Monday, March 31, 2014


See also this article, documenting U.S. and Western involvement in the Kessab attack: NATO Wages Desperate Last Battle in Northern Syria

Once again, America is complicit in Islamic jihad attacks on defenseless Christian populations. America has the innocent blood on its hands. America is crucifying Christ all over again. Can America's judgment be far off?

Barnabas Fund — March 27, 2014

The population of a Christian town in north-west Syria was forced to flee when it was besieged by Islamist rebels; 80 people were killed, at least 13 of whom were beheaded, churches desecrated and homes looted. 

Militants from the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front, Sham al-Islam and Ansar al-Sham attacked Kessab on the Turkish border early on Friday 21 March.

Around 3,000 Armenian Christian residents fled for their lives, taking refuge in neighbouring Latakia and Bassit. Some are staying with relatives and friends, but the rest are sheltering in over-crowded church buildings.

The churches of Yabrud, Syria in ruins

This is clearly a case of Muslim persecution of Christians, and is clearly religiously motivated, despite what religious and secular authorities say. 

Pravmir — March 31, 2014

Although the gunmen are gone, their sectarian fingerprint on Yabrud remains. All you have to do is visit St. Mary’s Greek Catholic Church to see the destruction. Icons have had their faces scratched out, church pews have been broken, statues of the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ have been smashed, and the church Bibles have been burned.

[Yabrud is approximatekly 50 miles north of Damascus.]

Pakistani Christian rebukes those who minimize Muslim Persecution of Christians

Plenty of typos and a couple of colorful remarks, but the points are very clearly made.

via Pakistani Christian Rebukes Yahya Snow for Minimizing Muslim Persecution of Christians
by David Wood, Answering Muslims — March 30, 2014

Yahya Snow is quick to condemn us when we speak out on behalf of the Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Ahmadis, or members of other groups who are being horribly oppressed in the name of Allah. Anyone who gets in the way of Islamic domination is, according to Yahya, an enemy of Allah and must be viciously attacked with lies and slander.

Yahya's recent defense of Pakistani blasphemy laws drew a response from a Pakistani Christian, who was kind enough to correct Yahya on some of the issues. 

Peace and greetings in MY LORD JESUS CHRIST to all! I would like to address yahya on some misconceptions he have over this whole issue. Let me start by saying that I'm not an arm chair expert sitting on my chair bad mouthing muslims as you mentioned. I'm a Christian living in Pakistan in the same city where this is happening as we speak. 
You said something along the lines that people are blowing this out of proportion but let me inform you that the trial of Sawan Masih was held in an undisclosed jail cell for the fear of his life and of the judge and prosecutors (if they do find him not guilty) there was no defense witness because all were threatened of death if anyone stood in defense witness stand. And then sawan masih is found guilty on the charges of blasphemy and not one, let me repeat not ONE of the 3000 muslims who attacked the Christian community of about 5000 people was convicted due the lack of evidence.  
You mentioned something along the lines of personal disputes and you couldn't be more right. The dispute was between Sawan and his Muslim"friend" who had a business of selling alcohol (mashallah brother, selling or consuming alcohol is haram in your religion and illegal in my country but that Muslim never got convicted for that either ...why? Lack of evidence Offcoarse) And if you didn't know then let me inform you that 200 Christian houses were burned along with 2 churches and more than 100 Christians were killed all in the name of personal dispute that you so clearly mentioned.  

Pakistani Court sentences Christian to death under Islamic Blasphemy Law

Pray for Sawan Masih, under a sentence of death for his faith in Jesus Christ.

Legal persecution follows Muslim mob persecution in March 2013: 

"More than 200 houses of Christian inhabitants were set on fire, two churches and dozens of Holy Bibles were also desecrated in the attack by the extremist mob of around 3000. This wanton act of violence was planned after an alleged charge of blasphemy against a Christian man Sawan Masih by a Muslim man..."

Pravoslavie — March 31, 2014

Reported By: Fr. Joseph (Russian Orthodox Priest outside Russia in Pakistan)

On 27, March 2014; The Additional Session Judge Ghulam Murtaza of Lahore Lower Court sentenced Sawan Masih (Pakistani Christian) to death during a trial in Central Jail Lahore. Sawan Masih was accused of making derogatory remarks against the Prophet of Islam, Hazart Muhammad. The 26 years old Sawan Masih, who is a father of three children, has consistently maintained his innocence during the year-long trial. The most common phenomena in Pakistan, those courts are under high pressure of extremists and they always give death penalty to the victims of blasphemy and the most sufferers are the religious minorities in Pakistan. The lawyer of Sawan Masih declared in the media to appeal the sentence in the Lahore High Court. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Coptic Woman ‘Martyred for the Cross’ — ‘Body Torn’

The early 21st century is the time of the 'Third Jihad' (See Islam 101 for a good overview of the first two jihads), and we are seeing an increasing number of New Martyrs being killed because of their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and God. Here is another account of one of these Neo-Martyrs, the handmaiden of God Mary, whose murderers targeted her because she had a cross hanging from the rearview mirror of her car.

Think on this the next time you get behind the wheel, and see the cross dangling from your own rearview mirror.

Coptic Woman ‘Martyred for the Cross’ — ‘Body Torn’
by Raymond Ibrahim — March 29, 2014

Mary, the latest Christian martyr to be killed in Egypt

On his Twitter account, Coptic Bishop Raphaeil, who also serves as Secretary of the Holy Synod of the Coptic Christian Church, just wrote:

Oh how lucky you are, Mary, you who are beloved of Christ.  They tore your body because of the Cross.  Yet they offered you the greatest service and gave you a name of honor as one who attained the crown of martyrdom.

The bishop also quoted Christ in the Bible, “Yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service” (John 16:2).

Mary was killed during clashes between supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and Egyptian police, when the former, whipped into a frenzy after Friday mosque prayers, attacked a Coptic church, including by opening fire on it.  Along with Mary, three others were killed.

Eyewitnesses confirmed that she was targeted when Brotherhood rioters “noticed that she had a small cross dangling from the rear-view mirror of her car.”

Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood supporters attack church, four dead

by Raymond Ibrahim — March 29, 2014

Among other forms of “retaliatory terrorism,” some 80 Christian churches were attacked in Egypt immediately after the June 30 Revolution, which saw the ousting of Muslim Brotherhood president Morsi.

