Friday, May 15, 2015
Mideast Christian News reported the following:
Washington, May 14,MCN:
The Iraqi nun Diana Momeka told the Congress Wednesday that the Christian Iraqis have lost "everything including their dignity and history," while ISIS attempts to eliminate the Christian existence in the area.
Momeka, who was displaced by ISIS, told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that although a year has passed since ISIS gained control over the Nineveh Plains in northern Iraq, Christian Iraqi citizens are still in dire need of assistance in liberating their lands.
According to the Christian Post newspaper, Sister Diana, who works with the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena, escaped from Qaraqosh to the Kurdistan region last summer after ISIS assumed control over the Mosul region.
Diana explained in the hearing session held before Congress on Iraqi Christians that she is one of over 120,000 citizens who left their houses and property and fled to Kurdistan to escape from crimes committed by ISIS.
She asked, “Why should we leave our country? What have we done? The Christians of Iraq are the first people of the land.” She mentioned that ISIS aims to empty Iraq of Christians, so it displaces Christians forcibly.
“When you lose your house and everything you own, you lose your culture and heritage. Thus, you also lose your identity. We lost our identity,” she said.
Katharyn Hanson, a fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Museum’s Cultural Heritage Center, testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on ISIS destruction of Iraqi cultural heritage. She pointed to a number of ancient cultural and religious sites and monuments destroyed by the terrorist group.
She mentioned that ISIS destroyed the tomb of the Prophet Jonah last June and also mentioned the video released by ISIS, which shows the destruction of 7th-century sculptures that were highly regarded by today's Assyrian Christians.
Wednesday, May 06, 2015
The country is recovering from the terror attack in Garland, Texas. While ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, at the very least, they seem to have inspired the assault. Just a few days after the incident, here’s an idea of what’s next.
ISIS and their followers are driven by a relentless ideology. They divide the world in two categories: the House of War and the House of Peace.
The House of Peace is that part of the world already under the sway of Islam, like the Islamic State. The House of War is the part of the world not yet under the heel of Islam. Think America or Israel. The life-long duty of these jihadists is to fight and conform the House of War into the House of Peace.
This author cited the self-proclaimed caliph of the Islamic State, Bakr al-Baghdadi in Destination Jerusalem: ISIS, Convert or Die, Christian Persecution and Preparing for the Days Ahead. Last July he declared an Islamic caliphate for the first time in nearly 100 years and declared:
"O Ummah [nation] of Islam, indeed the world today has been divided into two camps and two trenches, with no third camp present: The camp of Islam and faith and the camp of kufr [disbelief] and hypocrisy – the camp of the Muslims and the mujadhin everywhere, and the camp of the Jews, the crusaders, their allies and with them the rest of the nations and religions of kufr, all being led by America and Russia and being mobilized by the Jews."
At the end of his address, al-Baghdadi expressed the ultimate goal of his caliphate:
“This is my advice to you. If you hold to it, you will conquer Rome and own the world, if Allah wills.”
This is a worldwide jihad and America is one of their main targets. They boast now they have 71 trained soldiers in 15 states and promised to murder Pamela Geller and anyone who shields her. They also named five specific states they plan to attack: Virginia, Maryland, Illinois, California, and Michigan.
Now with active FBI investigations into ISIS activity in all 50 states, it seems just a matter of time before the next terror attack.
The Great Debate
Immediately after the terror attack in Garland, the debate began over whether this event – a contest about cartoons on the Prophet Mohammed – "crossed the line" and unnecessarily provoked these two would-be assassins. Or did the organizers exercise their God-given freedom of speech guaranteed under the First Amendment of the United States, which states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
Donald Trump lined up on the "crossed the line" side when he asked "What the h*** were those people thinking?" On the other side, former Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew McCarthy, who led the prosecution against the blind Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, responsible for the 1993 terror attack against the World Trade Center, wrote an article in National Review.
"It is very unfortunate that this debate is so often triggered by forms of expression that non-jihadists will find insulting and therefore that even anti-jihadists will find uncomfortable to defend.This grossly understates the stakes involved. This is about much more than cartoons.
As I outline in Islam and Free Speech, classical sharia forbids most artistic representations of animate life, not just expressions that are obviously sacrilegious. More significantly, it deems as blasphemous not just expressions that insult the prophet and Islam itself but also critical examinations of Islam...
