Britain's most senior Muslim MP has received death threats after voting in favour of gay marriage.
Police have told Sadiq Khan, Labour’s Shadow Justice Secretary, that the threats are credible enough that he should review the security around him and his family following the Commons vote. Officers in his Tooting constituency in London have been put on high alert, and will respond ‘extra-quick’ should an incident be reported at his home.
Mr Khan – who became Britain’s first Muslim Minister to attend Cabinet in the last Government – has been condemned by British-based hardline clerics, who have accused him of ‘selling out’ his religion.
Mufti Muhammed Aslam Naqshbandi Bandhalevi, who is the head imam of the Jamia Islamia Rizvia mosque in Bradford, has issued a fatwa, or ruling, declaring Mr Khan an ‘apostate’ from Islam and said he should ‘repent before Allah’.
Some veiled threats against all the Muslim MPs who backed gay marriage are visible online.
Muslim MPs Sadiq Khan, the Labour high-flyer, Rushanara Ali, Sajid Javid, Shabana Mahmood and Anas Sarwar voted for gay marriage. Benazir Bhutto’s former adviser Rehman Chishti voted against the move while Yasmin Qureshi and Khalid Mahmood MP abstained from voting, fearing opposition from their constituents.
At least three Pakistani clerics have said that these MPs needed to repent and renew their faith, which means that they stand expelled from the circle of Islam for supporting same sex marriages. They have also said that their Islamic marriages stand annulled and they needed to read Kalma (from the Koran) again to become Muslims.
On the British-based extremist website Islamic Awakening, a member with the name Riaz77 posted about the vote: ‘And what is anybody going to do about this? Scream and shout it’s haram [unlawful] to vote, so end up letting kaafirs [infidels] and munafiqun [hypocrites] who vote Labour as usual re-electing them in 2015, combined with a lack of courage to defeat them with a bullet?’
Anjem Chaudhry, former UK head of extremist group Al-Muhajiroum who has organised demonstrations against the MPs, said the Muslim MPs have committed “apostasy by declaring war on Allah and His Messenger (PBUH) by voting for gay marriages”. He added: “These MPs have allied themselves with parties that are responsible for the killing of Muslims in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere.”
Hizbut Tahrir Britain said “some people hold up these MPs as examples for young Muslims to follow yet nothing could be further from the truth”.
Another website, called Izharudeen.com, warns: ‘Time to account these apostate MPs, they changed something that Allah made haram to halal [lawful] by voting for gay marriages.’
Security sources have said that when extremists declare a fellow Muslim ‘apostate’, it is usually a way of legitimising violent attacks on them.
Some western traditionalists believe that the sudden and UN mandated rush across Europe to redefine marriage is not to benefit gay men and women for their own sake; they have Civil Partnerships which give them every legal protection they might need. But is to begin the process of legitimising polygamy, which will mostly benefit Muslims.
Last week the Swedish Centre Party had to drop proposals to legitimise polygamy and make changes to inheritage rights from their programme because there were rifts which indicated that "We are not finished yet. Much work remains to be done," said vice chair Anders W Jonsson. "There will be reservation, that's guaranteed," said party executive member Frederik Federley.
Meanwhile those who want to lower the age of consent, which would pave the way for child marriage and child concubinage feel encouraged recently. This is Peter Tachell on why it is a 'good idea'.
The slow jihad has just clashed with the violent jihad. Again.
The Pakistani government came under fire Sunday for security lapses after a bombing in Quetta Saturday killed at least 81 people.
The governor of Balochistan province, Nawab Zulfikar Ali Magsi, accused intelligence and law enforcement agencies of being unable to maintain law and order, saying their agents were either “too scared or too clueless.”
Saturday’s attack was carried out by a Sunni militant group targeting Hazaras, a Shiite ethnic group, on the outskirts of the southwestern city of Quetta.
“Seemingly, the agents are either too scared to go after the terror-mongers or too clueless to even know who they are dealing with,” Magsi told Pakistan’s Geo News after visiting wounded victims in a Quetta military hospital.
“It’s their job to pre-empt such attacks. That’s what they are paid for. They failed all these innocent people who died in this catastrophic bomb blast,” the governor said.
Magsi announced compensation of 100,000 rupees ($1,000) for the families of each victim killed.
Shiite political organizations called for a strike in Quetta Sunday to protest the latest carnage, Reuters reported . Many shops and bazaars were closed.
On Saturday, the Sunni extremist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) claimed responsibility for the attack, according to Reuters.
Last month, LeJ claimed responsibility for two deadly suicide bombings in another Quetta neighborhood, Alamdar Road, that killed 85 Shiite Muslims. Authorities had described the twin bombings as one of the worst attacks on the Shiite minority.
Following last month’s attack, Shiite leaders called on Pakistan's military to take over security in Quetta and quell Sunni extremism.
Magsi was made provincial chief executive after the government of Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani was sacked following the January attack.
The schism between the two major denominations of Islam developed after Prophet Muhammad died in 632 and his followers split on the legitimate succession.
LeJ believes that Shiites insult the close companions of Prophet Muhammad, and are therefore not Muslims. The banned Sunni militant group claims killing Shiites is justified in Islam.
The Hazaras, who practice Shia Islam, in Sunni-majority Pakistan and Afghanistan, blame the Pakistani government for its negligence in acting against Sunni extremism to contain the violence.
Sunni extremists claim that the Hazaras are proxies of Iran in Pakistan. At least 600,000 Hazaras live in Quetta, located on a key Shiite pilgrimage route to predominantly Shiite Iran.
According to Human Rights Watch, more than 400 Shiites were killed in Pakistan last year. The rights group said more thaen 125 were killed in Balochistan province, most of them Hazaras. Some hardline Shiite groups have struck back by killing Sunni clerics.
