Monday, August 31, 2015

Exploding the Myth that 'Jihad…is a perversion of Islam'

Excellent refutation of the false narrative so prevalent in the media, and among government and Christian leaders, that "Jihad…is a perversion of Islam." 

The Face of Jihad: “When you meet the unbelievers, smite their necks..." - Koran 47:4

This impressive article by Robert Spencer uses actual Islamic texts and authorities to prove the continuity linking the original doctrine of offensive jihad as found in the Koran and life & example of Muhammad, through the centuries of classical Islamic writings, advocated to the present by all four schools of Sunni jurisprudence, on down to the Muslim clerics and jihadis of our own day.

Spencer proves that offensive jihad, just as in the 7th century, continues to be recognized as a mandatory obligation upon all Muslims, and that modern Muslims themselves seem to be warming to the jihadist call, as evidenced by the tens of thousands flocking to join the Islamic State Caliphate.

"Bill O’Reilly: 'Jihad…is a perversion of Islam, we all know that',"
by Robert Spencer, Jihad Watch, August 28, 2015

“The spiritualism falls apart in the face of the jihad, okay, which is a perversion of Islam, we all know that.”

Do we, now?

Leave aside the fact that jihad is a central tenet of Islam for all Muslims, although all don’t endorse the terrorist form of it. Obviously O’Reilly is referring to jihad terrorism, which we are constantly told that the overwhelming majority of Muslims reject.

So is jihad terrorism a perversion of Islam? Most politicians and pundits in the West take for granted that it is. But there is, unfortunately, evidence to the contrary. Certainly Islamic terrorists believe that what they are doing is jihad, and that it is justified by the Qur’an and Sunnah:

“Jihad was a way of life for the Pious Predecessors (Salaf-us-Salih), and the Prophet (SAWS) was a master of the Mujahideen and a model for fortunate inexperienced people. The total number of military excursions which he (SAWS) accompanied was 27. He himself fought in nine of these; namely Badr; Uhud, Al-Muraysi, The Trench, Qurayzah, Khaybar, The Conquest of Makkah, Hunayn and Taif . . . This means that the Messenger of Allah (SAWS) used to go out on military expeditions or send out an army at least every two months.” — Abdullah Azzam, co-founder of al-Qaeda, Join the Caravan, p. 30
“If we follow the rules of interpretation developed from the classical science of Koranic interpretation, it is not possible to condemn terrorism in religious terms. It remains completely true to the classical rules in its evolution of sanctity for its own justification. This is where the secret of its theological strength lies.” — Egyptian scholar Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd
“Many thanks to God, for his kind gesture, and choosing us to perform the act of Jihad for his cause and to defend Islam and Muslims. Therefore, killing you and fighting you, destroying you and terrorizing you, responding back to your attacks, are all considered to be great legitimate duty in our religion.” — Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his fellow 9/11 defendants
“Allah on 480 occasions in the Holy Koran extols Muslims to wage jihad. We only fulfil God’s orders. Only jihad can bring peace to the world.” — Taliban terrorist Baitullah Mehsud
“Jihad, holy fighting in Allah’s course, with full force of numbers and weaponry, is given the utmost importance in Islam….By jihad, Islam is established….By abandoning jihad, may Allah protect us from that, Islam is destroyed, and Muslims go into inferior position, their honor is lost, their lands are stolen, their rule and authority vanish. Jihad is an obligation and duty in Islam on every Muslim.” — Times Square car bomb terrorist Faisal Shahzad
“So step by step I became a religiously devout Muslim, Mujahid — meaning one who participates in jihad.” — Little Rock, Arkansas terrorist murderer Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad
“And now, after mastering the English language, learning how to build explosives, and continuous planning to target the infidel Americans, it is time for Jihad.” — Texas terrorist bomber Khalid Aldawsari
All of these, of course, may be dismissed as “extremists,” although they were also all devout Muslims who were determined to follow their religion properly. One finds the same thing, however, when one turns to the authoritative sources in Sunni Islam, the schools of Sunni jurisprudence (madhahib). Compare the “extremist” statements with these:

Shafi’i school: A Shafi’i manual of Islamic law that was certified in 1991 by the clerics at Al-Azhar University, one of the leading authorities in the Islamic world, as a reliable guide to Sunni orthodoxy, stipulates about jihad that “the caliph makes war upon Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians…until they become Muslim or pay the non-Muslim poll tax.” It adds a comment by Sheikh Nuh Ali Salman, a Jordanian expert on Islamic jurisprudence: the caliph wages this war only “provided that he has first invited [Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians] to enter Islam in faith and practice, and if they will not, then invited them to enter the social order of Islam by paying the non-Muslim poll tax (jizya)…while remaining in their ancestral religions.” (‘Umdat al-Salik, o9.8).

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Christians Debate: Is it OK to 'Act Muslim' to Save Their Lives

The very asking of this question serves to underscore the fact that we are living in a new Age of Martyrdom. 

The Martyrdom of Bishop Teodor of Vrsac, Serbia.

Before exploring the contemporary debate, we might be wise to take a look back at a previous age of martyrdom to see how the Church survived a very similar trial.

The question of Christians committing apostasy in order to save their lives, and how to deal with those who did so, was experienced on a widespread scale in the middle of the 3rd century when, under Roman Emperor Decius (249-251), a fierce new outbreak of persecution against the Church was launched.

