Saturday, December 31, 2016

Eric Allen Bell: 'Why I Do Not Hate Muslims'

"The way that Islam was first spread is nearly identical to how ISIS behaves, as it follows the commands of the Quran without compromise... Fortunately, most Muslims do not actually follow the Quran..." 
"Should we all start hating Muslims now? Should the free world deliver it’s value system upon the Islamic world using missiles? Should we repeat the holocaust of the 20th Century and dehumanize an entire group of people? Herein lies a problem that gets to the core of why human beings are stuck. We seem to only know how to solve problems in such a way that creates more problems..."

Eric Allen Bell is the liberal filmmaker who, in the process of trying to expose Islamophobia in Tennessee, came to realize that there is something very wrong about Islam itself. In this article he comes "very close to the kingdom of God" in expressing both the problem with Islam, and also why we must not hate Muslims.

As an Orthodox Christian, I would add only the following, that the chief reasons we do not hate Muslims are two: (1) Because they too are created in the image of God, and therefore we are called to love them and share the Gospel with them; and (2) Because we know we too are sinners in need of God's mercy, seeking to repent and come to truly know Christ, abide in Him, and allow Him to abide in us by the Holy Spirit. If we can keep these simple truths in mind and heart, and grow in love by the Holy Spirit, then we shall be better able over time to forgive, and to share the truth in love, even with our enemies.

And, who knows. We may even come to discover that in truth, we have no enemies, for those who hate us, persecute us, and kill us for following Christ give us the supreme opportunity to love Christ to the fullest, to confess Him before men, and to exalt His Name by our own suffering and death.

Why I Do Not Hate Muslims
by Eric Allen Bell, December 22, 2016
(Follow the link for much more on Mr. Bell's website, including video and his documentary work.)

The mandate of Islam is to force the world to submit to Islam. Our leaders tell us that Islam means peace. But lying about something does not make it so. Islam means submission. Islam opposes free speech, free thought and human rights.

Sharia Law is the codification of the Quran. The Quran is the holy book in Islam. Sharia mandates the stoning of women for adultery or being raped, it requires the amputation of limbs for theft, the hanging of homosexuals and death to anyone who dares to leave Islam. Islam is the religion of approximately 1.5 billion people on the planet at this time. According to the Pew Forum, when polled the majority of Muslims believe that it is at least sometimes okay to kill innocent civilians in the name of Islam.

US President, Barack Hussein Obama has said, in response to the continuous killing of civilians in the name of Islam that, “No faith teaches this”. However, Quran 9:5 says to Muslims, with regard to the unbeliever, to “kill them wherever you find them”. Obama can lie to himself, he can lie to appease and he can lie to those who place their trust in him. But facts don’t lie.

"The Quran is... preoccupied with what to do with the unbeliever, how to enforce rules and how to engage in warfare."

Fortunately, most Muslims do not actually follow the Quran. This might be due in part to the fact that about 2/3 of Muslims cannot read or write. Or maybe they are just humane enough not to harm someone just because their holy book says to do so, on page after page after page. Although the Quran, in chapter 4, commands a man to beat his wife, most Muslim men do not. However, still a significant percentage do.

Religion is an attempt to institutionalize one’s relationship with the Divine. However, when one reads the Quran it is clear that most of the passages do not deal with Allah, the god of Islam. Rather the book is obsessed with its own author, the “prophet” Muhammad. It is also very preoccupied with what to do with the unbeliever, how to enforce rules and how to engage in warfare. There is a strong argument to be made that Islam is first and foremost a tyrannical political system, then a brutal legal system with some religious overtones here and there.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Muslim Clerics: Christian Worship Is ‘Worse than Murder and Bloodshed’...

...and building a Christian church akin to building “a nightclub, a gambling casino, or building a barn for rearing pigs, cats or dogs.”

Before we explore these statements of Muslim clerics, which incite Muslims to attack Christian churches throughout the Islamic world, let us look at a rare dissenting opinion.

Some weeks ago, in the aftermath of the Muslim jihad bombing at St Mark's Coptic Cathedral in Cairo — in which over 25 women and children were killed — Pravmir, one of the premier Russian Orthodox websites, re-posted a news article (originally in The Tablet, a UK publication) titled: 'Attacking churches is ‘prohibited in Islamic Sharia’, says Grand Mufti after deadly bomb blast in Cairo'.

The title of the article was taken from the featured quote, which followed updates on the horrific slaughter, the worst church attack in Egypt in recent years, a quote from Egyptian President el-Sisi, and a statement from the Coptic Church. The quotation is as follows:

The Grand Mufti, the highest official of religious law in Egypt, condemned the “deplorable terrorist attack”. 
Sheikh Shawky Ibrahim Abdel-Karim Allam said, 
“attacking churches whether by demolition, bombing, killing those inside, or terrifying people is prohibited in Islamic Sharia”. He called for unity against “terrorism that tries to instigate sectarianism and sedition among the two wings of Egypt – Muslims and Christians – in a bid to weaken the nation”.

The article title and quote from the Grand Mufti are deeply problematic and not to be taken at face value.

