Get PJ Media on your Apple

The PJ Tatler

Obama’s Easter Sermon Calls on Americans to ‘Rededicate’ to ‘Universal Mission’

Saturday, April 19th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

President Obama used his weekly address to extend Easter and Passover wishes, expounding upon the time of year with “great meaning.”

He noted the week’s Seder held at the White House, at which he and Michelle Obama “joined Jewish families around the world in their retellings of the story of the Exodus and the victory of faith over oppression.”

“And this Sunday, Michelle, Malia, Sasha, and I will join our fellow Christians around the world in celebrating the Resurrection of Christ, the salvation he offered the world, and the hope that comes with the Easter season,” the president added.

It’s not known if the first family will attend church, as it isn’t on the president’s weekend schedule. He spontaneously attended a service in October, but skipped church on Christmas.

“These holy days have their roots in miracles that took place long ago. And yet, they still inspire us, guide us, and strengthen us today. They remind us of our responsibilities to God and, as God’s children, our responsibilities to one another,” Obama continued.

“For me, and for countless other Christians, Holy Week and Easter are times for reflection and renewal. We remember the grace of an awesome God, who loves us so deeply that He gave us his only Son, so that we might live through Him. We recall all that Jesus endured for us – the scorn of the crowds, the agony of the cross – all so that we might be forgiven our sins and granted everlasting life. And we recommit ourselves to following His example, to love and serve one another, particularly ‘the least of these’ among us, just as He loves every one of us.”

Obama called on Americans to join a “universal mission” this holiday.

“The common thread of humanity that connects us all – not just Christians and Jews, but Muslims and Hindus and Sikhs – is our shared commitment to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. To remember, I am my brother’s keeper. I am my sister’s keeper. Whatever your faith, believer or nonbeliever, there’s no better time to rededicate ourselves to that universal mission,” he said. “For me, Easter is a story of hope – a belief in a better day to come, just around the bend.”

On Monday, the White House hosts the annual Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn, which under Obama has integrated the first lady’s Let’s Move! campaign. This year’s theme is “Hop into Healthy, Swing into Shape.” Most of the personalities appearing at the event are professional athletes; actor Jim Carrey will be reading stories to kids.

Republicans dedicated their weekly address to “Republican Enablers vs. Democrat Mandators.”

“Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina would allow federal dollars to follow a child with Down syndrome or another disability to the school the parents choose. Democrat mandators say, no—government knows best. Last year, Republican senators proposed legislation to give back to states control over whether teachers and schools are succeeding or failing. Democrat mandators proposed, in effect, a national school board,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.).

“Health care provides the most glaring difference between Republican enablers and Democrat mandators. Too often, Obamacare cancels the policy you want to keep and tells you what policy to buy, even if it costs more and restricts your choices of doctors and hospitals… Republicans want to enable and empower you. We want to be the iPhone party. We believe government ought to be a platform that gives you opportunity and freedom to create a happier, more prosperous, and safer life.”

Read bullet | 24 Comments »

The Ultimate Source of Islamic Hate for Infidels

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 - by Raymond Ibrahim

Who is ultimately responsible for the ongoing attacks on Christians and their churches throughout the Islamic world?

Focusing on one of the most obvious nations where Christians are regularly targeted—Egypt’s Coptic Christians—one finds that the “mob” is the most visible and obvious culprit.  One Copt accused of some transgression against Muslim sensibilities—from having relations with a Muslim woman, to ruining a Muslim man’s shirt—is often enough to prompt Muslim mobs to destroy entire Christian villages and their churches.

Recently, for example, after her cross identified Mary Sameh George as a Christian, a pro-Muslim Brotherhood mob attacked, beat, and slaughtered her.

However, a recent Arabic op-ed titled “Find the True Killer of Mary” looks beyond the mob to identify the true persecutor of Christians in Egypt. According to it:

Those who killed the young and vulnerable Mary Sameh George, for hanging a cross in her car, are not criminals, but rather wretches who follow those who legalized for them murder, lynching, dismemberment, and the stripping bare of young Christian girls—without every saying “kill.”  [Islamic cleric] Yassir Burhami and his colleagues who announce their hate for Christians throughout satellite channels and in mosques—claiming that hatred of Christians is synonymous with love for God—they are the true killers who need to be tried and prosecuted…  The slayers of Mary Sameh are simply a wretched mob, with the body of a bull but the brain of a worm.  It’s not the puppets on the string who need punishing, but rather the mastermind who moves the puppets with his bloody fingers behind closed curtains that needs punishing.

One fact certainly validates this Arabic op-ed’s assertions: the overwhelming majority of attacks on Christians in Egypt and other Muslim nations—including the slaughter of Mary Sameh George—occur on Friday, the one day of the week that Muslims congregate in mosques for communal prayers and to hear sermons.

The significance of this fact can easily be understood by analogy: what if Christians were especially and consistently violent to non-Christian minorities on Sunday—right after they got out of church?  What would that say about what goes on in Christian churches?

What does it say about what goes on in Muslim mosques?

The Arabic op-ed also does well to name Sheikh Yassir al-Burhami as one of those who “announce their hate for Christians throughout the satellite channels and in mosques, claiming that hatred of Christians is synonymous with love for God.”

For example, Dr. Burhami—the face of Egypt’s Salafi movement—once issued a fatwa, or Islamic edict, forbidding Muslim taxi- and bus-drivers from transporting Coptic Christian priests to their churches, which he depicted as “more forbidden than taking someone to a liquor bar.”

As for hating non-Muslim “infidels,” many Islamic clerics, especially Salafis, believe that the doctrine of “Loyalty and Enmity” (or wala’ wa bara’) commands Muslims never to befriend or be loyal to non-Muslims.

Burhami himself appears on video asserting that if a Muslim man marries a Christian or Jewish woman (known in Islamic parlance as “People of the Book”)—even he must still hate his wife, because she is an infidel… Keep reading

Read bullet | Comments »

Catholic Cardinal: Obamacare Forces Charities to Make One of Four Choices, None of Which Are Good

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Francis Cardinal George of Chicago has written a Lent letter to his parishioners that lays out the stark choices facing the church in the age of Obamacare. The president’s signature law was not written to include abortifacient mandates. Those came with the regulations written by the bureaucracy and signed off on by Kathleen Sebelius and ultimately, Barack Obama. They could be lifted with the stroke of a pen, without Obama behaving in any lawless way. Yet they remain in full effect despite years of protest and lawsuits.

Why? The immediate political point of them, generating backlash and a phony “war on women” for the 2012 election, has already been served.

The mandate forces Catholic institutions — hospitals, adoption agencies, schools, and so forth — into an array of bad options.

So far in American history, our government has respected the freedom of individual conscience and of institutional integrity for all the many religious groups that shape our society. The government has not compelled them to perform or pay for what their faith tells them is immoral. That’s what we’ve meant by freedom of religion. That’s what we had believed was protected by the U.S. Constitution. Maybe we were foolish to believe so.

What will happen if the HHS regulations are not rescinded? A Catholic institution, so far as I can see right now, will have one of four choices: 1) secularize itself, breaking its connection to the church, her moral and social teachings and the oversight of its ministry by the local bishop. This is a form of theft. It means the church will not be permitted to have an institutional voice in public life. 2) Pay exorbitant annual fines to avoid paying for insurance policies that cover abortifacient drugs, artificial contraception and sterilization. This is not economically sustainable. 3) Sell the institution to a non-Catholic group or to a local government. 4) Close down.

It’s that fourth option that the regulations are probably intended to bring about: close down. Leave the government in charge of “charity,” and push the church out of public life altogether. Christians would maintain a “freedom of worship,” but not the freedom to act on their faith. That’s false freedom.

This has already happened in the case of Catholic adoption agencies in Massachusetts. Gay marriage legalization paved the way for destroying those agencies. They closed. So forcing Christian charities to close down to satisfy current political trends is not hypothetical. It has been happening for years. The precedent has been set.

The “freedom of worship” has found recent favor on the left. That’s little more than a trick, writes the cardinal.

Freedom of worship was guaranteed in the Constitution of the former Soviet Union. You could go to church, if you could find one. The church, however, could do nothing except conduct religious rites in places of worship-no schools, religious publications, health care institutions, organized charity, ministry for justice and the works of mercy that flow naturally from a living faith. All of these were co-opted by the government. We fought a long cold war to defeat that vision of society.

If churches are not free to act out the faith of their believers, then what are they for? What is worship for? What is worship? That’s not a peripheral question, it’s at the very heart of what the Obama administration is doing. In a very real way, it is setting up government as a false god, an idol.

Many Americans, I suspect, will not object as long as they continue to get their stream of free stuff from somewhere.

There will be consequences if these mandates are not lifted.

If you haven’t already purchased the Archdiocesan Directory for 2012, I would suggest you get one as a souvenir. On page L-3, there is a complete list of Catholic hospitals and health care institutions in Cook and Lake counties. Each entry represents much sacrifice on the part of medical personnel, administrators and religious sponsors. Each name signifies the love of Christ to people of all classes and races and religions. Two Lents from now, unless something changes, that page will be blank.

Catholic leaders bear some responsibility for chasing their own false god, “social justice,” when they should have been preaching the unvarnished Gospel. The “social justice” strains have empowered the likes of Obama, whose agenda goes far beyond what most saw coming. When he threatened to fundamentally transform the country, he meant it. Five years on, we have the IRS weaponized against dissent, and we have Obamacare kicking Christians out of public life and depriving them of the freedom to act on their faith, among other disturbing facets of the new America.

h/t Hot Air

Read bullet | 11 Comments »

CAIR Attacked Ayaan Hirsi Ali Because They are Islamic Supremacists with Links to Terrorists

Friday, April 11th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Bob Beckel just went on a rant against CAIR, the Council on American Islamic Relations, on Fox’s The Five. Beckel accused CAIR of lacking “guts” in not standing up for Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s rights after Brandeis University shamefully rescinded an honorary degree that it had planned to give her. Brandeis made that decision under pressure from Muslim students, and ultimately CAIR itself, after those groups accused Ali of being anti-Muslim.

Ali is anti-Muslim, but with good reason. She was mutilated as a young girl, and then forced into marrying a close relative by her family in Somalia. She escaped to Europe, has spoken out against Islam, and faces death threats because of that. Ali left Islam, adding to the “crimes” for which some Muslims would like to see her dead. The Dutch government could not even guarantee Ali’s safety, despite her career in parliament. So she had to move to the United States and still faces credible death threats.

CAIR’s problem is not that it lacks “guts.” CAIR’s problem is that it exists to attack people like Ayaan Hirsi Ali. CAIR has been linked in a federal court trial with Hamas.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has been connected to the terrorist organization Hamas, a federal judge said in a July 2009 rulingunsealed last week.

“The government has produced ample evidence to establish the associations of CAIR, ISNA, NAIT, with NAIT, the Islamic Association for Palestine, and with Hamas,” U.S. District Court Judge Jorge Solis said in the July 1, 2009, ruling.

CAIR was named as a co-conspirator in the landmark Holy Land Foundation Trial. Despite the fact that Hamas is the government of Gaza, it is still a terrorist group according to the United States government.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s overall strategy for conquering the United States through propaganda was exposed in the HFL trial.

