At least, according to the “People’s Climate” marchers who trashed New York City this weekend.
These people want to impose socialism, the brutal system that has failed or is failing everywhere it has ever been tried.
In the first big move by Pope Francis to put his imprint on the American Catholic church, the pontiff named Blase Cupich, the Bishop of the diocese of Spokane, to lead the 2.2 million Catholics of the archdiocese of Chicago.
Cardinal Francis George, the current archbishop, announced he was stepping down last May after he was diagnosed with cancer for the third time since 2005. Since then, George has said that he believes the cancer will take his life.
Bishop Cupich is considered a “moderate” in church circles and is said to mirror the opinions of the pope about de-emphasizing issues like abortion and gay marriage. While Cupich is said to be opposed to both, he is expected to bring a different style of advocacy to the debate.
Chicago is the third largest diocese in America and is considered one of the most influential in the nation, with innovative lay outreach programs and the largest private school system in the country.
Cupich, 65, is a native of Omaha, Nebraska, where he was ordained a priest. He holds degrees from the Pontifical Gregorian University and The Catholic University of America. He was appointed bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota, in 1998, and served there until 2010, when he was appointed to Spokane.
In a 2012 essay in the Jesuit magazine America, Cupich said the U.S. bishops “rightly objected” to the original narrow religious exemption in President Barack Obama’s requirement that employers provide health insurance that covers contraception. But Cupich called for a “return to civility” in conversations about religious liberty and society.
Cupich also served as chairman of the U.S. bishops’ child protection committee at the height of the clergy sex abuse crisis and as church leaders were putting in place a toughened policy on disciplining guilty priests.
“While the outrage to the (government) decision was understandable, in the long run threats and condemnations have a limited impact,” Cupich said. “We should never stop talking to one another.”
Cupich has also defended Francis’ views on the economy and emphasis on fighting poverty, which some Catholics and others have criticized as naive and against capitalism.
“Instead of approaching life from the 30-thousand-feet level of ideas, he challenges policymakers and elected officials — indeed all of us — to experience the life of everyday and real people,” Cupich said at a conference last June on the Catholic case against libertarianism. “Much like he told religious leaders, Francis is saying that politicians and policymakers need to know the smell of the sheep.”
A Francis clone in the 3rd largest diocese in America would certainly have an impact on the hierarchy. Catholic bishops tend to be more liberal than their leaders both in the US and Rome and the notion that a more pastoral archbishop will have such a high profile position can only encourage the bishops in their attacks on wealth and capitalism.
But there is no difference of opinion regarding the contraceptive controversy, except perhaps in the manner in which Cubich will approach the administration.
In a letter last year on the Obama administration’s birth-control coverage rule for employers, Bishop Cupich said faith-affiliated groups should never be forced to provide services that the church considers morally objectionable. However, he condemned threats by some U.S. church leaders that they would shut down social-service agencies over the Affordable Care Act.
“These kind of scare tactics and worse-case scenario predictions are uncalled for,” he wrote in a letter to diocesan employees. “I am confident we can find a way to move forward.”
Is Pope Francis sending a message to the American Catholic church? “I think he sent a pastor, not a message,” Cupich says. Nice thought, but irrelevant. Of course popes send messages. But what kind of message he is passing along won’t be known until Archbishop Cubich has a chance to place his own stamp on the Chicago Catholic church.
Much has been written over the last few days about Ted Cruz’s appearance at the first summit of a new organization, “In Defense of Christians.” The organization is working to form an alliance of leaders to preserve and protect some of the world’s oldest Christian groups. What may be most curious about this organization is how they are now covering up exactly who makes up their board.
The incident in the news that brought this group front and center occurred as the result of Cruz walking away from the podium after stating that those who will not stand with our ally, Israel, will not have his support. You can view more here. His attempt to suggest that all religious bigotry (including anti-semitism) was a problem did not seem welcome to some in this audience. Watching his preliminary words before he left the stage helps put it in context.
Among the many opinions out there, Mark Tooley and his commenters appear to be aware of the political and nationalist aspect of being a Mideast Christian, which helps clarify the reaction to Cruz from some of the audience:
It’s no secret that many Mideast Christians generally aren’t big fans of Israel. I learned this firsthand during the 2006 Israel war on Hezbollah, when my discussion at church with a Lebanese Christian nearly escalated to a shouting match.
Sometimes American Christians romanticize overseas persecuted Christians into disembodied noble souls unaffected by terrestrial concerns. But they, like everybody else, have histories, loyalties, resentments, grievances, and political calculations. Generally, most Mideast Christians cannot further imperil themselves by ever seeming politically to sympathize with Israel or the West. But their notions are not just for appearances. Many Mideast Christians are Arab nationalists. And whether for survival or genuine sympathy, some church leaders over the years have aligned with repressive regimes, like Assad’s and Saddam’s.
Mideast Christians, in other words, are not necessarily planning to ever be on board with Israel and may very well continue to align with terrorist groups and leaders as they see fit.
An article from the Free Beacon outlines some of the concerning associations found within this group and its’ summit speakers, for example:
Funding for the conference was provided by Clinton donor and Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire Gilbert Chagoury, according to organizers. The wealthy businessman pledged $1 billion to the Clinton Global Initiative in 2009.
Chagoury is also reportedly backer of Lebanese politician Michel Aoun, Hezbollah’s top Christian ally in the country, according to U.S. diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks.
Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Bechara Raï, who was scheduled to speak during the same keynote slot as Cruz on Wednesday evening, has called Israel an “enemy state that is occupying Lebanese territory” and defended Hezbollah’s right to attack the Jewish state.
Others at the summit have also aligned themselves with the Iranian-backed terrorist group. Syriac Orthodox Church Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II posted photos from his meeting with a “high level delegation from Hezbollah” on his official Facebook page last week.
See their article for even further examples, all of which would have been of reasonable concern to those, like Cruz, who feel anti-semitism must not be tolerated any more than the abuse of Mideast Christians.
Yet, the In Defense of Christians website felt it necessary to post yet again on the incident on Sept. 12th, taking a new slant which insinuates that Cruz turned a peaceful and productive event into a political one:
In last night’s Solidarity Gala Dinner, Senator Cruz chose to stand against the small and vocal minority of attendees who disagree with his views on Israel rather than standing with the vast majority of those who attended the gala and support both Israel and the Middle East’s Christians.
For those who do choose to listen to the entire video, it seems clear that Cruz was being shouted down loudly enough to make speaking difficult and that those doing the shouting had no intention of joining him in denouncing anti-semitism. The Sept. 12th post on their website suggests Cruz could have spoken in a way that may have been more pleasing to the audience:
Yesterday, 17 Republican and Democratic Senators and Representatives addressed this same audience, referring to peace and unity with Muslims and Jews—themes expressed throughout the conference with the resounding support of those present.
It seems like it would have been disingenuous for Cruz to gloss over that deeply held belief in order to appease an audience.
I am of two minds about this story. Certainly, we can all relate to the desperation of the parents of Steve Sotloff and James Foley. They were willing to do anything to get their children back — as any of us would do in a similar situation. The fact that the government apparently threatened both families with prosection if they tried to raise ransom money seems harsh and arbitrary.
But the government is forced to think not only about present hostages, but any future hostage taking of Americans by the terrorists. It seems logical that paying ransom for hostages only encourages more hostage taking. Recall in Lebanon in the 1980s when the U.S. bartered arms for hostages only to see more hostages taken by the terrorists.
But there is more to this story. Specifically, White House lies about being in “constant contact” with the families of hostages. That’s not the story the families are telling. And the manner in which the message about potential prosection was delivered is more reminiscent of a threat delivered by a mafioso than a caring, compassionate government.
The mother of slain American journalist James Foley said she wasn’t necessarily surprised that the U.S. government threatened her family with prosecution should they raise money to pay her son’s ransom, but she was astounded by how such a devastating message was delivered.
“I was surprised there was so little compassion,” Diane Foley told ABC News today of the three separate warnings she said U.S. officials gave the family about the illegality of paying ransom to the terror group ISIS. “It just made me realize that these people talking to us had no idea what it was like to be the family of someone abducted… I’m sure [the U.S. official] didn’t mean it the way he said it, but we were between a rock and a hard place. We were told we could do nothing… meanwhile our son was being beaten and tortured every day.”
Earlier this week five current and former officials with direct knowledge of the Foley case confirmed the alleged threats were made.
“It was an utterly idiotic thing to do that came across as if [the U.S. official] had the compassion of an anvil,” said a former official who has advised the family.
At times, Diane Foley said the family “had to beg” the government for information on their son.
“We were an annoyance, it felt, at some level… They didn’t have time for us,” she said.
Today White House spokesperson Josh Earnest said that government officials were in constant contact with the Foley family and declined to comment on the alleged ransom warnings, telling reporters he’s “not going to be in a position to detail the kinds of conversations that took place so often between members of the administration and the Foley family.”
“It is a long standing policy of this administration, it was the policy of previous administrations that ransoms should not be paid to terrorist organizations,” Earnest said before referring more specific questions about the Foley’s situation to the Justice Department.
Secretary of State John Kerry today told reporters that he was “really taken aback [and] surprised” by Foley’s allegations. “I can tell you that I am totally unaware and would not condone anybody that I know of within the State Department making such statements,” Kerry said.
The family of Steve Sotloff, the other murdered American, was also threatened directly with prosecution at a White House meeting.
Sources close to the families say that at the time of the White House meeting the Sotloffs and Foleys — after receiving direct threats from IS — were exploring lining up donors who would help pay multimillion-dollar ransoms to free their sons. But after the meeting those efforts collapsed, one source said, because of concerns that “donors could expose themselves to prosecution.”
Although European hostages have been freed through ransom payments that have run into the millions of dollars, the Obama administration has taken a hard line against any such payments, viewing the transfer of cash as a violation of federal laws that forbid providing “material support” to a terrorist organization.
“They’ve been stricter than any administration on this,” said a former law enforcement official who has been working with the families of IS hostages.
Barfi said that within a few hours of the White House meeting, he was at a separate meeting with State Department officials. One of those officials repeatedly mentioned the “material support” law and made it “clear,” said Barfi, that criminal prosecutions could result if ransoms to the IS terrorists were paid.
Such explicit threats made to parents who “had to beg” to get any information about their children points to an administration that employed clod-hoppers as liaisons to the families. No doubt it was a tough job to inform the families of the law and the potential penalties that would have come with raising ransom money. But it’s obvious from statements made by both families that the administration blew it. The situation called for striking the right balance between showing compassion and imparting the matter-of-fact information about potential prosections. The White House chose people without tact or empathy to deliver their message and struck out.
Even though they’re right about the policy.
In a move that has many anti-Islamist Egyptians concerned, the government has again allowed the Salafis to return to preaching in mosques and on television.
Salafis are Muslims who profess to follow as literally as possible the teachings and habits of Islam’s prophet and his companions.
Soon after the June 2013 revolution in Egypt, which saw the ousting (and subsequent imprisonment) of the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic supremacist groups—chief among them the Salafis—were banned from preaching.
The logic was that they were the primary actors responsible for inciting the nation’s more zealous Muslims to attack government targets, Coptic Christian churches, etc.
Accordingly, their access to mosques and other outlets were severely curtailed.
According to Nabil Zaki, the former spokesman for Assembly Party of Egypt, this new move allowing the Salafis, particularly the Nour party, to make a comeback
is a major setback that will make it that much harder for the government to combat reactionary thinking—and this, after the Egyptian public had made great strides against such thinking…. Permitting the Salafi sheikhs to ascend to the pulpits again revives the bitter experiences of confronting this form of thinking, bringing us back to square one.
Zaki and others also warned that this decision coincides with parliamentarian elections, meaning that the Salafi clerics will again use their influence and religious rhetoric to sway voters towards a more “reactionary,” that is, Islamic, agenda.
The so-called “war on women” isn’t going away anytime soon. The Obama administration is renewing its war, in fact, to force some women who have taken lifetime vows of chastity to pay for birth control for the likes of Sandra Fluke.
LifeNews reports that the Obama administration today announced that it is continuing its legal battle to force the Little Sisters of the Poor — a group of Catholic nuns who devote themselves to charity — to either pay for birth control through the Obamacare mandate, or face paying ruinous fines. Paying for birth control violates the nuns’ religious beliefs. Never mind that, as nuns, they have no need of birth control themselves.
The government filed a supplemental brief in the case today. The government’s brief specifies that it believes the Little Sisters of the Poor should not be granted an exception from the Obamacare birth control mandate.
The Little Sisters of the Poor serve about 10,000 elderly poor in the United States. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is defending the Sisters from the Obamacare mandate.
The Obama administration granted numerous waivers and exemptions from various aspects of its unpopular law, and President Obama has delayed parts of the law unilaterally when it was to his political advantage to do so.
Yet he still has his administration lawyers working to force a group of nuns to obey the birth control mandate. The Supreme Court has previously allowed the Little Sisters to escape the mandate by notifying the government of its objections. The Obama administration issued new regulations in August 2014 to circumvent the Supreme Court’s order, according to LifeNews.
The Hill reports that President Obama wants Congress to give him a $5 billion fund, but does not want to go to Congress to get explicit authorization to fight the Islamic State.
President Obama is pushing congressional leaders to authorize a $5 billion counterterrorism fund that could be used to support operations against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
The president first suggested the fund during a foreign policy address earlier this year at the West Point military academy, but it went nowhere in Congress.
The idea was revisited on Monday by White House press secretary Josh Earnest, who floated it as something that “would strengthen the hand of this president and future presidents for dealing with urgent situations like this.”
“This is a core component of the president’s strategy for dealing with this and other issues like it around the globe — that is, additional resources that can be used by the United States to build up effective partners so that when the United States has to confront threats like this, that we have well-trained, well-equipped, effective partners that we can work with to confront these problems,” Earnest said Monday.
Did you see the part that I put in bold letters there?
That’s some tricksy maneuvering by the White House. The imminent threat, the one that the president is resisting going to Congress over, is IS. But Earnest made sure to include “and other issues like it around the globe.”
Now, what might those be? What else might constitute a looming “threat,” in the eyes of this administration?
If you ask Secretary of State John Kerry, it’s “climate change.”
Former Secretary of State and presumed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton says climate change is “the most consequential, urgent, sweeping collection of challenges we face as a nation and a world.”
Not IS or similar Islamic terrorism. Not Putin, with his designs on rebuilding the Soviet empire.
President Barack Obama: climate change is a “direct threat” to the United States.
Now the president resists consulting Congress on IS, but wants Congress to hand him a check for $5 billion to deal with IS “and other threats like it around the globe.” He wants the money, but no oversight on how it gets spent.
Congress should not write the president a blank check.
This past week Jewish media was abuzz with stories of how hard journalist Steven Sotloff’s family and friends worked to hide his Jewish identity after he was captured by ISIS. It seemed strange to me that Jew haters would have such terrible Jewdar. After all, the guy’s name was “Sotloff”, but apparently that’s not a “tell” in the Muslim world:
One thing journalists quickly learn is that the Jewish “tells” in the West don’t mean much in the Middle East. Jewish names obvious in the West are not at all so in the region, and stereotypical “Jewish looks” among westerners are indistinguishable from the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern features that are common throughout the Middle East.
“My name might have been Miriam Leah Goldbergstein, and I wouldn’t have worried,” said Lisa Goldman, who reported for various outlets in Lebanon and then in Cairo during the Arab Spring in 2011.
“A rose by any other name” would still be an infidel, so it would seem:
It’s not known whether ISIS was aware that Sotloff was Jewish. Colleagues believe his kidnapping by ISIS-affiliated terrorists in 2012 in Syria was one of opportunity and not a deliberate targeting. James Foley, another journalist kidnapped by ISIS and beheaded last month by the terror group, was Catholic.
Which is, perhaps, the overarching point of the latest rash of radical Islamist beheadings of Western journalists. We are all roses to be de-headed, whether we call ourselves Jews, Christians, or simply Westerners of a secular stripe. Iranian American scholar Haleh Esfandiari didn’t blink in her distinction of “The West” from the Muslim east when she commented on radical Islamist recruits:
These young men who grew up in Western cultures seem to have absorbed nothing regarding the value of human life and respect for women.
The founder of Chick-Fil-A, whose orthodox views on marriage made his family and his business a figure of hate on the left, has passed away.
S. Truett Cathy, the billionaire founder of the privately held Chick-fil-A restaurant chain that famously closes on Sundays but also drew unwanted attention on gay marriage in recent years because of his family’s conservative views, died early Monday, a company spokesman said. He was 93.
Chick-fil-A spokesman Mark Baldwin told The Associated Press that Cathy died at home surrounded by members of his family. The company said in a statement that preliminary plans are for a public funeral service at 2 p.m. Wednesday at First Baptist Jonesboro in Jonesboro, Georgia.
Cathy built Chick-Fil-A up from nothing in the post-war years. He always observed the sabbath, keeping all of the chain’s hundreds of stores closed on Sundays so workers could rest or go to church.
Cathy always gave substantially to church and charity, mainly through the WinShape Foundation, yet became a figure of hate on the left when his son, Dan, stated his opinion that marriage is between one man and one woman. That hatred led to a boycott of Chick-Fil-A, to Democrats trying to block the restaurants from doing business in Chicago and Boston, and also to the chain’s highest revenues ever.
Truett Cathy never retired from a job that he loved, and never retired from his charitable work. He set Chick-Fil-A up to remain in the family, and never to go public.
Haleh Esfandiari is an Iranian American who escaped the revolution in ’79. Currently directing the Middle East program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Esfandiari was held captive by the Iranian regime for 105 days in 2007. One of the few voices willing to speak up for the women being oppressed under the ISIS regime, she recently turned a critical eye toward Arab and Muslim governments in the region in a Wall Street Journal op-ed:
Arab and Muslim governments, vocal on the threat ISIS poses to regional stability, have been virtually silent on ISIS’s systemic degradation, abuse, and humiliation of women. To the men of ISIS, women are an inferior race, to be enjoyed for sex and be discarded, or to be sold off as slaves.
…Zakia Hakki, an Iraqi judge and a woman herself, says that the fighters leave behind pregnant women who, as “soiled goods,” are ostracized by their own societies, while their children are treated as illegitimate. These raped women become targets for honor killings in their own families and communities. The governments of Iraq and Syria have also failed to protect these women and give them any assistance; nor have Western NGOs been effective in looking after these abandoned women and children. ISIS’s men not only leave behind dead bodies in their wake but also women and children who are scarred for life.
In its propaganda, ISIS emphasizes women’s modesty and piety. It created the al-Khansaa female brigade to protect the morality of women and to ensure they appear totally veiled in public. The irony will not be lost on anyone.
Esfandiari’s damning evidence adds fuel to the fire most feminists are unwilling to take on. But, it is her cultural analysis that demands the West’s wholehearted attention (emphasis mine):
Volunteer fighters from around the world, including from Western countries, who have joined ISIS are complicit in these crimes against women. These young men who grew up in Western cultures seem to have absorbed nothing regarding the value of human life and respect for women. Why are there are no demonstrations in Western and Muslim societies against this barbaric onslaught on women and girls? How much longer will the Muslim and Arab world watch these horrors against women and children before speaking out and acting forcefully to protect them and rid the region of the ISIS calamity?
To fully appreciate the meaning of interfaith dialogues with so-called “moderate” Muslims and friends, consider the apt Sears Optical commercial. “Mama,” Kitty’s myopic owner, fails to see without her glasses. She opens the door to let Kitty in to “snuggle with mama” but instead, a raccoon―known to carry rabies―runs in and jumps in with ‘mama’ on her cozy bed.
Consider this an analogy for a distressing drama in progress at Chautauqua Institution, a strikingly beautiful summer retreat in Chautauqua, N.Y. While enveloped by pastoral landscape, Lake Chautauqua, beautiful houses and gardens, and enriched by music, visual arts, ballet, opera, symphony, chamber music and much more, Chautauqua is opening its doors to another sort of rabid beast.
After toying with the idea for many years, Chautauqua’s religion department this summer announced plans to add a Cordoba House to the Institution’s “Abrahamic family,” to be led by the infamous Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, a move it describes as “highly supported by Chautauqua Faith leaders.”
What’s the rush? Why now, when bands of Islamic brigands roam much of the Middle East and Africa, and Muslim Brotherhood sympathizers worldwide endanger Western civilization? Why at this moment, as Islamic jihadists slaughter Christians throughout the entireMiddleEast as well as elsewhere. After all, Chautauqua Institution was founded by Protestant Christians.
Rather than outrage over endemic tyrannical Islamic abuses of Christians, associate religion department director Maureen Rovegno expresses what an objective individual could at best describe as naiveté:
“The only way that this fear [of Islam] can be alleviated, or neutralized, is to get to know each other in a personal way.” As the Psalm goes: ‘How good is it, and how pleasant, when people dwell together in unity’.”
Thus, only this summer, Chautauqua featured five influential Muslim Brotherhood functionaries and apologists as guest speakers: Former Islamic Circle of North America president Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, Imam Rauf, DaliaMogahed, KarenArmstrong and John Esposito, a Georgetown University professor and head of its Prince Alwaeed bin Talal Center for Muslim Christian Understanding, eponymous for the Saudi royal who in 2005 donated $20 million to the center.
Esposito has long espoused views consistent with Brotherhood doctrine and during the 1990′s was known to claim that Islamic fundamentalism, in fact, was democratic and posed no threat to the U.S. Esposito has also served with global Muslim Brotherhood leader Yusef Qaradawi―since 1999 banned for his terror support from entry to the U.S.―at both the Institue of Islamic Political Thought and the Circle of Tradition and Progress as well as the United Association For Studies and Research (USAR), part of the Hamas’ U.S. Muslim Brotherhood support infrastructure.
On Aug. 15, 2014, I tried to question Esposito following his presentation at the Chautauqua Hall of Philosophy. Chaos briefly ensued. I began with a referral to Sheikh Qaradawi, the MB spiritual leader banned in the U.S., and a major supporter of Hamas―the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.
John Esposito is known to view Sheikh Yusef Qaradawias a “reformist.”
Karen Armstrong considers him a moderate.
Imam Rauf favorably describes him as “the most well-known legal authority in the whole Muslim world today.”
Dalia Mogahed, a featured Chautauqua speaker during the Week on Egypt, conducted her first interview with Qaradawi on his Islam Online website.
(All four, presumably involved with Chautauqua’s future Muslim House, were the Institution’s guest speakers this summer.)
I intended to share the following data on the horrors that Qaradawi sanctions, authorizes and stands for. Esposito refused to let me read even a small sample of Qaradawi’s edicts:
・ Qaradawi condones female genital mutilation;
・ Qaradawi endorses killing Muslims who leave Islam (apostates);
・ Qaradawi claims that Hitler was sent by Allah to punish the Jews (see video);
・ Qaradawi declares force a legitimate means to establish or support Islamic principles (“changing wrong by force whenever possible”) Priorities of the Islamic Movement chapter
・ Qaradawi promotes Islamic conquest of the West;
・ Qaradawi describes the mosque as a political institution to mobilize participants for jihad;
・ Qaradawi endorsed the use of suicide bombers and killing Americans in Iraq.
Time clearly was not at issue. The preceding questioner was as short as possible. To paraphrase, he asked (55:13-55:45)
“The U.S. state department declares Hamas a terrorist organization. Would you be willing to denounce Hamas?”
Esposito claimed that this was not his topic. When pressed, Esposito again dodged.
At other Chautauqua assemblies, questioners ran on at length but asked no question—and received applause. On Jul. 15, 2014, after Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid spoke, for example, another woman stood in the same Hall of Philosophy and for two minutes (1:03:27 - 1:05:05) bemoaned the fate of Sami Al-Arian, a “convicted terrorist-supporting felon, …under…separate indictment for criminal contempt,” as if he were a “poor victim.” Al Arian workedwith the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and served as a board member. In September 1991, Al Arian was caught on tape declaring:
“These people – whom God, the Glorious and sublime, had made into monkeys and pigs, had become discontent and angry with, had cursed in this world and in the hereafter… [Koran 5:78, 5:60, and related Hadith]”
On Aug. 15, by contrast, I could have finished my question in under one minute. However, Esposito interrupted repeatedly and instructed me to “show some civility.” (55:50 – 58:40) This same man refers to the wicked Qaradawi ― for good reason banned from the U.S. for 15 years ― as a “reformist” and “continues to consider Al-Arian a ‘very close friend’ and ‘a man of conscience with a strong commitment to peace and social justice’.” Obviously, he wished only to conceal the truth.
