Raymond Ibrahim

CBN News Contributor, Middle East and Islam Expert

www.raymondibrahim.com

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Exclusive: The Ultimate Source of Islamic Hate for Infidels

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

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

Days ago, for example, after her cross identified Mary Saleh George as a Christian, a pro-Muslim Brotherhood mob attacked, beat, tortured, and slaughtered her.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When asked at a conference how Islam can allow a Muslim man to marry a non-Muslim woman and yet expect him to hate her, Burhami expounded as follows:

Where’s the objection? Do all men love their wives? How many married couples live together despite disagreements and problems? Huh? That being the case, he [Muslim husband] may love the way she [non-Muslim wife] looks, or love the way she raises the children, or love that she has money. This is why he’s discouraged from marrying among the People of the Book—because she has no [real] religion. He is ordered to make her hate her religion while continuing marriage/sexual relations with her. This is a very standard matter….  Of course he should tell her that he hates her religion. He must show her that he hates her because of her religion, and because she is an infidel. But if possible, treat her well—perhaps that will cause her to convert to Islam. He should invite her to Islam and call her to Allah…. In fact, let me tell you: whoever rapes a woman, does he necessarily love her? Or is he just sleeping with her? He’s sleeping with her for her body’s sake only, and he does not love her in reality, because if he loved her, he wouldn’t have hurt her. Therefore it is possible to have sexual relations [between a Muslim man and a Christian or Jewish woman] without love. This is possible, but as we said, he is commanded to hate her (emphasis added).

Burhami even said that the Muslim husband cannot initiate greetings to his non-Muslim wife when he comes home—according to the teachings of Islam’s prophet as recorded in the hadith.

Like all other Islamic clerics, Burhami justified “infidel-wife-hating” by quoting some of the Koran verses that form the cornerstone of the doctrine of Loyalty and Enmity:

Otherwise what do you do with the undisputed texts [of the Koran], such as “Thou wilt not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day, loving those who resist [or reject submission to] Allah and His Messenger, even though they were their fathers or their sons, or their brothers, or their kindred… “O ye who believe! take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors…” [Koran 58:22 and 5:51, Yusuf Ali translation]. What do you do with such a verse? What do you do will all these verses?

Indeed, what does a Muslim do with all these Koran verses and sayings attributed to Islam’s prophet Muhammad?

Such is the dilemma.

From here it becomes clear that the aforementioned Arabic op-ed discussing the slaughter of Mary Saleh George is only partially correct. It is true that behind the mindless mob stand Islamic clerics like Burhami, inciting hatred for Christians and other infidels. But that is not the complete picture; for behind all these clerics stand Islam’s scriptures—the Koran and hadith—commanding enmity for the infidel.

Raymond Ibrahim, a CBN News analyst, is author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians.

posted @ Tuesday, April 15, 2014 11:58 AM | Feedback (7)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

‘They Are Slaughtering Us Like Chickens’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The rest of December’s roundup of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes (but is not limited to) the following accounts, listed by theme and country in alphabetical order, not necessarily according to severity.

Islamic Attacks on Christian Places of Worship

Egypt: After a Coptic Christian priest from the village of Tarshoub, Upper Egypt, left to service a new location and a new priest was sent to Tarshoub, Muslim Brotherhood supporters rioted and attacked the village Christians, including by throwing stones at their homes, burning property, and calling for the closure of the village church, which has been in existence for 40 years. The church was subsequently closed and the priest prevented from entering the village. The Christian Post reported that Christian villagers were “getting close to the New Year celebrations and Christmas, and yet they are not able to open the church…. security authorities have not arrested the aggressors, while Copts were forced to close the church for fear of more attacks, especially in light of continued incitement by the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Indonesia: Five more churches were closed by authorities, leaving thousands of Christians without a place of worship. First, claiming that the existence of a Protestant church in North Sumatra was illegal, hundreds of Muslims belonging to the Islamic Defenders Front attacked and disrupted its Sunday services, creating so much havoc that police had to escort Christians home.  Then, two new churches—one in West Java, the other in South Sulawesi—were sealed off. The Sulawesi church was subsequently demolished by authorities. A few days later, two more churches near Jakarta were forced to stop holding services. According to International Christian Concern, “The reason behind this month’s rash of church closures, especially after seven months of relative quiet, is not exactly clear. It may be that the coming Christmas holiday has ignited always simmering anti-Christian sentiment among radical groups. In 2000, 16 were killed by bomb attacks on churches over the Christmas holiday.”

Russia: In December it was revealed that seven Christian churches were torched in 2013 in a Muslim-majority republic in Russia, according to Asia News: “Churches burned, attacks foiled and increased pressure on Christians to convert to Islam. In Tatarstan—autonomous republic of the Russian Federation, with a Muslim majority—the extremism alarm is increasing.” Although the culprits setting fire to churches are “unidentified extremists,” Father Dmitri Sizov, pastor of Pestrechinsky, said that “the whole community knows that it is the work of the Wahhabis [Islamic literalists]” who “roam, inviting the faithful to convert to Islam.” But “the priests remain silent because they are afraid of being accused of incitement to religious hatred,” added Fr. Dmitri.

Syria: Islamic rebel forces fired multiple mortar shells on a church in the southern province of Daraa, killing 12 people and injuring many others, including church volunteers who were there distributing charity aid to the locals. Separately, five young children were killed when rebels fired two rockets at a Christian school.  According to the Patriarch of the Church of Antioch, more than 450,000 Christian Syrians have been displaced from the conflict, and more than a thousand have been killed.

Islamic Attacks on Christian Freedom: Apostasy, Proselytism, and Dhimmitude

Cameroon: David Dina Mataware, a Christian missionary, was slaughtered by neighboring Nigeria’s Islamic group Boko Haram. On the same day and in the same area that the missionary’s murder took place, a French priest, Father Georges Vandenbeusch, was also kidnapped. The slain missionary, whose throat was slit, had worked in a Nigeria-based mission agency in Cameroon for some fourteen years, bringing the Gospel to remote tribes.

Egypt: “The nation’s most well-known convert from Islam” to Christianity was arrested, including for allegedly inciting “sectarian strife,” and “is likely being tortured,” reported Morning News. Bishoy Armia Boulous, 31—popularly known by his former Muslim name, Muhammad Hegazy—was arrested while in a café. Authorities claim that he was working with a Coptic satellite station to create a “false image” of violence against Christians in Minya, Upper Egypt, where attack on Copts are most common. However, human rights activists close to Bishoy say “his arrest had nothing to do with any reporting work but constituted retaliation for becoming a Christian” and possibly for evangelizing to Muslims.

Iran: While raiding their home, the Islamic republic’s feared secret police assaulted the wife and children of jailed evangelical Pastor Behnam Irani. According to a source assisting the family with advocacy, “They confiscated her laptop computer and Christian materials… While the secret police were in her home they were yelling at her and doing their best to scare her. This really frightened the children, Rebekah and Adriel” and was apparently meant to create enough “fear to silence them.” The raid came after the imprisoned evangelical leader—and former Muslim—was told by a court to remain behind bars because he “did not change.”

Syria: The anti-Christian strictures of Sharia, or Islamic law, continued to be applied onto Christians by Islamic rebels. According to Agenzia Fides, “Kanaye [a Christian region] has been invaded by Islamist militants that terrorize the population, threaten a massacre and have imposed the Islamic law… This has become a pattern that repeats itself and that in recent weeks has focused on a number of Christian villages: armed guerrillas penetrate into the village, terrorize civilians, commit kidnappings, kill, sow destruction.”& Father George Louis of the village of Qara, which has been devastated and burned, explained: Maalula [the aforementioned Ma’loula], Sednaya, Sadad, Qara and Deir Atieh, Nebek: armed jihadists target a village, they invade it, kill people, burn and devastate it.”