One Party Of God (Sunni) Doesn't Like Another Party Of God (Shia)
Syria opposition slams Hezbollah ‘intervention’
SNC says armed movement attacked three villages in Qusayr region near Lebanon border
AFPFebruary 17, 2013
Beirut: The main bloc of the Syrian opposition on Sunday accused staunch Damascus ally Hezbollah of “militarily intervention” in Syria, calling it a danger to regional peace and security.
The Syrian National Council (SNC) said members of the powerful armed movement on Saturday attacked “three Syrian villages in the Qusayr region near the Lebanese border.”
The operation in Homs province led not only to “civilian casualties and the exodus of hundreds of people,” but also “stoked sectarian tensions” in the area, the SNC said in a statement.
Lebanon’s Hezbollah is a Shiite party, while most of the Syrian population and the rebels battling Syrian President Bashar Al Assad’s regime are Sunni.
The SNC said Hezbollah was employing “heavy weapons openly and under the auspices of the Syrian regime army.”
This is a “serious threat to Syrian-Lebanese relations and regional peace and security,” it said, adding that the Beirut government has a responsibility to end this “aggression.”
Lebanon was dominated politically and militarily by its larger neighbour Syria for three decades, and the small Mediterranean country is sharply divided over the Syrian revolt which erupted in March 2011.
Hezbollah and its allies in the ruling coalition back Al Assad’s regime, but the Sunni-led March 14 movement and its allies support the rebellion.
The Shiite party, Lebanon’s most powerful military force, occasionally announces the death of one of its fighters killed “carrying out his jihadist duty,” but without clarification.
In October 2012, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah acknowledged that party members had fought Syrian rebels, but said they were acting as individuals and not under the party’s direction.
On Saturday, the Local Coordination Committees — a grassroots network of activists on the ground in Syria — reported fighting between rebels and members of Hezbollah around Qusayr.
It said they were trying to break into the rebel-held city, which has been under daily army bombardment for the past year.
The so-called Arab Spring began more than two years ago when a Tunisian fruit vendor, upset by the Tunisian regime’s corruption and lack of accountability, set himself on fire. It soon became apparent that nearly every Arab country was a tinderbox, smoldering under dictatorship and popular discord.
A chief symbol of regional corruption was the leader’s son. Hosni Mubarak had his son Gamal, a bag man for the regime and for Mubarak’s personal fortune. Muammar Qaddafi had Saif, who traveled across Europe and the halls of Congress, charming almost every diplomat or congressman he met, and signing billions of dollars of deals along the way. Jonathan Schanzer, vice president at the Foundation for Defense of Democracy, penned a Foreign Policy piece about how the sons of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas have transformed their connections into fortunes.
Throughout much of the rest of the Middle East—Kurd, Persian, and Turkish—the pattern is the same: Iraqi President Jalal Talabani had Qubad Talabani; Kurdistan Regional President Masoud Barzani had his son Masrour Barzani; and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has Ahmad Maliki. Indeed, across the Iraqi and Kurdish political spectrum, there are few politicians who do not transform their sons into business agents or recipients of nepotistic largesse.
In Iran, they even have a nickname for such children: Popularly, they are referred to as Aghazadeh-ha, the sons of the nobles, a term which refers to the ability of men like Mehdi Rafsanjani or his brother Yasser to make tens of millions of dollars off the political connections of their father, former president Al Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
And the leadership of Turkey, which is far more Middle Eastern today than European, indulges in the same pattern. Behind closed doors, be it in Ankara, Moscow, Riyadh, or Washington, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ErdoÄŸan is not shy about telling foreign leaders or prominent businessmen that if they want pipelines or other deals to proceed, they should contract Çalik Holdings in which his son-in-law Berat Albayrak is chief executive.
[Çalik Energy, a subsidiary of Çalik Holdings, was a donor to the Atlantic Council, according to a disclosure which Atlantic Council chairman Fred Kempe made to the Wall Street Journal regarding questions surrounding former senator Chuck Hagel's chairmanship; he might have simply said ErdoÄŸan donated, because the laundering of cash through Çalik is standard operating procedure for the Turkish strongman].
Alas, the Arab Spring may have swept away one generation of dictators but it did not do away with the “Little Prince” phenomenon. David Schenker, perhaps Washington’s most consistently correct Arab affairs analyst, notes the pattern has now re-emerged in Cairo. According to the Associated Press:
Egypt’s aviation minister says the hiring of President Mohammed Morsi’s son to a highly-paid government job was justified, dismissing accusations of nepotism… Omar, one of the president’s five children and a recent university graduate, got the internally-advertised job in a department that usually hires with a starting monthly salary of $5,000. Such a figure is unheard of for new graduates in Egypt, where the starting salary for a government job can be as low as $75.
Clearly, the Muslim Brotherhood is just as corrupt as the regime it replaced, if not more so.
It is a shame that the sons (or son-in-law, in the case of Turkey) of Middle Eastern leaders diminish themselves by seeking easy cash rather than to excel in their own fields. What a powerful symbol it might make if the son of a leader sought to excel as a doctor, engineer, or teacher. Cynics may say it’s understandable, and both realists and pessimists might point out that this is simply local culture. Regardless, perhaps there is no better metric of the seriousness of reform for diplomats to point to than the behavior of leaders’ children.
QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) — Angry residents on Sunday demanded government protection from an onslaught of attacks against Shiite Muslims, a day after 81 people were killed in a massive bombing that a local official said was a sign that security agencies were too scared to do their jobs.
Saturday's blast at a produce market in the city of Quetta also wounded 160 people and underlined the precarious situation for Shiites living in a majority Sunni country where many extremist groups don't consider them real Muslims.
Most of the dead and wounded were Hazaras, an ethnic group that migrated from Afghanistan over a century ago. Shiite Muslims, including Hazaras, have often been targeted by Sunni extremists in the province of Baluchistan where Quetta is the capital, the southern city of Karachi and northwestern Pakistan.
