Saturday, July 28, 2018

Post 74--Muslim Institutions in Canada

Herewith do I pass on very interesting info about Muslim institutions in Canada. A friend sent this to me under the heading "Canada under Attack." I thought this might interest you--Jan H. Boer, proprietor

Money transferred to Hamas, directly or indirectly (according to Canada Revenue Agency):$14.6 million

MUSLIM ASSOCIATION OF CANADA Created: 1997 Headquarters: Mississauga, Ont. Owned or operated mosques: 15 Owned or operated schools: 20 Land and buildings in Canada: $30,891,955 Chairman: Abu Nazir Programs: Youth children’s camps, Muslim Scouting groups, leadership training, Qur’an reciting competitions IRFAN-CANADA Headquarters: Mississauga, Ont. Other Offices: Jerusalem, Beirut Money transferred to Hamas, directly or indirectly (according to Canada Revenue Agency):$14.6 million Charitable status revoked: 2011 Offices raided: April 28, 2014 Items seized: Office supplies, donation forms, computer systems and storage devices, promotional videos that "demonize Israel" and "glorify martyrdom." Known arrests to date: none LIST OF MAC SCHOOLS IN CANADA
* Dar UlArqam – Saturday Islamic School (Calgary)
* MAC Islamic School (Edmonton)
* Creative Minds Preschool (North) (Edmonton)
* Al Furqan Islamic School (Ottawa)
* Al Rahma School – Agincourt (Ottawa)
* Al Rahma School – W.E. Gowling (Ottawa)
* Abrar Islamic School (Ottawa)
* MAC Islamic Preschool and Childcare (Ottawa)
* Al-Huda Islamic Schools – Ajax Campus (Toronto)
* Al-Huda Islamic Schools – Milton Campus (Toronto)
* Al-Huda Islamic Schools – Applewood (Toronto)
* Al-Huda Islamic Schools – OGS Campus (Toronto)
* Olive Grove Islamic School (Toronto)
* MAC Islamic Preschool and Childcare (Toronto)
* AlFurqan School (Waterloo)
* Al-Huda Islamic Schools – Kitchener-Waterloo Campus (Waterloo)
* Iqraa School (Windsor)
* Al-Huda Schools – Le Savoir (Montreal)
* Al-Huda Schools – Dar El Eman (Montreal)
* Al-Bayan Quranic Weekend School (Montreal)
* MAC Islamic Centre Edmonton
* Islamic Centre of Cold Lake
* MAC Islamic Centre of Cold Lake
* Mac Youth Centre (London)
* Focus for the Future (Ottawa)
* Masjid Toronto at Dundas (Toronto)
* Masjid Toronto at Adelaide (Toronto)
* MAC Education Centre (Toronto)
* Islamic Community Centre of Ontario (Mississauga)
* Islamic Centre of Waterloo (Waterloo)
* Kitchener Masjid (Waterloo)
* Rose City Islamic Centre (Windsor)
* Laurentien Community Centre (Montreal)
* Centre Laurentien d’Aide A la Famille (Montreal)
* Dar Iman language centre
* Abu Bakr Siddique mosque
* Centre Islamique de Verdun
* Al-Rawdah mosque

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Post 73--Voluntary Martyrdom

Today's post treats of martyrs for Jesus at the hands of Muslims we know as ISIS.  Muslims?  By far most Muslims, probably somewhere close to a billion, will deny ISIS status as Muslims.  It is not for me as Christian to determine who is or is not Muslim.  We do know from the media, as wrong as they often may be, that millions of acknowledged Muslims cheer when ISIS pulls off one of its horrendous pranks. And if you doubt media truth, you may take it from me who have witnessed it first hand in Nigeria. 

I pass on this particular story not because such martyr scenes are unusual. In fact, they are very common--and it is not always ISIS who commits them. If you subscribe to BARNABASAID's magazine, you will realize that it is almost a daily occurrence in one Muslim country or another.

