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Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

I would have thought the primary motivation for becoming a journalist was to make the world a better place by helping people to know the truth.

So it is a constant source of dismay that so many journalists and media outlets decline to be truthful, either by not covering stories which don’t match their own viewpoint, or by leaving out crucial facts, or by outright distortion of reality. The refusal to cover or even mention the constant attacks against Israel by state supported terrorists from Gaza and the West Bank is an example of the first. Calling the massive and ongoing violence by muslims against Christians ‘sectarian violence’ is an example of the later.

Raymond Ibrahim at the Middle East Forum writes:

The so-called “Arab Spring” continues to transition into a “Christian Winter,” including in those nations undergoing democratic change, such as Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis dominated the elections—unsurprisingly so, considering the Obama administration has actually been training Islamists for elections.

Arab regimes not overthrown by the “Arab Spring” are under mounting international pressure; these include the secular Assad regime of Syria, where Christians, who comprise some 10% of the population, are fearful of the future, having seen the effects of democracy in neighboring nations such as Iraq, where, since the fall of the Saddam regime, Christians have been all but decimated.

Meanwhile, it was revealed that “Christians are being refused refugee status [in the U.S.] and face persecution and many times certain death for their religious beliefs under Sharia, while whole Muslim communities are entering the U.S. by the tens of thousands per month despite the fact that they face no religious persecution.”

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

Churches

Ethiopia: More than 500 Muslim students assisted by Muslim police burned down a church, while screaming “Allahu Akbar” (and thus clearly positing their attack in an Islamic framework); the church was built on land used by Christians for more than 60 years, but now a court has ruled that it was built “without a permit.”

Indonesia: Hundreds of “hard-line” Muslims rallied to decry the “arrogance” of a beleaguered church that, though kept shuttered by authorities, has been ordered open by the Supreme Court. Church members have been forced to hold services on the sidewalk, even as Indonesia’s leading Muslim clerics warned Christians that it would be “wise and sensible” for the church to yield to “the feelings of the local believers, specifically Muslims.”

Iran: The nation’s minister of intelligence said that house churches in his country are a threat to Iranian youth, and acknowledged a new series of efforts to fight the growth of the house church movement in Iran.

Nigeria: Islamic militants shouting “Allahu Akbar” carried out coordinated attacks on churches and police stations, including opening fire on a congregation of “mostly women and children,” killing dozens. The attacks occurred in a region where hundreds of people were earlier killed during violence that erupted after President Jonathan, a Christian, beat his closet Muslim rival in April elections.

Turkey: The ancient Aghia Sophia church has been turned into a mosque. Playing an important role in ecumenical history, the church was first transformed into a mosque in 1331 by the jihadist Ottoman state. As a sign of secularization, however, in 1920 it was turned into a museum. Its transformation again into a mosque is a reflection of Turkey’s re-Islamization.

Apostasy and Proselytism

Afghanis around the world are being threatened for leaving Islam and converting to Christianity. One exile, who changed his name after fleeing Afghanistan in 2007 when an Islamic court issued an arrest warrant for his conversion, is still receiving threats: “They [Afghan officials] were very angry and saying that they will hit me by knife and kill me.” Even in distant Norway last September, an Afghan convert to Christianity was scalded with boiling water and acid at a refugee processing center: “If you do not return to Islam, we will kill you,” his attackers told him.

Algeria: Five Christians were jailed for “worshiping in an unregistered location.” International Christian Concern (ICC), an advocacy group investigating the case, states that the five Christians are charged with “proselytizing,” “unauthorized worship,” and “insulting Islam.”

Iran: Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, who caught the attention of the world after being imprisoned and awaiting execution for leaving Islam, remains behind bars as officials continue to come up with excuses to force him to renounce Christianity, the latest being that “everyone is [born] a Muslim.” A Christian couple “who had been snatched and illegally-detained” by authorities for eight months without any formal charges, were finally released, beaten again, and have since fled the country. While imprisoned, they were “ridiculed and debased” for their Christian faith.

Kashmir: Muslim police arrested and beat seven converts from Islam in an attempt to obtain a confession against the priest who baptized them. After the grand mufti alleged that Muslim youths were alternatively being “lured” and “forced” to convert by an Anglican priest “in exchange for money,” the priest was arrested in a “humiliating” manner. Recently released, his life is now “in serious danger.”