It is not the purpose of Pam Geller, Geert Wilders, the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, and other activists to insult Muslims. Their mission is to awaken us to the challenge of Islamic supremacists — not just the violent jihadists but also the powerful Islamist forces behind the jihad. Islamists are attempting to coerce us into abandoning our commitment to free expression. They are pressuring us to accommodate their totalitarian system rather than accepting assimilation into our liberty culture…
It would be easy, in our preening gentility, to look down our noses at a Mohammed cartoon contest. But we’d better understand the scope of the threat the contest was meant to raise our attention to — a threat triggered by ideology, not cartoons. There is in our midst an Islamist movement that wants to suppress not only insults to Islam but all critical examination of Islam. That movement is delighted to leverage the atmosphere of intimidation created by violent jihadists, and it counts the current United States government among its allies."
McCarthy makes the point that freedom is on the line in Garland, Texas, and the next place where ISIS inspired jihadists may strike. This is a battle of freedom and tyranny. If we miss this point, we do so at our peril.
Tuesday, May 05, 2015
On Tuesday, ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack at the convention center near Dallas that hosted a contest featuring cartoons of the prophet Mohammed. They announced the claim on their Al Bayan radio station from the Syrian city of Raqqa, the self-proclaimed capital of their caliphate.
While intelligence experts are verifying their assertion, ISIS proclaimed "two soldiers of the caliphate" carried out Sunday's attack. They promised more attacks to come.
Whether they planned or had a hand in the operation, it marked the first time the Islamic State claimed an attack on U.S. soil. Their claim stamped an exclamation point on this incident: whether we recognize it or not, ISIS is at war with the United States of America.
One retired U.S. general on nationwide TV made the point this morning that the U.S. can't win this war until we recognize our enemy. This reporter made the same point in Destination Jerusalem: ISIS, Convert or Die, Christian Persecution and Preparing for the Days Ahead.
Here are some excerpts that seem all too relevant in light of the near massacre in Texas.
Sun Tzu, the great Chinese military, wrote in The Art of War, "If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle."
Sun Tzu knew war. In war, he said, it's vital to know your enemy – and yourself. However, it seems that too many in the West stumble into the fray of this new warfare with radical Islam, knowing neither themselves nor their enemy.
Many cite U.S. President Barack Obama. In the beginning of America's new chapter of the war with ISIS, Obama addressed the nation on September 10, 2014. He stepped up to the podium on the State Floor of the White House, looked into the camera and began to read the teleprompter:
"My fellow Americans, tonight I want to speak to you about what the United States will do with our friends and allies to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group known as ISIL."
With his declared determination to destroy ISIL (ISIS), the president went on to define this newfound enemy of the United States:
"Now let's make two things clear: ISIL is not 'Islamic.' No religion condones the killing of innocents. And the vast majority of ISIL's victims have been Muslim. And ISIL is certainly not a state."
Now he labeled the Islamic State as "not Islamic."
Yet, former Muslims, those who grew up under the shadow of Islam for much of their lives, spoke up and respectfully disagreed with the commander in chief. It may not be the Islam President Obama wants, but they say the religion and practices embraced by the Islamic State come straight from the Qur'an.
A Daring Question
One well-known former Muslim, Brother Rasheed, hosts a popular program called "Daring Questions." (www.islamexplained.com, www.facebook.com/daringquestions, @BrotherRasheed on Twitter.)
His provocative call-in program, shown on satellite throughout much of the Muslim world, challenges Muslims about what Islam really teaches. Rasheed grew up in Morocco as a Muslim but later in life embraced Christianity. He felt so strongly about President Obama's description of ISIL that he recorded the following rebuttal and posted it on YouTube.
With an exhaustive life's resume inside the world of Islam, Brother Rasheed spoke from experience and with authority. His address is a chilling reminder to the West from one who grew up under Islam of what it really teaches, who ISIL really is, and the enemy the West faces today.
