The Islamic State, like al Qaeda, publishes a slick English-language magazine to justify its actions and exhort jihadists to support it financially, through attacks, and other ways. It also serves as a recruitment tool.
At the same time, it serves as a glimpse into the minds of the terrorist group/growing military threat in Iraq and Syria.
Here is the third edition of Dabiq: A Call to Hijrah, in full. “Hijrah” means “the path to jihad.”
It includes a longer statement from James Foley than was included in the IS execution video. That begins on page 39. The magazine blames that beheading on the US airstrikes that began on August 7. Dabiq calls President Barack Obama an “apostate” and a “crusader.” It depicts its jihadists as happy warriors, and its enemies as dead or shortly to be killed.
Despite how unsavory and barbaric Islamic groups and persons around the world have been behaving—whether Nigeria’s Boko Haram, Mesopotamia’s Islamic State, Somalia’s Shabaab—perhaps few things are as disgusting and cowardly as the Muslim rape of nuns: defenseless Christian women who sacrifice much of their lives to help sick and needy Muslims.
The latest such attack comes from Bangladesh, which is over 90% Muslim in population. In early July, dozens of men armed with machetes, knives and iron rods attacked the convent of PIME (Pontifical Institute of Foreign Missions nuns in Boldipuku), a village mission in north Bangladesh.
“The nuns were beaten and molested, ending when police arrived,” reported Bishop Sebastian Tudu.
Catholic Online has the complete story:
[S]ome 60 men attempted to loot the building and rape the nuns… The attackers first tied the hands and legs of the mission’s two night watchmen and gagged them in the early morning hours. They then broke down the door of the room where the assistant pastor Father Anselmo Marandy was sleeping. They then raided the convent located in the mission campus…. Three PIME nuns suffered attempted rape and were sent to their provincial house in Dhaka, the national capital where they are trying to overcome the shock and mental suffering. “It’s very sad that the sisters cannot continue to work for the people, but our sisters are no longer safe,” Rosaline Costa, a Catholic human rights activist lamented. Local Christians are currently living in fear since the attack. Christians form only 0.8 percent of Dinajpur district’s three million people.
Although some of those quoted in the Catholic Online report portray this attack is “unprecedented,” the fact is, nuns raped by Muslims is a phenomenon that goes back centuries. According to Muslim historian Taqi al-Din al-Maqrizi (1364-1442), during his raids on then Christian-majority Egypt, Caliph Marwan II (r.744–50) “made captive a number of women from among the nuns of several convents. And he tried to seduce one of them.”
The account describes how the enslaved nun tricked him into killing her, by claiming she had a magic oil that make skin impenetrable: “She then took some oil and anointed herself with it; then stretched out her neck, which he smote with the sword, and made her head fly. He then understood that she preferred death to defilement.”
Writing in the tenth century, the Coptic chronicler Severus ibn Muqaffa records that “the Arabs [i.e., Muslims] in the land of Egypt had ruined the country…. They burnt the fortresses and pillaged the provinces, and killed a multitude of the saintly monks who were in them [monasteries] and they violated a multitude of the virgin nuns and killed some of them with the sword.”
After the Islamic conquest of Constantinople in 1453, according to eyewitness accounts, “Monasteries and Convents were broken in. Their tenants were killed, nuns were raped, many, to avoid dishonor, killed themselves. Killing, raping, looting, burning, enslaving, went on and on according to tradition.”
Such is history—expunged as it is in the modern West—even as it repeats itself today. Thus, in August 2013, after torching a Franciscan school in Egypt, “Islamists,” in the words of the AP, “paraded three nuns on the streets like ‘prisoners of war’” and “Two other women working at the school were sexually harassed and abused as they fought their way through a mob.”
Indeed, the rise in attacks on Christian nuns throughout the Islamic world further demonstrates that they are no more inviolable than other “infidel” women:
- Somalia: In response to Pope Benedict’s historical quotes which, like so many other things so enraged the Islamic world, Muslims in Somalia shot Leonella Sgarbati—a 66-year-old nun who had devoted 30 years of her life working in Africa—in her back. Her last words before dying in hospital were: “I forgive; I forgive.”
- Pakistan: In September 2012, gunmen on motorbikes dressed in green (Islam’s color) opened fire on the St. Francis Xavier Catholic Cathedral in Hyderabad, murdering at least 28 people. Their immediate target was a nun, Mother Christina.
- Libya: In February 2013, after the fall of Col. Gaddafi, Islamic rebels threatened nuns into fleeing the nation. They had been there since 1921, focused primarily on helping the sick and needy.
- Palestinian Authority: Last year, nuns of the Greek-Orthodox monastery in Bethany sent a letter to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urging him to respond to the escalation of attacks on the Christian house, including the throwing of stones, broken glass, theft and looting of the monastery property.
- Philippines: In an article discussing a Christmas Day church bombing in a Muslim-majority region, we learn that the jihadi group responsible “has been blamed for several bomb attacks on the Roman Catholic cathedral in Jolo since the early 2000s and for kidnapping priests and nuns.”
- Guinea: In June 2013, during a mob-led frenzy, Christians and their churches were savagely attacked in the Muslim-majority nation—with some 95 Christians slain and 130 wounded—including “the quarters of the nuns, [which] was looted before being torched.”
- Syria: Islamic rebels forcibly abducted 13 Christian nuns and three maids, holding them captive for three months. They were finally released after the Bashar government agreed to release some 150 female criminals in exchange.
The above examples come from several countries that have little in common with one another—neither race, language, culture, nor economics—only Islam.
That alone should say something.
But no matter. Far from discussing Islamic history and doctrine, and how they tie to current events—especially the subhuman treatment of non-Muslim “infidels”—the predominant Western mentality simply dismisses Muslim violence as the West’s fault, or, in the words of ex-nun Karen Armstrong and Islamic apologist extraordinaire, “We did this.” Armstrong—who quit the nunnery only to engage in pro-Islamic mummery—insists that what’s needed is for us to focus more on “Muslim pain, Muslim suffering.”
Such, according to the leftist mentality, are the “real” reasons why, wherever Muslim-majorities live near non-Muslim minorities, from the dawn of Islam till today, the latter are being attacked into extinction.
Matti Friedman, a former AP Correspondent, has written a brilliant, must-read analysis of why the mainstream media’s reporting on Israel is skewed, biased, and downright reprehensible:
The lasting importance of this summer’s war, I believe, doesn’t lie in the war itself. It lies instead in the way the war has been described and responded to abroad, and the way this has laid bare the resurgence of an old, twisted pattern of thought and its migration from the margins to the mainstream of Western discourse—namely, a hostile obsession with Jews. The key to understanding this resurgence is not to be found among jihadi webmasters, basement conspiracy theorists, or radical activists. It is instead to be found first among the educated and respectable people who populate the international news industry; decent people, many of them, and some of them my former colleagues.
While global mania about Israeli actions has come to be taken for granted, it is actually the result of decisions made by individual human beings in positions of responsibility—in this case, journalists and editors. The world is not responding to events in this country, but rather to the description of these events by news organizations. The key to understanding the strange nature of the response is thus to be found in the practice of journalism, and specifically in a severe malfunction that is occurring in that profession—my profession—here in Israel.
The 3 page story explains a number of popular misnomers that are the result of mainstream media reporting techniques, including:
- In all of 2013, for example, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict claimed 42 lives—that is, roughly the monthly homicide rate in the city of Chicago. Jerusalem, internationally renowned as a city of conflict, had slightly fewer violent deaths per capita last year than Portland, Ore., one of America’s safer cities. In contrast, in three years the Syrian conflict has claimed an estimated 190,000 lives, or about 70,000 more than the number of people who have ever died in the Arab-Israeli conflict since it began a century ago.
- The West has decided that Palestinians should want a state alongside Israel, so that opinion is attributed to them as fact, though anyone who has spent time with actual Palestinians understands that things are (understandably, in my opinion) more complicated. Who they are and what they want is not important: The story mandates that they exist as passive victims of the party that matters.
- Most reporters in Gaza believe their job is to document violence directed by Israel at Palestinian civilians. That is the essence of the Israel story. In addition, reporters are under deadline and often at risk, and many don’t speak the language and have only the most tenuous grip on what is going on. They are dependent on Palestinian colleagues and fixers who either fear Hamas, support Hamas, or both. Reporters don’t need Hamas enforcers to shoo them away from facts that muddy the simple story they have been sent to tell.
Concluding with, “Many in the West clearly prefer the old comfort of parsing the moral failings of Jews, and the familiar feeling of superiority this brings them, to confronting an unhappy and confusing reality,” the story is a must read for anyone willing to confront the mess of mainstream media and the reality of life in Israel and the Middle East.
Nearly three-and-a-half years ago, before the “Arab Spring” and the plight of Christians became much of a topic, I wrote an article titled “The Silent Extermination of Iraq’s ‘Christian Dogs.’” Revisiting it is useful, as it highlights some important points. The article follows below in italics, with new observations interspersed in regular font:
Last week [April, 2011] an Iraqi Muslim scholar issued a fatwa that, among other barbarities, asserts that “it is permissible to spill the blood of Iraqi Christians.” Inciting as the fatwa is, it is also redundant. While last October’s Baghdad church attack which killed some sixty Christians is widely known—actually receiving some MSM coverage—the fact is, Christian life in Iraq has been a living hell ever since U.S. forces ousted the late Saddam Hussein in 2003.
The important point here is that the plight of Iraq’s Christians did not just begin under the Islamic State, as many seem to believe, but rather from the very first day the (secular) autocrat was removed.
Among other atrocities, beheading and crucifying Christians are not irregular occurrences; messages saying “you Christian dogs, leave or die,” are typical. Islamists see the church as an “obscene nest of pagans” and threaten to “exterminate Iraqi Christians.” John Eibner, CEO of Christian Solidarity International, summarized the situation well in a recent letter to President Obama:
“The threat of extermination is not empty. Since the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s regime, more than half the country’s Christian population has been forced by targeted violence to seek refuge abroad or to live away from their homes as internally displaced people. According to the Hammurabi Human Rights Organization, over 700 Christians, including bishops and priests, have been killed and 61 churches have been bombed. Seven years after the commencement of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Catholic Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk reports: ‘He who is not a Muslim in Iraq is a second-class citizen. Often it is necessary to convert or emigrate, otherwise one risks being killed.’ This anti-Christian violence is sustained by a widespread culture of Muslim supremacism that extends far beyond those who pull the triggers and detonate the bombs.”
Again, more confirmation that the savage persecution of Christians in Iraq—including recent acts of genocide and expulsions—is not a product of the Islamic State, but rather something more homegrown, more—how shall we say?—integral to Muslims unloosed from the grips of secularized dictators?
The grand irony, of course, is that Christian persecution has increased exponentially under U.S. occupation. As one top Vatican official put it, Christians, “paradoxically, were more protected under the dictatorship” of Saddam Hussein.
What does one make of this—that under Saddam, who was notorious for human rights abuses, Christians were better off than they are under a democratic government sponsored by humanitarian, some would say “Christian,” America?
Although I first suggested over three years ago that Christian minorities are the first to suffer whenever the U.S. intervenes in Islamic nations—evincing the types of people the U.S. ends up empowering—this notion is now an ironclad fact, with other examples to add to Iraq, including Libya, Syria, and Egypt under Obama allies, the Muslim Brotherhood.
Like a Baghdad caliph, Saddam appears to have made use of the better educated Christians, who posed no risk to his rule, such as his close confidant Tariq Aziz. Moreover, by keeping a tight lid on the Islamists of his nation—who hated him as a secular apostate no less than the Christians—the latter benefited indirectly.
