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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Where's the Outrage At Abuse of the Copts?

A reply to the May 19, „WSJ“ article

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Moheb Zaki's op-ed "Egypt's Persecuted Christians" (May 19) reminds me of what our Coptic Christian neighbors told us as Egypt's Jews were being ethnically cleansed beginning as early as 1945: "After Saturday comes Sunday." What this saying meant was that once the Muslims get rid of the Jews, the Christians' turn is next.

The good news is that Egypt's radical Muslims will not be able to expel seven to eight million Christians as easily as they did Egypt's 80,000 Jews, including my family. Hopefully, the world community, the United Nations, human-rights organizations and the world's churches will lobby Egypt's leaders. That is more than they did for the one million Jews who were kicked out of nine Arab countries and Iran, leaving behind most of their property, starting in the late 1940s and 1950s, after the foundation of the state of Israel. In 1967, at the start of the Six-Day War, the few remaining adult male Jews in Egypt were rounded up and imprisoned.

That is why I object strongly to our president's speech in Cairo when he made the unbelievable statement that "Islam and America share the same principles of justice and tolerance." Nonsense. Our values include religious and political freedom, respect for women, the rule of law and democratic ideals. Not so in Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Iran, Somalia and in other places dominated by radical Islam such as Gaza.

Egyptian Convert Endures Life at a Standstill – on the Run

From the mosque across the street, words blasting from minaret megaphones reverberate throughout the tiny apartment where Maher Ahmad El-Mo’otahssem Bellah El-Gohary is forced to hide. Immediately following afternoon prayers, the Friday sermon is, in part, on how to deal with Christians.
 
“Do not shake their hands. Do not go into their homes. Do not eat their food,” an imam shouts as El-Gohary, a convert to Christianity from Islam, looks through his window toward the mosque, shakes his head and grimaces.
 
“I hope one day to live in a place where there are no mosques,” he says. “How many megaphones do they need?”
 
For nearly two years, El-Gohary and his teenage daughter have been living in hiding because he abandoned Islam and embraced Christianity. During this time he has been beaten and forcibly detained, and his daughter has been attacked. He has had to endure death threats, poverty and crushing boredom.
 
Asked what gets him through the constant pressure of living on the run, El-Gohary said he wants to show the world how Christians are treated in Egypt.
 
“My main driving force is I want to prove to people the amount of persecution that Muslim converts and Christians face here, and that the persecution has been going on for 1,400 years,” he said.
 
When asked the same question, his 16-year-old daughter, Dina Maher Ahmad Mo’otahssem, pushed back tears and said one word.
 
“God.”
 
Hiding

El-Gohary, 57, and his daughter were forced into hiding shortly after August 2008, when he sued the national government to allow him to change the religion listed on his state-issued ID from Islam to Christianity.
 
El-Gohary followed in the footsteps of Mohammed Ahmed Hegazy, 27, also a convert from Islam, in filing an ID case because he didn’t want his daughter to be forced to take Islamic education classes or have her declared an “apostate” by Egyptian Islamic authorities if she decided to stay a Christian into adulthood. Dina is required by law to possess an ID card. The ID card is used for everything from opening a bank account to receiving medical care. The identification also determines whether Egyptians are subject to Islamic civil courts.
 
Dina is the daughter of El-Gohary and his first wife, who is a Muslim. El-Gohary said that before he got married, he told his future wife that one day he would be baptized as a Christian. He said he now thinks she was convinced that he would eventually turn back to Islam. Over time, she grew tired of his refusal go back on his faith and complained to El-Gohary’s family, demanding a divorce.
 
“She started crying. She went to my parents and my brother and said, ‘This is not going to work out, I thought that he was going to change his mind. I didn’t think he was that serious about it,’” El-Gohary said. “She started talking about it to other people to the point where they started calling me from the loudspeakers of the local mosque, asking me what I was doing and ordering me to come back and pray.”
 
Eventually El-Gohary married another Muslim, and over the years she became a Christian. She has fled Egypt and lives in the United States; El-Gohary hasn’t seen her since March 2009.
 
On April 11, 2009, El-Gohary’s lawyers presented a conversion certificate from the Coptic Church in court. He obtained the certificate under court directions after going to Cyprus, at great expense, to obtain a baptismal certificate. The next month, the State Council, a consultative body of Egypt’s Administrative Court, provided the court with a report stating that El-Gohary’s change of faith violated Islamic law. They instructed that he should be subject to the death penalty.
 
In February 2009, lawyers opposing El-Gohary’s case advocated that he be sentenced to death for apostasy. On June 13, 2009, a Cairo judge rejected El-Gohary’s suit.
 
On Sept. 17, 2009, authorities at Cairo International Airport seized his passport. He was trying to travel to China with the eventual hope of going to the United States. On March 9, 2010, the Egyptian State Council Court in Giza, an administrative court, refused to return his passport. He has another hearing about the passport on June 29.
 
“I think it’s a kind of punishment, to set an example to other Muslims who want to convert,” El-Gohary said. “They want me to stay here and suffer to show other converts to be afraid. They are also afraid that if they let me go, then I will get out and start talking about what is happening in Egypt about the persecution and the injustice. We are trapped in our own country without even the rights that animals have.”
 
Conditions


As recently as last week, El-Gohary and his daughter were living in a small, two-bedroom apartment across the street from a mosque on the outskirts of an undisclosed city in Egypt. The floor was littered with grime and bits of trash. Clumps of dust and used water bottles were everywhere.
 
El-Gohary had taped over the locks, as well as taped shut the inside of windows and doors, to guard against eavesdroppers and intruders. He had taped over all the drain holes of the sinks to keep anyone from pumping in natural gas at night.
 
Even the shower drain was taped over.
 
The yellow walls were faded, scuffed and barren, save for a single picture, a holographic portrait of Jesus, taped up in what qualified as a living room. El-Gohary motioned through a door to a porch outside. Rocks and pebbles thrown by area residents who recently learned that he lived there covered the porch.
 
“I would open the window, but I don’t want the rocks to start coming in,” he said.
 
El-Gohary has an old television set and a laptop with limited access to the Internet. Dina said she spends her time reading the Bible, talking to her father or drawing the occasional dress in preparation for obtaining her dream job, designing clothes.
 
Even the simple task of leaving El-Gohary’s apartment is fraught with risk. Every time he leaves, he places a padlock on the door, wraps it with a small plastic bag and melts the bag to the lock with a match.
 
El-Gohary cannot work and has to rely on the kindness of other Christians. People bring him food and water and the occasional donation. When the food runs out, he has to brave going outside.
 
“Our life is extremely, extremely hard. It’s hard for us to attend a church more than once because people will know it is us,” he said. “We can’t go to a supermarket more than once because we are going to be killed.”
 
Girl, Interrupted

Possibly the worst part for El-Gohary is watching his daughter suffer. A reflective youth with a gentle demeanor, Dina is quick to smile. But at a time when her life should be filled with friends, freedom and self-discovery, she is instead confined between four walls.
 
Even going to school, normally a simple thing, is fraught with dangerous possibilities. Dina hasn’t gone to school in about a year. She said that the last time she did, other students ridiculed her mercilessly, and a teacher hit her when she tried to attend religious classes for Christians instead of Muslims.
 
Now she and her father fear she could be beaten, kidnapped and forcibly converted, or simply killed. She can’t even go to church, she said.
 
“I don’t understand why I am being treated this way,” she said. “I believe in something, Christianity – I chose the religion because I love it. So why should I be treated this way?”
 
Dina was a little girl when she starting hearing about Jesus. Her father used to sit with her and tell her stories from the Bible, and he also told her about his conversion experience. Like her father, she cites a supernatural experience as a defining event in her faith.
 
One night, she said, she had a dream in which an enormous image of Jesus smiling appeared in a garden. She said the image became bigger and bigger until it touched the ground and became a golden church. She told her father about the dream, and since then she has believed in Christ.
 
Under Islamic law, Dina is considered a Muslim because her father was born as one. Because, like her father, Dina has decided to follow Christ, she is considered an “apostate” under most interpretations of Islamic law.
 
She gained national prominence in November 2009, when she wrote a letter, through a Coptic website, to U.S. President Barack Obama. She told the president that Muslims in the United States are treated much better than Copts in Egypt and asked why this was the case. She hopes the president will pressure the Egyptian government to ensure religious rights or let her and her father immigrate to the United States.
 
One afternoon last month, Dina was walking to a market with her father. As the two walked, El-Gohary noticed smoke and vapors coming off Dina’s jacket. The canvas was sizzling and dissolving. Someone had poured acid over the jacket. El-Gohary ripped it off her and threw it away.
 