First of all, Pravmir should not have merely re-posted the Tablet article, but should have provided some context for the news report, as readers skimming their news feed might catch that title and be tempted to think that "all is well, Muslim leaders are denouncing terrorist attacks, and saying it is prohibited by sharia law."

In offering context, Pravmir might have observed that the Grand Mufti's statement actually contradicts the Koran, Muhammad's example, and fourteen centuries of Islamic jurisprudence, including leading Muslim clerics of today.

The long history of Muslim persecution of Christians flows unimpeded from the supposed eternal words of Allah in the Koran, and from the example and teachings of the founder of Islam, Muhammad, collected in the hadiths. The example of Muhammad is the lens through which the Koran is interpreted. And the example of Muhammad, and the words of the Koran are clear:

Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas and Martyrdom

"If we exchange a 'Merry Christmas' with others, we need to be mindful of the commitment we are making to the newborn Christ... to 'witness' to Him."

by Fr. Steven C. Kostoff,, December 23, 2016:

Icon: Rachael weeping for her children.

The Gospel reading for the Great Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord is Matthew 2:1-12.  This passage proclaims the Good News that the Savior was born in Bethlehem according to the biblical prophecies.  The star guides the Magi and they, in turn, bring their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the newborn Child in acknowledgment that He is unique and a true King, testified to by cosmic signs that even the Gentile Magi can properly interpret.  Joyous as this is, there is already a hint of the ultimate destiny of Christ in that myrrh is used in the burial customs of the Jews.

On the Second Day of the Nativity, we complete the reading of the second chapter of Saint Matthew’s Gospel—2:13-23, which immediately introduces us to the tragic reality of the massacre of the innocent boys in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or younger.  The previous joy of the Savior’s Nativity is replaced by the wailing and lamentation of the mothers of these innocent children, in fulfillment of the prophecy of Jeremiah:

Sunday, December 25, 2016

William Kilpatrick: 'The Prophet Who Stole Christmas'

Do Muslims truly "love and revere" Jesus? Do we really, as one Muslim apologist insists in his annual holiday message, “have more in common than you think?” Not if you compare the Muslim Jesus with the true Jesus in the Gospels.

The Prophet Who Stole Christmas
by William Kilpatrick, Crisis Magazine, December 16, 2016:

Behold! The angels said: O Mary! God giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him. His name will be Jesus Christ, the son of Mary, held in honor in this world and the Hereafter and in (the company of) those nearest to God.

Before searching for this quote in the New Testament, you might first ask your Muslim co-worker, friend, or neighbor for a copy of the Qur’an … the quote is from verse 45 of chapter 3 of the Qur’an.” So writes Ibrahim Hooper, the communications director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). It’s the introduction to his holiday message and it’s offered as proof that “Muslims also love and revere Jesus.”

Every year around Christmastime, Hooper’s message is reprinted and with it his assurance to Christians that “We have more in common than you think.” But there’s a hitch to this message of hope. That’s because every year during Christmastime, other Muslims have a tradition of slaughtering Christians and burning down their churches—preferably on Christmas Day. If you’re a Christian living in Nigeria, Egypt, or Pakistan, Christmas Day brings both joy and trepidation. Other Christians in the Muslim world live in constant fear of abduction, rape, forced marriage to Muslims, confiscation of property, beatings, and blasphemy convictions. As Raymond Ibrahim has ably demonstrated in his monthly series on Muslim persecution of Christians, the Muslim world is permeated with a climate of hatred towards Christians.

Which raises a question: why haven’t they gotten the message—that is, the message that Muslims “love and revere Jesus”? Well, they have. Except that the Jesus they revere is not Jesus of Nazareth, but the Jesus of Muhammad’s imagining.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Middle East Christians Celebrate Christmas Under Yoke of Genocide

This important summary of the relentless jihad against Christians in the Mid-East, Africa, and throughout the Islamic world, should remind us to pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters around the globe.

Middle East Christians Celebrate Christmas Under Yoke of Genocide
By Philippe Nassif, The Hill via AINA, December 20, 2016:

The ISIS bombing of St. Mark's cathedral in Cairo on Dec. 11 2016, the largest church in the Middle East, momentarily brought the suffering of Middle East Christians to the forefront of American consciousness.

In the days since, the coverage has subsided, with more unsettling news from the region. Lost in the news cycle is the question of Christianity's survival across the Middle East.

American media coverage of religious persecution in the Middle East, particularly violent extremism that targets vulnerable minority groups, has improved in recent years. But there is nothing like the coverage that is merited.

Minorities are, of course, keenly conscious of this -- both in the West and the Middle East. But they feel that they are invisible to most observers from the West. There have been some exceptions.

In 2011, after a New Year's Day attack on Saints Church in Alexandria, Egypt, "The Atlantic's" Jeffrey Goldberg wrote of:

"The lackadaisical coverage of what seems to be the most important story coming out of the Middle East right now. ... 
"The Salafist war on Christians in the Middle East is intensifying fairly rapidly, with profound consequences not only for Christians in the lands of their faith's earliest history ... but for the rights of all ethnic and religious minorities in the greater Middle East."