At the blast site, members of the Hazara community helped authorities dig through rubble to find the dead or survivors. Most of their efforts were focused on a two-story building that was completely destroyed. More than 20 shops nearby were also demolished.
Clothing and shoes were scattered through the concrete rubble, broken steel bars and shattered wooden window frames littering the streets.
One of those helping, 40-year-old Qurban Ali, was instructing young people to be patient and careful while removing the rubble, lest they hurt themselves or survivors still buried in the debris. His cousin Abbas was still missing after the blast.
Like many Hazaras, he lashed out at the people who perpetrated the violence.
"Who are these people who made us Hazara so grim and sad? Why are they after us?" he asked. "Not one month or week passes here without the killing of a member of the Hazara community … Why is the government — both central and provincial — so lethargic in protecting Shiites?"
Near the rubble, a group of more than 50 women were wailing and beating their heads in mourning.
On the road to the neighborhood where the attack occurred, Hazara youth burned tires and chanted for the arrests of the killers. A number of Shiite groups also staged a sit-in and were demanding the immediate removal of the chief secretary of Baluchistan and the top police official, said Rahim Jaffery, who heads a Shiite organization called the Council for the Protection of Mourning.
"We are demanding the city (protection) be handed over to the army so that the killing of Hazara Shiites can be stopped," he said.
Jaffery said a mass funeral for the victims had been planned for Sunday afternoon but all Shiite groups were meeting to decide whether to stage a protest similar to one in January when they refused to bury their dead for four days.
That protest led the prime minister to sack the chief minister of the province and his cabinet and put Governor Zulfiqar Magsi directly in charge of the region — a move that many Shiites thought would help protect their community. But the governor's comments revealed his frustration at a job growing ever more difficult.
Magsi said the blast was the result of a failure of the security and intelligence agencies in the province.
"Officials and personnel of these institutions are scared (of the terrorists). Therefore they don't take action against them," he said in comments that were broadcast on local television.
A militant group called Lashkar-e-Jhangvi called one local television station to claim responsibility for the attack.
Pakistan's intelligence agencies helped nurture Sunni militant groups like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi in the 1980s and 1990s to counter a perceived threat from neighboring Iran, which is mostly Shiite. Pakistan banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi in 2001, but the group continues to operate fairly freely in their war against Shiites.
Last year was particularly deadly for Shiites in Pakistan. According to Human Rights Watch, more than 400 were killed in targeted attacks across the country. The human rights group said more than 125 were killed in Baluchistan province, most of whom belonged to the Hazara community.
Human rights groups have accused the government of not doing enough to protect Shiites.
Anjem Choudary was secretly filmed mocking non-Muslims for working in 9-5 jobs their whole lives, and told followers that some revered Islamic figures had only ever worked one or two days a year.
“The rest of the year they were busy with jihad [holy war] and things like that,” he said. “People will say, ‘Ah, but you are not working’. But the normal situation is for you to take money from the kuffar [non-believers]. So we take Jihad Seeker’s Allowance. You need to get support.”
He went on to tell a 30-strong crowd: “We are going to take England — the Muslims are coming.”
Ridiculing the daily lives of UK workers, Choudary said: “You find people are busy working the whole of their life. They wake up at 7 o’clock. They go to work at 9 o’clock. They work for eight, nine hours a day. They come home at 7 o’clock, watch EastEnders, sleep, and they do that for 40 years of their life. That is called slavery. And at the end of their life they realise their pension isn’t going to pay out anything, the mortgage isn’t going to pay out anything. Basically they are going to lose everything, commit suicide. What kind of a life is that, honestly. That is the life of kuffar (non-believer).”
...the Sun, (which) covertly filmed the preacher at three meetings. At another meeting in Slough infiltrated by the Sun, Choudary was filmed proclaiming that Islam was taking over Europe.
“Now we are taking over Birmingham and populating it,” he said.“Brussels is 30 per cent, 40 per cent Muslim and Amsterdam. Bradford is 17 per cent Muslim. These people are like a tsunami going across Europe. And over here we’re just relaxing, taking over Bradford brother. The reality is changing.”
Choudary, who has been banned twice from running organisations under the Terrorism Act, told an audience at a community centre in Bethnal Green, East London, that David Cameron, Barack Obama and the leaders of Pakistan and Egypt were the devil (shaitan) and should be killed.
"You must hate in your heart — Cameron, Obama, all that they worship. Democracy, freedom, secularism, the parliament, all the MPs and the Presidents, all the kuffar’s ideas, everything the people worship, we have to believe that they are bad and we have got to reject them. Reject them with our tongue. Reject them with our heart. In our heart have hatred towards them.”
Days later in Slough, Berks, he waved a £10 to 20 invited Muslims and said: “There’s an ugly picture of the Queen on here. It says, ‘I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of £10’.”
When confronted by The Sun he said: "We want everyone to worship Islam. I invite Cameron and the Queen to worship Islam. That would be an ideal situation. We may ridicule the Queen. She is engaged in war, her family are engaged in war in Afghanistan — also the Prime Minister. So they are the subject of being mocked and ridiculed. There is nothing wrong with that.”
We told Labour (and Tory) governments that importing and pandering to Muslims was a bad idea. Andrew Gilligan in The Telegraph on the Islamic Republic of Tower Hamlets:
The extremist-linked mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman (above), is under deepening pressure on all fronts today. His attempt to abuse the local government standards code to hound one of his most effective opponents, Cllr Peter Golds (see my account of it here) has humiliatingly collapsed, leaving council taxpayers tens of thousands of pounds out of pocket.
But the most important intervention of all came from the local government minister, Brandon Lewis. Yesterday, the Tower Hamlets Labour MP Jim Fitzpatrick had the answer to his Commons question about Lutfur’s misuse of taxpayers’ money on dozens of illegal propaganda TV commercials for himself (sharply condemned by the regulator, Ofcom.)