Turkmenistan: Police and Secret Service agents in Dashoguz, a northern city, raided a group of believers of the Church of the Light of the East, a Protestant community. Forces raided two houses of prayer, seizing religious materials, including Bibles. An official of the Department of Religious Affairs, who is also an imam at the local mosque, went on to inform the pastor that his faith “is wrong” and warned him to convert to Islam, adding “Christianity is a mistake … it’s not a religion, but a myth.” Moreover, Christians practicing hymns for Sunday service were told by officers that “the songs of praise to God are banned here.” Adds Asia News: “Meanwhile, an increasing number of people are being incarcerated for crimes of opinion and defense of religious freedom.”

Carnage of Christians

Central African Republic: In just two days of violence, at least 1,000 people were killed in Bangui, CAR’s capital, following the chaos that has engulfed the nation after Seleka, a coalition of Muslim militia, whose members include many foreigners, ousted the Christian president—the nation is Christian-majority with a significant Muslim-minority—and installed a Muslim ruler. Because some Christians tried to resist with violence, killing some 60 Muslim males in combat, the Islamic group “retaliated on a larger scale against Christians in the wake of the attack, killing nearly 1,000 men over a two-day period and systematically looting civilian homes. A small number of women and children were also killed,” reported Amnesty. Tens of thousands of Christians fled from machete-wielding Muslims, many now living in desperate conditions around churches and bishoprics. “They are slaughtering us like chickens,” said one Christian. “We have had enough of Seleka killing, raping and stealing,” said another, adding that he was not sure whether he could ever go back and live among Muslims. “We are angry,” he said. “The Muslims should go back where they came from.”

Nigeria: Islamic Fulani herdsmen killed at least 205 Christian farmers in the latter half of 2013, while ten thousand more Christians were displaced and many of their churches destroyed or closed. As for motive, Christian leaders, “had no doubt the Muslim assailants aimed to demoralize and destroy Christians,” said Morning Star News. Several of the attackers appear to be mercenaries from outside the area, explaining how the Fulani farmers became so heavily armed. “Life has become unbearable for our church members who have survived these attacks, and they are making worship services impossible,” said a Roman Catholic bishop. Another area Christian leader said that “Many of our Christian brethren have been killed. The Muslim gunmen that are attacking our Christian communities are numerous; they are so many that we can’t count them. They are spread across all the communities and unleashing terror on our people without any security resistance.”

About this Series

The persecution of Christians in the Islamic world is on its way to reaching pandemic proportions. Accordingly, “Muslim Persecution of Christians” was developed to collate some—by no means all—of the instances of persecution that surface each month. It serves two purposes:

1) To document that which the mainstream media does not: the habitual, if not chronic, persecution of Christians.

2) To show that such persecution is not “random,” but systematic and interrelated—that it is rooted in a worldview inspired by Sharia.

Accordingly, whatever the anecdote of persecution, it typically fits under a specific theme, including hatred for churches and other Christian symbols; sexual abuse of Christian women; forced conversions to Islam; apostasy and blasphemy laws that criminalize and punish with death those who “offend” Islam; theft and plunder in lieu of jizya (financial tribute expected from non-Muslims); overall expectations for Christians to behave like cowed dhimmis, or second-class, “tolerated” citizens; and simple violence and murder. Sometimes it is a combination.

Because these accounts of persecution span different ethnicities, languages, and locales—from Morocco in the West, to India in the East—it should be clear that one thing alone binds them: Islam—whether the strict application of Islamic Sharia law, or the supremacist culture born of it.

Gatestone Institute

posted @ Thursday, April 10, 2014 5:00 PM | Feedback (0)

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Muslim Cleric Urges Poor Women to Become Sex-Slaves

Within the context of keeping the Syrian jihad alive, it seems there is no end to the attempts of some Islamic clerics to legitimize otherwise forbidden behavior in order to gratify the sexual urges of the jihadis and keep them fighting Syrian president Bashar Assad.

First, there was the now infamous "sex-jihad" fatwa, which holds that any Muslim woman who willingly allows her body to be used by the sexually deprived jihadis becomes herself a jihadi, if not a "martyr," deserving of all the honor and rewards associated with those titles. (Much has been written about the sex jihad, including videotaped testimonials - and how one teenage girl, after copulating with countless jihadis, got pregnant and contracted AIDS - even as pro-Syrian war Western entities like Foreign Policy try to deny it.)

Another fatwa permitted the jihadis in Syria to enslave and rape any non-Sunni women - including Alawites (Assad's sect), Christians, Druze, and all Shia-in the context of their status as melk al-yamin or "right hand possessions," per Koran 4:3 (a verse that permits the enslavement and sexual use of conquered "infidel" women).

Now, the same Islamic cleric who issued this last "rape fatwa" has issued another fatwa urging destitute women in war torn Syria to become the "right hand possessions" of any man willing to support them-basically, to sell themselves into sex-slavery.

In a video that appeared in December 2013, Jordanian Sheikh Yassin al-Ajlawni, who says he lived in Syria for 17 years, asserted that "the needy, disenfranchised Syrian woman is permitted to ask the Muslim man who is capable of supporting her, to enter into a "right hand possession" contract with him, whereby she becomes his right hand possession."

Ajlawni's logic is that, because Syria is in a state of war, and the numbers of men are dropping, needy and displaced women are permitted to seek out support by selling themselves into concubinage.

In the Muslim sheikh's own words:

We hereby give fatwa permitting the Syrian woman who desires to be married to a Muslim man, via a "right hand possession" contract-whereby he becomes her master and she becomes his slave-that all this contract needs is for the woman be clean of her menstruation period, and that this contract be registered with the sheikhs or other authorities, either in a Sharia or civil court… Afterwards, once the woman says, "I give you possession over myself," via contract of "right hand possession," this woman becomes his loyal servant, and he her lord; she becomes a slave and concubine to him, and he must support her according to a previously agreed upon monetary fee … thus they become governed by the rulings of "right hand possession," and there is no problem with this, Allah willing.

To bolster his fatwa, al-Ajlawni referred to a few hadiths (recorded words and teachings of Islam's prophet Muhammad), including: "One of the signs of the [final] hour is that knowledge will decrease, ignorance will increase, adultery will appear, women will grow in numbers, while men will grow less, so that fifty women will be worth one [man]."

Islamic sex slavery is as old as Islam itself.

Al-Ajlawni also cited a hadith from the canonical Sahih Bukhari, which has the prophet saying: "whenever fitna [sedition from Islam] becomes widespread, Allah distinguishes his followers, so that 50 women follow one man, saying, 'Oh Abdullah ["slave of Allah"], take care of me,'" adding that in the same narrative the woman says, "O Abdullah, have sex with me."

In closing, the sheikh said: "We call on the ulema of Syria to adopt this [fatwa], for it is the only legitimate way to guarantee that displaced Syrian women who have no one to rely on but Allah are not physically or sexually exploited or beaten in ways that contradict Sharia. All prayers and blessings upon our prophet."

While one may rationalize such fatwas away in the context of the chaotic situation in Syria, the fact is, the same fatwa, the same logic, was earlier issued in Egypt, soon after Muhammad Morsi became president in 2012. Then, Egypt's first "sex slave" marriage took place, when a woman declared before her future master-spouse, "I enslave myself to you," before they kissed to an applauding crowd.

The justification for "right hand possession" marriages in Egypt was not displaced and destitute women, but rather young, sexually-frustrated men not able to afford wives, and women who wish to dress promiscuously-since the rules governing female "right hand possessions" forbid them from wearing the hijab (as sex-slaves, they are required to be partially naked, differentiating them from Muslim women, as explained by this Kuwaiti woman).

posted @ Wednesday, April 09, 2014 12:30 PM | Feedback (1)

Monday, April 07, 2014

Muslim Brotherhood Slaughter Christian Woman

On Friday, March 28, in Ain Shams, a suburb of Cairo, rioting Muslim Brotherhood supporters attacked the Virgin Mary and Archangel Michael Coptic Orthodox Church, including by opening fire on it and setting parked cars aflame.  Four people died.

