark mosques and other locations in New Jersey, a federal judge ruled on Thursday.

In a written decision filed in federal court in Newark, U.S. District Judge William Martini dismissed a civil rights lawsuit brought in 2012 by eight Muslims who alleged the NYPD’s surveillance programs were unconstitutional because they focused on religion, national origin and race. The suit had accused the department of spying on ordinary people at several mosques, restaurants and grade schools in New Jersey since 2002.

The plaintiffs, including the former principal of a grade school for Muslim girls, “have not alleged facts from which it can be plausibly inferred that they were targeted solely because of their religion,” Martini wrote. “The more likely explanation for the surveillance was to locate budding terrorist conspiracies.”

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Has the Church in the U.S. Succumbed to the Charms of Islam?

William Kilpatrick on the dangers of Muslim-Christian 'interfaith dialogue'.

I admire Kilpatrick's writing, and included the following passage from him in my book, Facing Islam:
Although many won’t admit it, we are in the midst of an ideological war with Islam. And since the advantage goes to the side that fully realizes they are at war, the West is losing. The propaganda war is going in favor of Islam precisely because the West doesn’t realize it is supposed to be fighting one... 
Even those who see the danger clearly rarely talk in terms of victory; they talk mainly in terms of resisting cultural jihad. You know you’re in trouble when your ideological opponent is a primitive seventh-century belief system, and yet the best that your top strategists hope for is to put up a good resistance... 
In past ideological struggles we wisely sought ideological victory—the discrediting of the belief system that inspired our enemies. Because the driving force behind Islamic aggression is Islamic theology, it makes no sense to treat Islamic theology like a protected species. Rather, we should hope that Muslims lose faith in Islam just as Nazis lost faith in Nazism and Eastern-bloc Communists lost faith in communism... Of course, it would be all the better if we had something to offer them in its place. — William Kilpatrick, Losing Their Religion, Front Page Magazine, June 14, 2010.

Excellent observation at the end (and a rare one for counter jihad writers), and one of the reasons why we must never think of Islam and Muslims in terms of "coexistence" or "interfaith harmony." Such notions imply that we don't think we have "something to offer them in its place." Such notions make it seem that we really don't believe in our Christian faith, but rather that all religions are basically equivalent.

For an Orthodox Christian, such an attitude is absolute apostasy. The Risen Lord commanded us to "go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." He did not tell us to be "nice" and get along, but that we would be persecuted if we truly followed Him. And He pronounced a severe warning: "Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for so they did to the false prophets..."

The Orthodox Church emphatically does have "something better to offer" Muslims in place of the false religion of Islam. And if we have a heart for the Gospel and care for the lost and perishing, we will at some level grieve for the powerful deception which holds 1.6 billion Muslims under its sway.

By living authentic Christian lives, and supporting Orthodox Christian mission efforts (such as in Muslim countries like Indonesia and Pakistan), we are supporting the Great Commission, we are following our Lord Jesus Christ, and we are daily strengthening both our own faith, as well as the global Orthodox Christian witness. We will show that we fervently believe we have something much better to offer Muslims and all people, and that we wish to invite them to eternal life in Christ.

But such authentic, evangelical Christian faith is rare, perhaps because so many consider Islam a sister-religion to Christianity.

Returning to William Kilpatrick, in the below article he critiques recent pan-ecumenist fantasy remarks by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, and the broader context of Roman Catholic inter-faith relations with Islam. Kilpatrick's warnings should equally be heeded by Orthodox Christians, who as a rule can be overly generous in their assessment of Islam, its doctrines, and its purpose.