From Fr. Alexander Schmemann, The Historical Road of Eastern Orthodoxy:

One of the primary reasons for the decline in Christian intensity had undoubtedly been the lull in the persecutions. From the death of Marcus Aurelius (185) until the middle of the third century, the Church lived in relative security... 
The persecution that suddenly burst upon the Church in the year 249 seemed a terrible and unexpected trial and exposed in full clarity how far many, many Christians had departed from the original intensity of faith and way of life... 
[Emperor Decius] gave first priority to the restoration of state worship, and this inevitably led to conflict with Christianity. Except for Nero, Decius was the first representative of Roman power to take the initiative in these persecutions as opposed to the system of private accusation followed by test. In a special edict he ordered all his subjects to prove their loyalty to the national gods by making the sacrifice. 
The Church again responded with the blood of martyrs, including not only Origen... but Bishop Flavian of Rome, Babylas of Antioch, and Alexander of Jerusalem. But what startled the Church was the mass apostasy. 
“Fear struck them,” wrote Bishop Dionysius of Alexandria, “and many of the more influential Christians gave in immediately, some giving way to fear, others, as civil servants, to the requirements of their positions, still others drawn along with the crowd. Some were pale and trembling, as if it were not they who were making sacrifices to the idols but they themselves who were being brought to sacrifice; and therefore the crowd mocked them.” 
 The same picture appears in the letters of Cyprian of Carthage: “There were some who did not even wait to be summoned to climb onto the Capitol, or to be questioned to renounce their faith. They ran to the Forum themselves, they hastened to their [spiritual] deaths, as if they had wished it for a long time. And — O ultimate crime! — parents brought their children with them, so that they might lose in their childhood what they had received on the threshold of their lives.” 
The persecution passed liked a whirlwind and quickly abated, but it left the Church in ruins. The question arose as to how to deal with those who had lapsed, who now rushed back for forgiveness and reconciliation. While the Church had recognized a “second repentance” at the beginning of the century, now the question was posed anew and more acutely.

Saturday, August 29, 2015


This is a timely publication which provides a penetrating examination of Islam, its religious and political dimensions, and the "clear and present danger" to Christians and Western Civilization which arises from its ideology. It is a relatively slim volume (208 pages), yet is densely packed and rock-ribbed, and makes for a great introduction or handy reference on the threat of Islam.

What is perhaps most amazing is that, although this work was first published several years ago in hardcover, and therefore lacks any specific reference to ISIS (the Islamic State Caliphate) or certain other jihad terrorist groups which formed more recently, it is shockingly contemporary, as jihad ideology itself is essentially unchanged from the days of its founder, Muhammad. As one reads 'House of War', one experiences a steady flash of light bulbs turning on, of "Aha! moments", as the true goals and motivations of Muslim extremists are detailed from the supremacist sacred texts of Islam.

The author, Gregory Davis, is an Orthodox Christian, and a dear friend and encourager to me. The original edition of this book, and his documentary film, Islam: What the West Needs to Know, were two of my early sources which spurred me on to write Facing Islam and launch this blog. I cannot commend Greg's work highly enough.

Order two copies and share one with that interested soul looking to understand Islam. Publisher's description and link to order below.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Iraqi priest: “There’s no such thing as moderate Islam…ISIS represents Islam one hundred percent”

“Wake up! The cancer is at your door. They will destroy you. We, the Christians of the Middle East are the only group that has seen the face of evil: Islam... 

“Please, if there’s anyone who still thinks ISIS doesn’t represent Islam, know that they are wrong. ISIS represents Islam one hundred percent.”

— Fr. Douglas al-Bazi, Iraqi Catholic Priest and Confessor for Christ,
captured and tortured by Muslim jihadists in 2006.

Let us all try to do something — whatever we can — in the face of the tsunami of evil wiping away our Christian brothers and sisters in the Middle East, Egypt and North Africa, Pakistan, Indonesia, throughout the entire Islamic world. Let us pray for them, even as we start to heed the warnings and cries of the new confessors and martyrs like Fr Douglas al-Bazi, who daily follow Christ to their Golgotha, bearing their unimaginable cross!

Speaking in 1980, Blessed Hieromonk Seraphim (Rose) of Platina had this to say about Golgotha:

It is a law of the spiritual life that where there is Golgotha—if it is genuine suffering for Christ—there will be resurrection. This resurrection first of all occurs in human hearts, and we do not need to be too concerned what outward form it might take by God’s will... 
Our inward, spiritual resurrection is what we should be striving for, and the events in Russia give us hope that there will yet be a resurrection of true, suffering Christianity, not only in Russia, but wherever hearts have not become entirely frozen. But we must be ready for the suffering that must precede this...

Are we in the West ready for this? Golgotha does not mean the incidental sufferings we all go through in this life. It is something immense and deep, which cannot be relieved by taking an aspirin or going to a movie. It is what Russia has gone through and is now trying to communicate to us. Let us not be deaf to this message. By the prayers of all the New Martyrs, may God give us the strength to endure the trials coming upon us and to find in them the resurrection of our souls.

— Fr. Seraphim Rose, The Orthodox Revival in Russia as an Inspiration for American Orthodoxy, The Orthodox Word #138, 1988, p. 51. (From a talk given in 1980.)
Obviously, what Fr Seraphim was speaking of regarding the New Martyrs of Russia in the 20th century under Communism is equally true about the New Martyrs of the 21st century under Islam. Let us heed his prophetic voice and rouse ourselves to zeal and perseverance in following our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ!