Kenya: A gang of Muslims stabbed and beat with iron rods a 25-year-old Somali refugee, breaking his teeth; he was then stripped naked, covered with dirt, and left unconscious near a church. Although he was raised Christian since age 7, he was attacked on the “assumption that as a Somali he was born into Islam and was therefore an apostate deserving of death.”

Nigeria: The Muslim militant group, Boko Haram, executed two children of an ex-terrorist and “murderer” because he converted to Christianity. When still a terrorist, he “was poised to slit the throat of a Christian victim” when “he was suddenly struck with the weight of the evil he was about to commit.” After finding he converted to Christianity, “Boko Haram members invaded his home, kidnapped his two children and informed him that they were going to execute them in retribution for his disloyalty to Islam. Clutching his phone, the man heard the sound of the guns that murdered his children.”

General Killings

Egypt: After a Christian inadvertently killed a Muslim in a quarrel begun by the latter, thousands of Muslims rose in violence, “collectively punishing” the Copts of the village. Two Christians “not party to the altercation” were killed; others were stabbed and critically wounded. As usual, “after killing the Copts, Muslims went on a rampage, looting and burning Christian-owned homes and businesses.” Even so, “Muslims insist they have not yet avenged” the death of their co-religionist, and there are fears of “a wholesale massacre of Copts.” Many Christians have fled their homes or are in hiding.

Kenya: Suspected Islamic extremists, apparently angered at the use of wine during communion—Islam forbids alcohol—threw a grenade near a church compound killing two, including an 8-year-old girl, and critically wounding three others. The pastor of another congregation received a message threatening him either to flee the region “within 48 hours or you see bomb blast taking your life and we know your house, Christians will see war. Don’t take it so lightly. We are for your neck.”

Nigeria: In the latest round of violence, soon after mosque prayers were heard, hundreds of armed Muslims invaded Christian villages, “like a swarm of bees,” killing, looting, and destroying virtually everything in sight; at the end of their four-hour rampage, some 150 people had been killed—at least 130 of them Christians. Another 45 Christians were also killed by another set of “Allahu Akbar!” shouting Muslims who burned, looted, and killed. Hundreds of people are still missing; the attacks have included the bombing of at least ten church buildings. Nearly all the Christians in the area have fled the region.

Pakistan: A 25 year-old Christian was shot dead by “an unidentified gunman in what his family believes was a radical Muslim group’s targeting of a Christian.” According to the son, “We firmly believe that my father was killed because of his preaching of the Bible, because there is no other reason.” He began to receive threats “after voicing his desire to start a welfare organization for the poor Christians” of the region.

“Dhimmitude”

(General Abuse, Debasement, and Suppression of non-Muslim “Second-Class Citizens”)

November’s major instances of dhimmitude come from two Muslim nations notorious for violating Christian rights—Egypt and Pakistan—neither of which is even cited in the U.S. State Department’s recent International Religious Freedom report:

Egypt: Following October’s Maspero massacre, when the military killed dozens of Christians, some run over intentionally by armored vehicles, Egypt’s military prosecutor detained 34 Christians, including teens under 16, on charges of “inciting violence, carrying arms and insulting the armed forces”; many of the detainees were not even at the scene and were just collected from the streets for “being a Christian.” Three are under 16 years of age, including one who, after having an operation to extract a bullet from his jaw, was chained to his hospital bed. Hundreds of Christians also came under attack from Muslims throwing stones and bottles, after the Christians protested against the violence at Maspero: “Supporters of an Islamist candidate for upcoming parliamentary election joined in the attack on the Copts.” Meanwhile, a senior leader of the Salafi party, which came in second after the Muslim Brotherhood in recent elections, blamed Christians for their own massacre, calling “Allah’s curse on them.” Muslim Brotherhood leaders asserted that only “drunks, druggies, and adulterers” are against the implementation of Sharia—a clear reference to Egypt’s Christians.

