Thursday, June 15, 2017

Post 54--The Roots of the Islamist Crisis





To begin with: a disclaimer. The document below is about a book I have not read and have never even heard about till just a few moments ago.  However, I used to be member of its publishers, the Book of the Month club, and I was always impressed with their selections. So, I take the chance on the strength of their reputation with me. 

Many books have been written about these kinds of subjects and all too many try to reduce the basic reason for or cause of our current Islamist--in distinction from Islam--problem(s), that I am skeptical about all of them, including this one. Many point to one single cause and try to convince us that that's the basic or even only cause. If we can solve that one particular cause, then we're done and the chaos will be a thing of the past. 

I myself have written an 8-volume series about Christian-Muslim relations in Nigeria. You can find it on my website   < www.SocialTheology.com/
islamica.htm >.  During the course of my 30 years in Nigeria and of my years of research, I have come to the conclusion that there are a number of causes that worked together to create our present situation.  It is not all due to Islam; Western imperialism has contributed no small proportion. 

So, though I am thus skeptical about the book offered below, I do suspect it lays its finger on an important component of today's crisis. So, I decided to draw your attention to it.

A confession: During the course of writing the above, I suddenly wonder whether this Book of the Month is really the same as the club that used to have that name.  Who or what is "Intercollegiate Studies Institute?"  Well, if they are someone else than what I first thought, they have only themselves to blame for taking on a name that can cause confusion. Check them out for yourself--but do read the book.  Here goes:

                                                ==============
Dear Philip,

The Manchester and London Bridge terrorist attacks have reignited the debate over Islamic radicalism. But you’ve probably noticed that the terms of the debate haven’t changed in years; pundits on all sides rely on the same talking points.

That’s why I’m so grateful for Robert Reilly’s eye-opening book The Closing of the Muslim Mind. Reilly goes well beyond the simplistic analyses we always hear. He reveals that our contemporary crisis can be traced to a heated battle within Islam itself, waged a thousand years ago. It was a battle over the role of reason—and the side of irrationality won.

This was, as Reilly writes, “one of the greatest intellectual dramas in human history.” And we’re still feeling the reverberations today.

I’m excited to make Reilly’s masterful work the Book of the Month so you can purchase it at a special 30% discount. As National Review notes, The Closing of the Muslim Mind is a “brilliant and groundbreaking” book that “should be read by anyone who wants to understand one of the most fundamental causes of conflict in the twenty-first century.” Roger Scruton, widely considered the greatest living conservative intellectual, calls Reilly’s book “lucid and fascinating.”

Please pick up your copy today. This book will change how you understand the Islamist crisis.

Best,

Jed Donahue
Editor in Chief, ISI Books

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Post 53--Why the Ramadan Violence?

Why so much violence during Ramadan?
Dr. Jim Denison | June 5, 2017
Last night, ISIS claimed responsibility for the London attack that killed seven and wounded forty-eight. One of the terrorists wore a fake bomb vest. According to ABC News, the vest was likely intended to guarantee a police response that would lead to his martyrdom.

He was the father of a toddler; his wife was expecting a child. What would motivate him to carry out such an atrocity at the cost of his own life?

The day of the attack, an ISIS message called on its followers to use knives, guns, and vehicles in an "all-out war" on "infidels" during Ramadan. The audio message instructed jihadists to "attack them in their homes, their markets, their roads and their forums."

When Ramadan began this year, jihadists attacked a bus filled with Christians in Egypt, murdering twenty-nine. Ten of the victims were children. The day after Ramadan began, a suicide bomber murdered eighteen people in Afghanistan, two of them children.

Last year's Ramadan was the bloodiest on record. A gunman killed forty-nine and wounded fifty-three at an Orlando gay night club. An Islamist then stabbed a police officer and his wife in Paris. He claimed that he was responding to ISIS's call for violence during Ramadan. Later that month, three ISIS suicide bombers killed forty-five and wounded more than 250 at Istanbul's main airport. When Ramadan ended last year, the final global body count was 421 dead and 729 wounded.

Why would terrorists make Ramadan a time to escalate their violence?

Ramadan is the ninth month on the Islamic calendar. Muslims believe that Muhammad received the first of a series of "revelations" that became the Qur'an on the seventeenth day of Ramadan in the year AD 610. For this reason, the month has always been holy to them (Qur'an 2:185). The month begins eleven days earlier each year on the solar calendar; this year, it extends from May 26 to June 24.

During this month, Muslims fast from their first prayer of the day (at dawn) to the fourth (just after sunset). They also refrain from smoking and sexual relations during the day. They pray more fervently during the month and increase almsgiving.
Their increased fervor is not just to honor the month—it is also to receive greater rewards for themselves. Muhammad is believed to have preached a sermon on Ramadan in which he said, "Whoever performs an obligatory deed in (this month) shall receive the reward of performing seventy obligations at any other time." A Taliban spokesman recently stated, "Our fight is Jihad and an obligatory worship. And every obligatory act of worship has 70 times more reward in Ramadan."

We can expect further attacks this month as radical Islamists seek reward in heaven for committing atrocities on earth. But Ramadan is also an important time for Christians to intercede for Muslims and especially for jihadists. As Muslims focus more intensely on prayer and worship, many are seeing visions and dreams of Jesus.

Saul of Tarsus was committed to killing Christians until he met Christ (Acts 9:1–31). It's vital that we pray for Islamist terrorists to experience the same transformation. F. B. Meyer believed that "the greatest tragedy of life is not unanswered prayer, but unoffered prayer."

Is his warning especially true this month?

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Post 52--Free Christian Christian Brick Kiln Workers in Pakistan

The topic today is about bonded brick kiln workers in Pakistan who are the virtual slaves of their compatriots.  Read the whole story below; it is heart breaking.  It is also very surprising, for what I hear from Canadian and American Muslim writers is that Islam is all about justice, freedom, equality, democracy, etc. etc. So, I am surprised that Pakistani Muslims get away with oppressing non-Muslims not only but that the world Muslim Ummah is not climbing all over their fellow Muslims for such oppression not only but, perhaps worse from the Muslim point of view, shaming Islam. Muslims are quick to accuse Christians of oppression etc., but what of themselves?  What of this particular case, not even to speak of innumerable cases throughout the Muslim world?  Muslims: show your stuff!  Stand up for your religion!  Demonstrate its hunger for justice and freedom! I want to believe Muslims when they claim justice as central to their religion, but this and similar situaons make it hard for me.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Post 51--Pakistan and Global Blasphemy Law

This article is originally published by BarnabasAid, an international organization with its headquarters in the UK.  Though I do not always agree with them, I have good reason to be confident about their reporting. They're not a fly-by-night type of organization but have a good reputation with the EU and the UN. The article is clear enough and does not need any further introduction or explanation. Here goes:

In an alarming development, the Pakistan government is seeking to introduce what is in effect a global Islamic blasphemy law that prohibits any internet material critical of Islam.
The government is pursuing a twin track approach to this: it has met with ambassadors of 27 Muslim-majority countries to get international agreement to prosecute anyone who posts online any material deemed to be blasphemous; and it is pressurising internet companies such as Facebook and Twitter to remove immediately such content.
Already, the Pakistan government is claiming that Facebook has agreed to remove such content and over the past few months had blocked 17 such sites and has blocked a further 45 since being pressed further in March.
Disturbingly, the Pakistan government is seeking to prosecute people who post material not only in Pakistan but also across the world. According to Reuters, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan claimed that Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington had already spoken to both the US Justice Department and the FBI, and both agencies “had been receptive”.
The aim is not simply to remove anything posted on the internet deemed offensive to Islam, but to find out who posted it and prosecute them. The Interior Minister has already said that he wants to extradite anyone overseas accused of Islamic blasphemy. In fact, the Pakistan government is asking internet providers to tell them the names of people posting such material, saying:
"Facebook and other service providers should share all information about the people behind this blasphemous content with us."
Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper implied that one of those currently being investigated for Islamic blasphemy on social media was actually based in the USA, quoting the Interior Minister as saying “our embassy in Washington has also taken up the matter [with the US government]”.
The implications of this for Christians are far reaching. Christians accused under Pakistan’s so-called “blasphemy laws” face a mandatory death penalty if found guilty of offensive comments about Muhammad. Even if acquitted, they have to flee the country as Muslim vigilantes seek to kill them. Now, even if they flee to a free and democratic country such as the US , they could still face the Pakistani government trying to extradite them back to Pakistan.
Comments deemed blasphemous could potentially include any denial of the tenets of Islam. Followers of Christianity or and other non-Islamic religions are therefore in a very precarious position as merely affirming certain aspects of their own faith might be construed as blasphemy. It is all too likely that any criticism of Islamic theology, history or practice could also be taken by certain Muslims as not just offensive but also blasphemous.  
This also of course potentially impacts anyone who writes online about the persecution of Christians in the Islamic world. At the very least it is likely that internet companies such as Facebook and Twitter will set their IT systems to remove anything that constitutes Islamic blasphemy. This means material about persecution of Christians in the Islamic world could also be removed, despite having been published in the West. Even something on a church Facebook page could be removed.
The Pakistan government is also seeking to extradite and prosecute people overseas who post material online that they deem offensive to Islam. Of course, countries such as the UK or USA are very unlikely to allow one of their citizens to be extradited for something that is not a criminal offence in their own country. But if someone were to visit one of the other 26 Muslim-majority countries involved with this initiative, they could be arrested and accused of Islamic blasphemy for something they wrote in Australia, New Zealand, the UK or USA. It is even conceivable that it could happen to someone who wrote about persecution of Christians on their church website and then visited one of those countries on holiday.
This is not the first such attempt to create a global Islamic blasphemy law. Since 2005, the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation (OIC) has been sponsoring UN resolutions which attempt to make it a criminal offence to criticise Islam. However, what is particularly disturbing about the Pakistan government’s latest move is that internet companies are already taking action to enforce it.
Make no mistake, this is a serious attempt to introduce a global Islamic blasphemy law, and one that will not only increase the persecution of Christians but also make even reporting the persecution of Christians in the Islamic world much more difficult. It will inevitably lead to self-censorship. Internet companies such as Facebook need to realise that there is a huge problem of anti-Christian hatred and persecution in the world and that their actions in suppressing reporting of this are, for want of a better word, ”Christianophobia”.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Post 50--Is Prime Minister Trudeau Funding Hamas?

I may have reminded you of this before, but do you remember that during the last Federal election the Conservative Party of Canada kept repeating that Trudeau was not ready for being Canada's Prime Minister?  I full agreed with that, for I had seen no sign whatsoever that he was ready. Too young and too inexperienced in politics. Just cute and belonging to a famous political family.  
Well, since his election he has undone so many measures that the Conservatives put in place for the security of both Canada and the world. Don't get me wrong. I am often aghast at what Conservatives say or do as well.  Too many Canadian politicians of whatever party are just that: politicians, not stateswomen or men. Trudeau has shown himself just one of that crowd and, because of his high position, he stands out as just another politician. Apart from his initial composition of the Cabinet--gender equality and wide racial representation--I have seen little positive from him. Oh, he looks cute when he poses in the midst of young people and all that, but when it comes to serious decisions, he seems to have no standard of any kind. 
So, I am sharing with you a news item from The Rebel, an alternative news source that mainline journalists despise.  Though I enjoy reading the Vancouver Sun, I am aware it is mainline and often ignores events that do not pass their test for "responsible news."  I have noticed for years, for example, that they never report on the annual MissionsFest, a large Christian event held in the very heart of Vancouver that draws some 30-35,000 people every time, including high school students who do not drink or do drugs. Now that's a miracle of its own that the press ignores. Recently there was a large Christian gathering in Vancouver that was totally ignored also, except that they made a lot of noise about Franklin Graham.  So, I am fully aware of the selective nature of mainline media.  
Here then The Rebel:
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Hamas is the Palestinian version of ISIS. 