“‘There’s No Such Thing as Moderate Islam’: An Iraqi Priest Describes the Christian Genocide,” by Matteo Matzuzzi, Il Foglio, August 26, 2015 (translated by Francesca Romana, Rorate Caeli), courtesy of Jihad Watch:

Rome. “Please, if there’s anyone who still thinks ISIS doesn’t represent Islam, know that they are wrong. ISIS represents Islam one hundred percent.” Father Douglas al Bazi, an Iraqi Catholic parish priest in Erbil, raised his voice during an intervention at the Meeting in Rimini, with a choice of words – in a provocative way and in hard tones – that few had ventured use so far.

He carries on his own body the scars of the torture he underwent nine years ago, when a band of Jihadists kidnapped him for nine days, keeping him in chains and blindfolds along with a broken nose from being kneed: “For the first four days they didn’t even give me anything to drink. They would walk past me saying ‘Father, do you want some water?’ All day long they would listen to the reading of the Koran to let the neighbours hear what good believers they were.”…

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Pakistan: Christian Flood Victims Forced to Renounce Jesus Christ, Become Slaves to Muslims or Die

Sharia applied to disaster relief for Christians in the Muslim country of Pakistan: 
"More than 60 Christian families in the western Pakistani region of Kasur lost their homes and all worldly possessions when the deluge hit this summer... left to starve if they don't convert to Islam or become modern-day slaves in order to receive help from Muslims or the government..."

by Samuel Smith, Christian Post, via Pravoslavie, August 26, 2015

As torrential flooding spanned across various regions of Pakistan this summer and washed away thousands of homes, Christians in Kasur have received very little humanitarian aid and have been left to starve if they don't convert to Islam or become modern-day slaves in order to receive help from Muslims or the government.

Wilson Chowdhry, the president of the British Pakistani Christian Association, told The Christian Post that there are more than 60 Christian families in the western Pakistani region of Kasur that have lost their homes and all worldly possessions when the deluge hit this summer and washed their mud homes and everything inside them away.

While Muslims in the region have benefited from temporary shelter, clean water and food provided by Pakistani government agencies and Muslim charities, Christians have largely been without those bare necessities and medication needed to fight illnesses that can occur after flooding.

Chowdhry explained that some Muslim charities are giving Christians the option to convert to Islam and renounce Jesus if they want to receive help.

"We are are aware that this community has previously been offered aid from Muslim charities if they convert but they never accept conversion. They hold strong to their faith. They believe God will be their provider," Chowdhry explained. "These families have literally been struggling without food. Churches have opened up their doors but can't provide them much aid because the churches themselves in the region are struggling. We are talking about a very rural part of Pakistan."

Chowdhry added that as desperation started to get the best of the Christian population in Kasur, many Kasur Christians ended up signing bonded labor contracts in order to receive aid from Muslim landlords before BPCA arrived in the region.

Monday, August 24, 2015

'Breaking of the Crosses' in Syracuse Part 2: The Sharia Doctrine against the Cross

The huge response to my recent post on the conversion into a mosque of a century-old Roman Catholic church in Syracuse, NY, gives us reason and opportunity to explore Islamic hatred of Christianity and the Cross in more depth. 

This well-researched article by Ryan Mauro of the Clarion Project elaborates the sharia doctrine behind Islam's jihad against the Cross, and helps explain the significance of Muslims breaking and covering 10,000 crosses in Syracuse.

We will only see more such examples of Islam's jihad against Christianity and the Cross in the dark days ahead. This is truly a Sign of the Apocalypse.

Al-Qaeda Declares 'We Must Eliminate the Cross'

This follows sharia doctrine that says Christianity's ultimate elimination will be carried out by Jesus,who is really an Islamist.

by Ryan Mauro, The Clarion Project (originally posted April 27, 2014)

Senior Al Qaeda leader Nasir al-Wuhayshi recently appeared in a video made in Yemen during the largest and most dangerous gathering of Al Qaeda in recent years.

Al Qaeda recently released a video of a large meeting in Yemen showing senior leader Nasir al-Wuhayshi preaching, “We must eliminate the cross” and explained that, “The bearer of the cross is America.”

Al-Wuhayshi was referencing sharia doctrine about the ultimate elimination of Christianity at the hands of the Islamist version of Jesus. It couldn’t be clearer: Their jihad is not about Western foreign policy. It’s about global conquest.

The Al Qaeda leader’s comment is important because it displays the end goal of even the “moderate” Islamists who insist that sharia governance is tolerant to Christians and Jews because it does not require a change in faith.

In truth, the system is designed to contain Christianity and Judaism and minimize their sustainability, but even this modicum of acceptance is not permanent.

Mainstream sharia doctrine holds that Jesus was not crucified or resurrected, but instead ascended to heaven. According to the doctrine, one day he will return to defeat the Islamic version of the Antichrist, which is called the Dajjal.

IslamWeb, a website that honors Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yousef al-Qaradawi, states in Fatwa 82061 that “the first people to follow him [the Dajjal] will be the Jews.” The Antichrist will be on earth for 40 days and then Jesus “will come down from heaven and kill him.”

IslamWeb Fatwa 124824 says Jesus will “break some crosses and command people to do the same”... 
The objective is to make Christians accept that their interpretation of Jesus is wrong and to convert to Islam.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE: Muslim 'Breaking of the Crosses' in Syracuse NY

Muslims cut down, paint over 10,000 crosses to convert former Roman Catholic church to mosque. Plan approved by Syracuse Landmark Preservation Board.

This is surely another sign of our times, a sign of the impending apocalypse. The breaking of crosses and conversion of churches into mosques is widespread in Europe, but not yet so much in America.

The Final Mass at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Syracuse NY (February 2010).

For Christians, it is a reminder of the warning of our Lord Jesus Christ: "When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8).

The number of crosses covered over — 10,000 — is a deeply symbolic, Biblical number, and was no doubt chosen by the Holy Trinity Church founders based on Revelation 5:11, where the seer John beholds the myriads of angels around the throne of God:

Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands...

This scene comes immediately after "the Lamb who was slain" (who is, of course, Jesus Christ) takes the scroll with the deepest mysteries of God, sealed front and back with seven seals, and is immediately praised:

Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll,
And to open its seals;
For You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
And have made us kings and priests to our God;
And we shall reign on the earth.” (Rev. 5:8-10)

Following this ecstatic worship of the Lamb by the four living creatures, the twenty-four elders, and the prayers of the saints, the "ten-thousand times ten-thousand" worship Him too:

... saying with a loud voice: 
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
To receive power and riches and wisdom,
And strength and honor and glory and blessing!” 
And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: 
“Blessing and honor and glory and power
Be to Him who sits on the throne,
And to the Lamb, forever and ever!” 
Then the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever. (Rev. 5:12-14)

The whole point of chapter 5 of the Apocalypse is to show that the Lamb — Jesus Christ — is equal with God the Father, that He is worshipped just as the Father is, by all the hosts of heaven, all the saints, and by "every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth."

Such is the significance of the 10,000 crosses, and the name of the former parish, Holy Trinity. It was one of the most visible, richly symbolic representations of the Christian presence in Syracuse, and in New York State and the United States by extension.

Though it is certainly a temporal tragedy that such a symbolic church would be desecrated, let the significance of this serve to enkindle our zeal. The collapse of institutional Christianity is happening all around us, but Christ promised us that "Even the gates of hell shall not prevail against His Church."

During the desecration of Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church, Syracuse NY.

Desecration accomplished: the former home of Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church
is now a functioning mosque. Lord have mercy.

As for observant Muslims, this will be seen as a victory over Christianity, and a powerful sign of Islam's new global resurgence, of Islam's eventual domination over the United States and the Western world, and especially, as an eschatological sign of the end times, when, Muslims believe,
Isa (the Muslim Jesus) will return and "fight the people for the cause of Islam. He will break the cross, kill the swine and abolish jizya” and establish the rule of Allah throughout the world (Hadith from Sunan Abu Dawud, Book of Battles, 37:4310).

Orthodox Christians! Let these dire signs rouse us to fervent faith and love for the Lord and His Church! As Blessed Hieromonk Seraphim of Platina wrote:

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

Syracuse: Muslims cut down, paint over 10,000 crosses to convert church to mosque
Creeping Sharia — August 17, 2015 (Comments in italics below in original post.)

Holy Trinity Church of Syracuse, before the "breaking of the crosses..."

For background on this story, see also:

ISIS destroys Christian symbols in the Middle East. Boko Haram attacks churches and churchgoers in Africa. In the west, the process is more refined… for now. 
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Two gray church spires grow out of a bumpy plain of city rooftops along Park Street. The skyline is the same as it has been for the better part of a century until you look closer at Holy Trinity Church: There are slim copper crescents where, for 100 years, there had been crosses. 
The six crosses were removed and replaced at the end of June. Four of them were massive: 600 pounds of concrete each, and more than 4 feet tall. The step was the last, and most visible, in the building’s change from church to mosque.

Islamic State is 'beheading, raping, and selling' Christians while Obama does nothing, asserts Justice Group

The American Center for Law and Justice is pressing the Obama Administration to act swiftly to stop the genocide of Christians and other minorities in the Middle East, highlighting the administration's inaction on several fronts. But action is unlikely to be forthcoming. 

As Raymond Ibrahim has shown, reporting of Muslim persecution of Christians does not fit "The Narrative" which the Obama Administration holds to, that Islam is innocent and there is no religious dimension to the strife in the Middle East and Africa. Therefore the plight of Christians will likely continue to be ignored by the U.S. government as a matter of Obama's anti-Christian, pro-Islam policy.

Such is the political dimension of this new age of martyrdom in which we live. 

ISIS is 'beheading, raping, and selling' Christians while Obama does nothing, Justice group asserts
by Thomas D. Williams, PhD, Breitbart News, August 21, 2015

The American Center for Law and Justice is urging President Barack Obama to defend Christians who are suffering intense persecution from Islamic State terrorists, especially by naming an ambassador to fill the vacant mission of Special Envoy to Promote Religious Freedom of Religious Minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia.

The ACLJ has drafted a petition appealing to the Obama Administration to act swiftly to stop the genocide of Christians and other minorities in the Middle East. The petition has already garnered more than 93,000 signatures.

The organization reminds the administration that ISIS is “beheading, raping, and selling Christians” and that hundreds of thousands of Christians have been forced to flee or die. But while ISIS tracks down Christians for sale and slaughter, the Obama Administration and other Western leaders stand by idle.