And now that Egypt has sentenced to death hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters for the widespread terror they launched on the nation after the people’s revolution, the Brotherhood and its supporters are, once again, retaliating by attacking Coptic Christian minorities and their churches.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Ukraine - Another Perspective

Kevin Allen of Ancient Faith Radio interviews Ukraine expert, U.S. diplomat, and Orthodox Christian James G. Jatras.

I have deep respect for Mr. Jatras, and quote him in my book, Facing Islam. I feel it is essential for us to slow down and make every effort to appreciate the Russian national interests at work behind Putin's decisions concerning Ukraine, Crimea and Russia's relationship to the EU and America. I intend to post more alternative viewpoints on the Crimea/Ukraine situation in the days ahead.

Russia is rising anew as the world's defender of Orthodox, Coptic and traditional Christianity, even as Western Europe and the United States dissolves into a miasma of apostasy, sodomy, gluttony and orgiastic indulgence in all the passions. That Russia is being smeared and targeted by America and the EU through blatantly false propaganda and treacherous alliances with dark forces, and that most Americans are happy to be fed the lies, speaks more to our hollowness, than to any fault on the Russian side.

Ukraine - Another Perspective
Ancient Faith Radio via Pravoslavie — March 27, 2014

As we continue to follow the news in Ukraine, Ancient Faith Radio is committed to bring you a balanced perspective on the events and implications for the Orthodox Church. Today, Kevin Allen is speaking with Ukrainian expert and Orthodox Christian Mr James Jatras. Mr Jatras is a former US diplomat, US Senate staffer, and a member of the American Institute of Ukraine.


Mr. Kevin Allen: This is Kevin Allen for Ancient Faith Radio, and I’m speaking with Mr. James G. Jatras. Jim is an Orthodox Christian, a former U.S. diplomat and U.S. Senate staffer, and a member of the American Institute in Ukraine. Jim, thank you for joining me on Ancient Faith Radio.
Mr. James Jatras: Thank you.

Mr. Allen: Jim, I’d like to begin by reading a short quote from a political analyst from Voice of Russia Radio on the current situation in Ukraine reflecting, I believe, the Russian position—maybe that should be in parentheses—and different from that of the West. Then [I’ll] follow up with a question. He said:

I think it (Ukraine) is a classical coup d’état. We should understand that what is going on is completely illegal and illegitimate. The whole situation is completely beyond the framework of law, and this is the worst development that we have seen in Ukraine during the last 25 years.

Jim Jatras, is it your view reflecting that of many inside Russia as well as many who support Russia’s interests, that the protests we’ve been seeing in Independence Square in Kyiv, Ukraine, are, in fact, a classic coup d’étatand not a lawful transfer of power, and how would you describe the current situation in Ukraine?

Mr. Jatras: Well, I don’t think you’d have to be looking at it from a Russian perspective or even call it a coup d’état, which maybe it is, and it’s not like, for example, the military stepped in and swept aside the government, but I think there’s some very serious questions about the legality of this apparently now-successful revolution or takeover of the government under any concept of legality. Remember, this was a legally elected government. President Yanukovych was a legally elected president of Ukraine. I suppose legally one could argue that he still is and that this order, whatever it might be in Kyiv at the moment, does not have a legal basis.

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill meets with Syrian Ambassador to Russia

Pravmir — March 27, 2014

On 25th March 2014, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia met with Dr. Riad Haddad, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Syrian Arab Republic to the Russian Federation.

They were joined at the meeting, which took place at the Patriarchal working residence in Chisty side-street, by archimandrite Philaret (Bulekov), vice-chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations (DECR), archpriest Sergy Zvonarev, DECR secretary for far abroad countries, and Mr. Nofal Kaltum and Mr. Yusef Arbash from the Syrian Embassy.

The Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church greeted Ambassador Haddad and stated that the Russian Orthodox Church was concerned about the situation in the Middle East and especially in Syria where armed conflicts have continued for three years.

‘We know that over million people have left the country and over one hundred thousands died, – His Holiness said. – We know that there were many Christians among that million. We take much to heart the deaths of Christians and Muslims as we do not divide people by religion and grieve for all suffering people.’

His Holiness continued to say that though Christians are a minority in Syria and in the Middle East, Syria is the land where the first Christian communities have come into being and the followers of Christ began to call themselves Christians, and where the most meaningful monument of Christian history are located.

Orthodox Church vandalised in Istanbul

As usual with crimes against Christians and Christian churches in Muslim countries, police refused to intervene.

AsiaNews via Pravoslavie — March 27, 2014

A group of young thugs, apparently from the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), vandalised an Orthodox Christian church in Istanbul. Although informed of the incident, the police refused to intervene.

The desecration took place last Sunday. The church, Agia Paraskevi, is located in Kazlıçeşme, just outside Constantinople's ancient Byzantine walls.

The church is famous for its source of water, deemed holy according to Eastern Byzantine tradition.

Church custodian Athanasios Ozkaremihologlu said that a bunch of young men forced their way through the building's front door. After causing mayhem, they took several sacred objects and the bell of the historic church.

Eventually, he sought refuge at a nearby police station. However, the agents on duty at the time refused to intervene, saying that such action would make matters worse.

Report: Obama Spent $770 Million in Taxpayer Funds to Rebuild and Renovate Mosques Overseas

This, and the $1 Obamacare Abortion Mandate required to be collected from all individuals in order to guarantee federal finding of abortion-inducing drugs, are two prime examples of today's "pinch of incense" demanded by the US federal government. American taxpayers are unwittingly supporting the spread of the anti-Christ religion of Islam, and are being trapped into funding and supporting the murder of pre-born infants.

We Christians are (not so) slowly being locked into a condition of functional apostasy, by virtue of our silent assent to the evil, satanic mandates of a central government determined to destroy our faith.

"By your silence you can betray God."
—St Gregory the Theologian 

Report: Obama Spent $770 Million in Taxpayer Funds to Rebuild and Renovate Mosques Overseas
by Jason DeWitt, Top Right News — March 10, 2014

A CBS news investigation found that the Obama State Department is sending millions of dollars to save mosques overseas — outraging taxpayer advocates and raising enormous questions about aid to potentially  terror-supporting groups with U.S. foreign aid.

With constant battles over cutting spending in the budget — including slashing pensions for military veterans, the United States ‘investment’ of millions to refurbish mosques as a ‘good-will effort’ in Muslim countries has upset many.

“We are spending money we don’t have. This is all on a gigantic credit card right now,” said Jared Thomas, a taxpayer advocate.

Millions more dollars have been sent to places like Cyprus. The State Department displays before and after pictures of mosques refurbished with U.S. tax dollars.

Coptic leader: ‘Arab Spring’ was really a winter

Pravmir — March 25, 2014

The leader of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church has said that the Arab Spring “was not a spring or even an autumn, it was a winter.”

Pope Tawadros II told an Egyptian radio audience that the results of the Arab Spring have been damaging to most countries in the Middle East, producing few positive results, the Fides news service reports. However, the Coptic prelate praised Egypt’s new leader, General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, and said that he had “saved Egypt” from the Islamicist government headed by Mohamed Morsi.

Reports Cite 80 Dead in Kessab; Churches Desecrated

"In the last one hundred years, this is the third time that the Armenians are being forced to leave Kessab and in all three cases, Turkey is the aggressor or on the side of the aggressors.”

OCP Media — March 24, 2014

KESSAB, Syria–The Armenian populated villages of Kessab, Syria were the target of three days of brutal cross-border attacks from Turkey by al-Qaeda affiliated armed bands, which have cost 80 lives and forced the civilian population of the area to flee to neighboring hills, with many seeking safe-haven in the nearby cities of Latakia and Basit.

In a written statement, the Armenian National Committee—International, condemned the attacks and Turkey’s active role in aiding and abetting extremist groups in their targeted attacks against the Christian and minority populations in Syria. “For months, we have warned the international community of the imminent threat posed by extremist foreign fighters against the Christian minority population in Syria,” noted the ANC-I statement. “These vicious and unprompted attacks against the Armenian-populated town and villages of Kessab are the latest examples of this violence, actively encouraged by neighboring Turkey. We call upon all states with any influence in the Syrian conflict to use all available means to stop these attacks against the peaceful civilian population of Kessab, to allow them to return to their homes in safety and security. In the last one hundred years, this is the third time that the Armenians are being forced to leave Kessab and in all three cases, Turkey is the aggressor or on the side of the aggressors.”

According to news reports, the armed incursion began on Friday, March 21, 2014, at 5:45a.m., with rebels associated with Al-Qaeda’s al-Nusra Front, Sham al-Islam and Ansar al-Sham crossing the Turkish border and attacking the Armenian civilian population of Kessab. The attackers immediately seized two guard posts overlooking Kessab, including a strategic hill known as Observatory 45 and later took over the border crossing point with Turkey. Snipers targeted the civilian population and launched mortar attacks on the town and the surrounding villages.

Friday, March 28, 2014

More and More Russian Young People Becoming Wahhabis

Pravoslavie — March 17, 2014

Arkhangelsk, March 13, 2014

The specialist in Islamic studies Roman Silantyev has reported that at the present time Russian Wahhabis number nearly 700,000 adherents.

Speaking at the Northern State Medical University in Arkhangelsk, he stated that Wahhabism was the most dangerous and quick-growing sect, reports Interfax-Religion.

"The geography of terrorist cells is wide enough. They are present virtually in all regions of Russia. Meanwhile, almost all active terrorist organizations in the world have an islamist origin," noted R. Silantyev.

He believes that the only way of struggle with Wahhabism in Russia is a sharp toughening of the legislation when members of terrorist organizations are subject to criminal prosecution for the very fact of participation in such organizations.

According to the expert, the alarming factor is the growing passion of the ethnic Russian youth for Wahhabism. In the terrorists list individuals with Russian and Ukrainian surnames are beginning to prevail.

The Charge of the Light Brigade: Historical Background on the Crimea Situation, and the Significance of Russia's Role

Here is a very helpful historical summary, including of Russia's historical stance as defender of Orthodox Christians against the Ottoman Muslim invaders. 

See also my article, The West's Blind Spot Towards Russia, which discusses many of the same issues in continuity with today's Islamic jihad against Christians in the Muslim world.


by Dr. Peter Hammond, Thanks to Col. Val Finnell

Crimea is much in the news today. Many people may have trouble finding Crimea on the map. Some say that they have never heard of Crimea before this current crisis. However, that is probably not true. Most of us are aware of the Crimean War or at least of Florence Nightingale, who launched the modern nursing movement, caring for wounded and sick British soldiers during the Crimean War.

The Charge of the Light Brigade
Many have surely heard of The Charge of the Light Brigade. That took place during the Crimean War. Lord Alfred Tennyson wrote the poem, The Charge of the Light Brigade poem in 1854:

"Half a league, half a league, half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death rode the six hundred.
Forward, the Light Brigade! Charge for the guns! he said.
Into the valley of Death rode the six hundred.

"Forward, the Light Brigade! Was there a man dismayed?
Not though the soldier knew someone had blundered.
Theirs not to make reply, theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die.
Into the valley of Death rode the six hundred.

"Cannon to right of them, cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them volleyed and thundered;
Stormed at with shot and shell, boldly they rode and well,
into the jaws of Death.
Into the mouth of hell rode the six hundred.

"Flashed all their sabres bare, flashed as they turned in air
sabring the gunners there, charging an army,
while all the world wondered.
Plunged in the battery-smoke, right through the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian reeled from the sabre stroke, shattered and sundered.
Then they rode back, but not the six hundred.

"Cannon to right of them, cannon to left of them,
cannon behind them volleyed and thundered;
Stormed at with shot and shell, while horse and hero fell.
They that had fought so well, came through the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of hell.
All that was left of them, left of six hundred.

"When can their glory fade? O the wild charge they made!
All the world wondered.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade, noble six hundred!"

Courage Despite Confusion
Alfred Tennyson's poem was published 9 December 1854 in The Examiner. Inspired by the term in Psalm 23 of the Valley of the shadow of death, it highlights one of the most famous events of the long and costly Crimean War. The Light Brigade had been ordered into a nearly hopeless situation, due to command confusion and incompetence. Yet incredibly they succeeded in reaching the Russian artillery at the end of a valley lined with artillery on both sides, and they actually succeeded in fighting their way out of a Russian trap. Most of the men made it back to their own lines.

Actually there were 666 men, who charged in the Light Brigade that day. There have been a number of films made on that event.

However, for most people that would be the full extent of their knowledge of Crimea.

The First Modern War
The Crimean War was called one of the first modern wars because it saw the first to use major technology, such as railways and telegraphs. It was also one of the first wars to be documented extensively in photographs and written reports. The Crimean War exposed horrendous logistical failures in both the British and Russian armies.

Military Reforms
The reports of War correspondents led to widespread demands for sweeping reforms in the military. The sale of commissions in the British Army came under scrutiny and was eventually abolished as a result of exposes of incompetence in the field. The war also led to the establishment of the Victoria Cross as the British Army's first universal award for Valour.

The Crimean War was also a contributing factor in Russia abolishing Serfdom in 1861. Czar Alexander II saw the military defeat of the Russian serf army by free troops from Britain and France as proof of the need for emancipating the Serfs. The Russian government also began a major modernisation of its forces as it had seen its technical inferiority in military practices as well as weapons. Russian military medicine saw dramatic progress through the Crimean War as N.I. Pirogov, known as the Father of Russian Field Surgery, developed the use of anaesthetics, plaster casts, enhanced amputation methods and five-stage triage.

The debts that Russia incurred from the Crimean War led Alexander II to decide to sell Alaska to the United States to help pay their war debts.

Unasked Reason Why
However, as interesting as all of these developments were, the most important question is seldom asked: Why?

Why were British and French forces fighting the Russians in Crimea in the first place?

The Last Crusade
From the Western media at the time, one would have received the impression that the issue was to protect "poor little Turkey" from the predatory aggressions of imperial Russia. However, the Russians saw it very differently. Some Russians called the war: The Last Crusade.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Islamic law is adopted by British legal chiefs

Solicitors told how to draw up Sharia-style wills penalising widows and non-believers

The end of Great Britain as a Christian, Western nation is almost guaranteed now. Will America also surrender to sharia?

by John Bingham — UK Telegraph — March 22, 2013

Islamic law is to be effectively enshrined in the British legal system for the first time under guidelines for solicitors on drawing up “Sharia compliant” wills.

Under ground-breaking guidance, produced by The Law Society, High Street solicitors will be able to write Islamic wills that deny women an equal share of inheritances and exclude unbelievers altogether.

The documents, which would be recognised by Britain’s courts, will also prevent children born out of wedlock – and even those who have been adopted – from being counted as legitimate heirs.

Anyone married in a church, or in a civil ceremony, could be excluded from succession under Sharia principles, which recognise only Muslim weddings for inheritance purposes.

Nicholas Fluck, president of The Law Society, said the guidance would promote “good practice” in applying Islamic principles in the British legal system.

Some lawyers, however, described the guidance as “astonishing”, while campaigners warned it represented a major step on the road to a “parallel legal system” for Britain’s Muslim communities.

Baroness Cox, a cross-bench peer leading a Parliamentary campaign to protect women from religiously sanctioned discrimination, including from unofficial Sharia courts in Britain, said it was a “deeply disturbing” development and pledged to raise it with ministers.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 Update: Suspicious Cell Phone Call to Captain just before takeoff made from untraceable phone purchased with fake ID, raises more fears of terrorism

Police hunt mystery woman who made final phone call to doomed jet captain as first picture emerges of his estranged wife and family
  • Call was made to Captain Shah just hours before he took off in MH370
  • Pay-as-you-go phone which made the call was bought with fake ID
  • Fake ID was used to get around security measures put in place after 9/11
  • Increases fears Captain Shah may have links to terrorism
  • Investigators will soon question the captain's estranged wife in detail
by Simon Parry — Daily Mail Online UK — March 22, 2014

The captain of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 received a two-minute call shortly before take-off from a mystery woman using a mobile phone number obtained under a false identity.

It was one of the last calls made to or from the mobile of Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah in the hours before his Boeing 777 left Kuala Lumpur 16 days ago.

Investigators are treating it as potentially significant because anyone buying a pay-as-you-go SIM card in Malaysia has to fill out a form giving their identity card or passport number.

Introduced as an anti-terrorism measure following 9/11, this ensures that every number is registered to a traceable person.

But in this case police traced the number to a shop selling SIM cards in Kuala Lumpur.

The Repose of Fr Alexander Atty

Fr Alexander Atty brought me into the Holy Orthodox Church in 1988, and by the grace of God helped shepherd me through an especially difficult and lengthy trial in my life. I am eternally thankful to God for Fr Alexander's presence, direction, and care in my life.

In a private reminiscence to friends last week, I described Fr Alexander as a 'Lion of Orthodoxy'. He was a powerful figure in American Orthodoxy for over three decades, building St Michael's Orthodox Church in Louisville KY into one of the finest examples of a truly pan-Orthodox community in North America, with daily services, extensive charitable endeavors, education for all age groups, and recently adding an apartment complex for seniors of the parish. St Michael's draws Orthodox faithful from all national and ethnic backgrounds, as well as dozens upon dozens of American converts. Fr Alexander had the rare trait of 'zeal according to knowledge', combined with an enveloping warmth of personal care and sincere kindness for people.

I had the great blessing of traveling with him twice to Mount Athos. He took a small number of men on pilgrimages to the Holy Mountain every other year for decades. His own spiritual father was the memorable Elder Isaac (the Syrian), who reposed in 2006. The St George Chapel at St Michael's was designed after a chapel at St Anne Skete which Fr Alexander had visited on Athos.

In mid-2010, Fr Alexander became dean of St Tikhon's Seminary, which he helped revitalize, and where he was soon referred to as "our beloved dean."  Beloved indeed...

Friday, March 21, 2014

Why the Media Doesn’t Cover Jihadist Attacks on Middle East Christians

by Raymond Ibrahim — March 20, 2014

“To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting Him to public disgrace”—Hebrews 6:6

The United Nations, Western governments, media, universities, and talking heads everywhere insist that Palestinians are suffering tremendous abuses from the state of Israel.  Conversely, the greatest human rights tragedy of our time—radical Muslim persecution of Christians, including in Palestinian controlled areas—is devotedly ignored.

The facts speak for themselves. Reliable estimates indicate that anywhere from 100-200 million Christians are persecuted every year; one Christian is martyred every five minutes. Approximately 85% of this persecution occurs in Muslim majority nations. In 1900, 20% of the Middle East was Christian. Today, less than 2% is.

In one week in Egypt alone, where my Christian family emigrated, the Muslim Brotherhood launched a kristallnacht—attacking, destroying, and/or torching some 82 Christian churches (some of which were built in the 5th century, when Egypt was still a Christian-majority nation before the Islamic conquests).  Al-Qaeda’s black flag has been raised atop churches.  Christians—including priests, women and children—have been attacked, beheaded, and killed.

Nor is such persecution of Christians limited to Egypt.   From Morocco in the west to Indonesia in the east and from Central Asia to the north to sub-Saharan Africa to the south; across thousands of miles of lands inhabited by peoples who do not share the same races, languages, cultures, and/or socio-economic conditions, millions of Christians are being persecuted and in the same exact patterns.

