Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Ninth Hagia Sophia Church converted into a mosque in Turkey

Rapidly re-Islamizing Turkey continues its push to eliminate all traces of Orthodox Christianity and literally recapture its supposed former glory of the Ottoman period. 

Pravoslavie - September 25, 2014

Muslim prayers are being performed in another ancient Orthodox Church, reports AgionOros

The Hagia Sophia Church in Eregli (the Greek form is Heraclea) has become the ninth Hagia Sophia Church converted into a mosque by Turks over recent years.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Mark Durie: Fear and the rhetoric of 'unprecedented' barbarity

Context and analysis from one of the foremost Christian writers on Islam.

By Mark Durie, September 26, 2014

Many leaders have been stating that the Islamic State’s actions are ‘unprecedented’, ‘extreme’, ‘unique’, or even ‘eccentric’.  Western leaders who are intervening in the Syria-Iraq conflict justify their actions by declaring the Islamic State to be uniquely evil.  In announcing military action and increased security measures, Australian Prime Ministry Tony Abbottsaid of the Islamic State that “To do such evil — and to revel in doing such evil — is simply unprecedented”. David Cameron stated that “ISIL is a terrorist organisation unlike those we have dealt with before.”  Barack Obama claimed “these terrorists are unique in their brutality.”

The actions of Islamic State’s adherents are morally repugnant in the extreme, but only by applying historical amnesia and selective vision could one claim that their evil is unique or unprecedented.

In recent decades, not dissimilar horrors have regularly been reported from around the world, for example the abuses of the ‘Lord’s Resistance Army’, or the genocide pursued by the government of  Sudan against the Christians and traditional believers in the Nuba mountains and  the Blue Nile region, and before that against tribal Muslims in the Dafur region.  Indeed for decades the Sudanese government has unleashed jihad – with all the atrocities of the Islamic State – against its own (black African) citizens, often assisted by jihadis from all over the Arabic world, just like in Syria and Iraq today. 

The Islamic State's actions are also not unique in history.  Quite apart from the horrors of Nazism and Communism, Andrew Bostom has rightly pointed out that the atrocities of the Ottoman Caliphate in exterminating Christians under their rule were greater in magnitude than what is currently being experienced in Syria and Iraq. He writes:
“Notwithstanding the recent horrific spate of atrocities committed against the Christian communities of northern Iraq by the Islamic State (IS/IL) jihadists, the Ottoman jihad ravages were equally barbaric, depraved, and far more extensive. Occurring, primarily between 1915-16 (although continuing through at least 1919), some one million Armenian, and 250,000 Assyro-Chaldean and Syrian Orthodox Christians were brutally slaughtered, or starved to death during forced deportations through desert wastelands. The identical gruesome means used by IS/IL to humiliate and massacre its hapless Christian victims, were employed on a scale that was an order of magnitude greater by the Ottoman Muslim Turks, often abetted by local Muslim collaborators (the latter being another phenomenon which also happenedduring the IS/IL jihad campaign against Iraq’s Christians).”
Bostom also points out that the Yazidi’s recent sufferings at the hands of the IS are nothing new, but are consistent with a pattern of genocidal assaults against them which stretches back to Ottoman times.

What is so disturbing to Western people about the Islamic State is not the extremity of the barbarity, which is far from unprecedented, but the fact that so many Western citizens have been signing up with IS, and the psychological warfare being directed by IS against the outside world, including the West, manifested, for example, in the videos of beheadings, and the way some enslaved, raped women have been forced to phone their families to tell them about their abuse, even while it is going on. 

What is unique for us in the West is the way the fear is now upon our doorstep: this is the fear that what is happening there will come back home to haunt us.

The challenge facing the West now is not simply stopping the Islamic State – as important as that is – but what to do about the fear.

Dropping bombs on the Islamic State will not do it.

Mark Durie is the pastor of an Anglican church, a Shillman-Ginsburg Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum, and Founder of the Institute for Spiritual Awareness.  His book The Third Choice explains the implications for Christians of living under Islamic rule.

Originally posted at: http://blog.markdurie.com/2014/09/fear-and-rhetoric-of-unprecedented.html

Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Amvrosios: 'Your children will surely be slaves of Muslims'

More clear-headed warnings about Islam by another revered hierarch in a traditional Orthodox nation. The Greek people suffered for centuries under brutal Muslim tyranny during the Ottoman period. Numerous Ecumenical Patriarchs, bishops and priests were among the countless thousands martyred by the Turkish Muslims (not counting the Armenian and Orthodox Christian Genocide, which spread from 1894 to 1922, and claimed over 3.5 million lives). The warnings about Islam from Metropolitans Amvrosios and Anthimos (see my recent post) should be taken very seriously by Orthodox Christians everywhere.

Pravoslavie - September 23, 2014

(Athens) Metropolitan Amvrosios of Kalavryta and Aigialeia has spoken out against the “Anti-racist law” passed in Greece.

“With the entering into force of the anti-racist bill, all who talk about the motherland and patriotism will risk jail.

“A priest who will speak up against Jehovah’s Witnesses and other religions from the ambo, may be declared a racist and imprisoned,” said the hierarch, cited by AgionOros with the reference to Rua.gr (”Russian Athens”).

“Soon we will become aliens in our own home country. I do not know whether I will live to see these times, but your children will surely be slaves of Muslims. Greece is disappearing, faith is disappearing… Keep the flame of the motherland and faith. Globalization is not knocking at our doors any more – it has already entered our home,” he added.


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Muslim Beheads Woman in Oklahoma: A Sign for Muslims as well as Christians

Islam's mask is slipping. And in spite of absurd denials by presidents and prime ministers, bishops and priests, more and more Christians are waking up to the truth about the "religion of peace":

  • Islam is a false religion, and Muhammad was a false prophet;
  • Islam is innately violent and supremacist, and has been so from its creation fourteen hundred years ago, as evidenced by the Quran, the Sira, and hadiths about Muhammad;
  • Islam is dangerous, and has become a global threat to all non-Muslims;
  • Islam especially targets Christians and Jews, as evidenced in the Quran, etc.
  • The Islamic State is drawing large numbers of Muslims to its ranks from all around the globe, including from Europe and North America, due to its adherence to pure,  orthodox Islam, and especially due to its apocalyptic, eschatological orientation. (See articles by Timothy Furnish.)

While it is perhaps easy for Christians to see the resurgence of pure Islam as a sign of the dark times we have entered into, I believe it is also a sign for those Muslims who are shocked and fearful to discover through such horrific headlines just what their religion and prophet really teach.

Here are just a few current headlines:

That such pure evil is unleashed upon the world is indeed a sign of the end times. But what are we to do? What does this sign mean?

Clearly it is a call to repentance, for Christians first but also for Muslims.

Christians, and especially Orthodox Christians who have received the fullness of the apostolic faith, are being called to repent and live an authentic Christian life in Christ and His Church. If we are friends with the world, then we are at enmity with God. In the words of Fr Seraphim Rose:

"Now one cannot be a half-hearted Christian. Only entirely, or not at all."