Goldberg observed that the "attack seems like a watershed moment" in a region:

"Historically intolerant of the rights of non-Arab Muslim minorities: The indigenous Africans of Sudan, who are trying to break free of Khartoum's hold; the Kurds in Iraq and Syria; Christians in Lebanon, Egypt and Iraq; and the Jewish people of Israel, among others. 
"In Saudi Arabia, of course, it is illegal even to build a church, and I'm afraid it will soon be illegal to build one in Iraq."

Goldberg's words proved prophetic. What he foresaw culminated in genocide.

Friday, December 23, 2016

New Book: STEALTH INVASION - Muslim Conquest Through Immigration and the Resettlement Jihad

This powerful new book comes at the perfect moment, to help mobilize popular support for an immediate freeze on Muslim immigration, and to help protect the USA from not only Islamic terrorism, but also the insidious 'stealth jihad' or 'civilizational jihad' which has been enabled for decades by political correctness, government collusion, and subversive activities by Muslim Brotherhood front groups.

I am well into Stealth Invasion, and did not want to wait any longer to recommend it. Author Leo Hohmann draws upon decades of experience as an investigative journalist to factually build his case, while using real-world, on-the-ground reporting to highlight the magnitude of the crisis we face.

The facts he presents are irrefutable, the pace gripping. It's a great read, and ranks right up there with Raymond Ibrahim's Crucified Again, Tim Furnish's booksand Robert Spencer's Stealth Jihad and other titles as an essential text to inform, warn, and equip Americans for the long struggle ahead to preserve our freedom to live and worship freely in our homeland.

Muslim Conquest Through Immigration and the Resettlement Jihad
by Leo Hohmann
Published by WND Books
Kindle Edition and Hardcover available from Amazon.

About the Author:

Leo Hohmann is a veteran journalist and news editor for online news giant WND, with a particular focus on immigration and Islam. Prior to joining WND, he worked more than two decades as a newspaper reporter and editor in suburban Atlanta and in Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina.

Publisher's Synopsis:

Americans are shocked by ongoing news reports chronicling growing chaos in Europe, where massive Muslim migration is wreaking havoc on the continent – including horrendous acts of mass terrorism, an epidemic of rape and sexual assault against European women, and large, jihadist-rich enclaves where even police are hesitant to enter.

Yet, few realize that America is heading down the same suicidal path.

As veteran investigative journalist Leo Hohmann documents in Stealth Invasion: Muslim Conquest through Immigration and Resettlement Jihad, an international network of mostly Muslim Brotherhood-linked activists has been building its ranks within the United States for more than three decades, aided by a U.S. immigration system seemingly obsessed with welcoming as many unassimilable migrants with anti-Western values as possible. As a result, largely secret plans for major population changes in hundreds of U.S. cities and towns are already being implemented.

As Stealth Invasion reveals, the Muslim Brotherhood has a well-defined strategy for conquering America, not necessarily with violent jihadist attacks – although we should expect those to increase – but through more subtle means collectively called "civilization jihad."

Very simply, civilization jihad calls for changing a nation by changing its people and its values – gradually, over time.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Islamic State puts out Holiday Attack List Of U.S. Churches...

...calls on American Muslims to “turn the Christian New Year into a bloody horror movie.”

Dear Muslim reader, aren't you tired of all the killing and carnage in the name of Islam and Allah? Isn't it time for you to repent of your false religion which commands such hatred and bloodlust, and turn to Jesus Christ in the Orthodox Church, that you may have eternal life? We stand ready to welcome all sincere inquirers!

Whose call will you listen to?

Exclusive: ISIS Puts Out Holiday Attack List Of U.S. Churches
by Gilad Shiloach, Vocativ, December 22, 2016 (h/t Jihad Watch):

The Islamic State published the names and addresses of thousands of churches in the United States and called on its adherents to attack them during the holiday season, according to a message posted late-night Wednesday in the group’s “Secrets of Jihadis” social media group.

A user going by the name of “Abu Marya al-Iraqi” posted an Arabic-language message calling “for bloody celebrations in the Christian New Year” and announced the group’s plans to utilize its network of lone wolf attackers to “turn the Christian New Year into a bloody horror movie.”

The Littlest Martyr: Ten-year-old Girl Wounded in Cairo Church Explosion Dies, Death Toll Rises to 27

"The bombing constituted one of the deadliest attacks on Egyptian Christians in years. The attacker detonated the bomb in the ladies section of the church, resulting in fatalities mostly among women and children."

Lord have mercy... Another holy and pure martyr received into the great cloud of witnesses:
When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the Word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.   — Rev. 6:9-11

Ten-year-old Girl Wounded in Cairo Church Explosion Dies, Death Toll Rises to 27
AINA, December 20, 2016:

Maggie Momen, who died Dec. 20, 2016, was one of the 49 people injured in the suicide bombing that struck a Cairo church on Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016. (AP)

Ten-year-old Egyptian girl Maggie Moemen, who was severely wounded in the bombing of Cairo's St. Peter and St. Paul's Church last week, died this morning, state news agency MENA reported.