Muslim converts to Christianity and Christian evangelists are attacked, imprisoned, and sometimes beheaded; countless churches across the Islamic world are being banned or bombed; Christian women and children are being abducted, enslaved, raped, and/or forced to renounce their faith.

Far from helping these Christian victims, U.S. policies are actually exacerbating their sufferings.  Whether in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, or Syria, and under the guise of the U.S.-supported “Arab Spring,” things have gotten dramatically worse for Christians.  Indeed, during a recent U.S. congressional hearing, it was revealed that thousands of traumatized Syrian Christians—who, like Iraqi Christians before them are undergoing a mass exodus from their homeland—were asking “Why is America at war with us?”

The answer is that very few Americans have any clue concerning what is happening to their coreligionists.

Few mainstream media speak about the horrific persecution millions of people are experiencing simply because they wish to worship Christ in peace.

Growing Persecution of Christians by Radical Islamists in Northern Syria

Pravoslavie — March 20, 2014

Damascus — Christians in the regions of north Syria, controlled by insurgents, are faced with growing persecution by radical islamists, reported Melkite (Greek Catholic) Archbishop Jean-Abdo Arbach of Homs.

"The Muslim rule must be applied, while all the Christian symbols displayed publicly must be destroyed," said the archbishop in his interview with the "Aid to Church in Need" aid organization, commenting on the islamists' agenda.

"In addition to this, the Christians who wish to stay will be forced to pay a tax in the future".

But in other places of Syria the situation with Christians is gradually improving. Thus, many Christians have returned to Homs, the third largest city of the country.

"The government troops have established nearly full control of this region and the insurgents are ruling over only four districts," the CWN agency cites the archbishop's words.

Egypt’s Coptic pope to visit Moscow

Relations between Russia and Egypt are being further enhanced by the strengthening of spiritual ties between the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Russian Orthodox Church.  

Pravmir — March 20, 2014

CAIRO – Preparations are in full swing for an expected visit to Moscow by Egypt’s Coptic Pope Tawadros II, his first trip to Russia since taking the helm of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church in 2012, a church source said Wednesday.

According to the source, Father Rafael, secretary of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church, travelled to Russia on Wednesday on an undeclared visit to prepare for Tawadros’ upcoming visit.

“The date of the visit, which will aim to strengthen relations between Egypt and Russia, will be decided once the necessary preparations are made,” the church source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Anadolu Agency.

Relations between Cairo and Moscow have picked up dramatically since last July’s ouster of elected president Mohamed Morsi by the army.

Last November, Pope Tawadros II met with Russia’s ambassador in Cairo and lauded Russian support for Egypt.

Egyptian army chief Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi visited Russia in mid-February amid reports of a major arms deal between the two countries.

New Anthology Features English Translations of Arabic Orthodox Literature

This new title holds much promise for traditional Christian apologetics, and for efforts to rally opposition to Muslim persecution of Christians. Arab Christian theological treatises from the 8th century onward directly countered Islam's fierce theological jihad against Christianity, which began in the Quran itself, with such strident passages as these:

Say not “Trinity”: desist: It will be better for you: For God is One God: Glory be to Him: (Far Exalted is He) above having a son. . . . (Sura 4:173)

In blasphemy indeed are those that say that God is Christ the Son of Mary. (Sura 5:19)

They do blaspheme who say: “God is Christ the son of Mary . . .” They do blaspheme who say: God is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One God. If they desist not from their word (of blasphemy), verily a grievous penalty will befall the blasphemers among them (Sura 5:75,78)

Christ the son of Mary was no more than an Apostle; many were the apostles that passed away before him. His mother was a woman of truth. They had both to eat their (daily) food. See how God doth make His Signs clear to them; yet see in what ways they are deluded away from the truth! (Sura 5:78)

The Jews call 'Uzair a son of God, and the Christians call Christ the Son of God. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the Unbelievers of old used to say. God's curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth! (Sura 9:30)

In fact, they never killed him, they never crucified him — they were made to think that they did. All factions who are disputing in this matter are full of doubt concerning this issue. They possess no knowledge; they only conjecture. For certain, they never killed him. (Sura 4:157)
The Quran's jihad against Christianity is not merely theological. It contains explicit commands for Muslims to wage holy war against the 'People of the Book', subjugate them, force them to pay the jizya, and utterly humiliate them:
Fight against those who believe not in Allah, nor in the Last Day, nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth [i.e. Islam] among the people of the Book [Jews and Christians], until they pay the jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. (Sura 9:29)
Ultimately, early Christian sources from the first and second waves of Islamic jihad are essential in further establishing the historical, unbroken continuity of Muslim warfare against Christians, Islamic domination of conquered Christian communities through the repressive dhimma contract and the Conditions of Omar, and how the militant, supremacist nature of early Islam is openly being reasserted today in the 21st century jihad.

New Anthology Features English Translations of Arabic Orthodox Literature
Pravmir — March 20, 2014

A recently published anthology, The Orthodox Church in the Arab World 700-1700: An Anthology of Sources, is a comprehensive introduction to the first millennium of Arabic-speaking Orthodoxy accessible to English speakers. Published by the Northern Illinois University Press, the book is the work of two Orthodox scholars, Samuel Noble, a doctoral candidate in religious studies at Yale University, and Alexander Treiger, associate professor in the Department of Classics and Program in Religious Studies at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Noble explains that “…in the Western historiography of Christianity, the Arab Christian Middle East is treated only peripherally, if at all.” A sample of the book’s contents includes: 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Crimea’s joining to Russia is a victory over 'vicious circle of historical absurdity' — Archimandrite Tikhon (Shevkunov)

... while America sows absurdity at home and abroad.

This observation by Archimandrite Tikhon should prompt some reflection over the epochal shift we are living through, as America is stripped of any cover of righteousness, and is exposed as being on the wrong side of history for all to see.

A shockingly weakened and marginalized America desperately tries to oppress and head off a morally, spiritually and globally resurgent Russia.

The brazenly anti-Christian Obama administration promotes godlessness, homosexuality, and abortion both at home and around the globe.

The Obama administration exports strife and revolution abroad, backing the Muslim Brotherhood Islamic extremist group in Egypt, Al Qaeda in Libya, Islamists in Syria, etc. U.S. support to these groups is essential to their efforts to destabilize and topple longstanding governments which, while no bastions of civil liberties, guaranteed stability and a measure of equal rights for Christians and other minorities.

Details are now emerging of U.S support for the Ukrainian 'Pravy Sektor' opposition, an amalgam of fascist, neo-nazi and ultra-nationalist groups, hostile to and openly threatening Russia.