“I asked people if they saw what happened and everyone said, ‘No, we didn’t see anything,’” El-Gohary said.
 
Luckily, Dina was not physically injured in the attack, but since then she has been terrified to go outside.
 
“I am very, very scared,” she said. “I haven’t gone outside since the attack happened.”
 
Change of Faith

El-Gohary, also known as Peter Athanasius, became a Christian 36 years ago while attending an academy for police trainees. During his second year of school, he became good friends with his roommate, a Copt and the only Christian in the academy. After watching cadets harass his roommate for praying, El-Gohary asked him why the others had ridiculed him.
 
“For me, it was the first time I had heard something like that,” El-Gohary said. “I didn’t have any Christian friends before, and I didn’t know about the level of persecution that takes place against Christians.”
 
Eventually, El-Gohary asked his friend for a Bible and took it home. His family tried to dissuade him from reading it.
 
“No, you can’t read the Bible,” his father told him. “It’s a really bad book.”
 
Undeterred, El-Gohary began reading the Bible in the privacy of his room. In the beginning, he said, the Bible was difficult to understand. But El-Gohary concentrated his efforts on the New Testament, and for the first time in his life, he said, he felt like God was speaking to him.
 
El-Gohary read the account of Jesus meeting the woman caught committing adultery, and the level of mercy that Jesus showed her transformed him, he said.
 
“Jesus said, ‘If anyone among you is without sin, then let him throw the first stone.’ The amount of forgiveness and love in this story really opened my eyes to the nature of Christianity,” El-Gohary said. “The main law that Jesus talked about was loving God ‘with all your heart, soul and mind.’ The basis of Christianity is love and forgiveness, unlike Islam, where it is based on revenge, fighting and war.”
 
Also, El-Gohary said, when he compared the two religions’ versions of heaven, he found that the Islamic version was about physical pleasure, whereas for Christians it was about being released from the physical world to be with God.
 
El-Gohary said his decision to follow Christ was final after he had a brilliant vision of light in his bedroom at his parents’ home, accompanied by the presence of “the peace of God.” El-Gohary said at first he thought he was seeing things, but then his father knocked on the door and demanded to know why the light was on. He told his father he was looking for something.
 
Persecution Begins

As a budding Christian convert, El-Gohary went back to the police academy and learned as much as he could about Christ and the Bible from his roommate. Persecution wasn’t long in coming.
 
One day an upperclassman spotted El-Gohary absent-mindedly drawing a cross on a notebook. The cadet sent El-Gohary to a superior for questioning.
 
El-Gohary avoided telling academy officials that his roommate had taught him about Christianity, but a captain at the school was able to piece together the evidence. The captain called El-Gohary’s father, a high-ranking officer at the academy, who in turn told the captain to make the young convert’s life “hell.”
 
Officials were imaginative in their attempts to break El-Gohary. He had to wake up before all the other students. He was ordered to carry his mattress around buildings and up and down flights of stairs. They exercised El-Gohary until he was about to pass out. Then they forced him to clean bathroom facilities with a toothbrush.
 
El-Gohary was not swayed from Christ, but he decided he couldn’t stay in what he said is the agency that “is the center of persecution against Christians” in Egypt. He tried numerous times to resign, but officials wouldn’t let him. Then he tried to get kicked out. Eventually, officials suspended the police cadet and sent him home for two weeks. At home, his family had a surprise waiting; they had hired an Islamic scholar to bring him back to Islam.
 
The scholar started by yelling Islamic teachings into El-Gohary’s ears, then moved on to write Quranic verses on his arms. El-Gohary remained seated and bore the humiliation in silence. Suddenly El-Gohary stood up, pinned the man against a wall and started yelling at him; the convert had caught the distinct smell of burning flesh – when he looked down at his arms, El-Gohary saw the scholar burning his hands with thin, smoldering iron rods.
 
“I said, ‘Enough! I have tolerated all of your talk. I have listened to all you have said, but this has gone too far,’” El-Gohary recalled. “The man said I had a ‘Christian demon’ inside me.”
 
Hope

As bad as things have been for El-Gohary and his daughter, their dedication seems rock-solid. They said they have never regretted their decisions to become Christians.
 
El-Gohary said that eventually, he will triumph.
 
“By law, my circumstance will have to change,” he said. “I have done nothing illegal.”
 
Dina is not so sure; she said she doesn’t feel like she has a future in Egypt, and she hopes to move to a place where she can get an education.
 
Whatever happens, both El-Gohary and his daughter said they are prepared to live in hiding indefinitely.
 
“There are days that I break down and cry, but I am not giving up,” Dina said. “I am still not going back to Islam.”

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Kenya court rules Islamic courts are illegal

BBC NEWS

Kenya's Islamic courts are illegal and discriminatory, a panel of judges has ruled.

The three judges said the Islamic "Kadhi" courts favoured Islam over other faiths, and that this was unconstitutional as Kenya was a secular country.

The issue of Islamic courts has been a contentious point in the country's new proposed constitution.

It is due to go to a referendum in August.

The Kadhi courts - set up under British colonial rule - mainly deal with matters of marriage and inheritance for Kenya's Muslim minority.

The Christian church in Kenya brought the case to court six years ago.

As part of a power-sharing deal to end deadly riots following elections in December 2007, it was agreed that a new constitution would be written.

Al Shabaab ask Kenya to keep off

THE NATION (Kenya)

The rebel group’s spokesman, Sheikh Ali Mohamoud Raghe alias Sheikh Ali Dhere, said Kenya was among Christian (non-Muslim) forces opposing his movement’s Jihad (holy war) against the Transitional Federal Government in Mogadishu.

“We know that Kenya is supporting few cowards around its border,” he said at a passing out parade for rebel fighters in the port city of Kismayu.

“You Jihadists are going to crush those elements and move beyond into Kenya,” he added.

Kenya, he said, is in a glass house and should not start throwing stones.

“Kenya should learn from what happened to the mightier Ethiopian forces,” said Sheikh Ali Dhere. “Thousands of Ethiopians had to stream to the border in total defeat.”

He asked the trainees to remain morally and spiritually equipped to confront any threat against Islam.

The militants, he said, were in Jihad against non-Muslims anywhere around the world.

“The jihad is for the liberation of all Muslims around the world,” said Sheikh Ali Dhere. “When we succeed in this part, we will to move to other parts until we ensure only Allah is worshipped in this world,” he added amid chants of Allahu Akbar (God is Great).

The rebels have been linked to terror group al Qaeda led by Saudi fugitive Osama bin Laden. This is not the first time they are speaking against Kenya which they accuse of recruiting and training soldiers on behalf of TFG.

Ethiopian troops intervened in Somalia in 2006 to support the Somali government.

They withdrew in 2009 following the Djibouti agreement between the TFG and some of the Islamist factions.

MORE

Coptic Christians Voicing Frustration With White House As Persecution Widens in Egypt

Ethiopia is probably the only nation that could stop this madness by showing strong solidarity of noteworthy with the suffering brothers and sisters of Egypt. Ethiopia should stop allowing new mosques to be built in its territories, unless there is some sort of reciprocity on the part of moslem states. This is a very serious issue!


THE NEW YORK SUN

The leaders of Coptic Christians, whose community is facing growing persecution in Egypt, say they have been unsuccessful in efforts to gain a hearing from the White House or other parts of the Obama administration.

Heightened persecution of Egypt’s 12 million Christians coupled with growing power and prestige of their Coptic Diaspora in America and Australia is leading to new political efforts here. Educated and skilled Egyptian Copts who migrated in large numbers in recent decades are talking to Congress, organizing lobbies, and making other efforts to be heard.

They say they are frustrated by the current administration in Washington, particularly after President Obama’s overture to the Muslim world via a speech at Cairo. In the speech Mr. Obama President apologized for America’s misdeeds to Muslims, stating that he came “to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world.” Coptic leaders say that even while reaching out to Muslims the administration has turned a deaf ear to the pleas Arab Christian minority in the very country where he delivered his apology to Muslims.

“The Obama administration’s benign neglect of Arab Christians, is putting freedoms and human rights in the whole Middle East at risk,” is the way it was put in an interview with the Sun by the president of the U.S. Copts Association, Michael Meunier, who is headquartered in Washington “Friendships with Muslims has been the Obama Administration’s opening theme from his first day in office and in that famed Cairo speech in which he extended a hand to all Muslims in partnership.”

Mr. Meunier added that that the president’s failure to speak as extensively about the persecution of Arab Christians was a departure from American policy and a grave error. “We have no problems with American friendships with Islam and Muslims, but it cannot be accomplished at the expense of our rights as Egyptian Christians and Arab Christians, and as the very lives of our people there are endangered,” Mr. Meunier told the Sun.

