You are here . on the pale blue dot

'Anonymous' comments are not published. Comments for publication should be 'on topic' and not directed at third parties.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

In season of warmth, a look at chilling, global war on Christianity

The aftermath of the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians   Source Telegraph/Universal News

From The Rev. John Armstrong, Pastor of Grace Lutheran Church, Columbus, Indiana writing in The Republic:

Pope Francis acknowledges it.

Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, confirms it.

Foreign leaders recognize it.

Human rights advocates, along with more than 80 members of Congress, insist that it is real.

But will the leader of the free world publicly admit it?

“It” refers to the genocide against Christians, Yazidis and other religious minorities in the Middle East.

Genocide involves the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.

In addition to outright murder, genocide includes preventing births within the group and forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Can you say “Boko Haram?”

Recently, Pope Francis said, “Today we are dismayed to see how in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world many of our brothers and sisters are persecuted, tortured and killed for their faith in Jesus.

“In this Third World war, waged piecemeal, which we are now experiencing, a form of genocide is taking place, and it must end.”

Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks of the United Kingdom says, “What is happening to Christians in (the Middle East) is the religious equivalent of ethnic cleansing.”

However, words such as ethnic cleansing and genocide are radioactive to many politicians, because they imply that we have a moral and legal obligation to use whatever means necessary, including military force, to end the atrocities.

Some in the West are slow to acknowledge Christian persecution because they are in the habit of thinking of Christianity as rich, powerful and socially oppressive, and therefore cannot imagine that Christians in many parts of the world are themselves oppressed.

But facts are stubborn things.

From West Africa to Indonesia, from Eritrea to North Korea, Christians are routinely subjected to violence, imprisonment and death, for no other reason than believing in Jesus.

German Prime Minister Angela Merkel declared that Christianity is “the most persecuted religion worldwide.”

According to the International Society for Human Rights, a secular organization based in Frankfurt, Germany, 80 percent of all acts of religious discrimination in the world today are directed against Christians.

Between 2006 and 2010, Christians faced some sort of discrimination in 139 countries, almost three-quarters of all countries on earth, according to the Pew Forum.

The Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Seminary in Massachusetts reports that over the past decade, an average of 100,000 Christians have been killed every year.

John Allen, associate editor of The Boston Globe, writes that the global persecution of churchgoers is the unreported catastrophe of our time.

According to Allen, it is “the greatest story never told of the early 21st century.”

When will the world pay attention?

One church leader in the Middle East put it this way: “Does anybody hear our cry? How many atrocities must we endure before somebody, somewhere, comes to our aid?”

Silence in the face of evil is evil itself.

Pray for our government to use financial and diplomatic pressure against offending countries.

Pray for direct humanitarian assistance by our government and condemnation of these crimes against humanity.

Pray for Christian martyrs to be faithful unto death, and pray for their persecutors to be forgiven and to better understand the faith which they seek to destroy.

Think your friends should see this? Share it with them!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Not in my name

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Source: Independent/PA

"Not in my name". Of course not, but in the name of he who it is claimed "knows best"!

This is the key problem for non-Muslims. Are we 'kafirs' being deliberately misled in the same way that verses, or parts of them, are quoted from the Quran in an attempt to prove that Islam bears no fault.

When gunmen stormed the Radisson Blu hotel in Mali they were heard to shout "Allahu Akbar" as they began their attack, the cry used before animals are slaughtered in the Muslim manner.

Of course these atrocities are condemned by 'moderate' Muslims, especially when they are a minority. They would be mad not to do so. Meanwhile Christianity is being systematically wiped out where it originated in the Middle East with claims that it is "on course" to disappear from Iraq and Syria. I hear no Islamic condemnation.

On 18 November Newsnight considered [advance to 39 minutes] what we know about the Paris attackers, referring to an attack which "the perpetrators call jihad", raising the question of "the nature of religion and those who carry out cold blooded murder in its name". Professor Tariq Ramadan, Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies at Oxford University, complained that Muslims had been asked to condemn such atrocities for ten years since the 7 July London bombings. It may not have occurred to him but it occurred to me that there has to be a problem with Islam, one that is blindingly obvious to others because it has existed for centuries with Islamic conquests and occupations, using their own laws to justify their actions. Similar concerns are not expressed about Christianity other than harking back to the Crusaders who sought only to protect Christians and their Holy places from invaders.

In response to the Professor's suggestion that the West was somehow complicit for targeting 'Muslim' countries, historian Tim Holland queried why the Yazidis had been targeted. But there was no answer to that because it was all that Newsnight had time for! Clearly not as important as the sporting fixtures which dominate airtime.