Pakistan: A new U.S. government commission report indicates that Pakistani school textbooks foster intolerance of Christians, Hindus, and all non-Muslims, while most teachers view religious minorities as “enemies of Islam.” “Religious minorities are often portrayed as inferior or second-class citizens who have been granted limited rights and privileges by generous Pakistani Muslims, for which they should be grateful,” notes the report. Accordingly, in an attempted land-grab, Muslim police and cohorts of a retired military official, beat two Christian women with “batons and punches,” inflicting a serious wound to one of the women’s eyes after the women spoke up in defense of their land, and shot at Christians who came to help the women. “In the last few years Muslims have made several attempts to seize the land from the Christians, usually succeeding because Christians are a marginalized minority.” Likewise, under a “false charge of theft,” a Christian couple was arrested and severely beaten by police; the pregnant wife was “kicked and punched” even as her interrogators threatened “to kill her unborn fetus.” A policeman offered to remove the theft charges if the husband would only “renounce Christianity and convert to Islam.”

Jimmy Carter is a kind-hearted and sincere man who, partly because of his own honesty and gentleness, cannot seem to believe in the dishonesty and brutality of others. He is a Christian who does not believe people can be evil. This naivety made him a bad president, and makes him a poor judge of foreign policy and a dangerously incompetent commentator on social issues.

Michael Wiess in the UK Telegraph is right to point out just how destructive some of Carter’s comments and actions have been. But I cannot get distressed at Carter’s reported sending of condolences to Kim Jong Il’s son Kim Jong Un. Jong Il was a vile dictator. We may be glad his reign is over. But his family still suffers grief at his death, and it is right that we condole with them.

Nor can I share in the sentiments expressed by John McCain, for whom I have considerable respect:

“The world is a better place now that Kim Jong Il is no longer in it,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said in a statement after the North Korean leader died, reportedly of a heart attack. “For more than six decades, people in North Korea have been consigned to lives of dire poverty and cruel oppression under one of the most totalitarian regimes the world has ever known. I can only express satisfaction that the Dear Leader is joining the likes of Qaddafi, Bin Laden, Hitler, and Stalin in a warm corner of hell.”

I hope not. None of us is worthy of salvation. If Qaddafi and Kim Jong Il don’t deserve to be in heaven, well, no more do I. Jesus came to save them as much as to save me, and if he loved them enough to go to the cross for them, then I cannot rejoice at their deaths, nor hope for damnation for them.

That is not to deny the harm they have done, and the immense suffering they have caused. My prayer for the family of Kim Jong Il is that they will be comforted in their time of sorrow, and that both the sorrow and the comfort will lead to a change of heart, then to changes in policy and eventually to freedom for North Korea.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams gives another of his perfectly timed impressions of an extremely intelligent person with no brains at all:

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams says Jesus would have joined protesters from the anti-corporate Occupy movement who have been camped outside London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral for more than seven weeks.

In a British magazine, the leader of the world’s 78 million Anglicans worldwide insisted that Jesus would be “there, sharing the risks, not just taking sides.”

The demonstrators pitched their tents outside the iconic cathedral in mid-October to protest what they see as the unfairness and illegalities of the global financial community.

In his article written for the Christmas edition of the Radio Times magazine, the archbishop said Jesus was “constantly asking awkward questions” in the Bible.

In the St. Paul’s encampment, Williams added, Jesus would be “steadily changing the entire atmosphere by the questions that he asked of everybody involved — rich and poor, capitalist and protester and cleric.”

Perhaps one of those questions might have been ‘Would you please stop pooing in the cathedral?’

Sitting around banging drums, sniffing toes, and whining about how unfair it all is, while expecting people who work to feed you, clothe you and clean up after you is not an adult way to protest anything.

Meanwhile, from St Paul’s 2nd Letter to the Thessalonians, Chapter 3:

Brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ we command you to stay away from any believer who refuses to work and does not follow the teaching we gave you. You yourselves know that you should live as we live. We were not lazy when we were with you. And when we ate another person’s food, we always paid for it.

We worked very hard night and day so we would not be an expense to any of you. We had the right to ask you to help us, but we worked to take care of ourselves so we would be an example for you to follow. When we were with you, we gave you this rule: “Anyone who refuses to work should not eat.”

We hear that some people in your group refuse to work. They do nothing but busy themselves in other people’s lives. We command those people and beg them in the Lord Jesus Christ to work quietly and earn their own food. But you, brothers and sisters, never become tired of doing good.

If some people do not obey what we tell you in this letter, then take note of them. Have nothing to do with them so they will feel ashamed. But do not treat them as enemies. Warn them as fellow believers.

The single quality that makes the most difference to whether you are happy or not is thankfulness. If you are thankful for your life, and can see good and hope in whatever life brings you, you will be happy.

