This is the strongest statement I can remember from President Obama.
I published a post a few minutes ago asking the question if the Muslim leaders who had condemned the genocide in Iraq were coming from just one side of the Sunni/Shia hostilities
My colleague, Hind Makki, of the Patheos Muslim Channel, answered me with a “no.” She also supplied details as to why I was wrong in my thinking,
I updated my original post with her reply. But this is important enough that I want to also do it in a separate post. I’m more than glad that both sides of this internal Muslim conflict have spoken out against the genocide. That gives me hope for all of us.
The other question, about whether or not some members of the Iraqi military helped ISIS gain control of American armaments, remains. If there is information on that, please share it.
As for the first question, this is one time I’m uber glad to be wrong.
Here’s Hind Makki’s reply:
Dear Rebecca Hamilton, the denunciations against ISIS have been given by
both Sunni and Shia leadership and lay people. Looking at piece you
wrote yesterday, I would like to share some information with you. I hope
you will update your piece reflecting this information: Ayatollah
Sistani – Shia. Indonesian Ulema Council – comprises all Muslim groups
in Indonesia, Sunni, Shia and everything else. Grand Mufti Shawqi Allam -
Sunni. Lebanese Muslim Association – Sunni. International Union of
Muslim Scholars – comprises all Muslim groups in the world and one of
it’s missions is to counter sectarianism. Yusuf Qaradawi – Sunni.
Organization of Islamic Cooperation – non-religious political group of
all countries with large Muslim populations. Iyad Ameen Madani – Sunni.
Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate – Sunni. Where did you get the
information that they are all Shia?
These videos are hard to watch. But we need to know.
We also need to think.
If you are like me, watching these will enrage you. That’s an ok place to start. But we need to get past that and think.
America is part of this, has been part of it ever since 9/11.
We need to get real about what’s happening. The American people are so misinformed and propagandized these days that they have trouble assessing things.
I deal with the public a lot and have for many years. I have witnessed an appalling loss of thinking ability in the public at large. People talk in circles, recite slogans as if they were facts, and follow this or that demagogue with a blind allegiance that is scary to behold.
We need to think, and by that, I mean think for ourselves with all our rational wits.
But first, we need to know. These videos are not thoughtful, exhaustive or balanced. But they portray a hard reality that we’ve got to know.
Only after we know will we be able to begin the process of working out whither we are tending.
If ever there was a needful thing, this is it.
The bishops of Oriental Churches are calling Muslim religious leaders to issue Fatwas banning attacks against Christians. A few incredibly brave Muslims have taken steps on their own. More than 200 people, many of them Muslims, gathered in July in front of a church in Baghdad, carrying signs that said, “I am Iraqi, I am Christian.”
“A group of citizens … they were Muslims … carrying slogans saying “I am Iraqi, I am Christian,” said Father Maysar Bahnam of Mar Korkis of Catholic Church. “They prayed in solidarity with us, saying that we are people from this land.”
Now, the Oriental Bishops are asking Muslim religious leaders to do the right thing and use their authority to help end what has become a genocide.
I do not know what the response will be. There may not be any response at all. But it is important to issue this call. This is an opportunity for Islam to demonstrate that there is more to it than the face we see on the news every night.
It is not enough for politically-correct Westerners to insist that Islam is a faith of peace and beauty. Muslims themselves — in particular Muslim religious leaders — need to demonstrate this by their actions and teachings.
The bishops of Oriental Churches on Thursday demanded Muslim religious authorities to issue fatwas banning attacks against Christians and “other innocents” in the East, urging also parties financing terrorist organizations “to immediately stop arming” these extremist groups.
“We call on Muslim religious authorities, Sunnis and Shiites, to issue fatwas banning attacks against Christians and other innocents,” Beirut Maronite Bishop Boulos Matar said after a congregation of the bishops of Oriental Churches at Diman, Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi’s summer seat.
In a related story: Austrian Muslims Hold Protest March Against Christian Persecution in Iraq
SUNA, Sudan’s official news agency, says that the Court of Cassation in Khartoum has canceled the death sentence against Meriam Ibrahim. The court has also ordered her release.
Miss Ibrahim, who has a Muslim father, was raised by her Christian mother. She was convicted of apostasy for marrying a Christian and given a death sentence. She was 8 months pregnant at the time.
For more details, go to Fox News.
Pope Francis does it his way.
In a complete departure from previous papal trips abroad, he is bringing two friends of other faiths along with him on his upcoming trip to the Holy Land.
Pope Francis’ longtime friends, Rabbi Abraham Skorka and Omar Abboud, a leader in Argentina’s Islamic community, will accompany him on his journey to the Holy Land later this week.
The Vatican spokesman called this a “novelty.” I think of it as a symbol of what this land of many faiths could, and hopefully one day will, be.
From The New York Daily News:
VATICAN CITY – A rabbi and a Muslim leader will join Pope Francis on his upcoming trip to the Holy Land, the first time an official papal delegation has included members of other faiths, the Vatican said Thursday.
