Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category
Federal authorities have warned US law enforcement of potential terror attacks against them from homegrown ISIS members or supporters, according to a leaked internal bulletin exclusively obtained by Breitbart Texas. The leaked document is dated October 11, 2014, and was provided by a trusted federal agent who did so on the condition of anonymity.
The memo was issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as a Joint Intelligence Bulletin and is titled, “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and Its Supporters Encouraging Attacks Against Law Enforcement and Government Personnel.” It is labeled, “UNCLASSIFIED/FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY” and asserts that it may be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act and should not be released tot he public, the media, or anyone else not authorized by the DHS.
The document alerts US law enforcement personnel, including FBI Special Agents, to be aware of their surroundings and to monitor their families’ use of social media to “avoid revealing FBI or law enforcement affiliation.”
Another significant revelation in the leaked document is that the FBI is unaware of any current specific imminent threats from ISIS on U.S. soil, an assertion that seems to contradict some previous public reports that ISIS has crossed the U.S./Mexico border and is planning specific attacks. The report does indicate that ISIS advocated attacks on U.S. military personnel, law enforcement in general, FBI personnel, government officials, and media figures.
Read the full document: 244056002-FBI-Isis-Final
The United States and Canada have suffered three attacks with apparent ties to terrorism in the span of a week, and a retired CIA case officer told TheBlaze he expects more will follow.
“I think the West is under attack,” said Brian Fairchild, who spent 20 years in the CIA’s clandestine service and has testified before Congress as a terrorism expert.
“I think that they’re responses to the ISIS and Al Qaeda requests for folks to go out and strike Americans any time, anywhere, any place that they can. That’s what this is turning out to be,” Fairchild said, speaking during an interview for an upcoming episode of TheBlaze TV’s For the Record.
The FBI and Department of Homeland Security sent a memo on Oct. 11, warning that Islamic State sympathizers could carry out attacks on police and government personnel.
“What they would love is for there to be 50, 100, 1,000 attacks like that. Whether their followers will rise up and do that for them, we don’t know,” he said.
Fairchild said there is a real cause for concern: Groups like Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula have had only limited success pushing American extremists to pull off “lone wolf” attacks, but the rapid expansion of the Islamic State and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, may have created enough momentum to finally push some of those radical individuals into action.
“When Baghdadi and ISIS says, ‘Hey guys, go out and find soldiers, intelligence, and police officers and kill them, don’t ask for anybody’s approval, just go out and do it,’ that seems to have had more resonance among these guys than all of the requests from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and ‘Inspire’ magazine before that,” Fairchild said. ”That’s what the game-changer is.”
Read the Tough Letter a U.S. Civil Rights Commissioner Sent to Houston Mayor Regarding Sermon Subpoena: ‘A Chilling Effect’
The battle over subpoenas issued by the city of Houston for pastors’ speeches and other communications has taken yet another turn, with a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights penning a letter to Mayor Annise Parker, lambasting the information request.
Commissioner Peter Kirsanow, who opened his letter by noting that he was writing on his own accord and not on behalf of the entire commission, warned that the city’s pastoral requests “threaten to have a chilling effect on religious and political speech that is protected by the First Amendment.”
“Although non-parties to a lawsuit can be required to provide information that is reasonably likely to be relevant and admissible, these subpoenas are plainly overbroad,” Kirsanow wrote.
He continued, “A subpoena that requires a pastor to turn over an e-mail to his neighbor about the details of the Equal Rights Ordinance, or a draft book chapter on the Bible and homosexuality that discusses the Equal Rights Ordinance, is clearly overbroad. “
“Given that the recipients of these subpoenas are pastors, it is almost inevitable that their views on homosexuality and gender identity are informed by their faith, if not almost entirely rooted in their faith,” he continued. “Indeed, the views of many people on homosexuality and gender identity are rooted in their ultimate commitments.”
He also charged that the “discovery request impermissibly probes the religious beliefs of private citizens simply because they supported a political effort.”
Kirsanow concluded that the request is an “abuse of government power” and that it appears to punish pastors for sharing political views that are predicated upon their faith.
Read the letter in its entirety here.