One area of complaint by the Copt community is a law banning the repair or construction of churches without a “presidential decree.” The measure, known as the Hamayuni Law, is based on an 1856 Ottoman decree but was rarely enforced in Egypt under the monarchial dynasty overthrown by army officers in 1952.

Indeed, until the coup that put Gamal Abdel Nasser in power in 1952, Christian communities in Egypt  — including Catholics, Protestants, Armenians, Greeks and Italians in addition to the Copts —  enjoyed a climate of moderate Islam as the country westernized itself.

Because Christianity in Egypt is so ancient, preceding Islam by seven centuries, the country is a repository of multiple centuries-old churches, part of its international cultural heritage. As attractions for tourists, they rival the Pharos heritage.  Those churches benefit somewhat as tourist sites, getting a measure of protection by the state. Elsewhere in Egypt, smaller, ordinary churches are burning. Because of the Hamayuni Law, the churches that are attacked or burned down remain gone.

Copts say they are down to 2,524 churches now, down from more than 3,000 churches in the early 1950s. The bigger problem is not only that of systematic destruction of churches but the inability to replace the losses and build more to keep up with the normal growth of the Christian population.

The squeeze has become bad enough that Copts have often have to travel far distances outside of their towns for religious services for baptism, marriage, funerals, and regular mass.

Since 1971 only 37  “presidential decrees” were issued to build new churches and a further 34 decrees for menial repairs or refurbishments, including absurd things like replacing broken windows, across all of Egypt.

Both the regimes of Presidents Al Sadat and Mubarak revived the Hamayuni Law, refusing or ignoring applications by Christians to repair, rebuild or erect  churches. Egypt’s parliament, which is led by Mr. Mubarak’s National Party, has refused multiple proposals to write off the law or cancel it. Christian landowners need official permits to build a church. Muslims, by contrast, need no such permissions from the state, the presidency, or the government to build mosques anywhere in Egypt.

As a result, thousands new mosques, some starting as nothing more than storefront shops, have been established over the past 30 years. Most were funded with Saudi money. As the expansion of Islamic houses of prayer proceeds in Egypt , Christians there remain frozen in place.

Sectarian outbursts, which always end up in attacks on churches, are diminishing their numbers. Nagaa Hamadi is close to Luxor the fabled capital of ancient Egypt where several dynasties of Pharos ruled, a place replete with splendid ancient sites and a region of the Deep Nile Valley South, where millions of Coptic Christians live and work as merchants, landowners and businessmen.

Attacks on those Coptic Christians and their shops in Luxor, as well as in major cities like Cairo and Alexandria, are now monthly occurrences. Their employees are mugged, robbed, stabbed, and occasionally shot and killed, while their establishments are damaged or destroyed. The Islamists’ objective is to drive Copts out of the business of tourism and commerce,

That objective is voiced openly by advocates of the Moslem Brotherhood, who voice the ambition in weekly sermons, as well as over the airwaves by such broadcasters as the Qatari Al Jazeera and the Suadi Al Arabia television networks. Both networks keep a large contingent of reporters in Cairo and carry a stream of anti-Christian speeches and news programming. Anti-Christian exhortations are far from discreet; they are made openly on loud speakers in mosques on Fridays across Egypt, even in Christian neighborhoods.

Imams routinely urge Muslims to boycott Christians in business and social gatherings, cross the street to avoid mingling with them, refrain from shaking hands with them, or joining them in business ventures.

Much of this is reported and written about in the press, including in the government owned Al Ahram, the largest Arab daily newspaper, which has a contingent of liberal writers. The Coptic church routinely files complaints to the police. Yet to date, such complaints have been largely ignored. The government has been either unable, or unwilling, to challenge, stop, or question radical imams.

Luxor itself came to the world’s attention in November 1997, but only when Islamists massacred 62 Swiss tourists in a bloody attack. The ongoing dispossession and massacres of thousands of Egyptian Christians in and around the rest of Egypt, has yet to receive much attention, while the government dismisses each attack as an “individual incident.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Three churches demolished in Nigeria

CHRISTIAN SOLIDARITY WORLDWIDE

Two churches belonging to the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), a Baptist Church, and a pastor’s house have been demolished by Fulani youths in Kano State, northern Nigeria, after a few members of the Muslim community objected to their existence.

The old ECWA church building in Kwasam, Kiru Local Government Area (LGA) was burnt to the ground at around 11am on 19 May. At the same time, a newly completed church structure was demolished and the pastor’s home was set ablaze, destroying all of his property. The ECWA pastor is now in hiding, after elements of the mob vowed they would not leave the area until he was dead.

Prior to this demolition, the ECWA Church leadership had been forced to appear before a Shari’a court. Since its members are from tribes indigenous to the area, the church argued that the land on which the church stood was their inheritance, adding that they had nowhere else to go. Nevertheless, the court ruled in favour of the complainants.

The Baptist Church in Banaka, Takai LGA, which was demolished on 15 May, has now faced demolition on four separate occasions. After the previous demolition, a group of Christians from Kastina State paid for the construction of a new building, and also drilled a well for church members to use. However, during the demolition, the well was blocked off completely.

Stuart Windsor National Director of CSW Nigeria says: “It is unacceptable that churches can still be destroyed on the whim of a few extremists. These demolitions violate Nigeria’s constitutional and international legal undertakings to uphold religious freedom and freedom of assembly. In addition, the constitution stipulates that non-Muslims cannot be brought before Shari’a courts unless they have agreed to this in advance and in writing, thus there is no valid basis for these demolitions. To combat such impunity, it is vital that the Federal Government of Nigeria takes measures to ensure that the Kano State authorities bring the perpetrators of these acts to justice swiftly, and offer timely and adequate compensation and protection to the churches and to the ECWA Church pastor.”

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Standing in Solidarity with Eritrean/Ethiopian Christians

In London, UK, the Metropolitan of Glastonbury and Head of the British Orthodox Church, Abba Seraphim will join a protest vigil to “Stand in Solidarity with Eritrean Christians” outside the Eritrean Embassy between 3-4 pm on Thursday, 3 June 2010. The vigil has been organized by a number of Christian Human Rights’ organizations: Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Release Eritrea, Church in Chains, Release International and Open Doors. At a similar gathering in May 2008 Abba Seraphim handed in a petition at the Embassy calling for the restoration of His Holiness Abune Antonios, the canonical Patriarch of the Eritrean Orthodox Church and in June 2007 organized an Ecumenical Prayer Service in London for Abune Antonios. The British Orthodox Church also sponsors a website calling for the Patriarch’s restoration: http://www.abuneantonios.com/

The Eritrean Embassy is at 96 White Lion Streert, London, N1 9PF (near the Angel tube).

Remember the prisoners - Video about Eritrean Orthodox Christians persecution


http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=JP&hl=ja&v=78gVa8QCl4Y

Crackdown on Christians ramping up

Analyst: Deportation orders reflect fear Muslims will convert

WorldNetDaily

The government of Morocco has notified another 23 mostly Christian foreigners, including one American, that they're scheduled for imminent expulsion from the North African country.

And an analyst says that those targeted by the deportation order indicate the government of Morocco, which historically has been considered a moderate Muslim nation, now is fearful that Muslims will convert if exposed to Christianity.

This is the second large deportation action taken by the Moroccan government against mostly Christian individuals in the past two months. More than 40 Christian workers were deported from Morocco in March.

Aidan Clay of International Christian Concern says the North African nation simply is alarmed about the possibility that Muslims may see an opportunity to leave Islam.

"The reason they received these notices is that they allegedly broke Morocco's anti-proselytizing laws. This is the same reason for the deportations in March," Clay told WND.

"This goes way beyond anti-proselytizing. It's basically anti-conversion. The thinking there is if there is no proselytizing, no one will convert from Islam," Clay explained. "But upholding these laws directly violates the fundamental religious freedoms of the Moroccan people."

Clay said the United States government is hesitating to confront the Moroccan government.

"Some people in the United States government don't want to confront the Moroccan government. They say, 'If we confront the Moroccan government with this, we're not going to get anywhere. They're not going to listen to us,'" Clay said.

But that feeling isn't universal yet.

Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., has made issues of human rights and human trafficking part of his concern.

Speaking on the House floor last week, Congressman Wolf called on the Moroccan government to live up to its stated commitment to religious freedom.

"I call on the government of Morocco to uphold its commitment to the principles of religious tolerance and freedom, that for so long, made it a model of tolerance and modernity in the Arab world," he said.

"And I call on our embassy, the State Department and the White House to raise this issue with Moroccan authorities at the highest levels, and defend the interests and rights of these American citizens … whose lives have been shattered by these events," Wolf said.