Conversely, by empowering “the people,” the U.S. has unwittingly undone Iraq’s Christian minority. Naively projecting Western values on Muslims, U.S. leadership continues to think that “people-power” will naturally culminate into a liberal, egalitarian society—despite all the evidence otherwise. The fact is, in the Arab/Muslim world, “majority rule” traditionally means domination by the largest tribe or sect; increasingly, it means Islamist domination.
Either which way, the minorities—notably the indigenous Christians—are the first to suffer once the genie of “people-power” is uncorked. Indeed, evidence indicates that the U.S. backed “democratic” government of Iraq enables and incites the persecution of its Christians. (All of this raises the pivotal question: Do heavy-handed tyrants—Saddam, Mubarak, Qaddafi, et al—create brutal societies, or do naturally brutal societies create the need for heavy-handed tyrants to keep order?)
Again, a reminder that it is not just the Islamic jihadis and other U.S. sponsored “rebels” that persecute Christians, but even the U.S. installed government of Iraq. Moreover, a few months after the above was written, the government of “liberated” Afghanistan destroyed the last Christian church—entirely under U.S. auspices.
Another indicator that empowering Muslim masses equates Christian suffering is the fact that, though Iraqi Christians amount to a mere 5% of the population, they make up nearly 40% of the refugees fleeing Iraq. It is now the same in Egypt: “A growing number of Egypt’s 8-10 million Coptic Christians are looking for a way to get out as Islamists increasingly take advantage of the nationalist revolution that toppled long-standing dictator Hosni Mubarak in February.”
At least Egypt’s problems are homegrown, whereas the persecution of Iraq’s Christians is a direct byproduct of U.S. intervention. More ironic has been Obama’s approach: Justifying U.S. intervention in Libya largely in humanitarian terms, the president recently declared that, while “it is true that America cannot use our military wherever repression occurs… that cannot be an argument for never acting on behalf of what’s right.”
Indeed, and we have since seen what Obama’s “humanitarian” actions in Libya have led to—the empowerment of Islamists and jihadis, evinced from things like the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and the dramatic rise of Christian persecution. Since Obama “liberated” Libya, Christians—including Americans—have been tortured and killed (including for refusing to convert) and churches bombed. And it’s “open season” on Copts, as jihadis issue a reward to Muslims who find and kill Christians. This was hardly the case under Gaddafi.
True, indeed. Yet, as Obama “acts on behalf of what’s right” by providing military protection to the al-Qaeda connected Libyan opposition, Iraq’s indigenous Christians continue to be exterminated—right under the U.S. military’s nose in Iraq. You see, in its ongoing bid to win the much coveted but forever elusive “Muslim-hearts-and-minds™”—which Obama has even tasked NASA with—U.S. leadership has opted to ignore the inhumane treatment of Islam’s “Christian dogs,” the mere mention of which tends to upset Muslims.
And now the job is largely done, as Christians and other religious minorities are being cleansed from large parts of Iraq, not to mention much of the Islamic world.
Your own private property is no longer safe.
ALBANY—Two farmers in rural Rensselaer County must pay $13,000 in fines and restitution after they rebuffed a lesbian couple who inquired about getting married at their farm, a state agency ruled.
Jennifer McCarthy and her now-wife Melisa (nee Erwin) found Liberty Ridge Farm, which overlooks the Hudson River in Schaghticoke, several miles north of Troy, on the internet and hoped to rent it for their wedding ceremony and reception. Cynthia Gifford, who along with her husband offer a corn maze, market and events at the 100-acre farm, told Melisa McCarthy her same-sex marriage would cause “a little bit of a problem” because the Giffords have a “specific religious belief regarding marriage,” according to court papers.
McCarthy and her wife brought a complaint in conjunction with the New York Civil Liberties Union, saying Liberty Ridge Farm was a public accommodation and the Giffords’ actions were unlawfully discriminatory under state law.
While the McCarthys never entered into a rental contract for the facility, an administrative law judge ruled Gifford “implicitly rescinded the invitation” when she learned Melisa McCarthy’s spouse-to-be was also a woman.
No contract is no protection. The mere inquiry is enough to cost thousands.
“The policy to not allow same-sex marriage ceremonies on Liberty Ridge Farm is a denial of access to a place of public accommodation,” Judge Migdalia Pares wrote. She said the Giffords should pay $3,000 to the women—$1,500 each—for “mental anguish each suffered as a result of respondents’ unlawfully discriminatory conduct.” Citing “the goal of deterrence” as well as the Giffords’ clear stance against same-sex weddings, Pares fined the Giffords an additional $10,000.
So, the judge is proactively punishing thoughtcrime.
My prediction that the current trajectory of this issue will end up with churches declining to support any weddings in their facilities is looking better and better.
The goal here, for some but by no means all same-sex marriage supporters, is to destroy the church or drive it underground. We’re a long way from that, but not as far as most seem to think. They’re making progress.
After being held for 45 days by pro-Gadhafi forces in Libya in April 2011, journalist James Foley told the magazine of his alma mater, Marquette University, how prayer had gotten him through the time in captivity:
Myself and two colleagues had been captured and were being held in a military detention center in Tripoli. Each day brought increasing worry that our moms would begin to panic. My colleague, Clare, was supposed to call her mom on her birthday, which was the day after we were captured. I had still not fully admitted to myself that my mom knew what had happened. But I kept telling Clare my mom had a strong faith.
I prayed she’d know I was OK. I prayed I could communicate through some cosmic reach of the universe to her.
I began to pray the rosary. It was what my mother and grandmother would have prayed. I said 10 Hail Marys between each Our Father. It took a long time, almost an hour to count 100 Hail Marys off on my knuckles. And it helped to keep my mind focused.
Clare and I prayed together out loud. It felt energizing to speak our weaknesses and hopes together, as if in a conversation with God, rather than silently and alone.
Finally, 18 days into his captivity, Foley was allowed to call his mom, Diane.
I replayed that call hundreds of times in my head — my mother’s voice, the names of my friends, her knowledge of our situation, her absolute belief in the power of prayer. She told me my friends had gathered to do anything they could to help. I knew I wasn’t alone.
My last night in Tripoli, I had my first Internet connection in 44 days and was able to listen to a speech Tom Durkin gave for me at the Marquette vigil. To a church full of friends, alums, priests, students and faculty, I watched the best speech a brother could give for another. It felt like a best man speech and a eulogy in one. It showed tremendous heart and was just a glimpse of the efforts and prayers people were pouring forth. If nothing else, prayer was the glue that enabled my freedom, an inner freedom first and later the miracle of being released during a war in which the regime had no real incentive to free us. It didn’t make sense, but faith did.
Foley was held captive for two years after being taken in Syria. Yesterday, ISIS released the barbaric video of his beheading. Foley closed his eyes during the terrorist’s speech, as if concentrating on prayer before he was murdered.
Via Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch, a report from the UN News Centre:
Two senior United Nations officials today condemned in the strongest terms the “barbaric acts” of sexual violence and “savage rapes” the armed group Islamic State (IS) has perpetrated on minorities in areas under its control.
…“We are gravely concerned by continued reports of acts of violence, including sexual violence against women and teenage girls and boys belonging to Iraqi minorities,” Ms. Bangura and Mr. Mladenov said.
“Atrocious accounts of abduction and detention of Yazidi, Christian, as well as Turkomen and Shabak women, girls and boys, and reports of savage rapes, are reaching us in an alarming manner,” Ms. Bangura and Mr. Mladenov stated, pointing out that some 1,500 Yazidi and Christian persons may have been forced into sexual slavery….
While Iraqi women jump from cliffs to avoid becoming the next sex slaves of the Islamic State, American feminist publications spent their time focusing on male celebrities who’ve embraced the feminist demand that biology doesn’t matter:
This week, Joseph Gordon-Levitt pretty much nailed the definition of feminism…“What [feminism] means to me is that you don’t let your gender define who you are—you can be who you want to be, whether you’re a man, a woman, a boy, a girl, whatever,” Gordon-Levitt said.
And complaining about university sexual harassment policies that still aren’t strict enough, even if they include the following caveat:
The school has also adopted an affirmative consent standard, defining consent as requiring “unambiguous communication and mutual agreement concerning the act in which the participants are engaging” and noting that “silence or absence of resistance is not the same as consent.”
Which leaves one to wonder if ISIS would be totally legitimized in their use of sex slaves if said slaves signed a waver of consent and mutual agreement beforehand. Feminists don’t believe in being defined by gender, so it’s not like those women jumping off the mountain in Iraq were due any unique respect for their biology. Not that American feminists would stop to notice the crisis of Iraqi women fleeing radical Islam’s sex trade, anyway: Lena Dunham got a new haircut and that’s taking up, like, all of their time.
While American feminists, by and large, do absolutely nothing to advocate for the sex slaves of ISIS, said slaves have done something amazing for the American feminist movement. Every time an Iraqi Christian woman jumps to her death to avoid becoming a sex slave of the Islamic State, she testifies to the fact that western feminism is nothing more than nihilism in a pretty dress.
The same article that praised Gordon Levitt for his anti-biology views also praised a myriad of actors for their pro-choice stance. How ironic that feminists who rail against absentee fathers praise an actor for saying, “It’s not about abortion being right or wrong. It’s about having that choice to decide what a person should do with their own body.” In their demand that biology be ignored, these women pursue the very behavior they claim to hate in the opposite sex: The right to irresponsibility.
Over 40 years ago feminists chose to walk away from their unborn babies. It should come as no surprise, then, that they are just as willing to walk away from their fellow women suffering now under ISIS. Because when you’re a nihilist, things like biology, sisterhood, and responsibility just don’t matter.
The Pentagon today brushed off North Korea’s latest saber-rattling just before Pope Francis touched down in South Korea for a five-day visit.
Pyongyang fired five short-range missiles into the sea east of the Korean peninsula.
Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said he wouldn’t “speak to North Korean intentions,” such as whether it’s a precursor to the firing of longer-range missiles.
“I think it’s an exercise in futility to try to figure out what it is Kim Jong-un does and why. Some people are saying that these five rockets were fired in conjunction with the pope’s visit,” Kirby said. “My guess is the pope worries about a higher authority than Kim Jong-un.”
“So I’m not going to speculate about what they did or why. What I’ll say is what I’ve continued to say almost every week. North Korea needs to meet its international obligations. It needs to pay more attention to feeding its own people and educating its own citizens than further destabilizing the peninsula.”
Kirby added that “regardless, our commitment, our treaty commitments, one of the five of seven treaty alliances we have is to the South Korean government.”
“We take very seriously our treaty commitment there on the peninsula and to security on the peninsula,” he said. “Nothing’s going to change about that, and it’s not going to affect our desire, ability and intent to continue to exercise and work on interoperability with our South Korean counterparts.”
The IJReview picked up a story from the UK Daily Mail that featured the eye witness testimony of an Israeli Iron Dome commander responsible for protecting Tel Aviv, Israel’s business center, from incoming rocket attacks:
A missile was fired from Gaza. Iron Dome precisely calculated [its trajectory]. We know where these missiles are going to land down to a radius of 200 meters. This particular missile was going to hit either the Azrieli Towers, the Kirya (Israel’s equivalent of the Pentagon) or [a central Tel Aviv railway station]. Hundreds could have died.
We fired the first [interceptor]. It missed. Second [interceptor]. It missed. This is very rare. I was in shock. At this point we had just four seconds until the missile lands. We had already notified emergency services to converge on the target location and had warned of a mass-casualty incident.
Suddenly, Iron Dome (which calculates wind speeds, among other things) shows a major wind coming from the east, a strong wind that … sends the missile into the sea. We were all stunned. I stood up and shouted, ‘There is a God!”
The story, originally circulated in Israeli media, was translated into English by the Jerusalem-based news agency Israel Today. The commander’s testimony continued:
“I witnessed this miracle with my own eyes. It was not told or reported to me. I saw the hand of God send that missile into the sea.”