Fellow audience members shouted me down, displaying appallingly belligerent disrespect. They thus unveiled Chautauqua’s general tolerance for such fascist attitudes: not a single voice asked the hecklers to behave with decorum.
The sad reality: about Islam, Chautauqua won’t let the truth out. The precepts of sharia (Islamic law) prohibit criticism of Islam. As if in keeping with that, Esposito manipulatively suppressed any legitimate questions, much less open, honest discourse. He evidently acquiesces to sharia’s bans of free speech, press and conscience.
It makes sense: Esposito regularly appears as a keynote speaker at the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the U.S. fund raising arm of Hamas, and an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2008 Holy Land terror-funding case, with ties to Hamas that led the FBI to terminateany official contact with the group.
At a recent CAIR fundraiser, Esposito smeared Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a highly acclaimed champion of the rights of Muslim women,asan “Islamophobe” (7:15-7:23), a slanderous noun for a fictitiousphenomenon. “Phobia” means an unusually persistent fear of some object or situation. Indeed, the word Islamophobia was reportedly concocted by Islamists at the Virginia offices of the Muslim Brotherhood’s International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT). Chautauquans, especially, use it to tiringly silence all critics of Islam and more specifically all criticism of the barbaricIslamiclegal code. They intend solely to prohibit correct, indeed highly appropriate, expressions of alarm.
Sadly, at this pace, Chautauqua Institution’s engagement of radical supporters of Islamic law will undoubtedly render it a tyrannical place, especially regarding the alarmingly supremacist Islamic political ideology. Chautauqua apparently prefers to assume the mantle of a protector and advocate of Islam than defend the Western civilization that made its existence possible.
The myopic “mama” missing her glasses in the Sears Optical ad cannot distinguish between her kitty and a raccoon. That Chautauqua, similarly, fails to see the reality of “civilization Jihad” as described by the Muslim Brotherhood’s explanatory memorandum, could potentially have far more devastating results.
At some point, the truth will out, even at Chautauqua. Let’s hope that by then, it’s not too late to save the Institution from its own folly.
This week the Drudge Report had this link from the UK Telegraph with the headline and subhead:
How Isil doctored the image of Obama, making him appear haggard in videos
The terrorist group carefully manipulate their videos to make the US president look as tired and weary as possible, demonstrating its technical prowess
Welcome to war in the modern age where our enemies use media manipulation to taunt President Obama. (Remember when Putin and the Russians made light of Obama’s wimpy image using the kitty cats? Click here if you missed that unusual caption contest.)
Below, the Telegraph describes the techniques ISIL (or ISIS) used in the screen-grab image that is the subject of our contest.
In the same way, Mr. Obama’s blue jacket is made to appear a funereal black. His strands of grey hair are picked up and exaggerated. The editor has also caused an interlacing effect of black lines to run across the president’s white shirt. For good measure, he has carefully stretched the screen length ways in order to make Mr. Obama appear thin and gaunt.
Now, here is your “special ops” mission for these dangerous times. You must translate the message written in whatever language these barbarians used, into a language that PJ Media readers can better understand.
In addition to the “official translation,” you can also write a non-official translation from the Democratic National Committee, the Republican National Committee or from any committee or organization you wish, even the NRA or the Navy Seals.
Finally, is it just me, or does the ISIS video manipulation make Obama resemble, even more than before, “this guy” from the History Channel’s Bible mini-series? (Official name of “this guy” withheld for many political, religious and IRS reasons.)
Good luck, and you don’t have to be nice with your translations because the “folks” who did this video manipulation really are the personification of “this guy” in the photo above.
Is America a theocracy? Secretary of State John Kerry seems to think so. He cites the Holy Bible to push Christians to take a particular policy action.
America’s chief diplomat is a secular officer in a secular government. Yet he calls the nations he is addressing in the clip “Muslim-majority,” identifying them not by their names or even their ethnicities, but by their dominant religion. Are they democracies, are they dictatorships, are they mullahcracies? It doesn’t matter. Kerry says that they’re all “Muslim” or “Muslim-majority,” and that’s what counts.
America is majority Christian, so according to Secretary of State John Kerry, we are a Christian nation. Therefore, according to Kerry, we must govern according to what the Bible says.
In the clip Kerry calls on other countries, presumably ones in which majorities respect the Bible, to protect those Muslim countries from climate change. He starts to cite specific scriptures, which he says “clearly” call for Christian countries to protect Muslim countries from climate change, and then appears to change his mind and settle on “Genesis.”
Who knew that John Kerry is such a hard core theocrat?
On Friday before the Labor Day holiday, the third edition of the Islamic State’s glossy English-language magazine hit the Internet.
It’s called Dabiq, named after a small town in Syria where the Islamic State believes that the final battle for the world will begin. The third edition is titled A Call to Hijrah — “hijrah” means “the path to jihad.”
As we reported Friday, the magazine includes a lengthy statement said to be from James Foley, whom IS had beheaded in the days before A Call to Hijrah was released. It also calls President Barack Obama an “apostate,” which according to Islamic law marks him for death. IS may believe that Obama is a Muslim apostate because his father and grandfather were Muslims, or because he was educated in an Islamic school as a child in Indonesia, or both, and now states that he is a Christian.
In its opening chapters, Dabiq stakes the Islamic State’s claim that it is unique in all of history.
That is from page four, which includes an undated photo of IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. He is probably the “unknown man” that the text above refers to, because until the rise of the Islamic State he has not been the worldwide known figure that Osama bin Laden was for al Qaeda until his death.
Dabiq states if one were to travel to the Islamic State’s units on the front-lines in Syria and Iraq, they would see that the “soldiers and commanders [are] of different colors, languages and lands: the Najdi, the Jordanian, the Tunisian, the Egyptian, the Somali, the Turk, the Albanian, the Chechen, the Indonesian, the Russian, the European, the American, and so on. They left their families and their lands to renew the state of the muwahhidin in Sham, and they had never known each other until they arrived in Sham!”
The author goes on to state: “I have no doubt that this state…has become the largest collection of muhajirin in the world, is a marvel of history that has only come about to pave the way for al-Malhamah al-Kubra (the grand battle prior to the Hour).”
Part 2 of Dabiq, which begins on page 6, continues in this vein, extolling its jihadists. It connects Ibn Masud, who lived in the time of Mohammed, to al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who also praised foreign fighters who joined the al Qaeda cause in Iraq. Part 2 endeavors to put the Islamic State squarely into Islamic history, in the mainstream, as inheritors of the mantle left by Mohammed himself and carried out by Zarqawi and now al-Baghdadi.
As a propaganda and recruitment tool, Dabiq is impressive. It is well-produced and takes the time to explain many Islamic concepts that even Muslims who grew up in the West might not be familiar with. The magazine’s characterization of the Islamic State as a multi-national and multi-ethnic melting pot, coupled with photos of smiling IS warriors, is an overt pitch to westerners who have been steeped in multiculturalism in schools and media for decades. IS is pitching itself as the joyous fulfillment of the West’s ideal to bring all races, nationalities and cultures together to live side-by-side in harmony.
The Islamic State’s harmony depends not on voluntary assimilation and tolerance, but on exterminating everyone and everything that it deems haram — sinful.
Dabiq: A Call to Hijrah is embedded on the next page.
As shocking as the Muslim-run sex ring in Rotherham, England may seem to some—1,400 British children as young as 11 plied with drugs before being passed around and sexually abused in cabs and kabob shops—the fact is that this phenomenon is immensely widespread. In the United Kingdom alone, it’s the fifth sex abuse ring led by Muslims to be uncovered.
Some years back in Australia, a group of “Lebanese Muslim youths” were responsible for a “series of brutal gang rapes” of “Anglo-Celtic teenage girls.” A few years later in the same country, four Muslim Pakistani brothers raped at least 18 Australian women, some as young as 13. Even in the United States, a gang of Somalis—Somalia being a Muslim nation where non-Muslims, primarily Christians, are ruthlessly persecuted—was responsible for abducting, buying, selling, raping and torturing young American girls as young as 12.
The question begs itself: If Muslim minorities have no fear of exploiting “infidel” women and children in non-Muslim countries—that is, where Muslims themselves are potentially vulnerable minorities—how are Muslims throughout the Islamic world, where they are dominant, treating their vulnerable, non-Muslim minorities?
The answer is a centuries-long, continents-wide account of nonstop sexual predation. Boko Haram’s recent abduction and enslavement of nearly 300, mostly Christian, schoolgirls last April in Nigeria is but the tip of the iceberg.
The difference between what happens in Nigeria and what happens in Western nations is based on what I call “Islam’s Rule of Numbers.” Wherever Muslims grow in numbers, Islamic phenomena intrinsic to the Muslim world—in this case, the sexual abuse of “infidel” children and teenagers—comes along with them.
Thus in the United Kingdom, where Muslims make for a sizeable—and notable—minority, the systematic rape of “subhuman infidels” naturally takes place. But when caught, Muslim minorities, being under “infidel” authority, cry “Islamophobia” and feign innocence.
In Nigeria, however, which is roughly 50 percent Islamic, such “apologetics” are unnecessary. After seizing the nearly 300 schoolgirls, the leader of Boko Haram appeared on videotape boasting that “I abducted your girls. I will sell them on the market, by Allah…. There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell.”
It’s the same in Pakistan—the nation where many of the United Kingdom’s Muslims, including the majority involved in the Rotherham sex ring, come from. See this article for a long list of Christian children—as young as 2-years-old—who were targeted by Muslim men for abduction, enslavement, and rape. In every single case, police do nothing except sometimes side with the Muslim rapists against their “infidel” victims.
For example, last Easter Sunday, four Muslim men gang-raped a 7-year-old Christian girl named Sara, leaving her in “critical condition.” According to Asia News, “the police, instead of arresting the culprits, helped the local clan to kidnap the girl’s father… to ‘force the family not to report the story, to reach an agreement with the criminals and to avoid a dispute of a religious background.’”
As for systematic child grooming, in 2010, Kiran George, a Christian girl who was “enslaved by a woman, Sama, a dealer of youth to be sold as prostitutes or slaves to wealthy Muslim families,” was doused with gasoline by a police officer involved in the sex ring, set on fire, and burned to death… Keep reading
White, conservative male Rich Lowry provides further evidence for my argument that the East proves the West needs feminism. In his latest syndicated column, Lowry details the horror that has occurred in Rotherham, England, a small northern England town in which “more than 1,400 young girls have been raped and brutally exploited” for over 15 years.
England is the West, you may argue. And you’d be right. A Western nation that turned a blind eye to these vicious crimes against women because the perpetrators of said heinous offenses were Pakistani Muslims.
… the local government tolerated sexual violence on a vast scale. Why? In part, because the criminals who committed these sickening acts were Muslims from the local Pakistani community, and noticing their depravity was considered insensitive at best, racist at worst.
The British home secretary says “institutionalized political correctness” contributed to the abandonment of hundreds of girls to their tormentors. Imagine something out of the nightmarish world of Stieg Larsson, brought to life and abetted by the muddle-headed cowardice of people who fear the disapproval of the diversity police.
In Rotherham, multiculturalism triumphed over not just feminism, but over the law, over basic human decency and over civilization itself.
According to an “independent investigation released last week”:
”It is hard to describe the appalling nature of the abuse that child victims suffered. They were raped by multiple perpetrators, trafficked to other towns and cities in the north of England, abducted, beaten, and intimidated.”
Law enforcement, government-funded social workers, and elected officials were all well aware of the crimes being committed and, by and large, did nothing fearing Orwellian punishment for attempting to defend these women against a perceived protected minority.