Put in its apocalyptic context, the beheading of Christians by the Islamic State is a sign and a warning to us to strive to be faithful witnesses and confessors of Jesus Christ, in all our deeds, words and thoughts, that we may be found worthy of Him at His Return. 

But the meaning of this sign for Muslims is also a call to repent. 

Just as we Christians must repent of our lukewarmness and our easy friendship with the world, so Muslims who in their heart of hearts long to know the truth and honor God must repent of their false religion and false prophet, and turn to the True God, who sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to restore us to the Father, granting us to be co-heirs with Him, even co-reigning with Him, even unto becoming partakers of the divine nature. Muhammad and Allah lower you to the level of mere slave. But in Christ we are no longer enslaved,  but are set free, becoming children of God. This is the high calling that is offered to everyone who turns to Jesus Christ.

To Muslims and Christians alike, the Lord calls us to Himself, that He may save us and strengthen us for the horrific tribulations yet to come, and grant us eternal life.

Let us all run to an Orthodox Christian church, turn to the priest, confess our sins, and prepare for trials, for it is coming quickly...

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Metropolitan Anthimos of Thessaloniki: 'We are against the presence of Islam in our city'

AXIOS! Bold words from a righteous hierarch, right up there with Archbishop Mark of Germany.

Pravoslavie — September 23, 2014

Thessaloniki, September 22, 2014 — In his interview with the Greek television, one of the most authoritative hierarchs of the Church of Greece made a number of tough statements, reports AgionOros:
“We are against the presence of Islam in Thessaloniki. We have already lost so much… When the Turkish minister entered the Church of Holy Great Martyr Demetrius of Thessaloniki in our city, he announced at once: 'Here is a suitable mosque for Turks'. Another Turkish official came to the historical Greek province of Thrace and called this region ‘a severed hand of Turkey’.”

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Scandal of the Cross for Islam

The Leavetaking of the Feast of the Universal Exaltation of the Precious and Lifegiving Cross is tomorrow, Sunday September 21. On this solemn occasion it is essential to revisit Islam's vehement and violent stance against Christianity.

The Universal Exaltation of the Cross, and its Scandal for the World

by Fr. Steven C. Kostoff — Orthodox Christian Meditations
September 13, 2014

As we behold the Wood of the Cross exalted on high, let us magnify God who in His goodness was crucified upon it in the flesh.  (Small Vespers of the Feast)

We are approaching the Feast Day of The Universal Exaltation of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross - to give the Feast its full title – this coming Sunday, September 14. This is the day that we liturgically commemorate and venerate the Cross that will be placed in the middle of the church toward the end of Great Vespers on Saturday evening.   The Feast will then have a full "octave" for its celebration – thus making it an eight-day Feast which serves to stress the importance of the Cross in the life of the Church and in our personal  lives.  To further turn our attention toward the Cross, we recall the Third Sunday of Great Lent - the Adoration of the Cross; and the less well-observed Feast of the Procession of the Cross on August 1.  And, importantly, every Wednesday and Friday is a day of commemorating the Cross, one of the reasons that we fast on those two days on a weekly basis.

Prominent though that the Cross may be for Christians, it is the Apostle Paul who very succinctly and profoundly captured the unbelieving world's attitude toward the Cross in his well-known text:

For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.  (I COR. 1:23-24)

This leads the Apostle to one of his most astonishing and paradoxical insights:

For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.  (I COR. 1:26)

The "scandal" for the unbelieving Jew would be the claim that the Messiah was crucified.  The "folly" for the Greek/Gentile would be the claim that the divine would even enter the realm of flesh and blood and "become" human, let alone suffer death on a cross.  Yet God, in and through Christ, transformed what is shameful, weak, lowly and despised - a crucified man - into "our righteousness and sanctification and redemption" (I COR. 1:30)  The entire passage of I COR. 1:18-31 deserves careful, close and constant study. 

It remains fascinating, and highly instructive, that even non-Christians who profess to have a great respect for Jesus Christ, struggle terribly with the scandal of the Cross.   This is clearly the case with Islam.  Jesus is treated with great respect in many passages in the Qur'an:  even to the point of acknowledging His virginal conception in a passage that clearly resembles the Annunciation form the Gospel According to St. Luke! (Qur'an, 3:45-47)  However, the Crucifixion is treated in a way that bears no resemblance to the Gospel accounts:

"yet they did not slay him, neither crucify him, only a likeness of that was shown to them." (Qur'an 4:156-159)

The Muslims believe that someone else - a figure unidentified by the Qur'an - was crucified in the place of Christ, but not Jesus Himself.  The Muslim scholar Dr. Maneh Al-Johani wrote:  "The Qur'an does not elaborate on this point, nor does it give any answer to this question." 

Clearly, the "scandal" of the Cross is too much for Muslim sensibilities, since Jesus is for them a great prophet sent by God.  Muslims further believe that Jesus was raised to Heaven, yet before He died, clearly an odd teaching that again is meant to completely distance Jesus from His crucifixion.  If there is anything that is agreed upon today among New Testament scholars - believers and skeptics alike - it is that Jesus of Nazareth was put to death by crucifixion by orders of Pontius Pilate in the early 30's of the Christian era.  This lends a certain fantastic quality to these claims of the Qur'an.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Jihad in Australia: 600 police in huge counter-terror raid in Sydney and Brisbane

"This network was apparently connected to the Islamic State — again illustrating the appeal of the caliphate to so many young Muslims worldwide."


Australia: 600 police in huge counter-terror raid in Sydney and Brisbane
by Robert Spencer, Jihad Watch — September 17, 2014

“It is believed that a terrorist network had been planning to carry out a series of attacks in Australia.” This network was apparently connected to the Islamic State — again illustrating the appeal of the caliphate to so many young Muslims worldwide.

“ASIO and hundreds of police raid Sydney and Brisbane homes in biggest counter-terrorism raid in Australia’s history” 
by Simon Benson, The Daily Telegraph, September 18, 2014:

ASIO and counter terrorism police have swooped on homes across north-western Sydney and other states this morning in what is believed to be the largest anti-terrorism bust in the nation’s history.

Several arrests have reportedly been made in the secret pre-dawn raid, which is still in progress.

The arrests follow the execution of a number of search warrants in Beecroft, Bellavista, Guildford, Merrylands, Northmead, Wentworthville, Marsfield, Westmead, Castle Hill, Revesby, Bass Hill and Regents Park.

The raid is believed to have been mounted following months of surveillance of people linked to the terrorist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Obama's "not Islamic" Islamic State Claim Ridiculed

Not included in the IPT article was this satirical cartoon, which sums it up nicely (h/t Jim).

by IPT News — September 11, 2014

President Obama's assertion Wednesday night that the Islamic State terrorist group "is not 'Islamic'" is drawing derision from a number of quarters.

