Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category
Very, very sad. But surely this is not a surprise to anyone?
The mother of toddler Sanaya Shaib has been charged with murder after she confessed to killing the 13-month-old infant.
An ISIS supporter has been charged after allegedly carving “e4e” — representing “an eye for an eye” into the head of an Australian Digger he was sharing a cell with. The former soldier, who served in East Timor, (and was) deemed a low security inmate, is fighting for his life following the alleged attack inside Kempsey prison on the state’s Mid North Coast.
It is believed the 18-year-old attacker choked the 40-year-old and carved ‘e4e’ into the front and back of the victim’s head. The teen then allegedly placed a towel over him and poured boiling hot water on him.
The former Toowoomba-based soldier was rushed to the Port Macquarie Base Hospital and put in an induced coma, believed to have suffered a broken sternum and severe wounds to his neck, head and face.
Senior prison sources said the 18-year-old attacker was a known supporter of the terrorist group and had been previously caught sending graphic images of beheadings via internal mail to other ISIS extremists housed in Goulburn’s Supermax.
Bourhan Hraichie has now been charged with causing grevious bodily harm with intent and intentionally choking a person.
Sources said the teen was also previously found to have a hand-drawn ISIS flag inside his cell, as well as having carved one into the wall. Hraichie had been isolated from other inmates previous to the alleged attack because he was being “disruptive”.
The pair were in the same cell for just a few hours before Thursday’s alleged attack inside the prison’s maximum security section. Authorities were alerted when a medical alarm system, known as a “knock up” was activated.
ISIS is known to use the “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” mantra when inflicting their brutal torture. It is understood the teen allegedly used a razor blade to etch the slogan, but prison authorities would not confirm it.
NSW Corrective Services Commissioner Peter Severin confirmed the attack, saying it “appears to have had a strong fundamentalist element to it” and that the teen had “clearly identified himself as a radical”. “I am appalled that these two inmates were placed in the same cell,” Mr Severin said.
The general manager of the prison, Greg Steele, has since been stood down from the role.
From the always useful New English Review.
This is simply getting to the point of absurdity. We have to start taking what these people say about their own beliefs and intentions seriously, or more and more ordinary people are going to be hurt.
A couple of days after that advertisement appeared, Tanweer Ahmed, a Sunni Muslim, traveled 200 miles in an Uber car from Bradford in England, to Glasgow in Scotland, where he waited for Assad Shah to leave the convenience store where he worked, then stabbed him 30 times, stamped on his head, and sat on his chest waiting for him to die, which he did later that night.
“Mr Shah’s family, originally from Pakistan, are members of the Ahmadiyya Islamic sect, which preaches ‘love for all, hatred for none’, but is seen as sacrilegious by orthodox Muslims.” Family members now fear they will be Islamic murderers’ next targets.
The UK Daily Record quotes a source who says that “The hardline Sunni Muslims call Ahmadiyya Muslims kafir. They say they are non-believers.”
87 percent to 90 percent of all Muslims, or about 1.5 billion people, are Sunnis. Additionally, “the majority of modern Muslim scholars continue to hold the traditional view that the death penalty for apostasy is required.”
This triangle of truisms, of father, mother and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilisations which disregard it.
“The death toll from a massive suicide bombing targeting Christians gathered on Easter in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore rose to 70 on Monday as the country started observing a three-day mourning period following the attack.
Meanwhile, in the capital of Islamabad, riots erupted for a second day when extremists who have been staging a protest since Sunday surged toward the Parliament and other key buildings in the city center. The demonstrators set cars on fire, demanding that the authorities impose Islamic law or Sharia. The army was again deployed to subdue the rioters.
The Lahore bombing, which was claimed by a breakaway Taliban faction that has publicly supported the Islamic State group, took place in a park, crowded with many families with children celebrating the holiday on Sunday. Many women and children were killed and at least 300 people were wounded.”
Pakistan is in trouble. It cannot protect its minorities, and has little will to do so. Its government is unstable. It has nuclear weapons.