Has the Church in the U.S. Succumbed to the Charms of Islam? 
by William Kilpatrick, New Oxford Review — January 2014

New York’s Timothy Cardinal Dolan paid a visit last summer to the Albanian Islamic Cultural Center in Tompkinsville on Staten Island, where he met with a large group of Muslim leaders. As is often the case when Catholic prelates meet with Muslims, his theme was the common ground shared by the two faiths. Cardinal Dolan told his Islamic audience, “You love God, we love God, and he is the same God,” and he thanked them “for making me feel like a friend and a member of a family...” He went on to tell them how much they share in common with Catholics: “Your love of marriage and family, your love of children and babies, your love of freedom — religious freedom particularly — your defense of life, your desire for harmony and unity and your care for others, your care for God’s creation and your care for those who are in need.”

Perhaps this is true of the Muslims of Tompkinsville, but unfortunately the cardinal’s words will be taken as an endorsement of Islam in general. I say “unfortunately” because what he says about the common values and beliefs of Muslims and Catholics is highly misleading.

Christians Fight for Middle East Religious Freedom Watchdog

"The most common denominator [behind global persecution of Christians] is Islam and, specifically, the commandments of Sharia. These aren’t ethnic conflicts where Christian and Muslim armies are battling. The motivation is the institution of Sharia-based governance."

by Ryan Mauro — FrontpageMag via OCP Media — Feb 20, 2014

Global persecution of Christians, especially in the Muslim world, is one of the most overlooked human rights disasters of the 21st century. Christian activists are demanding that the State Department add a new envoy for religious minorities in the Middle East, but their campaign is stymied by those concerned about government redundancy.

Christians United for Israel, Coptic Solidarity, the North American Religious Liberty Association and other groups are fighting for the Near East and South Central Asia Religious Freedom Act of 2013. They believe that the crisis warrants a specially-focused diplomatic post.

Ironically, one of the supporters is the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, a member of the Shoulder-to-Shoulder interfaith coalition that is allied with the Islamic Society of North America, a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity.

The opposing side is Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Senator Mike Lee (R-UT). Their position is that this is already the duty of the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, who also heads the State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom.

Their argument is that adding to the bureaucracy isn’t the proper solution. If the U.S. is failing to address Christian persecution, it’s a failure of policy and leadership and not the configuration of the government.

At the National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama spoke out against persecution of Christians, calling for the release of a Christian missionary held in North Korea for 15 months and a Christian pastor in Iran that’s been imprisoned for over 18 months. He also criticized blasphemy and defamation laws that are used to suppress religious freedom.

However, words have not been met with action. The perpetrators of the persecution do not face serious consequences for their actions. It is not a significant part of American global diplomacy and international relations and the American public is not educated about the scale of the problem.

About 100 million Christians around the world live in a state of persecution because of their faith, according to the Open Doors organization. It is estimated that a Christian is killed every five minutes. The Pew Research Center finds that Christians are the most persecuted religious group, facing oppression in 110 countries.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

John Kerry tours Giant Indonesian Mosque...

... panders to Muslims by spouting 'Same God' and 'Abrahamic Faith' Heresies

Someone please send Mr. Kerry copies of Mark Durie's books, Which God? and The Third Choice

While the U.S. Secretary of State is openly endorsing Islam in Indonesia, Muslims in Indonesia (and the world over) are openly persecuting Christians, often with government support. (Regarding Indonesia, see here, here and here for starters.) 

Mr. Kerry is also calling for urgent action on climate change on his Asian trip, claiming it to be a "weapon of mass destruction." It's a shame he and President Obama don't have any sense of urgency concerning Muslim warfare against Christians in Syria, Iraq, Iran, Nigeria, Central African Republic, Sudan and elsewhere. Instead, they support the Muslim jihad groups and are complicit in the persecution of Christians. These are very ominous signs... 

via John Kerry Tours Giant Mosque, Meets with Sharia Students
Creeping Sharia — Feb 18, 2014

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spent part of his Sunday in his stocking feet at an Indonesian mosque, at one point beating a huge drum used to call Muslims to prayer.

Kerry’s visit to the modern Istiqlal Mosque in central Jakarta, said to be the largest mosque in Southeast Asia with a capacity of 130,000, was designed to demonstrate his respect for Islam as he visited the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation.