It is possible to be thankful in the midst of the most dire situations. People who are depressed have not usually had more suffering, more failure, more disappointment. They just spend more time thinking about the hurts and disappointments.

People who are happy are not happy because everything goes their way but because when things go wrong, even very badly, they can still find reasons to be thankful.

Garvan Byrne is a perfect example:

Who?

If you haven’t heard of Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, then maybe we do need an inquiry into the mainstream media.

Yousef is a Christian pastor in Iran. He has never been a Muslim. Yet he has been sentenced to death for apostasy on the basis that his ancestors were Muslims.

From Melanie Phillips:

The brutal regime in Iran continues to inflict appalling levels of barbarity upon its own citizens.

A Christian pastor, Youcef Nadarkhani, aged 35 and the father of two children, has been sentenced to death for apostasy, a crime for which he was jailed two years ago. But this savage punishment is far worse even than it seems. For Nadarkhani is deemed to have committed apostasy merely because he has Islamic ancestry. Whether he was ever actually a practising Muslim was not even established. The Washington Post reported:

‘The 11th branch of Iran’s Gilan Provincial Court has determined that Nadarkhani has Islamic ancestry and therefore must recant his faith in Jesus Christ. Iran’s supreme court had previously ruled that the trial court must determine if Youcef had been a Muslim before converting to Christianity.

‘However, the judges, acting like terrorists with a hostage, demanded that he recant his faith in Christ before even taking evidence. The judges stated that even though the judgment they have made is against the current Iranian and international laws, they have to uphold the previous decision of the 27th Branch of the Supreme Court in Qom.’

Now the Iranian authorities have claimed he is to be executed not for apostasy at all but for a slew of other crimes. As CNN reports:

‘Gholomali Rezvani, the deputy governor of Gilan province, where Nadarkhani was tried and convicted, accused Western media of twisting the real story, referring to him as a “rapist.” A previous report from the news agency claimed he had committed several violent crimes, including repeated rape and extortion. “His crime is not, as some claim, converting others to Christianity,” Rezvani told Fars. “He is guilty of security-related crimes.”

‘In a translated Iranian Supreme Court brief from 2010, however, the charge of apostasy is the only charge leveled against Nadarkhani. “Mr. Youcef Nadarkhani, son of Byrom, 32-years old, married, born in Rasht in the state of Gilan is convicted of turning his back on Islam, the greatest religion the prophesy of Mohammad at the age of 19,” reads the brief.’

If there is enough international pressure, Iran may relent.

So pressure! Email your MP. Write (politely) to the Iranian Ambassador. Pray.

From the invaluable MEMRI.

With this sort of filth being taught publicly in Islamic countries, is it any wonder children grow up hating the Jews?

I think John Howard is a little too enthusiastic about Indonesia, where there is still a troubling level of Islamic violence against minority religious groups, and about the so-called Arab Spring.

There is reasonable concern that movements interpreted by the West as movements for democratic reform in Arab nations will only be democratic until Wahhabist governments are installed. Democracy is antithetic to Wahhabist thought since the obligation of Muslims is to work for the implementation of Sharia, while democracy places the opinions of men (and even kaffirs) above Islamic law.

Hence protests like this in Western democracies:

Islam - No to Democracy

Islam - No to Freedom of Speech

Nonetheless, Howard is right both to identify many positive changes in the world over the last ten years, and to assert the need for continuing effort and care.

Global warming alarmists and atheists seem to have the same problem when it comes to debating those who disagree with them – they lose.

Consequently, they prefer to snipe from the sidelines, refusing to debate, and justifying their refusal with insults.

This video, about proposed debates between Wlliam Lane Craig and UK atheists/humanists, demonstrates this perfectly.

The only reason there is no peace between Israel and Palestinian Arabs is because the Arabs do not want peace.

The three ‘Nos’ from the eight Arab states which met in Khartoum in September 1967 were: No peace with Israel, No recognition of Israel, No negotiation with Israel.