Francis’ two longtime friends and collaborators from his days as archbishop of Buenos Aires, Rabbi Abraham Skorka and Omar Abboud, a leader of Argentina’s Islamic community, are on the official delegation for the May 24-26 trip to Jordan, the West Bank and Israel.
The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said their presence on the delegation was an “absolute novelty” desired by Francis to show the “normality” of having friends of other faiths.
Skorka and then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio together wrote “On Heaven and Earth,” which explores Jewish and Catholic perspectives on a host of issues. Abboud, meanwhile, was Bergoglio’s main Muslim interlocutor in Buenos Aires and recently participated in an Argentine interfaith pilgrimage tracing the key stops of Francis’ upcoming tour.
The Washington Post published an opinion piece by Reza Aslan, the Muslim writer-about-Jesus.
I’m not going to go into the this-guy-is-not-a-Christian-he’s-a-Muslim stuff because I don’t think it really matters. You can find the same garbage he writes in this opinion piece on the Discovery Channel, National Geographic and other places all over television every Christmas/Easter.
These are the same lies that are trotted out by Christian bashers all over the internet. You can find them repetitively blah-blahed any day of the week at certain portals right here on Patheos. There are also the hyper modernist Christians, such as the Jesus Seminar, who put this stuff out there, feeding the attacks against Our Lord from within.
Mr Aslan lines up the same old bogus arguments in a list of five, labeling them the “Five Myths about Jesus.” These “myths” are, for those who don’t want to click on the thing: Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Jesus was an only child (Mary is ever virgin), Jesus had 12 disciples, Jesus had a trial before Pontius Pilate, Jesus was buried in a tomb. Each of these is a myth, according to Mr Aslan.
His reasons for these opinions of his are as flabby and obvious as his motive: He’s not a Christian and he wants to tear down Christianity.
The really great thing in all this is that it points out quite eloquently the fact that Christianity is different by far from other religions, specifically Mr Aslan’s faith. Can you imagine if Mr Aslan had written a similar opinion piece about Islam? What if he had decided to debunk the Prophet Muhammad?
The question here wouldn’t be whether or not those “intolerant” Muslims decided to criticize Mr Aslan’s objectivity or say that he was wrong in his assertions. Rather, the question would be where Mr Aslan would hide to keep from being killed.
Christians have been roundly criticized for criticizing this Christ basher. They have been called bigots for pointing out that, as a Muslim, Mr Aslan just might have an agenda in his “scholarship.” They have, as usual, been labeled bigots and intolerant extremists for standing up for their faith.
On the question of the inevitable calls for death and beheading of anyone who dares to say even one criticism of the Prophet Muhammad, there is a “tolerant,” oozy silence.
But the facts are the facts. Christianity is radically different from any other faith on this planet. There is no other empty tomb. Every good thing we believe today about the value of the individual human being and the individual human life has its foundation in the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.
The fact that the Church is under such attack in the Western world today is a direct consequence of this one thing: Christianity teaches that every human being is made in the image and likeness of God and that there are certain moral requirements and consequences attendant to that fact.
We may not kill with impunity. This teaching raises the ire of those who wish to kill through eugenics, euthanasia, abortion, embryonic stem cell research.
We may not degrade other human beings. This teaching raises the ire of those who wish to degrade through pornography, prostitution, egg harvesting, surrogate pregnancy.
We must use our sexuality as a mutual, life-giving gift between a man and a woman united in the sacramental covenant of Holy Matrimony. This teaching raises the ire of everyone who wants to live outside this boundary.
These things, and not the veracity of the Gospels, are the source of the popularity of the attacks on Jesus.
Mr Aslan is just riding the wave of anger against anyone who tells our nihilistic, narcissistic culture that there are moral limits on what they may do. They are using him with their phonied up “tolerance” to attack what ails them, which is anyone who says their sins are sin. He is using them to attack a faith other than his own in the name of a phonied up scholarship.
This is standard stuff for us Christians. We have to put up with being attacked, defamed and now, blatantly discriminated against as part of our faith.
But we know something that these people refuse to believe: Jesus Christ is the Lord of Life, and those who persist in following Him to the end will live forever.
For a different take on this same article, check out Joanne McPortland.
The video below is difficult to watch, but then the reality of what is happening to Christians in Egypt and elsewhere is far more difficult.
The practice of kidnapping Christian girls, raping them and forcing them to “convert” to Islam appears to be widespread throughout the Middle East. There’s not much to say about men who do cowardly things like this to women and young girls except that their “manhood” isn’t all that manly.
One of the more disgusting things about this is the silence from feminists. Where is the outrage about this outrage?
On a side note, I repeat Ravi Zacharias’ reaction when he heard Dr. Richard Dawkins’ incitement of his followers concerning people of faith to “mock them; ridicule them; in public; with contempt.” Dr Dawkins and his crowd should book flights to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, etc, and try this there.