Russia defends indigenous Christians in the Middle East and elsewhere in the Muslim world, whereas America supports barbaric Islamic extremist groups who slaughter and persecute Christians, in effect waging a proxy war against traditional Christians.

A senior American statesman screams at a Syrian Christian delegation and treats them shamefully, while consorting with Muslim jihadis who eat the organs of their slain enemies. Senator John McCain is merely a tragic symptom of America's corrupt, anti-Christian orientation.

St Luke, Archbishop of
Crimea and Simferepol
The re-baptized and renewed Russian Federation welcomes and restores a traditional Russian province through an open referendum, and it is "not by chance that Crimea joined Russia on the day of finding relics of St. Luka (Voyno-Yasenetsky), the Crimean Archbishop, whose main goal was standing for truth, 'in spite of the pressure, sufferings'.”

In other words, we have faith that the Lord's providential hand is directing events. As we approach the midpoint of Great Lent, it is time to embrace the Church's call to repentance and turn to Christ, Who alone can save us.

Crimea’s joining to Russia is a victory over 'vicious circle of historical absurdity', Archimandrite Tikhon (Shevkunov) believes
Pravmir — March 20, 2014
(Translation edited for English idiom and syntax.)

Moscow, March 19, Interfax – Secretary of the Patriarchal Council on Culture Archimandrite Tikhon (Shevkunov) considers Crimea’s inclusion in Russia a restoration of historical justice.

“It is a victory over the vicious circle of historical [absurdity] in which our people were involved,” Father Tikhon said on air the special edition of the Sunday Evening program at Rossiya-1 TV.

The priest stressed that day “was in no way a victory over Ukraine.”

He believes it important that we managed to preserve the unity of [the] canonical Russian Church in the territory of [the] former USSR and “it would be tested for durability.”

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Metropolitan Philip falls asleep in the Lord


The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, with great sadness, announces the passing unto life eternal of His Eminence the Most Reverend Metropolitan Philip, Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America. May his memory be eternal! Details are forthcoming.

Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370: A Jihad Plot Unfolding? Plane in Pakistan?

Perhaps you have been watching the daily news reports on the missing Boeing 777 jetliner, which mysteriously and suspiciously made a U-turn, signed off, and went missing from radar and transponder signals.

What had been a search and rescue operation seems more focused now on the real possibility that the plane was hijacked to be used for a terrorist operation. Malaysia is a Muslim country, there was a Chinese Muslim Uighur on board, and questions about the pilot and co-pilot have been raised. Now national security and defense analysts are openly theorizing that the plane has been landed... in Pakistan, the former hiding place of Osama bin Laden and a known hotbed of Islamic fundamentalism and jihad terrorism.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

American Muslims and Mosques Caught in Jihad Terror Plots

It would be nice if Islam were just another relatively benign monotheistic heresy merely challenging Christianity on the theological level, and articles on the abduction and ransom of 14th century Saint Gregory Palamas by Turkish Muslims, or on 7th century Saint Sophronius and his eyewitness descriptions of the Muslim devastation of the Christian churches and community of Jerusalem, were merely relating arcane fragments of history which Islam has moved beyond as it has matured into a modern 'religion of peace'.

However, this is simply not the case, as weekly and sometimes daily news reports prove time and time again.

Muslim communities themselves are often part of the problem, as four separate studies over the past fifteen years have consistently shown that 80% of mosques in America teach and advocate jihad and the overthrow of America and the replacement of the Constitution with Sharia law. Recent Pew Research polls show 75% of Muslims in Europe believe there can only be one interpretation of the Quran, and 65% believe Islamic law supersedes secular law. The numbers in America are hardly more encouraging:

There are reasons to believe that not all American Muslims are enthusiastic about religious liberty...  For example, a 2012 poll conducted by Wenzel Strategies found that fifty-eight percent of Muslim-American citizens believe that criticism of Islam or Muhammad should not be allowed under the U.S. Constitution. Forty-six percent said that Americans who criticize or parody Islam should face criminal charges, while one in eight respondents felt that such crimes merit the death penalty. Another forty-two percent said that Christians do not have the right to evangelize Muslims. (from William Kilpatrick, Has the Church in the U.S. Succumbed to the Charms of Islam?)

These are extremely ominous numbers which paint a picture of a hostile, alien culture in our midst, worse so in Europe.

Polls and studies attempt to trace the contours of the Muslim American mindset, but when deeply held beliefs manifest in behavior, the threat to society is seen to be real and serious. Here are some current stories of American Muslims striving to literally follow the example of Muhammad and the commands of the Quran:

Monday, March 17, 2014

Western Arrogance and Decline

"Having reduced our faith to a life-style choice and comforting holiday traditions, we Westerners cannot imagine a religion whose believers take its commands seriously, and see the world as the arena of a long spiritual struggle they are destined to win."

By Bruce Thornton, FrontPage Magazine — March 17, 2014
Thanks to Raymond.

For three centuries the West built up enormous economic, cultural, and military capital that dwarfs and dominates that of the rest of the world. Other countries may hate and resent Europe and the United States, but they still have to imitate, adapt, or steal the technology, financial systems, and even popular culture of the West. Yet this dominance has come at a price for Westerners, one that contains the seeds of our decline.

One baleful effect of this achievement has been the erosion of the virtues and ideals that created Western dominance in the first place, a phenomenon long recognized as the cost of national success. Two thousand years ago the Roman historian Livy, surveying the wreckage of the Roman Republic, invited his reader to contemplate the “life and manners” of his ancestors that led to their dominance, and “then, as discipline gradually declined, let him follow in his thoughts their morals, at first as slightly giving way, next how they sunk more and more, then began to fall headlong, until he reaches the present times, when we can neither endure our vices, nor their remedies.” Livy specifically linked this decline to the vast increase of wealth that followed the success of Rome, and that “introduced avarice, and a longing for excessive pleasures, amidst luxury and a passion for ruining ourselves and destroying every thing else.”

Clichés, one might say, but no less true for that. The astonishing wealth of the West, more widely distributed than in any other civilization, the abandonment of religion as the foundation of morals and virtues, the transformation of political freedom into self-centered license, and the commodification of hedonism that makes available to everyman luxuries and behaviors once reserved for a tiny elite, have made self-indulgence and the present more important than self-sacrifice and the future. Declining birthrates, a preference for spending on social welfare transfers rather than on defense, and a willingness to beggar our children and grandchildren with debt in order to finance these entitlements– all bespeak a people whose wealth deludes them into thinking that they can imprudently ignore the future and indefinitely afford these luxuries that in fact insidiously weaken the foundations of our social and political order. This process is more advanced in Europe than in the U.S., but we in America have been steadily moving towards the same mentality.