The claim, also made by Obama's predecessors, is "preposterous," Daniel Pipes wrote for the National Review Online. "To state the obvious: As non-Muslims and politicians, rather than Muslims and scholars, they are in no position to declare what is Islamic and what is not."

Orthodox Christian Nun warns against Islam, slams media silence (with video)

“The reason for all this disaster is the Qur’an.” Sister Hatune Dogan - See more at: http://pamelageller.com/2014/09/muslims-slice-off-the-breasts-of-kidnapped-christian-girls-in-syria-and-iraq.html/#sthash.Os3VIOmb.dpuf

"The reason for all this disaster is the Quran." 
— Sister Hatune Dogan

via 'Muslims Slice off the Breasts of Kidnapped Christian Girls in Syria and Iraq'
Sharia Unveiled, September 16, 2014

Sometimes it takes a David to defeat a Goliath – or, in this case, unassuming nuns to speak where the media remain silent. Speaking out for Christians persecuted in the Middle East, Mother Olga Yaqob and Sister Hatune Dogan slammed the American media for keeping silent. 

The nuns spoke with MRC (Media Research Center) during the In Defense of Christians (IDC) Inaugural Summit in Washington, D.C. Sept. 9-11. Both told the stories journalists ignore: of refugees displaced and Christian girls “repeatedly raped” and “misused” – some as young as 5-years-old. 

Mother Olga of the Daughters of Mary of Nazareth, an Iraqi native recognized by the Iraqi government for her care of the poor, recently established a religious order in Boston.

Raised in Germany after fleeing from Turkey, Sister Hatune Dogan, is an Orthodox Christian nun who aids Christians in Syria and Turkey through her organization, “A Helping Hand to the Poor.” Addressing the American coverage of Christian persecution in the Middle East, Mother Olga stressed, “In the early months, there wasn’t much coverage.” “Some of the Christian networks – media networks – were covering [the persecution]. But not very much the secular media.”

Sister Hatune expressed similar dismay. “The media make a mistake,” she began, “Because they don’t say the truth.” She criticized, “But the media has big duty to tell the truth, to make Americans see what is really going on.”

That truth, she explained, consists of “slaughtering, raping, kidnapping, taking ransom, killing, crucifying, and ridding the Christians of what they need.”

As one of her “thousands of stories” of Christian persecution, Sister Hatune began:

Monday, September 15, 2014

Raymond Ibrahim — Beheading Infidels: How Allah ‘Heals the Hearts of Believers’

Essential article on the Muslim jihadi mind. As gruesome as the below pictures are, this article is ultimately about Islamic and Koranic spirituality. It reveals starkly how Muslim jihadis are avidly following pure Islam. Read and share widely.

"When young Muslims express their anger and frustration at the state of affairs of the Islamic world, their clerics council them to go to the jihad in Iraq and Syria and decapitate themselves an infidel—which, according to the Koran, should “heal their hearts.” [...] 
"Such Muslims join the jihad, and not only do they decapitate, but they mutilate, humiliate, and laugh at the disgraced enemies of Allah—in perfect emulation of the Islamic glory/gory stories they grew up on. 
"This is the true cult of jihad which few non-Muslims can begin to comprehend..."

by Raymond Ibrahim — September 11, 2014

What will “heal” and “remove the rage” from “the hearts of the believers”? Infidel carnage, says the Koran.

To understand why the Islamic State not only decapitates its “infidel” captives, but also mutilates and mocks their corpses—and all to sadistic laughter—one need only turn to the Koran and deeds of Islamic prophet Muhammad.

The Koran exhorts believers to “Fight them [those who oppose Islam], Allah will torment them with your hands, humiliate them, empower you over them, and heal the hearts of the believers, removing the rage from their hearts” (Koran 9:14-15).

As usual, to understand the significance of any Koran verse, one must turn to the sira and hadith—the biography and anecdotes of Muhammad, respectively—for context.

Thus we come to the following account concerning the slaughter of ‘Amr bin Hisham, a pagan Arab chieftain originally  known as “Abu Hakim” (Father of Wisdom) until Muhammad dubbed him “Abu Jahl” (Father of Stupidity) for his staunch opposition to Islam.

After ‘Amr was mortally wounded by a new convert to Islam during the Battle of Badr, Abdullah ibn Mas‘ud, a close companion of Muhammad, saw the “infidel” chieftain collapsed on the ground.  So he went to him and started abusing him.  Among other things, Abdullah grabbed and pulled ‘Amr’s beard and stood in triumph on the dying man’s chest.

According to Al-Bidaya wa Al-Nihaya (“The Beginning and the End”), Ibn Kathir’s authoritiative history of Islam, “After that, he [Abdullah] slit his [‘Amr’s] head off and bore it till he placed it between the hands of the Prophet. Thus did Allah heal the hearts of the believers with it.”

This, then, is the true significance of Koran 9:14-15: “Fight them, Allah will torment them with your hands [mortally wounding and eventually decapitating ‘Amr], humiliate them [pulling his beard], empower you over them [standing atop him], and heal the hearts of the believers, removing the rage from their hearts [at the sight of his decapitated head].”

The logic here is that, pious Muslims are so full of zeal for Allah’s cause that the only way their inflamed hearts can be at rest is to see those who oppose Allah and his prophet utterly crushed—humiliated, mutilated, decapitated.  Then the hearts of the believers can be at ease and “healed.”

This is surely one of the reasons behind the Islamic State’s dissemination of gory videos and pictures of its victims: the new “caliphate” is trying to heal the hearts of every believer inflamed for the cause of Allah.

If this sounds too farfetched, consider the following picture of a decapitated “infidel” from the Islamic State’s websites.  The Arabic caption to the left says “healing for hearts”—a clear reference to the aforementioned Koran verse:

Russia fears the eastward spread of 'jihadist cancer'

"Eyewitnesses indicate that, on the territory it controls, IS is able to provide order — naturally, within the boundaries outlined by its rigid ideological paradigm. IS has created more jobs; work is not badly paid; criminal activity has decreased; the land is farmed; and trade is functioning. Part of the population — in any case, the Sunnis — are already getting used to living by the new rules. It is scary, but stable."

by Vitaly Naumkin, AL Monitor — September 11, 2014

The military successes of the Islamic State (IS); the possibility of the ‘jihadist cancer’ spreading to Iraq and Syria’s neighboring countries; the uncertainty of the situation in and around Syria; the growth of internal tensions in a number of countries in the Arab Mashreq; the high level of violence and cruelty; the unresolved Palestinian issue; the interfaith and intrafaith (sectarian) rifts; the anxiety engulfing the population in many parts of the region — all this, against a background of shrinking cooperation between Moscow and the West, increases the former’s concern about the future of this part of the Arab world, to whose fate Russians are certainly not indifferent.

