Thursday, October 29, 2015

51% of U.S. Muslims want Sharia; 60% of young Muslims more loyal to Islam than to U.S.

"Islamic luminaries say the American Muslim community would rather live under a theocracy. 'Every Muslim who is honest would say, I would like to see America become a Muslim country', says Imam Zaid Shakir, co-founder of Zaytuna College in Berkeley, Calif."

Meanwhile, An Islamic Fifth Column Builds Inside America
by Paul Sperry, IBD (via Jihad Watch), October 1, 2015

In berating GOP presidential hopeful Ben Carson for suggesting a loyalty test for Muslims seeking high office, CNN host Jake Tapper maintained that he doesn’t know a single observant Muslim-American who wants to Islamize America.

“I just don’t know any Muslim-Americans — and I know plenty — who feel that way, even if they are observant Muslims,” he scowled.

Tapper doesn’t get out much. If he did, chances are he’d run into some of the 51% of Muslims living in the U.S. who just this June told Polling Co. they preferred having “the choice of being governed according to Shariah,” or Islamic law. Or the 60% of Muslim-Americans under 30 who told Pew Research they’re more loyal to Islam than America.

Maybe they’re all heretics, so let’s see what the enlightened Muslims think.

If Tapper did a little independent research he’d quickly find that America’s most respected Islamic leaders and scholars also want theocracy, not democracy, and even advocate trading the Constitution for the Quran.

These aren’t fringe players. These are the top officials representing the Muslim establishment in America today.

Hopefully none of them ever runs for president, because here’s what he’d have to say about the U.S. system of government:

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

“Abducting Women” and “Destroying Churches” is “Real Islam”—Iraqi Grand Ayatollah

"According to the ayatollah, when they can—when circumstance permits it, when they are strong enough—Muslims are obligated to go on the offensive and conquer non-Muslims (a fact to be kept in mind as millions of Muslim 'refugees' flood the West)."

by Raymond Ibrahim, FrontPage Magazine — October 15, 2015

During a recent televised interview [embedded at bottom] with Grand Ayatollah Ahmad al-Baghdadi, the leading Shia cleric of Iraq made clear why Islam and the rest of the world can never peacefully coexist.

First he spent some time discussing “defensive jihad,” saying that all capable Muslims are obligated to fight for the “liberation” of “occupied” territory, for instance, Israel (see here for a list of European countries also deemed “occupied” in the eyes of Islam).

He then explained “offensive jihad,” Islam’s primary bloodline, which forged what we now call the “Muslim world” over the centuries.

According to the ayatollah, when they can—when circumstance permits it, when they are strong enough—Muslims are obligated to go on the offensive and conquer non-Muslims (a fact to be kept in mind as millions of Muslim “refugees” flood the West).

The Muslim cleric repeatedly yelled at the secularized host who kept interrupting him and protesting that Islam cannot teach such intolerance.  At one point, he burst out: “I am the scholar of Islam [al-faqih].  You are just a journalist.  Listen to me!”

Expounded Al-Baghdadi:

If they are people of the book [Jews and Christians] we demand of them the jizya—and if they refuse, then we fight them.  That is if he is Christian. He has three choices: either convert to Islam, or, if he refuses and wishes to remain Christian, then pay the jizya [and live according to dhimmi rules]. 
But if they still refuse—then we fight them, and we abduct their women, and destroy their churches—this is Islam!… Come on, learn what Islam is, are you even a Muslim?! 
As for the polytheists [Hindus, Buddhists, etc.] we allow them to choose between Islam and war!  This is not the opinion of Ahmad al-Husseini al-Baghdadi, but the opinion of all five schools of jurisprudence [four Sunni and one Shia].

Towards the end of the interview, because the clean-shaven, suit-and-tie-wearing host kept protesting that this cannot be Islam, the ayatollah burst out, pointing at him with contempt and saying, “Who are you? You’re going to tell me what to believe?  This is the word of Allah!”

Indeed.  Not only is it the word of Islam’s deity, but it is the fundamental, insurmountable obstacle for peace between Muslims and non-Muslims. Al-Baghdadi—and the countless other Muslim clerics, Sunni and Shia, that hold these views—are not “radicals.”  For offensive jihad is no less codified than, say, Islam’s Five Pillars, which no Muslim rejects.

The Encyclopaedia of Islam’s entry for “jihad” states that the “spread of Islam by arms is a religious duty upon Muslims in general … Jihad must continue to be done until the whole world is under the rule of Islam … Islam must completely be made over before the doctrine of jihad can be eliminated.”

Christian Churches Demolished in Indonesia to Appease Mob of Enraged Muslims

Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim country, and ranks in the Top 50 worst countries for persecution of Christians on Open Doors' 2015 World Watch List. Based on the below, it might move into the top 20 in next year's ranking.

See also: 

Christian Churches Demolished in Indonesia to Appease Mob of Enraged Muslims
The Christian Post, via Pravoslavie — October 20, 2015

Authorities in the Aceh province of Indonesia began tearing down a number of Christian churches on Monday at the demand of hardline Muslims, as religious tensions have risen in the province in recent weeks.

According to Reuters, government workers in the Aceh Singkil district used axes and sledgehammers to dismantle several small Christian churches after many hardline Muslims in the area demanded that at least 10 Christian churches be demolished.

BBC reports that over 200 police officers and military personnel protected government workers as they destroyed the church buildings on the grounds that the structures lacked the proper building permits.

Islamic State sending trained assassins into UN refugee camps to murder Christians

Europe and the U.S. are both set to bring in hundreds of thousands of these refugees over the next two years. 

“Heading for Britain: ISIS sends ASSASSINS into UN refugee camps to murder Christians”
by Nick Gutteridge, Express, (via Jihad Watch), October 24, 2015:

The fanatical jihadis are sending teams of trained killers into camps disguised as refugees to kidnap and kill vulnerable Christians.