Islam is Ireland’s 'Fastest Growing Religion'

Orthodox Christianity is second-fastest in growth, mostly due to immigration.

St Patrick, Enlightener of Ireland
(Feast Day: March 17)
A tragic and sobering report for the Feast of St Patrick of Ireland (an Orthodox saint from the first millennium, by the way).

As Christianity withers in the Western world, people seeking something authentic, and who might be especially well disposed to Orthodox Christianity, are being deceived by superficial aspects of Islam (modesty, rigorous prayer, fasting, etc.) and led away from Christ.

We now live in an age of near total apostasy, where Christianity is dying because hardly anyone is living it in an authentic manner. Is it any wonder that seekers would reject Christ because of the lukewarm nominalism of so many of His so-called followers, and embrace instead a belief system which requires commitment and sacrifice, and offers community and belonging?

Put another way, can we rouse ourselves enough to present a compelling reason for sincere seekers to choose Jesus Christ?

Fr Seraphim Rose, in a 1977 talk on St Patrick and St Gregory of Tours, concluded with these remarks:

When we think of someone like St. Patrick, our attitude should not be merely: "Aha, that was a long time ago, that was inspiring; but now—well, what's the use?" 
On the contrary, in the activity of St. Patrick we should see the activity of a contemporary person, of a soul who was burning with zeal and love for God. He has gone to that country where we are to be citizens, if only we will strive. We are all of the same nationality, the Christian race. 
St. Patrick's life should be for us a contemporary thing, something which applies to us today. Whatever inspiration we can take from it, is for us right now. And however much fruit this bears, depends on how much we love God and how much opportunity there is. The inspiration is ours for free.

Let us keep this word in mind as we read about Islam's growth in Ireland today.

Shamrock Crescent: Islam Is Ireland’s Fastest Growing Religion
International Business Times, Feb 21, 2014
h/t Creeping Sharia

The Republic of Ireland may be intimately associated with the Roman Catholic Church, but the fastest-growing faith on the emerald isle is Islam — at such a rapid rate that Muslims are projected to replace Protestantism as the second-most popular religion by the year 2043.

Ireland’s Central Statistics Office reported that between 1991 and 2011, the percentage of Irish residents who were Muslim jumped from 0.1 percent to 1 percent (equating to about 49,000 people). By 2020, Ireland’s Islamic population will more than double to at least 100,000. The increase is attributed to both immigration and population growth. 

The second fastest-growing faith in Ireland is Orthodox Christianity, largely due to immigration from Eastern Europe — doubling in just five years between 2006 and 2011 to more than 45,000 people.

As their numbers climb, Muslims in Ireland have embarked on projects to build more mosques, including a new $50 million complex in north Dublin that will commence construction in 2014 and become the country’s largest mosque.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

St Gregory Palamas as a Model for Christians in our new 'Age of Jihad'

For the Second Sunday of Great Lent, on which the Orthodox Church commemorates St Gregory Palamas, I would like to emphasize St Gregory's abduction by Turkish Muslims in 1354.

As other writers on Islam have repeatedly made clear, the capture of Christians and holding them for ransom, exchanging them as hostages for Muslim prisoners, or simply killing them to terrorize other Christians, dates back to Muhammad himself, and is an established norm in Islamic jihad. It is being more and more used by jihadist groups today to achieve their ends. (See here and here for examples.)

“As for the captives, the amir [ruler] has the choice of taking the most beneficial action of four possibilities: the first to put them to death by cutting their necks; the second, to enslave them and apply the laws of slavery regarding their sale and manumission; the third, to ransom them in exchange for goods or prisoners; and fourth, to show favor to them and pardon them. Allah, may he be exalted, says, ‘When you encounter those [infidels] who deny [the Truth=Islam] then strike [their] necks’ (Qur’an sura 47, verse 4)” — Abu’l-Hasan al-Mawardi, al-Ahkam as-Sultaniyyah (The Laws of Islamic Governance), trans. by Dr. Asadullah Yate, (London), Ta-Ha Publishers Ltd., 1996, p. 192; as cited on Jihad Watch.

Last year we lamented the abduction by Muslims of Bishop Paul and Bishop John in Syria. The Muslims killed their driver in the ambush. The bishops' whereabouts and condition are still unknown.

Then there is the recent abduction of Mother Pelagia and the nuns from Mar Thecla Monastery in Maloula, Syria. Thankfully they were not harmed, but were released in an exchange for female Muslim prisoners.

St Gregory Palamas was held captive for a year, eventually being ransomed by the Orthodox Serbs. He was severely weakened by the ordeal, but had been able to encourage a number of Orthodox Christian communities who had been struggling as subjugated dhimmis under their Ottoman Muslim overlords. Archbishop Gregory also engaged his Muslim tormentors in several debates, which were transcribed, and present a vivid picture of St Gregory as a fearless Confessor of the Orthodox Faith, in spite of his life hanging in the balance.

I have set up a special post on St Gregory Palamas, which presents much more detail on his year as a prisoner of the Muslims, as well as his defense of the Orthodox faith in his debates with his captors.

In our age of renewed Islamic jihad against Christians all around the globe, St Gregory Palamas, rightly revered for his defense of Orthodoxy during the Hesychast Controversy, should be more widely recognized as a Confessor and Defender of Orthodoxy against the heresy of Islam. His life is a model for all Orthodox believers, hierarchs, clergy, monastics and laity, as to how to present the Orthodox Gospel of Jesus Christ against a militant enemy, and how to bravely endure as a true confessor and witness (martyria) of the Lord.

Crucifix-less Nuns Indirectly Confirm Islamic Hostility for Christians

by Raymond Ibrahim — March 12, 2014

Now that the group of Syrian nuns held captive for three months by jihadi forces have been released (in exchange for prisoners held by the Syrian government), they have confirmed  that “they did not feel comfortable wearing their crosses and crucifixes.”

Indeed, back on February 18, I discussed how pictures of the nuns showed no pectoral crosses in “Kidnapped Nuns No Longer Bear the Cross.”  This was in keeping with the fact that Islamic law bans Christian “dhimmis” from showing their crosses or Bibles around Muslims.

Still, the Guardian’s first line of the nuns’ release is “Nuns say they were not forced to remove crosses during captivity,” because “the group’s leader, Mother Pelagia Saayaf, who heads the Mar Takla monastery, said: ‘We took off our crosses because we were in the wrong place to wear them.’”