Israel Today noted that earlier unconfirmed reports circulating around the Internet had Hamas fighters have attributed the success of Iron Dome to the ability of Israel’s God to move Hamas rockets in mid-air. This is not the first report of Divine intervention in the midst of Operation Protective Edge. Following the Biblical terms of a pre-Jubilee year harvest, Orthodox farmers took enough wheat from their fields to reveal terrorists hiding in their midst. Most recently, it was reported that an Israeli soldier’s well-timed recitation of the Shema saved a Hamas female suicide bomber in Gaza.
Israel Today ended their Iron Dome miracle report by detailing another report of miracles in the midst of combat:
Also last week, Col. Ofer Winter, commander of the Givati Infantry Brigade, described a mysterious fog that favorably covered he and his troops as they advanced on an enemy position in morning light, after their nighttime raid was postponed.
Col. Winter labeled the covering as “clouds of glory.”
Earlier in the Gaza war, Col. Winter sparked heated national debate when he encouraged his troops to lead the charge against an enemy that “curses, defames and abuses the God of Israel.” Col. Winter concluded his letter by praying that the “Lord your God go with you, to fight for you against your enemies and to save you.”
Breitbart published an exclusive report on the details surrounding the deaths of three Israeli soldiers, including Lt. Hadar Goldin, originally thought to have been kidnapped after Hamas terrorists set off a suicide bomb near a tunnel entrance. The report highlights Hamas’s gross abuse of women in Gaza, including their willingness to turn young women into suicide bombers. The account also provides evidence of the life-saving power of faith at work on the front lines:
In the midst of this attack, a second force of IDF soldiers–which had gone into a mosque looking for weapons, explosives, and rockets– encountered a female suicide bomber who was about to detonate the belt she wore, which would have resulted in the deaths of the soldiers. One of the soldiers instinctively recited the opening words of the holiest Jewish prayer “Shema Yisrael”. The female suicide bomber hesitated and began trembling, giving the soldiers a chance to grab her and disable the device.
The soldiers then took her prisoner and turned her over to a counter-intelligence unit. Their investigation uncovered that the female suicide bomber’s mother was a Jew who had married a Palestinian in Israel and, after the wedding, was smuggled against her will into Gaza. There she lived a life filled with abuse and humiliation, and was basically a captive. In addition to the female suicide bomber, there were two smaller children as well. An armored force went in and rescued the two small children.
The Shema, “Hear O’Israel, the Lord Our God, the Lord is One,” taken from Deuteronomy 6:4, was the last prayer recited by countless Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
Last week when I wrote elsewhere that Christians should start networking to be ready for the possibility of Christian refugee children from the Middle East, it felt like a far-fetched challenge. Our border is open to children, but the Christian children in Iraq require more logistics to travel here than the children of Central America led here by coyote guides. The idea seemed remote.
But events happen.
The terrorist entity now calling itself the Islamic State is targeting the Christian children of Iraq. These children are not facing just the generalized violence in lands where the government cannot control their resident mafia. They are being systematically beheaded. Women and girls are being raped and taken from their families to become unconsenting wives. Perhaps worse. And, finally, the world media is taking note.
The world can be a dark place. Genocides happen, they just aren’t always known. We know about this genocide happening right now. Suddenly, the need to prepare for refugees isn’t so theoretical.
The hard part will be getting the children out and here. I hope that those in a position to extricate them are already working the problem. (And no, I don’t mean the government. Oskar Schindler wasn’t a government official. Harriet Tubman wasn’t, either.) Upon the assumption that they are, then we should prepare.
Decide what you are prepared to do. Take in a child? Support families who do? Help your church make a temporary shelter? I can’t make a comprehensive list of To Dos, or I could but they’d be inadequate as the details are still in motion. Nor can I name every organization that might help right now. I figure I could spend a few hours calling contacts to come up with one or two to report. Or I could spend an hour writing a post calling for readers to work their own contacts and networks and open many potential avenues for help. I offer to collect and post contact information for parties who can help. Put them in the comments and I will organize and post them later.
For those of us not in a position to get the children out, let us spend the waiting days figuring out how to help them when they get here.
Dr. Kent Brantly, the doctor who was flown home to the U.S. from Liberia after being infected with the deadly Ebola virus, released a statement from his isolation room at Emory University Hospital today. ”I am growing stronger every day, and I thank God for his mercy as I have wrestled with this terrible disease,” Brantly said. He thanked those who had been praying for his recovery as well as for the recovery of Nancy Writebol, the nurse who was also infected and flown home, and for the people of Liberia and West Africa.
He said that he and his wife and children did not move to Liberia specifically to fight Ebola. “We went to Liberia because we believe God called us to serve Him at ELWA Hospital.” Nevertheless, he said that God often leads people to unexpected places. “When Ebola spread into Liberia, my usual hospital work turned more and more toward treating the increasing number of Ebola patients. I held the hands of countless individuals as this terrible disease took their lives away from them. I witnessed the horror first-hand, and I can still remember every face and name.”
When Brantley started feeling ill, he immediately isolated himself until the test confirmed his diagnosis three days later. Upon hearing that the result was positive, “I remember a deep sense of peace that was beyond all understanding. God was reminding me of what He had taught me years ago, that He will give me everything I need to be faithful to Him,” Brantly said in the statement released by Samaritan’s Purse, the missionary organization that assisted in bringing Dr. Brantly home for treatment.
Now that he is back in the United States, Brantly said his focus remains the same, “to follow God.” Brantly asked that as people continue to pray for his recovery, “More importantly, pray that we would be faithful to God’s call on our lives in these new circumstances.”
Samaritan’s Purse reported that Dr. Kent Brantly’s condition is improving. His wife, Amber, has been able to visit him in the isolation unit at Emory University Hospital and said he was in good spirits.
“I have been able to see Kent every day, and he continues to improve,” she said. “I am thankful for the professionalism and kindness of Dr. (Bruce) Ribner and his team at Emory University Hospital. I know that Kent is receiving the very best medical treatment available.”
Raymond Ibrahim was recently interviewed by Fronda, a leading website in Poland. The English-language version of the Polish interview, originally titled “Raymond Ibrahim: Prostration before Islam,” follows:
Who is Raymond Ibrahim? A scholar, a writer, an activist? What is his mission and the main goal?
I am a little of all that and more. Due to my background, academic and personal, I have had a long interest in the Middle East and Islam, especially the historic and contemporary interaction between Islam and Christianity. After the strikes of September 11, 2001, I took an interest in the current events of the region vis-à-vis the West, and what immediately struck me was how, on the one hand, the conflict was almost identical to the historic conflict, one of continuity—at least that is how many Muslims were portraying it.
But on the other hand, in the West, the narrative was very different and based on a “new paradigm,” one that saw Islam and Muslims as perpetual victims of all sorts of outside and material pressures, mostly from the West. Thus the analyses that were being disseminated through media and academia were to my mind immensely flawed and, while making perfect sense to people in the West—for they were articulated through Western, secular, materialistic paradigms—had little to do with reality as I saw and understood it.
That was one of the reasons I left academia and began writing for more popular audiences, to try to offer a corrective to these flawed narratives. My first book, The Al Qaeda Reader (2007), was meant to do precisely this—to compare the words of al-Qaeda as delivered to the West and as delivered to fellow Muslims, and to show how when speaking to the West, al-Qaeda and other Islamists used Western arguments, claiming any number of grievances, political and otherwise, as being the source of their jihad. Obviously such arguments, widely disseminated by Western mainstream media, made perfect sense to the West.
But al-Qaeda’s Arabic writings that I discovered when I was working at the African and Middle Eastern Division of the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., and which I translated for the book, made completely different arguments, basically saying that, irrespective of all grievances, Muslims must hate and wage jihad on all non-Muslim “infidels” until they come under Islamic authority, according to the worldview of Sharia, or Islamic law.
So in a way, you can say my mission since then has been to open Western eyes to the truths and reality of Islam—at least the reality of how it is understood and practiced by many Muslims—for Western eyes have been closed shut in recent times.
You have a dual background. You were born and raised in the U.S. by parents who were born and raised in a Coptic community in Egypt. Are you the ‘clash of civilizations’ personified? What kind of advantages and disadvantages does such an identity and upbringing lead do?
That’s an interesting way of putting it. Along with obvious benefits—being bilingual (Arabic and English), for example—yes, I do believe my background gives me more subtle advantages. Growing up cognizant of both worlds and cultures has, I believe, imparted a higher degree of objectivity to my thinking. Most people’s worldviews are colored by whichever culture they are immersed in—hence exactly why so many Western people tend to project their own values on the Islamic world, convinced that any violence and intolerance that comes from that region must be a product of some sort of socio-political or economic “grievance”—some sort of material, not religious, factor. While I understand, appreciate and participate in Western values and norms, because of my “dual” background, I also cannot project such values and norms on non-Western peoples (and vice-versa, of course).
This has caused my worldview to be, I believe, more neutral and objective, less colored by cultural values and references. Conversely, I have, so far, not encountered any notable disadvantages from such a background—other than perhaps being overly objective and not always able to participate in the common.
In addition to numerous articles in a variety of media, you are also the author of two books. The last one, Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians argues that martyrdom is not a thing from the past. It is not a book with a happy ending, is it?
I prefer to think of it as a dire wake up call to the West. The topic of Muslim persecution of Christians is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. In Crucified Again, I look at the history of this phenomenon, the Islamic scriptures that support it, and the modern era. And what I find and document is unwavering continuity. According to Islamic teaching, Christians and other non-Muslims are “infidels,” and as such, they are seen as at best third class subjects in Islamic states. They cannot build or renovate churches, display crosses or Bibles; they have to pay tribute with humility, according to Koran 9:29; they cannot speak well of Christianity or criticize Islam. They are even required to give up their seats to a Muslim if he demands it, according to strict Islamic teaching (and as found in the “Conditions of Omar,” an important text that discusses how Christian minorities are to be treated under Islam).
Now if you look at history—as recorded by early Arabic/Islamic historians—you will see that that is exactly how Christians were treated under Islam for centuries; that is exactly how nations like Egypt, Syria, Turkey, and all of north Africa, went from being Christian majority to Muslim majority over the centuries: most Christians opted to convert to Islam rather than constantly suffer from third-class status as well as sporadic persecution.
And today, what we are seeing is simply the ongoing continuation of history, as Christians continue to be persecuted, continue to dwindle in numbers in lands that were Christian centuries before Western Europe embraced the faith. Yet, according to Western analysts, etc., all of this is some sort of “misunderstanding” or because Muslims are angry about Israel—anything and everything but codified religious intolerance, even though the latter is so well documented, doctrinally, historically, and in current events.
There are many initiatives aimed at bringing the ‘spirit of dialogue’ between the religions. In the Catholic Church we even celebrate a Day of Islam. What is your opinion on this kind of inter-faith outreach? Will it be successful in decreasing the persecution of Christians or helping individuals like Asia Bibi?
No, it will exacerbate Christian persecution. From my perspective, the more the West and/or Christianity kowtow to Islam—and that is what modern day “interfaith outreach” often amounts to—the more aggressive that religion becomes.
Here, again, is another example of Westerners projecting their norms onto others, namely, Muslims. In the Western paradigm, itself an offshoot of Christianity, showing tolerance and forgiveness will supposedly cause some sort of reciprocation from the one being forgiven and tolerated—since everything is always supposedly a “misunderstanding.” Yet in Islam, might has always made right, and “tolerance” has always been seen as sign of equivocation or weakness—a lack of conviction. If Christians praise Islam, so many Muslims conclude, that is because they feel it is the truth—not because they are trying to find commonalities, a paradigm that is foreign to classical Islam, which sees the world in terms of right (Islam) and wrong (non-Islam).