“CAIR’s status as a co-conspirator is a matter of public record,” Solis explained. Examining the trial proceedings, he recounted the numerous ties between ISNA, NAIT, and CAIR.

During the trial, the government introduced documents detailing the Muslim Brotherhood’s beginnings in the United States. Amongst those was the May 22, 1991, “Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America,” authored by Mohamed Akram. The memorandum includes a section titled “Understanding the role of the Muslim Brother in North America” which states that the work of the Ikhwan in the United States is a “kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all religions.”

Also contained in the document was a list of the Muslim Brotherhood’s “organizations and the organizations of our friends,” which includes ISNA, NAIT, the Occupied Land Fund (HLFs former name, and others.

In another exhibit, titled “Preliminary vision for preparing future leadership,” dated Dec. 18, 1998, ISNA is listed as an “apparatus” of the Brotherhood. When the Holy Land Foundation first began, it raised money and supported Hamas through a bank account it held with ISNA and NAIT. ISNA checks deposited into the account were often payable to “the Palestinian Mujahiden.”

In addition to the financial connections, the trial also revealed cooperation between the organizations and their respective leadership. During the trial, the government introduced documents relating to the creation of the “Palestine Committee,” which was established to support Hamas. The Committee was run by Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook, and included representatives from the Islamic Association of Palestine, the Holy Land Foundation, and CAIRrepresented by founder Omar Ahmad.

Ahmad also attended the 1993 Philadelphia conference, where leaders of the organizations under the Muslim Brotherhood umbrella met to discuss the future of the Brotherhood in the United States. The Philadelphia conference was attended by several members of the Palestine Committee, which supported and collected money for Hamas.

The above was compiled by the Investigative Project on Terrorism.

When you understand what CAIR really is — not a civil rights group, but a Muslim Brotherhood front — then its actions against Ayaan Hirsi Ali make perfect sense. She criticizes Islam from a position of absolute moral authority. She was mutilated. She saw Islam’s mistreatment of women up close. She faces death threats to this day.

CAIR exists to discredit and marginalize people like Ali. That’s why CAIR’s top man, Ibrahim Hooper, did this.

For much more about Ibrahim Hooper, look him up on Discover the Networks. I’ll leave with an ironic quote from CAIR’s founder.

When the Washington Post in November 2001 asked Hooper if he would disavow the terrorist activities of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, he responded, “It’s not our job to go around denouncing.”

Right. Then why is he attacking Ayaan Hirsi Ali?

Read bullet | 7 Comments »

Jeffrey Herf Writes the President of Brandeis

Friday, April 11th, 2014 - by Ron Radosh

My friend Jeffrey Herf, a brilliant historian and prize-winning author, has written a most powerful letter to the president or Brandeis University. He writes the following:

 I have had occasion to address the role of Islam and Islamism in fanning the flames of Jew-hatred. In publishing work that documents the role of the Islamist interpretation of the Koran in promulgating the most absurd and idiotic ideas about the Jews, I have faced intolerance from scholars working on the Middle East. They have denounced well-founded scholarship as “Islamophobia” or “Zionist propaganda” and denied that the Koran or Islamism could possibly have anything to do with anti-Semitism. Like Tony Kushner and Desmond Tutu, to whom Brandeis has given honorary degrees, they have erroneously argued that Arab and Islamist antagonism to Israel is exclusively the result of the alleged sins of Israel. As far as I know, neither has had anything of substance to say about the role of Islam and Islamism in fanning the flames of hatred of the Jews and of Israel. These critics have said that those of us who point to the anti-Jewish elements of the Koran and the Jew-hatred of modern Islamists are guilty of intolerance towards Muslims. I have seen this up close for years now. The last place I expected to find groveling, embarrassing appeasement of this rubbish was from the president of Brandeis University.

Read his entire letter at The Weekly Standard.

Read bullet | Comments »

Cut the Clitoral Relativism: Islam, Sharia, and Female Genital Mutilation/“Circumcision”

Friday, April 11th, 2014 - by Andrew G. Bostom

Despite their ongoing antagonisms—played out, prominently, on Fox News—a bizarre, shared apologetic has emerged which denies the irrefragable sanctioning of female genital mutilation/“circumcision” (FGM/C) by canonical Islamic tradition (“hadith”), and over 1100 years of authoritative, mainstream Islamic jurisprudence. The strange bedfellow antagonists engaged in these overlapping apologetics about FGM/C are the Clarion Foundation and its film “Honor Diaries,” allied with the Ayaan Hirsi Ali Foundation (Ms. Ali is also listed as the film’s executive producer), “versus” the Hamas-linked cultural jihadist organization, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Fox News has served as overseer of this “conflict” cum consensus, while also reinforcing the fallacy that FGM/C is simply a tragic manifestation of misogynistic patriarchal trends that are generic, and have “no basis” in Islam and the Sharia, Islamic law.

Ibrahim Hooper of CAIR issued the following statement (which Fox News host Megyn Kelly aired on her broadcast), that melds Islamic negationism (in bold, below), with vitriol against the Clarion Foundation-produced film:

American Muslims join people of conscience of all faiths in condemning female genital mutilation, forced marriages, “honor killings” and any other form of domestic violence or gender inequality as violations of Islamic beliefs. If anyone mistreats women, they should not seek refuge in Islam. The real concern in this case is that the producers of the film, who have a track record of promoting anti-Muslim bigotry, are hijacking a legitimate issue to push their hate-filled agenda.

Notwithstanding the obsessive focus on Hooper/CAIR’s predictably gratuitous attack against the producers of “Honor Diaries,” what has been deliberately obfuscated by conservative supporters of the film are mirror image statements denying the centrality of Islamic doctrine such as this blatantly false Ayaan Hirsi Ali Foundation website pronouncement:

FGM has no foundation in Islamic scripture or law.

Quanta Ahmed, a protagonist in “Honor Diaries,” appearing in one of Megyn Kelly’s Fox News segments on the “CAIR vs. bold filmmakers controversy,” made a Goebbel’s-like inversion of morality. Ahmed not only denied Islam’s sanctioning of FGM in “Honor Diaries,” claiming, falsely, “Female genital mutilation is not advocated in Islam in any way shape or form,” during her March 31, 2014 interview with Megyn Kelly she compounded her mendacity with the morally perverse observation that,

the most Islamic act is to expose this injustice

This shared mendacity by current antagonists CAIR, Clarion, the Ayaan Hirsi Foundation, and Dr. Quanta Ahmed, deliberately obfuscates, as but one salient example, the following canonical hadith (“tradition” of Muhammad) which sanctions FGM/C:

Umm Atiyyah al-Ansariyyah said: A woman used to perform circumcision in Medina. The Prophet said to her: “Do not cut severely as that is better for a woman and more desirable for a husband.” [Sunan Abu Dawud, Chapter 1888, “Circumcision of Girls”, Number 5251, from Sunan Abu Dawud, one of the six canonical hadith collections, English translation with Explanatory notes by Prof. Ahmad Hasan, 2007, Volume III, p. 1451; this hadith is also available online here, as Book 41, Number 5251]

Professor Hasan’s note adds the following observations:

Some Shafii scholars hold that circumcision of girls is obligatory, but others think that it is recommended. Ahmad b. Hanbal and some Maliki jurists hold that it is obligatory. Abu Hanifah maintains that it is recommended and not obligatory. Mali holds that it is recommended and not obligatory.

The great Muslim theologian and polymath al-Jahiz (d. 869), citing the canonical tradition of Muhammad, noted that female circumcision was specifically employed as a means to reduce female “concupiscence,” unbridled lust—or mere sexual pleasure, derived from a fully intact clitoris:

A woman with a clitoris has more pleasure than a woman without a clitoris. The pleasure depends on the quantity which was cut from the clitoris. Muhammad said, “If you cut, cut the slightest part and do not exaggerate because it makes the face more beautiful and it is more pleasing for the husband.” It seems Muhammad wanted to reduce the concupiscence of the women to moderate it. If concupiscence is reduced, the pleasure is also reduced…The love of the husband is an impediment against debauchery. Judge Janab Al-Khaskhash contends that he counted in one village the number of women who were circumcised and those who were not, and he found that the circumcised were chaste and the majority of the debauched were uncircumcised. Indian, Byzantine, and Persian women often commit adultery and run after men because their concupiscence towards men is greater. For this reason, India created brothels. This happened because of the massive presence of their clitorises and their hoods. [Al-Jahiz, Kitab al-hayawan, Vol. 7, pp. 27-29]

This argument is repeatedly invoked by classical Muslim jurists, and remains at present the most commonly cited rationale for circumcision of Muslim women. For example, here are two opinions from respected Al-Azhar clerics/“Professors,” Al Azhar University and its mosque representing the pinnacle of Sunni Islamic religious education, the de facto Vatican of Sunni Islam. The first observation was by the late Jad al-Haq (d. 1996) who served as Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and as such was a Sunni Muslim Papal equivalent.

Al-Haq insisted the present era makes female circumcision requisite,

because of mixing of the sexes at public gatherings. If the girl is not circumcised, she subjects herself to multiple causes of excitation leading her to vice and perdition. [Jad al-Haq, 1983, Khitan al-banat, in: Al-fatawi al-islamiyyah min dar al-ifta al-masriyyah, Vol. 9, p. 3124, translated here]

Abd al-Rahman Al-Adawi, al-Azhar Professor, writing in 1989, noted that female circumcision is makrumah—a meritorious action. He further claimed the procedure helped the woman,

remain shy and virtuous. In the Orient, where the climate is hot, a girl gets easily aroused if she is not circumcised. It makes her shameless and prey to her sexual instincts except those to whom Allah shows compassion. [from Al-khitan, ra’y al-din wal-‘ilm fi khitan al-awlad wal-banat, 1989, pp 81-2, translated here]

The classical Iraqi jurist Ibn Mawdud al-Musili (d. 1284), in his major Islamic law treatise [Al-ikhtiyar, vol. 4, p. 167, translated here] declared,

If a region stops, of common agreement, to practice male and female circumcision, the chief of the state declares war [jihad] against that region because circumcision is a part of the rituals of Islam and its specificities

Former Al-Azhar Grand Imam Jad al-Haq also insisted repeatedly (twice in a 1981 fatwa, and three times in a fatwa published during 1994; [see Sami A. Aldeeb Abu-Sahlieh, Male and Female Circumcision—Religious, medical, social, and legal debate, 2012, p. 173]) that the attempt to prevent female (or male) circumcision was grounds for waging jihad against those renouncing and abrogating the procedures. The October 1994 issue of the magazine Al-Azhar included a booklet distributed as a free appendix. The booklet contained Grand Imam al-Haq’s fatwa whose main elements had already been published in 1981. In this “updated” 1994 fatwa, al-Haq affirmed the call for jihad thrice, reiterating verbatim the opinion of the 13th century jurist al-Musili, and adding his own gloss about the obligatory nature of female and male circumcision (translation, p. 347),

If a region stops, of common agreement, to practice male and female circumcision, the chief of the state declares war [jihad] against that region because circumcision is a part of the rituals of Islam and its specificities. This means that male and female circumcisions are obligatory.