One of the slain, a young Coptic woman, was savagely mauled and molested before being murdered—simply because her cross identified her as a Christian to the Brotherhood rioters.

According to an eyewitness who discussed the entire event on the Egyptian program, 90 Minutes, Mary Sameh George was parking by the church to deliver medicine to a sickly, elderly woman:

     Once they saw that she was a Christian [because of the cross hanging on her rear view mirror], they jumped on top of the car, to the point that the vehicle was no longer visible. The roof of the car collapsed in.  When they realized that she was starting to die, they pulled her out of the car and started pounding on her and pulling her hair—to the point that portions of her hair and scalp came off.  They kept beating her, kicking her, stabbing her with any object or weapon they could find….  Throughout [her ordeal] she tried to protect her face, giving her back to the attackers, till one of them came and stabbed her right in the back, near the heart, finishing her off.  Then another came and grabbed her by the hair, shaking her head, and with the other hand slit her throat.  Another pulled her pants off, to the point that she was totally naked.

The eyewitness, as well as many others who have since appeared on videos, complained about Egyptian State Security and how it did not intervene—just like under Morsi, when St. Mark Cathedral was besieged, even as security stood by—how it knows exactly who the murderers are, and how one of Mary’s murderers, whom “everyone reported to Security,” was simply relaxing in his home, not even hiding.

Added the eyewitness: “Let me tell you, here in Ain Shams, we [Christians] know that every Friday is a day of death; that the day after Friday, Saturday, we’ll be carried to the morgue!”

In fact, the overwhelming majority of attacks on Egypt’s Christians occur on Friday—the day when pious Muslims meet in mosque for prayers and to hear sermons.

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

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

A video of Mary’s family members has one woman screaming out the following words—which may be of interest to some Americans:

     A message to [U.S. President Barack] Obama, who is calling for the Brotherhood to return to power again. I want to tell him, have mercy, enough is enough!  His brother is in the al-Qaeda organization!  Why do you want to destroy Egypt?….Egypt will remain whether you, the Brotherhood, or anyone else likes it or not!

She was referring to something that is as well known in Egypt as it is little known in the United States:  that the Obama administration is a sponsor of the Muslim Brotherhood, which itself is connected to al-Qaeda.

The rest of the video portrays some of Mary’s other family members—many in tears and near hysteria—prompting one to wonder: where is the U.S media?  I have not seen a word on this latest Islamic attack on a church and Christians on BBC, CNN, or any of the so-called “mainstream media”?  Why is that?  They had no problem constantly showing us (over and over again) a video clip of a hysterical female relative of a member of Malaysian flight MH370.

The mainstream media is silent because Muslim persecution of Christians in general—Obama-sponsored Muslim Brotherhood in particular—throws a huge wrench in their narrative.

After all, how many Americans ever heard of the largest massacre of Syrian Christians by U.S.-supported Islamic rebels?

Responding to this latest murder of a Christian, Coptic Bishop Raphaeil wrote:

     Oh how lucky you are, Mary, you who are beloved of Christ.  They tore your body because of the Cross. Yet they offered you the greatest service and gave you a name of honor as one who has attained the crown of martyrdom.

More poignantly, the bishop quoted Christ in the Bible, “Yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service” (John 16:2) - a reference to the fact that the Muslims slaughtering the followers of Christ all around the world quite often believe they are doing God’s (or Allah’s) work.

Hence why anecdotes such as Friday’s are becoming immensely regular in the Muslim world. Indeed, only a few months ago, two other Coptic Christian girls — both also named “Mary” — were slain when Brotherhood supporters opened fire on yet another church.

Such is the dramatic, eye-opening, and medieval world outside U.S. borders that the “powers that be” do not want you to know about—for only their well-crafted, self-serving narratives must prevail.

posted @ Monday, April 07, 2014 12:13 PM | Feedback (2)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Why ‘Moderate Islam’ Is an Oxymoron

At a time when terrorism committed in the name of Islam is rampant, we are continuously being assured—especially by three major institutions that play a dominant role in forming the Western mindset, namely, mainstream media, academia, and government—that the sort of Islam embraced by “radicals,” “jihadis,” and so forth, has nothing to do with “real” Islam.

“True” Islam, so the narrative goes, is intrinsically free of anything “bad.” It’s the nut-jobs who hijack it for their own agenda that are to blame.

More specifically, we are told that there exists a “moderate” Islam and an “extremist” Islam—the former good and true, embraced by a Muslim majority, the latter a perverse sacrilege practiced by an exploitative minority.

But what do these dual adjectives—“moderate” and “extremist”—ultimately mean in the context of Islam? Are they both equal and viable alternatives insofar as how Islam is understood? Are they both theologically legitimate? This last question is particularly important, since Islam is first and foremost a religious way of life centered around the words of a deity (Allah) and his prophet (Muhammad)—the significance of which is admittedly unappreciated by secular societies.

Both terms—“moderate” and “extremist”—have to do with degree, or less mathematically, zeal: how much, or to what extent, a thing is practiced or implemented. As Webster’s puts it, “moderate” means “observing reasonable limits” “extremist” means “going to great or exaggerated lengths.”

It’s a question, then, of doing either too much or too little.

The problem, however, is that mainstream Islam offers a crystal-clear way of life, based on the teachings of the Koran and Hadith—the former, containing what purport to be the sacred words of Allah, the latter, the example (or sunna, hence “Sunnis”) of his prophet, also known as the most “perfect man” (al-insan al-kamil). Indeed, based on these two primary sources and according to normative Islamic teaching, all human actions fall into five categories: forbidden actions, discouraged actions, neutral actions recommended actions, and obligatory actions.

In this context, how does a believer go about “moderating” what the deity and his spokesman have commanded? One can either try to observe Islam’s commandments or one can ignore them: any more or less is not Islam—a word which means “submit” (to the laws, or sharia, of Allah).

The real question, then, is what do Allah and his prophet command Muslims (“they who submit”) to do? Are radicals “exaggerating” their orders? Or are moderate Muslims simply “observing reasonable limits”—a euphemism for negligence?—when it comes to fulfilling their commandments?

In our highly secularized era, where we are told that religious truths are flexible or simply non-existent, and that any and all interpretations and exegeses are valid, the all-important question of “What does Islam command?” loses all relevance.

Hence why the modern West is incapable of understanding Islam.

Indeed, just the other day, a Kenyan mosque leader said that the Westgate massacre, where Islamic gunmen slaughtered some 67 people, “was justified. As per the Koran, as per the religion of Islam, Westgate was 100 percent justified.” Then he said: “Radical Islam is a creation of people who do not believe in Islam. We don’t have radical Islam, we don’t have moderates, we don’t have extremists. Islam is one religion following the Koran and the Sunna” [emphasis added].

Note his point that “Radical Islam is a creation of people who do not believe in Islam,” a clear reference to the West which coined the phrase “radical Islam.” Ironically, the secular West, which relegates religious truths to the realm of “personal experience,” feels qualified to decide what is and is not “radical” about Islam.

Consider one example: Allah commands Muslims to “Fight those among the People of the Book [Jews and Christians] who do not believe in Allah nor the Last Day, nor forbid what Allah and His Messenger have forbidden, nor embrace the religion of truth [i.e., Islam], until they pay the jizya [tribute] with willing submission and feel themselves subdued” [Koran 9:29].

How can one interpret this verse to mean anything other than what it plainly says? Wherein lies the ambiguity, the room for interpretation? Of course there are other teachings and allusions in the Koran that by necessity lend themselves over to the fine arts of interpretation, or ijtihad. But surely the commands of Koran 9:29 are completely straightforward?

