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Did A Christian Just Blow Himself Up for Jesus?

Video: Robert Spencer on OAN on the Liverpool ‘Christian’ jihad suicide bombing.

My latest in PJ Media:

On Sunday morning in Britain, just as the nation was preparing to observe a moment of silence for Remembrance Day, a taxicab pulled up in front of Liverpool Women’s Hospital and exploded into flames. Moments later, the cab driver, David Perry, who had run out of the car, explained that he had noticed that his passenger, who turned out to be an Iraqi migrant named Emad Jamil Al Swealmeen, was wearing an explosive belt, so he locked the cab, whereupon Swealmeen exploded his bomb inside it.

This would be an unfortunately standard story of jihad terrorism were it not for a strange detail. Swealmeen converted to Christianity in 2017, in the same cathedral he had apparently planned to attack: he initially asked Perry to drive him to the Anglican cathedral in Liverpool, but traffic was heavy, and so he opted to go to Liverpool Women’s Hospital instead.

Islamic apologists have made much of Swealmeen’s conversion to Christianity, as it apparently validates their claim that terrorists are not prompted to commit acts of violence by religious teachings, but by poverty or desperation or psychological problems or some combination of the three. That certainly seems to be true in Swealmeen’s case, at least at first glance, since he seems to have renounced Islam and its promise of paradise to those who “kill and are killed” for Allah (Qur’an 9:111) back in 2017.

Malcolm Hitchott, who with his wife Elizabeth hosted Swealmeen in their home for eight months when he first arrived in Britain, recounted: “He first came to the cathedral in August 2015 and wanted to convert to Christianity. He took an Alpha Course, which explains the Christian faith, and completed it in November of that year. That enabled him to come to an informed decision and he changed from Islam to Christianity and was confirmed as a Christian just before he came to live with us. He was destitute at that time and we took him in.” Elizabeth recalled that he was a wonderful fellow: “We just loved him, he was a lovely guy.” Obviously.

His conversion, however, may not have been sincere. Christian Today reported back in January 2017 that in Germany, “migrants increase their chances of winning asylum in Germany if they are able to prove that they would face persecution if sent home to a Muslim country….They can do this by showing proof that they are Christian or have converted to Christianity.” Dr. Gottfried Martens of Trinity Lutheran Church in Berlin noted that “some Muslims come to his church and express interest in Christianity just to improve their chances of getting their asylum request approved.”

Asylum seekers in Britain have also shown that they know how to game the system: they claim to be Christian or gay and that they would therefore face persecution back home if their asylum claim was denied. But as soon as their application is approved, they return to Islam and/or heterosexuality.

There is more. Read the rest here.

RELATED VIDEO: The Forgotten Suicide Bomber.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Hamas-Linked CAIR Sues Maryland County over Christian-Only Chaplain Hiring Policy at County Jail

A Muslim man is embroiled in a religious discrimination lawsuit at a Maryland county jail, where job applicants for the position of chaplain are made to sign a statement affirming that they are Christians. Lawyers from the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) “sued Prince George’s County on behalf of Edrees Bridges, who has been a volunteer chaplain at a county jail in Upper Marlboro since 2018.”

The CAIR lawsuit argues that “that kind of religious test is illegal under the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause,” and “claims the statement violates Bridges’ religious freedom rights,” even forcing him to abandon his religious beliefs as a Muslim, should he sign the statement.

The challenge has legal and Constitutional merit, but it is no accident that it came from CAIR, an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas terror funding case. CAIR has earned its reputation of finding legal and political loopholes to advance its agenda to the detriment of the greater good — in this case, for the inmates in Prince George’s County. In 2018, CAIR sued Riverside Regional Jail in North Prince George, Virginia for allowing for a Christian space. CAIR filed an injunction demanding “Islamic programming,” “pork-free meals,” and a dismantling of the Christian “God-Pod” for promoting what CAIR called “segregation.”

Statistical data on religious representation among prison inmates in America from the US Department of Justice reveals:

The Prison Service recognizes more than 40 different religious denominations. In 2000, the largest group of inmates was Anglicans, who formed 39 percent of the prison population. Next was the group with No Religion (32 percent) followed by Roman Catholics at 17 percent and Muslims at 7 percent. Buddhists, Hindus, and Sikhs each accounted about a half of one percent of the population. The fastest growing group was prisoners with No Religion, which more than doubled in size between 1993 and 2000. The prison population as a whole grew by 55 percent over the same period. Between 1993 and 2000, the number of Muslims doubled.

Although Prince George’s County may be different, overall, Christians constitute the largest representation of inmates in America, making up 56 percent of the prison population. Then follow those of no religion, and then Muslims at only seven percent, although “between 1993 and 2000, the number of Muslims doubled.” Inmate conversions are included — and among them are jihadi converts.

CAIR seeks Muslim representation among prison chaplains, without acknowledging how that representation has proven to be problematic. In 2011, Michael Downing, who was LAPD Deputy Chief at the time, addressed the House Homeland Security Committee; he warned: “We have ongoing cases that involve convert prison radicals that are out in the community now.” The hearing focused on the threat from “Prislam,” which Downing described as “an extremist ‘cut and paste’ version of Islam practiced by inmates.”

Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Smith stated in that same hearing that the Prislam ideology was one which “he saw in some New Folsom prison inmates whom he prosecuted for plotting to attack Jewish targets in Los Angeles and the LAX airport.”

According to Patrick Dunleavy, author of The Fertile Soil of Jihad: Terrorism’s Prison Connection: “If we continue to downplay the threat, we do so at our own peril.” He added that he “would not be surprised to find a copy of al-Qaida’s Inspire magazine in any prison.” 

American federal prisons have more recently been described by experts as “breeding grounds” for terrorists. The implications are immense. “Prisons have long been criticized for a culture that can make some inmates more dangerous than when they entered, but the possibility that typical felons could become lone wolf terrorists upon earning parole is a disturbing new wrinkle.”

By contrast, Christianity has a longstanding positive impact in prison ministry. In the best interests of the prisoners collectively — and for society at large — programs in prisons have focused on restorative justice. Restorative justice is rooted in compassionate Christian beliefs.

“Prison Ministry of America, which also is named as a defendant in the suit, has a contract with the county to provide religious services to jail inmates. The statement on its job application says Prison Ministry of America employees are ‘committed to a lifestyle of Christianity and agree with our statement of faith.’”

The problem is not only an American one.  In the UK, jihad recruitment in prisons has earned them the reputation of being jihad training camps, where Muslim prison gangs beat prisoners who won’t convert to Islam. Prison staff are afraid to stand up to Muslim inmates for fear of being called “racist.” A Christian prison chaplain in the UK was banned for ten years for warning about “Islamic extremism” in jails.

Many prisoners may be adversely affected, depending on the outcome of the CAIR lawsuit, if it results in more Muslim representation and fewer Christian chaplains.

Lawsuit: Only Christians could apply for jail chaplain job

by Michael Kunzelman, ABC News, May 27, 2021:

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Applicants for a chaplain’s job at a Maryland county jail had to sign a statement affirming that they are Christians, a Muslim man claims Thursday in a federal lawsuit accusing the county and a contractor of religious discrimination.

Lawyers from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights group, sued Prince George’s County on behalf of Edrees Bridges, who has been a volunteer chaplain at a county jail in Upper Marlboro since 2018.

Bridges, 49, learned in April that the county was hiring a paid chaplain. He asked for an application but couldn’t complete it because all applicants were required to sign a “Statement of Applicant’s Christian Faith” that would force him to abandon his religious beliefs as a Muslim, his lawsuit says.

Prison Ministry of America, which also is named as a defendant in the suit, has a contract with the county to provide religious services to jail inmates. The statement on its job application says Prison Ministry of America employees are “committed to a lifestyle of Christianity and agree with our statement of faith.”

It also asks applicants to affirm that they “believe in one God, Creator and Lord of the Universe,” that “Jesus Christ, God’s Son, was conceived by the Holy Spirit” and that “the Bible is God’s authoritative and inspired Word.”

The lawsuit says that kind of religious test is illegal under the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, which prohibits government from establishing a state religion. It also claims the statement violates Bridges’ religious freedom rights.