Again, history sheds some light on this. In the medieval era, there were Christians like Francis of Assisi who tried to have dialogue with Muslims—but in order to get to the truth, including by asking hard questions about Islam often in the context of Christian teaching. Such dialogue is of course admirable because it is sincere. But trying to have dialogue in order to find and parade some minor “commonalities”—while overlooking and ignoring the fundamental differences, which are much more immense and the true sources of conflict—is simply a game of wasting time.
In your writings regarding the Muslim persecutions of Christians, two themes are constantly recurring. Firstly, you claim that it constitutes “an elephant in the room” and secondly you believe that liberal academia and media are biased “whitewashing Islam and blaming the West” for Islamic attacks against non-Muslims. Can you explain the reasons for such arguments?
It’s the “elephant in the room” because few things show such remarkable continuity between the past and the present—while still being thoroughly ignored and treated as an aberration by academia, media, and government—as Muslim persecution of Christians. If you look at the true history recorded by both Muslims and Christians during the Medieval era—one Muslim historian tells of how one caliph destroyed 30,000 churches—you will see that the persecution and subjugation of Christians is an ironclad fact of history.
Today, not only do we see Christians persecuted from one end of the Islamic world to the other, but we see the same exact patterns of persecution that Christians experienced centuries ago, including hostility for and restrictions on churches, hostility for the crucifix and other Christian symbols and icons, restrictions on Christian worship and freedom. (I discuss this in more depth here and here.) As for academia and media, they reject modern day persecution of Christians for a plethora of reasons—not least because they tend to be ideologically anti-Christian—but primarily because it contradicts their entire narrative, specifically the notion that, far from being persecuted, Christians themselves are the most intolerant groups, and that Muslims are “misunderstood others” who have been oppressed by the West.
These themes are today so predominant in the West that few can believe they are almost entirely fabricated—but so they are, according to both history and current events, both of which are naturally suppressed or distorted by academia and media in the interest of keeping their ideologically-charged narrative alive.
In her book, Tenth Parallel, Eliza Griswold writes that religion becomes means of political emancipation, especially between the equator and the tenth parallel, where Christianity and Islam meet. So perhaps it is not about spirituality but power?
Again, one need only turn to history, followed by doctrine, to see that mainstream Islam has always been about power. Its founder and prophet, Muhammad, was a warlord, who went on caravan raids and incited his followers to attack and plunder other tribes that rejected his “prophecy,” seizing their property and women and children—and all in the context of “God told me so.” After his death, his followers did the same, giving people three choices: be part of their “team” by converting, or else keep their religious beliefs, but pay tribute and live as third class subjects, or else die. In this context, and over the course of several centuries of jihadi conquest, the Islamic world was forged.
All this is well justified by the Koran and Islamic Sharia. Compare and contrast this with Christianity’s founder, Jesus Christ: far from a warlord, he preached mercy, peace, and spirituality. And that’s one of the problems: Westerners are so well acquainted with Christianity that they tend to project its approach to Islam—naively thinking that all religions must be the same, primarily spiritual, not concerned with the temporal. But Islam is immensely concerned with the temporal—with power.
You have written about conceptual failures dominating the Western discourse on Islam. What are the main fallacies and why are they dangerous?
Along with the aforementioned fallacy of projecting Christian/Western worldviews onto a distinctly different religion/civilization like Islam, secular Westerners almost always try to understand Islam through secular and materialistic paradigms—the only paradigms they themselves are familiar with. Thus the mainstream interpretation in the West is that “radical Islam” is a byproduct of various sorts of material discontent (economic, political, social) and has little to do with the religion itself.
Westerners apparently think this way because the secular, Western experience has been such that people respond with violence primarily when they feel they are politically, economically, or socially oppressed. While true that many non-Western peoples fit into this paradigm, the fact is, the ideologies of Islam have the intrinsic capacity to prompt Muslims to violence and intolerance vis-à-vis the “other,” irrespective of grievances.
Conceptually, then, it must be first understood that many of the problematic ideologies associated with radical Islam trace directly back to Sharia, Islamic law. Jihad as offensive warfare to subjugate “infidels” (non-Muslims); mandated social discrimination against non-Muslim minorities living in Muslim nations (the regulations governing ahl al-dhimma); the obligation to hate non-Muslims—even if a Muslim is married to one—all of these are clearly defined aspects that have historically been part of Islam’s worldview and not “open to interpretation.”
For example, the obligation to wage expansionist jihad is as “open to interpretation” as the obligation to perform the Five Pillars of Islam, including praying and fasting. The same textual sources and methods of jurisprudence that have made it clear that prayer and fasting are obligatory, have also made it clear that jihad is also obligatory; the only difference is that, whereas prayer and fasting is an “individual” duty, jihad is understood to be a “communal” duty (a fard kifaya). All these intricacies must be understood before Westerners can understand Islam on its own terms.
One of the most popular views as to the reasons of Islamic terrorism is that it is based on political and economic grievances. The recipe to achieve the peaceful world would be then to remove the factors contributing to poverty or oppression and this way disarm the ‘relative deprivation’ bomb. Do you think it is feasible?
Again, as mentioned, political and economic grievances may be a reality; yet it is a distinct fact that, wherever Islam is—including in immensely rich nations like the Gulf nations—violence and intolerance of non-Muslims exist. For example, Christian persecution around the world today is being committed at the hands of Muslims of all races, languages, cultures, and socio-political circumstances: Muslims from among America’s allies (Saudi Arabia) and its enemies (Iran); Muslims from economically rich nations (Qatar) and from poor nations (Somalia and Yemen); Muslims from “Islamic republic” nations (Afghanistan) and from “moderate” nations (Malaysia and Indonesia); Muslims from nations rescued by America (Kuwait) and Muslims claiming “grievances” against America. Moreover, much of the underdeveloped world is suffering from economic, political, and social problems—and yet it is the Islamic world where terrorism in the name of God (Allah) is rampant. One does not hear of, say, disenfranchised Cuban dissidents crashing explosive-laden vehicles into government buildings—while screaming Jesus is great. Yet sceams of Allah is great in the context of terror attacks are ubiquitous.
You have devoted one of your publications to the concept of taqiyya. Can you explain what taqiyya is and why is it important to know it in the West?
Although Muslims are exhorted to be truthful, taqiyya is an Islamic doctrine that permits them to deceive non-Muslims, who by nature are deemed enemies. Some Western scholars and apologists for Islam insist that taqiyya is a very arcane teaching developed by Shi’a and to be used only when their lives are in danger. In reality, however, taqiyya—as well as its sister teaching, tawriya—is used by mainstream Islam (Sunnism) and gives Muslims great freedom to deceive infidels if the deception can be rationalized as a way to help empower Islam over non-Muslims.
Normative Islamic teaching is so that, almost anything can be rationalized as permissible—for example “martyrdom operations” (even though suicide is banned by Islam)—as long as they can be perceived as helping empower Islam. Islamic prophet Muhammad himself permitted deceit, including to one’s wife. One of the few Arabic language books devoted to the subject, At-Taqiyya fi’l-Islam (Dissimulation in Islam) makes it clear that taqiyya is hardly limited to Shi‘a dissimulating in fear of persecution. Written by Sami Mukaram, a former Islamic studies professor at the American University of Beirut and author of some twenty-five books on Islam, the opening sentences of the book clearly demonstrate the ubiquity and broad applicability of taqiyya: “Taqiyya is of fundamental importance in Islam. Practically every Islamic sect agrees to it and practices it … We can go so far as to say that the practice of taqiyya is mainstream in Islam, and that those few sects not practicing it diverge from the mainstream … Taqiyya is very prevalent in Islamic politics, especially in the modern era.”
Do you have any words of advice to countries like Poland where the influence of Islam is still relatively weak but increasing due to immigration and certain radicalization of indigenous Muslim groups (e.g. Polish Tatars stopped their traditional prayers for Poland which used to be their custom)?
My advice is to take heed of what I call “Islam’s Rule of Numbers,” which is basically the unwavering, statistical fact that, the more Muslims grow in numbers (and thus strength), the more aggressive they become. In the U.S., for example, where Muslims are less than 1% of the population, acts of Islamic intolerance are relatively uncommon. Islamic assertiveness is limited to political activism dedicated to portraying Islam as a “religion of peace,” the painting of any and all critics as “Islamophobes,” and sporadic, but clandestine, acts of terror.
In some Western European nations, where Muslims make for much larger minorities—for example, the UK and France—open violence and religious intolerance is common. But because they are still a vulnerable minority, Islamic violence is always placed in the context of “grievances,” a word that, as we have seen, pacifies Westerners.
Where Muslim numbers reach 35-50% of a population, the full-blown jihad is often declared, as in Nigeria, which although is half Christian half Muslim is also one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a Christian. In short, Islamic aggressiveness is very much a product of Islamic strength in numbers. I discussed this at length here.
Inevitably one stumbles upon the ‘so what?’ question. Nobody persecutes Christians in France and churches are not burnt in Germany. It is doubtful that Europe will be washed away with the waves of Islam. To the contrary, it looks like Europe wants to leave religions behind. Would you not say so?
Much of this view is based on selfishness, of the modern West’s egoistic and highly individualistic worldview. What such people are really saying is that, by and large, if nothing changes and people remain indifferent, they themselves and their generation will go through life fine without much worry from the Islamic question. But this position also shows absolute indifference to future generations and the world they will inherit. In short, yes, most Europeans today may not personally suffer from Islam. But they are opening the floodgates wide to the potential suffering of their descendants.
The always provocative Ann Coulter raised a lot of eyebrows this week with her Wednesday column calling a Christian missionary who contracted ebola in Liberia “idiotic.” Headlines making the rounds on social media do a fair job of highlighting her pointed rhetoric without addressing her thesis. Coulter wrote:
Whatever good Dr. Kent Brantly did in Liberia has now been overwhelmed by the more than $2 million already paid by the Christian charities Samaritan’s Purse and SIM USA just to fly him and his nurse home in separate Gulfstream jets, specially equipped with medical tents, and to care for them at one of America’s premier hospitals…
She goes on to ask, “Can’t anyone serve Christ in America anymore?”
We can debate the wisdom of Coulter’s rhetorical packaging (though it’s fair to bet that, if she did not communicate as pointedly as she does, we would not be talking about her at all). However, the substance at the root of what Coulter wrote proves worth Christians’ prayerful consideration.
Are missions to foreign lands undertaken at the expense of needs closer to home? From a monetary perspective, in Dr. Brantly’s case, the objective answer is a resounding yes. Two million dollars could go a long way toward providing for the spread of the Gospel. But more importantly, there’s a spiritual danger in what Coulter calls “Christian narcissism,” confusing earthly mileage with spiritual accomplishment.
It may be a bit much to presume Brantly traveled to Liberia to stroke his ego, or to somehow put God in his debt. Coulter does not know his heart one way or the other, and neither do we. Only God does. Nevertheless, there remains an object lesson for the rest of us to consider which could give us a moment of prayerful pause before eagerly traveling halfway around the world before first ministering to our nearest neighbors. Sometimes — I think it fair to say most of the time — God has you where He wants you.
A 17-term congressman who has dedicated much of his career to human-rights issues lashed out at President Obama for inviting genocide with his lackadaisical policies.
“Much like President Clinton has deeply regretted his failure to stop the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, I believe you will come to regret your inaction for years to come,” Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) wrote to Obama today.
Before recess, Wolf was repeatedly speaking on the House floor about the massacre of Christians in Iraq and decrying how the U.S. was doing nothing in response.
On Monday, Wolf wrote to Obama to charge that “you and your administration have failed.”
“You, Secretary of State Kerry and Ambassador Power all need to speak out. Having a mid-level White House advisor meet with a group of concerned Assyrian leaders is not enough. In fact, it was little more than an empty gesture,” he wrote. “Time is running out. How many more people must be killed for you to acknowledge this situation?”