Kerry spent about 20 minutes touring the mosque, chatting briefly with women studying Islamic law and admiring the blue ceiling of its dome.

Having removed his shoes in keeping with Islamic custom, Kerry at one point was shown a gigantic, skin-covered drum which rests sideways on the mosque’s floor and stood several feet taller than his head.

After witnessing a demonstration by the Grand Imam, identified by the State Department as K.H. Ali Mustafa Yaqub, Kerry then used a club to beat the drum, which is used to call Muslims to prayer.

“It has been a special honour to visit this remarkable place of worship,” Kerry said in a handwritten note to memorialize his visit. “We are all bound to one God and the Abrahamic faiths tie us together in love for our fellow man and honour for the same God.”

Egypt: Christian Syrian Family Slaughtered

by Raymond Ibrahim — Feb 18, 2014

Slain 6-year-old Michael
A Christian Syrian family of four living in Alexandria, Egypt, was barbarically stabbed to death Sunday in their home in al-Ibrahamya neighborhood, Arabic media are reporting.

The family consisted of a father, 44, his wife, 35, their 6-year-old son, Michael, and the wife’s brother.

After the murders, the house, where the family had been living for years, was set on fire by the murderers in an attempt to hide the crime but was put out by authorities.

All four bodies were found bearing many stab wounds and other signs of extreme violence.

The wife and child had their throats slit, while the father appeared to have been stabbed to death, with stab wounds all over his body.

The crime was not motivated by theft, as the home was not robbed, and preliminary reports say the family was slaughtered for being supporters of the Bashar Assad government in Syria.
The wife was said to be a vocal supporter, often arguing politics.

Islamists all around the Middle East and especially in Egypt strongly oppose and are supporting a jihad against the moderate Assad government in an attempt to oust it and set up a Sharia state in Syria.

Most religious minorities, including Christians, are supportive of the secular Assad regime, having seen the great violence done against fellow Christians by the Islamic rebels who deem them “infidels.”

Father, mother, and son, in happier times

Lebanon: Drastic reduction of land belonging to Christians

Independent Catholic News via Pravoslavie — Feb 18, 2014

After the proclamation of independence in the Lebanon, 8130 square km of land belonged to the Lebanese Christians. Today, however, Lebanese Christians have about 4,000 km of land. These figures were provided by Talal al-Doueihy, head of the Movement 'Lebanese Land-Our Land Movement' and reported by the The Daily Star newspaper.

The drastic decrease in landed properties belonging to Christians in the country of the Cedars has various causes. Many Christians are emigrating and when they leave they have no choice but to sell their land to Muslims buyers.

In addition, during the years of the government of Rafiq Hariri - Prime Minister from 1992 to 1998 and then from 2000 to 2004, who was killed in a suicide bombing on 14 February 2005 - the law regarding the sale of land which guaranteed the right of first refusal to owners of adjacent lands was canceled. The Hariri government wanted in this way to encourage investments in Lebanon from the Arab Gulf countries. The result is that almost all of the lands sold during those years increased from Christian owners to Muslim owners.

Several legislative proposals have been presented in parliament to try to block the erosion of the land ownership of Christians in Lebanon. One presented by MPs Sami Gemayel and Ibrahim Kanaan aims to regulate the ownership of land property in Lebanese territory by foreign buyers. Another prepared by the Parliamentary Joseph Maalouf aims to curb the change of ownership of plots of land above 3,000 square meters, and to limit the room for maneuver of intermediaries in the sale of land.

Egypt: Sinai Islamists say all tourists must leave by Feb. 20 or face attack

NBC News via Pravoslavie — Feb 18, 2014

A militant Islamist group has warned tourists to leave Egypt and threatened to attack any who stay in the country after February 20, raising the prospect of a new front in a fast-growing insurgency.

The Sinai-based Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis group, which claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed two South Korean tourists and an Egyptian on Sunday, made the statement on an affiliated Twitter account.

"We recommend tourists to get out safely before the expiry of the deadline," read the tweet, written in English.

Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis has said in the past that it does not post statements on social media sites but statements that appeared on the Twitter account in the past have afterwards surfaced on jihadi websites the group does say it uses.

Islamist militants have killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers since the army deposed Islamist president Mohamed Mursi in July, but Sunday's attack on a tourist bus marks a strategic shift to soft targets that could devastate an economy already reeling from political turmoil.

Kidnapped Nuns No Longer Bear the Cross

Raymond Ibrahim comments on the recent video of the St Thecla nuns, noting the significance of the absence of their pectoral crosses. The point is clear: The global Muslim persecution of Christians is religious in nature, not political. It is theologically grounded in Islam's doctrinal hatred of and warfare against Christ and His Church.

by Raymond Ibrahim, via World Magazine — Feb 18, 2014

A new video of the twelve Christian nuns kidnapped in Syria recently appeared.  In it, the nuns are taped sitting in a room and being questioned by an unseen man, presumably a member of the kidnappers.  He asks them how they are, if they’ve been mistreated, etc.

Hostage nuns: stripped of the Cross

They respond that they are being treated fine, that they very much look forward to being returned to their convent, that they heartily thank the world for its concern, and that they continually pray that God grant peace to all nations.

Their words say one thing, their expressions and demeanor another.  Put differently, as female captives of Islamic jihadis, what else could they say but what they were told to say?  Even if one of them dared to say the “wrong thing,” it naturally would have been edited out.  Who knows how many takes it took to get the video—which includes a bizarre clip of the nuns having a snowball fight with their abductors—just right?

One thing, however, although minor, speaks volumes concerning the nature of their captivity.  Although these same nuns, in pictures before they were kidnapped, often appear wearing the large pectoral crosses that nuns often wear, these are all gone in the recent video.

This is to be expected, considering the “pious” nature of their captors.  According to strict Islamic teaching, Christians and other non-Muslims are forbidden to show any signs or expressions of their “polytheism” (shirk in Arabic).  Indeed, this is spelled out clearly in the Conditions of Omar, which mainstream Muslim teaching attributes to the second caliph of the same name.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Robert Spencer: U.S. vs. Christians

by Robert Spencer, FrontPageMag — Feb 10, 2914

The Times of London reported Thursday that “the West and Gulf states are funding a new military offensive by rebel forces around Damascus in an effort to throw the Assad regime on to the back foot before a second round of Syria peace talks. The assault marks an attempt by the Free Syrian Army and its allies abroad to reassert control after months of rebel infighting.” The chief victim of this funding, however, may not be Bashar Assad, but the nation’s Christians.

The report notes that the Obama government “has established a training base for the FSA, say rebel field commanders. It includes $57 million in cash to pay the rebels.” The U.S. is also supplying weapons: “late last month, the US approved a supply of a big shipment of arms to rebels in Jordan.” This aid is supposed to go to the “moderates” of the Free Syrian Army in order to help them counter Syrian rebel forces that are aligned with al Qaeda.

On the ground in Syria, however, the distinctions between the various anti-Assad groups are often not easy to discern, especially since U.S. allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar have “channelled the lion’s share of funding and weapons to hardline religious factions such as the Islamic Front,” and the rebel factions are not fighting each other, but are all fighting against Assad. Another U.S. ally, Turkey, has likewise aided the anti-Assad forces.

All these groups are not just battling Assad; they’re also fighting against the nation’s Christians. This is true not just of the al Qaeda groups, but of the Obama-backed Free Syrian Army as well. In July 2013, Free Syrian Army fighters entered the Christian village of Oum Sharshouh and began burning down houses and terrorizing the population, forcing 250 Christian families to flee the area. Worthy News reported that just two days later, Free Syrian Army rebels “targeted the residents of al-Duwayr/Douar, a Christian village close to the city of Homs and near Syria’s border with Lebanon….Around 350 armed militants forcefully entered the homes of Christian families who were all rounded-up in the main square of the village and then summarily executed.”