Wolf's spokesman, Dan Scandling, said the congressman believes the new round of deportations is "disconcerting."

"I don't think anyone has a firm answer as to why they're doing it, but it is certainly a step backwards. That's why the congressman made a statement on the floor of the House last week and is going to have a hearing in June on Capitol Hill with the Human Rights Commission. He wants to find out just what's going on and to get to the bottom of it," Scandling said.

Scandling wouldn't say directly that the expulsions were because of proselytizing.

"You're hearing that that's the reason they're being kicked out. Some of these people have been there a number of years and haven't had any issues. It's raising some eyebrows here and that's why the congressman is raising some of the questions he's raising," Scandling said.

However, Clay said the government in Morocco specifically is targeting Christianity.

"It's a method to try and ensure that Morocco remains a majority Muslim country. We've seen in North Africa in Algeria with the Berber community. There are large numbers of Muslim Berbers converting to Christianity. It's so substantial that the Algerian government hasn't been able to control it," Clay said.

"It's out of their ability to control, but Morocco is seeing the same thing and they're seeing the strength of the Moroccan church movement. They're seeing Muslims converting to Christianity and this move is to put an end to the spread of Christianity in Morocco," Clay said.

Clay added that the list of upcoming deportees includes Europeans from the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Spain and the Netherlands. The deportees also include people from Canada, New Zealand and South Korea.

There is no word on when the 23 persons notified will be ordered to leave Morocco.

Daily reported in March that Christians were being detained in several Moroccan cities and some had been jailed pending their deportations.
During the March crackdown, dozens of Christian orphanage workers, business leaders, teachers and others simply were told their visas were canceled.

A witness to the crackdown, who asked to be identified as Brother D, told WND at that time believers were being detained in several cities and some of them had spent overnight in jails.

Christian work has been ongoing in Morocco for nearly 100 years, a nation under Islamic influences for more than 1,000 years.

According to a report from Mission Network News, the deportation move actually had been building for weeks.

In the report, Todd Nettleton of Voice of the Martyrs said Morocco's new minister of justice, Mohamed Naciri, is believed to be responsible for the crackdown.

"It's unclear if simply this new minister of justice is a more devout or more radical Muslim and wants to come against the apostasy movement, encouraging Muslims to leave Islam and follow Jesus Christ and we just don't know that much about the why right now," he told MNN.

Morocco has been dominated by Islamic interests since the 600s, when Arab Muslims moved into the region. In 711, the Berber chief, Tariq Iban Zyad, arrived in conquest of the area. Shortly later, Muslim control was consolidated.

The constitution provides for a monarchy with a Parliament and an independent judiciary.

The embassy website boasts that King Mohammed VI is directly descended from the prophet of Islam, Muhammad, through his daughter Lalla Fatima Zohra.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Egypt's Persecuted Christians

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Violence against Copts is on the rise and all but ignored by the state.

A few weeks ago in the coastal city of Marsa Matrouh, an enraged mob of some 3,000 angry Muslims gathered after Friday prayers. After the mosque's imam exhorted them to cleanse the city of its infidel Christians, called Copts, they went on a rampage.

The toll was heavy: 18 homes, 23 shops and 16 cars were completely destroyed, while 400 Copts barricaded themselves in their church for 10 hours until the frenzy died out.

This was only the latest of more than a dozen such attacks during the past year, including in the village of Kafr El-Barbary on June 26, the town of Farshout on Nov. 21, and the village of Shousha on Nov. 23. Then came Naga Hamadi, where passengers in a drive-by car fired at random into Christians leaving a Coptic Christmas service on Jan. 6. The massacre killed seven and left 26 seriously wounded.

Although the Copts have long been the target of sporadic attacks, the violence of the last few years is more like a purge, as waves of mob assaults have forced hundreds, sometimes thousands of Christian citizens to flee their homes. In each incident the police, despite frantic appeals, invariably arrive after the violence is over. Later the injured are coerced by the special security police forces into accepting “reconciliation” with their attackers, in order to avoid the prosecution of the guilty. No Muslim to date has been convicted for any of these crimes.

The state’s lack of regard for the Copts has encouraged anti-Christian feelings among many Muslims in all walks of life. Even Al-Azhar, the world’s preeminent Sunni Islamic institution, has contributed its share to this widespread hostility by publishing a pamphlet declaring the Bible a corrupted document and Christianity a pagan religion.

Al-Azhar’s textbook for its high-school students, called “Al Iqna’,” states that killing a Muslim is punishable by death, but if a Muslim kills a non-Muslim he is not subject to capital punishment since the superior cannot be punished for killing the inferior (p. 146). It also states that the blood money (compensation for manslaughter) rates for a woman is half that for a man, but for a Christian or Jew it is one third that of a Muslim (p. 187); and that there can be no stewardship (such as a superior in work) of a non-Muslim over a Muslim (p. 205).

Thus the hundreds of thousands of Azhar schools, which are monitored by the state, indoctrinate and then discharge annually into Egyptian society hundreds of thousands of young Muslims with an ideology of intolerance, contempt and hatred toward Copts (and even more intensely toward Jews).

Egypt’s Christian Copts, about 12% of the population, have long been subject to customary and official discrimination. No church, for example, can be built or even repaired without a presidential decree. Copts are excluded from the intelligence and security services because they are deemed a security risk. This discrimination springs from a belief deeply grounded in the social psyche of the ruling elite and large sectors of the Muslim community that it is unreasonable in an Islamic society to expect strict equality between Muslims and the infidels.

In effect, the Copts today are treated as dhimmis-the age-old inferior status of Christian and Jewish minorities in Muslim lands. Dhimmi status is no longer legalized but continues to operate as a traditional social norm. Thus, for example, an individual offense by a dhimmi against a Muslim warrants retribution for the entire dhimmi community.

Despite the long-standing suffering of the Copts, the Egyptian government cynically insists that there is no sectarian problem and brands as traitors those who draw international attention to the Copts’ plight. So far the United States and the rest of the Western democracies, despite repeated Coptic appeals, have done little besides calling upon the Egyptian regime to foster greater tolerance.

But the dhimmi status of the Copts will not be changed by sweet persuasion. It will only change by persistent domestic struggle supported by vigorous international pressure. The Copts do not demand the tolerance of Muslims but equal rights with them.

Mr. Zaki is a former managing director of the Ibn Khaldun Center, a nonprofit organization that supports democracy and civil rights in Egypt and the Middle East.



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Obama’s invisible Islam

THE WASHINGTON TIMES

During questioning before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, a visibly nervous Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. tried valiantly not to utter the expression "radical Islam." The twisting began when Rep. Lamar Smith, Texas Republican, asked whether the men behind three recent terrorist incidents - the Fort Hood massacre, the Christmas Day bombing attempt and the Time Square bombing attempt - "might have been incited to take the actions that they did because of radical Islam."

Mr. Holder said there are a "variety of reasons" why people commit terror attacks. That can be true, but in these cases there was one reason: radical Islam. The attorney general said you have to look at each case individually. That's fine, but when that is done, one comes face to face with radical Islam every time. He said that of the variety of reasons people might commit terror, "some of them are potentially religious." Yes, like radical Islam. When pressed, what Mr. Holder would finally allow is, "I certainly think that it's possible that people who espouse a radical version of Islam have had an ability to have an impact on people like [Times Square bomber Faisal] Shahzad."

Mr. Holder mentioned Anwar al-Awlaki, the U.S.-born radical cleric now holed up in Yemen who has been mentioned in connection with all three attacks. Mr. Holder said that Mr. al-Awlaki "has a version of Islam that is not consistent with the teachings of [the faith]." Mr. Holder did not go into details to back up his assertion that Mr. al-Awlaki, an Islamic scholar, is somehow at odds with his own faith, nor did he pinpoint exactly what Muslim teachings he was referring to.

The Obama administration seems to have issued an internal gag order that forbids any official statements that might cast even the most extreme interpretations of the Islamic religion in a negative light. The "force protection review" of the Fort Hood massacre omitted any mention of shooter Nidal Malik Hasan's openly radical Islamic worldview or the fact that he made the jihadist war cry "Allahu Akbar!" before opening fire. Initially, the Obama administration refused to even call the massacre an act of terrorism, much less radical Islamic terrorism.

Last year, the Department of Homeland Security Domestic Extremist Lexicon, which was pulled out of circulation in the wake of controversy with other department publications, listed Jewish extremism and various forms of Christian extremism as threats but made no mention of any form of Muslim extremism. The Feb. 1, 2010 Quadrennial Homeland Security Review discusses terrorism and violent extremism but does not mention radical Islam as a motivator, or in any context. The 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review likewise avoids any terminology related to Islam.