Catholic bishops scrapped their landmark welcome to gays Saturday, showing deep divisions at the end of a two-week meeting sought by Pope Francis to chart a more merciful approach to ministering to Catholic families.
The bishops failed to approve even a watered-down section on ministering to homosexuals that stripped away the welcoming tone of acceptance contained in a draft document earlier in the week.
The revised paragraph had said “people with homosexual tendencies must be welcomed with respect and delicacy.” But the paragraph failed to reach the two-thirds majority needed to pass.
Two other paragraphs concerning the other hot-button issue at the synod — whether divorced and civilly remarried Catholics can receive Communion — also failed to pass.
It wasn’t clear, though, if the 118-62 vote on the gay section was more a protest by progressive bishops who refused to back the watered-down wording. The revised paragraph had deleted the words of acceptance of gays’ sexual orientation and acknowledgement that gay unions can provide “precious support” to partners that had been contained in the draft.
Francis insisted in the name of transparency that the full document — including the paragraphs that failed to pass — be published along with the voting tally. The document will serve as the basis for future debate leading up to another meeting of bishops next October.
There are two Islams. The real Islam of the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia and an imaginary Islam that exists only in the mosques of air and card table Korans of academics apologists and political pundits who have decided that Islam cannot be bad, because no religion can be bad, not even one which kills and kills, it must just be misunderstood.
But then why not tell the Grand Mufti that he has misunderstood his own religion, the religion that he and his ancestors have dedicated themselves to purifying and reforming back to its roots? Telling him that would be a dangerous thing on his own turf, but it would also be foolish. The Grand Mufti’s controversial statements contain nothing that Mohammed had not said.
Can the founder of a religion misunderstand his own teachings?
Islam is savage, intolerant, cruel and expansionistic, not due to a misunderstanding, but an understanding of the worst aspects of human nature. It is what it is and no amount of wishing will make it otherwise.
We have opened the door to the desert and a hot wind blows through into the northern climes. Either we shut the door or get used to living in the Saudi desert.
A few days ago President Obama, in an interview he gave France’s Canal+ TV Channel, said that the American people need to be better educated about Islam, since US could and should be regarded as a Muslim country. He said that the number of Muslims residing in the US makes it “one of the biggest Muslim nations”.
In reality the US has one of the smallest percentages of Muslims of any Western country. The number of Muslims in the US is approximately 4.5 million, 1.5% of the population, one of the smallest minorities in the US. Since there are approximately 1.5 billion Muslims in the world, the number of Muslims in the US is approximately 0.3% of the world Muslim population. By comparison there are between approximately 6 million Jews in the US, who account for approximately a third of the world’s Jewish population. Whereas many Americans regard it as a society based on “Judeo-Christian values”, it is doubtful if there is one sane American who would define it as a Jewish country.
By President Obama’s yardstick, France, Germany, the UK, Spain, Italy and Holland should all be regarded as “Muslim nations”. In France, which has the biggest Muslim population in Europe, its 4.5 – 5 million Muslims account for 7.5% of the population. In most other Western European countries, Muslims account for approximately 3%-5% of the population.
The only EU citizens who regard their societies either as Muslim ones, or as societies that should be Muslim are those Muslim immigrants and the 2nd generation who have not succeeded in integrating into the societies in which they live, and as a result have become alienated from them. Even if half of Europe’s Muslims have this attitude (most likely the true number is far less), we are talking at most about 2%-3% of those countries.
After calling church sermons “fair game” for subpoena, Houston Mayor Annise Parker backed down Wednesday from the city’s effort to force local pastors to turn over speeches and papers related to a hotly contested transgender rights ordinance.
The city had asked five pastors for “all speeches, presentations, or sermons” on a variety of topics, including the mayor, and “gender identity.”
The subpoena prompted a storm of criticism when it became public Tuesday. The pastors are involved in legal efforts to overturn the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, also known as the “bathroom bill.”
The pastors and their allies called the city’s broad demand a threat to religious freedom and proof that gay and transgender rights bills can be used as weapons to demonize Christianity.
“The government has no business asking pastors to turn over their sermons,” said Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican.
Ms. Parker’s office initially doubled down in the face of such criticism but issued a statement late Wednesday saying the mayor “agrees with those who are concerned about the city legal department’s subpoenas for pastors’ sermons.”