In fact, Muhammad’s 7th century followers literally acted on this and similar verses (e.g., 9:5), launching the first Muslim conquests, which saw the subjugation of millions of Christians, Jews, and others, and the creation of the “Muslim world.” Such jihadi expansion continued until Islam was beaten on the battlefield by a resurgent West some two or three centuries ago.

Western scholarly works, before the age of relativism and political correctness set in, did not equivocate the meaning of jihad. Thus the authoritative Encyclopaedia of Islam’s entry for “jihad” states that the “spread of Islam by arms is a religious duty upon Muslims in general … Jihad must continue to be done until the whole world is under the rule of Islam … Islam must completely be made over before the doctrine of jihad [warfare to spread Islam] can be eliminated. Islamic law expert and U.S. professor Majid Khadduri (1909-2007), after defining jihad as warfare, wrote that “jihad … is regarded by all jurists, with almost no exception, as a collective obligation of the whole Muslim community.”

(As for the argument that the Bible contains similar war verses, yet Jews and Christians are not out to conquer the world—so why say Muslims are?—see “Are Judaism and Christianity as Violent as Islam” for a detailed breakdown of the similarities and differences. Also see “Islamic Jihad and the Doctrine of Abrogation” to understand how the Koran’s more tolerant verses have been abrogated by its more militant ones, such as 9:29.)

In short, how can a sincere Muslim—by definition, one who has submitted to the teachings of Allah—“moderate” verses like 9:29? How can he “observe reasonable limits” vis-à-vis these plain commands to combat and subjugate non-Muslims?

Must Muslims not, at the very least, admit that such teachings are true and should be striven for—even if they do not personally engage in the jihad, at least not directly (but they are encouraged to support it indirectly, including monetarily or through propaganda?)

Just recently, reports appeared telling of how Islamic groups in Syria were following Koran 9:29 to a tee—forcing Christian minorities to pay them jizya, i.e., extortion money, in exchange for their lives. In fact, all around the Islamic world, Christians and other minorities are regularly plundered by Muslims who justify their actions be referring to the aforementioned verse.

Are all such Muslims being “extreme” in light of the commands of Koran 9:29—which specifically calls for the taking of money from Christians and Jews—or are they simply upholding the unambiguous teachings of Islam?

One may argue that, if Muslims are to take Koran 9:29 literally, why are Muslim nations the world over not declaring an all-out jihad on all non-Muslim nations, including America? The ultimate reason, of course, is that they simply can’t; they do not have the capacity to uphold that verse (and Islamic teaching allows Muslims to postpone their obligations until circumstances are more opportune).

It would obviously be silly, if not suicidal, for, say, Saudi Arabia, birthplace of Islam, to issue a statement to the West saying either accept Islam, pay jizya/tribute, or die by the sword. But just because Muslim nations do not currently have the capacity to actualize Koran 9:29, does not mean that they do not acknowledge its veracity and try to actualize it in other places when they can.

A quick survey of history before the meteoric rise of Western military might put Islam in check makes this especially clear.

Bottom line: If Islam teaches X and a Muslim upholds X—how is he being “extreme”? Seems more logical to say that it is Islam itself that is being “extreme.” Similarly, if a self-professed Muslim does not uphold Islamic teachings—including prayer, fasting, paying zakat, etc.—how is he being a “moderate”? Seems more logical to say that he is not much of a Muslim at all—that is, he is not submitting to Allah, the very definition of “Muslim.”

It’s time to acknowledge that dichotomized notions like “moderate” and “extreme” are culturally induced and loaded standards of the modern, secular West—hardly applicable to the teachings of Islam—and not universal absolutes recognized by all mankind.

Raymond Ibrahim, a CBN News contributor, is author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians, and a Shillman fellow, David Horowitz Freedom Center; associate fellow, Middle East Forum; media fellow, Hoover Institution 2013.

 

posted @ Monday, March 24, 2014 4:54 PM | Feedback (7)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Seven Christians Executed in Libya

Libyan authorities came across the slain bodies of seven Christian Copts in the region of Garutha, less than 20 miles west of Benghazi, on Monday afternoon.

According to Libyan authorities, “The slain were killed by gunshots all over their bodies.”

Pictures confirm that the men were killed “execution-style,” including one Copt whose head and face were partially shot off.

The ages of the dead range between 17 and 25.

Since the ouster of the decades-long dictator of Libya, Gaddafi, Christians in general, Copts from neighboring Egypt in particular, have been suffering abuses at the hands of the empowered Islamists — from evicted nuns, to Christians arrested, tortured and killed for “proselytizing,” to the bombing of the few churches in Libya.

This latest atrocity is simply following an increasingly familiar pattern.

posted @ Tuesday, February 25, 2014 3:59 PM | Feedback (0)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Kidnapped Nuns No Longer Bear the Cross

A new video of the 12 Christian nuns kidnapped in Syria recently appeared. In it, the nuns are taped sitting in a room and being questioned by an unseen man, presumably a member of the kidnappers. He asks them how they are, if they’ve been mistreated, etc.

They respond that they are being treated fine, that they very much look forward to being returned to their convent, that they heartily thank the world for its concern, and that they continually pray that God grant peace to all nations.

Their words say one thing, their expressions and demeanor another. Put differently, as female captives of Islamic jihadis, what else could they say but what they were told to say? (See, for example, how the nun in glasses had to be forced to face the camera at 1:46.) Even if one of them dared to say the “wrong thing,” it naturally would have been edited out. Who knows how many takes it took to get the video—which includes a bizarre clip of the nuns having a snowball fight with their abductors—just right?

One thing, however, although minor, speaks volumes concerning the nature of their captivity. Although these same nuns, in pictures before they were kidnapped, often appear wearing the large pectoral crosses that nuns often wear, these are all gone in the recent video.

This is to be expected, considering the “pious” nature of their captors. According to strict Islamic teaching, Christians and other non-Muslims are forbidden to show any signs or expressions of their “polytheism” (shirk in Arabic). Indeed, this is spelled out clearly in the Conditions of Omar, which mainstream Muslim teaching attributes to the second caliph of the same name.

After the seventh century armies of Islam conquered a particular Christian region—possibly and ironically in Syria—Omar stipulated several conditions for Christians to accept, including “Not to display a cross on them [churches], nor raise our voices during prayer or readings in our churches anywhere near Muslims; Not to produce a cross or [Christian] book in the markets of the Muslims” (see Crucified Again, pgs. 24-27 for my new translation of the entire text of the Conditions of Omar).

From here we understand the true plight of the captive nuns: to their captors, not only are the Christian women hostages to be used for leverage, but ideologically speaking, they are “infidel” inferiors—near sub-humans who are more akin to animals. Indeed, the same Caliph Omar whom Syria’s jihadis are hearkening to regarding the ban on Christian crosses is also on record saying that the life of a non-Muslim is equal to the life of a dog (Western readers should bear in mind that in Arab/Muslim culture, dogs are among the lowest life forms.)

As such, the plight of the kidnapped nuns remains precarious—all their scripted words aside. (See here for more on the history of Islamic jihad on Christian nuns.)

As for the effects of removing  the nuns’ crosses, an Arabic column by one Father George makes an interesting point highlighting the difference between outwardly observant “Salafi” Muslims, presumably like the kidnappers—with their beards and prayer callouses on their foreheads—and inwardly observant Christians like these nuns:

St Paul says “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Galatians 6:14). You removed the cross from the nuns’ breasts. Remove it!  We do not rely on the visible. But know that the cross is firmly planted in the hearts of each and every one of those nuns.

World Magazine

posted @ Thursday, February 20, 2014 4:16 PM | Feedback (2)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

US Chose to Stay Silent on Muslim Persecution of Christians

The endemic rise of Christian persecution in the Middle East was noted in November when Pope Francis declared “We will not resign ourselves to imagining a Middle East without Christians” and stressed the importance of “the universal right to lead a dignified life and freely practice one’s own faith” after he met with patriarchs from Syria, Iran, and Iraq, all countries where Christian minorities are under attack.

