Archive for the ‘Christians and Islamism’ category

U.S. Pastor Moved to House Arrest in Turkey. Pompeo Says It’s ‘Not Enough.’

July 25, 2018

By The New York Times July 25, 2018

Source Link:
U.S. Pastor Moved to House Arrest in Turkey. Pompeo Says It’s ‘Not Enough.’

{I’m reminded of ‘Daniel in the Den of Lions.’ – LS}

An American pastor held on espionage charges in Turkey, the focus of an intensive campaign by top United States officials seeking his freedom, was moved from jail to house arrest on Wednesday because of health concerns.

Andrew Brunson, a 50-year-old evangelical pastor from North Carolina, has been held for more than a year and a half in a case that has aggravated already tense relations between Turkey and the United States, longtime allies. He is one of 20 Americans who were charged after a failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2016.

President Trump spoke to Mr. Erdogan by phone about the case, and posted a message on Twitter last week urging the Turkish leader to “do something” to free the pastor.

On Wednesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also took to Twitter to say that while the United States welcomed the “long overdue news that Pastor Brunson has been moved from prison to house arrest,” the measure was “not enough.”

“We have seen no credible evidence against Mr. Brunson, and call on Turkish authorities to resolve his case immediately in a transparent and fair manner,” Mr. Pompeo wrote.

Just last week, a court in Turkey’s western Izmir Province upheld an earlier decision to place Mr. Brunson in jail while he awaited the continuation of a trial on charges of terrorism and espionage. His lawyer appealed the decision, citing unspecified concerns over Mr. Brunson’s health, according to the semiofficial Anadolu news agency.

On Wednesday, the same court ordered Mr. Brunson released into house arrest until his trial resumes in October. The court ordered him to wear an electronic bracelet at all times and barred him from traveling outside the country.

Footage of a car carrying Mr. Brunson, accompanied by a police escort, was shown live on television as the pastor was moved from a prison in Izmir to his home. He was later seen entering his home.

Mr. Brunson could face 35 years in prison if found guilty of having links to two groups Turkey considers terrorist organizations: a movement led by the American-based cleric Fethullah Gulen — whom Turkey accuses of initiating the 2016 coup attempt — and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party.

Mr. Brunson, who has done missionary work in Turkey for 23 years, worked with his wife at a small Protestant church in the city of Izmir, on the country’s Aegean coast. He has denied any links to terrorist organizations, and says he eschews politics in his work.

The American Center for Law and Justice, an organization representing Mr. Brunson’s family, said in a statement on Wednesday that it looked forward to his ultimate return to the United States. It applauded Mr. Trump for pursuing his release.

“This is a critical first step that we believe will result in the freedom of Pastor Brunson so he can return to the United States and be reunited with his family,” Jay Sekulow, the group’s chief counsel, said in a statement.

Officials advocating for Mr. Brunson’s release believe that resolving his case could signal an improvement in relations between the countries. The Turkish authorities have suggested handing Mr. Brunson over to the United States in exchange for Mr. Gulen’s extradition to Turkey to face charges in the coup attempt. The Americans have rejected requests to extradite Mr. Gulen.

The United States Senate last month temporarily blocked the sale of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey because of Mr. Brunson’s imprisonment and Turkey’s purchase of a Russian air defense system.

A pro-government columnist, Abdulkadir Selvi, said in a televised comment that the dispute over Mr. Brunson had “reached a point that it was poisoning the relationship between the United States and Turkey.” Of the pastor’s move to house arrest, he said, “This is a step.”

Mr. Selvi said that now it was the United States’ turn to take “a step” to improve the relationship, alluding to Mr. Gulen.

Sisi’s church donation stirs religious controversy

January 27, 2017

Sisi’s church donation stirs religious controversy, Al-Monitor

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi attends a meeting with Egyptian Coptic Pope Tawadros II, head of the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church, with some members of the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church at the Ittihadiya presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt July 28, 2016 in this handout picture courtesy of the Egyptian Presidency. The Egyptian Presidency/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. - RTSK39U

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi attends a meeting with Egyptian Coptic Pope Tawadros II, head of the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church, with some members of the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church at the Ittihadiya presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt July 28, 2016 in this handout picture courtesy of the Egyptian Presidency.

“In addition to making a donation for the building of a church, [Sisi] also donated his money to establish a mosque, thus putting both communities [Christian and Muslim] on the same pedestal.”

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CAIRO — Egypt’s Coptic Christians have become used to visits by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. On Jan. 6, for the third year in a row, Sisi celebrated Coptic Christmas at the Abbasiya Cathedral in Cairo, extending Christmas wishes to the country’s Copts and Tawadros II, the pope of Alexandria and patriarch of the See of St. Mark.