In today’s letter, Wolf ripped Obama for the 2012 creation of his Atrocities Prevention Board that hasn’t lived up to its pledge to make the prevention of genocide “a core national security interest and core moral responsibility.”
“Tragically, mass atrocities are happening again today – and on your watch. Genocide is taking place today in northern Iraq, where the Christian and Yezidi populations are being exterminated by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). There is no question that systematic and targeted brutality is occurring. Yet, as I said on the House floor last week, the silence from you and your administration is deafening. Why have you not spoken up, and why has the Atrocities Prevention Board not taken action?” Wolf said.
The congressman highlighted how last weekend the Yazidis were forced onto Sinjar Mountain by ISIS forces, some dying of thirst waiting for help and some women and girls captured by ISIS as sex slaves.
“The homes of Christians and other religious minorities have been marked with spray paint to target those who live there. Families have been force to flee, often on foot, with nothing but literally the shirts on their backs,” Wolf wrote. “We cannot pretend these atrocities aren’t taking place; there are now videos on the Internet being promoted by those sympathetic to ISIS proudly displaying their brutal and grotesque slaughter and abuse of Christians, Yezidis and other religious minorities in Iraq.”
“Your administration is aware of what is going on, yet you are doing nothing. Just what is the point of having an ‘Atrocities Prevention Board’ if it takes no action to prevent or stop atrocities? When was the last time this board has met? Has the board even been convened to address the genocide taking place in Iraq?”
Wolf then reprinted what Obama said at the Holocaust Museum in 2012:
“And finally, ‘never again’ is a challenge to nations. It’s a bitter truth — too often, the world has failed to prevent the killing of innocents on a massive scale. And we are haunted by the atrocities that we did not stop and the lives we did not save.
“Three years ago today, I joined many of you for a ceremony of remembrance at the U.S. Capitol. And I said that we had to do ‘everything we can to prevent and end atrocities.’ And so I want to report back to some of you today to let you know that as President I’ve done my utmost to back up those words with deeds. Last year, in the first-ever presidential directive on this challenge, I made it clear that ‘preventing mass atrocities and genocide is a core national security interest and a core moral responsibility of the United States of America.
“That does not mean that we intervene militarily every time there’s an injustice in the world. We cannot and should not. It does mean we possess many tools – diplomatic and political, and economic and financial, and intelligence and law enforcement and our moral suasion – and using these tools over the past three years, I believe – I know – that we have saved countless lives.”
“It is now clear to the nation and the world that your words were hollow; your ‘presidential directive’ apparently was nothing more than a token gesture. You will come to sincerely regret your failure to take action to stop the genocide in Iraq,” Wolf wrote. “Your conscience will haunt you long after you leave office. Mr. President, say something; do something.”
Ann Coulter used her national megaphone to trash Dr. Kent Brantly Wednesday. Brantly is the American doctor who traveled to Liberia to use his medical skills and training to serve the poor there. He and Nancy Writebol served patients who have Ebola, and have now come down with the deadly virus themselves.
Coulter can be a genius one day and a fool the next. In this column, she takes the latter route.
Coulter’s basic argument is that Dr. Brantly should have stayed home and served in Texas instead of Africa, because it’s safer to serve here.
That’s not necessarily true on the border. But missionary service isn’t always about doing the safe thing. It’s about being obedient to God. Being obedient to God is often the riskiest thing a Christian can possibly do.
Coulter accuses Dr. Brantly of “Christian narcissism.”
Right there in Texas, near where Dr. Brantly left his wife and children to fly to Liberia and get Ebola, is one of the poorest counties in the nation, Zavala County — where he wouldn’t have risked making his wife a widow and his children fatherless.
But serving the needy in some deadbeat town in Texas wouldn’t have been “heroic.” We wouldn’t hear all the superlatives about Dr. Brantly’s “unusual drive to help the less fortunate” or his membership in the “Gold Humanism Honor Society.” Leaving his family behind in Texas to help the poor 6,000 miles away — that’s the ticket.
Today’s Christians are aces at sacrifice, amazing at serving others, but strangely timid for people who have been given eternal life. They need to buck up, serve their own country, and remind themselves every day of Christ’s words: “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.”
There may be no reason for panic about the Ebola doctor, but there is reason for annoyance at Christian narcissism.
Coulter’s column makes me wonder whether she really believes in God or not, or if her God is actually a country and not a supreme being. That would be idolatry, of course.
The Christian missionary call crosses borders, and is as old as Christianity itself. It’s Christianity 101.
Thanks to everyone who entered our very popular caption contest from July 29. If you are just joining us, please refer back to the original contest to better understand what you are about to read.
Due to the provocative questions raised by the purveyor of this contest, we had several categories of winners.
Let’s start with the most competitive category that asked:
“What is Abe Lincoln thinking as he watches over the dinner?”
The grand prize winner was cfbleachers with:
Abe: Even a house divided against itself cannot stand this guy.
And cfbleachers won a double grand prize with:
Abe–Four score and seven years ago Obama–Fore! Score? And seven holes ago?
MRG01 entered the winners circle with:
Abe Lincoln: All things considered, I’d rather be at the theater.
An honorable mention went to Me 2.0 for:
Lincoln: I knew Lincoln, and you, sir, are no Lincoln!
KUCE won a ribbon for:
Abe: “I fought the Civil War only for this guy to divide us again?”
Walterc earned a prize for:
The Lincoln picture is thinking, “please, shoot me now.”
The next category of winners answered the question:
“What would the Founding Fathers think of this White House statement?”
The grand prize was won by thesnake for:
Founding Fathers: “Dude, where’s my country?”
ME2.0 won again for:
Founders: King George’s revenge!
MrG01 also won again for:
Founding Fathers: WTF?!
The next category of winners was in response to the question:
“Is that a flying monkey from The Wizard of Oz on Obama’s podium?”
KUCE won with:
Of course that is a Flying Monkey. Valerie Jarrett doesn’t leave home without them.
RockThisTown had a brilliant observation:
Is that a flying monkey from The Wizard of Oz on Obama’s podium?
Either that or Obama’s Nobel Screech Prize.
Uncle Lar received an honorable mention for:
Might very well be a flying monkey, but to me looks more like a ruptured duck.
Cfbleachers, who is cleaning up in every category, won with:
The American eagle has formally been replaced by a gargoyle.
MRG01 scores again for:
Flying monkey: “Pay no attention to the man behind the teleprompter”
Our next contest question, “What is on the mind of the young man standing to the right of President Obama?” – was answered by Katherine in RB in the most politically incorrect manner:
“Did that woman just put on one of our table cloths?” (Woman at far left seated next to
the real President of the United States, Valerie Jarrett.)
Finally, we have the winners of the general caption category.
Spudnik won the grand prize with:
“As you can see from the portrait above me, some of our greatest presidents were Muslims!”
Spudnik also earned an honorable mention for:
“I don’t always leave the golf course. But when I do, it’s for something really important.”
Yoroscoe took home honors with:
“You didn’t build that Jihad.”
Belial Issimo received a trophy for:
“If you like your caliphate, you can keep your caliphate.”
USMCVet ranked high with:
You fine folks are the fabric of our great nation. It is great to get away from the hatin’.
Cfbleachers won the grandest of grand prizes for the overall contest.
His two winners in the general category were:
If Muslims built that…who exactly then are the people who “didn’t build that?”
Obama took time out from golfing and vacations to throw a tantrum at Israel and celebrate a holiday named after him. – Idle Fitter.
Thanks again to everyone who took the time to enter this contest. The contest was a reaction to an extremely controversial statement by President Obama which was widely reported everywhere except in the mainstream media. The remark was made at the White House during the Eid-al-Fitr dinner marking the end of Ramadan.
Usually this is the part when I say, “See you next time a photo is worthy of a PJM photo caption contest.” However, on Sunday an old friend sent me a photo/tweet which deserved my immediate attention. Thanks RB!
Now that photo/tweet is our newest caption contest already in progress. See you there!
Days before the recent Israel/Hamas conflict erupted, the Presbyterian Church USA withdrew $21 million worth in investments from Israel because, as spokesman Heath Rada put it, the Israeli government’s actions “harm the Palestinian people.”
Soon after, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and was asked if he was “troubled” by the Presbyterian Church’s move. Netanyahu responded:
It should trouble all people of conscience and morality because it’s so disgraceful. You know, you look at what’s happening in the Middle East and I think most Americans understand this, they see this enormous area riveted by religious hatred, by savagery of unimaginable proportions. Then you come to Israel and you see the one democracy that upholds basic human rights, that guards the rights of all minorities, that protects Christians—Christians are persecuted throughout the Middle East. So most Americans understand that Israel is a beacon of civilization and moderation. You know I would suggest to these Presbyterian organizations to fly to the Middle East, come and see Israel for the embattled democracy that it is, and then take a bus tour, go to Libya, go to Syria, go to Iraq, and see the difference. And I would give them two pieces of advice, one is, make sure it’s an armor plated bus, and second, don’t say that you’re Christians.
It’s difficult—if not impossible—to argue with Netanyahu’s logic. Indeed, several points made in his one-minute response are deserving of some reflection.
First, the obvious: why is it that self-professed Christians completely ignore the horrific Islamic persecution of fellow Christians in the Middle East, while grandstanding against the Jewish state for trying to defend itself against the same ideology that persecutes Christians?
And he is absolutely right to say that the persecution of Christians in the Mideast has reached a point of “savagery of unimaginable proportions.” Perhaps the only thing more shocking than the atrocities Mideast Christians are exposed to—the slaughters, crucifixions, beheadings, torture and rape—is the absolute silence emanating from so-called mainline Protestant churches in the U.S.
Note also the nations Netanyahu highlighted for their brutal persecution of Christian minorities: Libya, Syria, and Iraq. Indigenous Christians were markedly better off in all three nations before the U.S. got involved, specifically be empowering, deliberately or not, Islamist forces. Now,according to recent studies, Christians in all three nations are experiencing the worst form of persecution around the globe:
- Libya: Ever since U.S.-backed, al-Qaeda-linked terrorists overthrew Gaddafi, Christians—including Americans—have been tortured and killed (including for refusing to convert) and churches bombed. It’s “open season” on Copts, as jihadis issue a reward to Muslims who find and kill Christians. This was not the case under Gaddafi.
- Syria: Christians have been attacked in indescribable ways—wholesale massacres, bombed and desecrated churches, beheadings, crucifixions, and rampant kidnappings—since the U.S.-sponsored “Arab Spring” reached the Levant.
- Iraq: After the U.S. toppled Saddam Hussein, Christian minorities were savagely attacked and slaughtered, and dozens of their churches were bombed (see here for graphic images). In the last decade, Christians have been terrorized into near-extinction, with well over half of them fleeing Iraq.
If the Presbyterian Church has problems with governments that persecute people—in this case, the Israeli government’s purported treatment of Palestinians, hence the Presbyterian Church’s divestment from Israel—perhaps it should begin by criticizing its own government’s proxy war on fellow Christiansin the Middle East.
Christians are also being targeted in the P.A. territories—by the very same elements the Presbyterian Church is trying to defend.
In 2012, for example, a pastor noted that “animosity towards the Christian minority in areas controlled by the P.A. continues to get increasingly worse. People are always telling [Christians],Convert to Islam. Convert to Islam.” And in fact, the kidnapping and forced conversions of Christians in Gaza is an ugly reality.”
More recently, nuns of the Greek-Orthodox monastery in Bethany sent a letter to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urging him to respond to the escalation of attacks on the Christian house, including the throwing of stones, broken glass, theft and looting of the monastery property. “Someone wants to send us away,” wrote Sister Ibraxia in the letter, “but we will not flee.”