Bridges said he was shocked and saddened to learn that his Muslim faith would exclude him from the applicant pool.

“I have always encountered people that have been open to that diversity of ideas, diversity of thought,” he said in an interview Thursday. “As a chaplain, one of the core ingredients to being a chaplain is to be there for all.”…..

COLUMN BY

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

The New Savagery of the Oldest Hatred

Same old, same old. But not it’s America, not Germany. And you won’t find it covered by the Democrat media complex.

The New Furies of the Oldest Hatred

Take a good look at who is speaking out against Jew-hate. And who is staying silent.

By: Peter Savodnik, Bari Weiss Substack, May 21, 2021:

The furies have been unleashed. They were everywhere you looked these past two weeks, though you won’t read about them much in the papers.

We saw them on Thursday, when pro-Palestinian protesters threw an explosive device into a crowd of Jews in New York’s Diamond District. We saw them on Wednesday, when two men were attacked outside a bagel shop in midtown Manhattan. We saw them on Tuesday, at a sushi restaurant in West Hollywood, when a group of men draped in keffiyehs asked the diners who was Jewish, and then pummeled them. And in a parking lot not far away, when two cars draped in Palestinian flags roared after an Orthodox man fleeing for his life. And in the story of the American soccer player Luca Lewis, cornered by a band of men in New York demanding to know if he was a Jew. Then there was the caravan careening through Jewish neighborhoods in North London carrying people screaming: “Fuck the Jews! Rape their daughters!” And the rabbi, outside London, who was hospitalized after being attacked by two teenagers. And the demonstrator in Vienna shouting, “Shove your Holocaust up your ass!” — the crowd of young people, mostly women, cheering. The synagogue in Skokie that was vandalized. The synagogue in Tucson that was vandalized. The synagogue in Salt Lake that was vandalized. The pro-Israel demonstrators in Montreal pelted with rocks. And the pro-Palestinian agitators in Edmonton driving around in search of Jews. The teeming crowds in Washington, D.C.BerlinBangladeshPhiladelphia and Boston and San Francisco and, of course, across the Arab world. The seemingly ubiquitous accusations of “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing.” The Turkish president, reaching all the way back to the Middle Ages, accusing Israelis of “sucking the blood” of non-Jewish children. Every hour on the hour, the celebrities posted their memes and the elected officials and the influencers — it’s hard to tell the difference — called Israel an “apartheid” regime. Apartheid regimes, like regimes guilty of genocide and ethnic cleansing, are meant to be overthrown. Violently, if need be. So bloodshed is warranted, yes?The silence-is-violence people — those who are quick to “call out” anyone deemed inadequately antiracist, experts at digging up any dusty book passage — have been remarkably quiet when it comes to Jews being dehumanized and hunted down.


Let us dispense with the fiction, once and for all, that hating the Jewish homeland, which contains the largest Jewish community on Earth, is different from hating Jews. It has been exceedingly difficult in our blinkered, hyper-secularized present, so removed from the primal animosities of not so long ago, to conceive of a world in which tens or hundreds of millions of people who have never visited Israel or never met a Jew want Jews dead. We’ve been blinded by the oceanic success of life under the Pax Americana. We think this is how people are. This is not how people are. This is a wondrous aberration. There were 2,000 years of ghettos, blood libels and pogroms, of dehumanization and second-class citizenship that culminated with the Shoah. For the past several decades — a sneeze in the span of Jewish history — we American Jews have been maundering through the happy, mournful echoes of the recent past. That recent past meant that we weren’t shocked to see this violence from the Europeans, who have never stopped hating Jews, but who had been forced, by the camps, to camouflage their Jew hate in their criticism of Israel, their obsession with it. But America? We were not steeped in the Old World hatreds. We were deeply flawed — who wasn’t? — but our flaws were always in conflict with our identity. One of the many problems with antisemitism, like Jim Crow, was that it made a mockery of our ideals, which made it impossible to hold onto the old bigotries forever. One had to reject Jew-hate and support the Jewish right to self-determination for the same reason one had to dismantle literacy laws that limited voting rights: It was central to the American weltanschauung. It was part of our animating ethic. The progress was glacial and uneven but inexorable. It was America becoming more American. We were supposed to have transcended the old blood-and-soil stupidities. But they can’t be transcended. That was a beautiful myth, a myth that was fundamental to our idea of ourselves. But we are losing ourselves.


How did this happen? It’s inane to try to superimpose a tidy, monocausal explanation on all of the above. But we know a few things for sure. America’s great institutions, and the security and stability and rhythm they once provided, have been co-opted, and this has had an unbelievably destabilizing impact on all aspects of American life. We have lost this edifice, which took decades to build and about ten minutes to tear down, because of our remarkably spineless “elite,” who seem to have no concept what role they are meant to play, or if they do, simply don’t have the cojones. Then there is the transformation of the American left. The left used to imagine itself having one job. That job was to protect the interests of the working class. In fact, until not long ago, the left could not imagine a politics outside the framework of a Herculean struggle pitting the working class against the managerial elite, otherwise known as the Republican Party. Literally every conversation started and ended with class. Class struggle, class warfare, the working class, the middle class. But in the last quarter of the 20th century, the old fight against economic inequality gave way to the pressures of the market and geopolitics. The Chinese gave up on violent, socialist totalitarianism and embraced a kind of retrofitted capitalism. Then came Thatcher, Reagan, the end of the Cold War, the collapse of Soviet communism, the Indians (who, in 1991, embarked on a Reagan-like unwinding of the old Five-Year Plans), the internet, globalization, Bill Clinton, and the narrowing of our ideological differences. In just a few decades, traditional left-wing politics seemed to have lost its reason for being. There was a void, and a need for a new organizing principle to try to make sense of the world. Into the void seeped the new, soft-boiled thinking about race and gender, which had been fomenting, mostly on campus, for the past two decades. Identity soon acquired a new status among liberals, who now called themselves progressives. It comported with our shifting demographics, and it gave the Democratic leadership, which could no longer talk about soaking the rich, something to talk about. Over the past two decades, this obsession with identity has intensified and spread. Progressives are now incapable of talking about anything important without mentioning human beings’ immutable traits.Any politics of identity was bad for the Jew. On the right, the identiarians said that the Jew lacked whiteness — it was a new version of the old Nazi claim about our impurity. On the left, the Jew was said to have too much. In 2021, we are well-aware of the white-nationalist inanities. We have memorized the horrific footage from Charlottesville. We remember every Jew murdered in Pittsburgh and in Poway.But their chants of “Jews Will Not Replace Us” are now being joined by the identitarians of the left, who wield vastly more capital and power, in government, in the media, in the universities, in Hollywood, and in Silicon Valley. (It’s curious that Rep. Rashida Tlaib has accused Israel of “forced population replacement.”) Together, they form a bleating chorus of grievances. Somehow their roster of The Hurt never includes the Jew.The betrayal of the Jew has been building. It started with an unexpected moral relativism (one recalls Howard Dean, on the presidential campaign trail in 2003, saying it was not America’s place to take sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict). Then there were the apologetic Jews, the Jews who felt, as so many Jews have felt across the centuries, that they must have done something wrong, the self-haters, the internalizers, who fashioned themselves into perfect fig leaves. This escalated into a low-simmering hostility (with Joseph Lieberman, the one-time vice-presidential nominee, slowly exiting his party), and the coolness of Barack Obama, and his insistence on an Iranian nuclear deal that seemed to excite American progressives more than any Israeli (or Saudi or Emirati) general. Then there were the activists. All of them seemed to have a — what’s the word? — problematic relationship with the Jewish community. It wasn’t just an incident or untoward comment. It seemed characterological. The Women’s March was helmed by a Louis Farrakhan acolyte who was not shunned, but put in the pages of Vogue and now stars in an ad for CadillacBlack Lives Matter was birthed by a fake Marxist who apparently enjoys when her book is compared to Mao’s, and whose original charter accused Israel of “genocide” and “apartheid.”The progressives will respond that there is nothing antisemitic about criticizing Israeli policy. They are right! All governments should be scrutinized. But criticism of Israeli policy is often just criticism of Israel’s existence. We know this because the criticized policies almost always involve Israel being able to defend itself against hostile neighbors (being able to exist); and because there is an obsession with Israel that distinguishes it from any other country or foreign-policy issue. Countless Muslims have suffered at the hands of the Chinese, Indians and Russians — to say nothing of the Assad regime having incinerated as many as 600,000 Syrians, the nearly 500,000 Palestinians confined to refugee camps in Lebanon, or the indentured servants, including many Palestinians, in the nearby Gulf. This is not whataboutism. It is perspective. Progressives will insist that we have progressed, as it were, beyond antisemitism. We don’t live in that world anymore. Don’t be paranoid! The violence in the streets doesn’t represent the movement! Note that the same people who insist that America hasn’t made one iota of progress on race — that we have so much work to do — also insist that we have resolved with the Jewish problem that goes back to Jesus. Sure. Elected Democrats, for a while, mostly held it together. They used to call the Jew hate what it was. Recall, for example, Senator Chuck Schumer, just two years ago, comparing Rep. Ilhan Omar’s remarks about Israel to Donald Trump’s comments about neo-Nazis. That was when Democrats embraced Israel’s right to defend itself, and condemned the loss of Palestinian life, but didn’t hesitate to note that it was Palestinians compounding Palestinian misery: a corrupt regime in Ramallah and an even more corrupt and violent and unimaginably inhumane regime in Gaza that was controlled by a terrorist organization backed by Iran.But over the past few years, progressives have slowly — and then not so slowly — abandoned those positions. They have succumbed, like so many on the right, to their partisan manias. Trump was “for” Israel; they had to be “against” it. They have stumbled into the bottomless rage of the identitarian left. They have embraced the new racial-gender taxonomy, which reimagines thousands of years of Jewish history into a wokified diorama. Today, the conflict can only be seen through this flattening prism, with Israel playing the role of the white, colonial settler and the Palestinian that of the settler’s dark-skinned, indigenous victim. All this cartoonishness has led progressives to erase the “lived experience,” as one is now trained to say, of the nearly one million Arab Jews who did not migrate to the Middle East but were expelled from their homes, in 1948, the year of Israeli independence, by Arab regimes. They have also ignored the pivotal role that was played, for two decades, by Egypt, which occupied Gaza, and by Jordan, which occupied the West Bank — a two-pronged occupation that presaged the broader Arab community’s attitude toward the Palestinians, whom they treated as fodder. The Palestinians, in the eyes of most other Arabs, were not a people but bodies they were happy to sacrifice to achieve what their armies could not in the Six-Day War of 1967 and the Yom Kippur War of 1973. That was the moral of the Arab military humiliation: Conventional armies could not defeat Israel, but maybe a protest movement pushing up against Israel’s borders — abetted by an adoring press corps, aid groups, repurposed Soviet propaganda and lots of E.U. cash — could. It was a brilliant segue.Now we are confronted with the spectacle of members of Congress droning on on the House floor about how the Israeli army is somehow guilty of systemic racism and superimposing complicated ideas concocted by a French philosopher they’ve never read onto a conflict they barely comprehend.They are an embarrassment and a disgrace and they are enabled by the cowards in their own party who are reluctant to criticize them for fear of being called racist or, God forbid, being primaried. That is not the worst that can be said. The worst that can be said is that, by squeezing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into the Procrustean Bed of left-wing identitarianism, the new progressives have alienated the Jew, who, for the most part, remains attached to the Jewish State, from the American body politic. By transforming the Jewish State into a force for evil, they have forced the Jew to defend that attachment. They have created a space separating the Jew from America, and, in that space, they have legitimized violence against the Jew for defending the indefensible: “apartheid,” “colonialism,” “white supremacy,” “ethnic cleansing,” “genocide.”It is the Jewish youngs who are most vulnerable to the new idiocy. It is in their classrooms, on their screens. They find themselves in a sad lacuna. They have been steeped in Jewishness at home. But, on campus, on Zoom, on TikTok, on YouTube, on Instagram, they are pummeled by a ceaseless and acrimonious anti-Zionism.They respond predictably. Only 48 percent of American Jews under 30, in a recent Pew Research Study, feel close to the Jewish State (but 82 percent of Jews overall do). They prefer not to be affiliated with it. They say that Israel doesn’t represent them, that it doesn’t embody their version of Judaism, that it doesn’t align with their brand. They talk endlessly about Palestinian narratives and the need for the white settler to check his privilege, and they seem to forget that they are the most privileged Jews ever to walk the face of the Earth and that turning away from Israel is nothing more than exercising that privilege, flaunting their great fortune. One suspects their contemporaries raised in more antisemitic climates do not share their antipathy. The Jewish olds will reassure you that the sclerotic Democratic leadership — the 81-year-old Speaker of the House, the 70-year-old Senate Majority Leader and the 78-year-old president of the United States — are keeping the crazy in check. They are mistaken. This is not about who outmaneuvers whom in Congress, or the midterms, or the presidential primary. It is not about whipping votes or moving legislation. It is about the sea change that has engulfed us and that has exposed this most meaningless of distinctions without a difference: anti-Zionism and antisemitism.


The olds won’t be here forever. What will come next? For the 75% of Jews who vote Democrat, they will, presumably, continue to believe the right is unpalatable. That the G.O.P.’s lunatics are not tunneling their way into the party leadership, like they are on the left, but have already wrested control. Yes, the Abraham Accords are a great achievement, but what does policy matter when we can’t agree on who won an election? When members of Congress are comparing mask mandates to the Holocaust? Are there any other options?Right now, there is a single freshman congressman from the Bronx trying to hold back the tidal wave of insanity. Soon enough, Ritchie Torres’ colleagues will declare that anyone who is not adequately anti-Zionist is a white supremacist or else ok with white supremacy. Jews who refuse to disavow their Judaism and their Zionism will be discouraged from leadership positions or running for office. Their money will be welcome at closed-door meet n’ greets on Park Avenue or in the Palisades. Bagels, lox, a few Yiddishisms sprinkled into the conversation to make everyone feel tolerant, but please, no talk of that godawful abomination of a Nazi desert.Most of us will delude ourselves, Sarah Silverman-style.We’re good Jews. We’re not Israelis. I love Shabbat! I just don’t like Israel. We will wrap ourselves in our hypocrisy and self-loathing and fear. We will try to wish it away. We will post the right things, about defunding the police or hate having no home here or whatever. We will genuflect. We will pretend that we are not alone, like the Jewish State. That will be the only way to navigate our alienation. To lie and lie and lie to the world and, most importantly, to ourselves.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Obama’s New Muslim Podcast: Allah’s ‘Throwing Shade at Jews and Christians’

Obama’s gotta do something with his time besides serving as the façade for a bunch of white socialists looking to wreck America. Besides that job only pays in the low six figures, so he’s got contracts with Netflix and Spotify through his own production company.

The Obama podcasting game includes talking about how racist the country is to fellow working-class millionaire hero Bruce Springsteen, and this Muslim podcast.

Barack and Michelle Obama have their Ramadan plans ready.

The couple, who have spent the years since Barack’s US presidency came to an end focusing on developing multi-platform media projects, announced a new season of their Higher Ground podcast called Tell Them, I Am, which will feature a collection of narratives from Muslim voices.

No, Obama’s not actually in it.

Produced by the Obamas, the pod will be hosted by Misha Euceph, a first-gen Pakistan-American and exclusively available on the platform, launching on the first day of Ramadan.

Euceph also appears to have hosted a Koran book club on Instagram. Here’s the description of one episode.

God is still throwing shade at the Jews and Christians this episode of #quranbookclub

Meanwhile, social media is purging conservatives. But this sort of thing can help you get a podcast produced by Barry.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.

Gaza: Internal Hamas government memo calls for ‘activities to reduce interaction with Christmas’

Once again, anger and fear resurface among Christians living in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, who also are preparing to celebrate Christmas amidst the restrictions due to the Covid19 pandemic.