Moemen, who was suffering from shrapnel in the brain and damage to her lungs, had been in a coma since the 11 December suicide attack on a church in the Coptic cathedral complex.

Her passing raises the death toll of the attack to 27.

Muslim Migrants decapitate, deface, Christian statues in Germany

New outbreak of destruction in October-November 2016 follows two years of vandalism in which over forty Christian statues were destroyed, with damage a "whopping six-figure sum."

This hate-filled Islamic violence against symbols of Roman Catholic faith reflects a deep hatred of Christians, and foreshadows fierce attacks and beheadings of living Europeans, not mere statues...

Pravoslavie, December 21, 2016:

“Not a day goes by” without Christian statues being defaced or destroyed in the small German town of Dülmen and its surrounding area, population of less than 50,000, reports Breitbart.

The wave of destruction swept through in late October and early November, leaving behind decapitated statues of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself and Francis of Assissi, and and at least fifty others with missing limbs and bashed-in faces.

Local police suspect a religious motivation drives the senseless “lust for destruction” in the area where there is a dense Muslim population. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Atlantic: 'The Actual War on Christians - Egypt's Copts are under attack'

A fearless and essential article in a major publication exposes the systemic persecution of Coptic Christians by Muslims in Egypt. These lessons apply to wherever Christians live under Islamic rule.

Read and share widely...

The Actual War on Christians - Egypt's Copts are under attack
by Samuel Tadros, The Atlantic, December 17, 2016:

A nun cries as she stands at the scene inside Cairo's Coptic cathedral, following a bombing, in Egypt December 11, 2016

...Being a Copt was never a simple matter of attending different places of worship, but rather a salient feature shaping their lives. A Copt was a Dhimmi—the Islamic term used to refer to Christians and Jews, which means “protected person”—a tolerated second-class citizen, constantly reminded of his inferiority, and expected to behave.

Even at the height of Egypt’s experiment with liberalism from 1923 to 1952, a Copt could never escape his Coptic identity, nor, paradoxically, bring it to the public square. Under Egypt’s military rulers the Copts’ plight only worsened.

Despite proclamations of equality by the state, a Copt has never been an equal Egyptian citizen in the eyes of the law. Egyptian laws are, in fact, designed to remind him of his second-class nature.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

A Clarifying Moment: ‘Something big is coming, both in France and in Europe… We are still building to the crescendo’

Rod Dreher defines the essence of the 'Clash of Civilizations' about to erupt in a major way:

'We are all the same to the jihadis, and despite our rivalries, we had better think of ourself as on Russia’s side in this epic battle.'

Dreher also relates a Frenchman’s assessment of the rising wave of Islamic jihad in Europe: 
“Europeans are fed up with Muslims and with the migrant horde… people back home — even at the left-wing grassroots — have had enough of the multiculturalism lie.”

All signs indicate a crisis point being reached very soon, a tipping point, with an open “clash of civilizations” exploding across Europe and the Middle East.

In America, the incoming Trump administration should be able to blunt the worst of it through a freeze on Muslim immigration and aggressive prosecution of jihad plots and seditious mosques, but the global jihad is here as well, as the ever growing number of 'known wolf' Muslim terror attacks and plots attest.

Jihadis vs. ‘Christendom’
by Rod Dreher, The American Conservative, December 19, 2016

This is a clarifying moment. Yesterday I found myself at a public event sitting next to a French man who lives here in Louisiana. We were talking geopolitics.

He told me he reads the French media closely, and says that something big is coming, both in France and in Europe.

“We are still building to the crescendo,” he said, explaining that Europeans are fed up with Muslims and with the migrant horde. He said we probably won’t like what we get, but that people back home — even at the left-wing grassroots — have had enough of the multiculturalism lie.

So, why clarifying?

Updates on the Cairo Jihad Bombing at St Mark's Coptic Cathedral

Possible links to both the Islamic State AND the Muslim Brotherhood... Four arrested by Egyptian police in connection with the investigation.

Follow the links below for full stories...

Islamic State claims responsibility for church bombing, Egypt says bomber was Muslim Brotherhood supporter, Jihad Watch, December 13, 2016:

The bomber could have been both a Muslim Brotherhood supporter and a supporter of the Islamic State. Although rivals, the two have the same outlook and goals, and the bomber was from one or the other... 

Trump names the enemy: 'Islamic terrorists continuously slaughter Christians…as part of their global jihad'

Vows to carry out 'mission' to 'eradicate' Islamic terrorists and their networks 'from the face of the earth'.

If Obama was the anti-Constantine, marginalizing and denigrating Christians while defending and advancing Islam, refusing to even name the enemy ('Islamic terrorism' and its 'global jihad'), President-elect Donald Trump has clearly set his course as defender of 'freedom-loving' peoples, and of Christians in particular.

UPDATE: Trump and Putin, in phone conversations last month, indicated that they would “tackle ISIS together.” Following the murder of the Russian ambassador to Turkey, Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed to obliterate the Islamic State.