Texas Senator Ted Cruz has weighed in regarding the controversial subpoenas that the City of Houston sent to several Houston area pastors, demanding copies of their sermons and speeches, as well as communications with church members.
As reported by Breitbart Texas, the dispute stems from an anti-discrimination ordinance passed by Houston regarding discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation. The pastors’ churches were part of a coalition of hundreds of churches in the Houston area that opposed the ordinance. After a referendum petition seeking to get a repeal measure on the November ballot was tossed out over allegations that the petition signature gatherers were not qualified under Texas law, a lawsuit was filed, but the pastors were not a part of the litigation. The pastors have obtained legal representation and filed a motion to quash the subpoenas, arguing that they were an illegal demand of their “their constitutionally protected sermons and other communications.”
Cruz agreed with the pastors and their attorneys, releasing a statement Wednesday that echoed the religious liberty and free speech arguments they made. “I’m proud to stand with the pastors,” said Cruz. “Religious liberty is the very first protection in the Bill of Rights, the foundation of all our liberties. The City of Houston’s subpoenas demanding that pastors provide the government with copies of their sermons is both shocking and shameful. For far too long, the federal government has led an assault against religious liberty, and now, sadly, my hometown of Houston is joining the fight. This is wrong. It’s unbefitting of Texans, and it’s un-American.”
The senator also criticized the subpoenas as a “grotesque abuse of power” by the city government. “The government has no business asking pastors to turn over their sermons. These subpoenas are a grotesque abuse of power, and the officials who approved them should be held accountable by the people. The Mayor should be ashamed. And we should all be proud to stand up and defend the pastors who are resisting these blatant attempts to suppress their First Amendment rights.”
Meanwhile, Houston Mayor Annise Parker, the city’s first openly lesbian mayor, remains stubborn in her desire to pursue these subpoenas against the pastors, posting two tweets just before midnight last night calling the sermons “fair game” and taking a swipe at her critics as uninformed:
Atheists’ Claims About Prayer and ‘Salvation’ Led Hundreds to Converge on a High School Football Field to Issue This Major Response
Hundreds of residents took to a high school football field Friday night to collectively bow down and pray — a massive response to atheist activists’ recent accusations that a local school district is guilty of at least two violations of the separation of church and state.
But the prayer event wasn’t the only noteworthy response to secularists’ complaints, as local resident David Hoover placed three large Christian crosses on land he owns across the street from Licking Valley High School in Newark, Ohio — 10 to 13-foot symbols intended to send a message.
As TheBlaze previously reported, a free speech debate touched off in the city after the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a secular activist group, accused the Licking Valley High School District of violating the First Amendment by allowing high school marching band members to wear T-shirts with the word “salvation” on them during a recent performance.
And in a separate complaint just days later, the Freedom From Religion Foundation cited a 2013 Facebook photo showing a member of the school’s football team leading his fellow players in prayer as evidence of yet another purported violation.
While players are permitted to lead team prayer, it was the presence of three coaches participating in the invocation that drew atheist ire, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
So locals took to the field at Randy Baughman Stadium Friday night, where they kneeled down, recited the Lord’s Prayer and cheered — all acts taken in response to the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s complaint letters, according to the Newark Advocate.
The Syrian city of Kobani on the border with Turkey is under attack from ISIS fighters. Three months ago ISIS tried and failed to take over Kobani despite the fact the terrorist group used a chemical agent, most probably mustard gas, in its attack.
As reported by the Middle East Review of International Affairs:
Prior to the current campaign, the most serious (but unsuccessful) attempt to conquer Kobani came in July 2014, shortly following the dramatic IS advance into Iraq.
It was during this assault on Kobani that evidence emerged which appeared to point to the use by the Islamic State on at least one occasion of some kind of chemical agent against the Kurdish fighters of the YPG (Peoples’ Protection Units).
According to the MEMRI report, an incident at Avdiko village in Kobani on July 12th suggests that ISIS may well have succeeded in making some of this material available for use in combat. The pictures below seem to verify a mustard attack. If the chemical agent was taken from the Al Muthanna facility, it means that this terrorist group has WMDs in its arsenal (additional photos at MEMRI).