This year, the celebration was different. The cathedral where Sisi addressed the congregation and delivered Christmas wishes stands just meters from St. Peter and St. Paul Coptic Orthodox Church, where an explosion during a service on Dec. 11 claimed the lives of 27 people and wounded 48, mostly women and children.

Sisi responded to the attack not just by visiting the church, but by announcing a 100,000 Egyptian pound (roughly $5,200) personal donation toward building a church and mosque in the new administrative capital of New Cairo.

Hamdi Rizq, the host of the show “Al-Nazra” (“The View”) on satellite TV channel Sada al-Balad, reacted by announcing during his show Jan. 6 that donations were being collected for the building of a mosque and a church in the new capital.

Amina Naseer, a professor of religion at Al-Azhar University and a member of parliament, who also serves on the parliamentary education committee, said in a Jan. 7 phone call on “Al-Nazra” that she had also donated 100,000 pounds to be split equally between the mosque and the church.

During the same show, other donors came forward: Farag Amer, the chair of the parliamentary committee for youth and sport; member of parliament Mustafa Bakry; and businessman Mohammed Abul-Enein, the owner of the Sada al-Balad network.

“The president’s call for donations for a mosque and a church should be an example to all,” Alaa Wali, head of the parliament’s housing committee, told Al-Monitor. “I suggested setting up a fund to receive donations for places of worship in general, including for renovating churches damaged because of terrorist attacks, but the priority will be a mosque and a church in the administrative capital so they can be as beautiful as possible.”

Naseer told Al-Monitor she had urged all members of parliament to donate to the fund. “Those donations are for all Egyptians, not just for the Copts,” she said. “It is true that they will go toward building a church, but that is a reaction by all Egyptians against everyone who tries to impose a foreign mandate on us, as the US Congress tried to do.”

Naseer was referring to a bill debated in Congress on Dec. 28 that would require Egypt to report annually to the US State Department on its work to restore churches vandalized by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, which was toppled from power in July 2013. Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeed rejected in a press statement issued on the same day the bill and the debate, calling it flagrant intervention in Egypt’s affairs.

While Sisi’s donation was welcomed by some, the suggestion that Egyptians should donate to the fund was slammed by his opponents. Lawyer Tarek Elawady wrote on Facebook Jan. 6: “Sir, Egypt does not need mosques and churches; it needs schools, factories and workplaces.”

Magda Ghonem, a professor of economics and rural development at Ain Shams University in Cairo, tweeted on Jan. 7: “We have a surplus of places of worship, no smaller than the surplus in outbidding and hypocrisy. What about building the biggest home for street children, or the biggest university, or the biggest training center?”

In a lengthy post on Facebook Jan. 7, Cairo University political science professor Hazem Hosny said that the state may not have allocated the necessary funds for a church or a mosque, rather intending to rely on donations made by the citizens. “The president made the first donation, but the whole thing is an attempt to get Egyptians to pay for the new capital under the pretext of building a mosque or a church,” Hosny wrote.

Political activist Mamdouh Hamza satirized Sisi’s donation, tweeting Jan. 7: “Donate for the building of a mosque or a church, because the faithful are lining up outside thousands of mosques and churches; there’s a critical shortage of places for prayer.”

While some critics played down the importance of building mosques and churches at the present time, other bloggers and anonymous activists condemned the idea of donating for church building on religious grounds, saying it violates Sharia.

“The Christian faith is in opposition with Sharia and Islamic doctrine on many issues,” a Salafist scholar who asked not to be named told Al-Monitor. “It is haram for Muslims to donate to the building of any institution that will be a base for discussion and promotion of anything that contradicts Sharia and Islamic doctrine.”

For his part, Abdel Fattah Idriss, a professor of comparative jurisprudence at Al-Azhar University, told Al-Monitor, “There is no jurisprudence proof or any sunna in the holy Quran that prohibits a head of state from donating funds for the building of a church or any other house of worship for the monotheistic religions. Islamic Sharia had approved of this as per Prophet Muhammad who gave the right for Jews of Medina to build their temples.”

Idriss said, “The donation made by a head of state is widely welcomed, as he is considered the [protector] of all communities residing in Egypt and has the complete authority to build houses of worship. Such donations strengthen people’s patriotism and make them feel part of the nation, qualities that Islam has always sought to instill.”

He added, “In addition to making a donation for the building of a church, [Sisi] also donated his money to establish a mosque, thus putting both communities [Christian and Muslim] on the same pedestal.”