In September 2013, a day after Secretary of State John Kerry praised the Free Syrian Army as “a real moderate opposition,” the FSA took to the Internet to post videos of its attack on the ancient Syrian Christian city of Maaloula, one of the few places where Aramaic, the language of Jesus, is still spoken.

This is just the faction Obama is backing. The rebel factions funded by our “allies” Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey behave even worse toward the Christians.

Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregory III Laham, who lives in Damascus, explained in October 2013 that the persecution was the result of the perception that the Syrian Christians supported the Assad regime: “Some people are saying that we Christians are the friends of the regime, but we are not, we are just ordinary Syrians, and we pray for all. Besides, even if we are for the regime, that is our right as free people.”

Back in May 2011, the Patriarch wrote to Western leaders asking them not to intervene in Syria: “Our Arab countries are not ready for revolutions, and not even for democracy of the European kind and model. I am asking the West not to encourage revolutions unconditionally here and there in the Arab world.”

This request went unheeded; yet now the reason why it was so sagacious is abundantly clear. Late in January a delegation of Syrian Christian leaders went to Washington at the invitation of the Westminster Institute and Barnabas Aid in order, according to a statement issued by the Westminster Institute, “to raise awareness of the humanitarian catastrophe that the Syrian conflict has become, and to explore concrete steps that can be taken by the United States to help end the crisis and to protect Christians and other religious and ethnic minorities in Syria.”

Religion Freedom Commission: Consider Sanctions to End Christian Persecution

ICC — February 11, 2014

ICC Note: A spokesman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has again pushed for the United States to consider economic sanctions specifically in response to religious persecution in specific countries. The legal framework has been in place to take these kind of actions. Speaking last week at the National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama spoke on the importance of this but actions are needed to back up that rhetoric.

02/11/2014 Middle East (Washington Times) - The U.S. should consider economic sanctions on countries where Christians endure persecution, torture and death to help ensure security here and abroad, a religious rights advocate told Congress Tuesday.

Elliott Abrams of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom said a “case-by-case analysis” could be used in weighing sanctions.

“You look at the list of countries and see so many that are underdeveloped, or middle income or poor,” Mr. Abrams told the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on global human rights. “In those cases economic sanctions … could have an affect. I think what we need to convey is … we care, and this will affect our relations.”

“As it often is the first right taken away, religious freedom serves as the proverbial canary in the coal mine, warning us that denial of other liberties almost surely will follow,” he said. “Supporting religious freedom abroad is not just a legal or moral duty, but a practical necessity that affects the security of the United States because it builds a foundation for progress and stability.”

Mr. Abrams, a former deputy national security adviser, also urged the Obama administration to appoint an ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom within the State Department.

IOCC is Assisting in Evacuation of Syrians Fleeing Homs

Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese, via Pravmir — Feb 13, 2014

February 12, 2014 (Baltimore, MD) Syrian civilians evacuated from the embattled city of Homs under a UN-negotiated cease-fire are being aided by International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) as they flee to safety. IOCC and its church partner in Syria, The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East (GOPA), are in Homs assisting in the evacuation that began this weekend and are providing emergency relief to the Syrian people fleeing the city.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The world’s most ancient Christian communities are being destroyed — and no one cares

“The victims are ‘too Christian’ to excite the Left, and ‘too foreign’ to excite the Right.” —French philosopher Regis Debray
“Tell the EU and the Americans that we sent you Saint Paul 2,000 years ago to take you from the darkness, and you sent us terrorists to kill us.” —Christian shopkeeper in Ma’loula

by Michael Brendan Dougherty, The Week via Pravmir — Jan 24, 2014

Christians in the Middle East have been the victims of pogroms and persecution. Where’s the outrage in the West?

Egyptian Coptic Christians mourn during a mass funeral in 2011. (REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

Like many Coptic Christians in Egypt, Ayman Nabil Labib had a tattoo of the cross on his wrist. And like 17-year-old men everywhere, he could be assertive about his identity. But in 2011, after Egypt’s revolution, that kind of assertiveness could mean trouble.