Besides being Islamic extremists, and calling for death to all Jews in their charter, Hamas routinely launches rockets into Israel, firing them from hospitals and schools, using Palestinian citizens as human shields.

This practice clearly violates international law.

But Hamas doesn't break international law all on its own. They work with a UN organization called UNRWA to hide these rockets.

UNRWA runs the schools and hospitals that Hamas attacks from. They have also provided textbooks to children that promote the murder of Israelis.

Because of such horrific actions, Prime Minister Stephen Harper decided to stop providing funding for UNRWA — they were simply too closely tied to Hamas.

(The Harper Conservatives still helped fund other Palestinian relief agencies, just not UNRWA.)

But Justin Trudeau has decided to start helping Hamas again and reinstate UNRWA funding.

Now, thanks to documents obtained by The Rebel, we have proof that the Liberals knew their decision to reinstate UNRWA funding with Canadian tax dollars could be diverted to terrorism.

Watch my video, or click here to see the documents we've obtained. 
UNRWA may have been a good cause when it started back in the 1940s, but it has become corrupted.

If you agree that Justin Trudeau should not fund UNRWA with Canadian tax dollars, then please go to www.StopHelpingHamas.com and sign our petition.

And remember, I'm on your side,

Brian Lilley
==============

I am not much of a techy and do not know whether all the links in the above will work. If they don't, please find The Rebel online yourself and see what you can see or hear.  

Saturday, March 18, 2017


Post 49--Iranian Artist


A friend of mine sent me the info that constitutes the main body of this post.  It is a story of an Iranian female Muslim artist who had to flee her country because she became a Christian. Now she and her family live in Metro Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada--where I live as well.

The beginning of this post was to feature a painting of her, but I did not know how to move it from an email to this blog.  So, you'll have to use your imagination. And since I do not feel free to reveal her identity, I am changing her name to Juma'a, a woman's name in the West African Hausa language, meaning that she was born on a Friday. Of course, I have no idea on what day she was born; it is a purely arbitrary choice. And, again in order to protect her, I am not even revealing the name of this painting.  Sorry about all the mystery and protection stuff, but the situation in Iran demands it from me; it's not my doing and certainly not my preference. 

Let me merely say that this hidden painting radiates for her the joy of God's grace.  

Here's her story:  


Juma'a taught art in Iran, the country of her birth, for several years. She had collective and one-woman shows of her art (landscapes and figures of women in acrylics and watercolours) in various galleries.... She recounts hearing the testimony of a taxi driver and being given a New Testament in Farsi. Juma'a read the New Testament and began attending church. Then her husband joined her. They were questioned by government authorities and asked to renounce their faith in Christ. When she refused, she was fired from her position.... She and her husband and son fled to Turkey and eventually immigrated to Canada in 2013, sponsored by the Ladner Christian Reformed Church, and in 2015 her second child was born here.


In 2016, Juma'a took up painting again as an expression of her devotion to God and gratitude for her salvation. She knows the peace of God deeply and can testify to his faithfulness through many difficult and dangerous circumstances.


Her own statement: As an artist whose life has been changed by the grace of Christ, I believe every aspect of my life is under the influence of His love. Now, too, my goal is to glorify the Lord even through my art, which belongs to Him. In my paintings I have tried to depict the song of my salvation in and through the image and figure of a woman. Each of these is a reflection of my own experiences in my walk of faith. The crown of thorns that Jesus wore has been exchanged for a wreath of joy on my head. His suffering has brought me healing. His death has brought me life – full, free, forever. God’s will is salvation for all the nations, to turn from darkness to the light.