For more than a year, the justice group states in an article on Thursday, “President Obama has failed to appoint an Ambassador to lead a Special Envoy to Promote Religious Freedom of Religious Minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia.”

“While Christians and other religious minorities are decimated in that region, the Obama administration leaves this vital position unfilled. This is why the ACLJ has urged them to fill this spot and will continue to do so,” it said.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Islamic State bulldozes 1,500-year-old Syrian monastery, captures over 200 Syriac Christians

Islam's war against Christianity continues to advance. In this report you see it all: Muslims conquering, destroying Christian sites, taking of captives, offering the "three choices" — convert to Islam, pay the jizya, or death." And tens of thousands of Muslims from all over the world are flocking to the Middle East to join the Islamic State because they see it adhering to pure Islam.

Islamic State bulldozes 1,500-year-old Syrian monastery
by Robert Spencer, Jihad Watch — August 21, 2015

Besides removing supposed temptations to idolatry, Islamic jihadists want to destroy the artifacts of non-Muslim civilizations because doing so testifies to the truth of Islam, as the Qur’an suggests that the destroyed remnants of ancient non-Muslim civilizations are a sign of Allah’s punishment of those who rejected his truth:

Many were the Ways of Life that have passed away before you: travel through the earth, and see what was the end of those who rejected Truth. (Qur’an 3:137)

This is one of the foundations of the Islamic idea that pre-Islamic civilizations, and non-Islamic civilizations, are all jahiliyya — the society of unbelievers, which is worthless. Obviously this cuts against the idea of tourism of ancient sites and non-Muslim religious installations. V. S. Naipaul encountered this attitude in his travels through Muslim countries. For many Muslims, he observed in Among the Believers, “The time before Islam is a time of blackness: that is part of Muslim theology. History has to serve theology.” Naipaul recounted that some Pakistani Muslims, far from valuing the nation’s renowned archaeological site at Mohenjo Daro, saw its ruins as a teaching opportunity for Islam, recommending that Qur’an 3:137 be posted there as a teaching tool.

“Isis in Syria: 1,500-year-old Mar Elian monastery bulldozed by Islamic State in Qaryatain,” by Gianluca Mezzofiore, International Business Times, August 21, 2015 (thanks to David):

Islamic State (Isis) militants have bulldozed parts of the ancient monastery of Mar Elian in Qaryatain, a strategic town located in the central Syrian province of Homs which has been seized from forces loyal to president Bashar al-Assad earlier this month. IS-linked Twitter accounts posted pictures of the destruction of the monastery, which was founded in 432 on the claimed spot of St. Elian’s death, for “worshipping a God other than Allah”.

According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), IS also transferred dozens of Assyrian Christians, who were kidnapped after the capture of Qaryatain, near its northern Syria de facto capital of Raqqa.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Slovakia refuses EU plan to resettle Muslim refugees, ‘will only accept Christians’

Wisdom and prudence from the sovereign state of Slovakia. They (and all Christian countries) should be free to flatly refuse to accept forced Muslim immigration.

Keep Slovakia jihad free!

As of 2011, Slovakia was approximately 62% Roman Catholic, 8.9% Protestant, 3.8% Greek Catholic, and .9% Orthodox Christian, a very small Jewish remnant, the rest Atheist and other; no Muslim population even registered in the survey. No doubt they would like to keep it that way, given the historic problems their neighbors have had from Muslim incursions dating back a millennium (Slovakia herself was attacked by Muslim armies centuries ago), and the current woes suffered by every European country which has Muslim populations (sharia "no-go" zones, crime, etc).

More disturbing, the Islamic State has publicly targeted Slovakia in its 5-year plan to spread the caliphate from Spain to China, no doubt relying on mass Muslim immigration as a key component of their jihad.

The EU's demands amount to civilizational jihad, and would only result in the desolation of Slovakia.

Migrants crisis: Slovakia ‘will only accept Christians’
Slovakia says it will only accept Christians when it takes in Syrian refugees under a EU relocation scheme
BBC News via Pravmir, August 20, 2015

The country is due to receive 200 people from camps in Turkey, Italy and Greece under the EU plan to resettle 40,000 new arrivals.

Interior ministry spokesman Ivan Netik said Muslims would not be accepted because they would not feel at home.

The UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR) called on countries to take an “inclusive approach” to relocation.

But Mr Netik denied the move was discriminatory and said it was intended to ensure community cohesion.

‘Not going to like it’

The number of migrants at the EU’s borders has surged in recent months, reaching a record high of 107,500 in July. Most are Syrians, Afghans, and sub-Saharan Africans, fleeing instability or poverty.

Last month, EU member states agreed to take in 32,000 asylum seekers arriving in Italy and Greece over the next two years – fewer than the 40,000 target.

The scheme was made voluntary after some nations – including Slovakia – refused to accept set quotas.

Monday, August 17, 2015

How Nazism Explains ‘Moderate’ and ‘Radical’ Islam

Were non-violent Nazis the "real" Nazis? 

by Raymond Ibrahim, PJ Media — August 16, 2015

If Islamic doctrines are inherently violent, why isn’t every single Muslim in the world—that is, approximately 1.5 billion people—violent?

This question represents one of Islam’s most popular apologetics: because not all Muslims are violent, intolerant, or sponsor terrorism—a true statement—Islam itself must be innocent.

Let’s briefly consider this logic.