In his response, Mr Lewis went further than ever in condemning Lutfur’s regime. He called the illegal broadcasts “further evidence of a worrying pattern of divisive community politics and mismanagement of council staff and resources by the mayoral administration.”
This is striking stuff, which deserves to be heeded and quoted whenever Lutfur is mentioned. (For the benefit of new readers, he was elected with the close help of an Islamic extremist group, the IFE, which believes in turning Britain into a sharia state under Islamic law. In office, he has recruited people with close links to the IFE to key council positions, and channelled millions of pounds of taxpayers' money to IFE front organisations. For a full account of Lutfur's many controversies, see here.)
The minister also said that the Government was looking at putting the local authority publicity code – which bans taxpayer-funded propaganda newspapers like Lutfur’s East End Life – on a statutory basis to stop Tower Hamlets and a couple of other boroughs ignoring it. Great idea, Mr Lewis – but act soon. East End Lies will be Lutfur’s key weapon at the local elections, which are only 15 months away.
BENGHAZI, Libya Col. Faraj el-Dersi, who defected to the rebel side from Muammar Qaddafi's police force, was gunned down late last year on the streets of Benghazi, and he bled to death in the arms of his teenage daughter.
KARACHI, Pakistan - The death toll from a devastating explosion that ripped through a crowded market in the southwestern city of Quetta on Saturday rose to 84 people, and Shiite leaders called for the arrest of the attackers, according to police and rescue ...
BAUCHI, Nigeria | Sun Feb 17, 2013 1:12pm EST. BAUCHI, Nigeria (Reuters) - Gunmen kidnapped seven foreigners and killed a security guard when they stormed the compound of Lebanese construction company Setraco in northern Nigeria's Bauchi state ...
'Dies Gloriae', VIII: From To Saint Faustinus and Companions To Saint Florentius
"Humility is nothing but truth, and pride is nothing but lying."
St. Vincent de Paul.
The Great Christian Lessons consist of the four cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, restraint (or temperance), and courage (or fortitude), which come from ancient Greek philosophy, and the three theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity (or love), which come from the letters of Saint Paul of Tarsus1. These were adopted by the Church Fathers as the seven virtues and combined with the seven heavenly virtues (which were proposed, in order to stand against the seven deadly sins, by a Christian governor named Aurelius Prudentius, who died around AD410, in his poem 'Psychomachia' or 'Battle/Contest of the Soul') of chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness, and humility. Of these Eleven Great Christian Lessons (some are duplicated in the lists) the hardest to learn, in my opinion, is that of humility.
It's so easy to see ourselves as the vanguard of the resistance -- mighty crusaders battling against the evil jihad of the violent and barbarous Mohammedans, brave warriors fighting to preserve our culture, cunning strategists working to highlight the stupidity of our politicians as they deny, or refuse to see, that the vile Mohammedan myth system lies behind the twenty-thousand2, and still counting, terror attacks perpetrated against us since 9/11 -- to see ourselves as important in the struggle, even, perhaps, as famous. That, however, isn't the case for almost all of us.
Most of us must learn to be humble for we are just workers in a cause that has been around for centuries: in fact, since Mohammedanism was invented by sick-in-the-mind Arab supremacists around AD610, one thousand four hundred and three years ago, in other words. We are nobodies in the onrush of this age old battle and we'll scarcely be remembered after we've been called home. That is not an easy idea to absorb as we sit at our computers typing the carefully crafted prose that is supposed to inspire and console our fellow activists; one can feel that one is very important and necessary, and a vital cog in the machinery of the counter-jihad -- one can feel irreplaceable.
That, we should understand, is not the case. Granted, there are people involved in this fightback whom it is difficult to imagine doing without -- they will be missed when G-d calls them to Himself and they will be difficult to replace, but others will fill their places and the centuries old war against Mohammedanism will go on, just so long as we keep on doing what we are doing now and we do it to the best of our abilities that is, but most of us are unimportant and we should embrace that and learn to have humility.
We must also learn another very difficult lesson -- that the people who believe in the disgusting tenets of the devil-inspired Mohammedan creed are just that: people. They are real living human beings. If one cuts them then they bleed. If one hits them then they bruise. If one starves them then they die. We must learn that in order to save them we have to disregard their vile and atrocious beliefs (derived from the pit of hell and retailed by the great liar called Mohammed that teach them to behave like demons in their everyday dealings) and learn to see them as people, and as people we must strive to rescue them from their putrescent, so-called religion.
We can have no truck with those amongst us who advocate the wholesale slaughter of the Mohammedans. One day, some would say, that solution to our problems may be the only one left to our descendants, but that day has not yet dawned and, we must pray to G-d, it never will if we carry out our counter-jihad effectively, for we must act in such ways as will make it unthinkable and unnecessary for those who come after us to commit the great crime of mass murder. That is our Christian duty, not only to our posterity but also to all the people trapped inside the appalling Mohammedan devil-myth and its incitements to hatred and violence.
We must behave like the good and very brave Father Zakaria (his website is here) who has been responsible for bringing many, many Mohammedans (probably many thousands) to know the love of the one true triune G-d. He has done so by the most peaceful, but nonetheless devastating, of means and he is an example that I commend to you all, not only for his patience, persistence and calmness but also for his humility.
All that said, the saints that I want to draw to your attention this week belong to the first few centuries of Christianity -- a time when Christians were often persecuted and many died martyrs' deaths. However, in keeping with my theme of humility, and of its corollary 'anonymity', I have chosen to ask you to memorialise with me some of those saints about whom we know very little or nothing excepting that they were staunch in the faith even unto death. Their sacrifices were not in vain but in their humility they never asked, or made provision, to be remembered in detail. All that has come down to us from our faith's earliest times is that these brave souls once existed and that they died for and in their Christian faith.