“Hate is not a family value.”
That’s what Democrat strategist Donna Brazile tweeted Tuesday after news broke that the Islamic State had published video showing its beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff.
The murderers butchered him at the prime of his life, because he is an American, and because he is not Muslim. Those were his “crimes” in the eyes of the Islamic State. So they cut his head off and posted video of his last moments of life for all the world to see, while they promised to kill again.
Islamic State’s operators are, among other things, serial killers.
Brazile’s tweet of a cliche might not seem to matter, but it does, because she is a big name in the media and a bigger name in the Democratic Party. That party controls American foreign policy as the Islamic State threat rises. Brazile has the ear of President Barack Obama like very few do. Her reactions are likely to align with those of most Democrats including President Obama.
Brazile surrounded that sentiment with others that indicate confusion over the Islamic State and what to do about it. She tweeted that “hate is not a strategy for victory.” Who said that it is? No one who has ever spent any time in the American military would substitute hate for a battle plan. That’s a recipe for defeat.
She called for a “full debate,” but immediately took the military option off the table. That’s not a “full debate.”
The liberal Democrat who supports every government social program questioned the cost of military action, which she had already taken off the table.
She called for a “complete, comprehensive strategy” — only, it would have to be a strategy that does not involve sending American ground troops to fight and defeat a ground army.
Brazile’s reactions betray confusion. That confusion is deeper than momentary strategy. It’s a moral confusion, which is a product of living in subjective cliches rather than reality.
Cliches stop critical thought in its tracks. Cliches crush legitimate debate.
Brazile says she is a Christian. She subscribes to the idea that “hate is not a family value.” That saying has become a staple of Democrat politics for a couple of decades now. Whatever else that statement is, it’s not a reflection of Biblical beliefs.
Don’t get me wrong here. Hate for its own sake or over racial differences isn’t a Biblical value.
But hate is depicted in the Bible as something that becomes necessary at times, and that has its place and its seasons.
The most famous scripture that addresses hate is probably Ecclesiastes 3. It reads:
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
What would a “time to hate” be? What would it look like?
Verse 8 connects hate with times of war. The Obama administration refuses to state whether we’re at war with IS, but they are certainly at war with us. They have butchered two of our citizens in the past couple of weeks. They have threatened our nation and declared their intent to impose their beliefs on the whole world. They want to destroy our way of life. We stand in their way. It’s beyond doubt that they hate us, in a non-righteous way, as the next few verses explain.
Psalm 101 specifies what it’s proper to hate.
I will sing of your love and justice;
to you, Lord, I will sing praise.
2I will be careful to lead a blameless life—
when will you come to me?
I will conduct the affairs of my house
with a blameless heart.
3I will not look with approval
on anything that is vile.
I hate what faithless people do;
I will have no part in it.
4The perverse of heart shall be far from me;
I will have nothing to do with what is evil.
David wrote that psalm, and said that he “hates” what faithless people do. “Faithless” in this context means “dishonest.” He goes on to say that he will “silence” those who “slander” their neighbors. That ought to make anyone in politics a little bit uncomfortable. In particular, it should disturb Democrats who play the race card and other smears at every opportunity.
The Times of Israel carried the startling report of one radical Islamist mother-in-law who was willing to send not one, not two, but all of her daughters to slaughter for the Palestinian cause:
The bereaved mother-in-law of Hamas terror chief Muhammad Deif said she would be “honored” were he to marry her two other daughters, even if they were “martyred” as a consequence.Deif’s wife Widad and his son and daughter were killed last week in an Israeli airstrike aimed at Deif, the Hamas military commander said by Israel to be responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Israelis in a career of terrorism dating back to the early 1990s.Apparently believing that Deif survived the Israeli strike, Widad’s mother Zeian Asfura, 61, told London’s Sunday Times in an interview published Sunday: “Should Deif request the hand of any of my other daughters, I will happily consent and even if she, too, is martyred I will consent to the third.
“It is an honor to have Deif a husband to any of my daughters and be a father to their children,” Asfura added.…Asfura said that when she consented to the marriage in 2011, she realized the possible consequence. “When I agreed the marriage, I in effect consented to a fate of martyrdom for my daughter,” she said.
Mainstream feminists news sources didn’t bother carrying this story, but give them time. Nearly a month after the rest of the world learned that Yazidi women were jumping off cliffs to avoid becoming Islamic State sex slaves, Jezebel finally granted a few words to the issue. Referring to the women as “brides” instead of “sex slaves”, the author demurely referred to to the situation as “just awful.” The Yazidi choice to commit suicide didn’t even make the story.
Friedan feminists lapped up the liberties their mothers and grandmothers had fought hard to earn and shrugged. As a result, their daughters live comfortably, insulated in their so-called feminism that remains ignorant of the real persecution of women the world over. The more politically inclined among them fell for the Marxist narrative of postcolonial struggle, rendering them powerless against a perceived racial minority’s religious ideology that subjects a woman to a life of objectification and abuse. Hence contemporary American feminism isn’t equipped to confront radical Islam’s threat against women.
The struggle of the Yazidi women and the perverted ideology of Zeian Asfura demand that feminism not be defined by upper class white women supplementing their career of bored housewife with fundraising galas for the latest cause celeb. It is time feminism got back to its roots of Bible believing, slave-freeing, vote-wielding powerful women who worked as forces of nature fighting against female persecution. Ignorance is evil, and the kind of ignorance embraced by modern feminism is the kind that empowers evil to thrive to the point that no ocean border can wash it away. The West needs feminism, true feminism, Biblical feminism, lest the story of the Yazidi become a global narrative and evil mother-in-law jokes take on a sick, sad new meaning in our neck of the woods.
The Islamic State, like al Qaeda, publishes a slick English-language magazine to justify its actions and exhort jihadists to support it financially, through attacks, and other ways. It also serves as a recruitment tool.
At the same time, it serves as a glimpse into the minds of the terrorist group/growing military threat in Iraq and Syria.
Here is the third edition of Dabiq: A Call to Hijrah, in full. “Hijrah” means “the path to jihad.”
It includes a longer statement from James Foley than was included in the IS execution video. That begins on page 39. The magazine blames that beheading on the US airstrikes that began on August 7. Dabiq calls President Barack Obama an “apostate” and a “crusader.” It depicts its jihadists as happy warriors, and its enemies as dead or shortly to be killed.
Despite how unsavory and barbaric Islamic groups and persons around the world have been behaving—whether Nigeria’s Boko Haram, Mesopotamia’s Islamic State, Somalia’s Shabaab—perhaps few things are as disgusting and cowardly as the Muslim rape of nuns: defenseless Christian women who sacrifice much of their lives to help sick and needy Muslims.
The latest such attack comes from Bangladesh, which is over 90% Muslim in population. In early July, dozens of men armed with machetes, knives and iron rods attacked the convent of PIME (Pontifical Institute of Foreign Missions nuns in Boldipuku), a village mission in north Bangladesh.
“The nuns were beaten and molested, ending when police arrived,” reported Bishop Sebastian Tudu.
Catholic Online has the complete story:
[S]ome 60 men attempted to loot the building and rape the nuns… The attackers first tied the hands and legs of the mission’s two night watchmen and gagged them in the early morning hours. They then broke down the door of the room where the assistant pastor Father Anselmo Marandy was sleeping. They then raided the convent located in the mission campus…. Three PIME nuns suffered attempted rape and were sent to their provincial house in Dhaka, the national capital where they are trying to overcome the shock and mental suffering. “It’s very sad that the sisters cannot continue to work for the people, but our sisters are no longer safe,” Rosaline Costa, a Catholic human rights activist lamented. Local Christians are currently living in fear since the attack. Christians form only 0.8 percent of Dinajpur district’s three million people.
Although some of those quoted in the Catholic Online report portray this attack is “unprecedented,” the fact is, nuns raped by Muslims is a phenomenon that goes back centuries. According to Muslim historian Taqi al-Din al-Maqrizi (1364-1442), during his raids on then Christian-majority Egypt, Caliph Marwan II (r.744–50) “made captive a number of women from among the nuns of several convents. And he tried to seduce one of them.”
The account describes how the enslaved nun tricked him into killing her, by claiming she had a magic oil that make skin impenetrable: “She then took some oil and anointed herself with it; then stretched out her neck, which he smote with the sword, and made her head fly. He then understood that she preferred death to defilement.”
Writing in the tenth century, the Coptic chronicler Severus ibn Muqaffa records that “the Arabs [i.e., Muslims] in the land of Egypt had ruined the country…. They burnt the fortresses and pillaged the provinces, and killed a multitude of the saintly monks who were in them [monasteries] and they violated a multitude of the virgin nuns and killed some of them with the sword.”
After the Islamic conquest of Constantinople in 1453, according to eyewitness accounts, “Monasteries and Convents were broken in. Their tenants were killed, nuns were raped, many, to avoid dishonor, killed themselves. Killing, raping, looting, burning, enslaving, went on and on according to tradition.”
Such is history—expunged as it is in the modern West—even as it repeats itself today. Thus, in August 2013, after torching a Franciscan school in Egypt, “Islamists,” in the words of the AP, “paraded three nuns on the streets like ‘prisoners of war’” and “Two other women working at the school were sexually harassed and abused as they fought their way through a mob.”
Indeed, the rise in attacks on Christian nuns throughout the Islamic world further demonstrates that they are no more inviolable than other “infidel” women:
- Somalia: In response to Pope Benedict’s historical quotes which, like so many other things so enraged the Islamic world, Muslims in Somalia shot Leonella Sgarbati—a 66-year-old nun who had devoted 30 years of her life working in Africa—in her back. Her last words before dying in hospital were: “I forgive; I forgive.”
- Pakistan: In September 2012, gunmen on motorbikes dressed in green (Islam’s color) opened fire on the St. Francis Xavier Catholic Cathedral in Hyderabad, murdering at least 28 people. Their immediate target was a nun, Mother Christina.
- Libya: In February 2013, after the fall of Col. Gaddafi, Islamic rebels threatened nuns into fleeing the nation. They had been there since 1921, focused primarily on helping the sick and needy.
- Palestinian Authority: Last year, nuns of the Greek-Orthodox monastery in Bethany sent a letter to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urging him to respond to the escalation of attacks on the Christian house, including the throwing of stones, broken glass, theft and looting of the monastery property.
- Philippines: In an article discussing a Christmas Day church bombing in a Muslim-majority region, we learn that the jihadi group responsible “has been blamed for several bomb attacks on the Roman Catholic cathedral in Jolo since the early 2000s and for kidnapping priests and nuns.”
- Guinea: In June 2013, during a mob-led frenzy, Christians and their churches were savagely attacked in the Muslim-majority nation—with some 95 Christians slain and 130 wounded—including “the quarters of the nuns, [which] was looted before being torched.”
- Syria: Islamic rebels forcibly abducted 13 Christian nuns and three maids, holding them captive for three months. They were finally released after the Bashar government agreed to release some 150 female criminals in exchange.
The above examples come from several countries that have little in common with one another—neither race, language, culture, nor economics—only Islam.
That alone should say something.
But no matter. Far from discussing Islamic history and doctrine, and how they tie to current events—especially the subhuman treatment of non-Muslim “infidels”—the predominant Western mentality simply dismisses Muslim violence as the West’s fault, or, in the words of ex-nun Karen Armstrong and Islamic apologist extraordinaire, “We did this.” Armstrong—who quit the nunnery only to engage in pro-Islamic mummery—insists that what’s needed is for us to focus more on “Muslim pain, Muslim suffering.”
Such, according to the leftist mentality, are the “real” reasons why, wherever Muslim-majorities live near non-Muslim minorities, from the dawn of Islam till today, the latter are being attacked into extinction.
Matti Friedman, a former AP Correspondent, has written a brilliant, must-read analysis of why the mainstream media’s reporting on Israel is skewed, biased, and downright reprehensible:
The lasting importance of this summer’s war, I believe, doesn’t lie in the war itself. It lies instead in the way the war has been described and responded to abroad, and the way this has laid bare the resurgence of an old, twisted pattern of thought and its migration from the margins to the mainstream of Western discourse—namely, a hostile obsession with Jews. The key to understanding this resurgence is not to be found among jihadi webmasters, basement conspiracy theorists, or radical activists. It is instead to be found first among the educated and respectable people who populate the international news industry; decent people, many of them, and some of them my former colleagues.