On the other hand, powers best placed to do something about the plight of Mideast Christians—namely, the U.S. Obama administration—made it clear that they would do nothing, even when well leveraged to do so.

In November, the wife of American pastor Saeed Abedini, who has been imprisoned in Iran for over a year for practicing Christianity, said she and her family were devastated after learning that the Obama administration did not try to secure the release of her husband as part of the newly signed deal on Iran’s nuclear program.

“The talks over Iran’s nuclear program were seen by his [Abedini’s] family and those representing them as one of the most promising avenues yet for securing his release,” said Fox News. “But the White House confirmed over the weekend that Abedini’s status was not on the table during those talks.”

“I don’t think we have any more leverage,” said Abedini’s wife. “We now have to consider other avenues and having other countries speak out because our country when we could have used our leverage chose to stay silent.”

The rest of November’s roundup of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes (but is not limited to) the following accounts, listed by theme and country in alphabetical order, not necessarily according to severity: 

Islamic Attacks on Christian Places of Worship

Lebanon: An unidentified attacker firebombed the reception area of the newly built Christian cathedral of the town’s patron Saint, Mar Zakhya. Despite the loud boom heard in the town’s main square, there was limited damage; some building material used for the building process of the cathedral was destroyed. Although Lebanon was Christian-majority in the mid-20th century, today it is roughly 60% Muslim, 40% Christian.

Sudan: Police and security forces used a truck and two land cruisers to batter down the fence around Khartoum Bahri Evangelical Church, before breaking into the church and beating and arresting the Christians present as Muslim onlookers shouted “Allahu Akbar” (“Allah is greater”). The government, which has been destroying or taking over church buildings in retaliation to the secession of the mainly Christian South Sudan in July 2011, is believed to be behind the move, on the pretext that parts of the church’s property actually belong to a Muslim business investor.

Syria: Nine children were killed and 27 people wounded after Islamic rebels targeted and fired mortar rounds at the St. John of Damascus Christian School and the school bus. Also, the aftermath of the rebel invasion and occupation of the city of Qamishli in the northeast near the Turkish border revealed and included—among other atrocities such as killing and beheading Christians and their clergy—the destruction of all Christian icons in the local church and theft of the church’s most prized possession, a reportedly two-thousand year-old icon of the face of Christ.

Turkey: Historically the oldest Christian place of worship in Istanbul, the ancient monastery of San Giovanni in Studion founded in 462, currently classified as a museum, is now going to serve as a mosque. This would be the third ancient Christian building and heritage site to be set to be transformed into a mosque. Earlier it was announced that the ancient churches of Hagia Sophia (St. Sophia) in Trabzon and in Iznik would also be turned into mosques.

Islamic Attacks on Christian Freedom: Apostasy, Blasphemy, Proselytism

India: TJ Joseph, a Christian college professor, was finally acquitted of all blasphemy charges, though he is still missing an arm. Back in 2010 he had his right hand and part of his arm cut off by a group of men, following accusations that some of his exams contained offensive questions about Islam’s prophet Muhammad. Although he had apologized, after he was mutilated, he was also fired by his college. According to one source: the most serious aspects of this episode “was the attitude of the police, who registered the complaint against him and also arrested him, and of the institution, which has suspended him from duty. Fortunately, the Mahatma Gandhi University, to which Newman College is affiliated, revoked the decision of the school authorities and has offered him his job back.”

Iran: The fate of Hossein Saketi Aramsari, a Christian known as “Stephen” among his friends, remained unknown. Iran’s secret police arrested him back in July, 2013, on suspicions that he was engaging in “evangelistic activities.” According to sources, apparently to increase pressure on him, authorities transferred him from one jail to another; he has also been in solitary confinement. Then, in October, a judge of the local Revolutionary Court “officially charged him with doing evangelism.” It is believed that he is currently held in the same prison where Benham Irani, another Christian “prisoner of conscience” is being held, abused, and refused medical treatment, also on the charge of proselytizing. Explaining this rise in crackdowns on evangelizing, Mohabat News said, “Conversion of youth and their families has become a major concern for the Iranian security authorities and Islamic leaders.” Separately, a former Muslim and drug addict who twice attempted to commit suicide before he converted to Christianity at a rehabilitation center at the hands of another former Muslim and ex-drug addict woman who had earlier become Christian, was, according to those close to him, falsely convicted of selling drugs in the facility, severely beaten, and sentenced to prison, after authorities learned that he himself had begun to proselytize in the rehabilitation center. Police also temporarily arrested Armin Davoodi’s parents at their home and confiscated his personal belongings, including the Bibles he used to take to the rehabilitation center.  Relatives with strong government connections were able to get him released under numerous conditions, including a requirement that he state in writing that Christians had misled him into the faith and that he would never again go to a church or talk to other Muslims about the Gospel, and that if he did, he would be executed by the state. So he agreed to their proposal and has since fled.

Pakistan: Blasphemy cases against Christians have reached an all-time high. Four such cases were reported in November, which, according to activists, is four times higher than the monthly average recorded over the past two years. Activists and clergy further stressed that the overwhelming majority of blasphemy accusations are being used as “instruments of revenge” against Christians, as a sure way to see them get punished for whatever real or imagined grievance accusing Muslims may have.  Separately, Younis Masih, a 35-year-old Christian who had been imprisoned and sentenced to death on blasphemy charges since 2005, was finally released after judges decreed he did not blaspheme Islam. He and his family are still in hiding since some Muslims still seek to kill him despite his being cleared of the blasphemy charge. According to Younis: “I have four children and I have no job, no one is helping me. I live with the fear of being killed.” And in the words of his lawyer: “Christians in Pakistan fear threats, attacks, violence, discrimination and hatred. The law of blasphemy is always a sword of Damocles hanging over their heads: Their life is not safe even after their release from prison.”

Somalia: A Muslim convert to Christianity living in Mogadishu was killed by Islamic gunmen accusing him of spreading the faith. Two men armed with pistols shot Abdikhani Hassan, 35, seven times as he approached his home after closing his pharmacy. He is survived by his wife, who is pregnant, and five children ranging in age from 3 to 12. He and his wife converted to Christianity back in 2000. Before killing him, one of the assailants told a neighbor, “We have information that Hassan is spreading wrong religion to our people, and we are looking for him.”  According to a source, “The men who murdered Abdikhani [Hassan] are suspected to be Al Shabaab militia,” the Somali wing of al-Qaeda which has vowed to cleanse the country of any Christian presence.

Turkey: A Christian pastor was reportedly arrested on charges of organizing human trafficking and prostitution. The Christian community of Agape (or “Brotherly Love”) Church, where Orhan Picaklar, 42, is pastor, insists that he is innocent, and that “the allegations are entirely instrumental, as the Pastor was under observation for suspected ‘illegal missionary activity.’” Later, the church where the Agape community meets was damaged by vandals, although the congregation has obtained the formal status of “association” in 2005 (as with other Christian communities in Turkey, the government does not grant official recognition of “church” to new communities).

Dhimmitude

Central African Republic: 450,000 Christians have fled their homes in the 80% Christian-majority nation since the Islamic takeover in March 2013.  Then, Seleka—a coalition of local and foreign Arabic-speaking Islamic militias—seized control of the capital, Bangui, in an orgy of violence, bloodshed, and rape, against Christians. As one analyst put it, “But Seleka does not rape, loot and kill indiscriminately. Rather, Seleka attacks Christians and spares Muslims, causing traditional community trust to evaporate, and creating a sectarian tinderbox.” And in fact, Christians, who make the majority of the African nation, are fighting back, leading to an extremely volatile situation. Christian Bishop Albert Vanbuel stated “a rebellion of religious extremism with evil intentions, characterized by profanation and planned destruction of religious buildings, especially Catholic and Protestant churches” is now in power.