But refugees are terrified to report many of the killings in case they are targeted next, according to aid workers.

The horrifying tactic emerged after one terrorist got cold feet and renounced jihad after witnessing Christians helping out other refugees within the camp.

He then revealed that he had been sent with an Islamist hit squad to eliminate Christians as part of the hate group’s ideological drive to wipe the religion off the map….

An aid worker at a Unite4d [sic] Nations (UN) run camp in Jordan, who did not wish to be named for fear of reprisals, revealed that the jihadis are also kidnapping young refugee girls to sell on as sex slaves.

Monday, October 26, 2015

'Lambs among Wolves': Documentary about the Muslim Brotherhood's burning of Coptic churches

This looks promising: an English language documentary on the Muslim Brotherhood's planned, systematic burning of over 70 Coptic churches in Egypt, August 2013, just weeks following the popular overthrow of the ruthless, sharia-based government of Mohamed Morsi.

Will it discuss the Obama administration's unwavering support of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood? Or Koranic and hadith support for Muslim persecution of Christians and destruction of churches?

Even should such important components not be featured, showing the world what is at the heart of the Muslim Brotherhood should be a landmark achievement. I plan to post a followup when the film is released. Scroll down for the trailer...

Lambs among Wolves: A documentary about churches burning in Egypt Aug 2013 
Coptic Youth Channel, October 25, 2015:

EXCLUSIVE ON CYC the only english documentary movie that tells exactly the details of the Muslim Brotherhood attack over churches of Egypt which caused the burning of more than 70 churches in 2 days!! Hatred burnt every thing in churches, it was a complete destruction! Wait for the entire movie soon on CYC!

Monkmartyr Joseph of Dionysiou on Mt Athos (Oct 26)

This story should shock us all and call us to repentance. 

An obedient monk travels with a repentant apostate who, like many others under the Ottoman yoke, wished to wipe away the sin of denying Christ by confessing Him publicly in the city where his apostasy took place. But the penitent's faith and courage collapses, and he betrays not only Jesus Christ — a second time! — but also the godly monk Joseph, blaming him for turning him from Islam. The monk Joseph refuses to deny his Lord and God, and is tortured and eventually killed by the Muslims, inheriting the crown of glory.

Dramas like this are played out every day in the Middle East, Africa, Central Asia, Indonesia, and throughout the Islamic world. Would we confess Jesus Christ even unto death?

Monkmartyr Joseph of Dionysiou on Mt Athos (Oct 26)
OCA, October 26, 2015

Saint Joseph was a monk of Dionysiou Monastery on Mt. Athos, where he shone forth with the virtues of monastic life. He was an iconographer, and he painted the icon of the holy Archangels on the iconostasis of Dionysiou’s main church.

In obedience to the instructions of Igumen Stephen, St Joseph traveled to Constantinople with Eudocimus, who had apostasized from Orthodoxy to become a Moslem. Eudocimus repented, and wished to wipe out his sin through martyrdom.

When faced with torture and death, however, the unfortunate Eudocimus denied Christ again, blaming Joseph for turning him from Islam.

St Joseph was arrested and threatened with death. In spite of many tortures, he refused to convert to Islam. This holy martyr of Christ was hanged on February 17, 1819, and so he obtained an incorruptible crown of glory.

Some sources list his commemoration on February 17, while others list him on September 14 or October 26.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Christians Persecuted by Muslims Even in the West

"One Christian, born in Denmark to Lebanese parents, said Muslims surround and bully her about her Western attire. When one of them noticed she was wearing a cross, he said 'Well, you have a cross on—then you are also a Christian f***ing whore. Do you know what we do to people like you? Do you know what we do to people like you? You get stoned [to death]'.”

by Raymond Ibrahim, October 20, 2015

Asylum seekers in the Swedish city of Kalmar, where Christian refugees were forced to move out of public housing after being harassed and threatened by Muslims.

Last April, police in Sicily reported that Muslim migrants hurled as many as 53 Christians overboard during a crossing from Libya.  The motive was that the victims “professed the Christian faith while the aggressors were Muslim.”  

Another report cited a boy seen praying to the Judeo-Christian God. Muslims commanded him to stop, saying “Here, we only pray to Allah.”  Eventually the Muslims “went mad,” in the words of a witness, started screaming “Allahu Akbar!” and began hurling Christians into the sea.

It gets worse.  When Christian refugees finally do make it to Western shores, they continue to be attacked by Muslims, or fellow “refugees.”

According to a September 30 report, in Germany, “Many Christian refugees from Syria, Iraq or Kurdistan are being intimidated and attacked by Muslim refugees. In several refugee centers set up by the local authorities, Sharia law is being imposed and Christians—which are a minority—are the victims of bullying.”

Gottfried Martens, pastor of a south Berlin church, said that “very religious Muslims are spreading the following idea throughout the refugee centers: Sharia law rules wherever we are.”  Martens expressed especial concern for Muslims who convert to Christianity—apostates who, according to Islamic law, can be killed: “There is a 100% chance that these people will be attacked.”

Earlier, in July 2014, the weekly Die Zeit explained how “an atmosphere of intimidation and hostility towards Christians” reigns in the refugee centers.  Referred to as “pigs,” Christians have limited access to communal kitchens.  According to local authorities, “The police have reached their absolute breaking point.  Our officials are increasingly being called to confrontations in refugee homes.”

In Sweden, a July report told of how two small families of Christian asylum seekers were harassed and abused by approximately 80 Muslim asylum seekers from Syria.  The Christians and Muslims—described by one Swedish newspaper as “fundamentalist Islamists”—resided in the same asylum house.  As in Germany, the Muslims ordered the Christians not to use communal areas and not to wear their crosses around their necks.