From David Meir-Levi in Frontpage magazine:

There is an eerie déjà vu about an unmistakable and oft-repeated process in the Arab–Israel conflict.  The process started in 1937 and has repeated itself with minor variations many times over the subsequent 74 years. The process is as follows: Arabs go to war with Israel, promising Israel’s destruction and the annihilation of its Jews.  Israel wins the war and offers peace. Arab leaders reject Israel’s peace offer, renew their promises of destruction and annihilation; and after a while they go to war again, and lose again, and Israel again offers peace.  Repeat this process 31 times and you have the history of the Arab-Israel conflict in a nutshell. …

Then came the biggest and best ever opportunity for a state for the Arabs of the West Bank and Gaza Strip since the UN General Assembly  Resolution #181 in 1947 – Camp David 2. From July 11 – 24, 2000 President Clinton presided over the second Camp David  accords. Prime Minister Baraq made what Saudi Crown Prince Bandar bin Sultan called the best offer that Arafat could possibly expect[iv].  This was an historic offer, with Arafat receiving 97% of the West Bank and Gaza Strip and 3% of Israeli land, and a Palestinian Authority capitol in East Jerusalem.  All that was required of Arafat was an end to the conflict. He could not do it.

At Camp David, Dennis Ross​ has said, there was no comprehensive final settlement offered. The Israeli and American negotiators put forth ideas regarding borders, Jerusalem, and land transfers. One of those was a Palestinian state comprised of four cantons. Arafat rejected these suggestions, but did not raise a single idea himself. Shlomo Ben-Ami, one of Israel’s negotiators who took copious notes at the closed meeting and kept meticulous diaries of the proceedings, said that Clinton exploded at the Palestinians over their refusal to make a counteroffer. “‘A summit’s purpose,’ Clinton said, ‘is to have discussions that are based on sincere intentions and you, the Palestinians, did not come to this summit with sincere intentions.’ Then he got up and left the room.”

And then there are the continuing attempts in Arab media to deny any Jewish connection to Israel at all:

The great and exalted Allah commanded the angel Gabriel to place Muhammad upon the riding beast Al-Buraq, which was a cross between horse and donkey. The night journey was both physical and spiritual….Once he reached the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the angel Gabriel removed Muhammad from upon Al-Buraq’s back, and then he tied the beast to the Al-Buraq rock, which was called the ‘Al-Buraq Wall.’ The Jews changed its name to the ‘Wailing Wall,’ because the Jews are always trying to change Arabic names into Hebrew names….

Mohammud’s night journey supposedly took place about 621 AD. The Al-Aqsa mosque was built on the site of the Jewish Temple in 705AD.

Or this:

The Zionists must acknowledge publicly, in front of the world, that the Jews have no connection to the Palestinian Arab land, upon whose ruins arose the colonialist settler Zionist plan that settles and expels, represented by the Israeli apartheid state.  That which occurred two thousand years ago (i.e. the Jewish/Israeli presence in the land)…represents in the book of history nothing more than invention and falsification and a coarse and crude form of colonialism.

It is as true now as it always was, that if the Arabs put down their guns there would be peace, while if Israel put down its guns, there would be no more Israel.

Any doctor or family members considering turning off a ventilator or withholding food and water from someone who is ‘brain dead,’ or to use the currently preferred term, in a persistent vegetative state, should read the article Reborn by Steve Boggan in the UK Guardian first.

We have always been told there is no recovery from persistent vegetative state – doctors can only make a sufferer’s last days as painless as possible. But is that really the truth? Across three continents, severely brain-damaged patients are awake and talking after taking … a sleeping pill. And no one is more baffled than the GP who made the breakthrough.

For three years, Riaan Bolton has lain motionless, his eyes open but unseeing. After a devastating car crash doctors said he would never again see or speak or hear. Now his mother, Johanna, dissolves a pill in a little water on a teaspoon and forces it gently into his mouth. Within half an hour, as if a switch has been flicked in his brain, Riaan looks around his home in the South African town of Kimberley and says, “Hello.” Shortly after his accident, Johanna had turned down the option of letting him die.
Three hundred miles away, Louis Viljoen, a young man who had once been cruelly described by a doctor as “a cabbage”, greets me with a mischievous smile and a streetwise four-move handshake. Until he took the pill, he too was supposed to be in what doctors call a persistent vegetative state.