Ayman’s Arabic-language teacher told him to cover his tattoo in class. Instead of complying, the young man defiantly pulled out the cross that hung around his neck, making it visible. His teacher flew into a rage and began choking him, goading the young man’s Muslim classmates by saying, “What are you going to do with him?”

Ayman’s classmates then beat him to death. False statements were given to police, and two boys were taken into custody only after Ayman’s terror-stricken family spoke out.

Ayman’s suffering is not an isolated case in Egypt or the region.

The Arab Spring, and to a lesser extent the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, were touted as the catalysts for a major historic shift in the region. From Egypt to Syria to Iraq, the Middle East’s dictatorships would be succeeded by liberal, democratic regimes. Years later, however, there is very little liberality or democracy to show. Indeed, what these upheavals have bequeathed to history is a baleful, and barely noticed legacy: The near-annihilation of the world’s most ancient communities of Christians.

Syrian Town Left Scarred By Opposition Group ISIS' Brutal Rule

ISIS stands for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. See my earlier post for more background on this Muslim jihad group seeking to install an Islamic caliphate spanning the Middle East.

Syrian Town Left Scarred By Opposition Group ISIS' Brutal Rule
By Arwa Damon and Raja Razek — AINA, Feb 17, 2014

Posted 2014-02-17 07:01 GMT
Addana, Syria (CNN) -- From the moment we cross the Turkish border into Syria, evidence of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria's draconian and brutal rule lingers.

More than a month after the group was driven from the town of Addana, residents here drive through the streets, pointing out where ISIS fighters carried out executions and left bodies to rot for all to see.

"That's where they had one of their checkpoints," says rebel fighter Abu Sa'ed, pointing to a small concrete building on the side of the road as we speed past.

ISIS arrived in Addana about a year ago, initially welcomed in the conservative town by Islamist fighters. But within a few months, ISIS had entrenched itself and begun exerting its harsh order through what one fighter calls "terrorism and punishment."

"ISIS came in and took over one area and announced it was an Islamic state and did whatever they wanted," Abu Sa'ed says.

In the passenger's seat, fellow fighter Abu Jaafar sighs, his AK-47 trained out the window.

"They used to leave the bodies of people they executed at the checkpoint for days," he says. "The corpses would rot. No one could avoid looking at them."

VIDEO: America is Complicit in the Persecution of Christians

An unflinching look at global Muslim persecution of Christians and other religious minorities by Bill Warner of Political Islam.

Mr. Warner has strong criticism in this video for church leaders, who are far too quiet on this issue, and he's right. We have seen some strong, excellent statements from Orthodox hierarchs in America in the last year, but we need continuous pressure exerted on the President and Congress on this issue.

Our brothers and sisters in Christ are being slaughtered by Muslim groups supported by the United States government. If we remain silent, we are complicit.

Nigeria: Jihad mass murder death toll at Christian village reaches 106; America urges protection of... homosexuals!

This Jihad Watch post is a follow up to one posted just a few hours earlier, when the death toll was "only" at 50.

As this wave of Muslim genocidal persecution of Christians sweeps the Islamic world, what does the United States do? Well, President Obama is currently lecturing Uganda over its laws against sodomy and homosexual acts, Secretary of State John Kerry has warned Nigeria to respect the human rights of the Boko Haram Muslim jihad terror group behind this latest massacre, and the New York Times is ignoring Muslim persecution of Christians, and reporting instead on persecution of homosexuals in Nigeria. 

Message from America?

America will continue to support and cover for Muslim jihadists in their bloodthirsty efforts to exterminate indigenous Christians from whatever region they please, but don't oppress homosexuals or we'll get all in a tizzy.