Yet does this diplomatic response not speak for itself concerning, not just contempt for the cross, but for Christians in general?  For it simply means that, by wearing crosses they would have exposed their Christian identity — and that would not have been a wise thing, considering they were in “the wrong place,” that is, a place hostile to Christians.

And does it not stand to reason that those hostile to Christians would be hostile to Christian symbols?

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Metropolitan Hilarion: 'We Must be Prepared to Stand Firm in Our Faith Against a World that will War Against Us'

"The triumph of Christ’s love over worldwide evil is the cause of our celebration."

A most encouraging 'word' from Metropolitan Hilarion, in his message to the ROCOR Eastern American Diocese, on the occasion of its 80th anniversary:
When we think about what the next 80 years might bring, we must be prepared to stand firm in our faith against a world that will war against us as it wars against Christ and His Church... 
For this reason, Christ our Savior warned his followers: “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you” (John 15:19 ). Christ also comforted them, saying: “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33)... 
Despite the temptations of the outside world, life in the Church has been peaceful and fruitful. Let us look back and remember the hundreds of reverend clergy who were ordained and served our Diocese throughout its 80-year history. How many thousands more were saved through the Holy Church because of these pastors and monastics? 
Every Divine Liturgy that has been served in all of our churches and monasteries over the course of 80 years has been a triumphal proclamation of Christ’s victory over the world! Every communion of the Holy Mysteries has brought people into the salvific fold of the Church, making them members of the one Body of Christ. Prayer and the divine services are the air that the Church breathes, without which life in Her, and union with Her Head—Christ—is impossible! 
If we continue to live our lives within the saving fold of the Church, we shall have no cause for worry or despair when faced with the trials and temptations of the world, for we know that we are safe with Christ in His Holy Church, against which even “the gates of hell shall never prevail!” ...
We must cultivate within ourselves the chief virtue of every Christian—love. “By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another,” said our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (John 13:35 )...
We call upon all of you to strengthen your prayers and continue expanding your involvement in the daily life of the Church...
The triumph of Christ’s love over worldwide evil is the cause of our celebration during this 80th anniversary. In order to cultivate this love within our hearts, let us be mindful of the words of Saint Nektary of Optina, who said: “Pray that the Lord will rule in your heart. Then it will overflow with great rejoicing and happiness, and no kind of sorrow will have strength to disturb it.” This is how we are called to live and grow with Christ. This is how we must thank our Creator and celebrate all of the accomplishments of the past 80 years...

Read the full message, which includes a stirring invitation to join in celebrating the opening of the new diocesan center at St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Howell, NJ,  on November 14-15, 2014.

‘Christians Are Living in Fear But Don’t Want to Leave Their Homeland’ – Archbishop of Homs

AINA via Pravmir — March 14, 2014

NEW YORK — In spite of an uncertain future, the Christians in Syria want to stay put. This was the message delivered by the Melkite Greek-Catholic Archbishop of Homs, Hama and Yabrud, Msgr. Jean Abdo Arbach. He told international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need: “We Christians are living in fear, the future is uncertain, but we want to stay in our homeland.”

Despite reports to the contrary, the 61-year-old native Syrian said, 20,000 Christians of various denominations currently live in Homs close to the border with Lebanon, and about 200,000 in the Homs region. Many of the faithful, including Melkite, Greek-Catholic, Syrian-Catholic, Maronite, Greek-Orthodox and Orthodox, have now returned to the city of Homs, according to the prelate.

Syria: Rakka Christians Forced to live as Dhimmis under Strict Islamic Law

Pravoslavie — March 14, 2014
Follow link for video report...

See also: SYRIA: Christians Forced to Comply or ‘Face the Sword’

In its weekly column, "Voices from the net", the FRANCE 23 Arabic French TV channel showed an interview with a resident of the Syrian town of Rakka (Ar Raqqah, Racca), who told about the new phase of persecution of Christians by Muslim extremists.

Muslim Jihadis march in Rakka. January 2014. AP Photo/militant website

Late in February of this year, the "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" extremist Muslim group, obliged Christians, living in the Syrian governorate of Rakka, to pay Jizya (a tax levied against non-Muslims) and to observe a certain number of new rules, dealing with performance of religious rites, appearance, meals and drinks.

The militants also banned any restoration of the monasteries and churches they had destroyed. Although some towns of the northern governorate were de facto under control of the armed "Syrian opposition" as early as March 2013, the terrorists were developing their expansion until they occupied all the territory of the Syrian governorate.

CIA Chief: Jihad a Product of Injustices, Economics, and Ignorance

Here is another look at the defective view of Islamic supremacism and terrorism held by CIA Director John Brennan and the Obama administration.

by Raymond Ibrahim, March 13, 2014

CIA director John Brennan is at it again—equivocating over the nature of jihad by evoking paradigms familiar to the West.

Last Tuesday, “during an event at the Council of Foreign Relations, Brennan was asked about the ‘war of ideas’ surrounding Islam, which the questioner said many Americans tend to equate with violence.”

The CIA chief responded by saying that al-Qaeda’s ideology is “a perverse and very corrupt interpretation of the Qur’an”; that “al-Qaeda has hijacked” Islam; that “they have really distorted the teachings of Muhammad.”

Even so, “that ideology, that agenda of al-Qaeda,” confirmed Brennan, “has gained resonance and following in many parts of the world.”

So what is the CIA chief’s explanation as to why such a “perverse and very corrupt” understanding of Islam—one that has “distorted the teachings of Muhammad”— resonates among Muslims?

He gives none—other than to say that this ideology is “fed a lot of times by, you know, political repression, by economic, you know, disenfranchisement, by, you know, lack of education and ignorance, so there—there are a number of phenomena right now that I think are fueling the fires of, you know, this ideology.”

Interestingly, if you watch the video clip of Brennan talking, you will note that he only “you knows” in the above quotation (four times) and right before it, when he says that al-Qaeda has “distorted the teachings of Muhammad, you know, for violent purposes.”

The rest of his talk is relatively smooth.

Could Brennan be self-conscious of his own equivocations—hence all these stilted “you knows” in one sentence?

Could he be aware of the Rand Corporation report on counterterrorism, prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense in 2009?   It found that “Terrorists are not particularly impoverished, uneducated, or afflicted by mental disease. Demographically, their most important characteristic is normalcy (within their environment). Terrorist leaders actually tend to come from relatively privileged backgrounds.”