The Obama administration may not like to think of being at war with radical Islam, but the jihadists are definitely at war with the United States. Rather than running from the expression "radical Islam," the administration should be openly discussing the ideological motives of the terrorists and finding ways to delegitimize them. Instead of hedging, obfuscating and ignoring, these Democrats should confront the challenge frankly, openly and honestly. Pretending that a radical, violent strain of Islam does not exist will not make it go away. To the contrary, it will make the situation much worse.

President Obama's continuing solicitude toward the faith of Muhammad is inexplicable, and as these acts of denial continue, it is becoming dangerous. The United States will not defeat an enemy it is afraid to identify.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Obama at the crossroads on religious liberty

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (IRF) has come down hard on the Obama administration for its failure to promote international religious liberty. "U.S. foreign policy on religious freedom," said Commission chairman Leonard Leo, "is missing the mark."

The Commission, established by the 1998 IRF Act, is a bipartisan group of nine men and women drawn from across the American political and religious landscape, and it includes Obama supporters. To its credit, the group's annual report, released last week, is raising the right issues at the right time.

The report reminds us of a primary reason the United States seeks to advance religious freedom. It recounts in disturbing detail the cruelties practiced worldwide on human beings because of their religious beliefs and practices, or those of their tormentors. A small sampling: Rape victims still languish in Pakistani prisons because religious laws require women to produce four male witnesses to the act of rape. Unable to do so, many rape victims have been accused of "adultery," found guilty, and imprisoned.

In March 2009 Chinese security forces literally beat to death a Tibetan Buddhist monk for passing out leaflets supporting the Dalai Lama. In China, the torture and "disappearance" of Buddhist monks and nuns, and of disfavored Muslims, Christians, and adherents of Falun Gong, occur with inhuman regularity.

In Saudi Arabia a senior cleric recently issued a fatwa calling for the death of anyone arguing that men and women could work together professionally. Such edicts emerge from a Saudi interpretation of Islam called Wahhabism, a malevolent political theology that continues to be exported from the desert kingdom worldwide -- including to the United States.

In Iran, Shi'a Muslims critical of the regime's brand of Shi'ism were executed for "waging war against God." Iranian Baha'is live in constant fear of imprisonment, torture and death.

All this makes for dismaying reading, but the section on Iraq is particularly wrenching. In a country whose opportunity for ordered liberty has been purchased with American blood, Christians are being targeted and murdered. Thousands among this ancient but rapidly shrinking Iraqi minority have been forced to flee their homes and villages.

The slow death of Christianity in Iraq is a tragedy about which most Americans know very little. Had this story gotten the attention it deserved from the mainstream press, perhaps public opinion would have brought more pressure on the Bush administration to do something about it. The Commission, long a leader in this area, has provided powerful reasons for the Obama administration to act.

These and other tragic stories in the report provide a human face to the alarming trends published by the Pew Forum in its December 2009 analysis, Global Restrictions on Religion. It found that 70 percent of the world's population live in regimes where citizens are vulnerable to religious persecution. As a humanitarian matter alone, surely this is unacceptable to the American people and their elected representatives.

Of course, no one supports persecution. The question is what can, and what ought, the United States do about it? Most Americans want their government to try and relieve the suffering of innocent human beings. But are there other reasons for action, reasons that might lead to U.S. IRF strategies that both reduce human suffering and further American interests? More on this below.

The Commission provides a host of practical, country-specific recommendations, for example, linking the substantial U.S. economic assistance to Egypt to improvements in that country's respect for religious freedom, or taking steps to ensure that the Chinese hear a consistent message on this issue from all U.S. officials (which is not now, nor ever has been, the case).

The report urges more pressure on the Saudi government to do what it has already pledged to do - reform the religiously-bigoted text books that teach Saudi children the wrong lessons, and make their "religion and morals police" more accountable. This is the same Wahhabi-inspired "police" agency that a few years ago prevented Saudi schoolgirls from fleeing a burning school building because they were not sufficiently covered. Fourteen girls perished in the flames.

Importantly, the report adds to the Commission's "watch list" two key Muslim democracies -- Indonesia and Turkey. The commissioners judge, quite accurately, that those nations, while making strides in other areas critical to democracy, are lagging in religious freedom. This matter is important to the United States, not only because we want to help the victims, but also because the success of democracy in these countries is vital to our own security.

This brings us to the "other" reasons for advancing religious freedom in U.S. foreign policy. The Commission's findings tend to confirm what scholarship in international relations and sociology are strongly suggesting: democracy in highly religious nations cannot consolidate and yield its benefits -- including economic opportunity, security, low levels of religious extremism, and peace with other democracies -- without religious freedom. That is a lesson our foreign policy elites must learn, not only that we may help influence the democratic consolidation of allies Turkey and Indonesia, but also to ensure that our investments of blood and treasure in Iraq and Afghanistan succeed.

Commission chairman Leonard Leo highlighted the connection between religious freedom and national security in his remarks: "If the United States cares about human rights, if we value international stability, if we are concerned about countering extremism, freedom of religion ... must be a critical component of our nation's diplomacy, national security and economic development objectives."

The Obama administration should pay close attention to these words as it decides how to position its own religious freedom policy. Whether it will do so or not is still unclear. The report acknowledges that some good things are beginning to happen inside the State Department. But it also points to signs that IRF policy is being sidelined and may assume an even lesser role than it has in previous administrations.

Decisions over the next several weeks will likely tell us which path this President will take. Will he and Secretary Hillary Clinton decide to retool and upgrade an IRF policy that was neglected by prior administrations of both parties? With proper leadership and training, U.S. religious freedom strategies will not only help alleviate human suffering far more effectively than they have to date, but they can also help achieve the national security goals emphasized by Chairman Leo.

On the plus side, there are a few reasons for hope. Within Foggy Bottom, a handful of officials are working hard to convince skeptical senior Department leaders of what ought to be obvious: the global resurgence of religion warrants systemic training for foreign service officers in religions and religious freedom. Our embassies abroad need expertise in this area, just as they possess expertise in politics, economics, or military affairs. This case has recently been made by, among others, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs in a series of recommendations to the administration.

Unfortunately, as the Commission's report makes clear, many within the administration are resisting the obvious. One could easily conclude that Obama officials have no intention of given priority to religious freedom in U.S. foreign policy, if for no other reason than the President's extreme lassitude in nominating an official to head the IRF operation -- the ambassador at large for international religious freedom required by the IRF Act. Sixteen months into the Obama presidency, with a bevy of envoys on issues from outreach to Muslim communities to the closure of Guantanamo long in place, the administration has not seen fit to move on the IRF position.

What the report does not mention is that the White House is said to be on the verge of announcing the President's nominee for ambassador at large. That person is reported to be a pastor rather than a diplomat, and someone with no experience in either foreign policy or religious freedom. Would the President nominate someone to head his programs on Muslim outreach, women's rights, disabilities, energy policy, climate change, or any of the other issues that are represented by senior envoys under his administration, if he or she were not a seasoned expert in the field? Why would he do so in the field of religious freedom?

If this were not enough, the Commission also notes reports that when the new IRF ambassador shows up for work, she will have even less authority and less support than is the norm at Foggy Bottom, and less than is required by the IRF Act itself. Other ambassadors at large, such as the official in charge of Global Women's Issues, work directly under Secretary Clinton. The IRF ambassador, on the other hand, will reportedly have four other officials between her and the Secretary. And the office that has for 12 years served the IRF ambassador (as required by the IRF Act) will now report to someone else.

Is the Democratic-controlled Congress paying attention? Does it care that a law it passed unanimously under one Democratic President is apparently being set aside by another?
The Washington Post

One final point. The Commission report worries, correctly in my view, that both the President and the Secretary of State have taken to speaking publicly of "freedom of worship" rather than "religious freedom." Why should that matter? Because "worship" is essentially a private activity, far less threatening to authoritarian governments or powerful majority religious communities than is religious freedom. The latter encompasses both private worship and public practice. It means protection for all religious communities on an equal basis, including the right to engage in the political life of a nation.

If the Obama administration wanted to downgrade U.S. international religious freedom policy, it might prepare the way by rhetorical shift such as this.

Is that what the administration is doing? It is too soon to tell, but there are reasons to be concerned. In a follow-up post I will explore why the President and Secretary of State might in fact be acting to move IRF to the obscure margins of U.S. foreign policy, and, if they are, why their actions would reduce our nation's capacity to undermine religious persecution, and harm the interests of the American people.

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Franklin Graham: Islam Is Not Faith of America

Ahead of the National Day of Prayer, Franklin Graham expressed dismay at how Islam is receiving preferential treatment by the Obama administration.

