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Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Wake up call




This tiny, carefully constructed island which the warbler calls home has been occupied by a fellow creature which she feeds and cares for as her own. Her inbred instincts of kindness and generosity overwhelm her, completely unaware that the cuckoo in her nest has a wholly different agenda.

The Christian faith which shaped much of our heritage is on the wane but unwittingly its principles still motivate the lives of most people in the British Isles; love thy neighbour, do unto others as you wish to be done by, etc. Familiar Christian landmarks like the vast Cathedral churches struggle on aided by tourism. Smaller churches which were built with their Norman towers in sight of others to warn of invasion still dot the landscape while town and city churches and chapels close, many to become Mosques. And why shouldn’t they people ask? Muslims need somewhere to pray! They ask as though the Muslim call to prayer is simply an expression of a faith which many Christians and other religions have now lost, unaware that it is a completely different religious ideology. They hear talk of peace - but at what price?

Islam is alien to our culture. The Koran is not the same as the Bible. When Muslims talk of peace they mean peace under Islam and Sharia law, not as we know it. Biblical-type argument in which one verse is pitched against another does not exist. In the Koran earlier verses are abrogated by later verses permitting dissemblance and are regarded as commandments. To this aim deception (taqiyya) is not only permitted but encouraged. In religious Islam the objective is clear for those who want to see it. Political Islam is less clear. How much is deception?

There have been warnings in the press of political infiltration but much is ignored in the guise of democratic rights and political correctness. That is a huge mistake. The democratic rights they demand under British law would be denied us under Islam. To allow the spread of a system that seeks to suppress all others is political and religious suicide. If it were a virus there would be health warnings. The fact that it is a religion is worse because people are intimidated against questioning it through fear of being accused of racism yet in Muslim countries Christians are persecuted and driven out. Couldn't happen here? Lebanon used to be a Christian country; it is no longer.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Israel's response to Vatican pleas


Pope Benedict XVI has held a mass at Saint Peter's Basilica to mark the close of the two-week special synod of bishops on the Middle East. In his homily he said that conflicts, wars, violence and terrorism have gone on for too long in the Middle East and one must never resign oneself to the lack of peace. Peace is possible, it is urgent and it is the indispensable condition for a life worthy of the human person and of society. Israel's initial response to pleas to "put an end to the occupation of Palestinian territories" have not been encouraging.

Pope Benedict called on Islamic countries in the Middle East to guarantee freedom of worship to non-Muslims and said peace in the region was the best remedy for a worrying exodus of Christians.

Postscript
Now read this.

Farewell thou good and faithful servants!



While looking over reports of the final documents released at the closure of the Vatican Synod I missed another closure, that of The Llandaffchester Chronicles. When I noticed the new entry in my Blog List I looked forward to being cheered by a good dose of church satire as a welcome interlude. To my dismay it was not another hoot but the story of an 'insidious' closure.

There has been much concern at the Vatican Synod about the decline of Christianity in the Middle East and freedom of conscience in religion. Closer to home, a group of clerics in Wales has been equally worried about the decline of orthodox Christianity, falling numbers and the poor leadership in their now disestablished Church in Wales. One of the attributes of the British people has been the ability to laugh at ourselves, now all but killed-off by political correctness. In its short life of around six months, the amazingly popular 'Chronicles' provided an oasis in that barren world becoming the talk of vestries inside Wales and out judging by the many published comments, many of which were as revealing as the stories themselves. The attraction was the ability of readers to identify like characters with those used as illustrations of the points being made. So much so that according to friends on the ground, many were so spot-on they believed that there must be a mole in the Cathedral.

Built around a Barchester Chronicles theme the antics of Llandaffchester Cathedral's Dean and Chapter proved to be fertile ground but other dioceses did not escape, notably the Bishops of St Asaph and Swansea & Brecon. The main target though was the leader of the 'Bench sitters', AB "Bazzer" himself who was portrayed as ruling a personal fiefdom using his 'yes' men as supporters of his 'relevant to society' regime, not that 99% of society gave a toss for him or his religion. Those in the know suggested that the AB is interested only in his own opinion so any criticism implied or direct would be wasted on him. Others better qualified must judge that for themselves but one concern links him to the subject discussed at the Vatican Synod. That was the lampooning story of "Bazzer" dining out with Muslims in an inter-faith event organised with the Welsh Assembly. The joke was the AB's bid for greater status in Wales as the result of ever declining numbers in the CinW under his leadership. The lampooning raised serious points. The inter-faith story has since achieved greater prominence in other contexts, particularly in the Vatican where Middle East bishops were called to Synod.