I pass on this particular story because of the amazing voluntary martyrdom chosen by one of the victims who could have been "saved" by simply being quiet. I refer you to the red paragraph in the middle of the story. Read that paragraph over a few times. Ponder it. Try to imagine it is you!  Does it not make you cringe with fear, anger, horror and everything else negative?  What would you have done, knowing that whatever your response, it would not affect any of the others. They would be shot anyhow. 

Well, go ahead and read.....


Christian Newsline

Our Faith in Today's World

A witness unto death: bodies of Christian martyrs returned to Egypt
Last week the bodies of the 20 Egyptian Christians martyred by Islamic State (IS) in Libya in 2015 were returned to Egypt. This is a very poignant reminder of IS’s activities, their systematic killing and their brutality. A total of 21 people were beheaded by IS including one Ghanaian. According to a video of the incident posted by IS, the martyred wore orange jumpsuits and were brutally murdered at a beach location in Sirte, an IS stronghold at the time. Their bodies were recovered when the area was recaptured from IS in October last year and eventually forensically identified by doctors.

These 20 were among the many displaced Egyptians who risked their lives trying to find work in an increasingly lawless and chaotic Libya, in the aftermath of Muammar Gaddafi’s downfall in 2011. Many hundreds of Christian families have since fled their homes in North Sinai in Egypt, fearing for their lives after IS issued death threats against all Christians in the region early in 2017.

   Barnabas Aid is supporting the families of the 20 Egyptian Christian martyrs murdered by IS in 2015
Many Christians will have been moved by Foxe’s Book of Martyrs account of martyrdoms such as Tyndale, who was strangled and burnt at the stake, in obedience to Christ during the Reformation. It is difficult to imagine their suffering and faithfulness “unto death” (Revelation 2:10) in the Western church today, where Christians still enjoy relatively unrestricted freedom of belief and worship. The notion of “sacrifice” as part of Christian life has become abstract and perhaps more connected with giving up time, money, resources or personal comforts in Christian service.

Egyptian Christians often call martyrdom a “second baptism”. They consider it a glorious privilege, welcoming it and embracing it as a blessing from God. One of the 20 Egyptian martyrs in Libya could easily have escaped death. His name was one more commonly used by Muslims than by Christians. So when the IS militants separated the Muslim and Christian migrant workers, on the basis of their ID documents, they placed him with the Muslims. But he spoke up and protested that he was a Christian and wanted to go with his Christian brothers. He surely knew that he was in all probability going to his death, but it was death for Christ and therefore he chose it.

Martyrdom is an everyday reality in Egypt, connecting with the story of Christianity from its very beginning. In an age of cynicism and materialism, the 20 Egyptian martyrs, together with Ghanaian believer Matthew Aryga killed with them, remind us that some Christians are still willing to pay the ultimate price for their faith.
The past two weeks have seen many Christians die in the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo. On Sunday May 13, in Surabaya on the island of Java, a family of suicide bombers targeted early morning services at three churches of different denominations killing 13. Their names are unrecorded and unknown to the wider world. Even the numbers receive little or no public mention. But they are known to God.

Martyr, from the Greek word “martus” used in the New Testament, is translated “witness”. It is used in Scripture in the senses of a witness at a judicial trial, the witness of the people of God in a general sense and, lastly, to all witnesses who have sealed their testimony with their own blood. The apostles were eyewitnesses to Christ’s life, atoning death and resurrection, whereas the martyrs of Christ, past and present day, are His “blood witnesses”. We are all called to be witnesses, whether in death or in life.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Post 72--Established Islamic Social Order

The following short item on Muslim social style comes to us from Tariq Ramadan, a recognized contemporary Muslim scholar, but one also under the suspicion of some. Well, I will let you figure that one out.  In the meantime I believe this short article is educational for both Christians and Muslims and gives a more positive face to Islam. 

                                                  Established Order

The time has come to reconcile ourselves with the depth and breadth of the Islamic civilizational tradition and its wealth of meaning that establishes rules in the light of the objectives of dignity, freedom, justice and peace. 

