Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category
While the world’s attention is focused on Hamas’ targeting of Jewish civilians in Israel, Jews are not the only religious minority in the Middle East under fire. The Obama administration’s decisions to pull troops out of Iraq, support Islamists in Syria, back the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, protect the Iranian regime, and back terrorist opposition in Libya have led to the destruction of Christian communities throughout the region.
Christians have come under the heaviest hand in the Middle East in generations thanks to the weakness of the United States. And it is worthwhile remembering that the presence of Christians in the Middle East preceded the creation of Islam by centuries.
No wonder Pope Francis stated in November 2013, “We will not resign ourselves to imagining a Middle East without Christians.” That reality is already well within imagination, thanks to the Islamist Spring backed by the Obama administration – and the persecution of Christians continues to increase in other countries, including Turkey, Nigeria, and Pakistan.
About a dozen parents of the more than 200 kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls will never see their daughters again.
Since the mass abduction of the schoolgirls by Islamic extremists three months ago, at least 11 of their parents have died and their hometown, Chibok, is under siege from the militants, residents report.
Seven fathers of kidnapped girls were among 51 bodies brought to Chibok hospital after an attack on the nearby village of Kautakari this month, said a health worker who insisted on anonymity for fear of reprisals by the extremists.
At least four more parents have died of heart failure, high blood pressure and other illnesses that the community blames on trauma due to the mass abduction 100 days ago, said community leader Pogu Bitrus, who provided their names.
“One father of two of the girls kidnapped just went into a kind of coma and kept repeating the names of his daughters, until life left him,” said Bitrus.
Chibok is cut off because of frequent attacks on the roads that are studded with burned out vehicles. Commercial flights no longer go into the troubled area and the government has halted charter flights.
Boko Haram is closing in on Chibok, attacking villages ever closer to the town. Villagers who survive the assaults are swarming into the town, swelling its population and straining resources. A food crisis looms, along with shortages of money and fuel, said community leader Bitrus.
It’s the moral equivalence which is so devastating. When Egypt this week proposed its ceasefire in Gaza, a BBC presenter asked whether both sides would now conclude that there was no point carrying on with the war. From the start, restraint has been urged on both sides — as if more than 1,100 rocket attacks on Israel in three weeks had the same weight as trying to stop this onslaught once and for all.
Israel has been bombing Gaza solely to stop Hamas and its associates from trying to kill Israeli citizens. But for many in the West, the driving necessity is not to stop Hamas but to stop Israel.
Moral equivalence morphs instantly into moral bankruptcy. People have looked at the casualty count — around 200 Palestinians killed at the time of writing, while only a handful of Israelis have been injured or killed — and decided that this proves Israel is a monstrous aggressor.
No concern at all for the Israelis who have only a few seconds to rush to a shelter when the sirens start to wail, car drivers flinging themselves to the ground at the side of the road. No concern for the elderly or dis-abled Israelis who can’t get to a shelter, the hospital patients left helpless while the rockets slam into the ground nearby.
To these people, whatever Israel does to defend itself is bad. Killing Gazans is bad, warning them to flee so they won’t be killed is bad, the Iron Dome missile defence system is bad because, while Palestinians are being killed, Israelis are not. Ah yes, that’s the real outrage, isn’t it? Not enough dead Jews. How dare they defend themselves so effectively!
I’ve really made an effort over the years to continue to try to find something nice to say about the United Nations, since I still believe that a properly run, responsibly directed international body could accomplish a lot of good in the world. But when you read stories like this one, it’s pretty difficult to maintain a sunny outlook.
United Nations agency that last week found rockets in a Gaza school operating under its auspices has handed that weaponry over to Hamas, Israeli officials said Sunday, accusing the organization of actively helping the terrorist organization potentially attack Israeli civilians.
“The rockets were passed on to the government authorities in Gaza, which is Hamas. In other words, UNRWA handed to Hamas rockets that could well be shot at Israel,” a senior Israeli official told The Times of Israel.
A different senior official said UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, charged with overseeing humanitarian efforts in Gaza, has been suffering from “battered-wife syndrome” for years and currently “attempts to ingratiate itself with Hamas.”
Double Face Palm material.
The town of Reus in the Catalan province of Tarragona has become the first in Spain to ban the wearing of full-face veils in public, a move which follows a judgment on July 1 by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) which found that a French law banning the wearing of the veil did not breach the Convention on Human Rights.
The Strasbourg judges said the French ban was justified because of respect for life in society: “The barrier raised against others by a veil concealing the face in public could undermine the notion of ‘living together,’” the judges said.
France was the first country in Europe to ban the veil. Former President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose administration brought in the ban in 2011, said that veils oppress women and were “not welcome” in France.