However, their concerns are not because of the spread of coronavirus, but rather because of a letter (which was made public on social media and other Palestinian websites) that was sent to the government of Hamas in Gaza regarding the upcoming celebrations of Christmas.

The letter, entitled “Activities to reduce interaction with Christmas during the next two weeks,” was sent by the Director-General of the General Administration of Preaching and Counseling of the Palestinian Endowment Ministry in Gaza.

In what appeared to be an official correspondence between Palestinian officials, the letter discussed the steps taken during “an emergency meeting” that was held in Gaza on December 15. It included the issuance of “awareness and guidance” that needed to be implemented by 10 departments within the Islamic Waqf ministry.

The main goal behind this campaign would include “issuing fatwas [to prohibit Muslims from participating in Christmas], releasing videos, and requesting some preachers” to talk about the great sins of celebrating their holidays with the Christians.

It is worth noting that the number of Christians still living in Gaza may not reach 1000, while the Orthodox and Catholic churches continue to provide parish services to the remaining families, in addition to two schools whose students are mostly Muslims.

After Hamas gained full control of the Strip, the Baptist Church in Gaza, which had operated since 1950, was soon almost shattered. In October 2007, Rami Ayyad, one of its active members in Gaza, who managed its Christian bookstore there, was kidnapped, tortured, and then killed.

After Ayyad’s assassination, seven church leaders left for the West Bank, while Hanna Massad, the church’s pastor, moved to Jordan with his family.

Since Hamas installed Shari’ah law in Gaza, which fomented further threats against the remaining Christians from Islamic extremists, Christians in general feared gathering in groups. They no longer wear crosses, while women dare not move around freely by themselves or be unveiled.

Hamas has always prohibited the Christians from holding public celebrations during Christmas and New Year, ever since its usurpation of power in 2007. This time, it intends to socially isolate them as well.

In the West Bank, the situation of the Christians may seem relatively better, but the fear of Islamic jihad remains a ghost haunting them.

The number of Christians in Bethlehem, which is under the control of the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas, is rapidly dwindling. Christians today make up merely 15% of what was once known as a Christian-majority town. The violent military actions taken by Fatah militants wreaked havoc on the traditional birthplace of Jesus Christ after the outbreak of the so-called Al-Aqsa Intifada in 2000.

Palestinian Christians singing Christmas carol near the Church of the Nativity

A few years ago, a visa clerk at the US consulate disclosed to this writer that Palestinian Christians who met the US tourist visa requirements often decided to overstay their visit to the United States, and eventually applied for political asylum because of fear of growing Islamic jihad activity within the Palestinian society. Those applicants share with the USCIS in secrecy their valid stories of persecution at the hands of “their Muslim brethren.”

On the other side of the country, Christians inside Israel tell a completely different story. They increasingly are incorporated in all walks of life, and their numbers are growing. It is worth noting that their academic achievements rival those of the majority Jewish population.

The head of the Israeli Christian Aramaic Association recently posted on his Facebook page an appeal to the Likud, the main party of the current Israeli government. “We call upon the Likud party which is the [ Israeli] government to open up for appointing Christians and to work on integrating our Christian community and our youth into the state of Israel. This is the responsibility of the members of the Likud party today.”

The Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic, recited by Shadi Khaloul, head of the Israeli Christian Aramaic Association

In Jordan, where Christians have lived so far in peace and safety and enjoyed opportunities that secured them access to both the public and the private sectors, the picture has begun to change.

Yesterday, The Students’ Union of the College of Sharia at the University of Jordan issued a statement expressing its refusal to erect a Christmas tree and light inside the university courtyard. It added that what the university did is a matter that does not appease God in a country whose religion is Islam.

Muslims, in general, are living in a crisis because the image of Islam has worldwide been shaken. I am not surprised that they seek to defuse their anger in the remaining Christian minorities.” George Abu Kova, a Palestinian Christian who lives in the United States commented on Facebook in reply to Hamas’s letter against Christmas.

Samir Qumsiyeh, a former advisor to the Orthodox and Catholic Patriarchs in Jerusalem, expressed his dismay and anger to the letter in a post on Facebook, saying, “Hamas’s positions are well known. Have you forgotten that Ismail Haniyeh [Hamas Prime Minister] congratulated Erdogan for turning the Hagia Sophia Church into a mosque and thus ignored the feelings of Christians in general and the Christian Palestinians in particular? Then you hear from them that we are one people within all its components.” Unfortunately, our reality is painful and we have no future.

COLUMN BY

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

‘Infidel’: At Last, a Film That Deals Realistically with Islamic Terrorism

It is a staple of the Muslim victimhood industry to complain that Hollywood frequently features Muslim terrorist villains, and seldom depicts Muslims as anything other than terrorists. Reality is just the opposite: can you think of even one major motion picture that featured Islamic terrorists as the villains? In a typical instance, Tom Clancy’s The Sum of All Fears, jihadis were the villains, but when the book was made into a movie, the villains were changed to neo-Nazis. Moviemakers routinely shy away from depicting the grim reality of jihad violence and Sharia oppression of women and others. But not Cyrus Nowrasteh.

Nowrasteh, who gave us the eye-opening and heart-rending 2009 film The Stoning of Soraya M., which focused on an honor killing, has written, directed, and produced the new movie Infidel, starring Jim Caviezel, Claudia Karvan, and Hal Ozsan. Infidel is as startling, on many levels, as it is gripping. Caviezel plays a Christian blogger who is kidnapped by a Hizballah cell (headed up by a cheerfully villainous and thoroughly engaging Ozsan) and taken to Iran.

That this is the storyline is in itself remarkable. Were Infidel the production of virtually any director besides Nowrasteh, Caviezel’s Christian character Doug Rawlins would turn out to be stupid, evil, or both, while Ozsan’s Ramzi, even while being a Hizballah kidnapper, would be depicted as wise, noble, or even heroic. Muslims are victims of Islamophobic, racist, redneck American yahoos — that’s the general Hollywood narrative, played out in innumerable films.

Infidel instead opts to be more realistic, recalling actual events that seldom gain Hollywood’s notice, such as the 1987 kidnapping of journalist Charles Glass by Hizballah in Lebanon. Infidel unflinchingly portrays the gleeful brutality and inhumanity of Rawlins’ captors, as well as his own struggles to maintain his Christian faith amid torture and isolation. Amid all this, the film’s realism is thoroughgoing: once the movie’s perspective was established, it was refreshing to see Caviezel portray Rawlins as alternately angry, afraid, and confused, rather than as a plaster saint, above the fray and singing hymns even as he is being beaten and verbally abused.

Nor is that all. Besides being one of the few feature films to portray the reality of jihad terror in a realistic manner, Infidel is also one of the first, if not the first, major motion pictures to depict the pervasive but seldom-noticed reality of secret Christians in majority-Muslim countries, as well as the Sharia death penalty for leaving Islam, honor killings, and even the “Islamophobia” scam. Early in the movie, before Rawlins has left the U.S. and been kidnapped, investigators are searching the home of Javid, a Muslim friend of Rawlins. They find that Javid’s basement is filled with unmistakable evidence that he is a jihad terrorist, or at very least a terrorist sympathizer.  All the while, however, a lawyer does her best to impede the search, proclaiming that it is “Islamophobia” to think that anything is amiss with Javid at all.

That is a recurring reality of life in America today: for years now it has been routine that any honest examination of jihad terror and Sharia oppression, and any effort to impede it, is “Islamophobic” and hence to be eschewed by all decent people. Up to now, the closest movies got to this phenomenon was their producers’ own fear of being tarred with the “Islamophobic” label if they got too close to depicting jihad violence in an accurate manner, or at very least without some kind of assurance to the audience that Islam is really not like that, but gentle, peaceful, and altogether benign. For a film to show how the “Islamophobia” weapon is actually wielded in order to stymie counterterror efforts is nothing short of astonishing.