Given such authoritative and adamant Islamic endorsement, it is unsurprising that Egypt’s FGM/C rate persisted at 91% as reported in a July, 2013 UNICEF analysis. Indeed UNICEF’s own attempt to obfuscate the association between Islam and FGM/C was thwarted by the data adduced within the report which underscored the overwhelming predominance of this practice in Islamic societies (such as Somalia, FGM/C rate of 98%; Sudan FGM/C rate of 88%), and even Muslim minority populations within multi-religious societies. Moreover, the UNICEF survey curiously omitted the largest Muslim nation (and population) altogether: Indonesia.

The origins, rationale (i.e., notably a predominance of the Shafi’ite school of Sunni Islamic law—as in Egypt, with its 91% rate of FGM/C), and apparent near universal present extent of FGM/C among young Indonesian Muslim woman by age 18 is a case study which puts the lie to the apologetic—and corrosive—mindset that seeks to willfully dissociate FGM/C from Islam.

Returning to the Islamic law basis for FGM/C, al-Nawawi (d.1277), the seminal Shafi’ite Sunni legist, in his authoritative Al-majmu sharh al-muhadhdhab [translated here; and also here], maintained:

Circumcision is obligatory for our men and women.

Mohamad Atho Mudzhar’s 1990 PhD dissertation, “Fatwas of the Council of Indonesian Ulama: A study of Islamic legal thought in Indonesia, 1975-1988,” includes this relevant observation about his native country:

Indonesian Muslims have always claimed themselves to be Shafi’is…. At the theologico-doctrinal level, Indonesian Muslims are the followers of the Shafi’i school of Islamic law…most of them are aware of their adherence to the Shafi’i school of Islamic law.

The rigorous analyses of Dutch ethnographer G.A. Wilken (1847-1891), and Dutch historian B.J.O. Schrieke (writing in 1921/1922), concluded a century (or more) ago that female circumcision was introduced by Islam to the vast Indonesian archipelago, because the practice was present only in Islamized regions. They further noted female circumcision was absent in the regions not yet (i.e., as of the late 19th and early 20th centuries) penetrated by Islam or, at that time, only superficially Islamized.

Wilken’s article entitled : “De besnijdenis bij de volken van den Indischen Archipel,” (“Circumcision in the nations of the Indonesian Archipelago”) was first published in Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde van Nederlandsch- Indie, (Contributions to Lingusitics, Lands, and Ethnology of the Dutch East Indies), 34 (1885), pp. 165-206. B. Schrieke, published a two-part essay on the subject, nearly four decades later, whose findings concurred: “Allerlei over de besnijdenis in den Indischen Archipel,” (“Miscellaneous circumcision in the Indonesian Archipelago,” in Tijdschrift voor Indische Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde, (Journal of East Indian Linguistics, Lands, and Ethnology), 60 (1921), 373-578 ; 61 (1922), 1-94.)

Schrieke (1921, pp. 549-551). reported that when queried about the meaning of this circumcision, the Indonesian Muslim parents replied that it’s purpose was for their daughters to become Muslims (eerst Mohammedanen worden).

Just over eighty years, by 2003, a comprehensive survey “updated” and confirmed the Schrieke’s findings, adding critical data on the astonishing modern prevalence of FGM/C within Indonesia.

This broad-based Indonesian survey canvassed 1,694 households in eight different sites, representing eight different major ethnic groups of Indonesia, and including both rural and urban locations. Key background findings were as follows (verbatim):

  • Almost all mothers at all sites gave consent for the practice of FC [FGM/C] to be performed on their daughters. When asked whether FC [FGM/C] has beneficial effects on women, 69% responded “yes,” and mentioned benefits including successful completion of religious duty, health and hygiene. Only a very small proportion of mothers felt that there were no benefits of FC [FGM/C] and 26% said they “do not know”.
  • When mothers were asked about their view regarding the future of the practice of FC [FGM/C], the majority supported its continuation and objected to any proposed ban on FC [FGM/C]. Only small proportion of mothers (7%) said that they would support the ban. Even among those who would support the ban, they would support only if reasons for banning are rational, understandable, and not against religion.
  • A significant proportion of mothers (20%) even suggested social sanctions should be imposed on uncircumcised girls. Larger proportions of mothers with this view were found in Padang Pariaman and Gorontalo. Across the study sites, 30 to 96% of mothers held the opinion that FC [FGM/C] is “a must,” even for girls who have already reached the age of 10 or over.

Among all the children aged 15 to 18, 86-100% of the girls were already circumcised, with a mean overall rate of 97.5%. Thus the authors concluded aptly their survey had demonstrated,

that circumcision among girls is a universal practice in the study sites.

During March of 2010, the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), Indonesia’s largest Muslim organization, issued an edict reinforcing its religious support for FGM/C, albeit with anappeal by a leading Islamic cleric to the NU’s estimated 40 million followers “not to cut too much.” By September of 2011 “medical guidelines” on how to perform female genital mutilation/cutting were issued by the Indonesian Ministry of Health, ostensibly to reduce of the extent of damage to the clitoris when the procedure was performed by traditional non-medical personnel. However an Indonesia-wide survey of FGM/C practices in 2009, revealed that when medical practitioners performed the procedure, there was a trend toward more extensive cutting of the clitoris!

Finally, here in the U.S. (and Canada), surely CAIR, The Clarion Project/The Ayaan Hirsi Ali Foundation, and Quanta Ahmed, who even in their rancor against each other, all oppose FGM/C, and claim it is has “no basis in Islam,” will confront the fatwas sanctioning FGM/C for North American Muslims by the mainstream Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA)?

The Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America’s (AMJA’s) mission statement maintains the organization was,

founded to provide guidance for Muslims living in North America…AMJA is a religious organization that does not exploit religion to achieve any political ends, but instead provides practical solutions within the guidelines of Islam and the nation’s laws to the various challenges experienced by Muslim communities…

A report in The Muslim Observer published October 21, 2010 highlighting AMJA’s “seventh annual American conference of imams,” confirmed that the organization is accepted as such by the mainstream American Muslim community. AMJA and its “training” conference for American imams were described in these banal terms:

The organization AMJA (Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America) has a list of scholars associated with it which stretches from Al-Azhar University to Virginia’s Open University, and back across the ocean to the professors at Saudi universities.  Its website, amjaonline.com, provides fatawa on many issues and promises 24-hour access to scholars who can give legal opinions on the issues people face. AMJA focuses on providing fatwas to Americans, and believes it is able to provide culturally appropriate fatwas although many of their scholars are not American–because they have some American scholars and because of the technological ties that bind AMJA’s American scholars with those abroad. AMJA just had, in Houston, its seventh annual American conference of imams, and two local Michigan imams attended, namely Imam Musa of Bloomfield’s Muslim Unity Center, and Imam Ali of MCWS. Mr. Sadiqul Hassan of AMJA explained that “the event was the 7th annual imam workshop…”  Mr. Hassan said that AMJA is “a fiqh council basically,” with “scholars who live abroad and inside the US; we have experts in different fields to educate about life in the US–fatawa are based on life in the US.”

AMJA rulings clearly support the practice of FGM/C (which, appropriately, the United Nations has called “a dangerous and potentially life-threatening procedure that causes unspeakable pain and suffering.”). Fatwa #1639 from Dr. Hatem al-Haj justified the horrific practice, by citing the canonical hadith in which Islam’s prophet Muhammad endorsed its practice, stating:

[…] Some extremists from the west and their devout followers in the Muslim world like to brand all circumcision as female genital mutilation (FGM). For those, we say, why is male circumcision not MGM? Male circumcision is widely practiced in the west. Yet it would be considered by the Chinese MGM (Male Genital Mutilation). The benefits of male circumcision are beginning to be more recognized in the medical societies, even though still contested by a few. Fifty years ago, no one knew that male circumcision has medical benefits. The same could be true with female circumcision. They may figure out the benefits of the practice in fifty or five hundred years. […]

Al-Haj then went on to implicitly sanction the practice of taking a Muslim female outside of her American milieu to have the procedure performed—in violation of the US “TRANSPORT FOR FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION” act.

The question is not to ban female circumcision because of the position of certain nations, but How do we regulate it as Muslims? What should we -western Muslims- do? For Muslims who live in the west, since it is not mandatory and it is at the same time illegal in the west, and would bring about harm to the people who practice it, I wouldn`t advise having it done, as long as you are a resident/citizen of the west. We however should never doubt anything in our religion because of the bad publicity the media creates about it

A concordant fatwa issued in Arabic (translation by Al-Mutarjim) on the website of the Secretary-General of AMJA and the chief member of its Resident Fatwa Committee, Dr. Salah Al-Sawy, declares that FGM is “an honor” for women, Al-Sawy also acknowledges that the procedure—in accord with a continuum of Islamic rationale from al-Jahiz in the mid-9th century, to former Muslim Papal equivalent, i.e.,  Al-Azhar University Grand Imam Jad al-Haq through 1996—is explicitly implemented to reduce a woman’s otherwise unbridled “concupiscence,” i.e., lust:

But for the woman, the purpose [of circumcision] is the benefit that it has in lessening her lust, which is a wholesome request. There is no harm in removing it. In short, female circumcision is an honor (which) does not rise to the level of a duty, in clear language. Stated another way, it is neither forbidden nor required.

Having thus far refused to honestly acknowledge, let alone confront the clear, authoritative Islamic imprimatur for FGM-C—from Muhammad’s alleged utterance, to classical and modern jurists, across a millennium, till today—in Islamic societies, perhaps all these strange bedfellows, The Clarion Project/The Ayaan Hirsi Ali Foundation, Quanta Ahmed, and CAIR, will, pardon the reference, gird their loins within the security of the U.S., remonstrate against AMJA’s apparent “distortion” of Islam, and explain to AMJA’s clerics why they are wrong. Better still, invite all the parties—AMJA’s clerics and any of The Clarion Project/The Ayaan Hirsi Ali Foundation, Quanta Ahmed, and CAIR to debate whether Islam sanctions FGM/C on Fox News’ The Kelly File.

 

Read bullet | Comments »

Taqiyya about Taqiyya

Friday, April 11th, 2014 - by Raymond Ibrahim

I was recently involved in an interesting exercise—examining taqiyya about taqiyya—and believe readers might profit from the same exercise, as it exposes all the subtle apologetics made in defense of the Islamic doctrine, which permits Muslims to lie to non-Muslims, or “infidels.”

Context: Khurrum Awan, a lawyer, is suing Ezra Levant, a Canadian media personality and author, for defamation and $100,000.  Back in 2009 and on his own website, Levant had accused Awan of taqiyya in the context of Awan’s and the Canadian Islamic Congress’ earlier attempts to sue Mark Steyn.

For more on Levant’s court case, go to www.StandWithEzra.ca.

On behalf of Awan, Mohammad Fadel—professor of Islamic Law at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law—provided an expert report to the court on the nature of taqiyya, the significance of which he portrayed as “a staple of right-wing Islamophobia in North America.”

In response, Levant asked me (back in 2013) to write an expert report on taqiyya, including by responding to Fadel’s findings.

I did.  And it had the desired effect.  As Levant put it in an email to me:

It was an outstanding report, very authoritative and persuasive. Of course, we don’t know what the plaintiff’s [Awan’s] private thoughts about it were, but we do know that after receiving the report, he decided to cancel calling his own expert witness [Dr. Fadel]—who happens to be a Muslim Brotherhood sympathizer. After reading your rebuttal, he decided he would rather not engage in that debate.