After extensive harassment and threats, the Christian refugees who thought they had escaped “ISIS” left the Swedish asylum house “fearing for their own safety.” A spokesman for the government migration agency responsible for their center said:

They dared not stay. The atmosphere became too intimidating. And they got no help… They chose themselves to organize new address and moved away without our participation because they felt a discomfort.

In Denmark, according to the conclusion of a study conducted last year, “Christian asylum seekers are repeatedly exposed to everything from harassment to threats and physical abuse by other [Muslim] refugees in the asylum centers, simply because they have converted from Islam to Christianity.”   An eight year old Christian boy was repeatedly bullied and beaten by larger Muslim boys on his way to school, to the point that he dropped out.   And someone tampered with a Christian asylum seeker’s bicycle so that he crashed and broke both hands.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

'Convert or Die': In a Caliphate-ridden Iraq, Christians Face Ultimate Choice

"With the radical Islamic State's proud announcement that "the caliphate is here", the next step in their plan is to systematically eradicate Christians from the area."

By Elisa Cipollone via AINA — October 23, 2015

An Islamic State jihadi destroys a church, breaks the crosses.

In Iraq today, Assyrian Christians have two blunt options -- convert or die.

With the radical Islamic State's proud announcement that "the caliphate is here" (that note is painted on the walls of their cities), the next step in their plan is to systematically eradicate Christians from the area.

The news coming out of the war-torn nations of the Middle East just gets worse.

Perhaps the most disturbing, according to a report from the United Kingdom-based charity Aid to the Church in Need, is that Christianity in Iraq could die out in five years -- in 2020.

During the reign of Saddam Hussein, there were 1.4 million Christians living in Iraq. Today, 260,000 remain -- although perhaps not for long.

Western nations have been asking the question for months now: What, if anything, should they do?
In a statement last week, British Prime Minister David Cameron addressed the brutality against Christians in Iraq.

"Every day in countries across the world, Christians are systematically discriminated against, exploited and even driven from their homes because of their faith," he said. "Now is not the time for silence. We must stand together and fight for a world where no one is persecuted because of what they believe."

President Obama has made no such statement about the ongoing Christian genocide.

A key advocate for the victimized Christian community in this region is Jean-Clement Jeanbart, who is the Greek Melkite Catholic archbishop of Aleppo, Syria. Despite nearly losing his life twice, he remains steadfast in his support, saying he will not leave his people or his homeland.

The archbishop leads the Christian community in Syria, on the battlefield where ISIS hopes to expand its territory. Jeanbart acknowledges that this is "one of the most important challenges of our 2,000 year history."

ISIS barbarity: How 100,000 Christians fled Mosul in ONE NIGHT

A PRIEST who was captured and tortured by Islamist terrorists has today lifted the lid on Islamic State's (ISIS) horrific persecution of Christians.

by Nick Gutteridge, Express, via Pravmir — October 21, 2015

Fr. Douglas Bazi, modern-day confessor for Jesus Christ

Father Douglas Bazi revealed how 100,000 Christians fled the Iraqi city of Mosul in one night after the jihadi fanatics embarked on a “genocidal” campaign of ethnic cleansing.

Giving a shocking insight into life under ISIS rule, the clergyman told how the Christian population of Iraq has been decimated from a high of two million in 2003 to just 180,000 today.

He also revealed how jihadi fighters summarily torture and kill the families of those who speak out against them and regularly use girl sex slaves to pay for basic services including medical care.

Mosul’s entire population was given a 24-hour ultimatum to either convert to ISIS’s radical brand of Islam or face beheading when the terror group captured the city in June last year.

Ancient Christian Tahira Church (The Immaculate) in Mosul

As a result 100,000 penniless Christians fled in just one night, leaving behind their homes and possessions to be looted by jihadi fighters.

Those who stayed behind had to pay a Jizya – an Islamist tax levied on non-believers – amounting to an astronomical £5,200, which is more than the yearly salary of the average Iraqi. Those who could not afford the levy were executed.

Father Bazi said: “Before 2003 we were two million Christians in Iraq. Now we are maybe 180,000.

“At least 1,800 Christians have been killed since 2003 in Iraq. That’s why the people are afraid.

“Overnight 100,000 people escaped from Mosul and escaped from ISIS. When they arrived and took over Mosul they told the people we have three conditions according to Sharia.

“Number one was convert.

“The second was to pay Jizya (Islamic taxes) and they asked for each person to pay 4,000 to 8,000 US dollars.

“Third, they said you have to leave or you will be beheaded.”

He revealed how 5,000 Christian families have fled Iraq in the last year alone, and said the few who survived under ISIS rule in Mosul told shocking tales of the depravity of their overlords.

In one case he recalled how a jihadi fighter forced a dentist to accept a girl sex slave as payment for his medical treatment.

Islam’s Second Crisis: the troubles to come

This is an immensely significant article from not quite two years ago, which deserves to be read and shared widely.

by Mark Durie, February 14, 2014

In What Went Wrong, Bernard Lewis charted the decline of Islam in the modern era and the resulting theological crisis for the Muslim world. 

Now Islam is going through a second crisis, caused by the repeated failures of revivalist responses to the first crisis.  This second crisis, combined with the cumulative effect of the first crisis, which remains unresolved, will lead to a long drawn-out period of political and social instability for Muslim societies.

The first millennium of Islam was a period of expansion through conquest.   However for five centuries from around 1500, Western powers were pushing back Islamic rule.  There were numerous landmarks of the ascendancy of the West (which includes Russia), such as:
  • the conquest of Goa in India by the Portuguese in 1510; 
  • the liberation of Christian Ethiopia in 1543 with the aid of the Portuguese soldiers; 
  • the defeat of the Ottomans at the gates of Vienna in 1683 and 
  • the ensuing liberation of Hungary and Transylvania; 
  • Napoleon’s conquest of Egypt in 1798; 
  • the USA-Barbary State Wars of 1801-1815, which put an end to tribute payments by the US to the north African states to prevent piracy and the enslavement of US citizens; 
  • a long series of defeats for the Ottomans in Russo-Turkish wars stretching across four centuries and culminating in the 1877-78 Russo-Turkish war, 
  • which led to the independence of Romania, Serbia, Montenegro and Bulgaria; 
  • the overthrow of Muslim principalities in Southeast Asia by the Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch and English; 
  • the final destruction of Mughal rule in India at the hands by the British in 1857; 
  • the defeat and dismantling of the Ottoman Empire as a result of WWI; 
  • and finally, the establishment of the modern state of Israel in 1948, in territory formerly ruled by Islam, which was considered by many Muslims to be the crowning humiliation in this long line of defeats.
We are not just talking about Western colonialism.  Some of the victories over Muslim principalities involved the occupation or colonization of primarily Muslim lands, but many involved the liberation of non-Muslim peoples from the yoke of Muslim rule, such as in Ethiopia, Hungary and India, and some were defensive responses to Islamic aggression, such as the defeat of the Ottomans at the gates of Vienna.

While the external borders of Islam kept shrinking, its position of dominance within its own borders was also being challenged.  During this same period there were in many places improvements in the conditions experienced by non-Muslims under Islamic rule – a weakening of the dhimmi system – which communicated to Muslims an impression of their own faith’s loss of dominance and its loss of ‘success’. A landmark in this long process was the Paris Peace Treaty of 1856, which settled the Crimean War.  As part of this settlement the Ottomans were compelled to grant equal rights to Christians throughout their empire.  

The gradual process of improvement of conditions for Christians and Jews under Islam was regretted by Muslim scholars, who saw it as evidence of Islam’s decline.  For example a request for a fatwa from a Egyptian Muslim judge in 1772 lamented the ‘deplorable innovations’ of Christians and Jews, who were daring to make themselves equal to Muslims by their manner of dress and behavior, all in violation of Islamic law. 

In a similar vein, the Baghdad Quranic commentator Al-Alusi complained that non-Muslims in Syria during the first half of the 19th century were being permitted to make annual tribute payments by means of an agent, thus escaping the personal ritual degradations prescribed by Islamic law.  He concluded:  “All this is caused by the weakness of Islam.”

Why would Islam’s lack of dominance be evidence of weakness? 

Islamic doctrine promises falah ‘success’ to the religion’s followers, symbolized by the daily call to prayer which rings out from minarets: ‘come to success, come to success’. The success promised by Islam has always been understood to be both spiritual and material: conquest and rule this life, and paradise in the next. The Qur’an states that Allah has sent Muhammad “with the guidance and the religion of truth, that He may cause it to triumph over all (other) religions” (Sura 48:28).

Islam’s theology of success meant that the global failure of Islamic armies and states at the hands of ‘Christian’ states constituted a profound spiritual challenge to Islam’s core claims. Just as Muslim scholars had always pointed to the military victories of Islam as proof of its divine authority, this litany of defeats testified to its failure as the religion of the successful ones.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Organize a Parish Study Group on Islam

"My people perish for lack of knowledge..." — Hosea 4:6

Not where I was this week, where much knowledge is being shared.

This past Tuesday I was the guest speaker at a monthly parish study group on Islam. It was a great experience, and I commend founders/organizers John and Bill for doing this important work, all on a volunteer basis.

We had some excellent discussions, with everyone in the group sharing some piece of news or information which they had gathered since the September meeting.

Launched about a year and a half ago, the group has studied a wide range of materials to learn more about Islam and the challenges it poses for the West generally and Orthodox Christians in particular. They are currently watching in serial form a BBC documentary on the life of Muhammad, and comparing it to actual Islamic source texts, including the Koran, the Sira, and the hadiths, in order to give a complete picture.

I strongly encourage Orthodox Christians who are seeking to do something to educate themselves and their brothers and sisters to replicate this concept and create a study group. There are literally 4-years' worth of material right here on this site:

  • On the left-hand column you can explore the lives of martyrs and the teachings of various Saints and Church Fathers on Islam. 
  • The right-hand column features several excellent books which you can assign as study projects. 
  • The special page on New-Martyr Fr. Daniil Sysoev has a wealth of material, as well as providing one of the most encouraging examples of fearless and authentic Christian witness for our darkening days.

You can do this. You need to do this.

As something of a follow-up to our discussions from Tuesday night, here is a brief survey, with links for further reading, on key topics we covered:

Refuting the Same God Heresy: See this post, The New Iconoclasm and the Triumph of Orthodoxy. There are many other posts which you can explore by entering "Same God Heresy" into the Search field. Of course, my book, Facing Islam, was written primarily to destroy the satanic heresy which asserts that Allah of Islam is the same as the True God. Order it from my online store and prepare yourself for the trials ahead.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Construction of 'Church of the Libyan Martyrs' to proceed in Egypt

"Egyptian President al-Sisi granted permission for construction of the church last February after the Islamic State militants beheaded 21 Coptic Christians on a Libyan beach...  the construction indicates a slow but noticeable shift taking place in Egyptian culture [and government]... improving attitudes toward Christians and resistance to Islamic extremism."

We hope and pray for peace for our Coptic brothers and sisters, but remain painfully aware of continued hostilities and open persecution of Christians by Muslims in Egypt and throughout the Islamic world.

Egypt to Begin Construction of Church Dedicated to ISIS Martyrs
by Thomas D. Williams, PhD, Breitbart News, October 10, 2015

In the coming days, construction will commence on a new church in Egypt dedicated to the martyred Coptic Christians beheaded by the Islamic State in Libya in February.

The new church, bearing the name “Church of the Libyan Martyrs,” will be built in the Minya Governorate, south of the capital, Cairo. The church will cost $1.3 million, half of which has already been raised.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi granted permission for the construction of the church last February after Islamic State militants murdered 21 Coptic Christians on a Libyan beach.

According to Father Rafic Greiche, spokesman for the Catholic Church in Egypt, the construction is indicative of a slow but noticeable shift taking place in Egyptian culture as well as among state officials. The change comprises improving attitudes toward Christians, but also resistance to Islamic extremism.

Until now, Fr. Greiche said, the procedure involved in getting a church building permit was extremely complex, involving a series of authorizations and approvals, which have been streamlined in this case. The decision also indicates that the government wished to send a strong message against religious discrimination, he said.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The New Age of Christian Martyrdom - Ushered in by U.S. Leadership

It should grieve and burden us all to the depth of our souls that our freely elected government is directly responsible for unleashing the bloody wave of Islamic jihad and the New Age of Christian Martyrdom.  In our days, "rendering unto Caesar" results in our Christian brothers and sisters being tortured, raped, sold into slavery, and killed, all for their faith in Christ. God have mercy on us all... 

U.S. Leadership Ushers in New Age of Christian Martyrdom
by Raymond Ibrahim
Gatestone Institute, October 11, 2015

One of 21 Coptic Christians prays seconds before being
decapitated for refusing to renounce Christ for Muhammad.
Wherever U.S. leadership has helped Islamic jihadis topple secular autocrats in the name of “democracy and freedom,” indigenous Christian minorities are being forced to convert to Islam or die.

Many are accepting death.

Most recently, on August 28 near Aleppo, the Islamic State (IS or ISIS) tortured, mutilated, publicly raped, beheaded and crucified 12 Christians for saying “they would never renounce Christ” for Muhammad.

The jihadis took one group in front of a large crowd.  They cut off the fingertips of a 12-year-old boy, who steadfastly refused to submit to Islam.  They “severely beat him, telling his father they would stop the torture only if he, the father, returned to Islam.”  He refused, so they “also tortured and beat him and the two other ministry workers. The three men and the boy then met their deaths in crucifixion.”

According to a Christian leader associated with the martyrs, “They were left on their crosses for two days. No one was allowed to remove them.”  A sign saying “infidels” was placed next to their crosses.

The other eight Christians, including two women aged 29 and 33, were also ordered to renounce Christ and embrace Islam before a large crowd.  They refused:

The Islamic extremists then publicly raped the women, who continued to pray during the ordeal, leading the ISIS militants to beat them all the more furiously. 
As the two women and the six men knelt before they were beheaded, they were all praying. 
“Villagers said some were praying in the name of Jesus, others said some were praying the Lord’s prayer, and others said some of them lifted their heads to commend their spirits to Jesus,” the ministry director said. “One of the women looked up and seemed to be almost smiling as she said, ‘Jesus!’" 
After they were beheaded, their bodies were hung on crosses, the ministry director said, his voice breaking.

The same is happening in the two other Arab nations where the U.S., under the pretext of “freedom and democracy,” overthrew the secular dictators who had long kept a lid on the jihadis: Iraq and Libya.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Syrian Christians cry 'JESUS!' before being beheaded by Islamic State

Another report on the 12 New Martyrs of Aleppo, Syria.

See also, 12 New Martyrs: Tortured, Crucified by Islamic State for refusing to renounce Christ.

by Mary Chastain, Breitbart News, October 5, 2015

The Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) executed 12 Christians, including a 12-year-old boy, after they refused to abandon their faith and convert to Islam. The murders occurred on August 28 outside of Aleppo.

“In front of the team leader and relatives in the crowd, the Islamic extremists cut off the fingertips of the boy and severely beat him, telling his father they would stop the torture only if he, the father, returned to Islam,” revealed Christian Aid Mission.  “When the team leader refused, relatives said, the ISIS militants also tortured and beat him and the two other ministry workers. The three men and the boy then met their deaths in crucifixion.”

The boy’s father was a “ministry team leader who planted nine churches.” One woman allegedly yelled “Jesus!” right before the terrorists beheaded her. Militants took eight aid workers, two of them females, to another village. They proceeded to rape the two females before they executed them.

“Villagers said some were praying in the name of Jesus, others said some were praying the Lord’s Prayer, and others said some of them lifted their heads to commend their spirits to Jesus,” described one source. “One of the women looked up and seemed to be almost smiling as she said, ‘Jesus!'”

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Russia Declares ‘Holy War’ on Islamic State

"What the United States and its Western allies have wrought in the Middle East—culminating with the rise of a bloodthirsty caliphate and the worst atrocities of the 21st century—is as unholy as Russia’s resolve to fight it is holy." — Raymond Ibrahim


Russia Declares ‘Holy War’ on Islamic State
by Raymond Ibrahim, FrontPage Magazine, October 6, 2015

The Orthodox Christian Church, which is reclaiming its traditional role in post-Soviet Russia, has just described its government’s fight against the Islamic State and other jihadi groups in Syria as a “holy war.”

According to Vsevolod Chaplin, head of the Church’s Public Affairs Department,

The fight with terrorism is a holy battle and today our country is perhaps the most active force in the world fighting it.  The Russian Federation has made a responsible decision on the use of armed forces to defend the People of Syria from the sorrows caused by the arbitrariness of terrorists. Christians are suffering in the region with the kidnapping of clerics and the destruction of churches. Muslims are suffering no less.

This is not a pretext to justify intervention in Syria.  For years, Russia’s Orthodox leaders have been voicing their concern for persecuted Christians.  Back in February 2012, the Russian church described to Vladimir Putin the horrific treatment Christians are experiencing around the world, especially under Islam:

The head of External Church Relations, Metropolitan Illarion, said that every five minutes one Christian was dying for his or her faith in some part of the world, specifying that he was talking about such countries as Iraq, Egypt, Pakistan and India. The cleric asked Putin to make the protection of Christians one of the foreign policy directions in future. 
“This is how it will be, have no doubt,” Putin answered.

“We must protect Russia from that which has destroyed American society.” 
— Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian Patriarch Kirill once even wrote an impassioned letter to Obama, imploring him to stop empowering the murderers of Christians.  That the patriarch said “I am deeply convinced that the countries which belong to the Christian civilization bear a special responsibility for the fate of Christians in the Middle East” must have only ensured that the letter ended up in the Oval Office’s trash can.  After all, didn’t Obama make clear that America is “no longer a Christian nation“?

Ancient Faith Interview: Islam through the heart and mind of a convert to Orthodox Christianity - Part 2

The conclusion of an extended in-depth and fascinating interview conducted by Kevin Allen of Ancient Faith Today. Listen to Part 1 here.

Islam: Through the heart and mind of a convert to Orthodox Christianity - Part 2
Interview by Kevin Allen for Ancient Faith Today

Ancient Faith Radio, October 2, 2015 — Length: 32:14

In this two-part interview Kevin's guest is "George," who became a Sunni Muslim at age 14 and studied to become an Imam at a madrasa, studying Quran, Arabic language, Islamic theology, hadith, and jurisprudence. He left Islam and became an Orthodox Christian 20 years later. 

Among other things, Kevin and his guest discuss Islamic theology, common misunderstandings of Christianity by Muslims, differences between "orthodox" Islam and the Nation of Islam, the true understanding and practice in Islam of slavery and jihad, and the extraordinary journey that led "George" to Orthodox Christianity.

Devastated Christian Family: Our Longtime Muslim Friends and Neighbors Killed Our Children

St Rafka Mission of Hope and Mercy,
commentary by Raymond Ibrahim, October 7, 2015

The above 6-minute video is a must-see.  It offers an up close and personal account of what Christian minorities are experiencing at the hands of jihadis and other Muslim “rebels” being supported in the Mideast by the Obama administration.

A Christian family from Iraq narrates how their young children were killed and burned alive, “simply for wearing the cross.” One of the remaining and traumatized children uses toy figures to show people how his siblings were slaughtered.

This family is identical to the other Christian refugees who fled the Islamic State in Iraq and came to America—only to be imprisoned and then thrown back to the lions by the Obama government.

Listen especially to the mother’s words starting around the 2:50 minute mark.  She talks about how the “ISIS” that attacked and killed her children were their own Muslim neighbors, whom they ate with, laughed with, and even provided educational and medical service to.

Fr. Stephen Freeman: 'Church Scandals Must Come'

As I saw this title in my feed for Pravmir this morning, I had a sense about it, and knew I had to read it right away. Please bear with my introductory remarks.

As I absorbed Fr Stephen's thoughts on scandal, it took me back to one of the most scandalous things I had ever encountered in my life in the Orthodox Church. It was the day in the summer of 2008 that I opened up a thin booklet by an Orthodox priest and professor, written to be "a guide for Orthodox Christians encountering Muslims," and read this:

"Muslims and Christians worship the same God."

The shock of reading such a statement, written by an Orthodox Christian priest, one who celebrates the Divine Liturgy, the Eucharist, and who is charged with defending the Church and the Holies with his very life, left me reeling. It was a scandalon — σκάνδαλα — as devastating and unbelievable as any I had encountered. And it started me on the path which would lead to me writing the book, Facing Islam, and then launching this blog.

That scandal set me on this path to refute the lie that says the God of Islam is the True God, for that is what one is saying, when one makes the above assertion.

That scandal compelled me to bear witness to the Way, the Truth, and the Life, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of God, Second Person of the Holy Triune Godhead, who became man for our sake, to restore us to the Father, to our divine calling as children of God.

The irony of that initial scandal is that while I recall vividly the reaction it provoked within me, and the torrent of righteous fervor it unleashed, over the years since, I have come to see my inner reaction to the many scandals caused by Islam and those who defend it — especially those Orthodox Christians who are so confused in their theology, ecclesiology and their notion of love as to affirm Islam itself — to become progressively more pensive, pained, sorrowful, and less angry, defensive, polemical.

Christ calls us to love our enemies, to forgive seventy times seven. This means, in the most stark and challenging context, to love and forgive the Muslim jihadist who is sawing our head off with a serrated knife. We have examples of Holy New Martyrs in our very day (and of their grieving families in the aftermath) doing exactly that.

But when one knows and is filled with the Truth, one cannot forgive the lie, only the liar. One cannot forgive the deception, only the deceived, the lost, precisely because "they know not what they do."

I have often quoted the words of Yuri Maximov (now Priest George) regarding the towering, prophetic example of New Priest-Martyr Daniil Sysoev of Moscow (†2009), and will do so again and again, for his words are perhaps the best summation of what my book, blog and mission are all about:

Among those who call themselves Orthodox, I have met such strange people who say that Fr. Daniel should not preach to Muslims, that one must respect their religion, and that there is no benefit from his preaching. But Fr. Daniel thought, as did the Lord, the Apostles, and all the saints, that one must respect mistaken people but not their mistakes. Truth is one, that which contradicts and negates truth is a lie, and respect for a lie is contempt for the truth. (Source)

Scandals must come, but it is often scandals which prove and test us, and most sharply delineate Truth from falsehood, Light from darkness, the True Way from the way to perdition.

Brothers and sisters, let us confess Jesus Christ and labor to be found in Him, that we may rejoice at His Coming, and not be ashamed. This is the True Faith. Amen.

Church Scandals Must Come
by Fr. Stephen Freeman, Glory to God for All Things, October 20, 2012

Scandals must come (Matt. 18:7).

Judas betrays Jesus with a kiss.

These are the words of Christ. He tells us that scandals are not only likely to happen – but that they will happen. They are necessary (ἀνάγκη).