Sadly, the hypocrisy exhibited by the Presbyterian Church is not limited to that denomination. Some time back, fifteen leaders from various U.S. Christian denominations—mostly Protestant, including the Lutheran, Methodist, and UCC Churches—asked Congress to reevaluate U.S. military aid to Israel, again, in the context of supporting “persecuted” Palestinians.
Yet nary a word from these same church leaders concerning the rampant persecution of millions of Christians at the hands of Muslims in the Middle East—a persecution that makes the Palestinians’ situation pale in comparison.
Other “leftist” Protestants do find time to criticize Muslim persecution of Christians—but only to blame Israel for it. Thus, Diarmaid MacCulloch, a Fellow of St. Cross College, wrote an article in the Daily Beast ostensibly addressing the plight of Mideast Christians—but only to argue that the source of Christian persecution “ in the Middle East is seven decades of unresolved conflict between Israel and Palestine.”
In reality, far from prompting the persecution of Christians, the Arab-Israeli conflict is itself a byproduct of the same hostility Islamic supremacism engenders for all non-Muslims. The reason hostility for Israel is much more viral is because the Jewish state holds a unique position of authority over Muslims unlike vulnerable Christian minorities who can be abused at will (as fully explained here).
Little wonder, then, that more Arab Christians—double the number of each of the preceding three years—are now joining the Israel Defense Forces.
They know they can count on basic human rights protection from Israel than from many of their fellow Christians in the West. After all, beyond the sophistry, distortions, and downright lies emanating from some of these Christian denominations, the fact remains: both Jews and Christians are under attack from the same foe and for the same reason: they are non-Muslim “infidels” who need to be subjugated
The Drudge Report linked to this Breitbart piece which is the source of our contest photo.
At a White House dinner on July 28 celebrating the end of Eid-al-Fitr marking the end of Ramadan, President Obama released the following statement with the bold added by me for emphasis:
As Muslims throughout the United States and around the world celebrate Eid-al-Fitr, Michelle and I extend our warmest wishes to them and their families. This last month has been a time of fasting, reflection, spiritual renewal, and service to the less fortunate. While Eid marks the completion of Ramadan, it also celebrates the common values that unite us in our humanity and reinforces the obligations that people of all faiths have to each other, especially those impacted by poverty, conflict, and disease.
In the United States, Eid also reminds us of the many achievements and contributions of Muslim Americans to building the very fabric of our nation and strengthening the core of our democracy. That is why we stand with people of all faiths, here at home and around the world, to protect and advance their rights to prosper, and we welcome their commitment to giving back to their communities.
On behalf of the Administration, we wish Muslims in the United States and around the world a blessed and joyous celebration. Eid Mubarak
After you digest all that and realize the statement above was ACTUALLY MADE BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, here are your marching orders. Besides writing a snappy caption to the photo itself, readers can provide answers to the following questions:
What is Abe Lincoln thinking as he watches over the dinner?
What is on the mind of the young man standing to the right of President Obama?
What would the Founding Fathers think of this White House statement?
Now, as with all contests, we must be nice and stay classy or the IRS will pay you a friendly visit. (Sorry, folks, crashing hard drives is no excuse for not cooperating.)
Finally, all contest participants must take a stab at answering the most pressing question of the day:
Is that a flying monkey from The Wizard of Oz on Obama’s podium?
Within the Internal Revenue Service, away from the eyes of the majority of American citizens and the media, agency officials have struck a deal with the Freedom From Religion Foundation. That’s according a press release put out by the foundation on July 17.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a militant atheist group, truly an enemy of religious believers and everyone else who values the freedom of religion.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation and the Internal Revenue Service reached an agreement today (July 17) that resolves for the time being an ongoing federal lawsuit over non-enforcement of restrictions on political activity by tax-exempt religious organizations and churches.
“This is a victory, and we’re pleased with this development in which the IRS has proved to our satisfaction that it now has in place a protocol to enforce its own anti-electioneering provisions,” said FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor.
“Of course, we have the complication of a moratorium currently in place on any IRS investigations of any tax-exempt entities, church or otherwise, due to the congressional probe of the IRS. FFRF could refile the suit if anti-electioneering provisions are not enforced in the future against rogue political churches.”
The foundation has a problem with churches that speak up for…freedom of religion. It wants, and will get, the IRS to scrutinize some churches — but not all — that take a stand on any controversial issues.
FFRF filed suit against the IRS shortly after the presidential election in 2012, based on the agency’s reported enforcement moratorium, as evidenced by open and notorious politicking by churches. Pulpit Freedom Sunday, in fact, has become an annual occasion for churches to violate the law with impunity. The IRS, meanwhile, admittedly was not enforcing the restrictions against churches. A prior lawsuit in 2009 required the IRS to designate an appropriate high-ranking official to initiate church tax examinations, but it had apparently failed to do so.
Democrats routinely campaign from the very pulpit of majority black churches. It happens every single election cycle. Pastors in those churches regularly push parishioners to support the Democratic Party, to support specific government social policy, and even specific candidates for office.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation has not sued to get the IRS to investigate any of that. Its targets are churches that align with the more conservative Pulpit Freedom Sunday movement. That tells us what the foundation and the IRS will really be investigating.
The IRS will be monitoring churches to listen for pastors supporting the right to life, the sanctity and traditional definition of marriage, traditional values in general, perhaps even patriotism. Those are the churches, based on the angle that the foundation lawsuit takes, that will potentially find themselves under IRS investigation.
There is no way to know for sure which churches and denominations will come under investigation, though, because the IRS-FFRF deal is being kept secret, according to LifeNews. The Alliance Defending Freedom is using a Freedom of Information request against the IRS to force it to disclose the details of its plans for investigating churches.
Pulpit Freedom Sunday is October 5 this year. Congress’ investigations of the IRS abuse scandal has the FFRF’s anti-church campaign on hold for now.
It’s a given that the militant atheist group will plant its operatives in participating churches to gather evidence it will use if and when the current investigations of the IRS are finished. I pray that some of them come to know the Lord and stop attacking Americans’ freedom to exercise our faith.
I’m unable to feign surprise at LifeNews’ story about the latest from the provocateur in chief.
President Barack Obama has nominated a new “Religious Freedom Ambassador,” but his nominee opposes protecting the religious freedoms of the owners of Hobby Lobby, who don’t want to be forced to pay for drugs for their employees that cause abortions.
Obama announced that he will nominate Rabbi David Nathan Saperstein as Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom at the State Department. Saperstein is a longtime pro-abortion advocate whose group has opposed pro-life legislation.
Secretary of John Kerry also introduced him at a press briefing late Monday morning, saying that religious freedom is an “integral part of our global diplomatic engagement.”
However, Saperstein is strongly opposed to the Supreme Court’s decision protecting Hobby Lobby’s religious freedoms and, in an interview, Saperstein called the decision “deeply troubling.”
The Hobby Lobby case turned on whether owners of closely held corporations can object to government forcing them provide four drugs deemed to cause abortions, against their religious beliefs. Sapperstein believes that the government does have that right and can force family business owners to have to choose between their livelihoods and their faith.
Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) urged President Obama to immediately sign legislation passed by Congress to create a special envoy post to focus on the plight of religious minorities in the Middle East and South Central Asia.
The House on Friday sent to Obama’s desk a bill, originally introduced in the Senate by Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and passed July 10, to encourage the appointment a special envoy to promote religious freedom among religious minorities in the Middle East.
“Time is of the essence,” Wolf said. “Christianity as we know it is being wiped out right before our eyes in Iraq.”
The bill that was passed is modeled on legislation Wolf and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), the only Assyrian in Congress and a Chaldean Catholic, first introduced in 2011. The two are co-chairs of the Religious Minorities in the Middle East Caucus, and led an effort a month ago to pressure Obama to do more to help Christians coming under attack in Iraq.
“Absent immediate action, we will most certainly witness the annihilation of an ancient faith community from the lands they’ve inhabited for centuries,” wrote the lawmakers, joined by 53 bipartisan colleagues.
Wolf gave three speeches on the House floor last week to raise awareness about the plight of Christians in Iraq, and plans to do the same every day this week.
On Friday, Wolf read a statement from Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, on the crisis unfolding in Mosul.
“We are currently witnessing an unacceptable widespread implementation of extremist religious ideology that threatens the lives of all Iraqi’s who do not fit within its ever-narrowing perspective. While this situation stands to eradicate centuries of co-existence and culture in the region it also threatens to significantly and negatively impact these communities for generations to come,” the bishop said. “If left unchallenged, it is not Iraq alone that is at risk, but the potential is intensified for the replication of this ideology as a viable and legitimate model for others across the Middle East.”
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) has given Christians in the region an ultimatum to convert, leave, or pay hefty taxes.
“I believe what is happening to the Christian community in Iraq is genocide,” Wolf said. “I also believe it is a crime against humanity. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria – more commonly referred to as ISIS – is systematically targeting Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq for extinction.”
“Where is the Obama administration?” Wolf continued. “Where is the Congress? Where is the West? More people need to speak out. More should be done before it is too late.”
Chloe Valdary, the self-titled “Lioness of Zion” wrote a public letter to the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) movement, published today in Tablet magazine. Valdary addresses the letter “from an Angry Black Woman” and delineates the student group’s hypocrisies, noting their nefarious misappropriation of African American history:
You do not get to pretend as though you and Rosa Parks would have been great buddies in the 1960s. Rosa Parks was a real Freedom Fighter. Rosa Parks was a Zionist.
Coretta Scott King was a Zionist.
A. Phillip Randolph was a Zionist.
Bayard Rustin was a Zionist.
Count Basie was a Zionist.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a Zionist.
Indeed, they and many more men and women signed a letter in 1975 that stated: “We condemn the anti-Jewish blacklist. We have fought too long and too hard to root out discrimination from our land to sit idly while foreign interests import bigotry to America. Having suffered so greatly from such prejudice, we consider most repugnant the efforts by Arab states to use the economic power of their newly-acquired oil wealth to boycott business firms that deal with Israel or that have Jewish owners, directors, or executives, and to impose anti-Jewish preconditions for investments in this country.”
You see, my people have always been Zionists because my people have always stood for the freedom of the oppressed. So, you most certainly do not get to culturally appropriate my people’s history for your own. You do not have the right to invoke my people’s struggle for your shoddy purposes and you do not get to feign victimhood in our name. You do not have the right to slander my people’s good name and link your cause to that of Dr. King’s. Our two causes are diametrically opposed to each other.
Known for going against the grain, Valdary’s statement cuts to the core of the Pro-Palestinian movement’s attempts to draw a correlation between the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and America’s civil rights movement. The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, whose member groups include chapters of national organizations CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) and Jewish Voice for Peace, as well as SJP, devotes an entire section of their website to “Black America and Palestine Resources“. A quote from Palestinian American academic Edward Said motivates their campaign:
The late Edward Said wrote in the year 2000 that, to understand US policy towards the Middle East, “one must pay close attention to an aspect of America’s history mostly ignored by or unknown to educated Arabs … the contemporary treatment of the African American people, who constitute roughly 20 per cent of the population, a not insignificant number”.
Said co-founded the field of critical theory known as postcolonialism, a racist school of thought “…that interprets history, politics, and culture in the context of [white] Western domination and oppression.” The roots of postcolonial theory influenced the racist and anti-Semitic Black Nationalism of the 1960′s. Instead of campaigning for civil rights, the movement focused on “elevat[ing] racial separatism into a religious doctrine and declar[ing] that whites were doomed to destruction.”
Postcolonialism is a defense of human shields, of schools and hospitals being used as terrorist launching pads, of children growing up only to strap bombs to their chest in order to destroy the “white” menace. Valdary’s letter is a clarion call to renew the civil rights movement championed by both blacks and Jews that was so grossly distorted by racist theorists like Malcolm X and Edward Said. All those who “stand for the freedom of the oppressed” must confront and correct the racist lie that defends slaveholders like Hamas based on the color of their skin.