They could also do similar experiments with the Hindus of India. I’ve got videos of what can happen. Or, they might try ridiculing the faux religion of statism that is practiced in the various atheist paradises.
In truth and in fact, the only societies in the world where they have the freedom to behave like this are those that are informed by Christian values. You know: The terrible, horrible Christian morality that says that all human beings matter, no matter their stage of life or level of health, and that every person has certain inherent rights that come from God.
God help us all if the Christian bashers of the world succeed in wiping that morality out of public discourse and civil society.
Jessica Hoff, who blogs at nebraskaenergyobserver, gives us the British-eye-view of what she described as “the atrocity” in her post Reflections on Terror.
The “atrocity” Jessica refers to is the cold-blooded murder of a British soldier by Islamic radicals. Jessica raises a number of questions in her blog post that I think deserve thoughtful discussion. I hope that Public Catholic readers can contribute to it in an equally thoughtful way.
Here, reprinted with permission, is what she has to say:
Reflections on Terror
MAY 28, 2013 BY JESSICAHOF
The media in the UK has been dominated these past few days by the atrocity in Woolwich. Thanks to the ubiquity of what we call mobile phones and you call cell phones, we know precisely why the murderers did what they did. They wanted to take revenge for the deaths of Muslims in Syria,Iraq and Afghanistan. As the main cause of death among Muslims in these places is the action of other Muslims, one might stop and wonder who educated these kids; and then, when one knows, it makes sense. They were educated by hate-preachers who batten like parasites on some mosques, and who preach a message which has nothing to do with love and everything to do with hate. They have a version of what has happened since 9/11 (and earlier) and they feed these impressionable kids with it. The questions which occur to me is why that version is so easily swallowed?
Part of the answer to that is our own MSM. It took against the wars of Afghanistan and Iraq and has preferred to peddle a narrative of blaming Bush and Blair rather than one of asking what those regimes were like and why their overthrow has been a good thing; let’s play politics, people, it isn’t as though there is anything bigger at stake.
Here, let it be said, Bush and Blair have not been helpful to their own cause. Whatever the truth of the WMD claim, it turned out to be wrong, and it may well have been an excuse to do something they thought needed doing; if so, they have both paid a heavy price for any misleading statements which may, or may not, have been made. Interesting that neither of them was prepared to make the real case – that these regimes were barbarous and needed taking down. Perhaps if they had left it with Afghanistan, where the Taliban were utterly repulsive and when Bib Laden was being sheltered, it would have been better. But what happened, happened, and the narrative in our MSM is manna from heaven to the fundamentalist Imams everywhere. They have no trouble pointing out that our own media does not believe our own Governments, which feeds into their own narrative – that there is a Crusade going on.
This is not just mendacious, it is the opposite of the truth. From Kuwait and Bosnia in the 1990s, and through to Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, the West has actually tried to save Muslims from being slaughtered by other Muslims. If there is a criticism of the West, it is that there is no crusade; there is an attempt to bring peace.
But here there may be a failure in geopolitical vision, albeit one which is understandable. Muslims are fighting each other because they unhappy with the way things are in their own countries. Their leaders, at least in the Middle East, have tended to be brutal tyrants who rule with a rod of iron – in that sense Assad in Syria is typical. We assume that these people want what we want – peace and stability and democracy. But where, in the history of that region is there warrant for such a belief? Take the Palestinian problem. The Arab world is plenty rich enough to have provided each displaced Palestinian with another home and money – it has chosen not to because it wishes to keep a grievance against Israel. It is plenty rich enough to spend its money on development and not guns, but it chooses the latter.
I wonder if it has occurred to anyone in power in our countries that these people do not want what we want, and that far from thanking us for our help, they don’t want it. Not sure where that reflection leads, but thought it ought to be articulated. (For more great posts by Jessica Hof, go here.)
Witnesses to the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima
Pope Francis will consecrate his petrine ministry to Our Lady of Fatima as part of the program of the International Pilgrimage of May 12/13.
Mary appeared to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal 96 years ago this month. She prophesied the fall of Russia to communism and promised that the way to undo this was to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart. Pope John Paul II did this. The results are history.
The shrine at Fatima is a beautiful place. You can feel the holiness of it when you are there. My visit to Fatima was a life-changing experience for me.
I don’t fully understand the implications of what the Holy Father is doing, but I do know that the Holy Spirit moves through Fatima. I’ve felt it myself. I have no reason except my own experiences there and a personal intuition to say this, but I think that the message of Fatima is both on-going and profound. It believe it is especially pertinent as it applies to our problems today.
Our Lady of Fatima chose to appear at a place whose name has both Catholic and Muslim history wrapped around it. I have read that the town is named after a young woman who converted from Islam to Christianity.
I don’t understand Islam enough to comprehend the ramifications of Our Lady’s place within it. But I know she is mentioned in the Koran and that she is respected, perhaps even revered in the Muslim world.
The Mother of God is mother to us all. Through her intervention may we find a way out of this valley of death and war that we are walking now.