Nigeria: Jihad mass murder death toll at Christian village reaches 106
by Robert Spencer, Jihad Watch — February 16, 2014

The unimaginable horror of this is compounded by the world’s indifference. The few who dare to call attention to jihad attacks like this one are vilified, mocked, shunned, ridiculed, and defamed, even as such attacks multiply and the body count mounts ever higher. Right now Western governments have apparently decided that jihad attacks like this one can’t happen in their countries, and so don’t matter, and that when they take place in faraway lands such as Nigeria, they need not disturb the comforting fictions about Islam’s jihad doctrine that form the cornerstone of so much of their domestic and foreign policy.

An update on this story. “Over 100 killed in Islamist attack in northern Nigeria,” from AFP, February 16:

Kano (Nigeria) (AFP) – Suspected Boko Haram Islamists killed more than 100 people in an attack on a village in Nigeria, a local senator said on Sunday. 
The attackers stormed the village in Nigeria’s restive northeastern Borno state on Saturday, slaughtering scores of civilians and sending many others fleeing. 
“A hundred and six people, including an old woman, have been killed by the attackers, suspected to be Boko Haram gunmen,” senator Ali Ndume told AFP. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Orthodoxy, Islam and Valentine's Day

I hope you had a 'nice' Valentine's Day. It's somewhat of a faux, 'Hallmark' holiday now really, but such is the culture.

But there is a real Saint Valentinus behind this celebration, who was martyred during the second century. For a good article discussing the Orthodox Christian tradition of St Valentinus' life and feast, and the Orthodox perspective on today's transmogrified secular feast surrounding it, see here.

Suffice to say that traditional Orthodox countries are resisting the over-romanticized, sometimes overtly sexualized, commercialization of St Valentinus' feast. However, the Orthodox critique of Western culture is always sober, theological, and pastoral.

In contrast, Islamic condemnation of Valentine's Day, and indeed of all "Christian" Western holidays, too often explodes into orgies of violence, as can be seen by the below assortment of news reports from around the Muslim world.

Feb 15, 2014 | Robert Spencer

Actually, the rally was against that formidable manifestation of jahiliyya, ignorance, and “Islamophobia” known as Valentine’s Day. At least these Islamic supremacists in Gaza did not turn violent, as the anti-Valentine’s Day morality enforcers did in Pakistan...

Feb 14, 2014 | Robert Spencer
Islamic supremacists don’t just want to bypass and denigrate Valentine’s Day. They want you to do so also, and if you don’t, the stones and bullets will start flying. Here again we see that morality in Islamic culture is not so much a matter of virtue freely chosen, but of people living in terror of committing a transgression that could get them killed...

Friday, February 14, 2014

Bishop Details Secrecy of Christian Conversions in Lebanon

By Carl Bunderson
AINA via Catholic News Agency — Feb 13, 2014
Denver -- According to a local bishop, numerous conversions of Muslims to Christianity occur every year in Lebanon but the true number is unknown because of the risk of social stigma and persecution.

And because of Islam's penalty for apostasy: death, as mandated both in the Quran, and by the command of Muhammad: 

If they turn back from Islam, becoming renegades, seize them and kill them wherever you find them. (Quran 4:89)

“[In the words of] Allah’s Apostle, ‘If anyone changes his religion from Islam, kill him’.” (Sahih Bukhari 9.84.57)

The Prophet said, “The blood of a Muslim... is not lawful to shed unless he... abandons his religion [i.e. Islam] and the Muslim community.” (Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, Reliance of the Traveller, A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law, o1, p583, 1991.)

"Most of them try to go outside from Lebanon, to Europe or America or Canada or Australia to live there, because it's not possible to be converted and to stay here," a Catholic bishop in Lebanon told CNA in a Feb. 10 phone interview. 
"It's very, very hard to know how many are baptized, because everything will be a secret." 
Given the delicacy of conversion in Lebanon -- a Middle Eastern country with a slight Muslim majority -- the bishop spoke on condition of anonymity. While the region is lauded for its comparative plurality as Muslims generally coexist well with the Christian population, some hostility can be present toward those who convert from Islam.