American Middle East analysts often claim that Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is a moderate organization, nothing like the more radical Salafis. If true, what do we make of the fact that the most intolerant, anti-American, hate-filled Salafis and jihadis also happen to be the greatest and staunchest supporters of Morsi? Doesn’t such unequivocal support indicate shared ideologies and goals?
Consider: A few weeks ago, while discussing the ongoing protests against Egypt’s President Muhammad Morsi—himself a leader of the Brotherhood—Sheikh Abdullah Badr, an Al Azhar trained scholar and professor of Islamic exegesis, made the following assertion on live TV:
A mass exodus of Christians is currently underway. Millions of Christians are being displaced from one end of the Islamic world to the other.
We are reliving the true history of how the Islamic world—much of which prior to the Islamic conquests was almost entirely Christian—came into being.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom recently said: “The flight of Christians out of the region is unprecedented and it’s increasing year by year.” In our lifetime alone “Christians might disappear altogether from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Egypt.”
Ongoing reports from the Islamic world certainly support this conclusion. Iraq was the earliest indicator of the fate awaiting Christians once Islamic forces are liberated from the grip of dictators.
… As we look for ways to crack down on terrorism and terrorist activity, looking at UNRWA is a good start. American taxpayer dollars fund approximately one-third of UNRWA’s operating budget. UNRWA provides food, medicine, economic aid, jobs, radical education, political opportunities, and even logistical assistance to Hamas and other extremist groups. UNRWA’s budget, which exceeds $365 million, is funded by many nations, but the United States and other Western nations are the largest contributors. …
If you want to find out even more truth about UNRWA, I suggest you read this very thoughtful, well-documented treatise by three well-recognized experts on Middle East affairs: Barry Rubin, Asaf Romirowsky, and Jonathan Spyer. They eloquently showed that UNRWA:
… actually helps destroy the chance of Arab-Israeli peace, promotes terrorism, and holds Palestinians back from rebuilding their lives.
Unique in history, UNRWA’s job is to keep Palestinian refugees in suspended animation — and at low living standards — until they achieve the goal set for them by the PLO and Hamas: Israel’s extinction. In the meantime, their suffering and anger is maintained as a weapon to encourage them toward violence and intransigence. …
In January, an American Christian was sentenced to an eight-year prison sentence on charges of “endangering national security” in Iran. A 32-year-old married father of two from Boise, Idaho, Pastor Saeed Abedini traveled to his country of origin last year to visit family and help build an orphanage, only to be arrested and sent to Tehran’s brutal Evin prison.
According to Fox News, Abedini, a Muslim convert to Christianity—also known as an apostate deserving of death under Islamic Sharia law—is “facing physical and psychological torture at the hands of captors demanding he renounce his beliefs.” In a recent letter smuggled to family members, he recounted the “horrific pressures” and “death threats” he endures: “My eyes get blurry, my body does not have the strength to walk, and my steps become very weak and shaky… They are only waiting for one thing… for me to deny Christ. But they will never get this from me.”
Christians throughout the Islamic world are under attack. Unlike Muslim attacks on Christians, which are regularly confused with a myriad of social factors, the ongoing attacks on Christian churches in the Muslim world are perhaps the most visible expression of Christian persecution under Islam. In churches, Christians throughout the Islamic world are simply being Christians—peacefully and apolitically worshipping their God. And yet modern day Muslim governments try to prevent them, Muslim mobs attack them, and Muslim jihadis massacre them.
Reports of Christian persecution by Muslims around the world during the month of February include (but are not limited to) the following accounts. They are listed by form of persecution, and in country alphabetical order, not necessarily according to severity:
Egypt: Once again, soon after Friday prayers, a throng of Muslims in Fayoum province, destroyed a Coptic church. The reason cited this time was that the church is “an unlawful neighbor to the Muslims who live adjacent to it and must therefore be moved.” According to AINA, “The mob climbed to the church dome and started demolishing it and setting it on fire. The dome collapsed into the burning church and caused great damage. Muslims used bricks from the dome and the holy cross and hurled it at the altar inside the church, causing part of it to be demolished; all the icons of saints were destroyed. Muslims tried to assault Father Domadios and threw stones at him, but he was saved by a Muslim family who brought him away from the village in their car.” Local Christian families were reported as staying indoors for fear of being assaulted by the Muslims. And, once again, although state security was present throughout this entire proceeding, it did nothing to prevent it. None of the perpetrators was arrested. Two days later, hundreds of Copts demonstrated demanding a halt to the ongoing attacks on their churches. In response, the church was attacked again by Muslims hurling more Molotov cocktails and stones while shouting “We do not want the church.” Some Muslims climbed atop the church again to completely destroy the remains of the wooden dome.
While it is easy to confuse the recent jihadi attack on Egypt’s St. Mark Cathedral in Cairo as just more of the usual, this attack has great symbolic significance, and in many ways bodes great evil for Egypt’s millions of Christians.
Consider some facts: St. Mark Cathedral—named after the author of the Gospel of the same name who brought Christianity to Egypt some 600 years before Amr bin al-As brought Islam by the sword—is not simply “just another” Coptic church to be attacked and/or set aflame by a Muslim mob (see my forthcoming book, Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians, for a comprehensive idea of past and present Muslim attacks on Coptic churches). Instead, it is considered the most sacred building for millions of Christians around the world—above and beyond the many millions of Copts in and out of Egypt. As the only apostolic see in the entire continent of Africa, its significance and evangelizing mission extends to the whole continent, including nations such as Sudan, Ethiopia, Libya, Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria, to name just a few. As an apostolic see—the actual seat of an apostle of Christ—the cathedral further possesses historical significance for Christianity in general.