But Infidel is much more than the sum of the topics that are usually ignored or obfuscated, and that it dares to depict. Infidel is, above all, a terrific story, well-acted and superbly presented – a story of love, of passion, of hatred, of commitment, of self-sacrifice, and much more. I would have written that they don’t make them like this anymore, but clearly, as long as Cyrus Nowrasteh is writing, directing, and producing movies, they still do.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Harry Potter and the Islamophobic Author

J.K. Rowling, the famed author of the Harry Potter series, has fallen victim to the cancel culture. Laurie Charles, a British writer who equals Rowling neither in accomplishment nor in renown, has accused Rowling of “transphobia” for a book she wrote under a pseudonym in 2014, The Silkworm. The UK’s appalling Daily Mail, noticing that the “transphobic” passage involves a burqa, claims that Rowling “has been accused of playing into both Islamophobic and transphobic prejudices.”

Here is the offending passage. If you can’t spot the “transphobia” and “Islamophobia,” you just aren’t woke enough:

A young woman wearing a hijab was watching them talk from an opposite seat. She had large, sweet, liquidbrown eyes.

‘Assuming somebody really did enter the house on the fourth, I’ve got to say a burqa’s a bloody good way of getting in and out without being recognised. Can you think of another way of totally concealing your face and body that wouldn’t make people challenge you?’

‘And they were carrying a halal takeaway?’

‘Allegedly. Was his last meal halal? Is that why the killer removed the guts?’

‘And this woman—’

‘Could’ve been a man…’ ‘—was seen leaving the house an hour later?’

This enraged Laurie Charles, who took to Twitter to call attention to this passage, about which she fumed: “JK Rowling made her f**ked up attacks against trans people and threatened to sue anyone who called her transphobic because she’d already sent her manuscript off to the publisher and wanted to preempt the inevitable criticism of this.”

And just to make sure everyone knew the depth of her moral indignation, Charles added: “It’s like she’s sipping human blood and viscera from a skull through a curly straw with one hand and typing with the other.”

Charles may have been on the lookout for new evidence of Rowling’s “transphobia,” for she has been in hot water for it before, when she dared to note that using the term “people who menstruate” instead of “women” is absurd. And even that wasn’t the end of Rowling’s villainy, according to the Daily Mail: “The row worsened after her new book Troubled Blood was released on Tuesday, which tells the tale of a man who dresses as a woman to kill his victims – a trope in literature that’s been criticised by activists for perpetuating negative stereotypes about transgender people.”

So now, in the Left’s moral universe, making the common-sense observation that “a burqa’s a bloody good way of getting in and out without being recognized” is somehow prejudicial to men who dress in women’s clothing, and men who like to think they’re really women, and that will just not do. And the burqa! You know what that means. “Not just transphobic but Islamophobic too… I regret ever spending money on Harry Potter,” commented one former Rowling fan on Charles’ tweet.

Another added: “So apparently Rowling is just racist as well. What a surprise, transphobes tend to be obsessive bigots, huh.” And a third: “Ewwwww how does she manage to be racist and transphobic in one paragraph?”

Of course Rowling must be racist, because Rowling is bad, and everything bad is racism, and so there you are. Islam is not a race and women of all races wear burqas and niqabs, but no matter: in Britain and the U.S. today, you’re a racist for imagining someone committing a crime while wearing a burqa. Because that never, ever happens, right?

Well, let’s see. Back in February, a burqa-clad man in New York City stole nearly $1 million in jewelry. In October 2018, France’s most-wanted fugitive evaded police by wearing a burqa. And in Cameroon in July 2015, burqa-wearing Muslims murdered at least twelve people in jihad-martyrdom suicide attacks.

There are many, many other such incidents. In January 2014, the Syrian army arrested a jihadist who was trying to evade capture by dressing as a woman. Four French soldiers in Afghanistan were killed in June 2012 by jihad suicide bombers who were wearing burqas. Two months before that, a man who was accused of participating in the July 7, 2005 jihad bombings in London was caught fleeing in a burqa. In June 2011, a Taliban burqa-brigade attempted a prison break in northwestern Pakistan.

In April 2010 in Pakistan, jihadists dressed in burqas murdered 41 people in double jihad suicide bombings. The year before that, jihad suicide bombers in burqas killed six in Afghanistan.

All that and much more indicates that when J.K. Rowling imagined a criminal escaping by wearing a burqa, she wasn’t engaging in gratuitous “Islamophobia,” much less “transphobia,” but was simply reflecting reality. It is reality, however, that the Left is making war against. They’ll cancel everyone, no matter how famous, no matter how beloved, in order to push us all into accepting their fantasies about the world. Orwell neatly encapsulated this impulse in 1984 when he had Winston Smith’s torturer force him to say, and believe, that two plus two equals five. Now we’re being forced to affirm that again, on pain of being labeled “transphobic,” “Islamophobic,” and “racist.”

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.©

Religious Liberty Coalition Director Reminds Us to ‘Stand Together’ to Protect Religious Rights

Pastor Todd Coconato’s acceptance of the role of Director for the Religious Liberty Coalition (RLC) comes at a time where discrimination against people of faith has intensified. We are proud to be affiliated with the RLC, which works to protect religious freedom at a public policy level and affirms that religious liberty is an “inherent human right.” As government officials and corporations continue to take actions that suppress the rights of pious individuals, a commitment to preserving religious principles has become increasingly more critical.

Lawmakers have been using the coronavirus to restrict the First Amendment right to worship. The state of California has been particularly egregious when it comes to subjecting churches to unfair rulings. The Grace Community Church in Los Angeles cannot hold indoor church services, and the San Francisco County Department of Health will not even allow outdoor worship services if more than 12 people are present.

State and local officials have decided worship attendance is too dangerous, but massive Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests can take place without any excessive restrictions, and bars can have people in them up to 50 percent capacity.

Unfortunately, these attempts to limit religious liberty are not new. Influential corporations like Amazon (1.29) and Apple (1.00) took a clear stance against traditional religious values when they signed an amicus brief that urged the Supreme Court to rule against Jack Philips –  a Christian baker who declined to make a cake for a gay wedding. The backlash Philips faced exposed how corporations often use their platform to enforce a left-wing agenda.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said Christians who disagree with his secular views are pushing “hate,” and they have “no home” on his company’s platform. Ironically, Cook has no problem doing business with the oppressive Iranian regime. Much like the officials limiting church services, behavioral standards are whatever Cook selectively determines them to be, and religious people happen to be an easy target.

We have to stand together to protect our religious liberties. If you or your church are interested in learning more about the Religious Liberty Coalition, please email Todd.Coconato@RLCUS.org

EDITORS NOTE: This 2nd Vote column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

The Decline of Christianity Since the Reformation

David Carlin: The decline of Christianity is found not just in those who claim no Christian faith, but also in those who claim to be liberal Christians.


Modern history (by which I mean the history of the western world since about the year 1500) tells many stories.  I suspect that these many stories are subplots in one big story, and for years I’ve been trying to guess what this one big story may be.  My guess (but it’s only a guess) is that the one big story is the story of how the western world has been trying to get rid of Christianity.

The story begins with the Protestant Reformation.  None of the reformers intended to do away with Christianity.  Just the opposite.  Regardless of anybody’s intentions, however, a divided Christianity would be easier to destroy than a united Christianity.

This divided Christianity led in the 16th and 17th centuries to the rise of skepticism, especially in France.  But skepticism, while it continues even to the present day to erode Christianity, is too purely negative a thing to replace the old faith.  And a replacement is needed.  You can’t just get rid of Christianity and leave the world with nothing to believe in.

Skepticism was succeeded by a more positive thing in the 18th century, Deism, which professed to hold on to the good elements of Christianity (afterlife, morality, etc.) while getting rid of its bad elements.  But Deism was too “thin” a thing to replace Christianity.  Besides, it stopped well short of the ultimate aim of anti-Christianity, namely the complete eradication of the old religion.

Deism helped bring about the French Revolution, which showed for the first time that a powerful state could be used as a tremendous anti-Christianity machine.

In the second half of the 19th century, there was a great intellectual movement on behalf of agnosticism.  But agnosticism was simply another name for the old skepticism, still too negative a thing to get the anti-Christianity job done.