Egypt: Three months after the Egyptian military liberated Delga from Muslim Brotherhood supporters and sympathizers—who were forcing Christians to pay jizya, or tribute, for right of life—they continued to terrorize Christians in other towns across Egypt. Especially throughout regions in Upper Egypt like Minya, extortionists using the threat of kidnap, torture and murder seized money, land and other property from Christians. One Copt was tied by his kidnappers as they repeatedly shot an automatic rifle next to his ear. According to Morning Star News, “Besides the emotional damage he suffered, the shockwaves exiting the rifle combined with the muzzle blast shattered the Christian’s eardrums and burned his face. The Copt begged his family to gather the ransom money, and eventually they paid the kidnappers some 50,000 Egyptian pounds (US$7,260). He returned to his family shattered and unable to speak of the ordeal until recently.” According to the founder of the Maspero Union, targeting Christians in the context of seizing their money and property is seen “as a religious duty.” The director of a human rights organization in Upper Egypt said, “This past month alone, we had nine cases of kidnapping in Minya, and they all paid their ransom, which was between 100,000 and 250,000 Egyptian pounds [US$14,500 to $36,300] for each case.” Separately in Minya, after a Coptic boy was accused of being in a relationship with a Muslim girl, “Muslims burnt down the house of the boy’s father and an adjacent house.”

Nigeria: After kidnapping a teenage Christian girl named Hajja, members of the Boko Haram terrorist organization kept her as a slave, eventually putting a knife to her throat and offering her one of two choices: convert to Islam or die. “If I cried, they beat me. If I spoke, they beat me. They told me I must become a Muslim but I refused again and again… They were about to slaughter me and one of them begged me not to resist and just before I had my throat slit I relented. They put a veil on me and made me read from the Koran.” According to Reuters, “She ceremonially converted to Islam, cooked for the men, carried ammunition during an attack on a police outpost and was about to be married to one of the insurgents before she managed to engineer a dramatic escape. She says she was not raped.” Recounting how her captors used her to lure people into traps, the 19-year-old told Reuters, and “They took them back to a cave and tied them up. They cut their throats, one at a time. I thought my heart would burst out of my chest, because I was the bait.” Among those who did the slaughtering was the Muslim wife of a leader, the only other woman in the band of jihadi terrorists. Separately, a Baptist high school principal and some teachers were beaten to a “pulp” and “state of coma” at the hands of “unknown persons,” who used, among other weapons, axes. The reason was that the school had earlier sent home a female student for wearing a veil, or Islamic hijab, while on school premises. Finally, over 70 Christians were killed by what were described as “Islamic extremists”: Boko Haram terrorists killed 34 Christians in Borno state, while “Muslim herdsmen” slaughtered 37 Christians, injured dozens, and looted and destroyed their homes, in coordinated attacks on four Plateau state villages.

Pakistan: An entire Christian community has been forced to flee a Lyarni neighborhood known as the “Slaughter House,” due to the endemic killings, rapes of young girls, thefts, drug dealing, and extortions. Before surrounding Muslims began their incursions, the residential area was 90% Christian, 10% Hindu, with four churches and three temples. “It is almost empty now,” disclosed a Christian elder of a Christian family. “We all are separated now. We won’t be reunited again.” “A lot of the families have left the compound since 2008, after their daughters were kidnapped and raped,” claimed another community elder. “No one knows where they have gone.” He recalled an incident when a teenage girl, who was dancing at her brother’s wedding, was kidnapped. “Her parents, brother and relatives cried and appealed to the kidnappers but they didn’t listen,” he narrated. “She was dishonoured and was left outside the compound the next morning. That family was never seen in the city again.”

About this Series

While not all, or even most Muslims are involved, the persecution of Christians in the Islamic world is on its way to reaching pandemic proportions. Accordingly, “Muslim Persecution of Christians” was developed to collate some—by no means all—of the instances of persecution that surface each month. It serves two purposes:

1) To document that which the mainstream media does not: the habitual, if not chronic, persecution of Christians.

2) To show that such persecution is not “random,” but systematic and interrelated—that it is rooted in a worldview inspired by Sharia.

Accordingly, whatever the anecdote of persecution, it typically fits under a specific theme, including hatred for churches and other Christian symbols; sexual abuse of Christian women; forced conversions to Islam; apostasy and blasphemy laws that criminalize and punish with death those who “offend” Islam; theft and plunder in lieu of jizya (financial tribute expected from non-Muslims); overall expectations for Christians to behave like cowed dhimmis, or second-class, “tolerated” citizens; and simple violence and murder. Sometimes it is a combination.

Because these accounts of persecution span different ethnicities, languages, and locales—from Morocco in the West, to India in the East—it should be clear that one thing alone binds them: Islam—whether the strict application of Islamic Sharia law, or the supremacist culture born of it.

posted @ Thursday, February 13, 2014 3:48 PM | Feedback (1)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Pentagon’s Bow to Islamic Extremism

“Caving to pressure from Muslim groups, the Pentagon has relaxed uniform rules to allow Islamic beards, turbans and hijabs. It’s a major win for political correctness and a big loss for military unit cohesion,” said a recent report.

This new relaxation of rules for Muslims comes at a time when the FBI is tracking more than 100 suspected jihadi-infiltrators of the U.S. military. Just last month, Craig Benedict Baxam, a former Army soldier and convert to Islam, was sentenced to seven years in prison due to his al-Qaeda/jihadi activities. Also last month, Mozaffar Khazaee, an Iranian-American working for the Defense Department, was arrested for sending secret documents to America’s enemy, Iran.

According to a Pentagon spokesperson, the new religious accommodations—to allow Islamic beards, turbans, and hijabs—which took effect very recently, would “reduce both the instances and perception of discrimination among those whose religious expressions are less familiar to the command.”

The report concludes that, “Making special accommodations for Islam will only attract more Muslims into the military at a time when two recent terror cases highlight the ongoing danger of Muslims in uniform.”

But it’s worse than that; for not only will it attract “more Muslims,” it will attract precisely the wrong kinds of Muslims, AKA, “Islamists,” “radicals,” etc.

This is easily demonstrated by connecting the dots and understanding that Muslims who adhere to visible, non-problematic aspects of Islam—growing beards and donning hijabs—often indicate their adherence to non-visible, problematic aspects of Islam.

Consider it this way: Why do some Muslim men wear the prescribed beard and why do some Muslim women wear the prescribed hijab? Most Muslims would say they do so because Islam’s prophet Muhammad commanded them to (whether via the Koran or Hadith).

Regarding the Muslim beard, Muhammad wanted his followers to look different from “infidels,” namely Christians and Jews, so he ordered his followers to “trim closely the moustache and grow the beard.” Accordingly, all Sunni schools of law maintain that it is forbidden—a “major sin”—for men to shave their beards (unless, of course, it is part of a stratagem against the infidel, in which case it is permissible).

The question begs itself: If such Muslims meticulously follow the minor, “outer” things of Islam simply because their prophet made some utterances concerning them in the Hadith, logically speaking, does that not indicate that they also follow, or at the very least accept as legitimate, the major, “inner” themes Muhammad constantly emphasized in both the Koran and Hadith—such as enmity for and deceit of the infidel, and, when capable, perpetual jihad?

Even in the Islamic world this connection between visible indicators of Islamic piety and jihadi tendencies are well known. Back in 2011, when Islamists were dominating Egypt’s politics, secularist talk show host Amr Adib of Cairo Today mocked the then calls for a “million man beard” march with his trademark sarcasm: “This is a great endeavor! After all, a man with a beard can never be a thug, can never rape a woman in the street, can never set a church on fire, can never fight and quarrel, can never steal, and can never be dishonest!”