Rumors circulating about the possibility of the US airstrikes on IS positions inside Syria have generated lively debate in the Russian expert community and in the media. Obviously, if such attacks were carried out without the consent of the Syrian authorities, Damascus would regard this as a violation of the country’s sovereignty, and Moscow would support this position. In diplomatic circles, rumors are also spreading that the Syrian government would not mind if Russia used airstrikes in areas where the forces of IS militants are concentrated in Syria. No official request, however, appears to have come from Damascus. Thus for now, we can only say that the Syrian government would prefer that such course of action be taken — in case it becomes necessary to stop the onslaught of the terrorists — by Russia, rather than the United States and other forces hostile to Damascus. Yet, it is safe to assume that Moscow is unlikely to intervene militarily in the conflict, even if such an official appeal were to be issued.

Russian analysts are very concerned about the scenario of “squeezing” IS out of Iraq and into Syria, and then “sealing off” the Iraqi-Syrian border (though the complete closure of a border is hardly possible) by Iraqi forces and the anti-IS coalition, with the support of the US Air Force and possibly, in the future, of other Western states. In this scenario, the likelihood of ultraradical Islamists attacking the positions of Syrian government forces rises dramatically. Here, a simple fact demands attention: Contrary to the pictures on television channels, IS fighters do not only torture, maim, behead and shoot all those citizens who disagree with them, though they do indeed commit all these atrocities. Eyewitnesses indicate that, on the territory it controls, IS is able to provide order — naturally, within the boundaries outlined by its rigid ideological paradigm. IS has created more jobs; work is not badly paid; criminal activity has decreased; the land is farmed; and trade is functioning. Part of the population — in any case, the Sunnis — are already getting used to living by the new rules. It is scary, but stable.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

ISIL’s Ottoman “Caliphate” Forbears Brutally Slaughtered 250,000 Assyrian-Chaldean, and Orthodox Christians A Century Ago

This devastating report proves the underlying allegiance of so-called "moderate" Muslims to the Global Jihad, who are not only siding with ISIS but committing the worst of atrocities against their Christian and Yazidi neighbors. As Andrew Bostom relates from eyewitness testimony:

"Local Sunni Muslims, the Christians' erstwhile 'neighbors', not only aided and abetted ISIL, but were more responsible for killings, other atrocities, and expulsions than the 'foreign' invading jihadists."

It is important to keep in mind that the historical episode Mr. Bostom cites from a century ago of Islamic jihad/genocide against Middle East Christians, is only one small component of the wider thirty year Orthodox Christian holocaust (1894 — 1922), during which over 3.6 million Eastern Christians were killed by their Turkish Muslim 'neighbors'.  

ISIL’s Ottoman “Caliphate” Forbears Brutally Slaughtered 250,000 Assyrian-Chaldean, and Orthodox Christians A Century Ago
by Andrew Bostom — August 15, 2014
h/t Fr A

Albeit belated, and ever grudgingly, the non-Muslim world has been compelled to acknowledge ISIL's ghastly, murderous jihad rampages against both the Christian and Yazidi religious minorities of northern Iraq.

Even now, however, no U.S. television network has been willing to air the explicit testimonies of both Yazidi and Christian refugees from these jihad depredations about the following salient issue: how local Sunni Muslims, their erstwhile "neighbors," not only aided and abetted ISIL, but were more responsible for killings, other atrocities, and expulsions than the "foreign" invading jihadists. For example, Sabah Hajji Hassan, a 68-year-old Yazidi, lamented,

The (non-Iraqi) jihadists were Afghans, Bosnians, Arabs and even Americans and British fighters. But the worst killings came from the people living among us, our (Sunni) Muslim neighbors. The Metwet, Khawata and Kejala tribes-they were all our neighbors. But they joined the IS [Islamic State; ISIL], took heavy weapons from them, and informed on who was Yazidi and who was not. Our neighbors made the IS takeover possible.

Saudi anti-Christian sweep prompts calls for US involvement

"Saudi Arabia is continuing the religious cleansing that has always been its official policy." — Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom

by Benjamin Weinthal, Fox News — September 10, 2014

Dozens of Christians arrested at a prayer meeting in Saudi Arabia need America's help, according to a key lawmaker who is pressing the State Department on their behalf.

Some 28 people were rounded up Friday by hard-line Islamists from the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice in the home of an Indian national in the eastern Saudi city of Khafji, and their current situation is unknown, according to human rights advocates. 

"Saudi Arabia is continuing the religious cleansing that has always been its official policy," Nina Shea, director of the Washington-based Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, told FoxNews.com. "It is the only nation state in the world with the official policy of banning all churches. This is enforced even though there are over 2 million Christian foreign workers in that country. Those victimized are typically poor, from Asian and African countries with weak governments."

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Five Christian Patriarchs meet with President Obama at the White House

This likely won't lead to any substantive US support for persecuted Christians. Obama wishes to deny Islam's global persecution of Christians, claiming the perpetrators are "not Islamic." From the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt to ISIS in the Middle East to Boko Haram in Nigeria and extremist groups in Indonesia, Malaysia and elsewhere, Muslims all around the world describe their jihad in terms of adherence to pure Islam. 

Modern-day Muslim persecution of Christians throughout the Islamic world — including by the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) — is the strongest refutation of President Obama's absurd statement that "the Islamic State is not Islamic." 

And 1400 continuous years of Muslim jihad against Christians throughout the Middle East, Africa, Europe (Spain & the Balkans), Russia, Asia Minor, Central and Southeast Asia, is the second strongest refutation as it proves — by its continuity spanning centuries, geography, cultures and languages — that Islam is always looking to go on the attack, conquer, subjugate and rule, until it conquers the entire globe. 

Though it is hardly comforting, knowing the truth about the Islamic State — that it is pure Islam as commanded by the Quran and lived by Muhammad — is better than listening to endless lies from deceitful leaders who themselves are conducting political persecution of Christians right here in America.

Five Christian Patriarchs meet with President Obama at the White House
Syriac International News Agency via Pravmir — September 13, 2014

WASHINGTON, Sept. 11, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — For the first time in history, five Christian Patriarchs representing Christian communities in the Middle East visited the White House to discuss the protection of Christians in theMiddle East with President Obama and National Security Advisor Susan Rice.

In Defense of Christians President Toufic Baaklinisaid, “We want to thank President Obama at this critical moment in history for meeting with the representatives of these Christian communities from the Middle East who face suffering and hardship for professing their religious beliefs.”
Attending the meeting with the President are:

Friday, September 12, 2014

Islam Analyst: ISIS in America - Estimated 1.5 million practicing Muslims present real internal threat to U.S.

"ISIS and their supporters are operating in America and we will soon be provided proof in the way of isolated terrorist attacks simultaneously all across our great country."

by Dave Gaubatz, Family Security Matters — September 2, 2014

More Americans are beginning to catch on that there are very evil people who in the name of Islam commit atrocities unimaginable to the human mind.  ISIS represents Islam in its purest form.  Mohammed would be smiling from ear to ear if he were able to see ISIS carrying out his planned agenda for world domination.  For years I have been conducting first-hand research at mosques around the world.  For years I have been warning innocent people that Islam in its purest form is being taught in the mosques.  Most people have ignored the warnings and blamed the violence on just a few ‘radical Muslims'.  Many people continued to believe there are moderate Muslims and Islam is being hijacked.