The Muslim peoples of today urgently need to reassert themselves. Crucial to the process are spirituality and mysticism: not those of a certain form of Sufism that, not wishing to “take part in politics,” ends up playing the game of powers (and colonisers), but of the quest for self that an authentic Sufism never separated from human, social and political (by way of wise and just government) considerations. It is not enough to affirm that freedom must come before the “Sharia”; what is lacking is a thoroughgoing reflection on freedom in the modern age, and the superior objectives (maqasid) of the Path (ash-Sharia) that supersede its reduction to a body of regulations presented as God’s intangible laws. 

What ash-Shatibi provided us with, in his synthesis of the “objectives of the Sharia" - which is actually a “philosophy of law" - must be thought for the notion of freedom: we need a “philosophy of liberty” that cannot be constricting, reactive or dogmatic but must be broad, holistic and liberating, valid for women and men alike.

There is a sore need of young scholars (ulama) of both sexes, of intellectuals who will show a modicum of courage. While respectful of the message and the immutable rules of practice, they must imperatively seek reconciliation with the intellectual audacity of those who have given the age-old Islamic tradition its strength. Against the institutions that have often shaped them, that are under state control and intellectually enfeebled (such as al-Azhar or Umm al-Qura today), the young Muslim generations must free themselves, make their presence felt and give new meaning to the dynamics of a civil society that is no longer a passive onlooker, or simply complain, and display their indignation, or explore new ways of acting, new and alternative visions. Yet they must remain faithful to themselves, while resisting the established order.

Compiled From:
"Beyond Islamism" - Tariq Ramadan

Monday, April 9, 2018

Post 71--Unjust Power Relations

The author of the main body of this post goes by the name Ingrid Mattson.  Now that sounds pretty common, so common that I would not even begin to guess from what Western European country she might hail. "Ingrid" sounds Scandinavian to my ears, but "Mattson?"  No clue. Actually, as with so much in life, things are seldom as they seem and, when it comes to names, things often don't sound the way they are.

Actually, Mattson is a highly respected female Muslim scholar. Yes, all of that. Female. Highly respected. Muslim. Scholar. She "is London and Windsor Chair of Islamic Studies at Huron Univeristy College at the University of Western  Ontario. She is a recognized Islamic religious and interfaith leader. She has published numerous articles on Islam, she travels and lectures widely, and is past President of the Islamic Society of North America."

One topic touched upon in this short article is the standing of Aboriginal peoples, most of whom are animists by tradition.  My research in Islam has brought to light deep-seated contempt for Animists. At least, Christians and Jews can be accepted as second class citizens as long as they tow the Muslim line about their status, but Animists have to rights at all in the traditional Muslim system. Mattson is more kind and wants to accord them recognition and a place to stand.

(For my research, go to my Studies in Christian-Muslim Relations, vols. 1-8. See


Blindspot!Unjust Power Relations
A number of decades ago, the "Abrahamic" identity was created to expand Christian-Jewish dialogue to include Muslims. This was a positive development that has since established a shared platform for dialogue and engagement. At the same time, it is a constructed identity that does not fully encompass the theological ethics and identity of each of us or all of us. Anything we build will necessarily be limited in space and perspective, and we must be mindful that enclosures, as much as they unite people in a space, also restrict that space. I am particularly concerned that the "Abrahamic" appellation reinforces a patriarchal lineage that I believe Islam came to reform. The elder men of the community have no preferential claim on religious leadership and authority in Islam, as much as that might be the cultural preference and social reality of many Muslims. As we work together to build a more peaceful world, we must embrace language and appellations that do not replicate or reinstate unjust power relations.