In the 20th century, two gigantic anti-Christianity movements took the stage, and each of them came to control an enormously powerful state: Nazism and Communism.  The former intended to get rid of Christianity while thinly disguising its intention; it deceived many Christians who wanted to be deceived.  The latter didn’t stoop to disguise; it was quite frank about its intention.  Both of them did great damage to Christianity, and when they failed (Nazism in 1945, Russian Communism in 1991) they left behind them a Christianity that had been greatly weakened.

In the postwar period (1945-present) the western liberal democracies (U.S.A., U.K., France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, the Scandinavian countries, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Ireland, Spain [after Franco], Portugal [after Salazar]) have been subject to a non-statist kind of anti-Christianity.  These countries all experienced, some of them sooner, some of them later, the growth of an anti-Christianity public sentiment.

These countries all experienced the gradual asphyxiation of Christianity by the gradual growth of anti-Christian feelings.  For decades the state played little or no part in this smothering process – though this has changed recently.

This liberal-democratic, anti-Christianity got a tremendous boost beginning in the late 1950s and early 1960s with the coming of the sexual revolution.  This “revolution” was about sex – but it was about much more than sex.  Sexual restraint and even downright chastity had been an essential element of Christianity from its beginning in the first century AD.  Get rid of Christian sex morality, and you’re well on your way to getting rid of Christianity altogether.

Once the average person decides that Christianity has been wrong about fornication, adultery, homosexuality, abortion, etc. for almost 2,000 years, it will be relatively easy for that person to believe that Christianity has also been wrong about many other things – including all the articles of the Nicene Creed.

Many would-be Christians – I have in mind “liberal” Catholics and Protestants – believe it is possible to have a “new and improved” Christianity that embraces and endorses the values of the sexual revolution.  They are mistaken – as certain a priori considerations should have persuaded them decades ago, and as experience has abundantly demonstrated over the last fifty years.

Throughout the western world (the world that used to be called Christendom), including the United States, Christianity is in steep decline today.  Evidence of this decline is found not just in those who claim no Christian faith (the “Nones”).  It is also found in those who claim to be liberal Christians – which means that they have dropped most of Christianity’s orthodox “baggage.”  And it is also found in those who, while claiming to be orthodox, really don’t take their orthodoxy seriously.

Two questions:

  1. Does one have to be an atheist to be anti-Christianity? Strictly speaking, no. For instance, the Deists of the 18th century were anti-Christianity without being atheists.  But if you want to get rid of Christianity, it helps to be an atheist.  A lot, because atheism is the most thoroughgoing kind of anti-Christianity.  If you want to get rid of the old religion, why not go all the way?  Why not destroy the very foundation of Christianity?
  2. Does one have to be a supporter of abortion to be counted among the haters of Christianity? Yes. For the right to abortion – and not just the legal right but the moral right as well – is essential to the sexual revolution.  If we don’t have abortion as a back-up when mistakes are made or accidents happen, how can we have a moral regime of sexual freedom?

Practically speaking, we can’t.  Think about it.  If abortion were to be banned throughout America, the next thing you know we’d have people recommending chastity.  And once people recommend chastity, guess what? – they’ll start recommending Christianity.

Well, we can’t have that, can we?  And therefore we must make sure that abortion is legal and is considered to be morally unobjectionable.  Indeed we must make it a praiseworthy thing – the kind of thing which, like public education and police and fire protection, everybody who needs it should have free of charge.

For what it’s worth, that’s my reading of the last 500 years.

David Carlin

David Carlin is a retired professor of sociology and philosophy at the Community College of Rhode Island, and the author of The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America.

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EDITORS NOTE: This The Catholic Thing column is republished with permission. © 2020 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.org. The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

VIDEO: Why I Painted Over the BLM Mural in NYC.

This new episode of The Glazov Gang features Bevelyn Beatty, a Christian evangelist who is co-Founder of atwellministries.org.

Bevelyn explains Why I Painted Over the BLM Mural in NYC, revealing the war we’re in – and why she’s on the frontlines.

WATCH:

©All rights reserved.

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We’re All on the Frontlines Now

Robert Royal: The BLM-Antifa “uprising” is following the Marxist playbook. To end it, we need to stop its infiltration into schools and media.


A shrewd woman (to whom I happen to be married) recently read me some passages from an old news story about the re-naming of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, given to writers of children’s books: “’This decision was made in consideration of the fact that Wilder’s legacy, as represented by her body of work, includes expressions of stereotypical attitudes inconsistent with ALSC’s core values of inclusiveness, integrity and respect, and responsiveness,’” the Association for Library Service to Children said in a statement after the unanimous vote.”

The town librarian used to be the enforcer of “community standards” by preventing unsuitable material from falling into adolescent – or anyone’s – hands. And even in demanding good behavior, as per “The Music Man”:

For the civilized world accepts as unforgivable sin
Any talking out loud with any librarian
Such as Marian . . . Madam Librarian.

He/she still is an enforcer, but now – despite talk of “inclusiveness, integrity and respect, and responsiveness” – pushes Heather Has Two Mommies, proudly defends “drag-queen” story-hours that would make any normal child run screaming, and polices the literature of past, present, and future (certain books never get published for fear of running afoul of her/him).

People talk a lot about “cultural Marxism” now. I don’t know exactly what to make of the expression because during the Cold War some of us actually studied Marxism and its rigid tenets, which serious Marxists regarded as “scientific.” Marx himself would have looked askance at much of what falls under that rubric today. He had, for example, a rather low view of the non-white races – on the basis of the settled science of his time. Curiously, though there are statues of Marx all over Europe, none have been torn down recently.

For Marx, “scientific” history also predicted that Communism would emerge in the advanced nations, not in relatively backward places like Russia and China, which did not yet have the proper “objective” conditions. The revolution would occur in advanced capitalist nations that would so impoverish the masses that they would rise up in huge numbers and easily displace the exploiters.

Recent protesters are not a fulfillment of this fantasy. The vast majority of the people protesting (and even rioting) are not destitute or exploited. They live well compared to most human beings throughout history, at least materially. There’s a reason why Europe and America have to restrict the vast numbers of people – usually “people of color” from Africa and Latin America – who would like to enter despite alleged racism and prejudice. And everyone with a modicum of sense knows it.

So I get the anti-capitalism of the Marxists who founded the Black Lives Matter Movement; I don’t much get the “cultural Marxism” of BLM, which attacks “systemic” racism and promotes LGBTQ as if it were a natural part of Marxist thought.

I know something, however, about what serious Marxists have thought about “culture.” The most prominent of those figures, Antonio Gramsci, if he were alive today, might run with the pack against orthodox Marxism. But he’s enlightening nonetheless.

Gramsci knew the crucial importance of what he called una cultura capillare – “a capillary culture” that, like the capillaries in the body, would carry the revolution into every nook and cranny of society. He gauged – correctly – that you couldn’t defeat democratic liberty directly. It was just too powerful and entrenched.

Gramsci argued – shrewdly – that what was needed was something like what the Jesuits of the Catholic Counter-Reformation were able to achieve by developing and deploying an educational system that formed people in all the crucial cultural institutions. If Marian the Librarian (and all the main institutions to which she is attached) is Catholic, there’s no need for a frontal assault. The revolution imposes itself as a natural consequence.

Just think of the mental revolutions it took for a library association devoted to promoting children’s books to use words affirming its “core values of inclusiveness, integrity and respect, and responsiveness.” In normal times, those words point to goods to be celebrated and pursued. These are not normal times.

“Inclusiveness” does not mean adding voices that might want to raise legitimate questions about Laura Ingalls Wilder’s perspectives on minorities. It means using the old Marxist tactic of portraying others as “class enemies” and airbrushing them out of the picture. Including requires excluding.

“Respect,” in similar Marxist fashion, means judging who is worthy of respect on puritanical ideological grounds. So “respect” is to be shown to Native Americans and Blacks, who – to be clear – deserve it merely as our fellow human beings, whatever their individual foibles or the shortcoming of their “cultures.” Laura Ingalls Wilder, however, and the culture of her day, don’t get – don’t warrant – the same “respect,” whatever their shortcomings.

Once this process gets going in the library, school (and school board), university, media, HR department, even some churches, we are well on the way to what Gramsci knew would produce a revolution almost impossible to reverse.