My expert report follows.  In it, I quote relevant portions of Fadel’s expert report (which can be read in its entirety here).  Most intriguing about the professor’s report is that it’s a perfect example of taqiyya about taqiyya.  By presenting partial truths throughout the report, Fadel appears to have even employed taqiyya’s more liberal sister, tawriya.

Accordingly, readers interested in learning more about the role of deception in Islam—and how to respond to those trying to dismiss it as an “Islamophobic fantasy”—are encouraged to read on…  Keep reading

Read bullet | Comments »

Turkey to Make Dramatic Foreign Policy Move as Russia Rises

Thursday, April 10th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Turkey used to be a reliable NATO member and ally of Israel. But the Islamist government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan is taking Turkey far away from all of that. Turkey prolonged the Iraq war by not allowing US troops to move in through Turkish territory or use Turkish bases. Turkey has also agitated against Israel and in favor of the Palestinians over the past few years.

Today, one of Erdogan’s closest advisers is signalling that the West is about to lose one of its most strategic allies.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s chief economic advisor Yiğit Bulut has claimed that Turkey will no longer need Europe, stating that the “new West” solely comprises the US.

Bulut maintained that under the new world order, Europe will no longer be a relevant power, predicting that Turkey will cut off its relations with Europe at once.

According to Erdoğan’s aide, the new world will be shaped by the US and the axes of Turkey-Russia-Eurasia-the Middle East and China-India-Iran.

Get that? Turkey is switching sides.

Read bullet | Comments »

‘Praise Jesus!’ MSNBC Gets Religious Over Obama’s ‘Equal Pay’ Gig

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

I’ve often described MSNBC as a religious broadcaster. It doesn’t do news, it doesn’t allow any fact to challenge its dogma. It just sings hymns and broadcasts sermons to worship its god.

Mika Brzezinski attended President Obama’s “Equal Pay Day” event Tuesday. She was enraptured.

SCARBOROUGH: “Speaking of women, yesterday, big event at the White House. You were there along with Valerie. And a lot of other people. And of course, the president. Tell us about the event.”

BRZEZINSKI: “So this is the east room of the White House. And it was sort of like a church revival. I’m telling you, every time the president made a comment about why women should be paid equally to men. Equal pay for equal work, talking about the same jobs. You’d hear like ‘okay.’ Clapping, and almost like ‘praise Jesus.’ It was fun.”

Read bullet | 7 Comments »

Brandeis University Rescinds Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Honorary Degree Because She Criticized Islam

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The students, faculty and staff of Brandeis University have submitted themselves to dhimmitude.

Brandeis University in Massachusetts announced Tuesday that it had withdrawn the planned awarding of an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a staunch critic of Islam and its treatment of women, after protests from students and faculty.

The university said in a statement posted online that the decision had been made after a discussion between Ali and university President Frederick Lawrence.

“She is a compelling public figure and advocate for women’s rights, and we respect and appreciate her work to protect and defend the rights of women and girls throughout the world,” said the university’s statement. “That said, we cannot overlook certain of her past statements that are inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values.”

Ali, a member of the Dutch Parliament from 2003 to 2006, has been quoted as making comments critical of Islam. That includes a 2007 interview with Reason Magazine in which she said of the religion, “Once it’s defeated, it can mutate into something peaceful. It’s very difficult to even talk about peace now. They’re not interested in peace. I think that we are at war with Islam. And there’s no middle ground in wars.”

Ali knows well of what she speaks. She was raised Muslim in Somalia, survived female genital mutilation, escaped Somalia’s civil war and became a member of the Dutch parliament. But Islam followed her, and credibly threatened her life. She and Theo Van Gogh produced a short film critical of Islam’s treatment of women, called Submission. A Muslim murdered Van Goch on an Amsterdam street in 2004. His killer used a knife to pin a note to Van Gogh’s body, and in that note he threatened Ali.

The threats became too much, and Ali was once again forced to move, this time to the United States.

So she knows very well what she is criticizing and why she criticizes it. Shame on Brandeis. The university probably thinks it is making a statement for tolerance, but in rescinding Ali’s honor, it is making a very different statement.

Read bullet | 71 Comments »

SecState Kerry Blames Collapse of ‘Peace Process’ on Israel

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Palestinians elected terrorist group Hamas to lead them. That group espouses the total destruction of Israel. Palestinians teach their children to hate and want to kill Jews. Hamas and Hizballah regularly stage deliberate attacks on Israeli civilian targets. The Palestinians do not truly believe in a “two state solution,” they believe in a one state solution that does not include the continued existence of Israel.

Yet to Secretary of State John Kerry, none of that matters as much as a few Israeli gestures.

“Both sides wound out in a position of unhelpful moves,” Kerry said at a hearing of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, delineating what he said led to the current impasse.

“The prisoners were not released by Israel on the day they were supposed to be released and then another day passed and another day, and then 700 units were approved in Jerusalem and then poof — that was sort of the moment,” Kerry said.

The secretary of state was referring to the planned fourth release of Palestinian security prisoners, which was originally slated for March 29. Israel did not proceed with the release on time, with Jerusalem saying that it was delayed because the Palestinian Authority had demanded that Israeli Arabs be among those freed and was unwilling to commit to extend peace talks beyond their April 29 deadline.

On April 1, the Israel Lands Authority reissued a call for tenders for 708 homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo, which is located beyond the 1967 lines and was annexed by Israel.

Later that same day, PA President Mahmoud Abbas signed 15 letters of accession to multilateral treaties and conventions, in what Israel said was a clear breach of Ramallah’s commitment not to take unilateral steps to advance their statehood bid so long as the talks were ongoing.

The Palestinians repeatedly broke their word, as they always do. The most that Kerry could say about that, about the PA’s open defiance on statehood, was that it was “unhelpful.”

There isn’t a whole lot that one can say to someone like Kerry. Sen. John McCain scolded him in that hearing, but it’s very unlikely that Kerry learned anything. If he doesn’t have a clue by now — and he doesn’t — it’s unlikely that he ever will. But he’s only a symptom of the problem. The Democrats as a whole have mostly turned against Israel, or at least see it as being on the same moral plane as Hamas. The average American voter doesn’t pay enough attention to foreign policy to realize the danger of electing any Democrat administration. The “free stuff” coalition has the upper hand in that party.

Read bullet | 5 Comments »

‘They Are Slaughtering Us Like Chickens’

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 - by Raymond Ibrahim

As happens at Christmas every year throughout the Muslim world, Christians and their churches were especially targeted—from jihadi terror strikes killing worshipers, to measures by Muslim authorities restricting Christmas celebrations.  Some incidents follow:

Iraq:  “Militants” reported the Associated Press, “targeted Christians in three separate Christmas Day bombings in Baghdad, killing at least 37 people, officials said Wednesday.  In one attack, a car bomb went off near a church in the capital’s southern Dora neighborhood, killing at least 26 people and wounding 38, a police officer said. Earlier, two bombs ripped through a nearby outdoor market simultaneously in the Christian section of Athorien, killing 11 people and wounding 21.”

Iran:  Five Muslim converts to Christianity were arrested from a house-church during a Christmas celebration. Plain clothes Iranian security authorities raided a house where, according to Mohabat News, “a group of Christians had gathered to celebrate Christmas on Tuesday, December 24.” Before arresting the five apostates, authorities “insulted and searched those in attendance, and seized all Christian books, CDs, and laptops they found. They also took the Satellite TV receiver.”  The original report received by Mohabat stated: “These Christians had gathered to worship and celebrate [the] birth of Jesus.”

Indonesia: Muslims in the Aceh province protested against Christmas and New Year celebrationsand called on authorities to ban them. Days earlier, an influential Islamic cleric organization, the Ulema Consultative Assembly, issued a fatwa, or edict, “prohibiting Muslims from offering Christmas wishes or celebrating on New Year’s Eve,” said the Associated Press.  Aceh is the “only province in predominantly Muslim Indonesia that is allowed to implement a version of Islamic Shariah law.”

Kenya: “Youths,” reported Reuters, “threw petrol bombs at two Kenyan churches on Christmas day … in the latest bout of violence against Christians on the country’s predominantly Muslim coast.”  The attacks occurred “in the early hours of December 25 after churchgoers held services to usher in Christmas.”  The churches were located in Muslim-majority regions. One church was “completely destroyed.”

Somalia: The more “moderate” government—as it is often portrayed in comparison to Al Shabaab (“The Youth”) opposition—banned Christmas celebrations. Hours before Christmas Day, the Ministry of Justice and Religious Affairs released a directive banning any Christian festivities from being held in the east African nation.  In the words of one ministry official: “We alert fellow Muslims in Somalia that some festivities to mark Christian Days will take place around the world in this week. It is prohibited to celebrate those days in this country.”  All security and law enforcement agencies were instructed to quash any Christian celebrations.

Pakistan:  During Christmas Eve services, “Heavy contingents of police were deployed around the churches to thwart any untoward incident.”  In some regions, “prayer service at major churches focused on remembering the Pakistani Christians who lost their lives in terror attacks.” For example, three months earlier, Islamic suicide bombers entered the All Saints Church compound in Peshawar following Sunday mass and blew themselves up in the midst of some 550 congregants, killing some 130 worshippers, including many Sunday school children, women, and choir members, and injuring nearly 200 people.

Even in Western nations like Denmark, Christmas Eve witnessed Islamic demonstrations and cries of “Allahu Akbar” (or “Allah is greater”).

Also in December, Syria’s Greek-Catholic Church declared that it had three “true martyrs”—men from the small town of Ma’loula, an ancient Christian site where the inhabitants still spoke the language of Christ.  According to Asia News, “When the town fell [in September, to al-Qaeda linked rebels], a climate of fear was imposed… When three men refused to repudiate their religion, they were summarily executed in public, and six more were taken hostage. This was followed by a failed attempt by Syrian government forces to retake the town.”  In the words of Patriarch Gregorios III to Pope Francis in a meeting: “Holy Father, they are true martyrs. Ordered to give up their faith, they proudly refused. Three others however gave in and were forced to declare themselves Muslim, but later returned to the faith of their ancestors.”  According to the families who fled from Ma’loula, “some of their Muslim neighbors took part in the attack that devastated this historic village where people still speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus. Muslims are approximately one third of the population of the village…” Keep reading

Read bullet | Comments »

‘Milking’ Egypt’s Christian Copts Dry

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 - by Raymond Ibrahim

The Board of Inquiry in Cairo monitoring the “sectarian violence that continues to cross Egypt after the overthrow of President Morsi, has documented in a report released on Tuesday, March 25 the endemic forms of violence and abuse that continue to be perpetrated against Coptic Christians in many parts of the country, particularly in the governorates of Luxor, Sohag and Aswan.”  According to this report, “reference is made to abductions [almost always for ransom], expropriation of houses, shops looted where Egyptian Copts continue to be targeted victims.”

In other words, Egypt’s Christians are increasingly being seen and treated, in the words of some early caliphs, as “milk camels” to be milked dry of their money and possessions. (Crucified Again, p. 200)

Even the most remote, modest, and apolitical Copts are being targeted so.  Late last month, Coptic activists in Egypt called on the Interior Ministry and its organs in the Fayum district to move and rescue the monks, workers, and visitors of the ancient Monastery of Saint Makarius, which is located in the desert between Alexandria and Cairo.

