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Rising intolerance against Christians goes uncontested, even in the West

Global Persecution

Even in countries where there is not obvious persecution, Christians face increasing discrimination.
Moreover, offending, insulting or attacking Christians because of their beliefs and their values, including in the media and in public debate, based on a distorted and misinterpreted concept of freedom of expression, often goes uncontested.

(Vatican Radio) Monsignor Janusz Urbańczyk, the Holy See’s Permanent Respresentative to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) participated in Wednesday’s Conference on Combating Intolerance and Discriminations of Christians taking place in Vienna.

In his remarks, the Vatican diplomat called upon State authorities to “take into consideration the contributions of religious organizations and of their leaders concerning matters of common good and the development of society, including in the decision-making processes.”

The full text of Msgr. Urbańczyk’s three interventions are below

 

STATEMENT

BY MONSIGNOR JANUSZ URBAŃCZYK

PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE HOLY SEE,

AT THE CONFERENCE ON COMBATING INTOLERANCE AND DISCRIMINATION AGAINST CHRISTIANS

14 December 2016

SESSION I: SECURITY OF CHRISTIAN COMMUNITIES ACROSS THE OSCE REGION

Mr Moderator,

As this is the first time my Delegation takes the floor, I would like to echo the gratitude voiced during the Opening Session by Monsignor Antoine Camilleri, Undersecretary for Relations with States of the Holy See, and thank the German Chairmanship and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODHIR) for organizing this Conference on combating intolerance and discrimination against Christians. I thank the introducers for their valuable contributions to our discussion, noting especially their presentation of the extensive commitments that all participating States have agreed to in this field.

It should come as no surprise that the issue at hand is important to the Holy See and central to the work of its OSCE Delegation, just as it was when the Holy See dispatched its Delegation to the Helsinki negotiations more than 40 years ago.

The OSCE clearly provides added-value when considering and addressing security in a comprehensive and holistic manner, ranging from military to human security. Therefore, this forum is particularly apt to address the security challenges that Christian communities face today. Thankfully, the OSCE area does not witness blatant and violent persecutions of Christians, as sadly other parts of the world currently do. However, our region is still not free from cases of discrimination against Christians, and ultimately even their security can be at risk. As a matter of fact, manifestations of intolerance, hate crimes and episodes of violence or vandalism against religious places or objects continue to increase, and we certainly thank the ODIHR for its work in this field. Moreover, offending, insulting or attacking Christians because of their beliefs and their values, including in the media and in

2

public debate, based on a distorted and misinterpreted concept of freedom of expression, often goes uncontested.

Madam Moderator, starting from the Helsinki Final Act of 1975, participating States have agreed through the last 40 years upon a consistent set of commitments aimed at promoting freedom of religion or belief, and at fighting intolerance and discrimination. In this regard, let me recall the most recent 2013 OSCE Kyiv Ministerial Council Decision No. 3 on Freedom of Thought, Conscience, Religion or Belief, which emphasizes the link between security and the full respect for the freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief. With this decision, participating States have inter alia committed to ensure the right of all individuals to profess and practise religion or belief, either alone or in community with others, and in public or private, and to manifest their religion or belief through teaching, practice, worship and observance, including through transparent and non-discriminatory laws, regulations, practices and policies.

This is an integral part of the wide concept of security that we are addressing today, which includes, but goes far beyond, the physical protection of Christians and of their worship places and objects. It is well known that manifestations of discrimination and intolerance, if not correctly addressed, may end up threatening the security of individuals and may give rise to wider-scale conflict and violence that undermine international stability and security. While praising the efforts of participating States in this regard, we regret that incidents against Christians are still often underestimated and do not receive appropriate attention by the national authorities or the media. The lives of many are being affected only because of their Christian faith, which is itself an essential source for values such as tolerance and equality.

Furthermore, I would like to draw your attention to another worrying trend. In fact, we have to acknowledge some aggressively orchestrated actions, especially in the media and in public discourse, against Christians and all others who express peacefully their religious views, traditions and values. This seems to be true in particular for those who defend human nature from being reduced to mere matter and from the new ideological colonization that invades human thought, under the pretence of virtue, modernity and new attitudes, and which is contemptuous of reality as God has created it. Freedom of expression on these issues seems to be threatened, and believers who share publicly their convictions are often labelled as intolerant or accused of bigotry. In other words, the peaceful contribution of religion to public life seems not only to be rejected, but also contested. In this regard, allow me to reiterate that where fundamental freedoms are questioned, security also can be endangered.