Almost, because there’s nothing that stops us from carrying out a counter-revolution like what the Jesuits of another age were able to carry out.

Politics is important in this counterrevolution, to be sure. We are in an election year and TCT will be discussing some of the crucial questions for Catholics – and others – in coming months. (As a non-profit, we can neither support nor oppose candidates as such.) One thing we will constantly maintain, however, is that any candidate who is to be taken seriously must affirm the rule of law and denounce violence, whoever the perpetrator.

Barack Obama, the most prominent black leader in America at present, could have done all Americans a service in recent days by speaking out against riot and looting – even if he may have wished to support protests. It’s on such fundamental public distinctions that our future depends.

But the politics will fail if that’s all we do – if we neglect the day-to-day “capillary” efforts that we each have to make, in whatever place we find ourselves.

We’re all on the frontlines now.

Robert Royal

Dr. Robert Royal is editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing, and president of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, D.C. His most recent book is A Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth Century, published by Ignatius Press. The God That Did Not Fail: How Religion Built and Sustains the West, is now available in paperback from Encounter Books.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Catholic Thing column is republished with permission. © 2020 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.org. The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

VIDEO: Corona Virus – The Muslim Response

This video is brought to you by a Freedom Center-Glazov Gang collaboration on a new exclusive webinar series, Teach-Ins for the Twenty-First Century. Join us as some of the leading thinkers and pundits on the scene today discuss key issues related to the coronavirus pandemic and its ongoing implications, confronting the Left, the jihad terror threat, and much, much more. And make sure to ask your own questions of our experts.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Illinois: Muslim who slashed tires at churches and said ‘I don’t like Christians’ now tries to burn occupied church

“In November 2019, prosecutors said that El Hannouny slashed the tires of 19 cars in the parking lots of the First Baptist and Sts. Helen and Constantine churches. Upon his arrest, he told authorities that he damaged the cars because, “I don’t like Christians,” according to police. Hate crime charges were added in January, and he was released on a $10,000 I-bond with electronic monitoring.”

We see how well that worked. Officials did not and would never dare to address the root causes of El-Hannouny’s hatred, and so he was free to act upon it again. When arrested this time, he didn’t show any sign of remorse: “While El Hannouny was being processed, police said he started spitting at officers, reports said. El Hannouny also wrote a religious slur on the wall of his cell.” Yet he will soon be free again, and will almost certainly target yet another church.

“Man Accused of Trying To Burn Down Occupied Church,” by Lorraine Swanson, Patch, April 16, 2020 (thanks to the Geller Report):

PALOS HILLS, IL — A Palos Hills man already facing hate crime and criminal damage charges is now accused of trying to set fire to an occupied church, reports said. Osama E. El Hannouny, 25, appeared Wednesday before a Cook County judge on charges of arson, hate crimes, criminal damage to property, battery to a police officer and violation of bail bond.

In November 2019, prosecutors said that El Hannouny slashed the tires of 19 cars in the parking lots of the First Baptist and Sts. Helen and Constantine churches. Upon his arrest, he told authorities that he damaged the cars because, “I don’t like Christians,” according to police. Hate crime charges were added in January, and he was released on a $10,000 I-bond with electronic monitoring.

On April 14, police said El Hannouny used leaves to set fire to Sacred Heart Church, 8245 W. 111th St. According to the police report, El Hannouny was caught on video looking through the doors of the church building and noticing that it was occupied. Police said he made numerous trips to pile leaves near the gas main and air conditioning unit. El Hannouny allegedly set the leaves on fire, but firefighters quickly extinguished the flames.

While El Hannouny was being processed, police said he started spitting at officers, reports said. El Hannouny also wrote a religious slur on the wall of his cell, according to the report. El Hannouny allegedly scratched, bit and spit at police when they tried to stop him….

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Notre Dame prof hails Islamic law, asks international law judges to consider “referring to parts of Sharia”

“Notre Dame’s Emilia Justyna Powell, an associate professor of political science and concurrent associate professor of law, an expert in both international law and the Islamic legal tradition, traveled to many Muslim-majority nations to research how the two systems work together in practice.”

Now Powell is on a mission to teach Westerners that Sharia is similar to international law and in some ways superior. For this dubious endeavor she is lavishly featured in the Notre Dame University newspaper. Powell’s canvassing for Sharia has led her to ask “some international court judges” if they “would ever consider referring to parts of the Sharia.”

Powell’s interest in researching Islamic law further is driven, in part, by the bias she sees toward Western law to the point of absolute exclusion of any facets of Islamic law in international law. In fact, some international court judges she interviewed were irritated when she asked if they would ever consider referring to parts of Sharia. “Out of all the religions of the world, we’ve contributed to a large-scale misunderstanding of their legal tradition,” Powell said. “Islamic law and international law share many more similarities than they are given credit for.”

Powell’s skewed view of the Sharia is deceptive, propagandistic and dangerous. There is no comparison between international law (which is democracy-based) and Sharia (which is authoritarian and discriminatory). The violence, human rights abuses and murders committed throughout history in the name of Islam are not an aberration. They are reflections of normative Islam, fully backed by Islamic jurisprudence, which teaches the murder of apostates and gays, the conquest and subjugation of infidels, and the inferiority of women, including the head coverings (Quran 24:31, Quran 33:59) about which Powell fallaciously rambles.  The arrogance displayed by Powell is also an affront to Muslim dissidents who face (and experience) imprisonment (and worse) for opposing the human rights abuses sanctioned by Islamic law. Powell’s potential influence on the young minds who must listen to her propaganda in the classroom is concerning. And she is not unique; in fact, in many colleges and universities today, she is the norm.

“Islamic law and international law share many similarities, Notre Dame Professor says,” by Colleen Sharkey, Notre Dame News, April 8, 2020:

The very term Sharia conjures negative images in the minds of many Westerners, in part due to its association with extremist groups. However, an in-depth look at Islamic law, as practiced in the vast majority of Muslim-majority countries, reveals that it is interpreted in different ways depending on the country, its culture and the very people conducting the interpretation.

Notre Dame’s Emilia Justyna Powell, an associate professor of political science and concurrent associate professor of law, an expert in both international law and the Islamic legal tradition, traveled to many Muslim-majority nations to research how the two systems work together in practice. Her findings were published earlier this year in the volume Islamic Law and International Law: Peaceful Resolution of Disputes.

Powell uses the differences in how women dress in various Muslim-majority countries as an analogy for the various interpretations of Sharia.

“A perfect visualization is women’s head coverings. The Taliban encourages women to cover top to bottom, not even showing the eyes. In Saudi Arabia, sometimes eyes are visible but not much else,” she said. “I was recently in Bahrain where I witnessed a new trend: Women are unzipping their abayas and you can see Western-influenced clothing underneath like jeans, ruffles and lace. Many women don’t wear the hijab scarf there and some only wear it halfway on. But who’s to say which is correct? Bahrain is no less Islamic than Saudi Arabia, for example, just different. People in all Muslim-majority countries interpret and, thus, practice the Muslim faith differently.”

International law itself is based on a broad set of norms agreed upon by people from many different nations and cultures. It is also heavily based on Western law which, itself, has deep roots in Christianity — a religion that originated at a time when Roman law was already well established. “Islam, on the other hand, had no a priori legal system to work with other than unwritten tribal customs,” Powell writes. And, while international law has moved to a more secular model, Islamic law remains based in the writings of the Quran and the sunna as well as ijma (judicial consensus) and qiyas (analogical reasoning).

“However, disconcerting the dissonance between the Islamic legal tradition and international law may appear, there are more similarities between these two legal systems than the policy world and the scholarship take into account,” she writes.

By its broad nature, international law allows for interpretation based on norms in individual countries. And many Muslim-majority states have their own declaration of human rights, she notes.

“Sometimes international law promotes the peaceful resolution of disputes, but does not give specific rules or cite specific laws for how to do so. Countries can mediate, peacefully, via negotiation in compliance with international law. Sometimes Muslim-majority countries will also sign international treaties but place restrictions on them — what are technically called ‘reservations.’”