While global mania about Israeli actions has come to be taken for granted, it is actually the result of decisions made by individual human beings in positions of responsibility—in this case, journalists and editors. The world is not responding to events in this country, but rather to the description of these events by news organizations. The key to understanding the strange nature of the response is thus to be found in the practice of journalism, and specifically in a severe malfunction that is occurring in that profession—my profession—here in Israel.
The 3 page story explains a number of popular misnomers that are the result of mainstream media reporting techniques, including:
- In all of 2013, for example, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict claimed 42 lives—that is, roughly the monthly homicide rate in the city of Chicago. Jerusalem, internationally renowned as a city of conflict, had slightly fewer violent deaths per capita last year than Portland, Ore., one of America’s safer cities. In contrast, in three years the Syrian conflict has claimed an estimated 190,000 lives, or about 70,000 more than the number of people who have ever died in the Arab-Israeli conflict since it began a century ago.
- The West has decided that Palestinians should want a state alongside Israel, so that opinion is attributed to them as fact, though anyone who has spent time with actual Palestinians understands that things are (understandably, in my opinion) more complicated. Who they are and what they want is not important: The story mandates that they exist as passive victims of the party that matters.
- Most reporters in Gaza believe their job is to document violence directed by Israel at Palestinian civilians. That is the essence of the Israel story. In addition, reporters are under deadline and often at risk, and many don’t speak the language and have only the most tenuous grip on what is going on. They are dependent on Palestinian colleagues and fixers who either fear Hamas, support Hamas, or both. Reporters don’t need Hamas enforcers to shoo them away from facts that muddy the simple story they have been sent to tell.
Concluding with, “Many in the West clearly prefer the old comfort of parsing the moral failings of Jews, and the familiar feeling of superiority this brings them, to confronting an unhappy and confusing reality,” the story is a must read for anyone willing to confront the mess of mainstream media and the reality of life in Israel and the Middle East.
Nearly three-and-a-half years ago, before the “Arab Spring” and the plight of Christians became much of a topic, I wrote an article titled “The Silent Extermination of Iraq’s ‘Christian Dogs.’” Revisiting it is useful, as it highlights some important points. The article follows below in italics, with new observations interspersed in regular font:
Last week [April, 2011] an Iraqi Muslim scholar issued a fatwa that, among other barbarities, asserts that “it is permissible to spill the blood of Iraqi Christians.” Inciting as the fatwa is, it is also redundant. While last October’s Baghdad church attack which killed some sixty Christians is widely known—actually receiving some MSM coverage—the fact is, Christian life in Iraq has been a living hell ever since U.S. forces ousted the late Saddam Hussein in 2003.
The important point here is that the plight of Iraq’s Christians did not just begin under the Islamic State, as many seem to believe, but rather from the very first day the (secular) autocrat was removed.
Among other atrocities, beheading and crucifying Christians are not irregular occurrences; messages saying “you Christian dogs, leave or die,” are typical. Islamists see the church as an “obscene nest of pagans” and threaten to “exterminate Iraqi Christians.” John Eibner, CEO of Christian Solidarity International, summarized the situation well in a recent letter to President Obama:
“The threat of extermination is not empty. Since the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s regime, more than half the country’s Christian population has been forced by targeted violence to seek refuge abroad or to live away from their homes as internally displaced people. According to the Hammurabi Human Rights Organization, over 700 Christians, including bishops and priests, have been killed and 61 churches have been bombed. Seven years after the commencement of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Catholic Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk reports: ‘He who is not a Muslim in Iraq is a second-class citizen. Often it is necessary to convert or emigrate, otherwise one risks being killed.’ This anti-Christian violence is sustained by a widespread culture of Muslim supremacism that extends far beyond those who pull the triggers and detonate the bombs.”
Again, more confirmation that the savage persecution of Christians in Iraq—including recent acts of genocide and expulsions—is not a product of the Islamic State, but rather something more homegrown, more—how shall we say?—integral to Muslims unloosed from the grips of secularized dictators?
The grand irony, of course, is that Christian persecution has increased exponentially under U.S. occupation. As one top Vatican official put it, Christians, “paradoxically, were more protected under the dictatorship” of Saddam Hussein.
What does one make of this—that under Saddam, who was notorious for human rights abuses, Christians were better off than they are under a democratic government sponsored by humanitarian, some would say “Christian,” America?
Although I first suggested over three years ago that Christian minorities are the first to suffer whenever the U.S. intervenes in Islamic nations—evincing the types of people the U.S. ends up empowering—this notion is now an ironclad fact, with other examples to add to Iraq, including Libya, Syria, and Egypt under Obama allies, the Muslim Brotherhood.
Like a Baghdad caliph, Saddam appears to have made use of the better educated Christians, who posed no risk to his rule, such as his close confidant Tariq Aziz. Moreover, by keeping a tight lid on the Islamists of his nation—who hated him as a secular apostate no less than the Christians—the latter benefited indirectly.
Conversely, by empowering “the people,” the U.S. has unwittingly undone Iraq’s Christian minority. Naively projecting Western values on Muslims, U.S. leadership continues to think that “people-power” will naturally culminate into a liberal, egalitarian society—despite all the evidence otherwise. The fact is, in the Arab/Muslim world, “majority rule” traditionally means domination by the largest tribe or sect; increasingly, it means Islamist domination.
Either which way, the minorities—notably the indigenous Christians—are the first to suffer once the genie of “people-power” is uncorked. Indeed, evidence indicates that the U.S. backed “democratic” government of Iraq enables and incites the persecution of its Christians. (All of this raises the pivotal question: Do heavy-handed tyrants—Saddam, Mubarak, Qaddafi, et al—create brutal societies, or do naturally brutal societies create the need for heavy-handed tyrants to keep order?)
Again, a reminder that it is not just the Islamic jihadis and other U.S. sponsored “rebels” that persecute Christians, but even the U.S. installed government of Iraq. Moreover, a few months after the above was written, the government of “liberated” Afghanistan destroyed the last Christian church—entirely under U.S. auspices.
Another indicator that empowering Muslim masses equates Christian suffering is the fact that, though Iraqi Christians amount to a mere 5% of the population, they make up nearly 40% of the refugees fleeing Iraq. It is now the same in Egypt: “A growing number of Egypt’s 8-10 million Coptic Christians are looking for a way to get out as Islamists increasingly take advantage of the nationalist revolution that toppled long-standing dictator Hosni Mubarak in February.”
At least Egypt’s problems are homegrown, whereas the persecution of Iraq’s Christians is a direct byproduct of U.S. intervention. More ironic has been Obama’s approach: Justifying U.S. intervention in Libya largely in humanitarian terms, the president recently declared that, while “it is true that America cannot use our military wherever repression occurs… that cannot be an argument for never acting on behalf of what’s right.”
Indeed, and we have since seen what Obama’s “humanitarian” actions in Libya have led to—the empowerment of Islamists and jihadis, evinced from things like the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and the dramatic rise of Christian persecution. Since Obama “liberated” Libya, Christians—including Americans—have been tortured and killed (including for refusing to convert) and churches bombed. And it’s “open season” on Copts, as jihadis issue a reward to Muslims who find and kill Christians. This was hardly the case under Gaddafi.
True, indeed. Yet, as Obama “acts on behalf of what’s right” by providing military protection to the al-Qaeda connected Libyan opposition, Iraq’s indigenous Christians continue to be exterminated—right under the U.S. military’s nose in Iraq. You see, in its ongoing bid to win the much coveted but forever elusive “Muslim-hearts-and-minds™”—which Obama has even tasked NASA with—U.S. leadership has opted to ignore the inhumane treatment of Islam’s “Christian dogs,” the mere mention of which tends to upset Muslims.
And now the job is largely done, as Christians and other religious minorities are being cleansed from large parts of Iraq, not to mention much of the Islamic world.
Your own private property is no longer safe.
ALBANY—Two farmers in rural Rensselaer County must pay $13,000 in fines and restitution after they rebuffed a lesbian couple who inquired about getting married at their farm, a state agency ruled.
Jennifer McCarthy and her now-wife Melisa (nee Erwin) found Liberty Ridge Farm, which overlooks the Hudson River in Schaghticoke, several miles north of Troy, on the internet and hoped to rent it for their wedding ceremony and reception. Cynthia Gifford, who along with her husband offer a corn maze, market and events at the 100-acre farm, told Melisa McCarthy her same-sex marriage would cause “a little bit of a problem” because the Giffords have a “specific religious belief regarding marriage,” according to court papers.
McCarthy and her wife brought a complaint in conjunction with the New York Civil Liberties Union, saying Liberty Ridge Farm was a public accommodation and the Giffords’ actions were unlawfully discriminatory under state law.
While the McCarthys never entered into a rental contract for the facility, an administrative law judge ruled Gifford “implicitly rescinded the invitation” when she learned Melisa McCarthy’s spouse-to-be was also a woman.
No contract is no protection. The mere inquiry is enough to cost thousands.
“The policy to not allow same-sex marriage ceremonies on Liberty Ridge Farm is a denial of access to a place of public accommodation,” Judge Migdalia Pares wrote. She said the Giffords should pay $3,000 to the women—$1,500 each—for “mental anguish each suffered as a result of respondents’ unlawfully discriminatory conduct.” Citing “the goal of deterrence” as well as the Giffords’ clear stance against same-sex weddings, Pares fined the Giffords an additional $10,000.
So, the judge is proactively punishing thoughtcrime.
My prediction that the current trajectory of this issue will end up with churches declining to support any weddings in their facilities is looking better and better.
The goal here, for some but by no means all same-sex marriage supporters, is to destroy the church or drive it underground. We’re a long way from that, but not as far as most seem to think. They’re making progress.
After being held for 45 days by pro-Gadhafi forces in Libya in April 2011, journalist James Foley told the magazine of his alma mater, Marquette University, how prayer had gotten him through the time in captivity:
Myself and two colleagues had been captured and were being held in a military detention center in Tripoli. Each day brought increasing worry that our moms would begin to panic. My colleague, Clare, was supposed to call her mom on her birthday, which was the day after we were captured. I had still not fully admitted to myself that my mom knew what had happened. But I kept telling Clare my mom had a strong faith.
I prayed she’d know I was OK. I prayed I could communicate through some cosmic reach of the universe to her.
I began to pray the rosary. It was what my mother and grandmother would have prayed. I said 10 Hail Marys between each Our Father. It took a long time, almost an hour to count 100 Hail Marys off on my knuckles. And it helped to keep my mind focused.
Clare and I prayed together out loud. It felt energizing to speak our weaknesses and hopes together, as if in a conversation with God, rather than silently and alone.
Finally, 18 days into his captivity, Foley was allowed to call his mom, Diane.
I replayed that call hundreds of times in my head — my mother’s voice, the names of my friends, her knowledge of our situation, her absolute belief in the power of prayer. She told me my friends had gathered to do anything they could to help. I knew I wasn’t alone.
My last night in Tripoli, I had my first Internet connection in 44 days and was able to listen to a speech Tom Durkin gave for me at the Marquette vigil. To a church full of friends, alums, priests, students and faculty, I watched the best speech a brother could give for another. It felt like a best man speech and a eulogy in one. It showed tremendous heart and was just a glimpse of the efforts and prayers people were pouring forth. If nothing else, prayer was the glue that enabled my freedom, an inner freedom first and later the miracle of being released during a war in which the regime had no real incentive to free us. It didn’t make sense, but faith did.
Foley was held captive for two years after being taken in Syria. Yesterday, ISIS released the barbaric video of his beheading. Foley closed his eyes during the terrorist’s speech, as if concentrating on prayer before he was murdered.
Via Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch, a report from the UN News Centre:
Two senior United Nations officials today condemned in the strongest terms the “barbaric acts” of sexual violence and “savage rapes” the armed group Islamic State (IS) has perpetrated on minorities in areas under its control.