Now Reus has passed bylaws to ban the veil. Ramon Espadaler, Interior Minister for Catalonia, has said that the ban, first proposed in 2013, was in no way an attack on religious freedom as the wearing of helmets and masks in public will also be forbidden.
In Britain, there is no ban on wearing a veil, but schools can decide their own dress code, but following the ECHR judgement, Tory MP Philip Hollobone urged the Government to ban the veil in Britain: “We will never have a fully functioning, fully integrated multi-cultural society if growing numbers of our citizens go around with their faces covered.”
From reading the international and national news you would probably never have known that last Thursday and Friday alone, over 700 people were killed in Syria at the hands of jihadists and pro-Assad forces. Muslim on Muslim, Arab on Arab, human on human, whatever you like to think of it as – Western media is doing an awful job of reporting these abhorrent incidences – and I think I know why.
The preoccupation with how many Muslims are killed by Jews, rather than how many are suffering at the hands of their fellow countrymen/co-religionists is a stark reminder of how natural it is for most people to still focus their attentions on Israel and the Jewish people respectively. Indeed it is this “everyday anti-Semitism” that leads the Guardian to depict the MH17 disaster in the same cartoon as that criticising Israel’s operation in Gaza as if there were some link, and indeed which forces thousands of ‘pro-Palestinian’ activists onto the streets of London [link] to demonstrate against Israel – but not so much against ISIS or Bashar al-Assad.
The Asharq al Awsat newspaper reported on Sunday:
More than 700 people were killed in Syria over the course of Thursday and Friday, in what activists say were the bloodiest 48 hours of fighting in the conflict to date.
The head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), Rami Abdul Rahman, told Asharq Al-Awsat that this was the first time casualties had topped 700 in the space of two days since the conflict began in 2011. He contrasted the violence to the gas attack in the Ghouta region close to Damascus last year, which he said killed around 500 people.
The UK-based SOHR tracks casualties on both sides of the Syrian conflict by collating reports from a network of observers on the ground in the country.
The final toll was announced after the SOHR reported that 270 people had been killed in fighting between pro-Syrian government forces and militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), when the latter seized the Shaar gas field east of the city of Homs on Friday.
And yet our radios, televisions, and streets are filled with people seekings to condemn and deplore Israel and sometimes even ‘the Jews’.
Is it any wonder then, that France feels it has to ban so-called ‘pro-Palestinian’ rallies?
Finally, the French are ahead of the world on something: recognising anti-Semitism for what it really is… a looming and constant threat to an entire people, furthered by the media, and tacitly endorsed by an unassuming, do-gooder, left-leaning army of full time “activists”.
HBO “Real Time” host Bill Maher left no doubt on his show Friday about who he thinks is responsible for the violence in Gaza.
“I feel terrible for a Palestinian child who dies,” Mr. Maher said. “But if it’s your father, your brother, your uncle who’s firing those rockets into Israel, who’s fault is it really? Do you really expect the Israelis not to retaliate?”
The comment drew applause from his audience and, surprisingly, gave Mr. Maher something he rarely has on his show: agreement with one of his conservative guests.
Jamie Weinstein, an editor of The Daily Caller, said that extremists will always be trying to harm Israel regardless of the country’s actions.
“I don’t think you can understand the conflict without reading Hamas’ charter, upon which they were founded, which clearly calls — and it’s chilling — calls for not only the destruction of Israel but the murder of Jews generally,” Mr. Weinsten said.
“They say the day will come when the trees will call out and say ‘here’s a Jew come kill him.’ This is the mentality of the people that Israel is fighting,” he continued.
“Jews have, I think, 155 Nobel Prizes. Muslims have two,” he said. “That seems like kind of a big advantage for team Hebrew.”
Two men described as leaders of a Philadelphia mosque were accused of trying to cut off the hand of a suspected thief, whose wrist was sliced so deeply it required hospital treatment, police said on Friday.
The 46-year-old victim said two officials in the mosque accused him of stealing jars of money from the house of worship after morning prayers on Monday.
The officials, described in police reports as the mosque’s imam and amir, dragged the victim to the rear of the mosque, and attempted to chop off his hand with a machete, according to a police statement.
He sustained a severe laceration to his right wrist, and was transported to a nearby hospital by medics.
Officers served a search warrant on Thursday on the mosque, located in a house in the city’s Overbrook section, where they arrested Merv Mitchell, also known as Mabul Shoatz. They recovered a 2-foot-long machete from the scene.
The mosque’s imam, an unidentified 35-year-old male, has not yet been located, police said.
Mitchell was charged with aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy, simple assault, reckless endangerment, and related offenses.