Let their examples speak to your soul.
So, the saints that I want to you to remember with me on the seventeenth of February are usually referred to as 'Saint Faustinus and Companions'. We know absolutely nothing about these forty-five people other than that one of them was called 'Faustinus' and that they met their deaths in one of the regular persecutions of Christians that took place at ancient Rome.
The early Church knew who they were and thought them worthy of commemoration and that must guide us, as well, to remember them. Regrettably, no record of their details has survived through the centuries to tell us precisely why these forty-five people were martyred. All we can deduce is that they were steadfast in the faith and died for their loyalty to Christ. Remember them in their anonymity as best you can.
We know just a little more about my saints for the eighteenth of February. The first was called Maximus and we know that he was murdered under the Emperor Diocletian in AD295 along with four others who were called, respectively, Alexander, Claudius, Cutias and Praepedigna. Those, again, are the only facts that have come down to us.
The early Church saw fit to commemorate them as martyrs and therefore so should we. Again, all we can deduce is that they were steadfast in the faith and died for their loyalty to Christ. Remember them in their anonymity as best you can.
The same can be said for my saint for the nineteenth who is generally known as Saint Publius of North Africa. All that has come down to us is his name and the fact that he was martyred for the faith. We don't even know when that happened, which completes the sadness that we can feel for this brave, lonely soldier of G-d whom the early Church has advised us, by its actions, is a fit person to commemorate.
Again, all we can deduce is that he was steadfast in the faith and died for his loyalty to Christ. Remember him in his almost total anonymity as best you can.
My humble saints for the twentieth of this month are the Martyrs of Tyre. They all died for the faith at Tyre (which is now in modern Lebanon) and the Bible records that that Jesus visited the "coasts" of Tyre and Sidon and healed a Gentile (Matthew 15:21; Mark 7:24) and from this region many came to hear Him preach (Mark 3:8; Luke 6:17, Matthew 11:21 to 23). A congregation was founded there soon after the death of Saint Stephen, and Saint Paul of Tarsus, on his return from his third missionary journey, spent a week in conversation with the disciples there.
Tyre, therefore, was an important Christian centre in the ancient world and so in the early fourth century persecutions that took place under the Emperor Diocletian there was bound to be a great slaughter of Christians there. We do know the names of quite a few of the Martyrs of Tyre -- today is also the feast day of Saints Tyrannio (Bishop of Tyre) and Silvanus who both were killed at Tyre in AD304 and later in the year we remember other Martyrs of Tyre whose names and stories we actually know (Saint Theodosia on April the twenty-third and Saint Christina on July the twenty-fourth for example) -- but the majority are unknown to us for their details, even their names, have not survived down the centuries or were so well known at the time that they were never actually recorded.
Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea (which place I mentioned last week in Dies Gloriae VII in connection with Saint Pamphilus) who is regarded as the father of the history of Christianity, recorded one instance of the horrific Diocletianic terror in Tyre (conducted by the Roman General Veturius) thusly:
"Several Christians of Egypt, whereof some had settled in Palestine, others at Tyre, gave astonishing proofs of their patience and constancy in the faith. After innumerable blows, which they cheerfully underwent, they were exposed to wild beasts, such as leopards, wild bears, boars, and bulls. I myself was present when these savage creatures, accustomed to human blood, being let out upon them, instead of devouring them or tearing them to pieces, as it was natural to expect, stood off, refusing even to touch or approach them, at the same time that they fell foul on their keepers, and others that came in their way.
The soldiers of Christ were the only persons they refused, though these martyrs, pursuant to the order given them, tossed about their arms, which was thought a ready way to provoke the beasts, and stir them up against them. Sometimes, indeed, they were perceived to rush towards them with their usual impetuosity, but, withheld by a divine power, they suddenly withdrew; and this many times to the great admiration of all present.
The first having done no execution, others were a second and a third time let out upon them, but in vain; the martyrs standing all the while unshaken, though many of them very young. Among them was a youth not yet twenty, who had his eyes lifted up to heaven, and his arms extended in the form of a cross, not in the least daunted, nor trembling, nor shifting his place, while the bears and leopards, with their jaws wide open, threatening immediate death, seemed most ready to tear him to pieces; but, by a miracle, not being suffered to touch him, they speedily withdrew.
Others were exposed to a furious bull, which had already gored and tossed into the air several infidels who had ventured too near, and left them half dead: only the martyrs he could not approach; he stopped, and stood scraping the dust with his feet, and though he seemed to endeavor it with his utmost might, butting with his horns on every side, and pawing the ground with his feet, being also urged on by red-hot iron goads, it was all to no purpose.
After repeated trials of this kind with other wild beasts, with as little success as the former, the saints were slain by the sword, and their bodies cast into the sea. Others who refused to sacrifice were beaten to death, or burned, or executed in diverse other ways."
(Eusebius, 'Ecclesiastical History', Book 8: Chapter 7: Paragraph 1 to Bk. 8: Ch. 7: Para. 6 in the good Dr. F.C. Husenbeth's translation, or see the full translated text here and navigate to page 329.)
We don't know how many Christians were murdered at Tyre; we can only deduce that they were steadfast in the faith and died for their loyalty to Christ. Remember all of these courageous souls in their almost total anonymity as best you can.
That brings us to the twenty-first of February and to Saint Verulus and Companions, as we style this group of North African martyrs. We suspect that there were twenty-six of them but we cannot be certain and there could have been more. We know only the name of Saint Verulus and that they were all killed by the Vandals in AD434, probably at Hadrumetum (Wikipedia entry can be found here and today it's called Sousse and is in Mohammedan occupied Tunisia).
Nothing more is known about them except that they were steadfast in the faith and died for their loyalty to Christ. Remember all of these lonely martyrs in their almost total anonymity as best you can.