The answer to the question of why the Yazidis were targeted is simple. Islam demands that a choice be made when Muslims have control under Sharia. - Become a Muslim, pay the tax or die while women and children are taken into slavery. The plight of the Yazidis had some initial media coverage but that quickly disappeared from the headlines as many of the Yazidi people have from the face of the earth. Not for them the open doors which have allowed Muslims to flood into Europe, including two 'refugees' who have since been identified among the bombers in Paris.

But being a Muslim carries its own risks. In February CP World reported that an ISIL policing unit in Mosul had severely disfigured the faces of 15 Iraqi women by pouring acid on them as a form of punishment after the women were caught without their faces being veiled appropriately, by ISIS standards.

There is no way out. Apostasy carries a death sentence. Those who escape risk being beaten. Nissar Hussain, 49, suffered a shattered knee cap and broken hand when he was attacked with a pickaxe handle outside his home in Bradford.

Lying for the faith is permitted but questioning is not. Outsiders are accused of Islamophobia if they dare to question Islam. Continuing death and destruction should be enough for anyone to raise serious questions even in isolation but when it is on a continuous basis one has to question people's motives.

In Islam Jesus is regarded as a prophet so why are His words ignored? Jesus said: "Everyone who is committed to the truth listens to my voice."

Everyone deserves to know the truth. More honesty would save many.

Postscript [24.11.2015]

British women filmed 'urging young girls to join Islamic State terrorists in Syria'

and from the Jewish Journal:
Why are we abandoning the Christians?

Friday, November 20, 2015

Thought for the Day

Credit: South Wales Argus

"A young man who recently converted to Islam told me that while he loved his new found faith, the worship the prayers and the discipline, one of the worst things about his new life was listening to the Friday sermon. He had yet to hear a sermon which actually engaged with the very real ethical issues which plague many Muslim communities, integration, identity, radicalisation as well as the more complex discussions around loyalty and belonging. Rather than address those very real problems, many imams were more obsessed with the length of beards, how much water you needed for ablutions or the dangers of men and women mixing. And it’s true, so many of these sermons are absurdly divorced from the painful realities of what’s happening around us. Many preachers refuse to acknowledge that even if militant Islamism lies at the margins of society, it has a cancerous effect on the whole of Islam and affects us all.

In all these sermons, there are copious references to the Prophet’s daily life. But if the prophet is to be a reference point, why not raise those other matters he is also reputed to have said, that a time would come when nothing would remain of Islam but its name, nothing of the Quran but its word, and that many mosques would be beautifully furnished but destitute of any guidance. Our witness to the faith today is preachers who use their sermons to encourage hate while calling Islam peaceful. We have young men who talk of the brotherhood of Muslims but kill innocents randomly simply because they can, conflicted Muslim states too busy both blaming the west and indulging the west. If this continues what will remain of Islam, a religion seemingly reduced to compulsory ritual without spiritual essence.

The Islamic world has become far less sophisticated in how it reads its own scripture and sources. In this lies one of the roots of religious fundamentalism and over the years, it has morphed into a harsh and cruel Islamism. The two are inexorably linked both deluding themselves that Islam will one day be dominant. There is no victory here only nihilism. Geopolitics may drive the violence, extremist militancy may be small in numbers, but innocents being slaughtered in the Arab world and in Europe has at its core an ideology where dying is more important than living. God is the greatest is a call to prayer, but it has also become a prelude to a death cult. Many ordinary Muslims remain baffled by global events, for them their faith remains a source of moral and spiritual growth, of giving and generosity. But last week’s tragic attacks in Paris, yesterday’s shootings, show that unless we are active in defending all that is good in our faith, there will be no faith to defend. With each attack Islamism won’t weaken the west, but it will hollow out the Muslim faith just that little bit more."

 - BBC Radio 4 Thought for the Day 19 November 2015.
   Mona Siddiqui, Professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations,
   University of Edinburgh School of Divinity.

As Sadiq Khan the MP for Tooting said,  "Extremism isn't a theoretical risk. Most British Muslims have come across someone with extremist views at some point – and so have I. It's affected my personal life, my friendships and my career. People I knew as a boy have gone on to hold extremist views, and even to act on them in terrible ways."

The message attached to the rose in the illustration is a powerful one. The quotation has been used countless times as an Islamic condemnation of the Paris bombings. But it is only part of a longer verse in the Quran which is contradicted by the next verse 5:33 as explained here in response to a comment made on the Answering Muslims blog:

Verse 5:32 - On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people. Then although there came to them Our apostles with clear signs, yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land.

Verse 5:33 - The punishment of those who wage war against God and His Apostle, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter.