…“We are gravely concerned by continued reports of acts of violence, including sexual violence against women and teenage girls and boys belonging to Iraqi minorities,” Ms. Bangura and Mr. Mladenov said.
“Atrocious accounts of abduction and detention of Yazidi, Christian, as well as Turkomen and Shabak women, girls and boys, and reports of savage rapes, are reaching us in an alarming manner,” Ms. Bangura and Mr. Mladenov stated, pointing out that some 1,500 Yazidi and Christian persons may have been forced into sexual slavery….
While Iraqi women jump from cliffs to avoid becoming the next sex slaves of the Islamic State, American feminist publications spent their time focusing on male celebrities who’ve embraced the feminist demand that biology doesn’t matter:
This week, Joseph Gordon-Levitt pretty much nailed the definition of feminism…“What [feminism] means to me is that you don’t let your gender define who you are—you can be who you want to be, whether you’re a man, a woman, a boy, a girl, whatever,” Gordon-Levitt said.
And complaining about university sexual harassment policies that still aren’t strict enough, even if they include the following caveat:
The school has also adopted an affirmative consent standard, defining consent as requiring “unambiguous communication and mutual agreement concerning the act in which the participants are engaging” and noting that “silence or absence of resistance is not the same as consent.”
Which leaves one to wonder if ISIS would be totally legitimized in their use of sex slaves if said slaves signed a waver of consent and mutual agreement beforehand. Feminists don’t believe in being defined by gender, so it’s not like those women jumping off the mountain in Iraq were due any unique respect for their biology. Not that American feminists would stop to notice the crisis of Iraqi women fleeing radical Islam’s sex trade, anyway: Lena Dunham got a new haircut and that’s taking up, like, all of their time.
While American feminists, by and large, do absolutely nothing to advocate for the sex slaves of ISIS, said slaves have done something amazing for the American feminist movement. Every time an Iraqi Christian woman jumps to her death to avoid becoming a sex slave of the Islamic State, she testifies to the fact that western feminism is nothing more than nihilism in a pretty dress.
The same article that praised Gordon Levitt for his anti-biology views also praised a myriad of actors for their pro-choice stance. How ironic that feminists who rail against absentee fathers praise an actor for saying, “It’s not about abortion being right or wrong. It’s about having that choice to decide what a person should do with their own body.” In their demand that biology be ignored, these women pursue the very behavior they claim to hate in the opposite sex: The right to irresponsibility.
Over 40 years ago feminists chose to walk away from their unborn babies. It should come as no surprise, then, that they are just as willing to walk away from their fellow women suffering now under ISIS. Because when you’re a nihilist, things like biology, sisterhood, and responsibility just don’t matter.
The Pentagon today brushed off North Korea’s latest saber-rattling just before Pope Francis touched down in South Korea for a five-day visit.
Pyongyang fired five short-range missiles into the sea east of the Korean peninsula.
Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said he wouldn’t “speak to North Korean intentions,” such as whether it’s a precursor to the firing of longer-range missiles.
“I think it’s an exercise in futility to try to figure out what it is Kim Jong-un does and why. Some people are saying that these five rockets were fired in conjunction with the pope’s visit,” Kirby said. “My guess is the pope worries about a higher authority than Kim Jong-un.”
“So I’m not going to speculate about what they did or why. What I’ll say is what I’ve continued to say almost every week. North Korea needs to meet its international obligations. It needs to pay more attention to feeding its own people and educating its own citizens than further destabilizing the peninsula.”
Kirby added that “regardless, our commitment, our treaty commitments, one of the five of seven treaty alliances we have is to the South Korean government.”
“We take very seriously our treaty commitment there on the peninsula and to security on the peninsula,” he said. “Nothing’s going to change about that, and it’s not going to affect our desire, ability and intent to continue to exercise and work on interoperability with our South Korean counterparts.”
The IJReview picked up a story from the UK Daily Mail that featured the eye witness testimony of an Israeli Iron Dome commander responsible for protecting Tel Aviv, Israel’s business center, from incoming rocket attacks:
A missile was fired from Gaza. Iron Dome precisely calculated [its trajectory]. We know where these missiles are going to land down to a radius of 200 meters. This particular missile was going to hit either the Azrieli Towers, the Kirya (Israel’s equivalent of the Pentagon) or [a central Tel Aviv railway station]. Hundreds could have died.
We fired the first [interceptor]. It missed. Second [interceptor]. It missed. This is very rare. I was in shock. At this point we had just four seconds until the missile lands. We had already notified emergency services to converge on the target location and had warned of a mass-casualty incident.
Suddenly, Iron Dome (which calculates wind speeds, among other things) shows a major wind coming from the east, a strong wind that … sends the missile into the sea. We were all stunned. I stood up and shouted, ‘There is a God!”
The story, originally circulated in Israeli media, was translated into English by the Jerusalem-based news agency Israel Today. The commander’s testimony continued:
“I witnessed this miracle with my own eyes. It was not told or reported to me. I saw the hand of God send that missile into the sea.”
Israel Today noted that earlier unconfirmed reports circulating around the Internet had Hamas fighters have attributed the success of Iron Dome to the ability of Israel’s God to move Hamas rockets in mid-air. This is not the first report of Divine intervention in the midst of Operation Protective Edge. Following the Biblical terms of a pre-Jubilee year harvest, Orthodox farmers took enough wheat from their fields to reveal terrorists hiding in their midst. Most recently, it was reported that an Israeli soldier’s well-timed recitation of the Shema saved a Hamas female suicide bomber in Gaza.
Israel Today ended their Iron Dome miracle report by detailing another report of miracles in the midst of combat:
Also last week, Col. Ofer Winter, commander of the Givati Infantry Brigade, described a mysterious fog that favorably covered he and his troops as they advanced on an enemy position in morning light, after their nighttime raid was postponed.
Col. Winter labeled the covering as “clouds of glory.”
Earlier in the Gaza war, Col. Winter sparked heated national debate when he encouraged his troops to lead the charge against an enemy that “curses, defames and abuses the God of Israel.” Col. Winter concluded his letter by praying that the “Lord your God go with you, to fight for you against your enemies and to save you.”
Breitbart published an exclusive report on the details surrounding the deaths of three Israeli soldiers, including Lt. Hadar Goldin, originally thought to have been kidnapped after Hamas terrorists set off a suicide bomb near a tunnel entrance. The report highlights Hamas’s gross abuse of women in Gaza, including their willingness to turn young women into suicide bombers. The account also provides evidence of the life-saving power of faith at work on the front lines:
In the midst of this attack, a second force of IDF soldiers–which had gone into a mosque looking for weapons, explosives, and rockets– encountered a female suicide bomber who was about to detonate the belt she wore, which would have resulted in the deaths of the soldiers. One of the soldiers instinctively recited the opening words of the holiest Jewish prayer “Shema Yisrael”. The female suicide bomber hesitated and began trembling, giving the soldiers a chance to grab her and disable the device.
The soldiers then took her prisoner and turned her over to a counter-intelligence unit. Their investigation uncovered that the female suicide bomber’s mother was a Jew who had married a Palestinian in Israel and, after the wedding, was smuggled against her will into Gaza. There she lived a life filled with abuse and humiliation, and was basically a captive. In addition to the female suicide bomber, there were two smaller children as well. An armored force went in and rescued the two small children.
The Shema, “Hear O’Israel, the Lord Our God, the Lord is One,” taken from Deuteronomy 6:4, was the last prayer recited by countless Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
Last week when I wrote elsewhere that Christians should start networking to be ready for the possibility of Christian refugee children from the Middle East, it felt like a far-fetched challenge. Our border is open to children, but the Christian children in Iraq require more logistics to travel here than the children of Central America led here by coyote guides. The idea seemed remote.
But events happen.
The terrorist entity now calling itself the Islamic State is targeting the Christian children of Iraq. These children are not facing just the generalized violence in lands where the government cannot control their resident mafia. They are being systematically beheaded. Women and girls are being raped and taken from their families to become unconsenting wives. Perhaps worse. And, finally, the world media is taking note.
The world can be a dark place. Genocides happen, they just aren’t always known. We know about this genocide happening right now. Suddenly, the need to prepare for refugees isn’t so theoretical.
The hard part will be getting the children out and here. I hope that those in a position to extricate them are already working the problem. (And no, I don’t mean the government. Oskar Schindler wasn’t a government official. Harriet Tubman wasn’t, either.) Upon the assumption that they are, then we should prepare.
Decide what you are prepared to do. Take in a child? Support families who do? Help your church make a temporary shelter? I can’t make a comprehensive list of To Dos, or I could but they’d be inadequate as the details are still in motion. Nor can I name every organization that might help right now. I figure I could spend a few hours calling contacts to come up with one or two to report. Or I could spend an hour writing a post calling for readers to work their own contacts and networks and open many potential avenues for help. I offer to collect and post contact information for parties who can help. Put them in the comments and I will organize and post them later.
For those of us not in a position to get the children out, let us spend the waiting days figuring out how to help them when they get here.
Dr. Kent Brantly, the doctor who was flown home to the U.S. from Liberia after being infected with the deadly Ebola virus, released a statement from his isolation room at Emory University Hospital today. ”I am growing stronger every day, and I thank God for his mercy as I have wrestled with this terrible disease,” Brantly said. He thanked those who had been praying for his recovery as well as for the recovery of Nancy Writebol, the nurse who was also infected and flown home, and for the people of Liberia and West Africa.
He said that he and his wife and children did not move to Liberia specifically to fight Ebola. “We went to Liberia because we believe God called us to serve Him at ELWA Hospital.” Nevertheless, he said that God often leads people to unexpected places. “When Ebola spread into Liberia, my usual hospital work turned more and more toward treating the increasing number of Ebola patients. I held the hands of countless individuals as this terrible disease took their lives away from them. I witnessed the horror first-hand, and I can still remember every face and name.”
When Brantley started feeling ill, he immediately isolated himself until the test confirmed his diagnosis three days later. Upon hearing that the result was positive, “I remember a deep sense of peace that was beyond all understanding. God was reminding me of what He had taught me years ago, that He will give me everything I need to be faithful to Him,” Brantly said in the statement released by Samaritan’s Purse, the missionary organization that assisted in bringing Dr. Brantly home for treatment.
Now that he is back in the United States, Brantly said his focus remains the same, “to follow God.” Brantly asked that as people continue to pray for his recovery, “More importantly, pray that we would be faithful to God’s call on our lives in these new circumstances.”
Samaritan’s Purse reported that Dr. Kent Brantly’s condition is improving. His wife, Amber, has been able to visit him in the isolation unit at Emory University Hospital and said he was in good spirits.
“I have been able to see Kent every day, and he continues to improve,” she said. “I am thankful for the professionalism and kindness of Dr. (Bruce) Ribner and his team at Emory University Hospital. I know that Kent is receiving the very best medical treatment available.”
Raymond Ibrahim was recently interviewed by Fronda, a leading website in Poland. The English-language version of the Polish interview, originally titled “Raymond Ibrahim: Prostration before Islam,” follows:
Who is Raymond Ibrahim? A scholar, a writer, an activist? What is his mission and the main goal?
I am a little of all that and more. Due to my background, academic and personal, I have had a long interest in the Middle East and Islam, especially the historic and contemporary interaction between Islam and Christianity. After the strikes of September 11, 2001, I took an interest in the current events of the region vis-à-vis the West, and what immediately struck me was how, on the one hand, the conflict was almost identical to the historic conflict, one of continuity—at least that is how many Muslims were portraying it.
But on the other hand, in the West, the narrative was very different and based on a “new paradigm,” one that saw Islam and Muslims as perpetual victims of all sorts of outside and material pressures, mostly from the West. Thus the analyses that were being disseminated through media and academia were to my mind immensely flawed and, while making perfect sense to people in the West—for they were articulated through Western, secular, materialistic paradigms—had little to do with reality as I saw and understood it.
That was one of the reasons I left academia and began writing for more popular audiences, to try to offer a corrective to these flawed narratives. My first book, The Al Qaeda Reader (2007), was meant to do precisely this—to compare the words of al-Qaeda as delivered to the West and as delivered to fellow Muslims, and to show how when speaking to the West, al-Qaeda and other Islamists used Western arguments, claiming any number of grievances, political and otherwise, as being the source of their jihad. Obviously such arguments, widely disseminated by Western mainstream media, made perfect sense to the West.