This day is also the feast day of Saint Daniel of Persia who is often confused with others of same name. He was a Persian Christian martyred in the persecutions of King Shapur II in AD344. That's all we know about him but once again we can deduce that he was steadfast in the faith and died for his loyalty to Christ. Remember him, this brave, lonely and almost forgotten warrior for Christ, in his almost total anonymity as best you can.
The twenty-second of February is the day when we traditionally commemorate the Martyrs of Arabia -- those of the third and fourth centuries that is. One must understand that the name 'Arabia' is used here as it was used during the late Roman Empire and it refers to the Roman provinces east of the River Jordan that included the mountainous districts roughly south of the Dead Sea. These provinces were often called Arabia Petraea after the annexation of the Nabatean kingdom by Trajan in AD106.
In Arabia a huge but unknown number of Christians perished for and in the faith at the close of the third and the beginning of the fourth centuries. Details as to precisely how many and precisely who they all were haven't come down to us -- all that we know today is that they were legion and that they have been honoured as the Martyrs of Arabia since ancient times. Most of these holy martyrs perished under the Emperor Valerius Maximianus Galerius, but the use of the word 'Arabia' will bring to mind the vile slaughter of Christians even further east in the demon Mohammed's time and later by his hellish followers -- even today Christians are being murdered all over the Mohammedan occupied Arabian peninsula3 as well as almost everywhere else in the world that is under occupation by the hell-driven Mohammedans.
Nothing more is known about the Martyrs of Arabia except that they were steadfast in the faith and died for their loyalty to Christ. Remember all of these lonely martyrs in their almost total anonymity as best you can.
On this day I also want to memorialise Saint Aristion of Salamis. Once again, very little is known about this saint excepting that the ancient Church believed him to have been one of the seventy disciples sent out into the world by Jesus, as detailed in Luke 10:1, to preach the good news (Eusebius, 'Ecclesiastical History' 3.39.4 to 5, full translated text here, and Bishop Papias of Hierapolis -- Pamukkale in modern Mohammedan occupied Turkey -- his surviving works are here in translation, both agree about this as do other authorities of the time and slightly later such as the 'Constitutions of the Holy Apostles', 'Constitutiones Apostolorum' written sometime between AD375 and AD380 probably by Bishop Julian of Cilicia, all eight books of which can be accessed from this page).
Several scholars believe that Saint Aristion wrote the biblical book 'Hebrews' and there is some evidence to support that thesis and it may be that some of the verses in the synoptic Gospel of Mark -- specifically, but not necessarily limited to, 16:9 to 20 -- were also written by Aristion. He was certainly alive at the time that 'Hebrews' was written (the years around AD64 are generally accepted for this) and certainly survived long enough to have written text that the compiler of Mark's Gospel had access to when he wrote that synoptic out in Greek in Syria sometime between AD60 and AD70.
However, Saint Aristion's life story has not come down to us and his authorship of anything at all can be easily disputed. We do know that he preached as commanded by Christ on Cyprus and at Alexandria in Egypt. We know he was killed for that preaching but we don't even know where or when excepting that it may have been at Salamis on Cyprus and was almost certainly in the first century. That he was important to the spread of our faith is indisputable, but nothing more is known about him except that he was steadfast in the faith and died for his loyalty to Christ. Remember this lonely martyr in his almost total anonymity as best you can.
For the twenty-third of February I want to commemorate three named saints. The first of these, however, died with many others in the persecutions of the early fourth century. He was called Rutilus and he was murdered for the faith along with an unknown and unnamed number of others at Syrmium in Pannonia -- modern Sremska Mitrovica in Serbia.
The second memorial is for Saint Zebinus who was a hermit and teacher who lived in Syria. He died sometime in the fifth century.
The third rememberance for this day is for Saint Florentius who is often confused with others of the same name. He was martyred at Seville in Spain in AD485.
Those very bare statements of fact are all the details that have come down to us about the saints for this day. As usual, all we can deduce is that they were steadfast in the faith and died for their loyalty to Christ. Remember those almost forgotten, brave martyrs in their almost total anonymity as best you can.
So, as you strive with all of us here at NER to preserve our cultures, our ways of life and worship, and our freedoms in the face of almost constant attacks by the loony left and the ravening demonic horde of Mohammedans that infests our world today as if all the years had become locust years, I ask that you remember those who helped to make the civilisation of which we are so proud.
We live in a Judeo-Christian milieu that has been created by the many who have gone before us. We derive our morality, a large part of our art and culture and even the way we look at ourselves from our Christian, and Jewish, past. The early saints whom I have listed for this week died, for the most part, unknown, unlauded and unrecorded excepting in the brute statistic of numbers. They helped make our world and some, like Saint Aristion, knew Christ personally and followed Him even unto death.
Remember, also, that the saints I have given for this sennight gave far more than you and I are currently being called upon to give. Remember that and think of the Great Lessons to be learned -- think, with me, especially about humility. I commend my heptad of daily saints to your prayers, or to whatever personal rememberance you may make as you consider our history if you are not a believer, for without the unknown, unsung saints of the early Church we would have nothing worth defending.
"Pride must die in you, or nothing of heaven can live in you."
2) 1 Corinthians 13:13, "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity" (KJV).
3) For example: "Saudi converts to Christianity face the death penalty if discovered; executions are definitely known to occur. In August 2008, a young Saudi woman in Buraydah was killed by her brother, a Muslim cleric and religious police member of the Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, after she proclaimed her Christian faith to her family. Saudi authorities arrested a 28-year-old Christian man in January 2009 for describing his conversion from Islam and criticizing the kingdom’s judiciary on his blog. On January 1, 2011, new regulations went into effect, requiring all Saudi news blogs and electronic news sites to be strictly licensed, to "include the call to the religion of Islam" and to strictly abide by Islamic Shariah law. The requirements are being coupled with strict restrictions on what topics Saudi bloggers can write on—a development which will essentially give Saudi authorities the right to shut down blogs at their discretion." (From: http://www.persecution.net/saudiarabia.htm.)