In conclusion, we call upon participating States to act resolutely to protect Christians in their territories and to address properly, including by adequate legislative measures, all cases of intolerance, discrimination, hate crimes, and violent

3

incidents against Christian individuals, communities and places or objects of worship. Furthermore, we encourage them also to address the new forms of discrimination, including in the mass-media and in public debates, and report and condemn these incidents promptly. The active role of state authorities in protecting and promoting tolerance and non-discrimination can truly assure peace and security, as well as contributing to creating a peaceful environment where Christians, as well as all other religious groups, can freely profess and practise their faith.

In the Ministerial Council meeting in Basel in 2014, participating States, after adopting the Declaration on enhancing efforts to combat anti-Semitism agreed to advance the elaboration of other Ministerial Council Declarations that could effectively combat intolerance and discrimination against Muslims, Christians and members of other religions. It is regrettable that two years later, due to hesitations from some participating States, we seem no closer to making good on our tasking to ourselves. The Holy See recognizes the attempt made by the German Chairmanship prior to the Ministerial Council in Hamburg, and the interest and engagement of so many Delegations, especially those who in good faith took an active part in the discussion, regardless of their views. Despite our lack of success so far – actually because of it – the Holy See calls on the incoming Austrian Chairmanship to devote a meeting of the Human Dimension Committee next year to this Basel tasking.

Thank you, Madam Moderator.

 

STATEMENT

BY MONSIGNOR JANUSZ URBAŃCZYK

PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE HOLY SEE,

AT THE CONFERENCE ON COMBATING INTOLERANCE AND DISCRIMINATION AGAINST CHRISTIANS

14 December 2016

SESSION II. SHARING BEST PRACTICES: EDUCATIONAL APPROACHES AND

AWARENESS-RAISING MEASURES

Mr Moderator,

First of all, the Delegation of the Holy See would like to thank the introducers for their interesting and insightful presentations.

In our pluralistic societies, we recognize the contribution religions make to the shaping of culture, to encouraging dialogue and to fostering mutual understanding. Yet sometimes we witness the marginalization of, and hostility towards, religions and believers, which can constitute intolerance and discrimination and can lead to hatred and violent acts.

A fundamental principle of the Christian vision of things is to seek the common good instead of the merely personal. For Christians, as Pope Francis has written in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, “the whole is greater than the part, but it is also greater than the sum of its parts”. [Christians] constantly have to broaden [their] horizons and see the greater good which will benefit us all.”1 This approach, for example, allowed Europe, based on its religious roots, to be capable of reconciling diverse cultural traditions and this approach still allows Christians today to seek mutual understanding, open to an increased sharing of the values of each one.

I would like to stress, in particular, two aspects of the topic proposed for discussion during this Session.

The first one is the key role of education in promoting tolerance and non-discrimination since it addresses the root causes of the phenomenon.

1 Apostolic Exhortation EVANGELII GAUDIUM, No. 235.

In this regard, it is to be hoped that governments and leaders commit themselves to ensure that all can have the minimum spiritual and material means needed to live in dignity, including the right to education and religious freedom.2 In order that education is able to ensure integral human development, it should be used as a means to build bridges. In fact, one of the greatest temptations nowadays is to build walls instead of bridges, and this is sometimes even achieved through education. As Pope Francis said, “the biggest failure [….] is to educate “within the walls.”. Educating within walls: walls of a selective culture, the walls of a culture of safety, the walls of a social sector that is well-off and goes no further ahead.”3

Bearing in mind that this “temptation” is often widespread, in Brussels Ministerial Council Decision 13/06 the Participating States have recognized the value of cultural and religious diversity as a source of mutual enrichment of societies and the importance of integration as a key element to promote mutual respect and understanding. Indeed, religious values should be considered an enriching integral component of a society rather than the expression of a subculture that is not linked with public life. Furthermore, in Ljubljana Ministerial Council Decision 10/05 the Participating States have encouraged public and private educational programmes that promote tolerance and non-discrimination, and raise public awareness of the existence and the unacceptability of intolerance and discrimination, fighting prejudice, intolerance and discrimination against Christians as well as Muslims and other religions. The Holy See firmly believes that education is a tool at our disposal to build bridges for peace and stability and to raise our youth as peace-makers and promoters of true tolerance and non-discrimination.

The second aspect is the crucial role of constructive dialogue, within the public debate in promoting tolerance and non-discrimination against Christians. The misuse of dialogue can create and reinforce patterns of intolerance and discrimination. On the contrary, its wise use can contribute to humanizing relations among people but also among governments, and can foster and develop a correct, mature and respectful public opinion. As Pope Francis has written in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, social dialogue is a contribution to peace. In this regard, also interreligious dialogue could be a tool which reinforces mutual understanding and builds confidence in order to reduce intolerance and discrimination.

Finally, to quote Pope Francis once again, “in her dialogue with the State andwith society, the Church does not have solutions for every particular issue. Together with the various sectors of society, she supports those programmes which best respond to the dignity of each person and the common good. In doing this, she proposes in a clear way the fundamental values of human life and convictions which can then find expression in political activity.”4

Thank you, Mr Moderator.

  1. Meeting with the members of the General Assembly of the United Nations Organization, Address of the Holy Father, September 2015.
  2. Address of Pope Francis to the participants at the World Congress promoted by the Congregation for Catholic Education, 21 November 2015.
  3. Apostolic Exhortation EVANGELII GAUDIUM, No. 241.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS OF PERMANENT MISSION OF THE HOLY SEE,

AT THE CONFERENCE ON COMBATING INTOLERANCE AND DISCRIMINATION

AGAINST CHRISTIANS

14 December 2016

Some additional recommendations to those already proposed during the previous session of this conference.

  1. We call upon State authorities to take into consideration the contributions of religious organizations and of their leaders concerning matters of common good and the development of society, including in the decision-making processes.
  2. We call upon authorities to respect and protect religious education in society. We also encourage them to support educators, including families, schools, and religious organizations, to develop and strengthen education programmes that can promote mutual understanding between different cultures and religions, as well as universal values such as respect for the inherent dignity of every human being and solidarity.
  3. We invite all actors to engage in an open and constructive dialogue on religious issues. In fact, we seem to witness a certain timidity to undertake a serious dialogue on religious issues and a reluctance to deal with them, which may prevent us from further advancing in our efforts towards mutual understanding.
  4. We express appreciation to the ODIHR for any initiative it may develop aimed at enhancing the security of Christian communities as well as capacity-building programs for improving the prevention and response to hate crimes, including the training on hate crimes for representatives of Christian churches and for Christian Civil Society.

Finally, since ODIHR Director Michael Link has recently confirmed that next year will see concrete progress in the drafting of guidelines for educators on countering intolerance and discrimination against Christians, reflecting guidelines on intolerance and discrimination against other religious groups, the Holy See does not need to repeat its recommendations on this point. However, this delegation thanks the

ODIHR for its decision, and assures the Office of our wholehearted support for the work ahead.

 

STATEMENT

BY MONSIGNOR JANUSZ URBAŃCZYK

PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE HOLY SEE,

AT THE CONFERENCE ON COMBATING INTOLERANCE AND DISCRIMINATION AGAINST CHRISTIANS

14 December 2016

SESSION III: THE WAY FORWARD. PREVENTING AND RESPONDING TO INTOLERANCE AND DISCRIMINATION, BY BUILDING TRUST BETWEEN COMMUNITIES

Mr. Moderator,

At the end of this Conference, my Delegation wishes to thank once again the German OSCE Chairmanship and ODIHR for their efforts in preparing this important event and for providing us all with a platform to discuss the burning issue of intolerance and discrimination against Christians. Many thanks also to introducers for their interesting and insightful presentations.

The previous sessions have given us the opportunity to reflect on various aspects of intolerance and discrimination against Christians as well as more broadly on freedom of religion and belief. A freedom “which shapes the way we interact socially and personally with our neighbors whose religious views differ from our own.”1 As enshrined in the principles of the OSCE, freedom of religion is a key for security, stability and peace, and it allows that mutual understanding which is increasingly important in our globalized world. This session now calls us to reflect on how building reciprocal trust can contribute both to preventing and to responding to, violations of that freedom and episodes of intolerance and discrimination.

The key to prevention is to recognize that religion, with its values and traditions, can significantly contribute to the enrichment and development of society, and to creating a peaceful environment where everybody is free to profess and practice his faith. As Pope Francis has recalled, “religion itself, the religious dimension, is not a subculture, it is part of the culture of every people and every nation. [Religions] remind us of the transcendent dimension of human existence and our irreducible freedom in the face of any claim to absolute power.”2 As a matter of fact, religions have an enduring capacity to open new horizons, to stimulate thought,

  1. Pope Francis, Meeting for religious liberty with the Hispanic Community and other immigrants, 26 September 2015.
  2. Ibidem.

to expand the mind and heart,3 feeding mutual trust among people and communities. We therefore call upon participating States to acknowledge such a role and to enable Christians to fully participate in public life. We also urge authorities to condemn, including with adequate legislative measures, the use of and incitement to violence on religious grounds. In this regard, as Pope Francis has repeatedly affirmed, no violent act, including terrorism, should ever be predicated on religion or belief.

Already emphasized earlier today, we are sadly witnessing that all around the world religious freedom seems not only to be reduced to a marginal sight, but in some cases, is actively suppressed. In the OSCE region, discrimination and intolerance against Christians is increasing, leading to mistrust, hatred and even to episodes of violence against believers and of vandalism against places or objects of worship. This is the reason we convened here today, to address jointly this challenge for our common security area. Moreover, Christians are frequently discouraged from practising their faith and sharing their values, as they are fearful of being attacked or insulted. The forms of intolerance against Christians stem from what Pope Francis calls the “globalization of the technocratic paradigm,”4 which consciously strives to impose uniformity and seeks to eliminate all differences and traditions under the false justification of unity. Thus, religious leaders and believers have not only the right but also the duty to show that it is possible to build a society where “a healthy pluralismwhich respects differences and values them as such [is a] precious ally in the commitment to defending human dignity […] and a path to peace in our world.”5

Mr Moderator, to face these challenges and to respond to intolerance and discrimination against Christians it is fundamental to build, or even re-build, trust. First of all, while already praising efforts in this regard, we call upon all participating States to uphold firmly the many commitments related to freedom of religion or belief we have agreed to since the very founding of our Organization. With the Helsinki Final Act of 1975, at a time when the very existence of religion was questioned, we promised “to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief, for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion.”6 After Helsinki, we have developed together several effective tools to make this promise real. Among others, for instance, Kyiv Ministerial Council Decision 3/13 commits us to promote dialogue between religious or belief communities and governmental bodies, and to encourage the inclusion of religious and belief communities in public discussions.

In fact, dialogue is the key to fight intolerance, but to have an effective dialogue we need trust. The Holy See encourages governments, followers of the various religious traditions as well as all other actors in society to engage in an exercise of mutual understanding and to join their voices in calling for tolerance as well as in promoting and living the rediscovery of encounter with others. Only in this

  1. Pope Francis, Apostolic Exhortation EVANGELII GAUDIUM, No. 256.
  2. Pope Francis, Encyclical Letter LAUDATO SI’, No. 106.
  3. Pope Francis, Apostolic Exhortation EVANGELII GAUDIUM, pp. 255 and 257.
  4. Helsinki Final Act.

way, we will be able to achieve that culture of encounter that Pope Francis has invoked many times. My Delegation would also encourage the incoming OSCE Chairmanship and participating States to keep this topic high on the agenda of our Organization.

To conclude, the Holy See reiterates its full and tireless commitment to build trust through frank, open and direct dialogue with State authorities and other religious organizations. “Such dialogue is particularly crucial in our multipolar societies. In fact, if religions are not part of the solutions, they may easily become part of the problem.”7

Thank you, Mr Moderator,

source: Vatican Radio

Islamic Jizya: Fact and Fiction

jizya-money-12235

Muslim demands for non-Muslim “infidels” to pay jizya on pain of death are growing, even as the West fluctuates between having no clue what jizya is and thinking that jizya is an example of “tolerance” in Islam.

In the video where the Islamic State slaughters some 30 Christian Ethiopians in Libya last April, the spokesman repeatedly pointed out that payment of jizya (which the impoverished Ethiopian migrant workers could not render, nor the 21 Copts before them) is the only way for Christians around the world to safeguard their lives:

But whoever refuses [to pay jizya] will see nothing from us but the edge of a spear. The men will be killed and the children will be enslaved, and their wealth will be taken as booty. This is the judgment of Allah and His Messenger.

When the Islamic State invaded ancient Christian regions around the Ninevah Plain last June,  it again declared: “We offer them [Assyrian Christians] three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract—involving payment of jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword.”

The Islamic State—which most Western politicians ludicrously insist “has nothing to do with Islam”—is not alone in calling for jizya from Christian “infidels.”  In 2002, Saudi Sheikh Muhammad bin Abdul Rahman, discussing the Muslim prophet’s prediction that Islam will eventually conquer Rome, said, “We will control the land of the Vatican; we will control Rome and introduce Islam in it. Yes, the Christians . . . will yet pay us the jizya, in humiliation, or they will convert to Islam.”

And in a video recently posted, Sheik ‘Issam Amira appears giving a sermon in Al Aqsa Mosque where he laments that too many Muslims think jihad is only for defense against aggressors, when in fact Muslims are also obligated to wage offensive jihad against non-Muslims:

When you face your pagan enemy, call them—either to Islam, jizya, or seek Allah’s help and fight them.  Even if they do not fight [or initiate hostilities], fight them!… Fight them!  When?  When they fight you?  No, when they refuse to convert to Islam or refuse to pay jizya….  Whether they like it or not, we will subjugate them to Allah’s authority.

In short, if the Islamic State is enforcing jizya on “infidels,” demands for its return are on the increase all around the Muslim world.  Put differently, if Abu Shadi, an Egyptian Salfi leader, once declared that Egypt’s Christians “must either convert to Islam, pay jizya, or prepare for war,” Dr. Amani Tawfiq, a female professor at Egypt’s Mansoura University, once said that “If Egypt wants to slowly but surely get out of its economic situation and address poverty in the country, the jizya has to be imposed on the Copts.”

The Doctrine and History of Jizya

So what exactly is jizya?

The word jizya appears in Koran 9:29, in an injunction that should be familiar by now: “Fight those among the People of the Book [Christians and Jews] who do not believe in Allah nor the Last Day, nor forbid what Allah and his Messenger have forbidden, nor embrace the religion of truth, until they pay the jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued (emphasis added).”

In the hadith, the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad, regularly calls on Muslims to demand jizya of non-Muslims:  “If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay jizya, seek Allah’s help and fight them.”

The second “righteous caliph,” Omar al-Khattab, reportedly said that any conquered “infidel” who refuses to convert to Islam “must pay the jizya out of humiliation and lowliness. If they refuse this, it is the sword without leniency.”

This theme of non-Muslim degradation appears regularly in the commentaries of Islam’s authorities.  According to the Medieval Islamic Civilization Encyclopedia, Muslim “jurists came to view certain repressive and humiliating aspects of dhimma as de rigueur. Dhimmis [subjugated non-Muslim Christians and Jews] were required to pay the jizya publicly, in broad daylight, with hands turned palm upward, and to receive a smart smack on the forehead or the nape of the neck from the collection officer.”

Some of Islam’s jurists mandated a number of other humiliating rituals at the time of jizya payment, including that the presiding Muslim official slap, choke, and in some cases pull the beard of the paying dhimmi, who might even be required to approach the official on all fours, in bestial fashion.

The root meaning of the Arabic word “jizya” is simply to “repay” or “recompense,” basically to “compensate” for something.  According to the Hans Wehr Dictionary, the standard Arabic-English dictionary, jizya is something that “takes the place” of something else, or “serves instead.”

Simply put, conquered non-Muslims were to purchase their lives, which were otherwise forfeit to their Muslim conquerors, with money. Instead of taking their lives, they took their money.  As one medieval jurist succinctly put it, “their lives and their possessions are only protected by reason of payment of jizya.”

Past and increasingly present, Muslims profited immensely by exacting jizya from conquered peoples.

For instance, Amr bin al-As, the companion of Muhammad who conquered Christian Egypt in the early 640s, tortured and killed any Christian Copt who tried to conceal his wealth. When a Copt inquired of him, “How much jizya are we to pay?” the Islamic hero replied, “If you give me all that you own—from the ground to the ceiling—I will not tell you how much you owe. Instead, you [the Christian Copts] are our treasure chest, so that, if we are in need, you will be in need, and if things are easy for us, they will be easy for you.”

Yet even that was not enough. Caliph Uthman later chided Amr bin al-As because another governor of Egypt had managed to increase the caliphate’s treasury double what Amr had. In the words of Uthman, the “milk camels [Egypt’s Christians, that is] . . . yielded more milk.”  Years later, yet another caliph, Suliman Abdul Malik, wrote to the governor of Egypt advising him “to milk the camel until it gives no more milk, and until it milks blood.”

Little wonder Egypt went from being almost entirely Christian in the seventh century to today having a mere 10%—and steadily dwindling, thanks to ongoing persecution—Christian minority.

Related to the idea of institutionalized jizya is the notion that non-Muslims are fair game to plunder whenever possible.  The jizya entry in the Encyclopaedia of Islam states that “with or without doctrinal justification, arbitrary demands [for money] appeared at times.” Even that medieval traveler, Marco Polo, whose chronicles appear impartial, made an interesting observation concerning the Muslims in Tauris (modern day Iraq) in the thirteenth century:

According to their doctrine [Islam], whatever is stolen or plundered from others of a different faith, is properly taken, and the theft is no crime; whilst those who suffer death or injury by the hands of Christians [during the course of a plunder-driven raid], are considered as martyrs….  These principles are common to all Saracens [Muslims].

All this is echoed in recent times by the words of  Sheikh Abu Ishaq al-Huwaini, spoken a few years ago, concerning what the Muslim world should do to overcome its economic problems:

If only we can conduct a jihadist invasion at least once a year or if possible twice or three times, then many people on earth would become Muslims. And if anyone prevents our dawa [invitation to conversion] or stands in our way, then we must kill or take them as hostage and confiscate their wealth, women and children. Such battles will fill the pockets of the Mujahid [holy warrior] who can return home with 3 or 4 slaves, 3 or 4 women and 3 or 4 children. This can be a profitable business if you multiply each head by 300 or 400 dirham. This can be like financial shelter whereby a jihadist, in time of financial need, can always sell one of these heads.

So it was for well over a millennium: Muslim rulers and mobs extorted money from “infidels” under their sway as a legitimate way to profit.

Much of this financial fleecing came to an end thanks to direct European intervention. Beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, one Muslim region after another abolished the jizya and gave non-Muslims unprecedented rights—originally to appease Western powers, later in emulation of Western governance. The Ottoman Empire’s Hatt-i Humayun decree of 1856 abolished the jizya in many Ottoman-ruled territories. Elsewhere in the Muslim world, the jizya was gradually abolished wherever Western powers were present.

Today, however, as Muslims reclaim their Islamic heritage—often to the approval and encouragement of a West, now under the spell of “multiculturalism”—jizya, whether institutionalized as under the Islamic State, or as a rationale to plunder infidels, is back.

Even in the West, in 2013, a UK Muslim preacher who was receiving more than 25,000 pounds annually in welfare benefits referred to British taxpayers as “slaves,” and explained:  “We take the jizya, which is our haq [Arabic for “right”], anyway. The normal situation by the way is to take money from the kafir [infidel], isn’t it? So this is the normal situation. They give us the money—you work, give us the money, Allahu Akhbar [“Allah is Great”]. We take the money.”

Academic Lies about Jizya

Yet if Muslims—from Islamic State jihadis to Egyptian university professors—know the truth about jizya, the West is today oblivious, thanks to its leading authorities on Islam: Western academics and other “experts” and talking heads.

Consider the following excerpt from John Esposito, director of the Prince Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University and a widely acknowledged go-to source for anything Islamic:

In many ways, local populations [Christians, Jews, and others] found Muslim rule more flexible and tolerant than that of Byzantium and Persia. Religious communities were free to practice their faith to worship and be governed by their religious leaders and laws in such areas as marriage, divorce, and inheritance. In exchange, they were required to pay tribute, a poll tax (jizya) that entitled them to Muslim protection from outside aggression and exempted them from military service. Thus, they were called the “protected ones” (dhimmi). In effect, this often meant lower taxes, greater local autonomy (emphasis added) …

Despite the almost gushing tone related to Muslim rule, the idea that jizya was extracted in order to buy “Muslim protection from outside aggression” is an outright lie.  Equally false is Esposito’s assertion that jizya was paid to “exempt them [non-Muslims] from military service”—as if conquering Muslims would even want or allow their conquered “infidel” subjects to fight alongside them in the name of jihad (holy war against infidels) without first converting to Islam.

Yet these two myths—that jizya was for “Muslim protection from outside aggression” and exemption from military service—are now widely accepted.  In “Nothing ‘Islamic’ About ISIS, Part Two: What the ‘Jizya’ Really Means,” one Hesham A. Hassaballa recycles these fabrications on BeliefNet by quoting Sohaib Sultan, Princeton University’s Muslim chaplain, who concludes: “Thus, jizyah is no more and no less than an exemption tax in lieu of military service and in compensation for the ‘covenant of protection’ (dhimmah) accorded to such citizens by the Islamic state.”

In reality and as demonstrated above via the words of a variety of authoritative Muslims, past and present,  jizya was, and is indeed, protection money—though protection, not from outsiders, as Esposito and others claim, but from surrounding Muslims themselves.  Whether it is the first caliphate from over a millennium ago or whether it is the newest caliphate, the Islamic State, Muslim overlords continue to deem the lives of their “infidel” subjects forfeit unless they purchase it, ransom it with money.  Put differently, the subjugated infidel is a beast to be milked “until it gives no more milk and until it milks blood,” to quote the memorable words of an early caliph.

There is nothing humane, reasonable, or admirable about demands for jizya from conquered non-Muslim minorities, as the academics claim. Jizya is simply extortion money. Its purpose has always been to provide non-Muslims with protection from Muslims: pay up, or else convert to Islam, or else die.

And it is commanded in both the Koran and Hadith, the twin pillars of Islam.  In short, jizya is yet another ugly fact of Islam—add to offensive jihad, imperialism, misogyny, slavery, etc.—one that, distort as they may, the academics cannot whitewash away, even as the world stands idly by watching its resumption in the twenty-first century.

Note: Most quotations not hyperlinked are sourced from Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians.  Full references can be found there.

source RaymondIbrahim.com

‘But Wasn’t The Persecution Of Christians Predicted In The Bible?’

bilebpoint

Voice of the Persecuted highly recommends this article to everyone! It touches on a puzzling problem happening here in the West that we are disheartened by and wonder about daily.

Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. -Hebrews 13:3

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. -Proverbs 31:8

When the history of the Christian church of the late 20th and early 21st centuries is written, at least one volume will no doubt be devoted to the persecution of the ancient Christian communities of the Middle East.

For the moment, however, their plight receives too little media attention, leaving many American Christians ignorant of, and thus unmoved by, the suffering of their fellow believers in the places that saw the birth of their faith more than two-thousand years ago.

head_in_the_sand_maskThis ignorance has many causes. Much of the media is preoccupied with how the momentous events of the Middle East affect American politics. And President Obama seems to believe that any acknowledgement of Christian persecution would hinder his efforts to launch, as he put it in Cairo four years ago, “a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world.” While recently noting the burning of Christian churches, during most of his time in office he has been loudly silent on the suffering taking place.

(Please pray that our president will become ‘courageous’ and stand up for those persecuted in the body, that he claims to be a part of!)

It doesn’t surprise me that the plight of Christians is being played down in the media and almost ignored by the president.

But what does surprise me—what breaks my heart—is the relative silence of too many Christian pastors.

In Egypt, deadly fighting between the Egyptian military and Islamists has left Egypt’s 10 million Christians caught in the crossfire. In the weeks since the military coup, Muslim Brotherhood members and their sympathizers have damaged or destroyed as many as 100 Christian churches and monasteries as well as untold numbers of Christian businesses, schools and homes.

In one incident, a Christian school in the Cairo suburbs was attacked. A cross was ripped from the gate surrounding the church, the classrooms were set ablaze and the nuns who taught there were paraded through the streets like prisoners of war. Analyst Andrew Doran, a former State Department employee, has compared the targeting of Egypt’s Christians to Kristallnacht in Germany in 1938, when the Nazis systematically vandalized Jewish synagogues, homes and businesses and murdered many Jews.

While Egypt is the most glaring example, Christians face brutal oppression across the Middle East and beyond.

The Christian communities of most Middle East countries are a fraction of what they once were. According to religious freedom expert Nina Shea, 100 years ago Christians accounted for roughly 30 percent of the population of the Middle East. Now they make up less than three percent. Much of the decline has occurred in the last 20 years.

Lord Sacks, the outgoing Chief Rabbi of Britain, recently called the situation for Middle East Christians “the religious equivalent to ethnic cleansing…[that’s] going almost unremarked.” Similar language has been used by other world leaders, from former French President Nicolas Sarkozy to former Lebanese president Amine Gemayel.  

The oppression is not limited to the Middle East. According to a 2011 Pew Forum study, Christians are persecuted in 130 countries, more than any other religion.

This reality prompted German Chancellor Angela Merkel to label Christianity “the most persecuted religion in the world.”

The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg has expressed shock that American Christians aren’t regularly protesting outside embassies to attract attention and demand a response.

They aren’t protesting primarily because they aren’t being told about the plight of their brothers and sisters in Christ — let alone admonished to act.

In 2011 a Pew Research survey, 84 percent of the evangelical leaders surveyed said that leaders should express their views on political matters, and 56 percent said that to be a good Christian it is essential to take a public stand on social and political issues when they conflict with moral and biblical principles.

Yet many pastors remain mum on the issue that should animate them the most.

Businessman with Tape over Mouth

According to a 2011 survey conducted by Barna Research Associates, 52 percent of pastors had no plans to talk about the persecution of Christians abroad. From my own experiences speaking with fellow evangelicals, the silence from the pulpit continues today, even as attacks against Christians have escalated.

Why the silence? Many pastors claim that their congregations don’t want to hear such depressing news. But the Barna poll also found that nearly three in four American Christians want to be informed about the persecuted church.

When I’ve raised this issue with pastors over the years, many have said, “Well, Gary, this is what the Lord promised us would happen.” They remind me that, as Paul wrote in his second epistle to Timothy, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”

Jesus does tell us that those who follow him will be aggrieved. But it is a theological fallacy to conclude that believers are to be silent in the face of such suffering. The Christian faith also teaches that evil will quicken as we approach the end of history. That fact does not pardon us from our obligation to fight that evil.

Detachment can be a virtue, but it call also be a sin. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the Lutheran pastor who resisted the Nazis and died in a concentration camp, once wrote,

Silence-in-the-face-of-evil

Those words are as true for pastors as they are for presidents.

By Gary Bauer for the Washington Post –Former presidential candidate- Gary is president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families.

We ask you to please share this article with many! When you are in church this weekend, ask your pastor to inform the flock, we can handle it!

The past century has seen more persecuted Christians than all other centuries combined! They are our brethren and when one is hurting, we all suffer! It seems we’ve never been more divided and weak. And at a time in history when we should be most united and STRONG!

If you are a pastor speaking out, we would love to hear how you are addressing your congregation about the escalating, modern persecution of the Church, today!

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The Amazing Way People Are Coming to Christ in the Middle East

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Daniel 12:1-4 “Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.  Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.  Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.  But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase.”

 

I saw this study last week and was absolutely mesmerized. Not only was this a beautifully crafted report (with very interesting infographics), but it had fascinating information about media use in the Middle East.

What stands out the most is how many individuals in these countries are using multiple media devices, and how frequently they are using them (even in countries where there are human rights violations). These statistics bring great hope.

For the past few years, Open Doors has been working to help spread the gospel in the Middle East through satellite television and other multimedia means. And the great news is that the audience is not a small one… these programs are capable of reaching a large number of people!

In Algeria, ‘Ordinance 06-03’ was introduced in 2006, and it restricts the exercise of any religion other than Islam. The law hinders or stops Christian evangelism.

Initially, this law was devastating for Christians in Algeria… they would now be facing a whole new realm of persecution if they shared their faith with a friend or a neighbor. Despite this law, God has made a way for the gospel to spread in this country.

“Today, satellite TV is the medium we use, because it allows us to reach a multitude of people,” shares one Algerian Christian. “ At the end of the program, people see local phone numbers displayed on the screen, so it isn’t expensive for them to call. When a program has spoken to someone, they phone us for information or to ask questions about the Christian faith. We tell them where they can find a church, or we send them CDs or Christian books.”

As the report indicates, the impact of the media is changing worldwide… especially in the Middle East. It is proving to be a very effective way to evangelize, even in areas where it is illegal.

Would you join us in praying for our brothers and sisters working on these programs, and for the people they are reaching? Please pray for their safety, courage and wisdom as they continue with this new wave of evangelism.

Open Doors

Muslim World Ministry 
Accross the Muslim world, converting to Christianity from Islam requires real courage

Isolated, shunned and sometimes killed for abandoning their Muslim faith, Christians live with a great need for the support of Bibles, training in leadership, and lasting community development.
You can send light to dark places in the Muslim World here

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