But al-Qaeda’s Arabic writings that I discovered when I was working at the African and Middle Eastern Division of the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., and which I translated for the book, made completely different arguments, basically saying that, irrespective of all grievances, Muslims must hate and wage jihad on all non-Muslim “infidels” until they come under Islamic authority, according to the worldview of Sharia, or Islamic law.
So in a way, you can say my mission since then has been to open Western eyes to the truths and reality of Islam—at least the reality of how it is understood and practiced by many Muslims—for Western eyes have been closed shut in recent times.
You have a dual background. You were born and raised in the U.S. by parents who were born and raised in a Coptic community in Egypt. Are you the ‘clash of civilizations’ personified? What kind of advantages and disadvantages does such an identity and upbringing lead do?
That’s an interesting way of putting it. Along with obvious benefits—being bilingual (Arabic and English), for example—yes, I do believe my background gives me more subtle advantages. Growing up cognizant of both worlds and cultures has, I believe, imparted a higher degree of objectivity to my thinking. Most people’s worldviews are colored by whichever culture they are immersed in—hence exactly why so many Western people tend to project their own values on the Islamic world, convinced that any violence and intolerance that comes from that region must be a product of some sort of socio-political or economic “grievance”—some sort of material, not religious, factor. While I understand, appreciate and participate in Western values and norms, because of my “dual” background, I also cannot project such values and norms on non-Western peoples (and vice-versa, of course).
This has caused my worldview to be, I believe, more neutral and objective, less colored by cultural values and references. Conversely, I have, so far, not encountered any notable disadvantages from such a background—other than perhaps being overly objective and not always able to participate in the common.
In addition to numerous articles in a variety of media, you are also the author of two books. The last one, Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians argues that martyrdom is not a thing from the past. It is not a book with a happy ending, is it?
I prefer to think of it as a dire wake up call to the West. The topic of Muslim persecution of Christians is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. In Crucified Again, I look at the history of this phenomenon, the Islamic scriptures that support it, and the modern era. And what I find and document is unwavering continuity. According to Islamic teaching, Christians and other non-Muslims are “infidels,” and as such, they are seen as at best third class subjects in Islamic states. They cannot build or renovate churches, display crosses or Bibles; they have to pay tribute with humility, according to Koran 9:29; they cannot speak well of Christianity or criticize Islam. They are even required to give up their seats to a Muslim if he demands it, according to strict Islamic teaching (and as found in the “Conditions of Omar,” an important text that discusses how Christian minorities are to be treated under Islam).
Now if you look at history—as recorded by early Arabic/Islamic historians—you will see that that is exactly how Christians were treated under Islam for centuries; that is exactly how nations like Egypt, Syria, Turkey, and all of north Africa, went from being Christian majority to Muslim majority over the centuries: most Christians opted to convert to Islam rather than constantly suffer from third-class status as well as sporadic persecution.
And today, what we are seeing is simply the ongoing continuation of history, as Christians continue to be persecuted, continue to dwindle in numbers in lands that were Christian centuries before Western Europe embraced the faith. Yet, according to Western analysts, etc., all of this is some sort of “misunderstanding” or because Muslims are angry about Israel—anything and everything but codified religious intolerance, even though the latter is so well documented, doctrinally, historically, and in current events.
There are many initiatives aimed at bringing the ‘spirit of dialogue’ between the religions. In the Catholic Church we even celebrate a Day of Islam. What is your opinion on this kind of inter-faith outreach? Will it be successful in decreasing the persecution of Christians or helping individuals like Asia Bibi?
No, it will exacerbate Christian persecution. From my perspective, the more the West and/or Christianity kowtow to Islam—and that is what modern day “interfaith outreach” often amounts to—the more aggressive that religion becomes.
Here, again, is another example of Westerners projecting their norms onto others, namely, Muslims. In the Western paradigm, itself an offshoot of Christianity, showing tolerance and forgiveness will supposedly cause some sort of reciprocation from the one being forgiven and tolerated—since everything is always supposedly a “misunderstanding.” Yet in Islam, might has always made right, and “tolerance” has always been seen as sign of equivocation or weakness—a lack of conviction. If Christians praise Islam, so many Muslims conclude, that is because they feel it is the truth—not because they are trying to find commonalities, a paradigm that is foreign to classical Islam, which sees the world in terms of right (Islam) and wrong (non-Islam).
Again, history sheds some light on this. In the medieval era, there were Christians like Francis of Assisi who tried to have dialogue with Muslims—but in order to get to the truth, including by asking hard questions about Islam often in the context of Christian teaching. Such dialogue is of course admirable because it is sincere. But trying to have dialogue in order to find and parade some minor “commonalities”—while overlooking and ignoring the fundamental differences, which are much more immense and the true sources of conflict—is simply a game of wasting time.
In your writings regarding the Muslim persecutions of Christians, two themes are constantly recurring. Firstly, you claim that it constitutes “an elephant in the room” and secondly you believe that liberal academia and media are biased “whitewashing Islam and blaming the West” for Islamic attacks against non-Muslims. Can you explain the reasons for such arguments?
It’s the “elephant in the room” because few things show such remarkable continuity between the past and the present—while still being thoroughly ignored and treated as an aberration by academia, media, and government—as Muslim persecution of Christians. If you look at the true history recorded by both Muslims and Christians during the Medieval era—one Muslim historian tells of how one caliph destroyed 30,000 churches—you will see that the persecution and subjugation of Christians is an ironclad fact of history.
Today, not only do we see Christians persecuted from one end of the Islamic world to the other, but we see the same exact patterns of persecution that Christians experienced centuries ago, including hostility for and restrictions on churches, hostility for the crucifix and other Christian symbols and icons, restrictions on Christian worship and freedom. (I discuss this in more depth here and here.) As for academia and media, they reject modern day persecution of Christians for a plethora of reasons—not least because they tend to be ideologically anti-Christian—but primarily because it contradicts their entire narrative, specifically the notion that, far from being persecuted, Christians themselves are the most intolerant groups, and that Muslims are “misunderstood others” who have been oppressed by the West.
These themes are today so predominant in the West that few can believe they are almost entirely fabricated—but so they are, according to both history and current events, both of which are naturally suppressed or distorted by academia and media in the interest of keeping their ideologically-charged narrative alive.
In her book, Tenth Parallel, Eliza Griswold writes that religion becomes means of political emancipation, especially between the equator and the tenth parallel, where Christianity and Islam meet. So perhaps it is not about spirituality but power?
Again, one need only turn to history, followed by doctrine, to see that mainstream Islam has always been about power. Its founder and prophet, Muhammad, was a warlord, who went on caravan raids and incited his followers to attack and plunder other tribes that rejected his “prophecy,” seizing their property and women and children—and all in the context of “God told me so.” After his death, his followers did the same, giving people three choices: be part of their “team” by converting, or else keep their religious beliefs, but pay tribute and live as third class subjects, or else die. In this context, and over the course of several centuries of jihadi conquest, the Islamic world was forged.
All this is well justified by the Koran and Islamic Sharia. Compare and contrast this with Christianity’s founder, Jesus Christ: far from a warlord, he preached mercy, peace, and spirituality. And that’s one of the problems: Westerners are so well acquainted with Christianity that they tend to project its approach to Islam—naively thinking that all religions must be the same, primarily spiritual, not concerned with the temporal. But Islam is immensely concerned with the temporal—with power.
You have written about conceptual failures dominating the Western discourse on Islam. What are the main fallacies and why are they dangerous?
Along with the aforementioned fallacy of projecting Christian/Western worldviews onto a distinctly different religion/civilization like Islam, secular Westerners almost always try to understand Islam through secular and materialistic paradigms—the only paradigms they themselves are familiar with. Thus the mainstream interpretation in the West is that “radical Islam” is a byproduct of various sorts of material discontent (economic, political, social) and has little to do with the religion itself.
Westerners apparently think this way because the secular, Western experience has been such that people respond with violence primarily when they feel they are politically, economically, or socially oppressed. While true that many non-Western peoples fit into this paradigm, the fact is, the ideologies of Islam have the intrinsic capacity to prompt Muslims to violence and intolerance vis-à-vis the “other,” irrespective of grievances.
Conceptually, then, it must be first understood that many of the problematic ideologies associated with radical Islam trace directly back to Sharia, Islamic law. Jihad as offensive warfare to subjugate “infidels” (non-Muslims); mandated social discrimination against non-Muslim minorities living in Muslim nations (the regulations governing ahl al-dhimma); the obligation to hate non-Muslims—even if a Muslim is married to one—all of these are clearly defined aspects that have historically been part of Islam’s worldview and not “open to interpretation.”
For example, the obligation to wage expansionist jihad is as “open to interpretation” as the obligation to perform the Five Pillars of Islam, including praying and fasting. The same textual sources and methods of jurisprudence that have made it clear that prayer and fasting are obligatory, have also made it clear that jihad is also obligatory; the only difference is that, whereas prayer and fasting is an “individual” duty, jihad is understood to be a “communal” duty (a fard kifaya). All these intricacies must be understood before Westerners can understand Islam on its own terms.
One of the most popular views as to the reasons of Islamic terrorism is that it is based on political and economic grievances. The recipe to achieve the peaceful world would be then to remove the factors contributing to poverty or oppression and this way disarm the ‘relative deprivation’ bomb. Do you think it is feasible?
Again, as mentioned, political and economic grievances may be a reality; yet it is a distinct fact that, wherever Islam is—including in immensely rich nations like the Gulf nations—violence and intolerance of non-Muslims exist. For example, Christian persecution around the world today is being committed at the hands of Muslims of all races, languages, cultures, and socio-political circumstances: Muslims from among America’s allies (Saudi Arabia) and its enemies (Iran); Muslims from economically rich nations (Qatar) and from poor nations (Somalia and Yemen); Muslims from “Islamic republic” nations (Afghanistan) and from “moderate” nations (Malaysia and Indonesia); Muslims from nations rescued by America (Kuwait) and Muslims claiming “grievances” against America. Moreover, much of the underdeveloped world is suffering from economic, political, and social problems—and yet it is the Islamic world where terrorism in the name of God (Allah) is rampant. One does not hear of, say, disenfranchised Cuban dissidents crashing explosive-laden vehicles into government buildings—while screaming Jesus is great. Yet sceams of Allah is great in the context of terror attacks are ubiquitous.
You have devoted one of your publications to the concept of taqiyya. Can you explain what taqiyya is and why is it important to know it in the West?
Although Muslims are exhorted to be truthful, taqiyya is an Islamic doctrine that permits them to deceive non-Muslims, who by nature are deemed enemies. Some Western scholars and apologists for Islam insist that taqiyya is a very arcane teaching developed by Shi’a and to be used only when their lives are in danger. In reality, however, taqiyya—as well as its sister teaching, tawriya—is used by mainstream Islam (Sunnism) and gives Muslims great freedom to deceive infidels if the deception can be rationalized as a way to help empower Islam over non-Muslims.
Normative Islamic teaching is so that, almost anything can be rationalized as permissible—for example “martyrdom operations” (even though suicide is banned by Islam)—as long as they can be perceived as helping empower Islam. Islamic prophet Muhammad himself permitted deceit, including to one’s wife. One of the few Arabic language books devoted to the subject, At-Taqiyya fi’l-Islam (Dissimulation in Islam) makes it clear that taqiyya is hardly limited to Shi‘a dissimulating in fear of persecution. Written by Sami Mukaram, a former Islamic studies professor at the American University of Beirut and author of some twenty-five books on Islam, the opening sentences of the book clearly demonstrate the ubiquity and broad applicability of taqiyya: “Taqiyya is of fundamental importance in Islam. Practically every Islamic sect agrees to it and practices it … We can go so far as to say that the practice of taqiyya is mainstream in Islam, and that those few sects not practicing it diverge from the mainstream … Taqiyya is very prevalent in Islamic politics, especially in the modern era.”