When Syrian soldiers burst into a home and found no trace of the young men they had come to recruit by force, they raped their sister instead. Helpless, her father watched in horror as his daughter was defiled in his own living room, he later told a United Nations relief worker in Jordan.Another Syrian man, blinded by fear and the shame of risking his family’s honor, shot his own daughter to prevent approaching Syrian soldiers from gang raping her. One Syrian father opted for the unbearable, heart wrenching choice of giving up his youngest girl to armed troops lusting after her at a military checkpoint. They had threatened to mow down all family members in the car with him under a hail of bullets unless he complied with their commander’s request.
“Sophie’s Choice,” the World War II story of a Polish mother bullied by a German Nazi soldier to choose between who, her daughter or son, would be carted off to the death camp at Auschwitz, pales in comparison. The 1979 novel by American writer William Styron was adapted into a film. What is happening now in Syria is ghastly and unthinkable. And it is real.
Syria’s embattled regime once boasted that it championed causes of Arab honor, dignity and valor. They were its claim to Arab leadership and the twisted rationale for heavy-handed actions. How that bogus image has foundered.
Sexual violence against women and, in some cases, young boys, documented and aggregated in reports by Human Rights Watch , the International Rescue Committee and the New York-based Media Center initiative known as Women under Siege, have shattered all pretenses, shredding all fake veneers of social propriety in war-lacerated Syria. Assumptions about Arab family cohesion and paternal protection shielding women folk against predators and rape have been turned inside out.
Though humanitarian organizations tracking the rise of rape in Syria largely accuse the Syrian Army, and the proxy militia of the regime, the Shabbiha, for perpetrating these acts, they do not exclude certain elements of the predominantly Islamist rebels.
As outgoing U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton once aptly said, women do not start conflicts, but they often end up as victims. Syria is inching toward replacing the Congo as the world’s rape capital. The U.S.-based IRC designated rape as a primary factor in the exodus of women and children refugees to neighboring Lebanon and Jordan.
“Many women and girls relayed accounts of being attacked in public or in their homes, primarily by armed men. These rapes, sometimes by multiple perpetrators, often occur in front of family members,” the IRC said. The findings, based on 240 interviews, indicate that rape has become a “significant and disturbing” feature of Syria’s war.
Women and girls told of being kidnapped, raped and tortured. At military checkpoints, they have become targets of opportunity. Later, some victims are killed or married off.
Melissa Fleming, the Geneva-based spokeswoman for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, said, “The taboo is so great that what we are hearing is a fraction of what is going on. What we are trying to do with groups such as Save the Children, the IRC and UNICEF is create spaces so that these women can come forward.”
Centers for counseling and care for sexual and gender-based violence are being upgraded in Jordan and Lebanon. “We are stepping up our ability to respond. If we have any reason to believe that a woman is vulnerable, she will be pushed to the front of the line and registered, so she can receive medical care and counseling,” she explained.
Humanitarian groups are reluctant to give finite figures. However, maps and diagrams drawn up by Women under Siege, based on accounts gleaned from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, show surges in the frequency of reported rapes in specific locales in Syria.
After unveiling a Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative, British Foreign Secretary William Hague announced that the United Kingdom was sending specialists to investigate and deal with rape and sexual violence in Syria. Seventy doctors, forensic specialists, psychologists and lawyers were brought together by the Foreign Office so that they could be dispatched to conflict zones. They are expected to train local health professionals and to gather evidence which may serve as documentation in future prosecutions.
Incidents of sexual assault against female activists in Tahrir Square triggered demonstrations in Cairo and Beirut after one young woman was stabbed in her most intimate parts with a sharp blade. Arab governments remain comatose and hypocritical with their heads buried in the sand.
The intensity of war is not only known to unleash depraved instincts for mindless rape, but it also sets off a spike in cases of domestic violence.
Oil-rich countries such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, rushing to provide military assistance to hasten the collapse of the reign of President Bashar Assad should act now, as Arab “sisters” languish in Syrian gulags of torture or fall victim to marauding soldiers. The United States and the European Union stepped up as top donors so far with Washington giving $210 million and the EU giving $477 million. Arab Gulf states have lagged behind with only $155 million for Syrian refugees. The IRC urged donors to recognize sexual violence as an alarming feature of the Syrian conflict and to boost aid to offset quality service shortages in host countries such as Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.
The reported release of a celebrity Saudi preacher Fayhan al-Ghamdi, after he agreed to play blood money for raping, torturing and killing his 5-year-old daughter Lama, does not bode well. In contrast, one rape in India mobilized press, university students, civic groups, lawmakers and professionals to break through the wall of national consciousness.
Nora Boustany is an independent writer and former Washington Post correspondent and columnist who teaches journalism at the American University of Beirut. She wrote this commentary for THE DAILY STAR.
Khalid Amayreh Defends Islam, And In So Doing, Makes Telling Admissions
From Al-Ahram Online:
Egypt's unreasonable opposition
Khalid Amayreh, Sunday 17 Feb 2013
Egypt's opposition leaders hate the Muslim Brotherhood more than they love Egypt, a situation dangerous for all Egyptians
The National Salvation Front (NSF) is the main entity encompassing opposition to the Islamists in Egypt. It often projects itself as a united and homogenous body. However, a closer look into it suggests a heterogeneous group comprising cacophonic components that are only united by their hostility to Islamists.
Indeed, what makes an odd couple like Nasserist Hamdeen Sabbahi and ultra-libertarian Mohamed ElBaradei coalesce in one front, other than their sullen hostility to the Muslim Brotherhood? In fact, ElBaradei's declared philosophy has more to do with Miltonian political philosophy and the Areopagitica than with Islam or Nasserism. His undeclared ideas could be too exotic and anomalous if judged according to the general principles of Islam.