For example, some Muslim-majority countries use reservations to remove “freedom of religion” clauses, because their religion is inextricably part of their culture, with the assumption (often part of the country’s own understanding of human rights) that many of their citizens are all Muslim. In this way, Powell says, they are complying with some international norms but allowing for their identity to remain intact.

Powell also examines how Muslim-majority nations in different geographical areas use Sharia and work within the international law framework. In general, Powell finds that if an ILS (Islamic Law State) country has a secular court system and their constitution mentions peaceful resolutions of disputes, they possess a more favorable attitude toward international courts.

“The Islamic milieu is not a monolith. In each of the ILS, secular law and Islamic law coalesce to create a unique legal framework. Every one of the ILS is different in how it negotiates the relationship between these two legal forces — the religious and the secular — along with their respective differences in socio-demographic and political characteristics. Historically, every one of the ILS has worked out its own unique answers to the question of the balance of Islamic law and secular law,” she writes.

The examples Powell gathered through interviews shed light on the cultural and religious lenses through which many Muslims view courts….

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

VIDEO: Pope embraces imam who has endorsed jihad suicide attacks against Jews and wants converts to Christianity killed

Pope Francis and the Grand Sheikh of al-Azhar, Ahmed el-Tayeb, early this year published “A Document On Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together,” and it’s as filled with falsehoods and wishful thinking as one would expect coming from a practiced deceiver such as el-Tayeb and someone so eager to be deceived as Pope Francis. Here’s one:

Terrorism is deplorable and threatens the security of people, be they in the East or the West, the North or the South, and disseminates panic, terror and pessimism, but this is not due to religion, even when terrorists instrumentalize it. It is due, rather, to an accumulation of incorrect interpretations of religious texts and to policies linked to hunger, poverty, injustice, oppression and pride. This is why it is so necessary to stop supporting terrorist movements fuelled by financing, the provision of weapons and strategy, and by attempts to justify these movements even using the media. All these must be regarded as international crimes that threaten security and world peace. Such terrorism must be condemned in all its forms and expressions…

Terrorism is due to “an accumulation of incorrect interpretations of religious texts and to policies linked to hunger, poverty, injustice, oppression and pride.”

So are the authoritative sources in Sunni Islam, the schools of Sunni jurisprudence (madhahib), all incorrect in their interpretations of the Qur’an and Sunnah? Here is what they say about jihad warfare against non-Muslims:

Shafi’i school: A Shafi’i manual of Islamic law that was certified in 1991 by the clerics at Al-Azhar University, one of the leading authorities in the Islamic world, as a reliable guide to Sunni orthodoxy, stipulates about jihad that “the caliph makes war upon Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians…until they become Muslim or pay the non-Muslim poll tax.” It adds a comment by Sheikh Nuh Ali Salman, a Jordanian expert on Islamic jurisprudence: the caliph wages this war only “provided that he has first invited [Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians] to enter Islam in faith and practice, and if they will not, then invited them to enter the social order of Islam by paying the non-Muslim poll tax (jizya)…while remaining in their ancestral religions.” (‘Umdat al-Salik, o9.8).

Of course, there is no caliph today, and hence the oft-repeated claim that Osama et al are waging jihad illegitimately, as no state authority has authorized their jihad. But they explain their actions in terms of defensive jihad, which needs no state authority to call it, and becomes “obligatory for everyone” (‘Umdat al-Salik, o9.3) if a Muslim land is attacked. The end of the defensive jihad, however, is not peaceful coexistence with non-Muslims as equals: ‘Umdat al-Salik specifies that the warfare against non-Muslims must continue until “the final descent of Jesus.” After that, “nothing but Islam will be accepted from them, for taking the poll tax is only effective until Jesus’ descent” (o9.8).

Hanafi school: A Hanafi manual of Islamic law repeats the same injunctions. It insists that people must be called to embrace Islam before being fought, “because the Prophet so instructed his commanders, directing them to call the infidels to the faith.” It emphasizes that jihad must not be waged for economic gain, but solely for religious reasons: from the call to Islam “the people will hence perceive that they are attacked for the sake of religion, and not for the sake of taking their property, or making slaves of their children, and on this consideration it is possible that they may be induced to agree to the call, in order to save themselves from the troubles of war.”

However, “if the infidels, upon receiving the call, neither consent to it nor agree to pay capitation tax [jizya], it is then incumbent on the Muslims to call upon God for assistance, and to make war upon them, because God is the assistant of those who serve Him, and the destroyer of His enemies, the infidels, and it is necessary to implore His aid upon every occasion; the Prophet, moreover, commands us so to do.” (Al-Hidayah, II.140)

Maliki school: Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406), a pioneering historian and philosopher, was also a Maliki legal theorist. In his renowned Muqaddimah, the first work of historical theory, he notes that “in the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and (the obligation to) convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force.” In Islam, the person in charge of religious affairs is concerned with “power politics,” because Islam is “under obligation to gain power over other nations.”

Hanbali school: The great medieval theorist of what is commonly known today as radical or fundamentalist Islam, Ibn Taymiyya (Taqi al-Din Ahmad Ibn Taymiyya, 1263-1328), was a Hanbali jurist. He directed that “since lawful warfare is essentially jihad and since its aim is that the religion is God’s entirely and God’s word is uppermost, therefore according to all Muslims, those who stand in the way of this aim must be fought.”

“Leave them; they are blind guides. And if a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:14)

“Pope Embraces Anti-Semitic Imam Who Wants Christian Converts Killed,” by Jules Gomes, Church Militant, November 18, 2019:

Hours before Pope Francis called for the abolition of capital punishment on Friday, he warmly embraced Grand Imam Al-Tayeb, who has expressed his desire that Muslims who convert to Christianity should be executed.

The world’s best-known Muslim leader has also called homosexuality a disease, dismissed the idea of human rights as “ticking time-bombs” and has endorsed suicide attacks against Jewish men, women and children.

Earlier that day in the pontiff’s address to the International Association of Penal Law, Pope Francis compared the rhetoric of conservative politicians who oppose the homosexual agenda to speeches made by Adolf Hitler.

“These are actions that are typical of Nazism, that with its persecution of Jews, gypsies, people with homosexual orientation, represent an excellent model of the throwaway culture and culture of hatred,” he said.

When speaking to al-Tayeb, however, the Holy Father discussed the objectives in the document “Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together,” which he co-signed with the Grand Imam in February.

The two religious leaders engaged in “cordial discussions,” according to the Vatican, talking about the protection of minors in the digital world and goals achieved since Pope Francis’ recent visit to the United Arab Emirates.

In 2016, Al-Tayeb called for “unrepentant apostates” from Islam to be killed. “The four schools of law all concur that apostasy is a crime, that an apostate should be asked to repent, and that if he does not, he should be killed,” he said in an interview in Arabic on television, explaining:

There are two verses in the Quran that clearly mention apostasy, but they did not define a specific punishment. They left the punishment for the Hereafter, for Allah to punish them as He sees fit. But there are two hadiths [on apostasy]. According to the more reliable of the two, a Muslim can only be killed in one of three cases, one of which is abandoning his religion and leaving the community.

Sheikh Al-Tayeb continued:

We must examine these two expressions: “Abandoning religion” is described as “leaving the community.” All the early jurisprudents understood that this applies to someone who leaves his religion, regardless of whether he left and opposed his community or not. All the early jurisprudents said that such a person should be killed, regardless of whether it is a man or a woman — with the exception of the Hanafi School, which says that a female apostate should not be killed.

Asked about the exception for the female apostate, the Muslim theologian responded: “Because it is inconceivable that a woman would rebel against her community.”

The global leader of Sunni Islam, which constitutes the majority of the world’s Muslim population, also dismissed the concept of human rights as “full of ticking time-bombs” and insisted that “the [Islamic and Western] civilizations are different.”

“Our civilization is based on religion and moral values, whereas their [Western] civilization is based more on personal liberties and some moral values,” he told his interviewer.

The Grand Imam’s most severe condemnation was reserved for homosexuality: “My opinion was — and I said this [in the West] — that no Muslim society could ever consider sexual liberty, homosexuality and so on to be a personal right. Muslim societies consider these things to be diseases, which must be fought and treated.”…

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.