But not this:
Even when the oceans rage, I don’t have to be afraid.
Even when I fail, you are the same forever.
Your love never fails.
Just in the few days since the Brussels attacks:
A march against fear in Brussels is cancelled because people are afraid.
A Muslim shopkeeper who gave thanks for “my precious Christian country” and wished locals a happy Easter, is stabbed to death – stabbed thirty times – by a fellow Muslim. The Guardian omits to mention this fact, leaving it open to readers to assume it was another one of those pesky Bendigo protesters.
ISIS releases a video of the Eiffel Tower exploding, saying “We will come to you and terrify you everywhere, we will come after you from where you don’t expect and fill your streets with blood.”
And that does not begin to cover the continuing attacks around the world:
In total 136 attacks against civilians by people shouting “Allah is greater” in the last month. 1030 killed, and 2972 injured.
There are multiple posts floating around Facebook about the Paris attacks. Some of these make two disturbing claims:
Firstly, that the attacks had nothing to do with the fact that the perpetrators were muslim. That, they claim, is beside the point. What matters is simply that they were a bunch of arseholes.
Secondly, that ordinary Westerners who are concerned about those affected by these attacks, who are praying for them, for France, for peace, who express a desire to stand with the people of Paris, are somehow hypocritical because similar concern is not expressed about other terrorist attacks around the world.
These two claims can be answered together.
There is no doubt that the perpetrators of these attacks were arseholes. You have to be an arsehole to be a cold-blooded murderer, torturer, rapist or pedophile.
Muhammad was all of those things.
Muhammad raped a nine-year-old girl, Aisha, when he was fifty-three.
One of the many women captured in war whom he took and raped was a member of the Banu Qurayza, a Jewish tribe living in Medina. At his command, Muhammad’s fighters checked the boys to see whether they had pubic hair. If they did not, they could be kept as slaves along with the girls and women. If they did, they were beheaded with the adult men – some 900 in a single afternoon – after they had surrendered. This woman, Rayhana, had just seen her husband and her sons brutally murdered, and was then taken and made a ‘wife’ by the messenger of Allah.
In another incident, a group of bedouins killed a shepherd.. “and drove away the camels, and they became unbelievers after they were Muslims. When the Prophet was informed by a shouter for help, he sent some men in their pursuit, and before the sun rose high, they were brought, and he had their hands and feet cut off. Then he ordered for nails which were heated and passed over their eyes, and they were left in the Harra (i.e. rocky land in Medina). They asked for water, and nobody gave them water till they died.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 52, Number 261)
Muhammad is the perfect man, the paragon, the moral exemplar for all time for all muslims.
The attackers in Paris were arseholes, no doubt. Is the fact that they were muslim irrelevant?
Even after the above, it might be irrelevant. Except for two things.
Firstly, that so many of the arseholes involved in terror attacks turn out to be muslim. There have been over 27,000 terror attacks around the world since 9/11, where, apparently by pure co-incidence, the arseholes just turned out to be muslims. The number of Methodists and Buddhists who blow themselves up in shopping centres, slice people’s heads off with rusty blades in the name of their god, or take schools hostage while raping and torturing the children is, by comparison, remarkably small. Non-existent, in fact.
Secondly, that it is the perpetrators of these attacks themselves who claim that they are acting in the name of Allah. The people who are doing these things say they are doing them because they are muslims, that they are acting as they do to please their god, that they are following the example of Muhammad, and that the koran promises that if they are killed fighting the unbelievers, whom they are commanded to fight wherever they find them, they are guaranteed a place in paradise, a place of unending sex with perfect women:
Ibn Majah, 5:4337 Allah’s Messenger said: “Everyone who is admitted to paradise Allah, the Mighty and glorious will marry him with seventy-two wives, Every one of them will have a pleasant vagina and he (the man) will have a sexual organ that does not bend down during sexual intercourse.”