The man who had the audacity to suggest establishing places of worship for Buddhists and Hindus when there is virtually zero population of adherents to Buddhism and Hinduism in Egypt could conceivably embark on many eyebrow-raising feats, such as advocating homosexual and civil marriages as well as women's rights to have multiple sex partners.
The man is apparently thoroughly imbibed in Western values and it would hard to reindoctrinate him in things Arab and even Egyptian.
For obvious political and public relations reasons, the co-leader of NSF can't reveal all that he has in his libertarian depository.
The NSF lists a host of contentious issues and demands it says must be met by the government before agreeing to suspend its disruptive protests in Egypt's streets.
However, in the honest opinion of this writer, most of these issues and demands are more or less "red herrings" that are meant to obfuscate the real issue: rejection of what the opposition calls "political Islam."
The opposition makes a lot of clamour about the recently-approved constitution. However, an honest reading of this constitution fails to show the "horrendous and unacceptable violations of an Egyptian citizen's rights and dignity" that the opposition suggests it represents.
In fact, the vociferous ranting of the opposition, constantly parroted by a shockingly biased media, is unreasonable to say the least. In short, the real issue is not the constitution. The real issue behind the demonstrations has more to do with the opposition's undeclared refusal to accept the rule of the ballot box, especially if and when that ballot box breeds Islamists.
The opposition claims, utterly falsely, that the Muslim Brotherhood are promoting a fascist government. Well, this is a lie. Today Egyptians, for the first time in 5000 years, can demonstrate really freely, call their elected leader "Hitler" and "Nazi" as well as attack his presidential palace with Molotov cocktails without being riddled with bullets.
Do we remember that poor Egyptian who was instantly shot and killed several years ago upon approaching former president Mubarak's motorcade, probably to hand the former tyrant a small paper stating his grievances?
Last week, thousands of Egyptian demonstrators shouted "Irhal, Irhal, Irhal," meaning "leave," outside the IttihadiyaPalace in Cairo. Well, what sort of political culture do these people have? Are democratically-elected presidents in any self-respecting countries asked to leave office a few months after elections?
Can we imagine thousands of Americans converge at the White House, hurling firebombs and stones and shouting at President Obama "Leave, leave, leave"?
President Morsi may not the best president Egypt could elect. But he is the legitimate president of the country and he has the right to complete his term. Yes, hundreds of thousands have been demonstrating against him. But a silent majority of tens of millions of people are still giving him the benefit of the doubt.
Two months ago, the opposition thought the president's popularity had gone down the drain, prompting its decision to take part in the referendum over the constitution.However, the fact that nearly 65% of eligible voters who bothered to cast their votes voted in favour of the draft constitution showed that Morsi was more popular then than when he was first elected in June 2012.
This is because the mid-December referendum was effectively a referendum over the performance of the president, thanks to a hostile campaign of delegitimisation and vilification preceding the poll.
I know that the opposition in general as well as many ordinary Egyptians are overwhelmed with frustration and indignation over the slow pace of political and economic reforms promised by the revolution. I also understand that the economic situation is very bad. However, the disruptive nature of the opposition's activity, especially its cheap opportunism, is derailing and endangering the march of the country towards a brighter future. [under the Muslim Brotherhood's guidance and despotism]
In truth, the destructive behaviour of some segments of the opposition would give the impression that there are certain people in Egypt who would rather see Egypt fail than the Muslim Brotherhood succeed. Well, if Egypt failed, God forbid, then no political group or coalition of groups would succeed. Everyone would lose, irrespective of whose voice was louder and whose patriotic credentials were more authentic.
I don't like to entertain the idea that there are such Egyptians. Such people would be Egypt's enemies as well as their own enemies. They must be stopped at all costs, not looked upon as seasoned allies in the battle against the "Islamist ghoul."
This is why I believe the opposition must give the president the full opportunity to succeed. It is ethically indefensible to impede and disrupt the president and then complain about the lack of progress. Unfortunately, this is exactly what the opposition is doing. They seem to hate the Muslim Brotherhood more than they love Egypt.
A final point. Some of the opposition figures keep invoking the term "political Islam," as if the term were a source of shame to Islamists.
Well, political Islam is not the invention of the Muslim Brotherhood or other Islamists. It is rather solidly rooted in Islam and its holy scripture, the Quran.
I am not going to discuss certain arguments made by anti-Islam secularists who claim that the rule of Sharia is not a must upon Muslims and that Muslims might opt for modern Western-style democracy without violating the tenets of their faith. These arguments are quite nonsense, even for first grade Muslim children.
But I do want to point out that one cannot reject political Islam as a matter of principle, without rejecting Islam itself.
Yes, one might disagree with certain Islamist modalities, behaviours and interpretations. We all reject violence and terror committed in the name of religion. And we all would like to see a kinder and gentler practice of Islam everywhere.
But we must never allow ourselves as Muslims to compromise the main principles of our faith in order to appear more in tune with the age, and more acceptable to the West.
Khalid Amayreh, an Arab who lives in the Arab-occupied and just-barely-Fatah-controlled areas in what is known as "the West Bank" or "the territories" or "Judea and Samaria," holds not-unrepresentative-of-Muslim-Arab views of Israel that deserve to be better known.
"In March 2011, he wrote that Israelis are "pathological liars and colonialist invaders from Eastern Europe" and that Jerusalem has been "violated and raped by Zionist Jews for many years." He described Zionism as a "genocidal, racist, rapacious, covetous, and of course utterly mendacious… a malignant cancer" and claimed that Israel wishes to erect a "Hebrew empire" encompassing "Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Kuwait, northern Saudi Arabia, northern Egypt and the islands of Crete and Cyprus."