The evangelist, who was recently disinvited from a Pentagon prayer event over past comments he made about Islam, pointed to the violence against Muslim women.
“It’s just horrific,” Graham said to Newsmax.TV this week. “If you just take women alone … I just don’t understand why the president would be giving Islam a pass.”

Graham wants the president to speak up for women and minorities living in Muslim countries instead of one-sidedly praising Islam.

As a result of Graham speaking up for oppressed women and minorities himself, the army disinvited him from its Pentagon National Day of Prayer event. An army spokesman said Graham’s remarks about Islam were inappropriate and contradicted the military’s inclusive message.

After the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Graham called Islam a “very evil and wicked religion.” Then in an interview with CNN’s Campbell Brown in December 2009, he said:

“True Islam cannot be practiced in this country. You can’t beat your wife. You cannot murder your children if you think they’ve committed adultery or something like that, which they do practice in these other countries.”

In an interview with The Christian Post last week, a former devout Muslim-turned-women’s activist confirmed Graham’s criticisms of Islam. Sabatina James, who is the granddaughter of a mullah and used to read the Quran in Arabic every day, pointed to verse 34 in the fourth Surah (chapter) in the Quran that said if your wife is not obedient then you are allowed to beat her.

Her bestselling book, My Fight for Faith and Freedom, details the gross mistreatment of women in her homeland of Pakistan. As a convert to Christianity, she has endured nine years of continuous death threats. James currently lives under police protection in Germany and has moved 16 times since 2001.

“Is there a different Quran? No they are teaching the same Quran where it is written ‘beat your wife if she is not obedient.’ They are teaching the same Quran where it is written ‘the Christians and Jewish people are evil.’ It is written in the Surah Al-Maidah. It is written there ‘don’t take Jewish and Christian people as your friend.’ That is what you are taught in the Quran schools,” James told The Christian Post.

James said she “can’t imagine” Graham not getting upset if he read or heard those passages.

“We are living in a democracy and everybody can say his opinion,” she stated.
She also defended Graham and said he, like others, are criticizing Islam, not saying they hate Muslims.

“Make the difference between sin and sinner,” she said.
In the interview with Newsmax this week, Graham again stated that he “certainly” loves Muslims.

However, he added, “that (Islam) is not the faith of this country. And that is not the religion that built this nation. The people of the Christian faith and the Jewish faith are the ones who built America, and it is not Islam.”
Graham said the rescinding of his invitation to speak at the Pentagon this week was like “a slap at all evangelical Christians.”

During a recent visit to Billy Graham’s home in North Carolina, President Obama told Franklin that he did not know about the Pentagon incident until two days before the visit. The younger Graham said in the interview with Newsmax that he believes the president, but he also believes that people in the White House knew about the situation and gave the green light to disinvite him.

“This whole secularization [in the government] has come in, creeping in, and it’s getting more and more and more,” the evangelical leader warned.
Graham is still scheduled to speak at the National Day of Prayer event at the Capitol on Thursday.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

How evil works

If we don’t understand that we are created by God and that we live in a moral dimension in which we constantly can choose between good or evil, and that things go really badly when we choose the wrong way – if we don’t recognize this basic reality level of our lives, then it’s very difficult to understand evil, or to understand ourselves for that matter. [...]

Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the great Soviet dissident who exposed the evils of the gulag system to the world, once wrote: “More than half a century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: ‘Men have forgotten God; that is why all this has happened.’”

Decades later, Solzhenitsyn said that in trying to explain the totalitarian horrors that permeated the 20th century – which he himself endured – he could not improve on the explanation he had heard as a child: “Men have forgotten God.”

Remarkable interview

Frontpage Magazine recently interviewed David Kupelian, award-winning journalist and managing editor of online news giant WorldNetDaily.com as well as its popular monthly newsmagazine, Whistleblower. A widely read online columnist, he is also the author of the bestselling culture-war classic, The Marketing of Evil: How Radicals, Elitists, and Pseudo-Experts Sell Us Corruption Disguised As Freedom, now in its eleventh printing. His new book, released in February by Simon & Schuster, is How Evil Works: Understanding and Overcoming the Destructive Forces That Are Transforming America.

FP: David Kupelian, welcome to Frontpage Interview.

Let’s start by talking about the Stockholm syndrome that, as you discuss in your book, is affecting the West right now in its confrontation with Islamic Jihad. Give us your perspective.

Kupelian: Jamie, thanks very much for giving me the opportunity to talk about “How Evil Works.” In Chapter 3, “How Terrorism Really Works,” I use the Stockholm syndrome to explain the inexplicable level of weakness and appeasement we continually see in the West toward Islam – for instance, in our disastrous failure to stop Nidal Malik Hasan before he shot dozens of people at Fort Hood, killing 13, even though we knew full well he was a jihadist time bomb waiting to explode.

Everyone’s heard of the Stockholm syndrome, named after the Swedish bank robbery when two escaped convicts terrorized four hostages in a bank vault for five and a half days, during which time the hostages grew increasingly sympathetic toward their captors and antagonistic toward the police who were risking their lives to rescue them. The hostages, who had been tied to chairs, had nooses around their necks and guns trained on them day after day, ended up siding with their captors wholeheartedly, later raising money for their defense and refusing to testify against them at trial.

The syndrome, which law enforcement psychologists recognized long before it had a name, is pretty simple: When we’re seriously intimidated, in a life-threatening way, some of us start to side with whomever or whatever is intimidating us. I don’t mean just cooperating and “agreeing” with a captor as a survival strategy, which makes perfect sense. Extreme intimidation has a way of sometimes flipping our sympathy and loyalty in favor of the people doing the intimidating. In the news business, we see this in high-profile cases like Patricia Hearst, Elizabeth Smart and Jaycee Dugard.

Radical Islam is extremely intimidating – by design. The more crazy it acts, the more powerful it becomes. Just a few weeks ago, in Nigeria, Muslim gangs slaughtered 500 Christians, including many children and pregnant women and old people – hacked them to death with machetes. Islam has spread in this way – “at the point of a sword” – for centuries. As I write in “How Evil Works,” I personally lost many family members, perhaps over 100, in the genocide of the Christian Armenians at the hands of Muslim Turks. I tell one story in which my great grandfather, a Protestant minister, was martyred, along with 60 or 70 other clergymen and their wives, in Adana, Turkey, because they refused to convert on the spot to Islam. This is how it spreads, by traumatizing people. Many, just to survive, join the religion.

So the murderous Islamic tantrums we keep hearing about have a certain dark logic to them, in terms of enabling the spread of Islam. Remember the Danish Muhammad cartoons, which resulted in over 50 deaths? Or when Newsweek reported (incorrectly) that someone at Gitmo flushed a Quran down the toilet, which led to at least 15 deaths? Or the Miss World contest in Nigeria, when a single comment by a newspaper columnist about the beauty of contestants led to insane Muslim rioting in which rioters massacred over 200 people with machetes, or beat them to death or burned them alive – all because of a single sentence a newspaper columnist wrote, which wasn’t even offensive?

How do we respond to these outrageously demented and murderous tantrums? We refer to terrorist acts as “man-caused disasters.” We proclaim Islam as a “religion of peace.” Burger King recalls thousands of its ice cream cones because someone thought the ice cream swirl logo looked too much like the way the word “Allah” is written in Arabic and was therefore sacrilegious. “The 3 Little Pigs” is repeatedly censored in Britain so as not to offend Muslims, who don’t like pigs. In the U.S. we have a middle school curriculum that requires our children to dress up in Islamic garb, take on a Muslim name, memorize verses of the Quran and play so-called “jihad games.” Imagine trying that in today’s public schools with the Christian religion!

America, Europe and Britain today, in the way they deal with radical Islam and the terror threat, reveal something very akin to a low-grade, widespread Stockholm syndrome.

Bottom line, we don’t want to offend Muslims. Why? Because we’re afraid of them. We’re not afraid of Christians or Jews, because Christians and Jews don’t have tantrums and burn down other religions’ houses of worship and cut of people’s heads and commit terrorist acts. Radical Muslims do. We’re so afraid that, even after the Fort Hood attack, the Pentagon, in its 86-page postmortem report analyzing the event, did not see fit to mention the word “Muslim,” “Islam” or “jihad.” This is reminiscent of the “Harry Potter” stories, where everyone is so spooked by the villain Voldemort that they are afraid even to utter his name.

Ironically, people in the grip of jihadist fervor have nothing but contempt for our weakness and appeasement, which actually encourages more violence. Their madness is neutralized only by strength. Ronald Reagan knew this, which is why his watchword was “Peace through strength.”