Islam also recognizes that God's guidance is not limited to the scriptural traditions. The Quran states that "messengers" have been sent by God to every community. While it could be argued that communities without a written scripture have a tendency to drift further from prophetic teachings over time, they still can preserve some authentic teachings. This means that teachings of Islam in the literal sense of "submission to God" can be found among the non-scripturalists. In the Americas, New Zealand, Australia, Scandinavia and the Baltic countries, there are Aboriginal people, some of whom belong to our scriptural faiths and others who try to follow a traditional path left by their ancestors. In most of our countries, there is a terrible history of injustice towards the original people of the land. Our interfaith engagement should not only address these injustices, but also open a spiritual appreciation for those who might retain some of the wisdom received from the Messengers.

Compiled From:
"Of Fences and Neighbors: An Islamic Perspective on Interfaith Engagement for Peace" - Ingrid Mattson. The compilation is found on Friday Nasiha, Issue 993, April 6, 2018 / Rajab 20, 1439.  So, now you know where all this comes from and even have access to the book that discusses all the above in much greater detail. 

Post 70--Is this "enlightened" Vancouver or Meccah?

I know, Ezra Levant is considered worse than a rogue in "main stream" journalism.  Of course, anyone who attacks that tradition is bound to "earn" such a reputation. But to me that epithet can be a badge of honour such rogues will pass on information our main streamers will not touch or twist the story to suit their ideology.  Perhaps Levant could be a little more gentle in conveying the same news, but that does not appear to be his character. But I understand, for I am somewhat the same way--and have burned a few bridges along the way.  It took me 80 years to come to that realization. I don't know Levant's age, but I do hope it won't take him that long to discover that in main stream journalism, it may be wise to act like a wolf in sheep's clothes!

Anyhow, read this Levant story. You can hardly believe that this is happening in my "enlightened"--read "liberal"--Vancouver and someone is getting away with it. Ah, that Islamophobe accusation is always just around the corner like a hidden sword. Few there are like Levant who dare to ignore it and say what they see or hear. It could lead to getting fired or being hauled before a human rights "tribunal," I am told, the accused pays for the expenses whether found guilty or not. To be honest, I cannot quite believe that, not in our democratic Canada.  Right?  You answer that question yourself.

Okay, here's Levant in person:


You wouldn't believe what happened in this Vancouver mosque

Friday, March 23, 2018

Post 69--Ugly Beauty--Whims of the Dictator

Our world and our individual lives are full of contradictions as this post will remind you if you did not already know.  It is a story of ugly beauty, of oppressive beauty, but also kind of fascinating. I could not put it away because of these contradictions.  But it also made me disgusted with the way a stupid dictator can waste the wealth of a people on his own selfish whim. I use a strong word--"stupid," for that is what it is. He runs a good chance of being pulled down from his perch in total ignominy and shame. Even if he dies on his throne, his reputation in history will be worse than mud, let alone his eternal destiny.  Jesus strongly condemns oppressors.

Apart from his own fate, the totally unnecessary suffering such a dictator inflicts on his people  amounts to a crime to humanity. 

I am referring to Fjola Helgadottir's story of her journey through Turkmenistan that I pass on to you below.  It is a fascinating country and journey, with unusually beautiful and expensive buildings that cannot help but impress you.  However, when you think about the oppressive part of the story, the selfish use of power, then it all becomes downright ugly.  

Now when you pick up a world atlas to find out about the state of the country's people, it looks pretty good. My atlas tells me that the country has a literacy rate of 99%, the same as Canada, my adopted country; the USA, my neighbouring country; and the Netherlands, my birth country. The same atlas claims a calory consumption of 2754 kilocalories, an average intake, judging from the 24 countries listed on the two adjacent pages in the atlas. That's surprisingly high and would seem to indicate that, in spite of the totally arbitrary personalized dictatorship under which the people live, they are doing fairly well. The thing is, of course, can you trust such stats?  I, for one, doubt them. You can't trust anything that comes out of a dictator's sleeve.

But the situation described in Helgadottir's story below reminds me of the Olympic saga.  That's a strictly elite sports event for which people spend years of energy and, yes, tons of other people's money, for their own glory. Whether they win or lose makes no difference to the course of world history, even though the media reports keep proclaiming that history is being made. Except for the participants and their organizers, no one's life is improved by it. In fact, poor people are often chased out of their neighbourhoods and the latter demolished to be replaced by glitter and gold. Vancouver and its province British Columbia, the scene of the 2010 Winter Olympics where I live, was and is becoming a city and even province impossible to live in because of the obscenely high prices of property and houses, and all this while there is said to be no or hardly any money for or solution to the housing shortage. I could wander around in the city during the event and taste the Olympic ambiance, but I could not afford a ticket to the events. Was it an event of beauty?  Really?  I leave it to you along with the dictators of this world.  

I place this post on this Christian-Muslim blog, because Turkmenistan is a Muslim-majority country. Muslim theologians claim that Islam pushes justice and compassion. Their dictator is probably a Muslim, but he seems to know little about Islam and seems hardly motivated by it. When Muslims makes these grandiose claims for their religion, they need to explain how such situations arise. Does Islam have no defense against this or protection of the poor?  I realize, of course, that "Christians" have similar situations to account for. 

Here's Helgadottir. Enjoy--if you can.....


Fjola Helgadottir:
Vancouver Sun, February 24, 2018
          "At the whim of a dictator in fascinating Turkmenistan."
The Province of February 28, 2018
          "Turkmenistan has an eccentric and narcissistic president and it shows."

Most people have never heard of Ashgabat, Turkmenistan and cannot point it out on a map. People often say it is like a mix of Las Vegas and Pyongyang. The city looks like a cartoon fairyland, with huge structures of marble and gold everywhere you look, and each skyscraper is more luxurious than the last.
We visited Turkmenistan as part of our honeymoon trip from Sydney (Australia) to Oxford (England). We had not heard of many of the countries before our departure, and spent time trying to remember the names of all the different “stans”. We entered Turkmenistan’s border town, Konye-Urgench, after travelling across Uzbekistan. To get around in Central Asia is tricky. One of the main methods of transport is going to a hub, finding a car that is going your direction, and waiting 1-5 hours until it fills with people. Add a few chickens, a couple babies and at least 2 people on laps and then it leaves for your destination.
After travelling in this area of the world for about a month we got good at making local friends without any language in common. Most people speak their native language with Russian as their second language. While driving across Uzbekistan the young man next to us showed us an seemingly endless album of pictures of himself posing in different military outfits with guns. The car overheated several times and we had to stop and wait for it to cool down. At one point a cushy air-conditioned tourist bus drove by, and we questioned our decision to travel independently.

We met our guide Oleg in Konye-Urgench. He was Russian, a no nonsense guy, and we had full confidence that he would be able to handle whatever Turkmenistan would throw at us. First, he drove us to a market so we could buy the local currency, the Manat. Exchanging money in banks in Turkmenistan is too costly so everyone goes to markets for money exchange. Then we drove south through sandy dunes for hours, with camels dotting the landscape. Finally, we reached the gas crater in the middle of the Karakum desert.
Standing next to the crater was one of the most bizarre sights in our lives, with nothing around in the middle of the grey desert and the bright flames lighting up a massive orange hole in the ground. I woke up with a strong headache after a night camping next to the crater for the night. I claimed it was the gas. My husband suspected it had more to do with the shots of vodka we had the night before. Regardless, we had a great night with Irish Rudi, Italian Alessandro, and our guide telling us scary stories of people disappearing into the flames. On our drive to Ashgabat, Turkmenistan’s capital city, Oleg said, here used to be a village. The Turkmenbashi didn’t like the looks of it, so he decided to tear it down. After making it to Asghabat in one piece we wandered around the city.