[See my post on mosque studies, indicating upwards of 80% of mosques in the U.S. teach jihad and the overthrow of the U.S. and institution of sharia as the law of the land.]

In plain terms a moderate Muslim is a non-practicing Muslim.  They do not exist and these people who claim to be Muslims are actually Apostates of Islam.  Indeed they are good people who do not desire physical Jihad and world domination.  Nevertheless they are ignoring the true teachings and basic beliefs of the Islamic ideology.  These people are subject to death in accordance with Shariah law and groups such as ISIS are fulfilling the deeds of Mohammed.  Around the world practicing Muslims are killing men, women and children who have departed from Islamic teachings.

Robert Spencer: 9/11 and the Fog of Denial

"Even if the Islamic State is misinterpreting or misunderstanding [the Quran], it is doing so in a way that accords with [its] obvious literal meaning. That should, at very least, lead to a public discussion about the possibility of Islamic reform, what is being taught in mosques in the West, and related issues. But such a discussion is not forthcoming; it would be 'Islamophobic'.”

by Robert Spencer, Jihad Watch — September 11, 2014

Thirteen years after 9/11, there is one thing that virtually all our politicians, law enforcement officials, and mainstream media guardians of opinion know: that attack had nothing whatsoever to do with Islam, and neither does any other jihad terror attack, anywhere, no matter how often its perpetrators quote the Qur’an and invoke Muhammad. Islam, we’re told again and again, is a good, benign thing – indeed, a positive force for societies, and to be encouraged in the West. Jihad terror is an aberration, an outrage against the Religion of Peace’s peaceful teachings. These lessons from our betters are coming more and more often in light of the advent of the Islamic State.

The caliph Ibrahim, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has a PhD in Islamic Studies. But Barack Obama is unimpressed with his Islamic erudition: “ISIL speaks for no religion. Their victims are overwhelmingly Muslim, and no faith teaches people to massacre innocents.” State Department spokesperson Marie Harf emphasized that Obama meant what he said: “ISIL does not operate in the name of any religion. The president has been very clear about that, and the more we can underscore that, the better.”

Secretary of State John Kerry said that for some members of the international coalition he hopes to build against the Islamic State, joining it “will mean demolishing the distortion of one of the world’s great peaceful religions.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron chimed in:
What we are witnessing is actually a battle between Islam on the one hand and extremists who want to abuse Islam on the other. These extremists, often funded by fanatics living far away from the battlefields, pervert the Islamic faith as a way of justifying their warped and barbaric ideology – and they do so not just in Iraq and Syria but right across the world, from Boko Haram and al-Shabaab to the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

Where is “Islam” actually battling these “extremists who want to abuse Islam”? Cameron didn’t say.

Showing as much grasp of the situation as Kerry, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond declared: “Isil’s so-called caliphate has no moral legitimacy; it is a regime of torture, arbitrary punishment and murder that goes against the most basic beliefs of Islam.” On the opposite side of the aisle, Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper complained that Islamic State “extremists are beheading people and parading their heads on spikes, subjugating women and girls, killing Muslims, Christians and anyone who gets in their way. This is no liberation movement — only a perverted, oppressive ideology that bears no relation to Islam.”

Unfortunately, for every Islamic State atrocity she enumerated, there is Qur’anic sanction:

Poll: 92% of Saudis believe that Islamic State “conforms to the values of Islam and Islamic law”

In a purely Islamic country, where there is no need to conceal their true allegiances, 92% of Muslims believe the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) "conforms to the values of Islam and Islamic law." What do Muslims in the West really think?  See my Exclusive Interview with an Ex-Muslim for some sobering insights into the real world of "moderate" Muslims in the West.

92% of Saudi’s believe that ‘IS(IS) conforms to the values of Islam and Islamic law’ – Poll
Muslim Statistics via Jihad Watch — August 24, 2014

Saudi poll to reveal public’s level of sympathy for IS

The Sakina Campaign plans to carry out a scientific survey to determine the position of the Saudi public on the “caliphate” announced by the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria. This comes after the results of an opinion poll of Saudis were released on social networking sites, claiming that 92% of the target group believes that “IS conforms to the values of Islam and Islamic law.” 

British Muslimahs Now Lead ISIS Brigade in Charge of "Brothel" of Yazidi Sex Slaves

Answering Muslims — September 11, 2014

Muhammad's teachings in action. Muhammad allowed his followers to rape their female captives, and the Qur'an guarantees the right of Muslims to use their captives for sex. Politicians and the media condemn the practice, but they praise the religion that promotes the practice. This is madness. 

In Iraq, Yazidi women have been confined to a "brothel," where they are raped by jihadists. Who's in charge of controlling the sex slaves? A brigade of female jihadis, many of them British. 

Daily Mail—Thousands of Iraqi women are being forced into sex slavery in brothels run by a 'police force' of British women jihadis, it has been reported. 
As many as 3,000 women and girls have been taken captive from the Yazidi tribe in Iraq as Isis militants continue their reign of terror across the region.  
Sources now say that British female jihadis operating a religious police force called the al-Khanssaa brigade, that punishes women for 'un-Islamic' behaviour, have set up brothels to for the use of Isis fighters.  

Thursday, September 11, 2014

ISIS has 100,000 Fighters, including Westerners, Russian Citizens

"About 20,000 of them are jihadists from all over the world... [with] several thousand fighters from the UK, France, Germany and other Western nations."

Interfax via Pravoslavie — September 10, 2014

ISIS militants control about 40% of Iraq and 30% of Syria and affiliated structures are seizing lands from Somalia and Sudan to Nigeria and inner districts of Sahara, Institute for Middle East Studies President Yevgeny Satanovsky said.

"ISIS is not just a radicalized organization, it is also rich. It controls oil fields and gains $2 million daily from oil contraband. It makes tens of millions of dollars in abducting foreigners for ransom. It robs banks and plants on seized territories; it is also involved in trafficking in human beings and sells women whose husbands have been killed or banished," Argumenty I Fakty cited Satanovsky as saying on Wednesday.

"This is a new, totally cruel jihad. Absolutely medieval barbarity multiplied by the power of contemporary weapons," he said. "In Mosul, Iraq alone ISIS militants have seized tens of billions of dollars-worth of weapons, everything abandoned by Obama who left Iraq to the mercy of fate. Nowadays ISIS has 80,000-100,000 fighters, and about 20,000 of them are jihadists from all over the world. The largest units come from Morocco and Yemen, there are also lots of Egyptians, Algerians and Libyans. Some 2,000 fighters have come from Russia: about 1,500 Chechens, 200 Dagestanis, there are also Ingushetians and some others," the expert said.

Besides, ISIS has several thousand fighters from the UK, France, Germany and other Western nations.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Boston bombers’ mosque tied to ISIS, at least 8 known Muslim terrorists

Boston Islamic Society mosque leaders "have openly defended their worshippers convicted of terrorism despite overwhelming evidence against them... [even holding] fund-raisers and rallies for the terrorists."