His sarcasm was not missed on his Egyptian viewership which knew quite well that it is precisely those Muslims who most closely follow the minutia of Muhammad—for example, by growing a beard—that are most prone to violence, deceit, and anti-infidel sentiments, all of which were also advocated by Islam’s prophet.

Speaking more seriously, Adib had added that this issue is not about growing a beard, but rather, “once you grow your beard, you give proof of your commitment and fealty to everything in Islam.”

Similarly, after Egypt’s June 30 Revolution ousted the Muslim Brotherhood, “overt signs of piety [beards and hijabs] have become all it takes to attract suspicion from security forces at Cairo checkpoints and vigilantes looking to attack Islamists.”  Clubs and restaurants banned entrance to those wearing precisely these two “overt signs of piety.”

While Egyptians instinctively understand how fealty to the Muslim beard evinces fealty, or at least acceptance, to all those other problematic things Muhammad commanded, even in fuzzy Western op-eds, the connection sometimes peeks out. Consider the following excerpt from a New York Times piece titled “Behold the Mighty Beard, a Badge of Piety and Religious Belonging”:

[A]ll over the Muslim world, the full beard has come to connote piety and spiritual fervor…. Of course, the beard is only a sign of righteousness. It is no guarantor, as Mr. Zulfiqar [a Muslim interviewee] reminds us: “I recall one gentleman who came back from a trip to Pakistan and remarked to me, ‘I learned one thing: the longer the beard, the bigger the crook.’ His anticipation was people with big beards would be really honest, but he kept meeting people lying to him.”

The italicized portion speaks for itself. Whereas the Muslim beard ostensibly represents religious piety, some people, mostly Westerners, are shocked to find that those who wear it are often “crooks” and “liars.”

In Islam, however, outer signs of religiosity on the one hand, and corruption and deceit on the other, are quite compatible. After all, the same source—Islam’s prophet Muhammad, as recorded in the Hadith—that tells Muslims to grow a beard also advocates deception, the plundering of infidels, the keeping of sex slaves, adult “breast feeding,” and all sorts of other practices antithetical to Western notions of piety if not decency.

Incidentally, it’s the same with the hijab, or cloak that some Muslim women wear, also on Muhammad’s command. One reformed Islamic jihadi from Egypt accurately observes that “the proliferation of the hijab is strongly correlated with increased terrorism…. Terrorism became much more frequent in such societies as Indonesia, Egypt, Algeria, and the U.K. after the hijab became prevalent among Muslim women living in those communities.”

And so, at a time when the U.S. should at the very least be wary of those who openly wear their Islamic radicalism around their face and head—beards for males, hijabs for females—the U.S. Pentagon (of all places) is embracing them in “celebration of multiculturalism.” Where loyalty to the U.S. is most needed, the Pentagon embraces those who show that their loyalty is elsewhere (among other things, the beard and hijab are meant to separate “pure believers” from “impure infidels”).

Of course, none of this is surprising considering that the Pentagon also considers Evangelical Christians and Catholics as “extremists” on a par with al-Qaeda.

posted @ Wednesday, February 12, 2014 5:38 PM | Feedback (1)

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Exposed: Muslim Brotherhood-Al-Qaeda Connection

As former Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi’s trials continue, it’s enlightening to consider what is likely to be one of the centerpieces of the trial: longstanding accusations that Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood party worked with foreign terrorist organizations, including al-Qaeda, against the national security of Egypt.

Based on these accusations of high treason, Morsi and others could face the death penalty.

Ibrahim will be on The 700 Club, Feb. 20, to talk more about how most Christian persecution is occuring in Muslim-dominated areas today. For more on this, check out his blog, The Existential Elephant in the ‘Christian Persecution’ Room.

Concerning some of the more severe allegations, one of Egypt’s most widely distributed and read newspapers, Al Watan, recently published what it said were recorded conversations between Morsi and Muhammad Zawahiri, al-Qaeda leader Ayman Zawahiri’s brother.

In these reports, Watan repeatedly asserts that Egyptian security and intelligence agencies confirmed (or perhaps leaked out) the recordings.

Much of the substance of the alleged conversations is further corroborated by events that occurred during Morsi’s one-year-rule, most of which were reported by a variety of Arabic media outlets, though not by Western media.

In what follows, I relay, summarize, and translate some of the more significant portions of the Watan reports (verbatim statements are in quotation marks). In between, I comment on various anecdotes and events—many of which were first broken on my website—that now, in light of these phone conversations, make perfect sense

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The first recorded call between Muhammad Morsi and Muhammad Zawahiri lasted for 59 seconds. Morsi congratulated Zawahiri on his release from prison, where he had been incarcerated for jihadi/terrorist activities against Egypt, and assured him that he would not be followed or observed by any Egyptian authorities, and that he, Morsi, was planning on meeting with him soon. Prior to this first call, Refa’ al-Tahtawy, then Chief of Staff, mediated and arranged matters.

The presidential palace continued to communicate regularly with Muhammad Zawahiri, and sources confirm that he was the link between the Egyptian presidency and his brother, Ayman Zawahiri, the Egyptian-born leader of al-Qaeda.

It should be noted that, once released, the previously little-known Muhammad Zawahiri did become very visible and vocal in Egypt, at times spearheading the Islamist movement.

The next recording between Morsi and Zawahiri lasted for 2 minutes and 56 seconds and took place one month after Morsi became president. Morsi informed Zawahiri that the Muslim Brotherhood supports the mujahidin (jihadis) and that the mujahidin should support the Brotherhood in order for them both, and the Islamist agenda, to prevail in Egypt.

This makes sense in the context that, soon after Morsi came to power, the general public did become increasingly critical of him and his policies, including the fact that he was placing only Brotherhood members in Egypt’s most important posts, trying quickly to push through a pro-Islamist constitution, and, as Egyptians called it, trying in general to “Brotherhoodize” Egypt.

This second phone call being longer than the first, Zawahiri took it as an opportunity to congratulate Morsi on his recent presidential victory—which, incidentally, from the start, was portrayed by some as fraudulent—and expressed his joy that Morsi’s presidency could only mean that “all secular infidels would be removed from Egypt.”

Then Zawahiri told Morsi: “Rule according to the Sharia of Allah [or “Islamic law”], and we will stand next to you. Know that, from the start, there is no so-called democracy, so get rid of your opposition.”

This assertion comports extremely well with his brother Ayman Zawahiri’s views. A former Muslim Brotherhood member himself, some thirty years ago, the al-Qaeda leader wrote Al Hissad Al Murr (“The Bitter Harvest”), a scathing book condemning the Brotherhood for “taking advantage of the Muslim youths’ fervor by … steer[ing] their onetime passionate, Islamic zeal for jihad to conferences and elections.” An entire section dedicated to showing that Islamic Sharia cannot coexist with democracy even appears in Ayman Zawahiri’s book (see “Sharia and Democracy,” The Al Qaeda Reader, pgs. 116-136).

The call ended in agreement that al-Qaeda would support the Brotherhood, including its international branches, under the understanding that Morsi would soon implement full Sharia in Egypt. After this, Muhammad Zawahiri and Khairat al-Shater, the number-two man of the Muslim Brotherhood organization, reportedly met regularly.

It is interesting to note here that, prior to these revelations, U.S. ambassador Anne Patterson was seen visiting with Khairat al-Shater—even though he held no position in the Morsi government—and after the ousting and imprisonment of Morsi and leading Brotherhood members, Sens. John McCain and Lindsay Graham made it a point to visit the civilian Shater in his prison cell and urged the Egyptian government to release him.

The next call, recorded roughly six weeks after this last one, again revolved around the theme of solidifying common cooperation between the Egyptian presidency and the Muslim Brotherhood on the one hand, and al-Qaeda and its jihadi offshoots on the other, specifically in the context of creating jihadi cells inside Egypt devoted to protecting the increasingly unpopular Brotherhood-dominated government.