Do you have any words of advice to countries like Poland where the influence of Islam is still relatively weak but increasing due to immigration and certain radicalization of indigenous Muslim groups (e.g. Polish Tatars stopped their traditional prayers for Poland which used to be their custom)?
My advice is to take heed of what I call “Islam’s Rule of Numbers,” which is basically the unwavering, statistical fact that, the more Muslims grow in numbers (and thus strength), the more aggressive they become. In the U.S., for example, where Muslims are less than 1% of the population, acts of Islamic intolerance are relatively uncommon. Islamic assertiveness is limited to political activism dedicated to portraying Islam as a “religion of peace,” the painting of any and all critics as “Islamophobes,” and sporadic, but clandestine, acts of terror.
In some Western European nations, where Muslims make for much larger minorities—for example, the UK and France—open violence and religious intolerance is common. But because they are still a vulnerable minority, Islamic violence is always placed in the context of “grievances,” a word that, as we have seen, pacifies Westerners.
Where Muslim numbers reach 35-50% of a population, the full-blown jihad is often declared, as in Nigeria, which although is half Christian half Muslim is also one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a Christian. In short, Islamic aggressiveness is very much a product of Islamic strength in numbers. I discussed this at length here.
Inevitably one stumbles upon the ‘so what?’ question. Nobody persecutes Christians in France and churches are not burnt in Germany. It is doubtful that Europe will be washed away with the waves of Islam. To the contrary, it looks like Europe wants to leave religions behind. Would you not say so?
Much of this view is based on selfishness, of the modern West’s egoistic and highly individualistic worldview. What such people are really saying is that, by and large, if nothing changes and people remain indifferent, they themselves and their generation will go through life fine without much worry from the Islamic question. But this position also shows absolute indifference to future generations and the world they will inherit. In short, yes, most Europeans today may not personally suffer from Islam. But they are opening the floodgates wide to the potential suffering of their descendants.
The always provocative Ann Coulter raised a lot of eyebrows this week with her Wednesday column calling a Christian missionary who contracted ebola in Liberia “idiotic.” Headlines making the rounds on social media do a fair job of highlighting her pointed rhetoric without addressing her thesis. Coulter wrote:
Whatever good Dr. Kent Brantly did in Liberia has now been overwhelmed by the more than $2 million already paid by the Christian charities Samaritan’s Purse and SIM USA just to fly him and his nurse home in separate Gulfstream jets, specially equipped with medical tents, and to care for them at one of America’s premier hospitals…
She goes on to ask, “Can’t anyone serve Christ in America anymore?”
We can debate the wisdom of Coulter’s rhetorical packaging (though it’s fair to bet that, if she did not communicate as pointedly as she does, we would not be talking about her at all). However, the substance at the root of what Coulter wrote proves worth Christians’ prayerful consideration.
Are missions to foreign lands undertaken at the expense of needs closer to home? From a monetary perspective, in Dr. Brantly’s case, the objective answer is a resounding yes. Two million dollars could go a long way toward providing for the spread of the Gospel. But more importantly, there’s a spiritual danger in what Coulter calls “Christian narcissism,” confusing earthly mileage with spiritual accomplishment.
It may be a bit much to presume Brantly traveled to Liberia to stroke his ego, or to somehow put God in his debt. Coulter does not know his heart one way or the other, and neither do we. Only God does. Nevertheless, there remains an object lesson for the rest of us to consider which could give us a moment of prayerful pause before eagerly traveling halfway around the world before first ministering to our nearest neighbors. Sometimes — I think it fair to say most of the time — God has you where He wants you.
A 17-term congressman who has dedicated much of his career to human-rights issues lashed out at President Obama for inviting genocide with his lackadaisical policies.
“Much like President Clinton has deeply regretted his failure to stop the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, I believe you will come to regret your inaction for years to come,” Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) wrote to Obama today.
Before recess, Wolf was repeatedly speaking on the House floor about the massacre of Christians in Iraq and decrying how the U.S. was doing nothing in response.
On Monday, Wolf wrote to Obama to charge that “you and your administration have failed.”
“You, Secretary of State Kerry and Ambassador Power all need to speak out. Having a mid-level White House advisor meet with a group of concerned Assyrian leaders is not enough. In fact, it was little more than an empty gesture,” he wrote. “Time is running out. How many more people must be killed for you to acknowledge this situation?”
In today’s letter, Wolf ripped Obama for the 2012 creation of his Atrocities Prevention Board that hasn’t lived up to its pledge to make the prevention of genocide “a core national security interest and core moral responsibility.”
“Tragically, mass atrocities are happening again today – and on your watch. Genocide is taking place today in northern Iraq, where the Christian and Yezidi populations are being exterminated by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). There is no question that systematic and targeted brutality is occurring. Yet, as I said on the House floor last week, the silence from you and your administration is deafening. Why have you not spoken up, and why has the Atrocities Prevention Board not taken action?” Wolf said.
The congressman highlighted how last weekend the Yazidis were forced onto Sinjar Mountain by ISIS forces, some dying of thirst waiting for help and some women and girls captured by ISIS as sex slaves.
“The homes of Christians and other religious minorities have been marked with spray paint to target those who live there. Families have been force to flee, often on foot, with nothing but literally the shirts on their backs,” Wolf wrote. “We cannot pretend these atrocities aren’t taking place; there are now videos on the Internet being promoted by those sympathetic to ISIS proudly displaying their brutal and grotesque slaughter and abuse of Christians, Yezidis and other religious minorities in Iraq.”
“Your administration is aware of what is going on, yet you are doing nothing. Just what is the point of having an ‘Atrocities Prevention Board’ if it takes no action to prevent or stop atrocities? When was the last time this board has met? Has the board even been convened to address the genocide taking place in Iraq?”
Wolf then reprinted what Obama said at the Holocaust Museum in 2012:
“And finally, ‘never again’ is a challenge to nations. It’s a bitter truth — too often, the world has failed to prevent the killing of innocents on a massive scale. And we are haunted by the atrocities that we did not stop and the lives we did not save.
“Three years ago today, I joined many of you for a ceremony of remembrance at the U.S. Capitol. And I said that we had to do ‘everything we can to prevent and end atrocities.’ And so I want to report back to some of you today to let you know that as President I’ve done my utmost to back up those words with deeds. Last year, in the first-ever presidential directive on this challenge, I made it clear that ‘preventing mass atrocities and genocide is a core national security interest and a core moral responsibility of the United States of America.
“That does not mean that we intervene militarily every time there’s an injustice in the world. We cannot and should not. It does mean we possess many tools – diplomatic and political, and economic and financial, and intelligence and law enforcement and our moral suasion – and using these tools over the past three years, I believe – I know – that we have saved countless lives.”
“It is now clear to the nation and the world that your words were hollow; your ‘presidential directive’ apparently was nothing more than a token gesture. You will come to sincerely regret your failure to take action to stop the genocide in Iraq,” Wolf wrote. “Your conscience will haunt you long after you leave office. Mr. President, say something; do something.”
Ann Coulter used her national megaphone to trash Dr. Kent Brantly Wednesday. Brantly is the American doctor who traveled to Liberia to use his medical skills and training to serve the poor there. He and Nancy Writebol served patients who have Ebola, and have now come down with the deadly virus themselves.
Coulter can be a genius one day and a fool the next. In this column, she takes the latter route.
Coulter’s basic argument is that Dr. Brantly should have stayed home and served in Texas instead of Africa, because it’s safer to serve here.
That’s not necessarily true on the border. But missionary service isn’t always about doing the safe thing. It’s about being obedient to God. Being obedient to God is often the riskiest thing a Christian can possibly do.
Coulter accuses Dr. Brantly of “Christian narcissism.”
Right there in Texas, near where Dr. Brantly left his wife and children to fly to Liberia and get Ebola, is one of the poorest counties in the nation, Zavala County — where he wouldn’t have risked making his wife a widow and his children fatherless.
But serving the needy in some deadbeat town in Texas wouldn’t have been “heroic.” We wouldn’t hear all the superlatives about Dr. Brantly’s “unusual drive to help the less fortunate” or his membership in the “Gold Humanism Honor Society.” Leaving his family behind in Texas to help the poor 6,000 miles away — that’s the ticket.
Today’s Christians are aces at sacrifice, amazing at serving others, but strangely timid for people who have been given eternal life. They need to buck up, serve their own country, and remind themselves every day of Christ’s words: “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.”
There may be no reason for panic about the Ebola doctor, but there is reason for annoyance at Christian narcissism.
Coulter’s column makes me wonder whether she really believes in God or not, or if her God is actually a country and not a supreme being. That would be idolatry, of course.
The Christian missionary call crosses borders, and is as old as Christianity itself. It’s Christianity 101.
Thanks to everyone who entered our very popular caption contest from July 29. If you are just joining us, please refer back to the original contest to better understand what you are about to read.
Due to the provocative questions raised by the purveyor of this contest, we had several categories of winners.
Let’s start with the most competitive category that asked:
“What is Abe Lincoln thinking as he watches over the dinner?”
The grand prize winner was cfbleachers with:
Abe: Even a house divided against itself cannot stand this guy.
And cfbleachers won a double grand prize with:
Abe–Four score and seven years ago Obama–Fore! Score? And seven holes ago?
MRG01 entered the winners circle with:
Abe Lincoln: All things considered, I’d rather be at the theater.
An honorable mention went to Me 2.0 for:
Lincoln: I knew Lincoln, and you, sir, are no Lincoln!
KUCE won a ribbon for:
Abe: “I fought the Civil War only for this guy to divide us again?”
Walterc earned a prize for:
The Lincoln picture is thinking, “please, shoot me now.”
The next category of winners answered the question:
“What would the Founding Fathers think of this White House statement?”
The grand prize was won by thesnake for:
Founding Fathers: “Dude, where’s my country?”
ME2.0 won again for:
Founders: King George’s revenge!
MrG01 also won again for:
Founding Fathers: WTF?!
The next category of winners was in response to the question:
“Is that a flying monkey from The Wizard of Oz on Obama’s podium?”
KUCE won with:
Of course that is a Flying Monkey. Valerie Jarrett doesn’t leave home without them.
RockThisTown had a brilliant observation:
Is that a flying monkey from The Wizard of Oz on Obama’s podium?
Either that or Obama’s Nobel Screech Prize.
Uncle Lar received an honorable mention for:
Might very well be a flying monkey, but to me looks more like a ruptured duck.
Cfbleachers, who is cleaning up in every category, won with:
The American eagle has formally been replaced by a gargoyle.
MRG01 scores again for:
Flying monkey: “Pay no attention to the man behind the teleprompter”
Our next contest question, “What is on the mind of the young man standing to the right of President Obama?” – was answered by Katherine in RB in the most politically incorrect manner:
“Did that woman just put on one of our table cloths?” (Woman at far left seated next to
the real President of the United States, Valerie Jarrett.)
Finally, we have the winners of the general caption category.
Spudnik won the grand prize with:
“As you can see from the portrait above me, some of our greatest presidents were Muslims!”
Spudnik also earned an honorable mention for:
“I don’t always leave the golf course. But when I do, it’s for something really important.”
Yoroscoe took home honors with:
“You didn’t build that Jihad.”
Belial Issimo received a trophy for:
“If you like your caliphate, you can keep your caliphate.”
USMCVet ranked high with:
You fine folks are the fabric of our great nation. It is great to get away from the hatin’.
Cfbleachers won the grandest of grand prizes for the overall contest.
His two winners in the general category were:
If Muslims built that…who exactly then are the people who “didn’t build that?”
Obama took time out from golfing and vacations to throw a tantrum at Israel and celebrate a holiday named after him. – Idle Fitter.
Thanks again to everyone who took the time to enter this contest. The contest was a reaction to an extremely controversial statement by President Obama which was widely reported everywhere except in the mainstream media. The remark was made at the White House during the Eid-al-Fitr dinner marking the end of Ramadan.
Usually this is the part when I say, “See you next time a photo is worthy of a PJM photo caption contest.” However, on Sunday an old friend sent me a photo/tweet which deserved my immediate attention. Thanks RB!
Now that photo/tweet is our newest caption contest already in progress. See you there!