The 2013 year began with reports indicating that wherever Christians live side by side with large numbers of Muslims, they are under attack. One report said that “Africa, where Christianity spread fastest during the past century, now is the region where oppression of Christians is spreading fastest.” This is certainly true: whether in Kenya, Nigeria, Mali, Somalia, Sudan, or Tanzania, attacks on Christians in those countries are as frequent as they are graphic.
As for the Middle East, the cradle of Christianity, a new study by the Pew Forum finds that “just 0.6 percent of the world’s 2.2 billion Christians now live in the Middle East and North Africa. Christians make up only 4% of the region’s inhabitants, drastically down from 20% a century ago and marking the smallest regional Christian minority in the world. Fully 93% of the region is Muslim, and 1.6% is Jewish.”
On March 17 of this year, François Hollande — the socialist president of France — attended the ceremonies held in Toulouse marking the first anniversary of what is now commonly referred to as “the Mohamed Merah affair.”
On March 11, 2012, this French citizen of Algerian descent, who had joined an Islamist network and had been trained in Pakistan, killed a French soldier in Toulouse. On March 15, he shot three more soldiers in Montauban: two died on the spot; the third was severely wounded in the head and is now quadriplegic.
Four days later, Merah killed three preteen children and one adult at Ozar Hatorah, a school in Toulouse.
Comes the news that Frederick Cohn, the Jewish defense lawyer for Abdel Hameed Shehadeh, asked Brooklyn-based federal judge Eric Vitaliano to exclude Jews from the jury. Shehadeh is charged with three counts of making false statements in connection with his attempts to join jihadis in Pakistan. “Your Honor” Cohn explained in February, “I’m not wild about having Jews on the jury in this case. Given that there’s going to be inflammatory testimony about Jews and Zionism, I think it would be hard for Jews to cast aside any innate antipathy. The American Jewish community is heavily aligned with Israel and Zionism.”
Last Thursday, a Coptic Christian church located in Benghazi, Libya, was attacked by armed Muslim militants. Initial reports indicate that at least one priest, Fr. Paul Isaac, was injured, as well as his assistant. It is the second church in Libya to be attacked in two months. Earlier, on Sunday, December 30, an explosion rocked a Coptic Christian church near the western city of Misrata, where a group of U.S. backed rebels hold a major checkpoint. The explosion killed two people and wounded two others, all Egyptians.
Four foreign Christians—including one who holds American-Swedish citizenship—were arrested days ago in Libya. According to the Guardian, their crime is arousing “suspicion of being missionaries and distributing Christian literature, a charge that could carry the death penalty.”
Apparently the four Christians had “contracted a local printer to produce pamphlets explaining Christianity.” Proselytizing to Muslims—that is, preaching to them another religion—was banned even under the late Col. Muammar Gaddafi.
A few weeks ago, the New York Times reported Pro Palestinian speakers attract protests outside. The event at Brooklyn college was a Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) event focused on delegitimizing Israel. To read the New York Times account, one doesn’t get a sense of what was controversial about the event:
Controversy had grown over the past week at the Midwood college, where nearly a fifth of the undergraduate population is Jewish, over the event organized by a student group, Students for Justice in Palestine. The college’s political science department agreed to co-sponsor the speakers along with more than two dozen other groups.
Jewish leaders on and off campus had criticized the college and its president, Karen L. Gould, for sponsoring the talk, which they said helped legitimize the B.D.S. movement, which refers to Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. Its goal is to pressure Israel to restore disputed territories and grant equal rights to Palestinians.
Throughout the week, the right to academic freedom served as the backbone to arguments in favor of the college’s sponsorship of the event.
What is Europe going to do about Islam? Submit? Resist? Or just wait it out, dimwittedly? The recent French presidential election offers insight into the way Islam, or more exactly the Islamist factor, may eventually play out in European politics.
Despite attempts by the Left to focus the debate on the economic crisis, Islam played a decisive role in the contest. The Socialist candidate, whose platform was tilted to favor the party’s Muslim clientele, could not have won without total support in the second round of voting from far Left parties marked by zealous anti-Zionism and a full range of anti-Western ideologies. The question of Islam-in-France was raised with unprecedented candor by incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy of the Movement for a Popular Majority (UMP). For the first time in France, a major party clearly advocated a push back against Islam (qualified of course with the adjective “radical”). This strategy fired up the enthusiasm of the base, mobilized voters, brought tens of thousands to party rallies, and led to a daily increase in Sarkozy’s polling figures. It would be fair to estimate that if he had had one more week to campaign he might have defeated Hollande during the second-round vote on May 6, 2012.
Aish.com has produced another outstanding video about the amazing, compassionate, innovative, adaptive, brave, and beautiful Israeli people. The film, entitled “This is Israel: Resilience,” tells the story of how “Critically wounded by Hezbollah terrorists, Asael Lubotzky dramatically transforms from victim to healer.” The presentation gives an overview of the last installment of the war started by Hezbollah against Israel, mainly via indiscriminate firing of rockets at Israeli civilians, but concentrates on a personal experience. This video brings home the human toll that Hezbollah-led terrorist violence took on a single man, and thus stirs empathy from viewers. It’s one thing to measure terrorist violence simply through the numbers of people killed or wounded; it’s an entirely better measure to learn about the effects of that “Palestinian” hate-based violence on a single Israeli citizen. Most importantly, the film teaches us how resilient the Israeli people are, and how throughout their nation’s history, Israelis have bounced back from adversity to continuously build and improve one of the world’s greatest democracies. Watch here: