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Posts Tagged ‘islam’

The plight of the Copts

August 29, 2012 Leave a comment

The video above shows raw emotional pain. I could have chosen worse, but I wanted only to convey the distress our brothers are in without exalting the power of the enemy. As it is, it is hard enough to take.

The two year old “Arab Spring” was much-heralded in the western press. It began in Tunisia, which is ironically one of the less oppressive Arab nations, when a street merchant immolated himself to protest government corruption. Such is the human thirst for freedom. These people have access to the Internet now, and they see how westerners live. How you gonna keep them down on the farm?

For many years whenever I would hear that a nation didn’t have the cultural underpinnings for democracy, I thought that was absurd. Self determination is hard-wired in our psyche, I reasoned. But I was naïve of spiritual strongholds that repress truth and freedom. Since then I’ve learned the bitter truth.

As I studied the history and foundations of Islam, I became aware that the faith was spread by the sword and does not support precious rudiments that we take for granted, such as freedom of conscience and of worship, and even the most basic human rights.

Islam has the middle east in a vise, and its grip is tightening. When Mubarak was deposed in Egypt, we were told democratic elections would ensue, and human rights would be the top priority. The Muslim Brotherhood promised it would not field a candidate for the presidency. But it did, and won. He had promised he would appoint a Christian and a woman as vice presidents. That promise was forgotten, as a fellow traveler Islamist was instead chosen. And quickly, president Morsi has deposed the secular generals and replaced them with Islamists. The Islamic takeover of Egypt is nearly complete (parliament is disbanded, all that remains it to pack the judiciary). It was done in a few short weeks, without a shot being fired. The goal is to impose Islamic law on the nation, in preparation for the dominating worldwide caliphate rule the Muslims hope for.

In all this, the Copts have been severely distressed, being outnumbered 9 to 1 by Muslims. With all Mubarak’s faults, at least under him the Copts had some minimal protection. Now they have virtually none. Every day they are driven out of their homes, they are killed, their daughters are abducted. The police could hardly care less. There is no one to turn to. Egypt is on its way to becoming another Pakistan.

Who will help? Obama? He’s the one who let the Iranian patriots twist in the wind when we had a golden chance to get rid of the worst regime on the face of the earth at minimal cost. He’s the one who occupies himself with celebrating Islamic feasts in the White House, and apologizing for America to the Muslims on their soil before he was even inaugurated, and who couldn’t bother to fill the post of advocate for religious rights for two years. Look at what this Christianity-professing man does, not what he says.

The Copts seem to be on their own. Most of those who can are leaving Egypt. The rest are stuck.

All I can say is that we need to hold these people in our hearts before the Lord. For as the Bible says, we too are “in the body”, as susceptible to abuse as are they. I look at the current scene and I marvel at how much has changed since my early days. I never would have thought American society would become so morally dumbed-down, hardened and coarse; that the media and all our institutions would become so cravenly biased against truth and human rights, the very foundations of our freedoms. But it is indeed upon us.

If we don’t turn this thing around very soon, it will be too late. As the beneficiaries of free will, God let’s us have our way when we insist. But we do not get to separate consequences from choices. We have fallen to this low estate because as a nation we have spit in God’s face. It has been a progression for many decades, but it has been accelerating more and more, until now we are almost out of control. We are falling apart on the inside, and cannot stand before our enemies on the outside. The Bible word for that is judgment. It may be reversible, but the window for doing so is open only for a short time.

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Keep praying for Asia Bibi

January 26, 2012 Leave a comment

This story comes through openheaven.org. You may be aware of this Christian Pakistani woman who was accused of blasphemy, a capital crime under Islam, on phony charges and has been held  in jail interminably. Just a tiny crack has appeared in the case.

The news has been so dark lately that it is easy to wonder what one little case like this can do, even if we do win. But it is essential that we fight the battle when and where we can. That’s the only way we’ll ever make progress. Let’s do it not only for Asia Bibi, but for the many who don’t have even the slim chance she does.

Here’s a site with the latest news, and where you can join in writing a letter of encouragement to Asia: http://incontext.webs.com/asiabibi.htm.

And here’s one where you can engage in activism: http://campaigns.csi-usa.org/index.php?id=FreeAsia.

Story follows.

Pakistan: Asia Bibi’s accuser is said to have admitted that his charges are phony

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

LAHORE, PAKISTAN (ANS) — The case of Asia Bibi, the Pakistan Christian mother-of-five who was sentenced to death for alleged blasphemy, has taken an extraordinary turn.

According to a story monitored by the ASSIST News Service, Qari Salam, who accused Bibi of blasphemy charges, which resulted in a jail sentence and possible hanging, is reported to have “ostensibly” regreted filing a blasphemy charge against the impoverished Christian woman.

“The source of his guilt – realization that the case was not based on facts but on hyped religious emotions and personal bias of some village women, including his wife,” said the story posted at: http://www.topix.com/forum/religion/islam/T72AF1K9C8RL3C6TG

Bibi has been languishing in Sheikhupura jail since a sessions court gave her a death sentence for insulting Prophet Muhammad.

Support from London

Qari, according to some of his close friends, was now thinking of not pursuing the case anymore and expressed his desire to some of his friends, only to find himself in a difficult situation when activists of an Islamic religious organization “convinced” him not to change his mind.

“We will chase her through hell . don’t worry about the money, hiring best lawyers,” Salam told The Express Tribune, quoting the son of Khatm-e-Nabuwat’s London chapter’s leader.

The leader’s son flew in to Nankana from London after hearing that Salam might not go to Lahore High Court (LHC) when the review petition against Asia’s conviction is taken up.

Source: (ANS) www.assistnews.net

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The Muslim Street

April 2, 2011 Leave a comment

I’d like you to go to UNDispatch and read an initial insider reaction to the atrocity in Afghanistan yesterday. The Islamic aspect of the massacre is non-existent, of course (after all, this is the UN), but the conclusion is still germane: it is time for the UN to leave Afghanistan.

Because a pastor in Florida burned a Koran, Imams in the Afghan city, Mazar-i-Sharif, chosen by the UN for a headquarters because of its “peacefulness”, preached violence against the “Crusaders”, and after their Mosque services rode around in cars using bullhorns to continue to inflame a growing mob.

That mob, which some have estimated to have been 20,000 strong, broke through the barriers to the UN compound. Because they were simply unarmed citizens and not Taliban extremists, the UN force did not fire on them. For their restraint, the guards were murdered, and then their arms were used to hunt down others in the compound, who were in turn brutally murdered in cold blood.

This is the Muslim concept of protest, directly led by religious leaders, on display for the entire world to observe.

This is the Muslim concept of moral equivalence: you burn the pages of a book, we slaughter you.

And it gets worse. Harman Karzai, the Afghan president, himself set the stage for the massacre by using the Koran burning incident to agitate the Afghanis. Just as in Pakistan and all the other heavily Muslim nations, riling up the Islamic base is good politics for regimes lacking real leadership credentials.

One of the provisos of the Christian principles of Just War is that for a war to be justifiable there must be a  reasonable chance of success (or that the situation is so bad that the alternative, failure, must be less acceptable than death itself). Afghanistan is sinking back into tribal and Islamic quicksand. It will take real leadership to pull her out, and more than merely in the military realm. It will take moral leadership, something the Muslim clerics clearly do not have a clue about. Harman Karzai is incapable of that leadership, and so is Barack Obama. Until something changes, we are wasting precious blood and treasure.

Meanwhile, we must remember that there are souls trapped within this horrendous cycle of ignorance and evil. Souls that Jesus loves and died for. I think of the young woman on the cover of Time, whose nose and ears were cut off by her arranged husband who grew tired of her. And she is only one of countless victims of a culture that turns men into animals.

Since the powers of this world are no longer even treading water, I would like to submit that the real war in Afghanistan, the one that matters, is being fought by intercessors, in their prayers and, for some, their acts of obedience. The world’s rulers are increasingly out of ideas, and simply do not have a clue about what to do. They are just trying to keep a semblance of order on deck, as the Titanic sinks down.

We have been warned that this would happen, so this is only further confirmation of the truth of the Scriptures. Our redemption draweth nigh, but until then we have work to do in God.

God bless you, and God bless the innocents that are suffering.

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A sad day in Pakistan

March 3, 2011 Leave a comment

Yesterday was a sad day for Christians, the nation of Pakistan, and the world. Pakistan’s leading Christian, minister for minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti, was murdered in a hail of bullets as he left for work.

Bhatti had worked tirelessly, against the tide, for the rights of Pakistan’s minorities. In particular he had labored for the repeal of the infamous blasphemy law that is used against them at will by the majority Muslims. Not two months ago, the governor of the Punjab province was assassinated, by his own bodyguard, for opposing the blasphemy law, so Bhatti knew his life was in immanent danger. He had asked for secure housing, but had been given the run-around. On this particular day he had told his bodyguards to meet him at work. That his assassins took advantage of that opportunity suggests an inside job.

That wouldn’t be surprising, because a large portion of the Pakistani people actually approve of the death penalty for insulting Islam’s prophet.

Bhatti was a 42 year old Catholic who devoted his entire life to minority rights. He forewent marriage, because he believed it would be unfair to subject a family to the dangers of his work. A few weeks before he died, Bhatti recorded a video tape in which he spoke of his devotion to Christ and to his calling, and of his understanding of the cost of bearing the cross. He asked that the tape be released after his death.

A few hours after Bhatti was killed, a gunman stormed onto a bus in Germany and murdered two American servicemen, wounding others. The gunman was a Muslim from Kosovo, one of the nations the US had gone to war for in the 1990s, precisely to help Muslims that were being mistreated by Christians there. As he executed the victims, the gunman cried Allah akbar . The full sense of that is, “our God is greater”.

Last evening I turned to al Jazeera, English, to see how they would cover these stories. I watched the live feed and I scoured the web site. The Germany story was covered without mention of the assailant’s Islamic war cry. The assassination was not covered at all, not even in print. What may be the end of Pakistan’s last shot at civilized normalcy did not even merit a mention.

Al Jazeera is actively campaigning to break into the lucrative – and influential – American cable market. As with the story of the sexual assault on Lara Logan by a crowd in Cairo’s Tehrir Square two weeks ago, as they reportedly cried “Jew! Jew!”, yesterday’s stories evidently were considered a little too inconvenient to air, or in the German case, to air fully.

The Islamic world is being radicalized. The radicals read their Koran and then act. Islam brooks no dissent, and allows no questions. It is a religio-political system that demands absolute submission, with any lapse being punishable by death. And so the most moderate and reasonable elements are being ruthlessly eliminated, leaving the radicals in charge. The president of Pakistan issued this statement yesterday: “This is a concerted campaign to slaughter every liberal, progressive and humanist voice in Pakistan”. Indeed. And the government, which has forsworn blasphemy law repeal, is powerless to do anything about it.

Christians in Pakistan are a tiny minority in a nation headed for state-sanctioned barbarism. They are being brutalized, and they are fainting for lack of relief. It is a painful thing, but we must join in solidarity with them, and add our faith to theirs.

And Asa cried to the Lord his God, “O Lord, there is none like you to help, between the mighty and the weak. Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this multitude. O Lord, you are our God; let not man prevail against you.”-2Chr 14:11

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” -John 16:33

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Said Musa has been released

February 25, 2011 Leave a comment

International Christian Concern is reporting that Said Musa, the Afghani convicted of apostasy and under threat of immanent execution, has been released into US custody and is out of Afghanistan. (See his moving letters a few posts down.) Here’s an excerpt from the Christian Post:

Musa wrote a letter dated February 13, saying he was visited by representatives of the U.S. and Italian Embassies offering him asylum.

In the letter, Musa said that after the foreign representatives left the room, he was visited by three Afghan officials who told him that he would be released within 24 hours if he wrote a statement declaring that he regretted his conversion to Christianity.

“I laughed and replied, ‘I can’t deny my Savior’s name,'” Musa wrote in the Feb. 13 letter. “Because my life is just service to Jesus Christ and my death is going to heaven [where] Jesus Christ is. I am a hundred percent ready to die. They pushed me much and much. I refused their demands.”

Musa was then transferred back to his prison cell, according to the letter relayed to ICC.

There seems to be some confusion as to exactly how much danger Musa really was in. All the reporting was that his execution drew nigh, but Musa himself did not believe it. Maybe there was a faith element working in that, because the article goes on to describe yet another Christian who is in prison in Afghanistan, and his situation sounds just as dire as did Musa’s.

Credit where it is due: The Italian and especially American governments did their part to aid Musa being freed. And they did it quietly, out of necessity, because of the explosive Islamic politics of the nation.

This is a great victory, but it’s just one among an ongoing tide of persecution, so we need to remain vigilant, prayerful and active.

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The tragedy of lost Egypt

February 11, 2011 Leave a comment

I’ve been watching the news from Egypt with a mixture of hope and apprehension, but mostly apprehension. Mubarak finally has stepped down, and he has handed the government over to the army. It is a sad commentary, indeed, that the military is the only institution strong enough to hold the nation together.

What might have been had the US used its influence not merely to keep a brutal dictator in its corner, but to advocate for democracy? We will never know. In letting this thugs brutalize the people, Mubarak poured gasoline on the smoldering fumes of Islamic fundamentalism, and that in turn set the Muslims to terrorizing the Copt Christians.

In short, the nation was falling apart and was doomed to the rule of a strongman. The only question was whether that strongman would be from the military or from the Islamic radicals. We don’t have our long-range answer yet.

It’s a huge opportunity lost. Thirty years of aid, at about $2B a year, and all we bought was delay. But the money spent is not the worst of it. Our lost respect is more expensive. The last two weeks, in particular, has shown the White House stumbling all over itself, not knowing a thing about what was going on, getting its news from the TV, sending its chief intelligence specialist to make an open show of his utter incompetence before Congress.

The key ingredient that could have brought about a different outcome is leadership. Moral leadership. Jimmy Carter professed to be a big advocate of global human rights when he was president. Maybe he was, but he did not back it up with the one thing dictators respect – strength.

The man who did champion human rights, and who also backed it up with strength, was Ronald Reagan, whose centennial we celebrated this week. It’s in vogue to laud Reagan now, but in his time he was derided by the same liberal elites that now praise him.

Reagan made mistakes, such as allowing Hezbollah to survive its bombing of our Marine peacekeepers in Lebanon. But he got the big picture right – something we haven’t done terribly well since. It’s a shame that we suffer with such poor leadership, but then, we essentially get the leadership we deserve.

John Adams said that the Constitution was designed for a religious and moral people; that none else could sustain it. Because our moral foundations are disintegrating, we have lost discernment and opened ourselves up to any sweet-talking shyster with big promises. If we want better government, each of us needs to commit to personal moral and spiritual revival. Jesus promised that if we would clean the inside of the cup, the outside would be clean as well.

I pray that the Middle East can overcome the political strongholds, many of them rooted in religion, that have bound it so long. I also hope that we can overcome the progressing humanist strongholds that keep us from being the witness we are meant to be. The world is crying out for moral leadership. First in Iran, and now in Egypt, the nation and the man that so many had placed their hope in has merely voted “present”.

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Day of prayer for the release of Asia Bibi

January 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Sunday, 1/30/2011, is an international day of prayer for the release of a Pakistani woman sentenced to death for blaspheming Islam’s prophet, Muhammad. Dominant Muslim nations such as Pakistan (“Land of the Pure”) have instituted blasphemy laws which punish, often with death, any insult, real or perceived, against the founder of that religion.That would be bad enough, but what is worse is that the laws are used as raw leverage against the weak and defenseless. Christians are the main target, but others as well, such as minorities in offshoots from Islam such as the Sikhs, and even normal Muslims, can at any time find themselves falsely charged with blasphemy or tearing up a Koran, as a way for the accusers to exact personal revenge, get a hold of land or livestock, or to pressure women for sexual favors.

In the case of Asia Bibi, the woman on death row at this time, the motive seems to be revenge and just plain bullying and bigotry. What’s new is that this is the first time Pakistan has stooped to sentencing a woman to death for this supposed crime.

There has been talk of repealing the blasphemy laws in Pakistan for many years, but the problem is that the military has ruled the nation by shrewdly balancing off the Islamist religious groups against the secularists. And it hasn’t been good politics in recent years to tick off the Islamists by repealing these laws. As a sop to the West, Pakistan has instituted a ministry for minority affairs, but it’s pretty much a joke. And a week ago, one outspoken governor who openly sympathized with Bibi’s plight was assassinated for his position in the matter. One could say there is a distinct and tragic chilling effect on liberalization in Pakistan.

So this is more than about the life of one woman, as important as that is. The Body of Christ is suffering worldwide, especially in Islamic and totalitarian nations, and the use and misuse of blasphemy laws is often the cutting edge of the sword used against our brothers and sisters.

Meanwhile, in Lausanne, Evangelical leaders got together and issued a call for unity and fervent missions. I’d like to draw attention to one clause of their statement:

“A divided Church has no message for a divided world. Our failure to live in reconciled unity is a major obstacle to authenticity and effectiveness in mission.

“We lament the dividedness and divisiveness of our churches and organizations. We deeply and urgently long for Christians to cultivate a spirit of grace and to be obedient to Paul’s command to ‘make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

Unity is absolutely key to our progress in the world. As one of the last things He said during His natural life on earth, Jesus prayed and exhorted His followers to be one, even as He and the Father are one – and that’s pretty tight organic unity, indeed.

I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. -John 17:20-21

At this point, I don’t much care to argue ecclesiology or tradition or structure, beyond the basics. I care about essential right doctrine, and I care about love. The Body needs to come together if our witness is to have any power at all.

Please spread the word. Let’s join in solidarity Sunday with our suffering sister, and with the suffering church throughout the world. Let’s do it for their sake and for the sake of the Gospel. The onerous blasphemy laws are being used to oppress and persecute. They also are being used by a militant religion to stifle honest criticism and dissent, which is a major reason why Islamic societies have consistently failed to evolve and prosper. God loves freedom (Gal 5.1) and He welcomes sincere questioning (Is 1.18). He can take the heat.

May God bring peace and prosperity to His church, and if necessary, strength under persecution, but in either case, love and unity.

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