FP: David, you mention how just recently, in Nigeria, Muslim gangs slaughtered 500 Christians, including many children and pregnant women and old people. Everyone has heard about the “Christian militia” that was just arrested in Michigan (casualties, which seem to be at the number of zero, are still to be numbered or named). How come the slaughter in Nigeria, which took 500 lives, is not in the news and no one has heard about it?

Kupelian: The Obama propaganda ministry – aka the “mainstream press” – is always looking to reinforce the largely phony narrative that “homegrown terrorism” on the right is a major danger to American civilization. Hence the saturation coverage of the “Christian militia” group. The “rightwing terrorism” narrative is necessary for justifying the left’s attacks on normal, hard-working, tea-partying Americans – evident in the growing allegations that speaking honestly about the leftist coup in Washington is “hate speech,” that those opposing Obama are racists, and that tea partiers are one step away from violence.

On the other hand, dwelling on Muslims’ blood-lust and widespread massacring of Christians in foreign lands supports the “wrong” narrative (from the media’s point of view) – namely, that Islam is not a religion of peace after all, hasn’t been one for the last 14 centuries and shows no signs of starting. Thus, the murders of 500 innocent people are reported perfunctorily, if at all, and then dropped. The mainstream media are just not interested.

FP: You say that, “Bottom line, we don’t want to offend Muslims. Why? Because we’re afraid of them.” Absolutely, we have a pathetic talk show host on the CBC up here in Canada, George Stroumboulopoulos, who makes constant jokes about Jesus, yet you will never hear him make one joke about the “Prophet” Mohammed.

Fear, as you state, is definitely a factor. But let’s move a bit further and deeper. I’ve made a life-time study of these people and we know that in the world of the Left, it is unimaginable to criticize an adversary culture or religion, and that it is very chic to slander anything connected to the Judeo-Christian tradition. To poke fun at Islam would threaten these peoples’ whole identity, world vision and social life. Can you comment on this a bit?

Kupelian: For one thing, the Left’s very identity and sense of righteousness are tied up in hating America for all its supposed wrongs, arrogance, injustices, exploitations and wars of oppression. And since, as we all know, “the enemy of your enemy is your friend,” cultures that hate and revile America are therefore respected and even admired by the Left, which also hates America. This is one reason Attorney General Eric Holder has pushed to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in civilian court; he secretly – maybe unconsciously – has a certain amount of sympathy for the 9/11 mastermind. The logic of this is straightforward and incontrovertible: KSM hates and blames America, and because leftists like Holder also hate and blame America, leftists “understand” and even sympathize on some level with terrorists, no matter how despicable their crimes.

FP: Tell us a bit about how people who want to manipulate us often use crises to do so. Explain how this is connected to what Obama and his administration are up to.

Kupelian: As all skilled manipulators know, the easiest and surest way to exert control over people is to get them to react emotionally to you. One way to get people to do what they wouldn’t ordinarily do is to create a phony crisis for them to overreact to.

For instance, in “How Evil Works” I cite a child-abduction case in which a little girl was approached after school by a man she didn’t know. He claimed her house was burning down, that her parents were busy putting out the fire, and that he was a friend of the parents who had asked him to pick up their daughter and take her to them. The crisis – and the emotional upset the girl experienced over the thought of her house being on fire and her parents in danger – drowned out her normal caution about getting into a car with a stranger. Result: The stranger, a predator who had concocted the lie for the sole purpose of upsetting and tricking the girl into going with him, murdered the little girl. This same routine was portrayed in the film “Changeling” starring Angelina Jolie, a true story that involved a serial child murderer who enticed youngsters into his car using this exact “your-house-is-on-fire” ruse.

As I explain in Chapter 1, “Why We Elect Liars as Leaders,” manufactured crisis is the primary modus operandi of the Obama administration. After all, how else could a far-left administration lead a center-right country in such a terrible direction without big-time deception and subterfuge – which is accomplished handily by constantly creating bogeyman crises? For instance:

* We heard for 14 months that our healthcare system is desperately broken. In reality, it’s the finest healthcare system in world history. If you’re an illegal alien child molester and you get sick or injured and go to a public hospital, you will, by law, be taken care of whether or not you can pay. That’s not a broken system. And as for the relatively small number of Americans who truly can’t afford health insurance, our government has always been good at creating safety nets. But that was not the intent of Obamacare, which conspicuously bypassed all sensible, market-based reforms – like litigation reform and allowing intrastate purchase of insurance – that would lower costs without degrading quality of care.

* Until wave after wave of scandalous fraud revelations proved the global warming “consensus” was a giant hoax, America was poised to pass “cap-and-trade” legislation which would institute massive and ruinous levels of wealth redistribution – which was the object all along. The administration is now regrouping and re-strategizing how best to force this abomination down Americans’ throats, as they did with Obamacare.

* We’ve been told throughout the age of Obama that America will plunge into hopeless depression if government doesn’t spend trillions and take over entire sectors of the economy. In reality, massive government and Federal Reserve intervention has always worsened and prolonged economic downturns, not solved them.

* Here’s one most people don’t know about: Last May, just a few days before the World Health Organization classified swine flu as a phase 6 pandemic – the highest, scariest category – the WHO quietly redefined pandemic to eliminate the phrase “enormous numbers of deaths and illness” and substituted wording that said pandemics “can be either mild or severe in the illness and death they cause.” You see, the WHO grows in power and lots of money starts to flow when a phase 6 pandemic is declared. The White House, never one to let a good crisis go to waste, issued a press release saying up to 90,000 Americans would likely die from swine flu. The next day, the head of the CDC, Dr. Thomas Frieden, told Americans to ignore the White House’s wild fear-mongering, saying “Everything we’ve seen in the U.S. and everything we’ve seen around the world suggests we won’t see that kind of number if the virus doesn’t change.”

Fundamentally, the whole leftist obsession with power – which promotes ever-increasing dependency of people on government – is, in and of itself, a huge crisis machine. Normal competent adults are able to take care of themselves and their families through their own efforts and through voluntary cooperation with other free individuals. That’s America. If you’re an adult who can’t take care of your own life, that’s a crisis – and this is the state leftists want us to be in, to be dependent on them since that’s the basis for their growth in power. So socialism not only requires crisis to become established, its very existence is a state of perpetual crisis for free people.

FP: You refer to the “whole leftist obsession with power” in passing. Not everyone might know what you mean. In my own research and study, I know this reality in terms of how the Left lives vicariously through supporting communist dictators like Fidel Castro through what is called “negative affirmation.” But that is another matter (a bit). I know our themes are connected, so can you expand a bit on what you mean?

Kupelian:
Whole people – that is, people who are internally connected to conscience, to common sense, to God, however you want to put it, and who therefore possess a certain natural reverence for other souls and their autonomy – are not attracted to obtaining power over other people.

But people who have become twisted in certain ways – maybe they had a crummy childhood, or were brainwashed in college into embracing some toxic ideology, or simply are really resentful or envious or insecure – sometimes develop a compulsion to control others.

Imagine that you just met someone for the first time, and discovered that this person considered himself or herself far superior to others, above the need to be truthful, above the law, willing to break the law, and was arrogant and defiant at every turn. And that furthermore, this person harbored an overwhelming urge to control you, take what’s yours, and exercise power over you. You might understandably conclude this person is not only dangerous, but likely a criminal and/or mentally ill. That’s who we have running the country right now – the inmates are truly running the asylum.

These are very sick people we’re talking about: They thrive on crippling others, because the more dysfunctional people there are in the general population, the greater their power. More competent, mature, self-sufficient grownups translate into less power for them, which is why they disdain and malign the tea partiers and other normal, hard-working, tax-paying, independent Americans.

For the very egotistical, deluded person, power is like alcoholism. People like Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama are drunk – on power. They don’t think, feel, reason or act in a normal way; they’re in an altered state of consciousness. As we say, “power corrupts,” and the more power we give them, the more absolute that corruption becomes.

Also, we need to remember that leftist politicians by definition believe the purpose of government is to ensure, by force, that wealth is evenly distributed. Thus, they look at us like we’re farm animals and they’re the farmers. When some of us have “too much food” and others “don’t have enough,” they come in and take it from us, and scold us for “hording” all that food we don’t need, and give it to the poor, righteous animals with not enough food. The problem is, we’re not animals and we don’t belong to them.

FP: How come the West has such a difficult time understanding the conflict we are in? This has much to do with, as is the subject of your work, the difficulty we have in understanding evil. Illuminate this phenomenon for us.

Kupelian:
In the past 60 years, America as a whole has been conned into abandoning the core Judeo-Christian values that have provided the moral foundation of Western civilization for millennia, and of American civilization for centuries. The fundamental principles of life that previously gave our existence meaning and kept our society unified, safe and strong – belief in God, belief that the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount were the basis for a good life and a great society, recognition of the sanctity of life (which means you don’t kill babies before they’re born or old people when their care gets too expensive), belief that sex is sacred and reserved for marriage, and so on – have been discarded like yesterday’s newspaper.