As he has done even since before announcing his candidacy, Mr. Trump continues to clearly name the enemy, the essential first step in defeating it.

President-Elect Donald Trump Reacts to Berlin Truck Attack
by Brendan Morrow, Heavy, December 19, 2016 (h/t Jihad Watch):

President-Elect Donald Trump has issued a statement after at least nine people were killed and 50 injured in a truck attack in Berlin, Germany.

This incident occurred on Monday at a crowded Christmas market in Germany’s capital. The assault is reminiscent of another truck attack that took place in Nice, France in July; ISIS claimed responsibility for that Nice attack, but it’s not yet clear whether Monday’s attack was inspired by ISIS.

In his statement, President-Elect Trump cites ISIS and says that Islamic terrorist organizations of its kind must be eradicated. While running for president, Trump repeatedly promised to use the words “radical Islamic terror,” distinguishing himself from President Barack Obama, who generally avoids this kind of language as to not give the impression that groups like ISIS are a representation of Islam.

Here is the president-elect’s statement:

Monday, December 19, 2016

Jihad All the Way... Russian Ambassador assassinated in Turkey, Truck plows into crowd in Berlin, killing at least nine

Islamic jihad attacks accelerate as Christian Feast of the Nativity draws near.

The Muslim suicide bombing at a Coptic church in the St Mark's Cathedral complex in Cairo, Egypt, has inaugurated another wave of Islamic jihad terrorism:

The Muslim jihad assassin,screaming 'Allahu Akbar', gun in hand, and left index finger raised in show of ISIS solidarity, moments after shooting to death the Russian ambassador to Turkey (at right).

Turkey: Muslim screaming “Allahu akbar” murders Russian ambassador at photo exhibit; 'The ambassador, Andrei Karlov, was several minutes into a speech at the embassy-sponsored exhibition in the capital, Ankara, when a man wearing a suit and tie shouted “Allahu Akbar” and fired at least eight shots, according to an AP photographer in the audience...'

Berlin police says at least nine dead, 50 injured, after truck plows into crowded Christmas market; Attack is identical in method to jihad attack in Nice, France earlier this year. ISIS had issued a call for Muslims to use any and all means to wage jihad, with guns, knives, vehicles, bombs...

Friday, December 16, 2016

Coptic Bishop Angaelos of the UK: 'Forgiveness is by no means synonymous with ignoring justice'

"As Christians, we also believe in forgiveness, but forgiveness is by no means synonymous with ignoring justice. Forgiveness ensures that our own hearts are not entangled in a web of anger and resentment, or corrupted by feelings of hatred or revenge. Forgiveness is ultimately liberating and empowering, but at the same time, justice is essential; not for the purposes of punishment, but to secure and protect our societies in which people must respectfully live side by side."

Bishop Angaelos comments a day after the brutal bombing and murder of 25 people in St Peter’s Coptic Orthodox Church – Cairo
Coptic Orthodox Church-UK via OCP Media,  12/12/16
Link includes embedded video of Bishop Angaelos on the BBC

HG Bishop Angaelos comments a day after brutal bombing and murder of 25 people in St Peter’s Coptic Orthodox Church, Cairo.
Today is a day of many emotions: sadness, nervousness, uncertainty, and understandably even anger at times. That is because yesterday was a day in which we witnessed the worst of humanity, when innocent women and children who decided to worship their God in their spiritual home had their lives needlessly and senselessly ended without warning. They were used as pawns; a means to an end. To the perpetrators of this heinous crime, their lives clearly held no greater value than scribbles on a strategic page; a plan that was to be executed for a cause to which they were merely incidental, collateral damage. Yesterday we saw beautiful lives lost, families separated and broken, and whole communities grieving; a truly painful time that has not only affected Coptic Christians, but Egyptian society at large, Muslims and Christians alike, and millions around the world.

Crimes will always be perpetrated and criminals will continue to exist, but such a strategic, vicious act is difficult to comprehend. It is indeed difficult to understand how a person might plan and execute such a horrific, ruthless and barbaric plot against innocent women and children. The only way to do this is to completely disregard the relevance, value and sanctity of any life potentially affected by these actions.

In recent decades, we have seen recurring acts of violence against Christians and Christian communities in Egypt. Time and time again, very few, if any, perpetrators have been brought to justice, and we subsequently continue to witness an escalation of these attacks. This is not a matter of blame, but accountability, with an expectation that barbaric acts such as these should never occur, but if they do, that their perpetrators are rightly and fairly held to account. This is not a call for vengeance, but a deterrent against similar future plans and aspirations.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Coptic Cathedral Jihad Massacre, and the Call to Forgiveness

In the aftermath of the horrific bombing at St Peter's Church, in St Mark's Cathedral in Cairo, Egypt, in which at least 27 Coptic churchgoers were killed, nearly all of them women and children, we all struggle with our emotional reactions, ranging from deep sorrow, grief and despair, to righteous anger, and perhaps even hate and a desire for vengeance.