As I reported back in December 2012, Egyptian media were saying that foreign jihadi fighters were appearing in large numbers—one said 3,000 fighters—especially in Sinai. And, since the overthrow of the Brotherhood and the military crackdown on its supporters, many of those detained have been exposed speaking non-Egyptian dialects of Arabic.

During this same call, Zawahiri was also critical of the Morsi government for still not applying Islamic Sharia throughout Egypt, which, as mentioned, was one of the prerequisites for al-Qaeda support.

Morsi responded by saying “We are currently in the stage of consolidating power and need the help of all parties—and we cannot at this time apply the Iranian model or Taliban rule in Egypt; it is impossible to do so now.”

In fact, while the Brotherhood has repeatedly declared its aspirations for world domination , from its origins, it has always relied on a “gradual” approach, moving only in stages, with the idea of culminating its full vision only when enough power has been consolidated.

In response, Zawahiri told Morsi that, as a show of good will, he must “at least release the mujahidin who were imprisoned during the Mubarak era as well as all Islamists, as an assurance and pact of cooperation and proof that the old page has turned to a new one.”

After that call, and as confirmed by a governmental source, Morsi received a list from Zawahiri containing the names of the most dangerous terrorists in Egyptian jails, some of whom were on death row due to the enormity of their crimes.

In fact, as I reported in August 2012, many imprisoned terrorists, including from Egypt’s notorious Islamic Jihad organization—which was once led by Ayman Zawahiri—were released under Morsi.

One year later, in August 2013, soon after the removal of Morsi, Egypt’s Interior Ministry announced that Egypt was “preparing to cancel any presidential pardons issued during Morsi’s era to terrorists or criminals.”

During this same call, and in the context of pardons, Morsi said he would do his best to facilitate the return of Muhammad’s infamous brother and al-Qaeda leader, Ayman Zawahiri, back to Egypt—“with his head held high,” in accordance with Islamist wishes—as well as urge the U.S. to release the “Blind Sheikh” and terrorist mastermind, Omar Abdul Rahman.

In March 2013, I wrote about how Morsi, during his Pakistan visit, had reportedly met with Ayman Zawahiri and made arrangements to smuggle him back to Sinai.  According to a Pakistan source, the meeting was “facilitated by elements of Pakistani intelligence [ISI] and influential members of the International Organization, the Muslim Brotherhood.”

The gist of the next two calls between Morsi and Muhammad Zawahiri was that, so long as the former is president, he would see to it that all released jihadis and al-Qaeda operatives are allowed to move freely throughout Egypt and the Sinai, and that the presidential palace would remain in constant contact with Zawahiri, to make sure everything is moving to the satisfaction of both parties.

Zawahiri further requested that Morsi allow them to develop training camps in Sinai in order to support the Brotherhood through trained militants. Along with saying that the Brotherhood intended to form a “revolutionary guard” to protect him against any coup, Morsi added that, in return for al-Qaeda’s and its affiliates’ support, not only would he allow them to have such training camps, but he would facilitate their development in Sinai and give them four facilities to use along the Egyptian-Libyan border.

That Libya is mentioned is interesting. According to a Libyan Arabic report I translated in June 2013, those who attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, killing Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, were from jihadi cells that had been formed in Libya through Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood support. Those interrogated named Morsi and other top Brotherhood leadership as accomplices.

More evidence—including some that implicates the U.S. administration—has mounted since then.

Next, Watan makes several more assertions, all of which are preceded by “according to security/intelligence agencies.” They are:

  • That Morsi did indeed as he promised, and that he facilitated the establishment of four jihadi training camps. Morsi was then Chief in Command of Egypt’s Armed Forces, and through his power of authority, stopped the military from launching any operations including in the by now al-Qaeda overrun Sinai.
  • That, after Morsi reached Pakistan, he had a one-and-a-half hour meeting with an associate of Ayman Zawahiri in a hotel and possibly spoke with him.
  • That, after Morsi returned to Egypt from his trip to Pakistan, he issued another list containing the names of 20 more convicted terrorists considered dangerous to the national security of Egypt, giving them all presidential pardons—despite the fact that national security and intelligence strongly recommended that they not be released on grounds of the threat they posed.
  • That the Muslim Brotherhood’s international wing, including through the agency of Khairat al-Shater, had provided $50 million to al-Qaeda in part to support the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

One of the longer conversations between Morsi and Zawahiri reported by Watan is especially telling of al-Qaeda’s enmity for secularist Muslims and Coptic Christians—whose churches, some 80, were attacked, burned, and destroyed, some with the al-Qaeda flag furled above them, soon after the ousting of Morsi. I translate portions below:

Zawahiri: “The teachings of Allah need to be applied and enforced; the secularists have stopped the Islamic Sharia, and the response must be a stop to the building of churches.” (An odd assertion considering how difficult it already is for Copts to acquire a repair permit for their churches in Egypt.)

Zawahiri also added that “All those who reject the Sharia must be executed, and all those belonging to the secular media which work to disseminate debauchery and help deviants and Christians to violate the Sharia, must be executed.”

Morsi reportedly replied: “We have taken deterrent measures to combat those few, and new legislative measures to limit their media, and in the near future, we will shut down these media stations and launch large Islamic media outlets. We are even planning a big budget from the [Brotherhood] International Group to launch Islamic and jihadi satellite stations to urge on the jihad. There will be a channel for you and the men of al-Qaeda, and it can be broadcast from Afghanistan.”

Undeterred, Zawahiri responded by saying, “This [is a] Christian media—and some of the media personnel are paid by the [Coptic] Church and they work with those who oppose the Sharia… secularist forces are allied with Christian forces, among them Naguib Sawiris, the Christian-Jew."

Morsi: “Soon we will uphold our promises to you.”

In fact, there was a period of time when the secular media in Egypt—which was constantly exposing Brotherhood machinations—were under severe attack by the Brotherhood and Islamists of all stripes (comedian Bassem Youssef was the tip of the iceberg). In one instance, which I noted back in August 2012, six major media stations were attacked by Brotherhood supporters, their employees severely beat.

The last call recorded between Muhammad Morsi and Muhammad Zawahiri took place on the dawn of June 30, 2013 (the date of the June 30 Revolution that ousted Morsi and the Brotherhood). Morsi made the call to Zawahiri in the presence of Asad al-Sheikha, Deputy Chief of Presidential Staff, Refa’ al-Tahtawy, Chief of Presidential Staff, and his personal security.

During this last call, Morsi incited Zawahiri to rise against the Egyptian military in Sinai and asked Zawahiri to compel all jihadi and loyalist elements everywhere to come to the aid of the Muslim Brotherhood and neutralize its opponents.

Zawahiri reportedly responded by saying “We will fight the military and the police, and we will set the Sinai aflame.”

True enough, as I reported on July 4, quoting from an Arabic report: “Al-Qaeda, under the leadership of Muhammad Zawahiri, is currently planning reprisal operations by which to attack the army and the Morsi-opposition all around the Republic [of Egypt].” The report added that, right before the deposing of Morsi, Zawahiri had been arrested and was being interrogated—only to be ordered released by yet another presidential order, and that he had since fled to the Sinai.

Also on that same first day of the revolution, Khairat al-Shater, Deputy Leader of the Brotherhood, had a meeting with a delegate of jihadi fighters and reiterated Morsi’s request that all jihadis come to the aid of the presidency and the Brotherhood.

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As Morsi’s trial continues, it’s only a matter of time before the truth of these allegations—and their implications for the U.S.—is known. But one thing is certain: most of them comport incredibly well with incidents and events that took place under Morsi’s government.

Raymond Ibrahim, a CBN News analyst, is author of The Al Qaeda Reader and Crucified Again. He is a Shillman fellow, David Horowitz Freedom Center; associate fellow, Middle East Forum; and 2013 media fellow, Hoover Institution

posted @ Tuesday, February 04, 2014 10:59 AM | Feedback (11)