First, there are, in fact, many people who identify themselves as Muslims but who do not necessarily adhere to or support Islam’s more supremacist and intolerant doctrines.  If you have lived in a Muslim majority nation, you would know this to be true.

The all-important question is, what do such Muslims represent?  Are they following a legitimate, “moderate,” version of Islam—one more authentic than the terrorist variety?  That’s what the media, politicians, and academics would have us believe.

The best way to answer this question is by analogy:

Friday, August 14, 2015

Islamic texts justify sex slavery

Perhaps you have seen the important NY Times article which has gone viral this week: 'ISIS Enshrines a Theology of Rape'. To those unfamiliar with Islamic history or jurisprudence, the revelations in the landmark article are shocking, mind-blowing. But to those of us who have been studying Islam for at least a little while, the NY Times piece seems long overdue.

Following my recent post of the article by Fr George Maximov, 'Women Saints Who Suffered Under Islam', I was thinking of doing some followup posts on the theme of Islam's treatment of women. First in the series has to be the below excellent article by Robert Spencer, in which he comments on the NY Times article and expounds on the theological foundations of sex slavery in the Quran and the example of Muhammad.

Why should Christians be made aware of this satanic component of Islam?

1) To shine light into the darkness, and expose the lie that the "god" of Islam is the same as the True God revealed to the world in the Person of Jesus Christ;
2) To wake up well intentioned but uninformed Christians, who have been led to believe that Islam is basically "almost the same" as Christianity. One Orthodox hierarch in the Middle East openly teaches that "if you are a Christian and you know a lot about Islam and love what you know, your heart will embrace the Muslims around you and if you are educated, you will hold in esteem much from their religion and openly recognize the truth that is in their religion." This kind of thinking is the leaven of apostasy;
3) To equip Christians to refute Muslim preachers and proselytizers, so instead of being silent before them, Christians may point out to them the errors in their beliefs, and hopefully, by God's grace, lead them to repent, that, as St Silouan prayed for the peoples of the whole world, "they may come to know Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit."

‘He Said That Raping Me Is His Prayer to God’
It must be faced: in Islamic texts and teachings, the theological basis for this horror exists.
by Robert Spencer, PJ Media — April 14, 2015

There have been reports of hundreds of Yazidi women and children being sold at jihadi slave markets. In this picture a displaced Yazidi girl takes shelter at a school in Dahuk - See more at:
“He told me that according to Islam he is allowed to rape an unbeliever. He said that by raping me, he is drawing closer to God. … He said that raping me is his prayer to God.”

These extraordinary statements come from girls who were kept as sex slaves by jihadis of the Islamic State, as reported in a lengthy and revealing New York Times piece that was published Thursday.

Not only does the piece illustrate the horrifying ordeal that Yazidi and other non-Muslim women endure at the hands of the Islamic State when they are forced into sexual slavery, but — most surprisingly — the article explains in detail how these monsters believe they are pleasing their bloodthirsty god by destroying these girls.

Women Saints Who Suffered under Islam

In this article, Fr George Maximov cites some historical examples of Muslim persecution of Christian women. Two were killed by their own families or fellow villagers, becoming martyrs — witnesses — for Christ by their faith. The first example cited, the Martyr Argery, was imprisoned for seventeen years until her death because she, a married Christian woman, rejected the lustful advances of a Muslim man. 

Islam's brutal and horrific treatment of young Christian girls and women, has its roots in the Quran and the example of Muhammad. Hence rape of captive women, the taking of sex slaves, and forced marriage and conversions to Islam are codified in Islamic law.

The status of women in Islam in general is extremely demeaning, especially when contrasted with the exalted status of women in Christianity. 

How a culture views and treats its most vulnerable members reveals much. Islam's sub-human view of women, as stated in its holy texts, and its treatment of women as witnessed around the world via honor killings, spouse abuse, acid attacks on women, clitorectomies, epidemic rape, stoning of adulterers, etc., goes a long way towards proving Islam to be a false religion.

For contemporary examples of women saints under the yoke of Islam, see the lives of New Martyrs Helen the Accountant and Mary the Copt.

Women Saints Who Suffered under Islam
by Fr. George Maximov, Pravoslavie, via Pravmir — October 3, 2008

If we have not found ourselves in a Muslim environment due to increased migration and conversion to Islam, many of us have Muslim neighbours. Like all people, these neighbours are different but as a rule they don’t hide their faith or their conviction in its superiority but often make attempts to acquaint people with it.

It is a sad event when, as often happens, an Orthodox girl or woman marries a Muslim and perhaps even adopts Islam.  Those who do not adopt it personally have to be prepared for their children becoming Muslims – such are laws of Islam. Practice shows that this results in family misfortune and the suffering and grief of these women.

If we think about it, this is not surprising. After all, it is not by mere chance the church forbids marriage between those of different faiths. Such marriage will not be consecrated by the church canons and therefore will not be blessed by God.  Perhaps the main issue is that a married couple should be united in everything.  It is a natural law and the desire of human souls. But if such unity is missing in the most essential thing – faith – it will not be present in other things. In the beginning mutual affection disguises this lack but without real unity as a foundation affection fades away fast.  When this happens, inner discord inevitably shows up on the surface and under this or that pretext it will start darkening the marriage more and more as time goes on.