I was reminded of the below post from April 2015, not long after ISIS beheaded 21 Coptic Christian men on the Libyan shore and broadcast the video to the world, and thought to re-post it in its entirety.

The Muslim jihad slaughter of women and children in the Coptic Cathedral in Cairo is yet another bloody reminder that we live in an age of mass martyrdom of Christians, where Christians are killed simply because they are followers of Jesus Christ. Let us therefore truly be followers of Jesus Christ, our Lord and True God, who said:

“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven..." (MT 5:11-12)

'Let Us Forgive All, By The Resurrection'

If we’re going to claim to be Christians and worship Jesus Christ and proclaim His Resurrection, we can’t just sing the beautiful hymns of Pascha and not live by them.

Facing Islam Blog, April 20, 2015

'Be not faithless, but believing!'
My priest gave an astounding sermon on Thomas Sunday. In the midst of proclaiming the historical truth of the Resurrection of Jesus from the tomb, he challenged us all in a way we might never have been challenged before, especially in our age of near universal apostasy and “soft” persecution in the West, and of harsh and bloody persecution in the Middle East and throughout the entire Islamic world around the globe.

I wish I had a video for you, but you’ll have to trust my feeble paraphrase.

He said, in effect, “We can’t just sing these beautiful hymns week after week, and ignore what they actually say. They challenge us to forgive. This is the very heart of the Gospel.” 

He was referring especially to the Paschal Stichera ("Let God Arise..."), which in an ecstatic outpouring proclaims the following:
“Let us call ‘Brothers’ even those who hate us! And forgive all, by the Resurrection…”

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

‘O Allah, Kill the Despicable Christians’: Muslim Persecution of Christians, August 2016

Majed el-Shafie, who was imprisoned and tortured for apostatizing years back in Egypt, wants the world to know that “ISIS is not the problem.” As proof he recounted his experiences—not at the hands of ISIS but Egyptian authorities: “They shaved my head, they put my head in freezing cold water and then into boiling hot water. They burned their cigarettes on me, they electrocuted me. They cut me and put salt in my wounds. I still wake with nightmares about it, even now 20 years on.”

New Boko Haram leader Abu Musab al-Barnawi announced that Christians are now target #1.

‘O Allah, Kill the Despicable Christians’: Muslim Persecution of Christians, August 2016
by Raymond Ibrahim, Gatestone Institute, November 20, 2016:

Islamic hate for Christians was on constant display throughout the month of August. Shortly after an 80-year-old Catholic priest in France was slaughtered by Muslims who stormed his church during mass, the 16-year-old Muslim son of an Islamic cleric living in Belgium made and posted a video on social media. In the video he appears walking along the main street of the Belgian city of Verviers during recent Ramadan while making prayers to Allah, including: “Allah, kill the despicable Christians. Allah, kill each and every last one of them…” According to Immigration Minister Theo Francken: “It’s obvious that his father, the imam, is promoting such ideas not just to fighters to join the battle in Syria, but also to his own children. The young man who appears in the video reflects the father’s views, and I understand and empathize with the great concern that city residents have over this.” A deportation order was last reported as pending a court appeal.

Similarly, in the August edition of Dabiq, ISIS’ propaganda magazine, the jihadi organization urged Muslims to destroy the “arrogant Christian disbelievers” and urged them to “pray for Allah’s curse to be upon the liars.” ISIS also threatened Christians to “break the cross.” Those who do and convert to Islam will “enter the Gardens of Paradise,” and those who reject Islam and cling to the cross will die in a “futile” war against ISIS.

As if the Christians of Nigeria weren’t persecuted enough by Muslim groups such as Boko Haram, the new leader of that terrorist organization, which was also known for killing nonconformist Muslims, announced that Christians are now its number one and primary target, and that Boko Haram will continue to “bomb churches and kill Christians while ending attacks on mosques and markets used by ordinary Muslims.” Abu Musab al-Barnawi, the new leader, also spoke of “booby-trapping and blowing up every church that we are able to reach, and killing all of those who we find from the citizens of the Cross.”

The experiences of Muslim converts to Christianity in Egypt continue to speak for themselves. After Muhammad Hegazi’s nine-year long battle with authorities—that began when he asked that his religion be changed to Christianity on his Egyptian ID card and ended with him being arrested and tortured for years—Islam’s honor was restored, though in a way held suspect by many rights activists in Egypt. Hegazi made a brief video announcing his return to Islam and praising Muhammad, adding “I say this out of my complete free will. I am not being held by any agency, nor am I under any pressure of any kind.”

And Majed el-Shafie, who was imprisoned and tortured for apostatizing years back in Egypt, wants the world to know that “ISIS is not the problem.” As proof he recounted his experiences—not at the hands of ISIS but Egyptian authorities: “They shaved my head, they put my head in freezing cold water and then into boiling hot water. They burned their cigarettes on me, they electrocuted me. They cut me and put salt in my wounds. I still wake with nightmares about it, even now 20 years on.”