Most readers will marvel that this is a quote from Jesus. The reason is simple: the Greek (ἀνάγκη γάρ ἐστιν ἐλθεῖν τὰ σκάνδαλα) is rarely translated in such a manner. “Stumbling blocks,” or “offenses,” is the more common way to render the word skandala (σκάνδαλα). But the Greek has a very simple cognate in English: scandal.

Why would Christ tell his disciples that scandals must come? It is a description of the nature of things in this world. The entrance of the Kingdom of God and its dwelling among men is not such that men will cease to be broken or evil. Christ warned His disciples that he himself would be betrayed – not by strangers – but by one of them!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Islamic Indoctrination Taking Place in Georgia Public Schools

Georgia Public Schools are teaching key components of Islamic dawah: “schools are reportedly forcing students to learn the Five Pillars of Islam—the creed one must learn to convert—and teaching students that Allah is the same God worshipped by Christians.” 

So far, unlike in Tennessee, they haven’t [yet] forced the students to actually recite the Shahada, the Muslim confession of faith.

Further, homework assignments are designed to indoctrinate students into accepting this assertion as fact, when it is a strongly contested point which many Orthodox and traditional Christians flatly reject, and with compelling reason.  In addition, the volume of Georgia school materials on Islam outnumber those on Christianity by up to 10 to 1, further highlighting the preferential treatment accorded Islam “in a way that could violate the U.S. Constitution.”

The “Same God” assertion is indeed a primary plank of Islamic dawah (proselytizing), and together with Islam’s claim to be an “Abrahamic Faith” is one of the main tools used by Muslim apologists to advance their agenda within unsuspecting Christian and Jewish communities.

Besides the theological issues with the “Same God” claim itself, Mark Durie explains some of the many dangers this and the “Abrahamic Faith” assertion conceals:

Monday, October 5, 2015

12 New Martyrs: Tortured, Crucified by Islamic State for refusing to renounce Christ

“In front of the team leader and relatives in the crowd, the Islamic extremists cut off the fingertips of the boy and severely beat him, telling his father they would stop the torture only if he, the father, returned to Islam,” Christian Aid revealed, according to a report from Morning Star News. 

“When the team leader refused, relatives said, the ISIS militants also tortured and beat him and the two other ministry workers. The three men and the boy then met their deaths in crucifixion.”

Why cut off the boy's fingertips? It's commanded in the Qur'an:
“When your Lord inspired to the angels, ‘I am with you, so strengthen those who have believed. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieved, so strike [them] upon the necks and strike from them every fingertip.'” (Qur’an 8:12)

They would stop the torture only if he, the father, returned to Islam: “They wish you would disbelieve as they disbelieved so you would be alike. So do not take from among them allies until they emigrate for the cause of Allah. But if they turn away, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them and take not from among them any ally or helper.” (Qur’an 4:89)

Why Crucifixion? It's commanded in the Qur'an: —
“Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment.” (Qur’an 5:33)

12 Christians Brutally Executed by ISIS Refused to Renounce Name of Christ, Died Praying, Reciting Lord’s Prayer 
by Leah Marieann Klett, Gospel Herald, via Jihad Watch — October 2, 2015:

Thousands of Christians in Iraq and Syria are displaced thanks to ISIS terror.

Twelve Christians have been brutally executed by the Islamic State, including the 12-year-old son of a Syrian ministry team leader who had planted nine churches, because they refused to renounce the name of Jesus Christ and embrace Islam. The martyrs were faithful to the very end; right before one woman was beheaded by the terror group, she appeared to be smiling slightly as she said, “Jesus!”

Sunday, October 4, 2015

THE FOLLY OF COMFORTABLE CHRISTIANITY - A conversation with Bishop Pitirim of Dushanbe and Tadjikistan

Here is another 'Voice in the Wilderness', a clear-spoken, fearless and true bishop who does not flinch from proclaiming the Truth of Christ, and warning about the falsehood of Islam:

"Those who [convert to] Islam are precisely those who are Christian only in name. A true Christian would not become a Moslem purely due its theology — those who thoroughly know our theology and also know something even superficially about Islam can understand that there is no salvation in Islam."

His Eminence does make a couple of assertions concerning the Koran's commands regarding Christians, and about ISIS, which require a little clarification, so I have interjected a brief commentary with citations from the Koran, hadiths and other Islamic sources.  

THE FOLLY OF COMFORTABLE CHRISTIANITY - A conversation with Bishop Pitirim of Dushanbe and Tadjikistan
by Anastasia Rakhlina, Pravoslavie — October 2, 2015

On diluted Christianity, the rapid spread of Islamization, new “European values”, hatred for true Christianity, and where it all may lead.

Bishop Pitirim of Dushanbe and Tadjikistan

Comfortable Christianity is not wanting to carry your cross.”

Your Eminence, what are the “comfortable Christianity” and “pink Christianity” you talk about in your sermons that we publish on our site []? Could it be said that comfortable Christianity is the spiritual illness of our times?

—What did the Lord say? Take up your cross and follow Me. This is the meaning of Christianity. Comfortable Christianity is, first of all, not wanting to carry your cross.

This illness is endemic not only of our times, but began immediately. As soon as Christianity came to be, there were both zealous Christians and lazy Christians.

The first centuries of Christianity were by nature very uncomfortable—there were persecutions, and only the most zealous remained Christians. But those who were among the Christians simply by chance either renounced Christ, or, as many philosophers or scholars, did not want to change themselves to conform to Christian teaching. They instead wanted to change Christian teaching to suit themselves.

That is how the first heresies arose among the Gnostics. This was also a form of comfort—they wanted the convenience of thinking however they liked, without denying themselves anything.