No doubt the inter-faith idea of dining out was good intentioned using the Christian ideal of brotherly love, also quoted by the Anglican Bishop of Liverpool when he agreed to became patron of a large Mosque development there. One has to wonder whether these church leaders are aware of the difference between the Koran and Bible. Muslims regard Christians as inferior and are encouraged to use deception in favour of Islam. Receptive to criticism or not "Bazzer" should realize that engaging with his fellow Christians would be far more productive.

To The Chronicles team, well done thou good and faithful servants. Regardless of the merits of the site, I shall miss your humourous approach to the real problems in the church today. It is to be hoped that those happy to see your demise will live in fear of its resurrection. That may be enough for them to think again, but I doubt it. Perhaps instead we should watch this space.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Vatican Synod for the Middle East: The key?



CNN reports that Roman Catholic bishops for the Middle East have concluded their two-week conference with a call for the international community, especially the United Nations, to work "to put an end to the occupation" of Palestinian territories.

Canadian Press gives a useful summary of problems in the region while Vatican Radio has the full text of the Synod's Message to the People of God.


Friday, 22 October 2010

Christian - Muslim dialogue


Two reports today from the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East. The first from the Catholic News Service in which two bishops at synod question the effectiveness of dialogue with Muslims. The second from the Catholic News Agency which focuses on political Islam with its "increasing pressure throughout the region from extremist groups who want to “to impose an Islamic way of life on all citizens, sometimes by violence".”



Thursday, 21 October 2010

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

The Way paved with good intentions?


From the Catholic Herald, Muslim scholars address Synod of Bishops.

"Ayatollah Mohaghegh Damad said the Koran’s view of Christian-Muslim relations is one of “friendship, respect and mutual understanding,” even though there have been “dark moments” in the relationship over the past 1,400 years."

"Earlier Mr al-Sammak had said the death penalty for apostasy from Islam to Christianity dated from a time “when changing religions meant joining the enemy – it was punished as an act of treason”. While some still think converts should be punished, he said the “golden rule” of Islam is that “there is no compulsion in religion, that’s what the Koran says”."

Others would question the words I have emphasised in italics above in that Muslims regard non-Muslims as second-class citizens if they do not accept Islam and Sharia. With no mention of abrogation, should taquiya be assumed? These are the real questions that must be addressed.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Three religions, one God!



From the Vatican Synod today, an interesting report "that Christians are not called to fight against Islam. On the contrary, the interventions by Synod Fathers and Muslim guests expressed the need to work together to stop extremism and ensure full citizenship for Christians in Middle Eastern societies".

In the United Kingdom we know only too well that good intentions can be ruined by a small but ruthless minority. Ultimately, through dialogue, the futility of strife can give way to peace with the unlikeliest of opponents able to share a joke together. For our sins, our troubles were within Christianity. Christians have learnt to live together as have Jews and the desire to live peaceably with Muslims should be just as strong. But we have a conundrum which isn't as obscure as deciding which of two men is telling the truth. If a religion permits deception for its own gain (taqiyya), how are others to assess their claims?

Christians are now a minority in many previously Christian countries. Some estimate that a similar situation will prevail in Great Britain in two generations. So what are we to believe?

Postscript:
There is a helpful video here .

Monday, 18 October 2010

Common Catholic-Orthodox celebration of Easter

The Orthodox Easter ‘holy fire’ ritual in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

A common Catholic-Orthodox celebration of Easter is one of the items being discussed at the Vatican Synod. Today's report from the Catholic News Service can be read here.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Togetherness


A step in the right direction again thanks to Pope Benedict XVI.

Forward in Faith



Yesterday's news that the Chairman of Forward in Faith, Bishop John Broadhurst, is to resign as Bishop of Fulham to seek entry to the Ordinariate has been intensified by today's news that 'traditionalists' have made gains in the Church of England General Synod elections which may at last see some compassion emerging and hopefully provide the accommodation so badly needed as the church battles for survival.

Probably the best that can be hoped for is a re-think of the voluntary code of practice but that is no small thing for those who, for various reasons, will be unable to take-up the offer of an Ordinariate. It is also encouraging news for those who have had to endure critcism from opponents who protested that we should have given up the fight, thus allowing a clear run for those we believe to be in error.