If we don’t understand that we are created by God and that we live in a moral dimension in which we constantly can choose between good or evil, and that things go really badly when we choose the wrong way – if we don’t recognize this basic reality level of our lives, then it’s very difficult to understand evil, or to understand ourselves for that matter.

FP: You refer to the Sermon on the Mount as being the basis for a good life. I always found that one of the most moving parts of the New Testament, but I always saw it mostly as a promise for the next life (i.e. your reward will be great in heaven). Can you expand a bit on what you mean in terms of it being a basis for a good life on earth?

Kupelian:
The beatitudes (“Blessed are the …”) describe the kind of attitude toward life that leads to genuine happiness or “blessedness” – including the admonition to “let your light shine before men” (which includes speaking the truth even if it’s unpopular) but also to forgive people who attack you for speaking the truth (“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely”). That’s very reassuring and strengthening.

A lot of what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount is practical, for the here and now: He talks about hate and lust and divorce, and how we need to rise above these things. Some of the most transcendent truths that have infused traditional Judeo-Christian culture derive from the Sermon on the Mount, including The Lord’s Prayer; the admonition to “Seek first the kingdom of God” (and all else will be added); the warning to “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves”; the truth that “a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit,” and so on. Wisdom for living.

FP: Your book deals with the war that is being waged on men and on masculinity in our society. Why is this happening and what are its consequences?

Kupelian: In schools today, boys are doing worse than girls by every measure. The vast majority of children with discipline problems, learning disabilities, behavioral disorders, who are put on Ritalin or who drop out of school – 70 to 80 percent – are boys. Three out of five college students today are young women.

As boys grow up and get married, two thirds of divorces are initiated by the wives – and it is the wives that almost always get the children during custody proceedings, since the entire family court system is notoriously biased against men.

In popular culture, virtually every TV commercial portrays men as idiotic and women as smarter and hipper. Same with sitcoms, and with animated comedies like “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy.” The dad is always the doofus. What happened to “Father Knows Best”?

In Chapter 8 of “How Evil Works,” titled “The War on Fathers,” I document how, as an outgrowth of the radical feminist movement of the sixties, today men, boys and masculinity itself are under attack. Our leftist academia harbors a major movement that is so offended by masculinity that it holds workshops on how to “transform” boys, eliminating their aggressiveness, competitiveness and maleness!

Remember the radical feminists of the sixties, with their angry denunciations of marriage as “legalized rape” and “slavery for women”? Just as the sixties political radicals are today running the American government, culturally the sixties’ radical feminist hatred of Christianity and the traditional patriarchy that goes with it has infected today’s culture. It manifests as a compulsion to ridicule, diminish and have contempt for men. You can see it everywhere.

There is, of course, also a “practical” governmental motivation for breaking up marriages: Tyranny always works better when families are in crisis. Intact, functional families constitute their own universe, one with powerful internal loyalties and transcendent values that compete and sometimes clash with those of despotic government, which therefore strives to separate fathers from their families. In 1918, right after the Russian revolution, Vladimir Lenin passed a radical no-fault divorce law. Realizing that to maintain control of the people the Russian family had to be destroyed, Lenin passed a law whereby you could divorce your spouse simply by mailing or delivering a postcard to the local register without even notifying the spouse being divorced!

Islam, a retrograde force?

While Brits are casting their votes in their national general election, the future of their nations could depend on how the current generation listens their straightforward leaders, and how it effectively learns from its historical mistakes

The well-known British Statesman, Sir Winston Churchill, who the Churchill rd in the centre of Addis Ababa is named after, delivered an amazing speech in 1899 when he was a young soldier and journalist.

Sir Winston Churchill was, without doubt, one of the greatest men of the late 19th and 20th centuries. he was a brave young soldier, a brilliant journalist, an extraordinary politician and statesman, a great war leader and prime minister, to whom the western world must be forever in his debt. he was a prophet in his own time. he died on 24 January 1965, at the grand old age of 90 and, after a lifetime of service to his country, was accorded a state funeral.

Here is the epic speech:

"How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries!besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries, improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the prophet rule or live.

A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement the next of its dignity and sanctity. the fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men.

Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. no stronger retrograde force exists in the world .

Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. it has already spread throughout central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome. "

Sir Winston Churchill

(the river war, first edition, vol. ii, pages 248-50)

Swedes recruited by Somali terror group

An al-Qaeda-linked extremist group in Somalia has recruited more than 20 young people from Sweden to fight in the war-torn African country, the Swedish Security Service (Säpo) fears.

Somali Islamic insurgency group Harakat al-Shabab Mujahideen ("Movement of Warrior Youth"), better known as Al-Shabab, which is linked to al-Qaeda, is thought to have recruited dozens of Swedish youth to engage in terrorist acts, according to Göteborgs-Tidningen.

Gothenburg was identified by several sources as the largest recruitment base in the country, the report said. Sweden is also a fundraising hub for the group, according to Svenska Dagbladet editorial writer Per Gudmundson, who has written extensively about the issue.

"I think it's a very serious threat because it's not only a threat to Somalis in Somalia, it's also a threat to Swedish security," Gudmundson told The Local.

"People who go through wars and conflicts in war zones come back as trained operatives. We've had in Sweden people who've been trained in Afghanistan and come back as seasoned veterans. They are regarded with high esteem in jihadist terms and can motivate young people to fight. Also, when it comes to Swedish security, we are not immune to this. The Mohammed caricatures have shown places in northern Europe can be targets."

At a mosque - a converted food hall - in Gothenburg's Gamlestan quarter, a Danish-Somali man who tried to assassinate Kurt Westergaard, the Danish cartoonist who drew the controversial Mohammed cartoon published in Jyllands-Posten, tried to recruit followers, according to a Danish newspaper.

"There are no supporters of al-Shabab here," mosque spokesman Abdi Fatah Shidane told Göteborgs-Tidningen.

Young men in Sweden are brainwashed, trained and recruited by terrorists on Somali terrorist movement al-Shabab, according to an informant who spoke to the paper. One recruit was arrested in connection with death threats against Danish People's Party leader Pia Kjærsgaard.

According to Säpo, al-Shabab sympathisers across the country are concentrated in big cities and recruit young people here for war and terrorist acts, as well as raising money for the movement.

Inspector Per-Olof Hellqvist of Säpo in Gothenburg confirmed to Göteborgs-Tidningen that young men from the Gothenburg area have traveled to Somalia.

"However, we do not know what they are doing there," he told the paper.

According to Gudmundson, the UN's special group on the Horn of Africa made a report on recruitment and financing that singled out Sweden as a hub for both recruitment and financing.

"The jihadist problem is worse in Denmark, I don't know why, but the Somali hub is bigger in Sweden," he told The Local.

Swedish Integration and Gender Equality Minister Nyamko Sabuni of the Liberal Party recently ordered Säpo to conduct a report on the scale of violence-prone religious radicalism in the country because the numbers are unclear. Gudmundson estimates about 1500 people in Sweden would be labelled Islamists with hardcore tendencies, while about 100 to 200 would possibly engage in violence.

"These are not big figures, not many, but as we sadly know, just a handful is enough," he told The Local. "To many, it's a nationalistic thing. Young males are always prone. They have a different view of life."

About 400,000 to 500,000 people in Sweden have roots in Muslim countries, he said.

"Mainly, Al-Shabab is a Somali phenomenon, but they attract young guys who are sympathetic to the global jihadist movement," Gudmundson told The Local. "However, few want to travel to Somalia. It's the armpit of the world."

As for why Gothenburg is the hub for Al-Shabab in Sweden, Gudmundson believes it is related to Somali clan immigration patterns, which are also evident in other Somali communities across the country.

In addition, Gothenburg is home to Al-Shabab's largest online community, alqimmah.net, which was established by a former Nazi who converted to Islam, with information mostly in Somali as well as Arabic and one sub-forum in English that picks up the newest translations, Gudmundson told The Local.

"Sweden isn't good at integrating Somalis compared to the UK and US," he said.

"We make a better living and it's expensive to hire people in Sweden. Somalis are often not well educated and are not easy to hire. It's very hard for the Somali community to get into the workforce."

Gudmundson added he believes the situation is worsening in Somalia. "I know it sounds silly to say about a country that's gone 18 years without a functional government, but now it's even worse because now, not only does the small weak transitional government fight against one Islamic militia, it has to fight another and they also fight against each other. It's everyone against everyone."