And when Christianity became a permitted religion, from the time of St. Constantine the Great, this phenomenon of “comfortable Christianity” began. Why did monasteries become so widespread then? Because zealous Christians left the cities, where it had become impossible to preserve zeal.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Russian Orthodox Synod to host Evening in Honor of Priest-Martyr Daniil Sysoev

This is a very significant event, and seems to be a direct fruit of the organization which has only recently begun translating Fr Daniil's books into English and selling them through their online store.

For more on New Priest-Martyr Daniil Sysoev, whom I consider to be the Orthodox Proto-Martyr of the 21st Century, see my Special Resource Page, which I hope to expand over the coming weeks.

October 1, 2015

On Sunday, November 8, after the Divine Liturgy and luncheon at the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City, a memorial evening will be held to honor the memory of Priest Daniel Sysoev, on the occasion of the sixth anniversary of his martyric death.

This will be the first open meeting in America dedicated to the memory of Fr. Daniel Sysoev. This is a man whose name is closely tied to the rebirth of missionary work in modern Russia. This is a man who uncompromisingly preached God’s truth and was vouchsafed a martyr’s death six years ago at the hands of a Muslim terrorist, in the church that he built. 

Well-known are the ancient words: "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church." At this meeting, attendees will be convinced of the fact that these words are just as real in our time. 

Among the guests are family and friends of Fr. Daniel, and modern Orthodox missionaries. They will speak about how Fr. Daniel’s life, death, and legacy have impacted the growth of Orthodoxy in Russia, China, India, Thailand, the Philippines, and many other countries.

This is a unique opportunity to become better acquainted with an example of modern sainthood, as well as to learn a little bit about what is perhaps the least explored sphere of Orthodox Church life.

Invitation is open to anyone interested in seeing a reflection of the Apostolic Faith in our time and hearing testimonies of the life of a man who overcame this world and laid down his life for God’s truth.

Free admittance. Address:

ROCOR Synod of Bishops
75 East 93rd Street
New York, NY, 10128

Organized by – Daniel Sysoev, Inc.
Please address all questions by e-mail:

Pakistani New Martyrs Shahzad and Shama, killed by a Muslim mob

This is a phenomenon documented during the Muslim Ottoman tyranny as well. Accusations by Muslims against Christians often result in Muslim mobs whipped into a frenzy, and killing the innocent Christians. It is in part an application of Islam's blasphemy laws, and also of the dhimma contract (the Pact of Omar), where any perceived violation by any Christian results in collective punishment by Muslims against the Christian community.

See also: Witnesses for Christ - Orthodox Christian NeoMartyrs of the Ottoman Period, 1437-1860, by Nomikos Michael Vaporis.

See also this story, which may in fact be about the husband (different spelling of his name), and predates their martyrdom by five months: Pakistani Court sentences Christian to death under Islamic Blasphemy Laws.

New Martyrs Shahzad and Shama Masih,
accused of blasphemy and killed in Kot Radha Kishan, Punjab, on 4 November 2014.

Christian couple lynched for blasphemy: the police accused of negligence
Agenzia Fides, August 31, 2015 (via Jihad Watch)

Lahore (Agenzia Fides) – The Supreme Court of Pakistan criticized the inaction of the police in front of the lynching of the Christian couple Shahzad and Shama Masih, accused of blasphemy and killed in Kot Radha Kishan, Punjab, on 4 November 2014. 

On 24 August, the Court, in a case involving two accused of the lynching, strongly criticized the police for not having intervened to prevent violence and did nothing to protect the two Christian citizens.

Islamic Jihadists responsible for Arson Attack of Bethlehem Monastery

"A lot of work has to be done to change the way preaching is done in mosques because far too often they provoke people and foment hatred. Anti-Christian hatred and violence should stop."

Arson attack at Bethlehem’s St Charbel Monastery, probably the work of Islamic fundamentalists, says Maronite leader
Asia News — September 28, 2015

Bethlehem (AsiaNews) – Sobhy Makhoul, the chancellor of the Maronite Patriarchate in Jerusalem, told AsiaNews that the fire that broke out over the weekend at St Charbel Maronite Monastery (pictured) in Bethlehem was deliberately set. “It was an act of arson, not a fire caused by an electrical problem, an act of sectarian vandalism by radical Muslims.”

The fire caused no casualties or injuries because the building is currently unoccupied and under renovation, but the damage is evident and the local Christian community is now fearful of further violence.

Differing Views from Catholic Clergy on the Threat from Jihad and Shariah

Pope Francis' recent visit to the United States has prompted much commentary. It is impossible for me to cover it all, but this particular report, which includes links to three additional articles (below the break), was forwarded to me and gives clear insights into the problems with statements by Pope Francis.

See also: William Kilpatrick: 'Humility and Hubris'

Differing Views from Catholic Clergy on the Threat from Jihad and Shariah
By Christopher W. Holton, Terror Trends Bulletin — September 27, 2015 (Thanks to Plamen)

Pope Francis at the 9/11 Memorial, Ground Zero, NYC (Telegraph UK)

With the visit of Pope Francis to the United States, some attention has been paid to his views on Jihad in general and the September 11 attacks in particular.

On a visit to the September 11 memorial at Ground Zero, the pope made a statement that we find offensive and born of ignorance.

From USA Today:
In a remark some relatives of 9/11 victims may disagree with, the pope attributed “the wrongful and senseless loss of innocent lives” at Ground Zero to “the inability to find solutions which respect the common good.”

To what solutions could Pope Francis possibly be referring?

What “solutions which respect the common good” would have convinced Osama Bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Mohammed Atta that violent Jihad was wrong?

Al Qaeda and all Jihadist groups have as their goal the imposition of Shariah through violent Jihad. We can only assume that the pope is unaware of this. We must also assume that he is unaware that mainstream Islamic doctrine also calls for the imposition of Shariah worldwide.

Which Catholics and other Christians should be sacrificed to live under Shariah for the “common good?”

This was not the first time Pope Francis made statements that demonstrate an ignorance of Islamic doctrine.