The remainder of August’s roundup of Muslim persecution of Christians—all of which was not committed by ISIS—includes, but is not limited to, the following:

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Let us honor and exalt the Holy Coptic Neo-Martyrs of the Cairo Cathedral Jihad Attack

The world calls them 'victims', but we Christians call them 'Victors', for they loved the Lord Jesus Christ, and did not allow threats of persecution and murder by the enemies of mankind to keep them from confessing their faith in Him.

These photos show us 'normal' looking women, from late teens to their 50s and 60s, both young and mature. When they awakened on Sunday morning, they no doubt did not expect that this was the day they would pay the ultimate price for their faith in Christ.

But unlike the foolish rich man in the Lord's parable (LK 12:15-21), these women were found in the Church when their time came. Sunday morning, they faithfully went to the Divine Liturgy, giving thanks to the Lord. They put the Lord first, on the Lord's Day, and they were killed in the Church, during the Divine Liturgy, so their holy Guardian Angels immediately conducted their souls straight to the Lord.

And we in the West, who sometimes struggle to rouse ourselves to even attend the Liturgy, or are chronically slothful and tardy, can we even imagine what it is like for our brothers and sisters in Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Iran, Turkey, Indonesia, and all through the Islamic world, where they do not know if they will be the ones next to be killed, raped, beheaded, crucified or tortured for their faith in Jesus Christ?

So let us gain strength and courage from all our martyred sisters and brothers, who were faithful to the Lord to the end, and who have received the crowns of martyrdom, and thus live to intercede for us lowly ones.

Let us honor and exalt the Holy Coptic Neo-Martyrs, and all the 21st Century New Martyrs under the bloody sword of Islam, who are joining that 'great cloud of witnesses' in the heavenly kingdom!

And let us, at least, vow to be faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ even unto death, and to be found in the bosom of His Holy Church.

Remembering the Victims of the Cairo Cathedral Terror Attack
Egyptian Streets, December 12, 2016:

On Monday morning, Egypt’s Ministry of Health released the names and ages of 23 people who were killed in a terror attack that targeted a chapel connected to St. Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo.

Below are the translated names of 23 victims. A 24th victim remains unidentified as the death toll increased after the statement. Photographs of some victims were also found shared by their loved ones and friends on social media...

Monday, December 12, 2016

Raymond Ibrahim: 'Egypt’s Deadliest Church Attack'

Update, analysis, and context on the December 11, 2016 bombing of the Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo, Egypt.

  • "In death toll and severity, this attack surpasses what was formerly considered the deadliest church attack in Egypt: a New Year’s Day bombing of a church in Alexandria that killed 23 people in 2011. 
  • "Yesterday’s attack was also symbolically more significant:  St. Peter’s Church is attached to and used by St. Mark’s Cathedral, the seat of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Christian church and home to its leader, Pope Tawadros II.
  • "Although Western and English language media do not report them, there have been several minor and unsuccessful terror attacks on churches in Egypt in recent weeks and months."
  • There are many instances of "moderate", ordinary Muslims persecuting their Christian neighbors. In one recent case in Minya, 80 Christian homes were burnt down by the Muslim 'neighbors', with Muslim "women and children shouting 'Allahu Akbar!' and 'We’ll burn the church, we’ll burn the church'."

Egypt’s Deadliest Church Attack
by Raymond Ibrahim, Gatestone Institute, December 12, 2016:

The worst attack on Egypt’s Christian minority in recent years occurred yesterday, Sunday, December 11, 2016. St. Peter Cathedral in Cairo, packed with worshippers celebrating Sunday mass, was bombed; at least 27 churchgoers, mostly women and children, were killed and 65 severely wounded. As many of the wounded are in critical condition, the death toll is expected to rise.

As usual, witnesses say that state security was not present and that police took an inordinate amount of time to arrive after the explosion. Preliminary investigations point to a bomb placed inside an unattended lady’s purse on one of the rear pews of the women’s section.

Mutilated bodies were strewn along the floor and pews of the cathedral. “I found bodies, many of them women, lying on the pews. It was a horrible scene,” said one witness.

“I saw a headless woman being carried away,” said Mariam Shenouda: “Everyone was in a state of shock. We were scooping up people’s flesh off the floor. There were children. What have they done to deserve this? I wish I had died with them instead of seeing these scenes.”

In death toll and severity, this attack surpasses what was formerly considered the deadliest church attack in Egypt: a New Year’s Day bombing of a church in Alexandria that killed 23 people in 2011.

Yesterday’s attack was also symbolically more significant: St. Peter’s Church is attached to and used by St. Mark’s Cathedral, the seat of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Christian church and home to its leader, Pope Tawadros II.

It is to President Sisi’s shame that the deadliest church attack in Egypt occurred on his watch. Yet it is also unsurprising considering how little has really changed for Egypt’s Christians since Sisi ousted Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood in 2012.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Muslims bomb St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo, Egypt; 25 killed, dozens injured

Muslims honoring the birth of Muhammad: "The blast... coincided with a national holiday in Egypt marking the birth of Islam's Prophet Muhammad. Most of the victims are thought to be women and children."

This on the heels of a failed attempt to bomb another Coptic church less than a week ago.