Arab Bedouins have been raiding, plundering, and keeping the monastery in a constant state of duress.  Among other depredations, these raiders have especially taken up the practice of waylaying Christian travelers from and to the monastery, including those in vehicles, and robbing them under threat of gunfire.

In one incident, a monk was stopped, seized, and  had gun shots fired near his ear, before he was robbed of all the money in his possession, which was meant to be used to purchase much needed building materials for the monastery.  In another incident, the monastery’s car was stolen and returned in exchange for a large sum of money.

Considering that the Western media is silent about the most horrific abuses the Copts suffer in Egypt—such as the brutal slaughter of a young woman identified as a Christian by her cross—it is little wonder that the oppression of these remote monks is seen as beyond irrelevant.

Read bullet | Comments »

A Future of Fear

Friday, April 4th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

I’m not singling John Nolte out here, but this is wishful thinking.

Did the mob engage in any soul-searching when they tried to crush Chick-Fil-A — and failed?

Did the mob engage in any soul-searching when they tried to crush Duck Dynasty — and failed?

Why, then, would they soul-search after they won one? They successfully carried out a public execution. It’s time for a party.

As we noted in Mozilla Burning, the real purpose of going after Eich was to harass and intimidate everyone who supports the traditional view of marriage. Its purpose was to drive such people out of polite society. Or make them shut up. The mob has no interest in winning hearts and minds anymore, not when crushing them swiftly will do.

Now, who is most likely to support traditional marriage and oppose same-sex marriage?

Catholics. Evangelical Christians. Wade your way through the average leftist blog, and who is on the receiving end of more hatred there than any other group of people?

So let’s look forward a few years from now.

The lesson of Mozilla is that you are never safe from the mob. A small donation made years ago can be used to hunt you down and destroy you, even if you have not engaged in any other political activity.

So a few years from now, a perfectly ordinary American decides to run for office. He owns his own business. His family is strong and together. He has no criminal record, no bankruptcies, none of the usual fodder for oppo research to pick out and exploit. He treats his employees well. He’s clean. You know, like Brendan Eich.

But he is a Republican and a well-known member of the local church. Maybe that membership is noted on his campaign website to connect him to the community’s values. He has humbly responded to his business success by giving back, donating some of his income to the church over the years. Maybe, if he was really successful, he helped it fund a new building. So not only is he clean, he has been doing the right thing by his faith.

Some years back, five or even ten, the pastor of that church delivered a sermon that someone recorded, in which he defended the traditional definition of marriage. He quoted Genesis. He quoted Matthew. He stated a position that is perfectly mainstream. This was no Jeremiah Wright type of sermon, I want to be clear about that. It wasn’t hateful. But it wasn’t equivocal either. It was energetic and it was clear.

That sermon appears on YouTube as Ordinary Citizen becomes the front-runner in his campaign. It’s edited to condense the remarks about marriage into a punchy minute or two, and it gets all over Twitter and the networks get ahold of it too.

What happens to our Ordinary Citizen?

My guess is, unless he is a strongly principled and prayerful man possessing more courage than most and is extremely savvy about public relations, he finds himself on defense and before long he’s toast. Not only does he drop out of the campaign, but the local church comes under assault, his family comes under personal attack, and he may lose his business.

For what, exactly? Well, what did Brendan Eich do?

Why do we now know who Brendan Eich is, but most still don’t know who the people at OKCupid are who launched the campaign to destroy him? Why did President Obama’s spokesman today dodge a question about what the president thinks about what has been done to Eich? It’s not like this White House is ever shy about expressing an opinion. It’s fighting a private company in court over religious beliefs right now. Why didn’t the president stand up for Eich’s right to believe what he wants? That silence sent a signal from the president to the mob: Do whatever you want. Punish your enemies. Make them fear you.

In succeeding in getting Brendan Eich ousted, the mob has created a future of fear for everyone who disagrees with them and has ever disagreed with them and has ever contemplated any public life. Publicly announce your full support for the mob, or (economically and culturally) die. Christians, you are their public enemy number one.

So, “Gaystapo” has a certain ring to it.

Read bullet | 9 Comments »

Two Awesome Takes on the Noah Movie

Friday, March 28th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

I’ll get the disclosure out of the way: I haven’t seen Darron Aronofsky’s Gladiator meets Prometheus version of the Biblical account of Noah and the flood. I don’t really intend to see it, at least while it’s in the theaters.

But I have read Erick Erickson’s review of the film, which is so good I’ll probably end up catching Noah once it’s at Redbox and I want to have a laugh. Having a bad day? Watch Noah!  The days of the ancients and the foundations of our culture as a big-screen laugh-fest — what an idea! Mel Brooks did it first, but whatever. Erickson sees Noah as a feel-good romping comedy with sci-fi touches. His review is certainly more entertaining than Kathleen Parker’s dour take on evangelical reaction to it. But she’s kind of a Beltway clown anyway. Adam and Eve as space aliens? Rock monsters? Magical snake skins? Unicorn genocide? Whatever. The Biblical account is strange enough. Did Hollywood really need to give the Ancient Aliens guys the biggest big-screen shout-out they’ve had since X-Files went away?

On the other hand, Sarah Rumpf sees something else in Noah. Not only is it nothing like Genesis, it’s not even original. It’s a crafty rehash of another recent successful film. Click over to her blog to see which one. She makes a pretty good case.

But here’s a thought. The entertainment-industrial complex usually goes out of its way to offend and put off a huge market — evangelicals, Catholics and other traditional believers (except Muslims — mustn’t lose our heads!). Apparently they don’t really want our money that bad, perhaps we should stop giving it to them. Hollywood is now so far gone that even when they do get around to making something that might appeal to those audiences, they manage to mock those audiences anyway. When you believe in nothing, nothing is sacred, and the only group whose ox you won’t gore is the one that credibly threatens to kill you if you do.

Ages ago, Bill Cosby did a riff on Noah that was hilarious while also being respectful. “What’s an ark?!?” But then again, unlike most of today’s entertainment titans, Cosby had talent that went beyond making explosions and tying everything to the latest political fads.

Read bullet | 5 Comments »

Obama and the Pope Differ on What Was Said In Their Meeting. Who are You Gonna Believe?

Friday, March 28th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

It’s a toss-up, really.

President Obama’s first meeting with Pope Francis produced a little schism of its own.

The Vatican and White House gave starkly different versions Thursday of Mr. Obama’s meeting with Francis.

The president’s account downplayed the Catholic Church’s concerns about religious freedom in the United States and Obamacare’s mandate to pay for contraception.

The Vatican, however, issued a statement after the meeting saying the president’s discussions with Francis and two other top Vatican officials focused “on questions of particular relevance for the [Catholic] Church in [the United States], such as the exercise of the rights to religious freedom, life and conscientious objection” — issues that have fueled divisions between Mr. Obama and the church.

Although Mr. Obama wanted to highlight his bond with Francis over questions of economic inequality and helping the poor, Obamacare’s mandate for employers to pay for birth control gained more attention.

Obama can’t blame the difference on his political staff. He offered a full quote directly contradicting the Vatican.

So who should we believe — the man who about a billion people believe is infallible? Or the man known for lying to everyone when he said, repeatedly, that if they like their health care they can keep it? Should we believe the man who wants to take people’s hard-earned property and “spread it around” to help out his political ideology, or the man who sneaks out at night to give out of his own pocket to the poor?

Tough call.

So, the president who spent 20 years listening to the likes of Jeremiah Wright is now lying about the Pope.

There literally is nothing left that Barack Obama will not lie about.

Read bullet | 8 Comments »

Caption Contest Winners: The First Lady Went to China and Did Not Bring Home This T-shirt

Friday, March 28th, 2014 - by Myra Adams
mao

2009 File Photo Daily Mail – REUTERS/David Gray

Thanks to everyone who entered our latest contest. We had enough great quotations to fill our own “little red book” and forever banish Chairman Mao from the book writing business.

Not surprising, our own “Chairman” Cfbleachers provided us with much old Chinese and new Democrat wisdom.  Here is a sample:

“Political work is the life-blood of all economic work.”
Obamacare shows that doing it this way causes clogged economic arteries.

“To read too many books is harmful.”
Ergo, reading a single security briefing could prove fatal.

“Let a hundred scandals bloom.”
As long as you own the media, it will be impossible to gain a whiff of their “fragrance.”

Kuce is awarded a Chairman Mao “workers cap” for these quotations:

 “A dog on the plate is worth two in the bush”
- recipes from Chairman Mao, with forward by B.H. Obama

“It is necessary to investigate both the facts and the history of a problem in order to study and understand it.” Mao
“… it is just wonderful to be back in Oregon, and over the last 15 months we’ve traveled to every corner of the United States. I’ve now been in fifty …. seven states? I think one left to go.” BHO

RockThisTown provided us with this wisdom:

 Mao: To read too many books is harmful.
Obama: To write too many books is harmful.

Gblumel gave us an idea for some commie-style economic stimulus: (Hey George, you should sell these at your country club.)

Get the whole series: Mao, Pol Pot, Castro, Che, Stalin, et al.

Now for the grand prize winners — who win nothing but grey moth-eaten Mao jackets.

JRSWINE is runner up for suggesting two new book titles:

The Quotations of Chairman Mao, by Mousie Dung.
The Quotations of Chairman Me-O, by BHO.

First place goes to RockThisTown for this Mao/Nixonian wisdom:

Nixon and Mao

Mao: “Who are our enemies? Who are our friends? This is a question of the first importance for the revolution.”

Obama: “Who are our enemies? Who are our friends? This is a question of the first importance for the IRS.”

Thanks again to everyone who submitted their version of wisdom and see you next time a photo is worthy of a Tatler photo caption contest.

Oh wait…. this photo from March 27  is almost worthy but not quite up to our high standards for its own contest.  However, I am confident that you will have some fun imagining what Pope Francis is thinking.

Photo Credit: AP

Photo Credit: AP

Seriously, have you ever seen such a cast of characters in one PJ Tatler post?  Nixon, Mao, Obama, Kerry and the Pope — there has got to be a joke in there SOMEWHERE.

 

 

Read bullet | 7 Comments »

Turkey’s Latest Jihad on Christian Armenians

Friday, March 28th, 2014 - by Raymond Ibrahim

Far from being repentant of the Armenian Genocide, Turkey, under the leadership of Prime Minister Erdogan, is again targeting Armenians; is again causing their death and dislocation.

In the early morning hours of March 21, al-Qaeda linked Islamic jihadis crossed into Syrian territory from the Turkish border and launched a jihad on the Christian/Armenian town of Kessab.   Among other things, “Snipers targeted the civilian population and launched mortar attacks on the town and the surrounding villages.”  Reportedly eighty people were killed.

The jihadis later made a video touring the devastated town.  No translation is needed, as the main phrase shouted throughout is Islam’s triumphant war cry, “Allahu Akbar” (or, according to Sen. John McCain’s translation, “thank God”).
[...]
Nor are Armenians and others missing the significance of Turkey’s role.  In a written statement, the Armenian National Committee-International condemned Turkey’s active role in aiding and abetting Christian persecuting jihadi groups:

For months, we have warned the international community of the imminent threat posed by extremist foreign fighters against the Christian minority population in Syria.  These vicious and unprompted attacks against the Armenian-populated town and villages of Kessab are the latest examples of this violence, actively encouraged by neighboring Turkey. We call upon all states with any influence in the Syrian conflict to use all available means to stop these attacks against the peaceful civilian population of Kessab, to allow them to return to their homes in safety and security. In the last one hundred years, this is the third time that the Armenians are being forced to leave Kessab and in all three cases, Turkey is the aggressor or on the side of the aggressors [emphasis added].