He began respectfully:
"Dear Mr. President, with all due respect, sir, I must tell you that you are wrong about ISIL. You said that ISIL speaks for no religion. I'm a former Muslim. My Dad is an imam. I spent more than 20 years studying Islam. I hold a bachelor's degree in religious studies. And I'm in the middle of my master's degree in terrorism studies. I can tell you with confidence that ISIL speaks for Islam. Allow me to correct you, Mr. President, ISIL is a Muslim organization. Its name stands for Islamic State, so even the name suggests that it is an Islamic movement.
"Their leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, holds a PhD in Islamic studies. I doubt you know Islam better than he does. He was a preacher and a religious leader in one of the local mosques in Baghdad. ISIL's 10,000 members are all Muslims.
None of them are from any other religion. They come from different countries and have one common denominator — Islam. They are following Islam's prophet Mohammed in every detail. They imitate him by growing their beards, shaving their mustaches and in the way they dress (Sahih Muslim, Book 2, Hadith 69; http://sunnah.com/muslim/2/69).
"Mr. President, I grew up in Morocco, supposedly a moderate country. Yet I still learned at a young age to hate the enemies of Allah, especially Jews and Christians. These are represented today by Israel and the West, especially the 'Great Satan' America. I prayed five times a day, repeating Al-Fatihah, the first chapter in the Qur'an, asking Allah to lead me not in the way of those who went astray and those who have the wrath of Allah upon them. We all knew that it was Jews and Christians.
"We have been brainwashed to hate all of you in our sacred texts, in our prayers, in our Friday sermons, in our educational systems. We were ready to join any group that would one day fight you and destroy you and make Islam the religion of the whole world as the Qur'an says. This is what I and millions like me have been taught."
Arabs for Israel
Another former Muslim, Nonie Darwish, also disagreed with President Obama's view of Islam. Darwish founded Arabs for Israel.
After the president’s address, we spoke with her one day via Skype at an undisclosed location. She – like Brother Rasheed – cannot divulge where she lives because fatwas (Islamic religious edicts) have declared she can be killed. It's another living example of how Islam is often not a "religion of peace."
"So this idea that what ISIS (ISIL) is doing is un-Islamic is not true at all," she told us. She explained ISIS's ultimate goal. "The goals of the Islamic State are to empower itself to control the whole of the Middle East and expand to achieve the goals of Islam of converting the whole world into one Islamic state, forcing Islam on the rest of the world."
Like Brother Rasheed, she warned that political correctness masks the true danger of ISIS, obscures the true identity of our enemy and puts the whole world at risk: "People have to wake up because the essence of our Judeo-Christian values and our way of life is at stake."
She feels many in the West simply "don’t get it."
"No, I don’t think they fully understand and unfortunately even people in the media in the West, many of them don't understand, that it is pure barbaric. It's not 'live and let live' the way the West thinks. Islam is not designed to co-exist. Islam is designed to replace. So it's either us or them. That's how they view it and there is no co-existence in their mind."
She added a chilling warning to the Western world if we fail to understand who our enemy is.
"Our children in the next 20 years might be fighting door to door in America with ISIS on the streets of America. …Our Western civilization is at stake. Our Judeo-Christian culture is at stake. It's being destroyed consistently and persistently by our politicians and our media."
"I don't think Western people today are acting like they care about their freedom and democracy. They're tired of protecting their freedom, and this doesn’t go unnoticed by Islam. Islam is very vigorous. It has been empowered. We are allowing ourselves to be weakened and everybody is covering up for Obama. People have to wake up because the essence of our Judeo-Christian values and our way of life is at stake. And it's not just Israel. … Israel is just the front line. This is all of Western civilization… we are getting into a very dark period of history."
Garland, Texas, may be just one more stop on this "very dark period of history."
Monday, May 04, 2015
Was ISIS behind Texas terror attack?
If not, it fits their modus operandi. If so, it's one more example of how some Muslims, like those of the Islamic State, want to limit the freedoms enjoyed in the United States of America. These attacks are designed to strike fear, intimidate and silence free speech.
In Destination Jerusalem: ISIS, Convert or Die, Christian Persecution and Preparing for the Days Ahead, this author wrote about how ISIS has dispatched orders to Muslims in the West:
"ISIS sent out fiendish commands giving detailed instructions on how to attack Westerners: "Rig the roads with explosives for them. Attack their bases. Raid their homes. Cut off their heads. Do not let them feel secure. Hunt them wherever they may be. Turn their worldly life into fear and fire. Remove their families from their homes and thereafter blow up their homes."