The Tsarnaev terrorist-linked mosque shows the danger posed by Islam, and underscores the urgency of four separate studies documenting that upwards of 80% of mosques in the U.S. preach or support jihad, distribute books and materials promoting jihad, and advocate the replacement of the U.S. Constitution with sharia law. 

Boston bombers’ mosque tied to ISIS, at least 8 known Muslim terrorists
posted at Creeping Sharia, September 8, 2014

By Paul Sperry

When it was revealed that the Boston Marathon bombers attended a Cambridge, Mass., mosque, its leaders were quick to disavow their actions.

Elder brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s ideology was not their own, the leaders of the Islamic Society mosque claimed. In fact, he was admonished for an extremist outburst he made during one sermon.

So, one crackpot in a congregation. Who can blame the mosque?

But what about eight — including a prominent member of ISIS?

As it turns out, worshippers at the Islamic Society have included:
  • Abdurahman Alamoudi, the mosque’s founder and first president who in 2004 was sentenced to 23 years in prison for plotting terrorism. In 2005, the Treasury Department issued a statement saying Alamoudi raised money for al Qaeda in the US.
  • Aafia Siddiqui, an MIT scientist-turned-al Qaeda agent, who in 2010 was sentenced to 86 years in prison for planning a New York chemical attack. Known as “Lady al Qaeda,” she is related to 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed. ISIS has tried to trade her release for journalist hostages.
  • Tarek Mehanna, who in 2012 got 17 years in prison for conspiring to use automatic weapons to murder shoppers in a suburban Boston mall.
  • Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a mosque trustee and Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leader banned from the US after issuing a fatwa that called for the killing of US soldiers.
  • Jamal Badawi, another former trustee who in 2007 was named an unindicted co-conspirator in a plan to funnel more than $12 million to Palestinian suicide bombers.
Now it can be revealed that another regular worshipper at the Islamic Society mosque was Ahmad Abousamra, who is now the top propagandist for ISIS.

Archbishop Zosima serves Divine Liturgy at Beslan School No. 1

Pravoslavie — September 7, 2014

On September 3, 2014, the 10th anniversary of the end of the tragedy in Beslan, Archbishop Zosima of Vladikavkaz and Alania served a Divine Liturgy in the gym of School No. 1 in the town of Beslan, reports Pravoslavnaya Ossetia.

The secretary of the Diocese of Vladikavkaz Priest Savva Gagloev, Rectors and other clergy of North Ossetian Churches concelebrated with the archpastor. Relatives of the dead, former hostages, residents of Beslan and other towns of the republic gathered on the site of the tragedy to pray together.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Commemoration of the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God, and the Deliverance of Moscow from the Muslim Warlord Tamerlane

Commemorated August 26/September 8.

(OCA.org) The Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God was painted by the Evangelist Luke on a board from the table at which the Savior ate together with His All-Pure Mother and Righteous Joseph. The Mother of God, upon seeing this image, exclaimed, “Henceforth, all generations shall call Me blessed. The grace of both My Son and Me shall be with this icon.”

In the year 1131, the icon was sent from Constantinople to Rus' to holy Prince Mstislav (April 15/28) and was installed in the Devichi monastery in Vyshgorod, the ancient appanage city of the holy Equal of the Apostles Princess Olga.

The son of George Dolgoruky, St Andrew Bogoliubsky, brought the icon to the city of Vladimir in 1155 and installed it in the renowned Dormition cathedral which he built. At this time the icon received its name of “the Vladimir Icon.” The icon was first brought to Moscow in the year 1395. Thus, the blessing of the Mother of God established the spiritual bonds of Byzantium and Rus via Kiev, Vladimir and Moscow.

The festal celebration of the Vladimir Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos occurs several times during the year (May 21/June 3, June 23/ July 6 and August 26/September 8). The most solemn celebration occurs on August 26, the Feast established in honor of the Meeting of the Vladimir Icon upon its Transfer from Vladimir to Moscow.

“Everyday Martyrdom”: The Daily Life of Orthodox Christians in the Ottoman Empire

"The de facto position of the Christians in Turkey was a rule of fanatical intolerance, violence and arbitrary acts, utter degradation and disregard of human rights. The Christians had no civil rights, only the status of slaves. They were not members of the state but merely slaves to cruel and inhuman conquerors who had the right at any moment to deprive them of their property, honour or life itself."

by Seraphim Danckaert, Orthodox Christian Network
June 20, 2014

A remarkable book has recently been published: The Church of Constantinople in the 19th Century (Peter Lang, 2013). It’s a massive tome, over 1,000 pages long, originally written in 1904 by Ivan Sokolov, one of the leading Russian Orthodox scholars of Church history at the time. Sokolov enjoyed unprecedented access to the Patriarchal archives in Istanbul, and his book is filled with copious references to documents that are not only unpublished but also unknown even to specialists.

Some other time I’ll post about the remarkable details. For now, I’d like to highlight several paragraphs from the beginning of the book, in which Sokolov is describing the general historical context and day-to-day reality of life for Christians under Ottoman rule. The portrait that emerges may not be entirely unknown to those who have read of the Orthodox Christian martyrs of this period. Yet Sokolov’s account is, in many ways, even more arresting, as it quickly becomes evident that even the “average” believer endured a kind of “everyday martyrdom.”

. . . the internal structure of the Patriarchate of Constantinople was like a state within a state, having its own administration and court, de jure freedom to profess its faith, and the right to run its own community affairs. But this is only to look at one side of the position of Christians in the Turkish Empire. The other side was the actual relations between the Christians and the Turkish state whose citizens they were. Here, at first glance, matters did not seem so rosy. 
First of all, Christians were considered by the Turks to be a subject people obliged to pay taxes, a people of no value, causing only feelings of disgust to true believers who treated them with disdain and as they saw fit. To the Turks these people were no more than giaours, dogs or cattle, obliged to feed and serve their conquerors, doomed to eternal slavery.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

An Orthodox Christian Response to Beheading by Muslims

"Will we bear witness to the truth in both our way of life and our way of death?"

by Fr. John Parker, Orthodox Christian Network — September 1, 2014

I am an unworthy man, unworthy to be called an Orthodox Christian, not to speak of the priesthood, and I write, admittedly, from the comfort of my Mount Pleasant, SC, home.  There is no Mount nearby, but it is, indeed, a pleasant seaside community on the East Coast of the United States.

As such, I ask myself: how to deal with ruthless, pitiless, pitiful souls who are so darkened that their life is spent taking the life of others—and worse, thinking that they are doing this at the direction of and with the blessing of God himself, with eternal reward?

Perhaps I will be criticized for my suggestion, sitting in my pleasant, mountless town, but we read recently that we must receive the Gospel as a child; and even a child will ask how could murder be returned by murder.  Is violence—individual or large-scale—a possible Orthodox response?