On March 24,  Samvel Farmanyan, a member of the Armenian National Assembly, traveled to Syria to meet with Kessab’s dislocated Armenians: “I should say the impression was shocking,” he said.  “The situation is like the one we have read about in textbooks and literature about the Armenian Genocide, in the memories of Genocide survivors….  These are tragic events, which cannot but bring forth obvious parallels with the events of 100 years ago—the Armenian Genocide.”

Video interviews with the recently dislocated Armenians of Syria further document this sentiment.   One elderly man says “We’ve been here 97 years since they slaughtered us in Turkey.  These al-Qaeda ‘rebel’ groups are the grandsons of Abdul Hamid” (the Ottoman sultan who committed the first systematic genocide of Armenians)… Keep reading 

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Bookmark/FavoritesPrintFriendlyEmail

Read bullet | Comments »

Obama Assures Vatican That Obamacare Protects Religious Freedom

Thursday, March 27th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

President Obama said he told Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin today that religious freedom is being respected in the application of Obamacare.

The Vatican meeting, after Obama sat down with Pope Francis, came in the same week as arguments before the Supreme Court about the contraception mandate and religious objections among for-profit businesses.

Obama told reporters that he and Parolin “discussed briefly the issue of making sure that conscience and religious freedom was observed in the context of applying the law.”

“And I explained to him that most religious organizations are entirely exempt. Religiously affiliated hospitals or universities or NGOs simply have to attest that they have a religious objection, in which case they are not required to provide contraception although that employees of theirs who choose are able to obtain it through the insurance company,” the president haltingly continued.

“And I pledged to continue to dialogue with the U.S. Conference of Bishops to make sure that we can strike the right balance, making sure that not only everybody has healthcare but families, and women in particular, are able to enjoy the kind of healthcare coverage that the ACA offers, but that religious freedom is still observed.”

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops filed an amicus brief in support of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood at the end of January.

The USCCB wrote in the brief that it opposes “any rule that would require faithful Catholics and other religiously motivated business owners to choose between providing coverage for products and speech that violate their religious beliefs, and exposing their businesses to devastating penalties.” These penalties include “potentially fatal fines” of $100 a day per affected individual.

Frequently pausing and carefully choosing his words, Obama said he and the pontiff talked about “issues of the poor, the marginalized, those without opportunity, and growing inequality” as well as “the challenges of conflict and how elusive peace is around the world.”

“I think the theme that stitched our conversation together was a belief that in politics and in life the quality of empathy, the ability to stand in somebody else’s shoes and to care for someone even if they don’t look like you or talk like you or share your philosophy — that that’s critical. It’s the lack of empathy that makes it very easy for us to plunge into wars,” Obama said. “It’s the lack of empathy that allows us to ignore the homeless on the streets.  And obviously central to my Christian faith is a belief in treating others as I’d have them treat me. And what’s I think created so much love and excitement for His Holiness has been that he seems to live this, and shows that joy continuously.”

Read bullet | 29 Comments »

Obama to Pope according to Rand Paul Tweet: ‘Forgive me father for I have spied.’

Thursday, March 27th, 2014 - by Myra Adams
Photo Credit: Drudge Report

Photo Credit: Drudge Report

 

From Twitchy:

‘LOL!’ Sen. Rand Paul cracks Obama, Pope Francis joke; Is this what Obama said?

Senator Rand Paul        ✔ @SenRandPaul

BarackObama to @Pontifex: Forgive me father for I have spied. #NSA

Can PJM readers think of more confessions that President Obama might have had for Pope Francis?

 

Read bullet | Comments »

Does a ‘Moderate Islam’ Really Exist?

Thursday, March 27th, 2014 - by Raymond Ibrahim

I discussed this question with CBN News recently, in connection with my article “Why Moderate Islam is an Oxymoron.”

Read bullet | Comments »

Obama Meets Pope Francis, Gives Him a Box of Seeds

Thursday, March 27th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

President Obama met Pope Francis this morning at the Vatican in a meeting that lasted a little under an hour and featured Obama giving the pontiff a box of seeds.

Obama brought along Secretary of State John Kerry, National Security Adviser Susan Rice, senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer, press secretary Jay Carney and deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes.

The pope greeted Obama outside the Papal Library with a friendly handshake. Obama “nodded his head slightly,” according to the White House pool report. “Wonderful meeting you,” the president said. “Thank you sir, thank you.”

“It is a great honor. I’m a great admirer. Thank you so much for receiving me,” Obama continued. “I bring greetings from my family. The last time I came here to meet your predecessor I was able to bring my wife and children.”

Michelle Obama departed China yesterday after a weeklong trip with her daughters and mother.

The pool reporters could not hear the pope’s responses to Obama as they sat across a desk from each other, each with an interpreter. Pope Francis’s native language is Spanish but he also speaks Italian, Portuguese, French, German, Ukrainian, Piedmontese and Latin, according to the Vatican.

In the exchange of gifts following the meeting, Obama presented the pope with the seeds. According to a White House official, it was “a custom-made seed chest featuring a variety of fruit and vegetable seeds used in the White House Garden” using “reclaimed wood from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.” The official noted the pope’s earlier announcement that he would open the gardens at Castel Gandolfo, the historic papal summer residence, to the public as a reason for the gift.

“These, I think, are carrots,” Obama said, holding up a pouch from the box. “Each one has a different seed in it. The box is made from timber from the first cathedral to open in the United States in Baltimore.”

“If you have a chance to come to the White House, we can show you our garden as well,” he added. The pope quipped, “Why not?” Congressional leaders recently extended a formal invitation for the pope to address a joint session on the Hill.

The pope gave Obama a copy of his apostolic exhortation “The Joy of the Gospel.”

“I actually will probably read this in the Oval Office when I’m deeply frustrated,” Obama said. “I’m sure it will give me strength and calm me down.” Pope Francis chuckled and said, “I hope.”

“My family has to be with me on this journey. They’ve been very strong. Pray for them. I would appreciate it,” the president requested of the pope as they said goodbye.

A reporter in the White House pool later was able to ask Rice how the papal visit went. “Great, really cool,” the ambassador said.

 

 

 

Read bullet | 26 Comments »

Muslim Brotherhood Supporter, Qatar, Turns to U.S. for Support

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014 - by Raymond Ibrahim

US Secretary of State John Kerry and Qatar crown prince, Sheik Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, greet each other at the Prince’s Sea Palace residence in Doha. AFP Photo

Qatar, which is under fire by fellow Gulf States and Egypt for its material and propaganda (Al Jazeera) support to the Muslim Brotherhood — which has again been reclassified as a terrorist organization by said Arab states — is now turning to the United States and Obama administration for support.

According to sources, “Hamad bin Ali al-Attiyah, The Qatari Minister of State for Defence Affairs, is leaving for Washington to discuss the situation in Qatar with US Secretary of State John Kerry, an American Foreign Ministry source said on Monday. Al-Attiyah and Mohammed Jaham Al-Kuwari, Qatar’s Ambassador at Washington, are also planning to meet with Barak Obama during their stay in US, the source told reporters.”

And what is the purpose of these high level meetings?  The Qatar Royal family has sent an official letter “requesting urgent help and US mediation in the crisis between Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.”

Of course, all Qatar need do to avert this “crisis” is to stop supporting the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood; stop inciting violence, regional chaos, and terrorism (or “jihad) through its Al Jazeera network and Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi (who himself earlier called on the U.S. to wage jihad on Muslims).

It is specifically for these reasons that the tiny state, which aside from its Al Jazeera network has little influence, is under fire by its neighbors.

Yet instead of obliging and ceasing its pro-Muslim Brotherhood support, Qatar prefers to turn to the U.S. Obama administration for “mediation” — which of course is not surprising considering the latter’s connections to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Read bullet | Comments »

Why There Will Never Be Peace in the Culture Wars

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Good piece (or “smart take” of you’re a Beltway denizen) by Tim Carney today in the Washington Examiner. He looks at how differently the Hobby Lobby case is viewed on the left versus the right.

Christian conservatives think marriage is a sacred bond, tied up with family formation. Christians also believe in the sanctity of life from conception. Secular liberals, Haidt has concluded, hold sacred the plight of the traditionally oppressed — including women and gays.

Feminist Marcotte was explicit about this: “Hobby Lobby is angling to deprive women of their religious liberty to use their own health care plans as they see fit,” she writes in the Daily Beast.

The Pill is not just a pill to them. It has become something holy. And they won’t tolerate any burden between them and their Blessed Sacrament.

The culture war isn’t religious versus secular. It’s a clash of two faiths.

Interestingly, mandate champion Sandra Fluke provides us with a way out: “Your boss shouldn’t be involved in your health care decisions — that’s common sense,” she wrote this week.

The problem is, Fluke doesn’t mean that. Or, she doesn’t mean it in the same way that a conservative would mean it. A conservative would argue that keeping one’s boss out of personal decisions means just that — your life is your business, but you’re on the hook to pick up the tab outside the basic benefits that you and your employer have agreed to. A conservative would argue that because we don’t view corporations as extensions of the government and its social programs. Liberals argue that your boss should just cover the cost for every conceivable lifestyle choice that you might make, because freedom, and because corporations should behave like social welfare programs, not profit-seeking ventures. The conflict here is fundamental. On the left, business owners are not people with their own beliefs and moral values, once they establish a business. Businesses exist, to the left, just to provide “access” to stuff that the left wants them to provide access to.

Leftwing Democrat Sen. Patty Murray said as much on MSNBC today.

Murray casts the Hobby Lobby debate as one governing “access to birth control.” Americans don’t have any problem with “access” to birth control. The contraception mandate wasn’t even written into the text of the Obamacare law at all. The Department of Health and Human Services created it out of nothing, to advance a political wedge issue — the so-called “war on women” — to help out with President Obama’s re-election effort. It was done to create division and motivate the president’s leftwing base. And it worked. It’s still working.

Because of the politics of the mandate, and because of its effectiveness in creating a divisive issue that motivates the left, Carney’s hope for peace in the culture wars will not be reached.

Here’s one rule to make it even simpler: If there’s a serious debate over a religious exemption to a proposed law, the proposed law probably reaches too far into people’s private affairs, and should be scrapped.

By getting government out of people’s lives — how they run their business, whom they love, and what pills they take — we could accomplish peace in the Culture Wars. The question is: Does the Left want peace?

No, they don’t. Or at the very least, they don’t want peace if they believe they can punish their enemies. They will only seek peace when their social issues stances start to cost them elections. And in all likelihood, probably not even then. When they stand down on an issue, as many of them have on gun rights lately, it’s temporary. The tragedy trolls will return to flog that issue the next time they see some advantage.

If the left wanted peace in the culture wars, they would not keep going out of their way to start those wars.

They start those wars to gain advantages. They start those wars to hurt their opponents. Lately they start those wars to break challenges to government power — their own power — such as Christian churches and traditional values. They know what they’re doing and they have no interest in stopping. This gives their opponents some choices: fight back, or surrender.