President Obama marked the end of Ramadan by crediting Muslims with strengthening the democratic fiber of the United States.
Eid al-Fitr will be marked today in Muslim communities with food and family celebrations, ending the month of fasting.
“This last month has been a time of fasting, reflection, spiritual renewal, and service to the less fortunate. While Eid marks the completion of Ramadan, it also celebrates the common values that unite us in our humanity and reinforces the obligations that people of all faiths have to each other, especially those impacted by poverty, conflict, and disease,” Obama said in a statement.
“In the United States, Eid also reminds us of the many achievements and contributions of Muslim Americans to building the very fabric of our nation and strengthening the core of our democracy. That is why we stand with people of all faiths, here at home and around the world, to protect and advance their rights to prosper, and we welcome their commitment to giving back to their communities,” the president continued.
“On behalf of the Administration, we wish Muslims in the United States and around the world a blessed and joyous celebration. Eid Mubarak.”
Obama doesn’t have any Eid events on his schedule today; he’ll be participating in the Summit of the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.
Two weeks ago, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee encouraged Muslims to boycott Obama’s Iftar dinner at the White House in celebration of Ramadan, citing the administration’s support for Israel.
In a statement, the committee aid the “deplorable situation” in Gaza, “brought on by Israel’s U.S.-sanctioned illegal occupation of Palestine, has received no direct action from President Obama.”
“The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) will not be attending this year’s government iftars and calls upon members of the Arab and Muslim communities to join us in the boycott, including tonight’s White House Iftar hosted by President Barack Obama, given the government’s condoning of the current slaughter of Palestinians in Palestine and the spying of American Arabs and Muslims domestically,” the group said in a statement.
“In the government’s silence, Israel is committing a massacre in Palestine with the possibility of an all-out ground assault. Our American tax dollars have contributed to over 100 civilian casualties as of Monday morning, of which 70% are estimated by the United Nations to be women and children,” continued the statement.
The ADC cited recent reporting from Glenn Greenwald that revealed “the government’s indiscriminate and ongoing criminalization of the community” through NSA spying on some Arab and Muslim community leaders.
Secretary of State John Kerry lauded the U.S. role in promoting religious freedom worldwide after the release of Sudanese Christian Meriam Ibrahim.
Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Lapo Pistelli helped arrange Ibrahim’s departure from Sudan to Rome, according to Vatican Radio. Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi welcomed her at the airport; she then met with Pope Francis at the Vatican for about half an hour along with her husband, American citizen Daniel Wani, her son Martin and baby Maya, born in prison two months ago.
Before her death sentence was overturned, Ibrahim faced capital punishment for marrying a Christian man. Her father was Muslim.
“Around the world, supporters of religious freedom celebrate the arrival of Meriam Ishag and her family in Rome. I am grateful to the Government of Italy for its role in working with the Government of Sudan to enable Ms. Ishag and her family to depart Sudan,” Kerry said in a statement today.
“I want to acknowledge the many individuals in the United States and the international community who expressed their concern at Ms. Ishag’s plight. Their concerns were our cause,” he continued. “I am especially proud that our diplomatic efforts through the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum helped secure Ms. Ishag’s and her family’s release. The United States will continue to be an unwavering advocate for the right to freedom of religion worldwide.”
“I extend my personal best wishes to Ms. Ishag and her family as they rebuild their lives and restore hope for a future where all people can live their faiths fully and freely.”
The House today sent to President Obama’s desk a bill, originally introduced in the Senate by Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and passed July 10, to encourage the appointment a special envoy to promote religious freedom among religious minorities in the Middle East.
“As we continue to witness disturbing violence against religious minorities in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq, I’m pleased both chambers of Congress have passed this bipartisan bill to demonstrate that the U.S. takes religious freedom very seriously,” said Blunt. “I urge the President to sign this bill into law quickly and appoint a special envoy to promote religious freedom among all persecuted religious communities in these critical regions.”
“It is a tragic fact that in much of this region, the freedom to worship in keeping with one’s conscience is in doubt,” Levin said. “Passage of this legislation strengthens America’s role in protecting religious minorities from violence, persecution and fear.”
Gallup has released a new poll on Americans’ opinions of the conflict in Gaza. It’s no surprise that Republicans tend to side with Israel, and Democrats tend to believe that Israel’s military actions against Hamas are unjustified. Fully 47% of Democrats take that view, compared with just 31% who back Israel. That, plus independent voters’ ambivalence toward Israel, helps explain why the Obama administration is not backing Israel more strongly than calling for a (now rejected) cease-fire. Their base does not back Israel.
The educational differences on the issue are found in this chart.
The more educated one is, the more likely one is to believe that Israel is taking justified action against Hamas terrorists.
Younger Americans tend to go left on everything from socialism to redefining marriage, and lack of support for democratic Israel against Hamas terrorists is no exception. This is despite Israel’s long history of supporting women’s and minority rights, while the Palestinians side with extremism that denies women and non-Muslims their rights.
This poll is a warning: If the rising millennial generation doesn’t change its attitudes in a hurry, Israel cannot count on American support for more than few more years.
The White House lauded the freedom of Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese Christian sentenced to death for refusing to renounce her faith, without mentioning Christianity.
Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Lapo Pistelli helped arrange Ibrahim’s departure from Sudan to Rome, according to Vatican Radio. Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi welcomed her at the airport; she then met with Pope Francis at the Vatican for about half an hour along with her husband, American citizen Daniel Wani, her son Martin and baby Maya, born in prison two months ago.
Before her death sentence was overturned, Ibrahim faced capital punishment for marrying a Christian man. Her father was Muslim.
“The United States is delighted that Meriam Yahya Ibrahim Ishag is now safe and free and will soon be traveling to the United States. For months, Americans of all faiths kept Ms. Ishag in their thoughts and prayers as Sudanese authorities sentenced her to death for the alleged crime of apostasy,” National Security Adviser Susan Rice said in a statement. “Today, she and her family have left Sudan on their journey to freedom. Her departure with her immediate family—including her infant daughter, born in custody—is a testament to her unyielding faith and the support she received from friends and allies, including our Embassy in Khartoum and the broader U.S. government.”
“On behalf of the American people, I am proud to celebrate the arrival of Ms. Ishag and her family in Rome. We look forward to the day when they arrive in America,” Rice added. “In addition to heralding the tireless efforts of my U.S. government colleagues to ensure her safety, I also want to extend my profound thanks to the Italian Government for its dedicated efforts on their behalf.” Ibrahim’s death sentence was overturned last month but Sudanese officials kept her from leaving the country by questioning her travel documents.
“Ms. Ishag’s freedom, while meaningful in its own right, also serves as a reminder that all countries, including Sudan, must uphold the universal right to freedom of religion. The United States has and will continue to support those denied this freedom, drawing strength from Ms. Ishag’s example.”
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said today that the family does have the proper documents to enter the U.S. “She and her family will make the determination on their travel to the United States. It’s really up to the family,” Harf said, adding that she didn’t know if the Vatican interceded in Ibrahim’s case.
Members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, noted chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.), “have been extensively engaged in efforts to secure her release,” including a hearing to draw publicity to her case the day before she was released to the Italians.
“She and her family deserve an opportunity for a new chapter,” Royce said. “…While Meriam and her family escaped Sudan’s religious persecution, apostasy is still on the books in Sudan, leaving the chances open for other reprehensible cases like hers.”
There is no “war on women” in the United States. Those who claim that there is are either cynical are woefully misinformed.
There is a very real war on women in Iraq.
The Irish Times says that the Islamofascists are behaving like Islamofascists in the lands they now hold in Iraq.
Militant group Islamic State has ordered all girls and women in and around Iraq’s northern city of Mosul to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM), the United Nationssaid today.
The “fatwa” issued by the Sunni Muslim fighters would potentially affect 4 million women and girls, UN resident and humanitarian coordinator in Iraq Jacqueline Badcocktold reporters in Geneva by videolink from Arbil.
“This is something very new for Iraq, particularly in this area, and is of grave concern and does need to be addressed,” she said.
Obviously the caliphate’s thugs are most directly to blame for this. Maliki bears some blame as well.
But President Obama deserves a share of the blame for abandoning Iraq. This real and brutal Islamist war on women has his fingerprints on it.
The Sudanese Christian who narrowly escaped death for her beliefs was finally out of Khartoum today and in safe hands at the Vatican.
Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Lapo Pistelli helped arrange Meriam Ibrahim’s departure from Sudan to Rome, according to Vatican Radio. Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi welcomed her at the airport.
Along with her husband, American citizen Daniel Wani, her son Martin and baby Maya, born in prison two months ago, Ibrahim met with Pope Francis for half an hour.
The pope thanked Meriam for her “courageous witness to perseverance in the Faith,” and she thanked the pontiff for his prayers.
Under intense international outcry, her death sentence was overturned last month but Sudanese officials kept her from leaving the country by questioning her travel documents.
The family’s next — and final — stop will be the United States.
“As Christians around the world are being persecuted, attacked and even killed, Meriam’s freedom is good news in an otherwise depressing state of affairs,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
“Meriam is just one of thousands, potentially millions, of Christians worldwide whose lives are in danger because of their religious beliefs,” he added. “The U.S. government must continue to make religious freedom a core of our global human rights agenda, by speaking out for those being denied it and using every tool at our disposal to pressure repressive governments to recognize the virtues of tolerance and religious pluralism.”
The State Department’s report on international religious freedom is due for Monday release.
Rubio said that should be a time for the Obama administration to “back its words with actions.”
“This means targeting religious freedom violators with sanctions under existing law, as well as finally taking the long overdue step of filling the post of Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom,” said the senator. “There is no excuse for this important post to have gone vacant as it has for nine months.”
Energy prices are rising for Americans because Barack Obama wants it that way. He told the San Francisco Chronicle that he would use energy prices hikes to socially engineer energy use, and that is one promise on which he is following through. His EPA’s war on coal alone stands to jack up power prices 70 to 80 percent, according to Dr. Julio Friedmann, of the US Department of Energy.
In recent remarks to the League of Conservation Voters, Obama said that he expects the rest of the world, including developing countries and the largest economies, to do what he is doing to their own energy consumers.
“[W]e’ve got to lead by example. They’re waiting to see what America does.” Obama said on June 25. “And I’m convinced when America proves what’s possible, other countries are going to come along.”
Asia’s two largest economies are not waiting to see what America does, and they’re showing no sign of following Obama’s anti-coal lead.
China says it shares Obama’s goal, but it is following its own lead.
China’s chief climate official Xie Zhenhua said China should not be subject to the same rules for greenhouse gas emissions as the United States and other rich countries, signaling that Beijing will oppose any attempt to impose them at next year’s world climate conference.
“We are in different development stages, we have different historical responsibilities and we have different capacities,” Xie told reporters.
Japan is not only not following Obama’s war on coal, it is increasing coal use in new domestic energy projects, according to Mari Iwata in the Wall Street Journal today.
Japan said Wednesday it would step up support for coal-fired power plants in developing nations, challenging a U.S. policy that seeks to discourage such plants in an effort to fight global warming. […] The move represents a repudiation of the Obama administration’s strict stance of carbon emissions. Washington is talking to members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a club of developed nations, about a rule that would ban national export-credit agencies from financing new overseas coal power plants.
Japan understands that coal can safely power its economy.
Under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s growth strategy, Tokyo seeks each year to back overseas coal power-plant projects worth about $4 billion. Typically those projects have Japanese investors and use at least some Japanese equipment. While the annual target hasn’t been reached yet, several major projects have recently gotten under way.
Japan has long supported energy efficiency. Unlike Barack Obama, who claims to support an “all-of-the-above” strategy that in reality only supports the development of expensive so-called “clean” or “green” energy, Japan actually does support all-of-the-above.