What were the apostolic and post-apostolic, and later saint’s reactions to such vicious, vile, demonic actions?

How did the disciples respond to the beheading of John the Baptist, which we commemorated on August 29?

On the precipice of martyrdom, St Stephen, the Proto-martyr begged God to forgive his killers. Was there an apostolic uprising following that?

Hieromartyr Eutychius, disciple of St John the Theologian, was beheaded after starvation in prison, an attempt to burn him alive, and cruel beatings with iron rods…which were made to cease by his prayers.  There is no account of retribution.

St Ignatius of Antioch instructed his loyal sons-and-daughters in Christ not to impede his march to martyrdom.  “Do not hold me back from life!” was his essential command.

St Lawrence, the Hieromartyr, whose memory we kept in early August, commanded his captors, who had lit him on fire while encaged, to turn him over, since he was “done on that side”.  There is not a record of retaliation.

The Hieromartyr Cyprian of Carthage, whom we remembered in the Church on August 31 was martyred by the sword as well—he, by pagans.  Among his greatest contributions to the Christian faith was the acceptance of repentance of those who had apostatized, abandoned their one true love, Jesus Christ.  He himself, though defending the true repentance of those who did commit apostasy under threat of death, did not betray Christ.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

8 Ways You Can Help Victims of Christian Genocide

Refugee Children from Mosul, Iraq.
By Seraphim Danckaert, Orthodox Christian Network (OCN)
August 16, 2014

Do you know what’s going in the Middle East right now?

Ancient Christian communities are being driven from their homes, churches desecrated and destroyed, thousands of men, women, and children killed — some even publically (sic) executed in brutal fashion for their faith. The Syriac Orthodox bishop of Mosul has been absolutely clear: “It’s genocide,” he said in a recent interview.

The Orthodox Christian Network has been covering this crisis since it began. If you want to know what’s going on, watch our most recent newscast, ISIS Committing Genocide Against Christians; read this helpful overview, Persecutions of Christians: What You Should Know; and don’t miss this shocking report, ISIS Just Emptied Nineveh Plains — 200,000 Aramean Christians Fled.

Faced with the enormity of this crisis and the inaction of most of the world, now is the time for all Christians and people of good will to act. Here are eight ways you can make a difference.

1. Donate to ACERO

ACERO stands for Assyrian Church of the East Relief Organization. It is the official international relief organization of the Assyrian Church, whose ancient center of strength is precisely in the areas being hit hardest by ISIS in Iraq. For this reason, ACERO has deep connections to and active relief programs for the hundreds of thousands of Christians in Iraq who have been driven from their homes and abused by ISIS. Even a small donation of $5 would help feed children in refugee camps. Visit ACERO’s website for more information and to donate.

2. Donate to IOCC

IOCC, or International Orthodox Christian Charities, is one of the most effective and well-run international humanitarian aid organizations in the world. An agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, it has been working in close partnership with the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East to help a wide range of Syrians in need of immediate assistance, and it has active relief efforts in Iraq as well. You can read more about IOCC’s work in Syria here.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH AN EX-MUSLIM: 'Everything you say is true. Islam itself is the problem, not radical sects.'

"My doubts began to arise as I learned more about the day to day reality of Islam... the silence from the Ummah when fellow Muslims committed terrible crimes... 

"I have sat in many a Muslim household with well-qualified professionals who would openly speak of their support for jihad overseas and eventually at home."


I recently enjoyed exchanging a few emails with a reader of this blog who identifies himself as a former convert to Islam, and has since become a Christian and is investigating the Orthodox Church. After his initial email I replied with several questions, and was astounded with his responses. He is both very 'matter of fact' yet fully aware of the seriousness of the threat from Islam. His words ring true, and I asked if I might share some of his observations, preserving his anonymity, of course. His reply:
"Please feel free to use excerpts from any of my emails (suitably anonymized) for any helpful purpose - if it saves just one person from going down the wrong track it's worthwhile."

So, below is "Christopher's" initial email, followed by my "interview" with him. Feel free to share widely. This is one of those rare glimpses into a world seldom seen, the real-life world of so-called "moderate" Muslims in the West.


The Initial Email

Good morning - discovered your blog and thoroughly enjoyed reading the articles. I'm a former convert to Islam, currently discovering the real truth of Orthodoxy, though regrettably it's a rare denomination to find in Florida. 

Like many Western converts (in my case back in the 1990s, well before 9/11) I was attracted to Islam by the apparent 'scientific' aspects of the Qur'an, though I now know that highly selective translation is used to get the supposed agreements. I was also skeptical then about the truth of Christianity. 

My doubts began to arise as I learned more about the day to day reality of Islam, the paranoia, the belief that the Kuffar world is 'out to get us', the silence from the Ummah when fellow Muslims committed terrible crimes. My Muslim friends still don't believe that Muslims flew planes into the World Trade Center, or bombed London buses on 7/7 - they're convinced these acts were done by Mossad or the CIA and that Muslims are the innocent victims of a plot hatched by Zionists. 

The sad reality is that everything you say is true. Islam itself is the problem, not 'radical sects'. The barbaric things we see ISIS do are completely approved of in the 'scripture' and the hadith - they are trying their best to be good faithful Muslims - that's why the community is so slow to condemn these acts. 

People (especially our politicians) still don't get it that Islam is a totalitarian religion, where moderates and those who read the Qur'an as allegory (such as I did) will be the first to be shot come the revolution - we were considered worse than unbelievers. Islam is basically a sort of religious fascism with very limited scope to practice ijtihad (use of your rational faculties to make reasoned decisions). The much-vaunted Golden Age of Islamic enlightenment and science was all down to Mutazilites, Sufis and others who would be condemned as apostates and heretics by today's Salafists, Wahabis and the Sunni mainstream.

Middle East patriarchs meet diplomats, call for wiping out terrorists

BEIRUT (CNS) — Catholic and Orthodox patriarchs of the Middle East denounced attacks on Christians and called upon the international community to work toward eradicating terrorist groups.

Pravmir — August 29, 2014

The patriarchs met Aug. 27 at the Maronite Catholic patriarchate at Bkerke, north of Beirut, for a special summit to address the crisis in the region. They were later joined by the United Nations’ special coordinator in Lebanon and the ambassadors of the five permanent member-countries of the U.N. Security Council.

“The very existence of Christians is at stake in several Arab countries — notably in Iraq, Syria and Egypt — where they have been exposed to heinous crimes, forcing them to flee,” the patriarchs said in a statement after the summit and meeting with diplomats.

They lamented the indifference of both Islamic authorities and the international community over attacks against Christians, who have been in the region for 2,000 years.

“What is painful is the absence of a stance by Islamic authorities, and the international community has not adopted a strict stance either,” the patriarchs said.

“We call for issuing a fatwa (Islamic religious ruling) that forbids attacks against others,” they said.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

London Ecumenical gathering in support of Middle East Christians fails to mention Islam

Islam and Muslims are not once mentioned in coverage of the press briefing or the statement released by the group. Only "extremist ideologies," and "an extreme religious ideology" are referenced in the statement.