Yes, but anything besides their pleasant vaginas? “The Prophet said: A houri is a most beautiful young woman with a transparent body. The marrow of her bones is visible like the interior lines of pearls and rubies. She looks like red wine in a white glass. She is of white colour, and free from the routine physical disabilities of an ordinary woman such as menstruation, menopause, urinal and offal discharge, child bearing and the related pollution. A houri is a girl of tender age, having large breasts which are round (pointed), and not inclined to dangle.” [Al-Tirmizi, volume 2, pg 35-40]. Or ever-fresh boys like scattered pearls are also available, if that is your preference.
Everyone agrees the Haj is islamic – Muhammad commanded his followers to make the pilgrimage. Everyone agrees prayer five times per day while facing Mecca is islamic – Muhammad commanded his followers to do this. Everyone agrees fasting during Ramadan is islamic, because it is something Muhammad commanded his followers to do.
Inflicting terror on the unbelievers, taking their women and children, chopping off the heads and fingertips of any who resist, Muhammad did these things and commanded his followers to do the same, so how is it that they are any less Islamic? At the heart of every religion is following the example and teaching of its founder.
There is no islam without Muhammad. There is no Muhammad without brutality, invasion, rape and murder.
Why are we in the West so much more distressed by attacks in Paris than attacks on Mindanao, or in Southern Thailand, or Kenya or Western China or Pakistan or Nigeria? Some journalists of the Guardian and Salon type have been busy telling us this is because we don’t really care for humanity at all, just for selected humans, namely the ones who look and talk like us.
This is pure hypocrisy on their part. The reason most ordinary people are not deeply concerned about terror attacks in non-Western countries is simply that they do not know about them. They do not know about them because Western media outlets do not report them. Given the constancy, number and scale of these attacks, it is hard to believe this is not a deliberate choice. Because if people were made aware of the extent of islamic terrorism, there could be no more pretending this was just random arseholes, no more pretending Islamic terrorism was just a minor irritation and no big deal.
To take the last month, October, as a random example, there were 194 terror attacks in the name of Allah and Muhammad, in 31 different countries. resulting in 1564 deaths and over 1700 serious injuries. These are people whose lives will never be the same again. Mutilation, loss of limbs or sight, family members tortured or murdered.
That does not include figures from the conflict in Syria and Iraq, or “honour” killings, or plain ordinary murders, just attacks against civilian targets carried out in the name of Allah and his messenger.
In the last week there have been 47 attacks by islamic terrorists – nearly seven every day – resulting in 392 deaths and over 900 serious injuries.
Moderate and careful Western leaders have a duty to recognise the problem, call it by name and develop a plan to deal with it. If they can’t or won’t, then ordinary people will eventually elect leaders who will. No problem can be solved until the problem is recognised. A hashtag and singing “Imagine” won’t do it.
ISIS, who planned and co-ordinated the Paris attacks, have said that Rome, London and Washington are next. There is a German proverb: Work as if no prayer would help, pray as if no work would help. Let us pray, and work, for a world in which attacks like those in Paris, Beirut, Baghdad, Kenya, etc, etc, etc …. are just a distant memory.
I have been gobsmacked by suggestions from some people that there is some sort of moral equivalence between Israel and Hamas (the idea that they are both as bad as each other), or even worse, that the current conflict is Israel’s fault.
The present Palestinian people are Arabs, most of whom arrived in the area within the last two centuries. They are unrelated to the Philistines after whom the Roman and Turkish provinces were named.
In 1922 the League of Nations approved the British Mandate over the Turkish province of Palestine, including word for word the text of the Balfour Declaration, which affirmed the historical connection of the Jewish people to the land, and called for the setting up of an independent home state for the Jewish people.
Despite the fact that The British mandate was a tiny proportion of the land of the Middle East, and that it was surrounded by Arab states, the British allocated 70% of the mandate area to be a homeland for the region’s Arabs. This part of the mandate was called trans-Jordania, and then just Jordan.
In 1948 the UN partitioned the remaining area, allocating another third to be divided up between Jordan (the West Bank) and Egypt (the Gaza strip). This left the Jews with 20% of the land of the Davidic kingdom of Israel and of the original mandate, all of which was to have been set aside as a homeland for them. The area left for Israel was the Jewish majority cities of Acre, Haifa, Tel Aviv and West Jerusalem, plus other smaller towns and the Negev Desert. This amounted to approximately one sixth of one percent of the land in the Middle East.
The Jews agreed to this arrangement, the Arabs did not. Surrounding Arab nations announced their intention to destroy any Jewish state, and urged resident Arabs to leave, promising they would be back in days, and able to take up not only their own homes and farms, but those of their Jewish neighbours.
The day after the new state of Israel was proclaimed, the armies of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq attacked the tiny nation, whose land area is about the same size as Kangaroo Island. The first attached picture shows the direction of the invading armies. The day before, Arab League Secretary, General Azzam Pasha declared “jihad”, a holy war. He said, “This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades”. The Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin Al Husseini stated, “I declare a holy war, my Moslem brothers! Murder the Jews! Murder them all!” The second picture is of Al Husseini meeting with Hitler in Berlin in 1942 to discuss the implementation of the Final Solution.
By a miracle, the new state survived. The West Bank and the Gaza strip remained under the control of Jordan and Egypt. Another attack was made by Arab nations in 1967. Quotes from just two of the Arab leaders involved:
“We will not accept any … coexistence with Israel. … Today the issue is not the establishment of peace between the Arab states and Israel …. The war with Israel is in effect since 1948.” – Gamal Abdel Nasser, President of Egypt, May 28, 1967.
“The existence of Israel is an error which must be rectified. This is our opportunity to wipe out the ignominy which has been with us since 1948. Our goal is clear – to wipe Israel off the map. We shall, God willing, meet in Tel Aviv and Haifa.” – President Abdel Rahman Aref of Iraq, May 31, 1967
After the 1967 war Israel took control of the Golan Heights (Syria), Gaza Strip (Egypt) and the West Bank (Jordan), to give a buffer against further attacks. The next such attack took place 1973, on the holy day of Yom Kippur, when its massive and much more populous Arab neighbours again united to destroy it.
Israel is a very different place from the nations which surround it. Israeli law permits no discrimination on the basis of race. Arabs can be and are, members of the armed forces, police, the judiciary and parliament. By contrast, Jews are not permitted to reside in the West Bank (which is the traditional Jewish homeland of Judea and Samaria), or in Jordan or Saudi Arabia. There is no discrimination in Israel on the basis of religion. There are mosques in most Israeli towns, and the Baha’i faith has its centre in Haifa in northern Israel. By contrast, just in the last few weeks, churches, some dating from before Muhammad, have been destroyed in Iraq, and Christians told to convert, leave or be killed. Members of other religious minorities have been subject to wholesale torture and murder. There is no discrimination in Israel on the basis of sexuality. Again, by contrast, a gay man in Saudi Arabia was sentenced this week to 450 lashes and three year’s imprisonment.
Some 850, 000 Jews were ethnically cleansed from Arab nations following the establishment of the state of Israel, and their property seized. Those who were not murdered have been repatriated in Israel. A lesser number of Arabs left Israel in 1948, despite being asked to stay and help build the new country. Many of them and their descendants still live in refugee camps in Arab countries, who refuse to accept them as citizens, despite those countries’ much larger land areas and greater natural resources.
Hamas is the elected governing body in the Gaza strip. Its charter calls for the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews everywhere. When Israel withdrew from Gaza, with the promise from Palestinian authorities that giving up the land of Gaza and the West Bank would lead to lasting peace, it left solid infrastructure including roads, schools, hospitals and some 3,000 greenhouses which produced an abundance of fruit and vegetables.
Israel wanted and wants Gaza to succeed, and it could. It has some beautiful beaches. It could be the Ibiza, the Monaco of the Eastern Mediterranean. But Hamas’ purpose is not to govern. Its only purpose, according to its own charter, is to destroy Israel. The glasshouses were destroyed – remnants of the Zionist entity. Other infrastructure has been allowed to fall in to ruin.
Hamas has constructed over 1,000 tunnels under the border from Gaza into Israel, some several kilometres long, using child labour, and hundreds of tons of cement which could have been used for other construction. Those tunnels have only one purpose – to conduct terror attacks against schools, homes, farms. Since the beginning of this year, Hamas has fired over 3,000 rockets into Israel. Israel is the about the same size as Kangaroo Island, or the city of Adelaide. Residents of some areas have less than fifteen seconds from the sounding of an alarm to get to shelter. How would residents of Adelaide respond to relentless attacks like that from an enemy sworn to their destruction? Hamas has broken every ceasefire in the latest conflict, firing rockets at schools, homes and shopping centres – on the first day after the last ceasefire, on average a rocket every ten minutes. Would you tolerate this? Even if the nearest shelter was 200 metres away, could you and your family run 200 metres in 15 seconds?
Israel is not perfect by any means. No nation is. It has had its share of injustices and poor policy decisions. But Israel’s response has consistently been to say that it is not at war with the Palestinian people and that it wants successful, prosperous and peaceful Palestinian neighbours. Never in the history of any conflict has one side treated the other with such care and consideration. Because Hamas has refused to spend money on infrastructure, almost all of Gaza’s electricity and water are supplied by Israel. Most of Gaza’s food and medical supplies also come from Israel – Egypt despises Hamas and long ago closed the southern border, meaning no trade or traffic from Egypt. On one typical day, 21st August, Israel transferred to Gaza 174 tons of natural gas, 548,093 litres of fuel, and 178 trucks of food medical and general supplies. On that day Hamas fired 68 rockets at civilian targets in Israel.
Hamas uses schools, hospitals, mosques and apartment blocks to fire rockets and mortars. Israel drops leaflets warning which locations are targets. Before any civilian location is fired upon, residents and workers are telephoned by Israel Defense Forces to warn them to leave the building, and finally buildings are door-knocked – a harmless percussion round is fired several minutes before to give people time to leave. Israel has shown over and over again that it does not wish to harm the Palestinian people, it simply wants to live in peace in its own borders. Israel has never tried to enlarge its territory. It has given up territory in return for promises of peace, promises which have never been kept.
You may have seen video of Hamas beating people trying to leave buildings which have received attack warnings. You may have seen video of Hamas dragging the headless bodies of suspected collaborators or members of Fatah through the streets of Gaza. You may have seen Hamas’ statements of support for ISIS, and vice-versa.
As Benyamin Netanyahu said: If the Arabs laid down their arms tomorrow, there would be no more war. If Israel were to lay down theirs, there would be no more Israel.
If you were Israel, what would you do?
A little article for our church newsletter:
Why do some Christians make the sign of the cross?
Many of the saints of the early Church talk about this practice. Here are quotes from just a few.
St Ephraim the Syrian:
Go not forth from the door of thy house till thou hast signed the cross. Whether in eating or in drinking, whether in sleeping or in waking, whether in thy house or on the road, or again in the season of leisure, neglect not this sign; for there is no guardian like it. It shall be unto thee as a wall, in the forefront of all thy doings. And teach this to thy children, that heedfully they be conformed to it.
St Cyril of Jerusalem:
Be the Cross our seal made with boldness by our fingers on our brow, and on everything; over the bread we eat, and the cups we drink; in our comings in, and goings out; before our sleep, when we lie down and when we rise up; when we are in the way, and when we are still. Great is that preservative; it is without price, for the sake of the poor; without toil, for the sick; since also its grace is from God. It is the Sign of the faithful, and the dread of devils: for He triumphed over them in it.
In every act we do, in every step we take, let our hand trace the Lord’s cross.
In other words, like American Express, don’t leave home without it!
We are not just spirit or body, but both, and we worship God, and express our faith in God not just in inner prayer, but in action. This is why we kneel or bow our heads for prayer, and stand to sing and for praise, and why we try to serve and care for others.