A similar controversy broke out in 2009 regarding Sharia rulings on Muslim donations for the building of churches. The sheikh of Al-Azhar at the time, Mohammed Sayed Tantawi, met a delegation from the Egyptian Union for Human Rights, headed by Naguib Gibrael, an adviser to the Orthodox Church. The media reported he had ruled that Muslims donating for church building was permitted by Islamic law. His office denied the reports after a wave of opposition from scholars at Al-Azhar.

Egypt’s Dar al-Iftaa, a government body that advises on Islamic religious affairs, ruled on Jan. 7, 2016, “Christians in Egypt may, according to Islamic law, build churches if they need that for their worship, and Islam demands they be allowed to remain, according to the laws laid down by the Egyptian state. There is nothing in any reliable text on Islamic law to prohibit that.”

Sisi’s attempt to rein in the anger of the Copts after the bombing attack of St. Peter and St. Paul Coptic Orthodox Church thus prompted a range of criticism. But it appears that the opposition comes from a pre-existing state of antagonism between him and his critics who bemoan the lack of social, economic and educational progress in Egypt.

Boston Islamic center with ties to multiple jihad terrorists hosts interfaith call for peace

December 11, 2016

Boston Islamic center with ties to multiple jihad terrorists hosts interfaith call for peace, Jihad Watch

The cynicism of this is breathtaking, but the easy marks among Jewish and Christian leaders are lining up to participate.

“It’s ironic that they would hold a rally against hate in one of the most hateful houses of worship in New England where imam after imam has been found to preach anti-Semitism, homophobia, and hate for the United States, its people and its government.”

Yes, but there is never any shortage of useful idiots among Jewish and Christian leaders. And this article goes easy: not only was the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center frequented by the Tsarnaev brothers, Siddiqui, and Mehanna, but also Ahmad Abousamra, the Islamic State’s “social media guru.” And Alamoudi wasn’t just “sentenced in 2004 to 23 years in prison for taking part in a plot to kill Saudi royal officials”; that operation was an al-Qaeda plot.

islamic-society-of-boston-cultural-center

“Controversial Islamic center hosts interfaith call for peace, despite terror ties,” by Brooke Singman, Fox News, December 9, 2016:

A Boston Islamic center that has been linked to convicted terrorists is hosting an interfaith event on Sunday to promote peace, but some critics say such “hateful houses of worship” are a dubious venue for a message of solidarity and hope.

The event, at Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, is entitled “Out of Many, One,” and has Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., slated to speak. It is sponsored by the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, and aimed at bringing religious communities together under common beliefs.

This Cambridge mosque has been at the center of controversy for years.

“My hope is that we can provide a place for members of the community, who are so fearful and concerned about our values being challenged, to speak up,” Interfaith Organization Board Member Nahma Nadich told FoxNews.com. “We need to affirm our values and be in solidarity with each other to protect all members of our community against hateful, divisive rhetoric.”

But the location of the event has raised concerns, as the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center operates two mosques –one in Boston, where the event will be held, and one in Cambridge where several convicted terrorists reportedly worshipped. They include Boston Marathon bombers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev; Aafia Siddiqui, who plotted a chemical attack on New York City and Tarek Mehanna, who was sentenced in 2012 to 17 years in prison for conspiring to aid Al Qaeda.

In addition, a founder of ISBCC, Abduraham Alamoudi, was sentenced in 2004 to 23 years in prison for taking part in a plot to kill Saudi royal officials, has allegedly worshipped at the mosque.

Neither the mosque nor top officials have been implicated in criminal activity. But critics say several speakers at the mosque have delivered fiery and hateful sermons, and that its connections to terror make it an unlikely host of an event calling for peace.

“It’s ironic that they would hold a rally against hate in one of the most hateful houses of worship in New England where imam after imam has been found to preach anti-Semitism, homophobia, and hate for the United States, its people and its government,” Director of Research at Americans for Peace and Tolerance Ilya Feoktistov told FoxNews.com.

U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Carmen Ortiz has dismissed Americans for Peace and Tolerance’s claims as “incredibly racist and unfair.”

But Feoktistov referred to a 2010 video of Abdullah Faaruuq, a guest preacher, exhorting worshipers to “grab onto the rope, grab onto the typewriter, grab onto the shovel, grab onto the gun and the sword.” Faaruuq told FoxNews.com last year that ISIS was not created by Islamic teachings, but rather by America.

“It was created by the United States’ encouragement into other people’s countries seeking weapons of mass destruction that don’t exist,” Faaruuq said. “Destroying their societies and leaving the bitter taste in young people’s mouths.”

In August, ISBCC appointed an associate imam, Abdul-Malik Merchant, who, according to APT shared anti-Semitic posts on social media. Merchant issued an apology to the Jewish community.

Local Jewish leaders said neither the ISBCC nor the mosques it operates should be judged by the actions of a few….

Feoktistov said faith leaders and elected officials are turning a blind eye to what has taken place in the mosque.

“I think lawmakers discount the hatred for political reasons because the hatred is being spouted by what they consider to be a valuable minority,” Feoktistov told Fox News. “They are holding this event at an extremely hateful place, and that doesn’t bother them at all.”…

The “Interfaith call for Dignity & Diligence” event will take place at ISBCC in Roxbury, on Sunday, Dec. 11 at 6 p.m.

ISBCC Executive Director Yusuf Vali said in a statement that the work at the ISBCC embodies a community that “builds bridges” and “brings people together.”…

6 of 7 Nations With Worst Record of Christian Persecution Are Muslim

December 4, 2016

6 of 7 Nations With Worst Record of Christian Persecution Are Muslim, Creeping Sharia, December 4, 2016

im-christian-and-i-love-the-quran

The seven nations where persecution was branded so extreme that “it could scarcely get any worse” include: Afghanistan, Iraq (northern), Nigeria, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Syria.

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Source: Top 7 Nations With Worst Record of Christian Persecution: Report

Persecution watchdog group Aid to the Church in Need released its 2016 “Religious Freedom in the World” report on Thursday, highlighting the growing cases of intolerance around the world, particularly between the time period of June 2014 and June 2016 — coinciding with the rise of the Islamic State terror group.

The report included case by case studies of a number of different countries around the world, and the religious discrimination people of faith face. Some of the most extreme forms of oppression were experienced by people in Iraq and Syria, including Christians and Yazidis, who have been targeted in an ongoing genocide campaign by IS.

One Yazidi boy trained for jihad in Syria shared the chilling words his radical instructors told to him: “You have to kill kuffars [unbelievers] even if they are your fathers and brothers, because they belong to the wrong religion and they don’t worship God.”

The report revealed that 196 countries were examined, with 38 showing “unmistakable evidence” of significant religious freedom violations. Twenty-three of those countries were placed in the top level “Persecution” category, while 15 others in the “Discrimination” group.

Religious freedom conditions “clearly worsened” in 14 countries, the report added, and only three — Bhutan, Egypt and Qatar — showed signs of improvement since the last study in 2014.

The seven nations where persecution was branded so extreme that “it could scarcely get any worse” include: Afghanistan, Iraq (northern), Nigeria, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Syria.

“A virulent and extremist form of Islam emerged as the number one threat to religious freedom and was revealed as the primary cause of persecution in many of the worst cases,” the report noted.

It added that “religious hyper-extremism,” such as the actions of IS in their quest to build a caliphate and kill off minorities, has been on the rise, characterized by mass killings, ‘horrific’ forms of executions, rape, and extreme torture such as burning people alive, crucifixions, or throwing victims off buildings.

The atrocities committed by Islamist radical groups in nations such as Syria, Iraq and Libya were called arguably some of the “greatest setbacks for religious freedom since the Second Wold War,” with victims being subjugated to a system which “insults almost every tenet of human rights.”

Other watchdog groups, such as Open Doors USA, have called on the global Church to resist being too self-centered, and instead reach out to help its brothers and sisters in need.

Open Doors President David Curry told The Christian Post in October that the factors that led to 2015 being the worst year for Christian persecution have stayed in place for 2016 as well.

“You still have rouge nations like Eritrea, North Korea, Sudan and others, who are not concerned about international justice laws, and are persecuting Christians within their government,” Curry told CP at the time, ahead of the International Day of Prayer.

“I’m not encouraged yet by the response of the global Church, but I’m hopeful that they are going to wake up and see what is happening,” he added.

The Doctrine of Cowards

December 1, 2016

The Doctrine of Cowards, Political Islam, November 30, 2016

 

Why are so many Muslim refugees coming to the US? Why do so few persecuted Christians come? The answer is the position of the churches. The biggest door into US society is the church door. The Christians and Jews love to attend interfaith gatherings where they sit and nod their heads yes to all that the Muslims say.

But the Christian and Jewish leaders are ignorant about Islam. They know nothing about the Islamic doctrine of Christian and Jew hatred. But what is worse is that they refuse to learn.

Christian leaders have developed a doctrine of the coward to justify their pious ignorance and fear. They are all about turning the other cheek, loving their enemies, and doing nothing while waiting for Jesus to return. They are incapable of boldness and courage. Wimps all (well, about 95% of them).

And if you are not a Christian, why aren’t you concerned with the greatest human rights tragedy happening today—the killing of religious minorities in Islamic lands? Why can’t persecuted Christians come as refugees to America? When will Christians care about the persecution of their own brothers and sisters?

What has happened to us (Christians, Jews, Buddhists, atheists and all others) that we are no longer able to have moral outrage? Righteous anger?