Too many on the right are comfortable with the latter.

Some people just can’t help being terrible, dishonest and offensive. Being jerks, lying and smearing people, taking stuff from other people, and telling others what to think and how to live — that’s what makes some people tick. Such people — Amanda Marcotte, Sandra Fluke, Barack Obama — will never want peace when war is profitable.

Read bullet | 6 Comments »

Dems Invoke Office Space, Bruce Springsteen to Oppose Hobby Lobby

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Democratic lawmakers and lobbyists have ripped off some pop culture references to oppose Hobby Lobby in the contraception mandate arguments before the Supreme Court today:

 

 

 

Many members headed through the snow to the Supreme Court this morning to hear arguments. PJ Washington correspondent Rodrigo Sermeño is covering the scene outside the court.

Read bullet | 6 Comments »

Atheists Go Nuts Because Scott Walker Tweets a Bible Verse

Monday, March 24th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Militant atheists — this is why people dislike you.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker believes he can do all things through Christ, but an atheist group charges that he cannot do all things through Christ on his official social media platforms.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has demanded Walker remove posts from his official Facebook and Twitter feeds that read, “Philippians 4:13.”

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” the verse reads.

“This braggadocio verse coming from a public official is rather disturbing,” FFRF co-presidents Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Baker wrote in a letter to the governor. “To say, ‘I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me,’ seems more like a threat, or the utterance of a theocratic dictator, than a duly elected civil servant.”

Every part of that reaction is intolerant, ridiculous and wrong. Philippians 4:13 is not bragging in any way — the opposite, in fact. The verse in question actually notes a Christian’s dependence on God, “who strengthens me.” It is in no way a threat, never has been and never will be. It is in no way a lead-in to “theocratic dictatorship.”

The “Freedom From Religion” folks should just free themselves from social media, since they can’t seem to handle reading things on it that they don’t like.

But perhaps some good can come of this. Walker isn’t deleting his tweet, and may some people will be motivated to look it up and read it in context.

Read bullet | 84 Comments »

Top Vatican Official: Obama’s Policies Have Become ‘Progressively Anti-Christian’

Monday, March 24th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Vatican’s Chief Justice, Cardinal Raymond Burke, has leveled a striking charge against President Barack Obama. Burke, who was formerly the St. Louis, MO archbishop, told Polonia Christiana magazine that Obama is trying to “restrict” Christianity.

“It is true that the policies of the president of the United States have become progressively more hostile toward Christian civilization. He appears to be a totally secularized man who aggressively promotes anti-life and anti-family policies,” Burke said.

Burke noted that Obama is fine with “freedom of worship,” but restricts what Christians may do outside their churches: “Now he wants to restrict the exercise of the freedom of religion to freedom of worship, that is, he holds that one is free to act according to his conscience within the confines of his place of worship but that, once the person leaves the place of worship, the government can constrain him to act against his rightly-formed conscience, even in the most serious of moral questions.”

Leftists like Obama increasingly defend the “freedom of worship” while at the same time supporting and passing laws that force Christians into violating their consciences in their daily lives. That’s what Cardinal Burke is addressing. The Hobby Lobby lawsuit is such a case. The Green family who owns Hobby Lobby are Christians, and while through their company health insurance they have provided multiple forms of birth control for years, they object to the abortifacient drugs that Obamacare forces them to pay for. Rather than recognize or accomodate their faith, the Obama administration has forced them to fight in court. The Obama administration has forced the Catholic Little Sisters of the Poor to do likewise.

Obama and his type are fine with Christians who are only faithful when they’re inside the church walls. He is putting himself into conflict with the basic teachings of Christianity itself, though, which calls for Christians to be more than Sunday and Wednesday worshipers.

Obama meets with Pope Francis later this week. The cardinal’s comments signal that the pope may bring this issue up with the president.

 

Read bullet | 9 Comments »

State Department Fires Salvo of Strong Words After Taliban Salvo Kills Dozens in Afghanistan

Friday, March 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The United States is the Superpower of Strongly Worded Condemnation. Noboby can match our power to seethe.

The State Department on Friday said it strongly condemned “barbaric” attacks in Afghanistan that left more than two dozen people dead or wounded, including children.

In one attack, four gunmen went on a shooting spree on Friday at the Serena Hotel in Kabul, killing nine people, including four foreigners and two children, reports say.

The hotel is considered one of the safest places to stay in Kabul.

In Jalalabad, Taliban fighters killed at least 11 people and wounded 22 in a separate suicide bomb attack on Thursday.

“The U.S. Embassy strongly condemns the recent senseless acts of violence against the police station in Jalalabad and the Serena Hotel in Kabul. The perpetrators of these acts have needlessly shed the blood of both Afghans and their international partners at a time when citizens are celebrating Nowruz and preparing to vote in historic elections,” the U.S. Embassy in Kabul said in a statement.

Yet even in our unmatched ability to scowl at great distances, our State Department manages to misunderstand what’s happening. The violence that the Taliban perpetrates is far from “sensenless.” It has a purpose. Does anyone at State want to venture a guess as to what purpose that might be?

Read bullet | Comments »

Why the Media Doesn’t Cover Jihadist Attacks on Middle East Christians

Friday, March 21st, 2014 - by Raymond Ibrahim

“To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting Him to public disgrace”—Hebrews 6:6

The United Nations, Western governments, media, universities, and talking heads everywhere insist that Palestinians are suffering tremendous abuses from the state of Israel.  Conversely, the greatest human rights tragedy of our time—radical Muslim persecution of Christians, including in Palestinian controlled areas—is devotedly ignored.

The facts speak for themselves. Reliable estimates indicate that anywhere from 100-200 million Christians are persecuted every year; one Christian is martyred every five minutes. Approximately 85% of this persecution occurs in Muslim majority nations. In 1900, 20% of the Middle East was Christian. Today, less than 2% is.

In one week in Egypt alone, where my Christian family emigrated, the Muslim Brotherhood launched akristallnacht—attacking, destroying, and/or torching some82 Christian churches (some of which were built in the 5th century, when Egypt was still a Christian-majority nation before the Islamic conquests).  Al-Qaeda’s black flag has been raised atop churches.  Christians—including priests, women and children—have been attacked, beheaded, and killed.

Nor is such persecution of Christians limited to Egypt.   From Morocco in the west to Indonesia in the east and from Central Asia to the north to sub-Saharan Africa to the south; across thousands of miles of lands inhabited by peoples who do not share the same races, languages, cultures, and/or socio-economic conditions, millions of Christians are being persecuted and in the same exact patterns… Keep reading

Read bullet | 10 Comments »

Hey Imam, Can I Marry a Jinni?

Thursday, March 20th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

This is a real question.

 Nancy
2014/03/19
Can a man marry a jinni female?
On Islam Shari`ah Researchers

Answer

Wa `alaykum as-Salamu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear brother, thank you for your question that shows your interest in Islam.The question of whether a human may marry a jinni is a controversial one. There is no evidence from the Shari`ah that can be said to be authentic in that regard.

The majority of jurists are of the opinion that such a marriage is not lawful, but some jurists consider it to be lawful. The first opinion is the more correct to follow.

Allah Almighty says: ”And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect.“ (Ar-Rum 30: 21)

He Almighty also says, ”O people! be careful of (your duty to) your Lord, Who created you from a single being and created its mate of the same (kind) and spread from these two, many men and women; and be careful of (your duty to) Allah, by Whom you demand one of another (your rights), and (to) the ties of relationship; surely Allah ever watches over you. (An-Nisaa’ 4: 1)

Yadda yadda yadda…

Anyway, the more correct opinion to follow in this regard is that it is not lawful for a human being to marry a jinni, for they are of different worlds.

In Al-Ashbah wa An-Nadha’r, Imam As-Suyuti, an eminent Shafi`i scholar, wrote: ”Answering the question ‘is it lawful for a human being to marry a jinni?’ Imad Ibn Yunus said, ‘Yes.’”

This question was also one of those that Sheikh Jamal Ad-Din Al-Esnawi posed to the supreme judge Sharaf Ad-Din Al-Barazi.

Sheikh Jamal asked the supreme judge “Is it lawful for a man to marry a female jinn? Contemplating Allah’s Words ”And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves ….“ (Ar-Rum 30: 21) I find that from among yourselves refers to that one’s mate or spouse is to be from the same kind as one, and this is a blessing from Almighty Allah. But if we supposed that this might be lawful, as Ibn Unus said in Sharh Al-Wajeiz, would the man in this case have the right to oblige his jinn wife to stick to home or not? Suppose also that he would dislike to see her in a form other than the human one; would he have the right to prevent her from incarnating in other forms?

Also, would the conditions required in a valid marriage contract be required in this case, also? For instance, would the jinn’s guardian’s approval be required? Would their marriage be acceptable according to the jinn laws? Suppose that once, he did not recognize her, for she was incarnating in a form different from that he usually sees her in, but she told him it was she. Would he believe her and thus could he make love to her? Would he also be required to provide her with food that the jinn eat, such as bones and the like?”

The supreme judge Sharaf Ad-Din Al-Barazi answered:

It is not lawful that members of human kind marry members of jinn kind. This is inferred from the following verses: “And Allah has made wives for you from among yourselves ….” (An-Nahl 16: 72) and “And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves ….” (Ar-Rum 30: 21)

The exegetes say about these verses that the words from among yourselves in both verses refer to human kind; they may be paraphrased from your own kind or from your own nature.

These verses are analogous to the verse “Now hath come unto you a Messenger from amongst yourselves….” (At-Tawbah 9: 128), for from amongst yourselves here refers also to human kind.

Besides, Allah Almighty refers in His Book to the women who are lawful for men to marry: “O Prophet! We have made lawful to thee thy wives to whom thou hast paid their dowers; and those whom thy right hand possesses out of the prisoners of war whom Allah has assigned to thee; and daughters of thy paternal uncles and aunts, and daughters of thy maternal uncles and aunts ….” (Al-Ahzab 33: 50) [What was applied to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) according to this verse is also applied to Muslim men in general.] Mind that it is juristically known that this verse also indicates that single women who are not related to one may also be marriageable to one.

Allah Almighty also refers in His Book to the women who are prohibited in marriage to one. Notice all this is about marriage to women of human nature. This is because there is no marriage between human beings and jinn. (The words of Sharaf Ad-Din Al-Barazi end here.)

Yadda yadda yadda… He’s being extremely thorough, isn’t he?

By analogy, we also find that it is prohibited to cross donkeys and horses, for this results in a hybrid different from horses, and this may, in turn, lead to the rarity of horses. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) commented on those who do so by saying, “Those who do so are ignorant.” If so is the case with animals, it is with greater reason that it also be the case with marriage between humans and jinnis.

However, Abu `Uthman Sa`id ibn Al-`Abass Ar-Razi said in his book Al-Ilham wa Al-Waswasah that it was reported that some Yemeni people wrote to Imam Malik: “A male jinni has come to us and proposed to marry a young (human) woman saying, ‘I seek to stick to the right path by this proposal.’” Imam Malik answered, “I see that there is nothing wrong in doing so, but I dislike to expose this woman to a situation where she might be asked about her husband and she would answer, ‘It is a male jinni.’ This may lead to corruption among Muslims.”