But perhaps the group's deliberate omission of proper names had a larger purpose than fear over offending Muslims, as their statement demands that, "Those who promote this intolerance must be challenged." 

As anyone familiar with Islam will immediately realize, the most notable voice which promotes this "intolerance" is the prophet of Islam, Muhammad, both through his life and and sayings, and through the book he gave down, the Quran, which commands precisely what ISIS is doing. ISIS (and indeed all Muslim "extremist" groups) cites the Quran and the words and example of Muhammad to justify every action they take.

Wahhabism (another "intolerant" brand of Islam) is exported all over the world by Saudi Arabia, including in U.S. mosques. Turkey, a supposed ally of the United States, has been rapidly re-Islamizing under Erdogan, converting former churches (including the Great Church of Constantinople, Hagia Sophia) into mosques, and promoting its strain of Islamic intolerance. In supposedly modern, moderate Malaysia, intolerant Muslims riot over and sue Christians over usage of the word "Allah" for God. From Indonesia to Egypt Christians are relentlessly persecuted by intolerant Muslims. The same is true everywhere Islam has spread, including throughout Europe.

Seen in this context, the group's statement, "Those who promote this intolerance must be challenged," borders on being visionary. For if the Western world wakes up to the threat of Islam,  it will realize that all of Islam promotes the intolerance of which the atrocities committed by ISIS and Boko Haram are just the tip of the jihadi iceberg.  

Yet I do wish more Christian leaders would name Islam itself as being the problem. For ultimately, after satan, Muhammad is the one chiefly to blame for the promotion of Islam.  It is a travesty that most Christian leaders — including most Orthodox hierarchs — refuse to state this obvious fact, that Islam, in the towering words of St John of Damascus, who lived and wrote during the formative first century of Islam, is a heresy, and "a forerunner of the Antichrist."

In any case, we thank God for any attention directed to the global phenomenon of Muslim persecution of Christians, and there are many elements of the statement below which strike precisely the right tone, especially the apocalyptic closing line,
To our brothers and sisters in the Middle East, We “share with you in Jesus the persecution and the kingdom and the patient endurance.” (Revelation 1:9)

Middle East Church Leaders Agree on Statement
A joint statement by leaders and representatives of the Churches of the Middle East and the wider Christian Church in Britain.
AINA via Pravmir — September 4, 2014

In an unprecedented ecumenical gathering at Lambeth Palace hosted by The Most Revd Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, and initiated by His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, a joint statement was agreed by leaders and representatives of the Churches of the Middle East and the wider Christian Church in Britain.

The meeting began with a round table discussion regarding the plight of Christians and minority communities in Iraq, Syria and the wider Middle East.

A joint statement was then agreed, expressing solidarity with, and advocating for, all those who continue to suffer gross violations of the fundamental right and freedom to practice their chosen faith.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Fr Seraphim Rose on the 'Signs of the Times'

"If we truly live this Orthodox world-view, our Faith will survive the shocks ahead of us and be a source of inspiration and salvation for those who will still be seeking Christ even amidst the shipwreck of humanity which has already begun today."
~ Hieromonk Seraphim Rose († September 2, 1982)


Fr Seraphim delivered the message below in the conclusion to his 1982 talk, 'Living the Orthodox Worldview', given at St Herman of Alaska Monastery. The twenty-two years since then only serve to heighten the urgency of his call to repentance and living a fervent and authentic Christian life.

I have added a few parenthetical asides below, to illustrate Fr. Seraphim's message with some current events. Undoubtedly many more examples of  "the abnormality of the world..." of "weird and unnatural manifestations and behavior" will spring to mind to the observant reader. 

Those interested are invited to explore the special section on Fr Seraphim Rose which I have created on this blog.  Of special relevance is the following:

Fr Seraphim Rose on Islam - Fr Seraphim didn't write much about Islam, or did he? A look at Fr Seraphim's teaching on the Monotheistic Religions, and how he might have approached the challenge of Islam.

The Signs of the Times
(excerpted from Living the Orthodox Worldview)
by Hieromonk Seraphim Rose, August 1982

It is obvious to any Orthodox Christian who is aware of what is going on around him today, that the world is coming to its end. The signs of the times are so obvious that one might say that the world is crashing to its end.

What are some of these signs?

— The abnormality of the world. Never have such weird and unnatural manifestations and behavior been accepted as a matter of course as in our days. Just look at the world around you: what is in the newspapers, what kind of movies are being shown, what is on television, what it is that people think is interesting and amusing, what they laugh at; it is absolutely weird. And there are people who deliberately promote this, of course, for their own financial benefit, and because that is the fashion, because there is a perverse craving for this kind of thing. 

Metropolitan Hilarion: 'No Winners in a World War'

This is Part 2 of Breitbart News’ feature on Metropolitan Hilarion of the Russian Orthodox Church, an incisive, 'must read' Op-Ed, which we hope will help restore some sanity and sobriety to balance the aggressive rhetoric being flung around regarding Ukraine and the Middle East. 

See also Part 1, a fine introductory (for most Americans) article on Metropolitan Hilarion by Robert Moynihan, who has worked closely with His Eminence on Orthodox-Catholic dialogue for most of the past fifteen years.

Metropolitan Hilarion: 'No Winners in a World War'
Breitbart News, August 31, 2014

A century ago, the First World War began. On 28 July 1914, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, then on 1 August, Germany declared war on Russia, and over the course of a few short days, several more world powers joined the conflict either on their own initiative or by needs. Over the next three years, more and more countries joined both warring sides, dragged into the quicksand of fighting that was growing to encompass the European continent and far beyond it.

The result of that four-year war was millions of lives lost–more than ten million soldiers dead and twelve million civilians. The war brought four great empires to ruin. And it had long-term effects for most of the countries involved: if there hadn’t been a First World War, there wouldn’t have been a Third Reich, or the Nazi party, or Hitler’s concentration camps and gas chambers. If Russia hadn’t been pulled into the First World War, there wouldn’t have been a Bolshevik revolution, famine, dekulakization, or mass repressions.

The result of World War I was a repartitioning of the world, a redefining of spheres of influence. Yet many fundamental problems that the war attempted to solve remained unaddressed in its wake. And in twenty years’ time after the war, the same governments (only now with new rulers) found themselves drawn once again into an even more terrifying event, a conflict that came to be known as World War II.

The First World War’s centennial anniversary is not likely to cause a major response around the world. Monuments will be opened in honor of the heroes, existing memorials will be cleaned up, and wreaths will be laid on soldiers’ graves. Solemn ceremonies will be held. But will the war’s anniversary serve as cause for serious reflection on the impact it had around the world? Will the impact of the two world wars become a lesson for those world leaders on whose shoulders it now rests to prevent a third?

Today, a hundred years later, new world empires are at work repartitioning the world again, this time with the use of localized conflicts.