According to the early Church fathers, the sign of the cross is a public declaration of faith in Jesus, and it scares the heck out of the powers of darkness because it was on the cross that they were utterly defeated by the love and grace of God. It is also a reminder of our baptism, that we have died with Christ and are reborn in him, that our lives are His.
For many Christians, the sign of the cross is the first thing they do on awakening, with a heartfelt “Thank you Father!”
It is also appropriate at the absolution, when we remember that it is through Jesus’ sufferings on the cross that we receive forgiveness, at the blessing, because all God’s blessings come to us at the cost of the cross, when we think about the resurrection, because new life comes to us through Jesus’ giving of his life on the cross, and when we hear “In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit” because we see the nature of God the trinity most clearly when we see the cross.
Or any time at all, because for a Christian, the cross is crucial at every moment of life.
I am glad the muslim terrorist attack in Nairobi was so widely reported, even though the real horror of what happened was underplayed – the torture and mutilation of children, for example.
Perhaps this signals a change of heart in the mainstream media, and a willingness to acknowledge at last the reality of widespread jihadist terror – over 21,000 deadly attacks in the name Allah since 9/11, three murderous terror attacks very day.
But why did the even worse attack on a church in Pakistan the following day get almost no media coverage? And why the media silence about the ongoing wholesale murder and torture of Christians in Egypt and Syria?
From the Federalist:
The next day, two suicide bombs went off as Christians were leaving Sunday services at All Saints Anglican Church in Peshawar, Pakistan.
“There were blasts and there was hell for all of us,” Nazir John, who was at the church with at least 400 other worshipers, told the Associated Press. “When I got my senses back, I found nothing but smoke, dust, blood and screaming people. I saw severed body parts and blood all around.”
Some 85 Christians were slaughtered and 120 injured, the bloodiest attack on Christians in Pakistan in history. The hospital ran out of beds for the injured and there weren’t enough caskets for the dead.
The situation for Christians in Egypt has also gone from bad to worse. August saw the worst anti-Christian violence in seven centuries. Sam Tadros, a Coptic Christian and author of Motherland Lost, says that there has been nothing like this year’s Muslim Brotherhood anti-Christian pogrom since 1321, when a similar wave of church burnings and persecution caused the decline of the Christian community in Egypt from nearly half of Egypt’s population to its current ten percent.
The violence of just three days in mid-August was staggering. Thirty-eight churches were destroyed, 23 vandalized; 58 homes were burned and looted and 85 shops, 16 pharmacies and 3 hotels were demolished. It was so bad that the Coptic Pope was in hiding, many Sunday services were canceled, and Christians stayed indoors, fearing for their lives. Six Christians were killed in the violence. Seven were kidnapped.
Maalula, Syria, is an ancient Christian town that has been so sheltered for 2,000 years that it’s one of only three villages where people still speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus. Until September 7, when Islamist rebels attacked as part of the civil war ripping through the country.
An eyewitness to the murder of three Christians in Maalula—Mikhael Taalab, his cousin Antoun Taalab, and his grandson Sarkis el Zakhm—reported that the Islamists warned everyone present to convert to Islam. Sarkis answered clearly, Vatican news agency Fides reported: “I am a Christian and if you want to kill me because I am a Christian, do it.”
I am often horrified by the easy assumption of moral superiority made by people on the green/left side of politics.
It is as if they are so sure that they are intellectually and morally superior that it never occurs to them that they should actually check what the people they think they disagree with are actually saying, or planning, and why.
They live in a kind of bubble, where they only listen to one another. I guess they just think other people are stupid, or ignorant, or motivated by fear, or just evil, so why bother listening to them or trying find out why they think the way they do?
But Christians especially should resist this temptation to judge others, and to attribute evil motives to others, even politicians!
Most politicians, even those I disagree with, are decent people who want to make the world a better place. I wish some of them were better informed, or would work at implementing policies which actually work, instead those they simply think should work. But most of them are still good people.
This is a worthwhile thought: We are all capable of good and bad. To see or assume only the bad is cynicism; it is not fully human; and it is a condition of mind which the Christian is thus called to resist.