These assaults (attacks in Moore, Okla., Sydney, Australia, and London, England) involved just a few, but the psychological shock rippled through those nations and around the world. An individual attack can often jar people more than a massive bloodbath. When ISIS marched and then murdered hundreds of Iraqi soldiers in the sands of the Iraqi desert, it jolted the West. But when ISIS beheaded American journalist James Foley, it hit home, shifted the national debate in the U.S. and prodded a reluctant president to war.
The motivation sprang from the fact that Foley was a U.S. citizen, but also from the intimate and personal nature of the murder. Beheading seems one of the most gruesome end-of-life experiences; contemplating it, an anathema. Suddenly this abhorrent act became more personal, real. That could be me. This could be my son, my brother, my friend. We grieved with Foley's parents, John and Diane. The nature of the slaying itself seemed the stuff of horror films, but this was not a movie. It was real.
Tragically, the individual beheadings continued…journalist Steven Sotloff…British aid worker David Haines…and so on.
Closer to home and fueled by Islamic State directives, could rogue groups maraud or "lone wolves" attack? Suddenly, ISIS isn’t just "over there" but now "over here." Maybe next door. People might go to work thinking, Could I be next? What if I go to the mall and something happens?
Call it the "new normal" when someone doesn’t "go postal" but "goes ISIS." Today’s ubiquitous streams of communication—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the 24/7 news cycle—amplify these attacks. Everybody knows.
For ISIS, it's all part of their strategy. To intimidate, sow fear, and bully a people…or a nation. It's psychological and spiritual warfare.
It's by design. It's terror…it's fear…on the loose. As this Arab folk tale tells us, it can be deadly:
"A wise old man, traveling on a desert road to Baghdad, met the figure of Pestilence hurrying ahead of him. 'Why are you in such a haste to reach Baghdad?' asked the old man. 'I am due to take 5,000 lives in the city,' Pestilence replied, before it went away.
"Later, on the return journey, they met again. 'You lied to me,' said the old man reproachfully. 'You said you would take 5,000 lives, but you took away 10,000 instead.'
"'I did not do it!' Pestilence swore. 'I took 5,000 and not one more; Fear killed the rest.'"
This may be the new normal.
But one woman interviewed on national TV defied the fear, refused to be intimidated and exclaimed:
"We will not live in fear in Texas!"
Friday, May 01, 2015
This week on Jerusalem Dateline: Israel responds to Nepal's massive earthquake.
Plus, we look at new technology that's keeping Holocaust stories alive for the next generation.
Finally, Hope 4 Iraq - one woman's fight against radical Islam through faith and hope.
Friday, April 24, 2015
This week on Jerusalem Dateline: Israel, a modern miracle, celebrates its independence and remembers its dead.
Plus, Jews return to Israel, fulfilling Bible prophecy.
Finally, we take a look at why a world-famous cartoonist looked to the Bible to name his cartoons.
Friday, April 17, 2015
This week on Jerusalem Dateline: Rewarding Iran's defiance with a strategic Russian missile deal.
Also, Iran has just been appointed to an international position "protecting" women's rights.
Finally, remembering the Holocaust with stories of love, hope, and resilience.
Monday, April 13, 2015
This week on Jerusalem Dateline: It’s a dream deal for Iran, a nightmare for the world as leaders are on the verge of a deal with a nuclear Iran.
And, Arabs and Jews living in peace at a top Israeli University, so why a U.S. State Dept. boycott?
Plus, the forgotten campaign to #BringBackOurGirls. Click play below to watch.
Friday, April 03, 2015
This week on Jerusalem Dateline: We go inside the Garden Tomb where some believe Christ was buried and rose again.
Plus, making Biblical bread – Passover Matzah and the spiritual meaning for Jews and Christians.
Finally, a look at the man who wrote the movie "Ben Hur."
Friday, March 27, 2015
This week on Jerusalem Dateline: Israel's relationship with the White House at all-time low.
Plus a former Muslim woman talks about jihad, Sharia, and Islam's abuse of women.
And on the front lines with Kurdish fighters against the Islamic State.