Some unhappy women, realizing this by intuition, adopt Islam. But practice shows that such a step doesn’t make the tempted women happy as apostasy is a heavy sin which, if not repented of, creates a heavy burden in this life. A lot of terrifying examples are known from the life of such “Russian Muslim women” whose husbands threw them out of their homes, took away their children, beat them, treated them as beasts.  God cannot be profaned:  we reap what we sow.

However there are cases, although not many, when an Orthodox girl convinced her Muslim fiancé to convert to the true faith. And after baptism and a church wedding such marriages were very strong and happy. To support these decisions we will recall several cases when Orthodox women of strong faith and love for Christ, after suffering from conflict with the Islamic world, could bring the great fruit of sacredness and prove the superiority of the true faith.

Saint Argery (Argyrie)

Icon of Saint Argery (Orthodox
church of St Cosmus and St Damian.
Avignon, France)
In the early 18th century in the Ottoman Empire, in the provincial town of Prusse there lived a beautiful Greek girl called Argery. She was brought up by pious parents and when she was young she met her love – a kind Greek youth. They got married in the church and their honeymoon was happy. But their Turkish neighbour was inflamed with lust towards Argery and tried with his sweet words to talk her into committing adultery in the absence of her husband. The pious wife declined his advances. Then the embittered Turk slandered her before the judge of Prusse by telling him that she had promised to become Muslim. According to the laws of Sharia, a person who expressed the wish to become Muslim must adopt Islam; if he denies thereafter he must be punished: for a man – death penalty, for a woman – life imprisonment. The judge, having believed the plaintiff, immediately put Argery into prison. Her husband, who thought the judgment was biased, demanded its transferal to Istanbul.

But it didn’t help. Both Argery and the Turkish plaintiff came to the court of the capital where the Muslim witnessed against her, giving the false evidence about her before the judge. Argery replied that she had never said anything like she was charged with She also said that she was not going to betray her faith; she was a Christian and wanted to die as a Christian. According to the judge’s order she was beaten and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Two South Sudanese Pastors on Trial in Sudan Released; Serious Charges Dropped

Although Rev. Yat and Rev. Peter were convicted of lesser charges and later banned from leaving the country, we give thanks to God that they have been released and the most serious charges, which could have resulted in their execution, have been dropped. Update on these story.

UPDATE: Morning Star reported on August 10 that the pastors were banned from leaving Sudan following their release.

Two South Sudanese Pastors on Trial in Sudan Released; Serious Charges Dropped
Morning Star News — August 5, 2015

JUBA, South Sudan (Morning Star News) – Two South Sudanese pastors on trial in Sudan for crimes calling for the death penalty were convicted on lesser counts today and released on time served, sources said.

The Rev. Yat Michael, 49, was convicted under Article 69 of “disturbing public peace,” a defense attorney said, for delivering a message of encouragement to a North Khartoum church in December 2014 in the face of a government-aided take-over of the congregation’s property. The Rev. Peter Yein Reith, 36, was convicted under Article 65 of “establishing or participating in a criminal organization,” the attorney said, following his Jan. 11 arrest for submitting a letter from leaders of their denomination, the South Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church (SSPEC), inquiring about the whereabouts of Michael.

Michael had been arrested following his homily on Dec. 14. An international outcry erupted over their weeks-long incarceration without charges after Morning Star News on Dec. 28, 2014 broke the news of Michael’s arrest, and on Jan. 20 published the first account of Reith’s arrest.

The wives of the pastors expressed their happiness.

“They have been just released after the court found them innocent of the more serious charges against them,” one of the wives said. “Tell the whole church that God has heard your prayers and the pastors are now free. They have been released.”

Inciting hatred among or against sects (Article 64 of the Sudanese Penal Code) is punishable by up to two years in prison. Disturbance of the public peace (Article 69) is punishable by six months of prison, or a fine or no more than 20 lashes.

The pastors had also been charged with spying (Article 53), punishable by death, life imprisonment or prison and confiscation of property; undermining the constitutional system (Article 50), punishable by death, life imprisonment, or imprisonment and confiscation of property; disclosure and obtaining information and official documents (Article 55), punishable by two years in prison or a fine; blasphemy/insulting religious creeds (Article 125), punishable by one year of imprisonment or a fine or no more than 40 lashes; and joint acts in execution of a criminal conspiracy (Article 21).

Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Importance of St Herman for Orthodox Christians in America Today

Saint Herman of Alaska (commemorated August 9), America’s first canonized saint, was an Orthodox Christian monk of holy life who lived in Valaam Monastery in Russia.

In 1794, along with nine other monastics he was sent to Alaska to evangelize the natives there. In time St. Herman would become the sole survivor of the original missionaries.

Throughout his long life he cared for the natives of the Kodiak area, nursing them in their illnesses, educating them, and defending them from the abuse of the Russian fur-traders. By his meekness and firm faith he won the love and respect of all who came to know him, and inspired many to follow Christ.

Eventually settling on nearby Spruce Island, he lived a mostly eremitic life, while also establishing an orphanage for the children of parents who had died during epidemics.

By the power of God, St. Herman was able to see into the hearts of others, as well as into the future. He worked miracles during his life, such as stopping a forest fire and a tsunami by his prayers. To this day he remains a wonderworker, healing the souls and bodies of those who ask for his intercessions before the throne of God.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Inauguration of First ROCOR Parish Office in Pakistan

The Orthodox Mission in Pakistan continues to grow and thrive, thanks be to God. May the Lord and His Most-Pure Mother, the Archangel Michael and St Sergius of Radonezh, continue to guide and protect Fr. Joseph Farooq and his faithful flock.