Blast at Egypt's main Coptic Christian cathedral kills 25, injures dozens
Associated Press via Fox News, December 11, 2016:

CAIRO –  A bombing at Egypt's main Coptic Christian cathedral killed 25 people and wounded another 35 on Sunday, in one of the deadliest attacks carried out against the religious minority in recent memory. 
The attack came two days after a bomb elsewhere in Cairo killed six policemen, an assault claimed by a shadowy group that authorities say is linked to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. Islamic militants have targeted Christians in the past, including a New Year's Day bombing at a church in Alexandria in 2011 that killed at least 21 people. 
Egypt's official MENA news agency said an assailant lobbed a bomb into a chapel close to the outer wall of St Mark's Cathedral, seat of Egypt's Orthodox Christian church and home to the office of its spiritual leader, Pope Tawadros II. Egyptian state TV gave the casualty toll.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Egypt: Muslim throws bomb at entrance of packed church

Muslim 'drive-by' jihad terrorism against Christians is a global threat, even here in the USA.

Imagine that the drive-by jihad terror threat of Muslim's screaming 'Allahu Akbar' through a bullhorn outside a packed Orthodox church in Riverside California last April was not a 'mere' verbal threat, but that the Muslims had instead thrown a bomb at the entrance of the church, or opened fire on the congregation.

The death toll would have surpassed San Bernardino, Orlando, Paris, Nice, Egypt...

This is the age we live in, where Islamic jihad is global, and Christians are directly targeted by devout Muslims. Even here in the United States.

Why do Muslims target Christians? See my article:

Mr. Trump, let's get that Muslim immigration ban in place on Day One.

Egypt: Muslim throws bomb at entrance of packed church
by Raymond Ibrahim, Jihad Watch, December 7, 2016:

A man hurled an improvised bomb at the entrance of a packed church in Egypt in what observers say could’ve been a repeat of the Two Saints Church attack in Alexandria, 2011, which left 23 dead, and 100 injured. 
The bomb was dismantled before exploding.  The attack occurred during the late hours of Saturday, November 12. Thousands of Coptic Christian worshippers had assembled for a church celebration inside the St. George Church in Samalout, al-Minya province. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

'If Trump Proposal Had Been In Place, OSU Jihad Attack Wouldn’t Have Happened' - Robert Spencer

"Simply to protect ourselves, there should be an end to Muslim immigration, combined with a clear notice to Muslims in the United States that any action on behalf of sharia supremacism is unacceptable." — Robert Spencer

'If Trump Proposal Had Been In Place, OSU Jihad Attack Wouldn’t Have Happened'
by Robert Spencer, Jihad Watch, December 5, 2016:

Muslim “refugee” and Ohio State University student Abdul Razak Ali Artan last week set off a fire alarm on campus, the drove his car into the crowd of students evacuating the building. Then he jumped out of his car and began stabbing people with a butcher knife. This latest jihad attack on American soil vindicates President-elect Trump on Muslim immigration. 
After the attack, Trump tweeted: “ISIS is taking credit for the terrible stabbing attack at Ohio State University by a Somali refugee who should not have been in our country.” 
Indeed, not only should Artan not have been in the country, but if the proposals that Trump has advanced regarding Muslim immigration had been in place, he would not have been, and the attack at Ohio State University would never have happened. 
Trump has called for a temporary moratorium on immigration from countries that are hotbeds of jihad terror activity. reported that “Artan was a Somali refugee and Ohio State student who left his homeland with his family in 2007. They lived in Pakistan before coming to the U.S., where Artan became a permanent resident in 2014.” 
Somalia and Pakistan: two epicenters of the global jihad. If Trump had been President and his ban had been in place, Abdul Razak Ali Artan would never have entered the United States at all. 
This sensible approach to Muslim immigration is long overdue. Back in 2008, I wrote this in my book Stealth Jihad, among my proposals for how the jihad, both violent and stealthy, could be stymied in the United States: 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

St John of Damascus (Dec. 4)

St John's 'Fount of Knowledge' is the first real 'summa' of Orthodox Christian theology. Born less than fifty years after the traditional date of the death of Muhammad, John was a powerful Confessor and Defender of Orthodoxy against the Heresy of Islam, which he also referred to as the "superstition of the Ishmaelites," calling Muhammad a "false prophet," and the Koran, made up of "ridiculous compositions."

All Christians — especially the Orthodox — should be familiar with the writings, life and witness of this great saint. See these posts to learn more...

St John Damascene's 'Critique of Islam'

Life of St John of Damascus

Troparion — Tone 8

Champion of Orthodoxy, teacher of purity and of true worship, / the enlightener of the universe and the adornment of hierarchs: / all-wise father John, your teachings have gleamed with light upon all things. / Intercede before Christ God to save our souls.

Kontakion — Tone 4

Let us sing praises to John, worthy of great honor, / the composer of hymns, the star and teacher of the Church, the defender of her doctrines: / through the might of the Lord’s Cross he overcame heretical error / and as a fervent intercessor before God / he entreats that forgiveness of sins may be granted to all.