It is vital that we fight to the end for what we believe, to move 'forward in faith'. That is no disrespect to Pope Benedict. He has described the Ordinariate as the door to unity. A breathing space should ultimately enable more of the faithful to approach the door along a path that is not covered in brambles but perhaps lined with the rose .

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Thanks be to God!


Mario Gomez falls to his knees giving thanks to God for his freedom along with the 32 other miners after being trapped for 69 days half a mile beneath Chile’s Atacama Desert. Sixty-three year old Mario was the oldest of the trapped men. He suffers from silicosis and is now in hospital with pneumonia.
As this video put it, "Miners' rescue brings global community together". Disasters bring out the best in humanity demonstrating our basic human instinct for survival. Natural disasters reveal the vulnerability of the human race yet we let the few exploit the many to our detriment. Totalitarianism is the enemy of mankind and inertia its greatest asset. Nazism and Communism are not the forces they once were but another ideology threatens the freedom of individual expression in the name of God. This is not what He intended but this is what goes on, supposedly in His name.

Unlike Mario who knelt voluntarily giving thanks to God for his freedom, contrast Zarmina who was forced to kneell in front of her children on 16 November 1999 for her public execution in the name of Allah. While civilization has moved into the twenty-first century, others seek to impose their will as if we were still in the first century. Christ did not set us free to return to bondage.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Is Christianity its own worst enemy?


“The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12: 30-31

Even lapsed Christians tend to think in these terms and assume that others think likewise. The Equality and Human Rights Commission Triennial Review 2010 says that “Democracy is predicated on the idea that every individual, no matter what their background or personal circumstances, should have an equal opportunity to have a say in decisions about the country’s future.” The problem facing Christians and other religions is that Islam does not believe in democracy and denies people their basic human rights. Under Article 18 “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.” The penalty for converting from Islam is death. How do ‘honour killings’ square with Article 16 on the freedom to marry? There have been calls to allow Sharia law to operate in this country yet it is alien to our culture putting power into the hands of people who would deny others their human rights.

To question such anomalies is met with cries of Islamophobia, racism and bigotry. Political correctness based on Christian values of tolerance (love thy neighbour) encourages well meaning people of other faiths and of no faith to question the motives of those simply seeking the truth by asking questions. The English Defence League is getting a bad press with the usual PC labels attached to them. Most ‘causes’ become infiltrated causing negative effects but one thing is clear, most non-Muslims don’t have the faintest idea of what Islam is about. We tend to think of the Koran as their version of the Bible and we are led to believe that like Christianity it is a religion of peace but that peace is under Islam, not as we know it.

The vast majority of Muslims go about their daily lives peacefully and deplore extremism. The problem for Christians and those of other religions arises when they become the minority. Then the ‘infidels’ are treated as the second class citizens Muslims believe them to be unless they convert. Hence the Christian exodus from the Middle East which is the subject of the Vatican Synod now in progress. Immigration and high birth rates have seen Islamic communities growing in Non-Muslim countries. This leads to demands for Muslim schools and mosques which build communities within communities instead of integration. The proposed ‘Ground Zero’ mosque development has highlighted the issue causing much controversy. If people have legitimate concerns they should be allowed to express their fears without being accused of racism and bigotry. To understand what is happening we need to educate ourselves to take a balanced view of what our greatest war-time leader Churchill, warned us of, that "the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome".

The documentary What the West Needs to Know, explains "everything you've always wanted to know about Islam but were afraid to ask. The feature documentary discovers the basis of Muslim violence in the Koran and the life of Muhammad: jihad terror Muhammad Koran Quran Fitna." If you are not willing to devote an hour and a half to the fuller explanation you can get a shorter but incomplete message here.

These videos raise legitimate concerns for Christians putting documented events of discrimination and killings into context which raises the question, Who is my neighbour? or, more pertinently, What is my neighbour's attitude to me? That must be a legitimate question in a (currently) free society.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Death by stoning















Allah is merciful! Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani is not to be stoned to death, she is to be hanged instead! But stoning is stll allowed to carry on in the twenty-first century in the name of religion. The perpetrators of this barbarism show no mercy persecuting Christians as well as fellow Muslims and Jews even though we are all children of Abraham and worship the one God.