Inauguration of First ROCOR Parish Office in Pakistan
Pravoslavie — July 29, 2015

With the blessings of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Outside of Russia, Saint Michael the Archangel Orthodox Mission in Pakistan celebrated the establishment of the first ROCOR parish and proper worship space for the Orthodox faithful in Pakistan. They are thankful to the Lord Who is gracious and that the mission work is expanding with every passing day and the number of Orthodox faithful is also increasing day by day. The ROCOR parish in Pakistan is working under the kind protection of the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand under the omophorion of and with the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion.

July 26, 2015 was a very important and historical day for the Orthodox congregation in Pakistan. The inaugural ceremony of the ROCOR parish took place with the blessings of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion. In attendance on this auspicious day were all the Orthodox faithful from Sargodha and surrounding areas, as well as others who wish to embrace holy Orthodoxy.

The Orthodox youth and parish council played an active role in setting up the worship space and parish house in displaying the beautiful icons of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Most Holy Mother of God and various saints on the walls. With much honor and pleasure they hung the pictures of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill and His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion and a picture of the both of them in a meeting in Moscow. With these pictures the faithful say the parish office really feels the presence and blessings of the hierarchy in the Holy Russian Orthodox Church.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Saint Ignatius Brianchaninov: Epistle on Islam and Muslims

The writings of the saints of the Church remind us of the urgency of the divine imperative to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with all, including with our Muslim neighbors. 

St. Ignatius Brianchaninov (†1867)

Church hierarchs and teachers who speak in vague and pious words of Christians and Muslims being the "two lungs of one Eastern body," or of "co-existing peacefully" within a "loving dialogue" are evading the commandment of the Savior and Lord to "make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (MT 28:19).

The words of the saints come from a living faith, and from piercing awareness of the nearness of death and eternity. Their words may seem harsh or stern to us, in our weakened and timid state. All the more reason for us to stir ourselves up to evangelical fervor, and to be mindful that, in the words of Metropolitan Tikhon of the OCA, "We are here, in North America, called to be apostles and martyrs for Christ."

Saint Ignatius Brianchaninov (April 30)
+ + +
Epistle on Islam and Muslims
(selected from the saint's letters)

Vainly and erroneously you think and say that virtuous... Muslims will be saved, that is they will join intercourse with God! Vainly you consider the contrary notion a novelty, a brief error! No! Such is the eternal teaching of the true Church, both Old Testament and New. 

The Church has always confessed that there exists one means of salvation: the Redeemer! She has confessed that the most virtuous of the fallen really do descend to Hell. Did the righteous of the True Church, the illumined from whom shone the Holy Spirit, the prophets and wonderworkers, believers in the Redeemer's coming but with the demise of the anticipated coming of the Redeemer, descend to Hell so that, as you wish, the Muslims who neither recognize nor believe in the Redeemer receive, because they seem to you good people, that salvation which is delivered solely-- solely, I repeat to you, by means of -- belief in the Redeemer?

Christians! Know Christ! -- Witness that you don't know Him, that you denied him in claiming the possibility of salvation without Him for some kind of virtue! Claiming the possibility of salvation without belief in Christ denies Him and, maybe not consciously, falls into the grave sin of blasphemy. 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Metropolitan Tikhon: 'The way of the Church is the way of sacrifice and martyrdom'

"We are here, in North America, called to be apostles and martyrs for Christ."

On July 20, the presiding hierarch of the Orthodox Church in America, His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon, delivered a significant address to the OCA's 18th All-American Council in Atlanta, Georgia.

What would he say to this important gathering? Especially in our days of such turmoil, "men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth" (LK 21:26).

Thanks be to God, His Beatitude presented the message of the Cross and Resurrection. He wasted no time, but from the very beginning "launched out into the deep," renewing our calling as Orthodox Christians. In a manner of speaking, he "rebuked the raging sea," confronting it with calm strength founded upon the Rock. And from such a beginning, having secured his listeners' attention, he set forth his vision.

I recommend listening to the address while having the text before you, and following along. It is lengthy, about an hour and a quarter, but very worthwhile. Text, pdf and audio are available here.

Here are just a few key excerpts, followed by some remarks by Archimandrite Sergius, Abbot of St Tikhon of Zadonsk Monastery:

ATLANTA, GEORGIA — July 20, 2015 
It is only through prayer, and the life that flows from prayer, and the virtues that are engendered by prayer, that we can reach our goal; and our goal is not the passing of resolutions or the compiling of minutes; our goal is not to debate issues or share our opinion; our goal is not to get to the end of this week or even to set the agenda for the next triennium. 
Our goal is to seek God above all, and to let this desire illumine our work together, so that we might make our own the words of Saint Herman of Alaska: 
“And I, a sinner, have tried to love God for more than forty years, and I cannot say that I perfectly love Him,” … “at least let us make a vow to ourselves, that from this day, from this hour, from this very moment, we shall strive above all else to love God and to fulfill His Holy Will!” 

We gather in Council at a time when the world, as it is wont to be, is enshrouded in military conflict, economic hardship, civil war and persecution. Even if we remain somewhat shielded from these global realities in our own North American context, we nevertheless feel the weight of these worldwide struggles even as we wrestle with our own challenges in the economic, political, spiritual and moral spheres.