China and Japan are the world’s second and third largest economies respectively.
They’re not buying the Luddite, anti-energy radicalism that Barack Obama is selling on energy.
A loser in the PR battle, Hamas decided to move their international offense to a new front today. Taking advantage of the Malaysian airliner downed by pro-Russian rebels, Hamas is now targeting air traffic entering Israel. Israel National News reports:
A rocket hit a home in the city of Yehud, near the airport, on Tuesday morning. Having failed to cause significant casualties due to Israel’s extensive defense systems, Gaza terrorists have focused rocket fire on the area in hopes of disrupting Israeli air travel.
Delta Air Lines was the first to suspend service, rerouting an Israel-bound flight with 273 passengers and 17 crew members to Paris, as if France is really a safer place for Israel lovers right now. Not long after, the Federal Aviation Administration barred flights to Israel for 24 hours. Air Canada, Lufthansa, Air France, KLM and Turkish Air followed suit. The State Department (whose official tweeted #UnitedforGaza this past weekend) rushed to clarify that the FAA’s move was “in no way politically motivated”.
Israel’s Transportation Minister released the following statement in response to the flight cancellations, rightly observing:
“Ben Gurion Airport is safe — takeoffs and landings — and there is absolutely no need to be concerned about the security of planes and passengers. There’s absolutely no reason why American airlines in particular should stop their flights and thus hand a prize to terrorism.”
The brash action of Hamas may have larger ramifications than even they realize. Analysts are already commenting on the long term impact of the airline safety concerns:
The implications are enormous. Whether intended or not, Hamas has made the case as to why its rocket arsenal and infrastructure must be dismantled no matter the cost. It also has justified why Israel cannot give up security control of Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank”). Hamas has to fire a long way to scare away air traffic, but from the West Bank it’s practically a stone’s throw.
Regardless of how Israel chooses to handle the West Bank, the actions taken by Hamas today have made two things very clear: Hamas has no problem holding America and the rest of the world hostage, and right now Israel is the free world’s last, best and only hope.
This morning’s email bag included a news release with quotes from officers at Union Theological Seminary and Auburn Theological Seminary, in celebration of President Obama’s executive order effectively requiring religious organizations with government contracts over $10,000 to hire homosexuals.
Religious leaders across the country declared victory today as the president honored their request to leave out a religious exemption in an executive order banning LGBT discrimination by federal contractors.
This follows a “grassroots campaign” to gather signatures begging the president to force them to hire homosexuals — or in politically-correct parlance, to prohibit federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. In exultant language, the news release goes on…
Present at today’s signing ceremony was Rev. Fred Davie, Executive Vice President of Union Theological Seminary and a member of the LGBT community. “Today at the White House I witnessed the arc of history bend toward justice,” said Davie. “This is a tremendous victory for those of us who believe that as people of faith we should be exemplary, not exempted. Leaving out a religious exemption is simply the right thing to do, both theologically and civically. It is my obligation, and desire, as a Christian and a member of human community to love my neighbor and it is my obligation as a citizen to treat all my fellow citizens equally, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”
It’s a peculiar locution — “leaving out a religious exemption” — akin to “leaving out the leaving out.” The authors of the press release preferred double negative to a plain assertion, like: “the president commanded faith-based organizations to violate the tenets of their faith if they want to serve as a federal contractors.”
But why all of this unseemly lobbying?
Moral equivalence is dead. When Bill Clinton, the “international community”-blessed architect of Oslo, can blatantly declare
In the short and medium term Hamas can inflict terrible public relations damage by forcing (Israel) to kill Palestinian civilians to counter Hamas. But it’s a crass strategy that takes all of our eyes off the real objective which is a peace that gets Israel security and recognition and a peace that gets the Palestinians their state.
it is obvious that Hamas has finally shot themselves in the foot with the terrorists’ ideological weapon of choice. So, why do news agencies insist on reporting nothing more than body counts in evening news reports, as if the latest conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians is nothing more than a sports game?
Clinton may be a pervert, but he isn’t stupid. He acknowledged the “public relations” battle because he knows that the press follows the cues given by Hamas, the terrorist organization that holds reporters in Gaza against their will. Unless they have the intellect of toddlers, these reporters cannot be blind to the brainwashing from birth that turns children into human shields. Nor can they be so totally blind to the rocket launchers hiding behind schools and mosques in residential neighborhoods. Yet, the best they can muster is a body count followed by sarcastic commentary like that of CNN’s Ben Wedeman: “There is no Iron Dome in Gaza to protect civilians.” Amazing. Toddler Ben gets a gold star for that stellar observation.
As my PJMedia colleague Ron Radosh so excellently pointed out, the intellectuals also have no problem fettering mainstream media with arguments of moral equivalence. All they need is the right costume and a little bathtub gin and they could easily chatter the night away as if they were on the porch of Gatsby’s mansion. That is how comfortable they are turning an international war against Islamic terrorism into the banal “one person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter” claim. Like America’s “restless” President, these politicos prefer the comforts of today’s Weimar. No doubt they are taking fiddling lessons so they can be fully prepared when Rome begins to burn.
There is a reality on the ground that escapes the Hamas-controlled media: Israel loves life. Israel’s policy is to warn Palestinian civilians (or, as Hamas calls them, weapons in Operation Human Shield) to get out of the way before they drop bombs or conduct ground invasions. Israel sets up field hospitals to treat wounded Gazans. We know about these things because, much to the chagrin of the death-loving Hamas, they cannot control the Internet. Just as Israelis are winning the ground offensive, Israel-supporters are winning the ideological offensive through alternative news sources and, most importantly, social media.
This past Saturday, 200 anti-Israel protesters fell to the ground in Boston in a “die-in” meant to demonstrate the number of Palestinians who have been killed thus far in Operation Protective Edge. A number of Israel supporters attended the event and were cornered by the anti-Israel crowd. One Zionist, Chloe Valdary told the Times of Israel:
We really do manage to disrupt them and distract them when we show up. We show up and it’s in the media, so the public sees how hate-filled and incredibly deluded these Hamas supporters are.
We’ve caught onto the PR game and we play to win. Now it is our turn to Tweet with a smile and watch as the death-obsessed Hamas-brainwashed fools fall and take their wretched canard of moral equivalency down with them.
Last week Sierra Mannie, a liberal arts major at The University of Mississippi, nervously stepped up to the mic on CNN to explain the angry op-ed she wrote for her student newspaper that wound up getting published in Time magazine. Entitled “Dear White Gays: Stop Stealing Black Female Culture“, Mannie’s fury turned her thinly-veiled export of classroom-based critical theory into a hot-button pop culture issue. Written in typical college-quality prose, the rage-fueled piece that begins with the line “I need some of you to cut it the hell out,” is unremarkable except for the fact that the author attempts to name a non-existent entity known as “black female culture.”
“There is no such thing as black female culture,” artist April Bey explains. What Mannie was actually referring to, according to Bey, is “ghetto culture,” a destructive ideology that has been appropriated by celebrities and is the subject of pop culture idolization.
According to The Urban Counterculture, ghetto culture is:
Characterized by escapism and materialism, this culture calls irresponsibility freedom, glorifies crime, violence, and hypersexuality, defies all authority, and acts as a coping mechanism for those who feel rejected by mainstream society and economy.
Ghetto culture doesn’t require an address in the ghetto, nor does it appeal solely to blacks:
…you clearly don’t have to live in the ghetto to ‘be’ ghetto; thanks to the entertainment industry, the gospel of the ghetto has been spread far and wide, promising fleshy satisfaction to all who would exchange civility for vulgarity and rebellion, and who will live for today instead of planning for tomorrow.
Most disturbingly, especially in light of Mannie’s rant, is the way ghetto culture treats women:
Because prostitution is one major aspect of the criminal economy of inner cities, the relative degradation and abuse of women is a part of the culture that members of every walk of life can participate in.
Perhaps that is why Beyonce, cited within the article and pictured by Time, is used to bespeak the “black female culture” Mannie claims to defend. As Bey illustrated in her most recent exhibit #WhoDoYouWorship, Beyonce, often a subject of feminism’s own racial double standard, exemplifies ghetto culture’s “black female culture” disinformation campaign.
This is how ghetto culture’s “black female culture” disinformation campaign works:
Seed of Truth: Ghetto culture sexually objectifies black women.
Pack of Lies: As Mannie’s argument illustrates, it is acceptable for black women and their audience to embrace and celebrate this objectification. They may even feel free to legitimize the abuse through the use of the term “black female culture”.
The Ultimate Goal is the glasnost (a strategy of glorification): The glorification of the ghetto culture’s “Ideal Black Woman”. The purveyors of ghetto culture market “black female culture” via the glorification of the Beyonce, the “Ideal Black Woman”. Hence Mannie took such offense at “outsiders” mocking the glorified identity.
When Mannie hammers away at the idea that “black people can’t have anything” therefore they need to hold tightly to “black female culture” she ends up defending the ghetto culture that hides its abuse and subjugation of black women behind a shield of Beyonces. In “breathing fire behind ugly stereotypes” spouted in college classrooms, Mannie became another Beyonce-worshipper. The most her article did was illustrate the fact that many American universities have become propaganda outlets for ghetto culture’s disinformation campaign against black women. The only reason this college student was published in Time magazine is because she obviously excels at being duped.
President Obama told guests at the White House’s annual Iftar dinner tonight that “further escalation” in the Middle East “benefits no one, least of all the Israeli and the Palestinian people.”
Faced with criticism from some Arab and Muslim activists who think he has been too friendly toward the Israeli side, Obama addressed the conflict near the end of his comments, which largely honored “the traditions of one of the world’s great faiths.”
“For all of us, whatever our faiths, Ramadan is a reminder of just how much we share. The values of peace and charity, the importance of family and community — these are universal values. The command to love one another, to uphold justice, and to care for the least among us — these are common threads in our faith traditions,” Obama said.
“…In Islam, there is a hadith that says God helps the servant as long as the servant helps his brother. In other words, we’re summoned to serve and lift up one another, and that’s the lesson of several of our guests here tonight.”
Guests included Muslim Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Andre Carson (D-Ind.), as well as Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.). Ambassadors from Arab and Muslim-majority countries were also invited.
“The pictures we are seeing in Gaza and Israel are heart-wrenching. People here in the United States care deeply about what’s happening there, and I know there are strong views, as well as differences, about how we should move forward, which is part of American democracy. We welcome that debate. That makes us stronger,” Obama said.
“Our goal has been and continues to be peace and security for both Israelis and Palestinians. And I will say very clearly, no country can accept rocket fired indiscriminately at citizens. And so, we’ve been very clear that Israel has the right to defend itself against what I consider to be inexcusable attacks from Hamas,” he continued. “At the same time, on top of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza that we’ve worked long and hard to alleviate, the death and injury of Palestinian civilians is a tragedy, which is why we’ve emphasized the need to protect civilians, regardless of who they are or where they live.”
Obama promised “to continue doing everything we can to facilitate a return to the 2012 cease-fire.”
“We are encouraged that Egypt has made a proposal to accomplish this goal, which we hope can restore the calm that we’ve been seeking. More broadly, however, the situation in Gaza reminds us again that the status quo is unsustainable and that the only path to true security is a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, where differences are resolved peacefully and in ways that respect the dignity of all people,” he said.
Obama has tried to forge a Mideast peace deal in his second term but the process fell apart when Fatah and Hamas negotiated a unity government. Hamas is on the U.S. foreign terrorist organization list.
“Here at home, even as we’re vigilant in ensuring our security, we have to continue to remain true to our highest ideals. In the United States of America, there is no place for false divisions between races and religions,” the president said. “We are all Americans, equal in rights and dignity, and no one should ever be targeted or disparaged because of their faith. And that, too, is what makes us stronger.”
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) July 15, 2014