Iran is not the only country in which stoning takes place but victims have a chance to prove their innocence. If they are able to struggle free having been bound and buried to the waist, or the chest for women, they can go free. Not surprising, no-one has.

Two thousand years ago Jesus of Nazareth said, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her" John 8:7. Which would you choose? Islam or Christianity.

World Day against the Death Penalty is on Sunday 10 October 2010.

Monday, 4 October 2010

We were warned!




Back in 2008, the then Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, created a bit of a stir when he claimed that "Islamic extremists have created "no-go" zones across Britain where it is too dangerous for non-Muslims to enter". Some agreed while others differed to the point of rubbishing his remarks, most notably the Muslim Council of Britain. From the evidence presented in a recent French TV broadcast, Bishop Nazir-Ali was correct in his warning.

Although I am not familiar with the London Borough of Tower Hamlets itself, I have no reason to think that the programme was biased. Other media coverage, particularly of the Mayoral election process, highlights worrying influences. More information can easily be found on the internet, including a reference to "the loathsome Andrew Gilligan" indicating the amount of politicking involved there. Manipulation for political advantage aside, the more one reads, the uglier it looks with echoes of the reference to taqiyya in the video highlighted in my previous post.

Bishop Nazir-Ali, the only Asian bishop in the Church of England, warned in The Telegraph "that attempts are being made to give Britain an increasingly Islamic character by introducing the call to prayer and wider use of Sharia law, a legal system based on the Koran." Looking around I see plenty of evidence to support his view from the now familiar Muslim dress and occupation of redundant churches and chapels to the defence of their faith at the cost of others. Is that a sign of our religious tolerance or our complacency?

Link (Note the first comment). Link2 (Blog) Link3 (Video)

Friday, 1 October 2010

What the halal is going on here?


I am not a Daily Mail reader but I picked up this unsettling piece thanks to Cranmer (see Blog List). How many people in Great Britain, other than Muslims presumably, knew that we were eating meat slaughtered in the name of Allah, that is, animals having had their throats cut and left to bleed to death while ritual prayers are recited? I didn’t nor did many who have said they will vote with their feet and give New Zealand lamb a miss along with any other halal products they can identify. But the problem is identifying them. Even the apologists for political correctness must recognise that we have been victims of a subterfuge in the absence of proper labelling.

I suspect this revelation has been more of a shock to people than the frequent calls to sacrifice our Christian identity for inter-faith understanding. In our increasingly secular society the suggestion scarcely raises an eyebrow when we are told to celebrate CHRISTmas as a winter festival. That is hardly surprising when Christianity in schools has given way to all-faith teaching. That of course changes when the majority of children are Muslims. Christians who protest at the loss of our Christian identity are roundly condemned for their intolerance. It took Pope Benedict XVI during his recent visit to explain the dangers to Parliamentarians meeting in Westminster Hall that “There are those who argue that the public celebration of festivals such as Christmas should be discouraged, in the questionable belief that it might somehow offend those of other religions or none.”

Before the Pope’s visit I received a video clip Three things about Islam which confirmed my impression that inter-faith understanding was a one-way traffic so far as Islam is concerned. Christianity preaches love and forgiveness so when told that Islam is a religion of peace we accept that ‘assurance’ from a Christian perspective. Watching the video shows that view to be seriouly mistaken. Conscious of the dangers of accepting one piece of evidence as ‘gospel’, the friend who sent me the link had spoken with ex-Muslim contacts who confirmed the veracity of the views expressed in the video. Islam's idea of peace is 'peace' under Sharia law which would then dominate our lives. Freedom of expression would be what was permitted under the Koran.

Like most Christians I let the matter rest but after reading the Mail Online article and more unsettling reports of Sharia law ideas of justice, I viewed the video again. Looking for further evidence I have watched reports of children being executed, some for so called homosexuality, one at the age of nine, stoning people to death on trumped up charges and more, all in the name of religion but the most alarming video confirms what is said in Three things about Islam can be viewed it HERE. If you need more click here.

Pass this message to other Christians with the warning of the fate that befalls us if we allow others to impose their will. Spread the Word.

POSTSCRIPT

In the soup:

"As part of Campbell Canada's commitment to diversity and extraordinary, authentic nourishment for all, our selection of Halal-certified products are here to help you meet your Islamic dietary requirements." - Another small step!

But at least one step in the right direction. We must stand up for what we believe, Muslims do.