Greater honesty as expressed by Professor Mona Siddiqui in 'Thought for the Day' would bring more credit to Muslims who protest that Islam is a Religion of Peace.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

World Toilet Day 2015

 Toilet on the outskirts of Lima, Peru                                      Credit: REUTERS/MARIANA BAZO

This toilet outside a family home on the outskirts of Lima Peru hardly warrants the name. 

See the 'Wider image' in 'Around the World in 45 toilets' here for some stark contrasts in what most of us take for granted.

Did you know?

  • 2.3 billion people – around one in three of the world's population – don't have a safe, clean, private toilet.
  • Last year Water Aid helped 3.1 million people gain access to toilets.
  • Around 315,000 children under five die every year from diarrhoea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation – that's almost 900 children a day.
  • Every year, around 60 million children are born into homes without access to sanitation.
  • For every £1 invested in sanitation, there's around a £4 return. Health is improved, fewer days are lost to illness, and girls stay on at school for longer.

If you want to know more or think you can help, please visit Water Aid.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


I have been taken to task for being homophobic because I do not support same sex marriage so I was pleased to see this video which strikes back at homosexuals who like to claim that love justifies everything, misquoting the Bible for their own ends. The interviewer claims to be 'normal' because he is gay and 'married', a concept hotly contested by Milo Yiannopoulos, a 'conservative' gay who receives "really poisonous, vitriolic nastiness" from other gays and bomb threats from feminists for his views which is becoming typical of the behaviour of special interest groups as they try to ban or shout down speakers with whom they disagree.

My thanks to Breitbart for this informative video although the piece was headed "I AM SO DONE WITH THE TRANS OUTRAGE BRIGADE: WHY I’M SUPPORTING ‘DROP THE T’". The transgender community it seems is irritating the gay community to such an extent that there is a call for a complete break.

Thrice married and the father of six children, Caitlyn Jenner is a modern would be eunuch with female enhancements who was given the 'Transgender Champion' award at the American 'Glamour Woman of the Year' awards. The recent headline "Caitlyn Jenner flaunts some serious side-boob as she dares to bare in black dress" is curiously at odds with her masculine voice and Y chromosomes which prompted Germaine Greer to argue that transgender women are not women but males dressed as females. So good luck to the 'Drop the T campaign' and to Milo Yiannopoulos and Germaine Greer as they argue for a return to sanity.

If those clerics who promote same sex marriage were to follow the example of Milo Yiannopoulos in encouraging heterosexual couples to get married that really would be a step forward.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Head in the sand

Unfortunately it has taken the atrocities in Paris to concentrate the mind on the nature of Islam. In my entry last Saturday I posed the question 'Something to hide?' after the House of Lords rejected the idea of encouraging a national debate about the nature of Islam.

In September it was claimed that 1 in 50 Syrian refugees in Europe could be an Isis jihadist. Now it has been reported that a Syrian passport was found on attacker who sought asylum in Greece as a refugee.

Not all Muslims are terrorists but too many Muslims have a warped idea of salvation believing that they will be rewarded in paradise for killing Kafirs.

It matters little that most Muslims are 'nice people' if their ideology permits a handful of Muslims to create the carnage witnessed in Paris. There must be a debate.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Save Our Steel

... --- ...

The Daily Mirror has been running a campaign to save our steel industry highlighting four things the Government must do:
  • An immediate cut in business rates for the steel industry and a fairer system of valuation 
  • Give the steel industry a break from green taxes and high energy bills 
  • Block China from dumping cheap steel on the UK market 
  • Buy British. Major infrastructure and construction projects and all government-backed contracts should look to use British-made steel

Why British steel is in crisis is explained by Newsnight economics correspondent Duncan Weldon here while the Telegraph carries an informative video "The UK steel industry by numbers" here.

It is claimed that Tata Steel job losses 'will kill Scunthorpe', a town in which generations of workers have depended on steel for their livelihood. The Government's response? A package of up to £9 million to provide support to Scunthorpe steel workers and the local economy.

Without urgent action the British steel industry will share the same fate as the coal industry with yet more "hardworking people" re-classified as scroungers as they are forced onto benefits, unlike the chosen few.

According to National Audit Office figures we spent £850 billion on the bank crises in 2009 which equates to a £26,562.50p spend by every taxpayer in the UK yet "Bankers' bonuses rise at double the rate of the average worker - and are a hundred times higher than those of public sector staff". With UK finance sector bonuses expected to top £100bn since the financial crisis, this equates to £1,500 for every man, woman and child in the UK.

A petition calling on David Cameron to take decisive action to protect and revive British steel plants before it's too late can be signed here.