I’m sure many dictators in the world would love to build a city like Ashgabat, but Turkmenistan is unique in that it has (a) a spectacularly eccentric and narcissistic president, and (b) enormous oil revenues that allow him (and his predecessor) to indulge in all these ridiculous vanity projects. For example, many of the buildings in the city house useless ministries for this and that. There is the Ministry of Horses (horse features are cut into its marble), the Ministry of Carpets (with carpet pattern decoration on the front), the Ministry of Communication (looks like a big phone), the Ministry of Knowledge (shaped like a book).
The city is full of gold statues of the former president (Turkmenbashi which means leader of Turkmen). These are being slowly removed by the new president in exchange for things more relevant to himself. Turkmenbashi was pretty crazy. He changed the names of some months and days to names of his family members. If that wasn’t enough, he even changed the Turkmen word for bread to the name of his mother! Another quick one – he was trying to quit smoking, so he banned smoking in any place where he might accidentally see another person smoking – even outside in the entire country! You can’t even smoke in the middle of the desert! Basically, Turkmenbashi banned things on a whim, and when he died in 2006 the new president (his former dentist!) reversed some of the more outlandish laws, the new president doesn’t seem to be much better. He is continuing the endless building spree, while spending little money on things like education.

On every street corner there are a few young men in uniforms whose only job is to make sure nobody walks in front of public buildings or palaces, because this looks shabby (there are underpasses provided). Also, tourists have been arrested for taking pictures of the president’s palace. All traffic stops in the morning when the president wants to use the roads to get to work, and people are supposed to hide behind parked cars if the presidential convoy passes by.
We accidentally visited Asghabat’s latest hotel, when we were looking for a toilet. The hotel had only been open for a few weeks, so they had plenty of staff ready and eager to serve. In fact, they had just returned from France, where they learned the art of hospitality. They call the hotel Seven Stars. It featured showers that emulated rain, and the most luxurious toilets we’ve ever seen. The only problem was the complete lack of guests. Turkmenistan is sometimes called the world’s second most isolated country (after North Korea), so we wondered how they plan to fill up all 299 rooms (actually less because the president has reserved a whole floor for himself).
We had been warned to not speak about our tour guide in our hotel room as this could get him in trouble. It is common knowledge that hotel rooms are bugged. This was a slightly chilling feeling. We flew out of Ashgabat to Azerbaijan, in a completely empty Lufthansa plane, with mixed emotions. One the one hand we felt a sense of relief that we were no longer under observation, but absolutely fascinated by what we had just experienced.

What you need to know:
-Turkmenistan is located north of Iran and south of Uzbekistan.
– Getting there is the biggest challenge; start applying for a tourist visa now! We used this service:
– The second challenge is staying away from the secret police.
-Independent travelling is not allowed. So for excursions outside of Ashgabat, you need a guide. However, travel agencies are able to set you up with other travellers to share the cost.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Post 68--Turkey and Militants vs Christians in Syria

Turkey is member of NATO. I've never been at ease about that, because it is a Muslim country. Muslim countries generally are suspicious of Western countries--and for good reason. But for the West to figure they can count on Turkey to defend Western interests is downright silly. Now I realize, of course, that the reason for this alliance was the Cold War. The West tried to use Turkey in its ring around the Soviet Union. 

Fast forward. The Cold War is history, but now we have a vastly more complicated situation in the Middle East with Islam largely in chaos and threatening the West.  And while this was developing--or deteriorating!--the EU seriously considered allowing Turkey to join it.  I cannot imagine Western foolishness to even consider it.  But, then, Western nations have long been dumb and stupid when it comes to the Muslim world. So, I guess it's no surprise. By now, however, this issue has fizzled out and Turkey is now showing that it is, after all is said and done, a Muslim nation and cannot be counted on to support Western alliances like NATO and EU.  It has its own interests, Muslim interests, nationalist interests. 

With that as background, I invited you to read the sad report by Elizabeth Kendal. If you've been following this blog, you've met her before. She is a good and reliable reporter who tells it as it is. Well, as it is, this report is pretty sad for Christians in the Syrian chaos, what with Turkey now playing footsie with Islamic terrorists and even using them. The leopard is showing its true colour--and so are the USA and the UN!


Turkey in Syria: Afrin Falls; Christians Imperilled 
Yesterday, 11:04 PM