Across the Atlantic in the United States, George Melendez, who is also brain-damaged, has lain twitching and moaning as if in agony for years, causing his parents unbearable grief. He, too, is given this little tablet and again, it’s as if a light comes on. His father asks him if he is, indeed, in pain. “No,” George smiles, and his family burst into tears …

Although these awakenings are the most dramatic aspect of the zolpidem phenomenon, Percy Lomax, the chief executive of ReGen Therapeutics, the British company funding the South African trials, believes Nel’s work with less brain-damaged patients could be the most significant. Many stroke victims, patients with head injuries and those whose brains have been deprived of oxygen, such as near-drowning cases, have reported significant improvement in speech, motor functions and concentration after taking the drug.

No one should ever be written off. No one’s life should be ended because he or she is too much trouble, an inconvenience, or has no ‘quality of life’ which is what people say when ‘too much trouble’ is what they mean but they don’t want to sound selfish.

Reason number 12934618 to get the heck out of the Epsicopal church, if not the entire gluey mess that is worldwide Anglicanism.

Episcopalians will mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11 with a three day memorial including readings from the Koran.

Robert Spencer has selected some verses which might be appropriate:

Qur’an 98:4-6: “Nor did the People of the Book make schisms, until after there came to them Clear Evidence. And they have been commanded no more than this: To worship Allah, offering Him sincere devotion, being true (in faith); to establish regular prayer; and to practise regular charity; and that is the Religion Right and Straight. Those who reject (Truth), among the People of the Book and among the Polytheists, will be in Hell-Fire, to dwell therein (for aye). They are the worst of creatures.”

Qur’an 5:14: “From those, too, who call themselves Christians, We did take a covenant, but they forgot a good part of the message that was sent them: so we estranged them, with enmity and hatred between the one and the other, to the day of judgment. And soon will Allah show them what it is they have done.”

Qur’an 9:29: “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”

In words as slippery as fish oil, presiding ‘bishop’ Katherine Jefferts Schori said: “The anniversary is an opportunity for reflection” adding that the Episcopal Church “continues to work for healing and reconciliation. The greatest memorial to those who died 10 years ago will be a world more inclined toward peace.”

Well, yes. Except that peace and reconciliation have their foundation in truth, something the Epsicopal church seems to have lost track of completely.

Jennifer S Bryson notes the high proportion of captured terrorists who have had large amounts of pornography in their possession.

Pornography makes women and men masturbation aids. The actors cease to be human. Their only purpose is to provide physical stimulation. If they don’t do their job, they disappear – the page is turned, the next website clicked.

Pornography de-humanises both actors and users.

If we want to understand the inner workings of terrorists and would-be terrorists, we must seek to understand their entire person, including the relationship—or inconsistencies—between their words and actions. In the case of the 9/11 hijackers who visited strip clubs, and in the case of Abdo and among what seems like an increasing number of terrorists, actions include sexual perversions and pornography use that cannot be squared with what these ideological terrorists and their supporters espouse.

Terrorist acts rely on the ability to dehumanise planned victims. Victims are less than real, less than people. They are to be blotted out.

Bryson asks:

Are there security costs to the free-flow of pornography? If so, what are they? Are we as a society putting ourselves at risk by turning a blind eye to pornography proliferation?
 
I wonder further: Could it be that pornography drives some users to a desperate search for some sort of radical “purification” from the pornographic decay in their soul? Could it be that the greater the wedge pornography use drives between an individual’s religious aspirations and the individual’s actions, the more the desperation escalates, culminating in increasingly horrific public violence, even terrorism?

Or in this case, don’t say anything about who Muhammed really was and the things he did.

The radio presenter Michael Smith is being investigated by the media watchdog over his assertion that the prophet Muhammad ”married a nine-year-old and consummated it when she was 11”.

Actually Michael was wrong. Muhammed married a six year old and had sex with her when  she was nine. He was fifty-three at the time.

In an article called Rationalizing Pedophilia in Islam Raymond Ibrahim quotes a Muslim cleric talking about Muhammed’s nine year old wife Aisha:

“So you see, she was playing with her fellow playmates even though her day of consummation was that very same day—and all that they did was to fix her up for the prophet so he could have sex with her.

Now what do we see when the prophet married Aisha? Did he go to her and say “Okay that’s it, you’re married, you’re now a grown up, you’re supposed to be mature, you need to do this and that; you need to forget about your toys and your little friends; you are now a wife of a man, you have to see to my needs” and that’s it?

No. The prophet allowed her to continue playing with her toy dolls—indeed, the prophet even sometimes gave her such things to play with. [This hadith has more details, including how Aisha’s little girl friends would “hide themselves” whenever the prophet came to her until he called them out.]”

It should be noted that the cleric recounted the above with much awe and amazement—as if to say, “Look how indulgent and open-minded our prophet was!”

For Mulsims, Muhammed is ‘a perfect example of conduct’ not just in his own time, but for all time. Nothing he did can be considered wrong, anywhere, or in any time or culture.

One result of this, as Ibrahim points out, is that Sharia can never condemn the ‘marriage’ of young girls to older men:

Earlier this month we saw—or rather, were once again reminded—that Islam permits pedophilia in the guise of “marriage”: Top Saudi cleric, Dr. Salih bin Fawzan, issued a fatwa asserting that there is no minimum age for girls to marry, “even if they are in the cradle,” and that the only criterion is that “they are capable of being placed beneath and bearing the weight of the men.”

Kathy Shaidle suggests the key difference between Jesus and Muhammed was that Jesus raised a little girl from the dead, while Muhammed had sex with one.

I can think of a few more.

Jesus went to his death praying for those who tortured and killed him. Muhammed instructed his followers to ‘kill any Jew who falls into your power,’ attacked and murdered caravan drivers from Mecca because their city had rejected his message, and ordered the murder of an entire Jewish village. Consequently, Sharia declares that anyone who insults the prophet should be executed.

Jesus had genuine and respectful friendships with women. He listened to them and protected them from violence. Muhammed taught that women were unclean – on the same level as dogs – and took and raped whom he wished of women captured in his raids.

No doubt hearing this will be insulting to some Muslims. But if you don’t want comparisons made between Jesus and Muhammed, don’t ask people to make them.

Asking people to make that comparison is exactly what the ‘Jesus, a prophet of Islam’ billboards in Sydney do.

Anglican Bishop Rob Forsyth has no objection to Muslims buying billboard space to say whatever they like, but notes that billboards advertising Christianity would not be allowed in Saudi Arabia, or any Muslim country.

I dont object either. But Muslim leaders should be prepared for the fact that if they take advantage of freedom of speech in democratic societies to say what they like, they may hear what they don’t.

Those dastardly right-wing Christians are at it again.

This time they are claiming that we serve the poor best by being financially responsibile:

… we do not need to “protect programs for the poor.” We need to protect the poor themselves. Indeed, sometimes we need to protect them from the very programs that ostensibly serve the poor, but actually demean the poor, undermine their family structures and trap them in poverty, dependency and despair for generations. Such programs are unwise, uncompassionate, and unjust.

The group calls itself Christians for a Sustainable Economy. Here is a bit more of their letter to President Obama:

All Americans – especially the poor – are best served by sustainable economic policies for a free and flourishing society. When creativity and entrepreneurship are rewarded, the yield is an increase of productivity and generosity.
 
Compassion and charity for “the least of these” is an essential expression of our faith, flowing from a heart inclined towards God. And just as the love of God frees us for a more abundant life, so our charity must go beyond mere material provision to meet the deeper needs of the poor. To suggest that Matthew 25 – or any commandment concerning Christian charity – can be met through wealth redistribution is to obscure these truths. We encourage you to consider the whole counsel of scripture, which urges not only compassion and provision for the poor but also the perils of debt and the importance of wise stewardship.

Amen.

Given the demonisation of the Catholic Church’s position on the use of condoms, you might be excused for thinking that the science was settled: promotion of condom use is the most effective method of reducing HIV infection.

In fact, as the UN’s own study showed, condom promotion has never been effective in preventing AIDS. See Broken Promises: How the AIDS Establishment has Betrayed the Developing World.

Yet infection rates in Zimbabwe halved from 1997 to 2007.

You would think that this remarkable success would have been shouted from the rooftops, and proven ineffective condom promotion dropped in favour of something that really works.

But remember we live in a world where ideology is more important than fact, and seeming to do good is more important than actually doing it.

So what is Zimbabwe’s secret? Well, no secret at all, really. Just what the Church has said from the beginning. Change your behaviour. Abstain from sex or be faithful to one partner.

Just don’t look for this to become UN policy in a hurry. A UN report published at the beginning of June called for comprehensive state sponsored sex education, including use of condoms, for children from age ten, as a method of reducing AIDS infection rates.

If adopted, that policy will achieve just the opposite.

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