In his book Akam Al-Murjan, Ash-Shabli, a Hanifi scholar, stated: Scholars are of two opinions regarding marriage between humans and jinn. One says it is unlawful and the other says it is lawful. The first view was adopted by a group of Hanbali scholars and was also reported in As-Seraji Fatwas. They cited as evidence in this respect Almighty Allah’s words ”And Allah has made wives for you from among yourselves….” (An-Nahl 16 72) and “And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect“ (Ar-Rum 30: 21) They also cited as evidence in this regard a hadith to the effect that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) prohibited marriage to jinns. The second point of view in this regard was reported to have been adopted by Al-Hasan Al-Basri, Qatadah, and others.

There is, however, one exemption.

Read bullet | 13 Comments »

Catholic Church Under Fire in Putin’s Crimea

Thursday, March 20th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The backslide toward Soviet days in the Crimea includes persecution of the Church, according to a sobering article by the Catholic News Agency that warned “total persecution” had enveloped the peninsula:

Referring to the kidnapping of three Ukrainian Greek Catholic priests in Crimea by pro-Russian forces over the weekend, Fr. Zhdan stressed that one such case could be called a mistake, but that “multiple kidnappings are not an accident.”

On March 15 Fr. Mykola Kvych, a naval chaplain stationed in Sevastopol, was detained immediately after celebrating a “parastas,” a memorial prayer service for the dead. The following day Fr. Bohdan Kosteskiy of Yevpatoria and Fr. Ihor Gabryliv of Yalta were also reported missing.

Later that night all three were said to be alive and safe, with Fr. Kvych confirming that he had escaped to the mainland of Ukraine with the help of parishioners.

Fr. Kvych told the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church’s information department that he was held and questioned for eight hours by representatives of the Crimean self-defense force and Russian intelligence officers.

According to Fr. Kvych, they accused him of “provocations” and of supplying the Ukrainian navy with weapons. Fr. Kvych maintained that he helped organize the delivery of food to a blockaded naval base, and that he gave two bulletproof vests to journalists.

Upon seeing a Ukrainian flag at his home and portraits of Roman Shukhevych and Stepan Bandera – Ukrainian nationalists who fought against both the Nazis and the Soviets in the 1940s and 50s — inside, Fr. Kvych’s captors accused him of being in the “SS Army,” a reference to Nazi Germany… Fr. Kvych has been charged with “extremism,” which in the Russian Federation can carry a sentence of up to 15 years in prison.

…According to the Religious Information Service of Ukraine, an important 130-foot electrical cable was stolen from a small chapel in the Kherson region north of Crimea over the weekend. On March 15 a parish in Kolomyya was vandalized and another in Dora was burned to the ground, reportedly from arson. Both damaged parishes are in the Ivano-Frankivsk region, which borders Romania in the west of Ukraine.

In Crimea, clergy have received threatening phone calls and messages. At the home of one apprehended priest, a note was left that read this should be “a lesson to all Vatican agents.”

“This is not new,” Bishop Vasyl Ivasyuk, who served as Exarch of Odesa-Krym from 2003 to 2014, told CNA.

“During Soviet times, we were always accused of being ‘agents’ of the Vatican,” Bishop Ivasyuk continued. “Of course not all people in Crimea think we are spies, but there is a very active pro-Russian group there that does.”

The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church was heavily persecuted during the Soviet era; it was considered illegal, and operated completely underground until 1989.

The Church isn’t alone in this neo-Soviet persecution. Ominous signs are threatening Crimean Tatars, secular Muslims in the style of their Turkic roots. Reshat Ametov, 39, participated in a March 3 protest against the Russian troops’ occupation before he was kidnapped by pro-Russia “self-defense forces.” His body was found Sunday bearing signs of torture, including tape wrapped around his head and shackles on legs.

Mustafa Cemilev, the Tatars’ leader who was a Soviet dissident, has phoned Vladimir Putin to try to reason with the Russian president.

“The situation in Crimea,” he said, “is an adventure of the Russia state. It will not bring anything good to the Crimean Tatars or Ukraine, and it will not bring anything good to Russia either.”

Read bullet | Comments »

Pro-Brotherhood Cleric Issues Fatwa to Terrorize Egypt

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 - by Raymond Ibrahim

Recently on live TV, Sheikh Abdul Maqsud, an Islamic jurisprudent, issued a fatwa obligating “Muslims” (in this context, Muslim Brotherhood supporters in Egypt) to engage in acts of terror against “infidels” (in this context, the Egyptian government and anyone else opposing the Brotherhood).

Maqsud and Morsi in happier times

Maqsud began by quoting the well-known hadith in Sahih Muslim wherein prophet Muhammad reportedly said that if a Muslim sees forbidden acts being committed, he should forcefully stop them, “with the hand”; if he is not capable of doing so, he should try to prevent them “with his tongue”; and if he still cannot do that, he should at least be against such acts “in his heart.”

Maqsud’s point was that jihad must be understood in the context of capability.  Because the Muslim Brotherhood and its jihadi allies and supporters are simply not capable of taking the Egyptian state head on—due to, as Maqsud bemoaned, Egypt’s military strength and organization, advanced weaponry, and large numbers of soldiers—all pro-Brotherhood Muslims should limit themselves only to those things they can do, namely, terrorism.

To further bolster this view, the sheikh quoted from the renowned Islamic jurist Ibn Hazm, who wrote that Muslims must only draw the sword in jihad when victory is attainable.

And because the Brotherhood’s supporters have little chance of attaining victory by drawing the sword in a head on jihad,  “All that is left for us,” concluded Maqsud, “is to try to terrorize them, by burning their cars, threatening them, burning their homes, etc.”

Maqsud, like so many before him, rationalized jihad in the context of the doctrine of abrogation, specifically, by taking the view that later verses do not cancel out earlier ones, but rather that Muslims must uphold those verses that are closest to their personal circumstances.

Read bullet | Comments »

Allah’s Sword of Terror

Monday, March 17th, 2014 - by Raymond Ibrahim

The first time I heard about Khalid bin al-Walid—the 7th century Muslim jihadi affectionately known in Islamic history as “The Sword of Allah”—was when I was in college researching for my MA thesis on the Battle of Yarmuk, when the Muslims, under Khalid’s generalship, defeated the Byzantines in 636, opening the way for the historic Islamic conquests.

Nearly a decade and a half later, Khalid, that jihadi par excellence, has come to personify a dichotomy for me—how the jihad is understood in the West and how it really is: officially, Western academia, media, and politicians portray it as defensive war to protect Muslim honor and territory; in reality, however, jihad is all too often little more than a byword to justify the most primitive and barbaric passions of its potential recruits and practitioners.

Based on the English language sources I perused in college, Khalid was a heroic, no-nonsense kind of jihadi—fierce but fair, stern but just.  He was the champion of the Apostasy Wars, when he slaughtered countless Arabs for trying to leave Islam after the death of Muhammad.

Modern day Muslims writing about Khalid—see for example Pakistani army lieutenant-general A.I Akram’s The Sword of Allah—had naught but praise for him, the scourge of infidels and apostates.

But as years went by, I came across more arcane and Arabic sources telling of the “darker side” of The Sword—a depraved and sadistic side.

For example, only recently I came across a video of a modern-day Egyptian Salafi explaining how Khalid raped Layla, the wife of Malik bin Nuwayra—but only after he severed her husband’s head, lit it on fire, and cooked his dinner on it.

Khalid was recalled and questioned by the caliph—not because he killed and dined on an apostate’s head and “married” his wife, but because some believed that Malik was still Muslim, not an apostate to be treated so, and that Khalid killed him on the accusation of apostasy only as a pretext to take possession of his wife, whose beauty was renowned.

In the words of Ibn Kathir’s authoritative historical tome, The Beginning and the End (al-bidaya we al-nihaya), “And he [Khalid] ordered his [Malik’s] head and he combined it with two stones and cooked a pot over them.  And Khalid ate from it that night to terrify the apostate Arab tribes and others.  And it was said that Malik’s hair created such a blaze that the meat was so thoroughly cooked.”

More eye-opening is the way the videotaped Egyptian cleric recounts this whole narrative with awe and admiration…  Keep reading

Read bullet | Comments »

How Long Until St. Patrick’s Day Parades are Officially Taken Away from Their Catholic Organizers?

Monday, March 17th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

City leaders in Boston and New York have withdrawn from participating in today’s St. Patrick’s Day parades in their respective cities. The reason: gay rights.

The parade is expected to proceed as planned along Fifth Avenue in Manhattan on Monday despite the withdrawals of major sponsors like Guinness, the Dublin brewer known for its stout, and of city leaders, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, over the issue of inclusiveness.

Organizers of the annual parade have said gay groups could march in the procession but could not carry signs or identify their sexuality. Organizers could not be immediately reached by telephone Sunday night.

Under threat of boycotts, both Guiness and Sam Adams beer makers dropped their sponsorship of the parades.

The cities don’t organize St. Patrick’s Day parades. Cities just hand out the permits and provide security. A group called the Ancient Order of Hibernians organizes St. Pat’s parades.

The AOH is not a secular organization. It’s among the oldest Irish Catholic organizations and charities in the United States. The AOH organizes the St. Pat’s parades to celebrate Irish Catholic heritage, history and beliefs.

The Constitution guarantees them the freedom of association, meaning that they can choose who they will and will not associate with and who they will and will not allow to march in their parades. They have the right to set the rules for their parades.

For now. Next year or the year after that, probably not.

Read bullet | Comments »

CIA Chief: Jihad a Product of Injustices, Economics, and Ignorance

Friday, March 14th, 2014 - by Raymond Ibrahim

CIA director John Brennan is at it again—equivocating over the nature of jihad by evoking paradigms familiar to the West.

Last Tuesday, “during an event at the Council of Foreign Relations, Brennan was asked about the ‘war of ideas’ surrounding Islam, which the questioner said many Americans tend to equate with violence.”

The CIA chief responded by saying that al-Qaeda’s ideology is “a perverse and very corrupt interpretation of the Qur’an”; that “al-Qaeda has hijacked” Islam; that “they have really distorted the teachings of Muhammad.”

Even so, “that ideology, that agenda of al-Qaeda,” confirmed Brennan, “has gained resonance and following in many parts of the world.”

So what is the CIA chief’s explanation as to why such a “perverse and very corrupt” understanding of Islam—one that has “distorted the teachings of Muhammad”— resonates among Muslims?

He gives none—other than to say that this ideology is “fed a lot of times by, you know, political repression, by economic, you know, disenfranchisement, by, you know, lack of education and ignorance, so there—there are a number of phenomena right now that I think are fueling the fires of, you know, this ideology.”

Interestingly, if you watch the video clip of Brennan talking, you will note that he only “you knows” in the above quotation (four times) and right before it, when he says that al-Qaeda has “distorted the teachings of Muhammad, you know, for violent purposes.”

The rest of his talk is relatively smooth.

Could Brennan be self-conscious of his own equivocations—hence all these stilted “you knows” in one sentence?

Could he be aware of the Rand Corporation report on counterterrorism, prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense in 2009?   It found that “Terrorists are not particularly impoverished, uneducated, or afflicted by mental disease. Demographically, their most important characteristic is normalcy (within their environment). Terrorist leaders actually tend to come from relatively privileged backgrounds.”… Keep reading

Read bullet | 10 Comments »