"Am I therefore become your enemy,because I TELL YOU THE TRUTH...?"
(Galatians 4:16)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

1 in 3 Muslim students approve killing for Islam:'Stop talking about celebrating diversity and focus on integration and assimilation'

If ignorance and poverty are responsible for the growth of extremist views in the Islamic world, someone needs ask to Muslim students, privileged enough and bright enough to attend some of the United Kingdom's best universities, why one-in-three of them endorses killing in the name of Islam.The report of this finding, based on a poll of 600 Muslim and 800 non-Muslim students at 12 universities in the UK, and conducted by YouGov on behalf of the Center for Social Cohesion, will be released tomorrow as "Islam on Campus."
Among its findings of Muslim beliefs:
--40 per cent support introduction of sharia into British law for Muslims
--One-third back the idea of a worldwide Islamic caliphate based on sharia law
--40 per believe it is unacceptable for Muslim men and women to associate freely
--24 per cent do not think men and women are equal in the eyes of Allah
--25 percent have little or no respect for homosexuals.
--53 per cent believe killing in the name of religion is never justified (compared with 94 per cent of non-Muslims), while 32 per cent say it is
--57 percent believe Muslim soldiers serving in the UK military should be able to refuse duty in Muslim countries
--More than half favor an Islamic political party to support their views in parliament
--One-third don't think or don't know if Islam is compatible with Western views of democracy
"Significant numbers appear to hold beliefs which contravene democratic values," Hannah Stuart, one of the report's authors, told the London Times. "These results are deeply embarrassing for those who have said there is no extremism in British universities."The report echoes one released last year by the Policy Exchange which found 37% of all Muslims aged 16-24 would prefer to live under a sharia system.In addition to polling of 1,400 students, the researchers visited more than 20 universities to interview students and listen to guest speakers brought on campus. The report notes radical Islamic preachers regularly deliver inflammatory speeches that target homosexuals and border on anti-Semitism."Our researchers found a ghettoized mentality among Muslim students at Queen Mary (college)," said James Brandon, deputy director at CSC. "Also, we found the segregation between Muslim men and women at events more visible at Queen Mary."A spokesman for Queen Mary told the Times the university knew Islamic preachers had spoken on campus but was unaware of what they had said."Clearly, we in no way associate ourselves with these views. However, also integral to the spirit of university life is free speech and debate, and on occasion speakers will make statements that are deemed offensive," he said.Wes Streeting, president of the National Union of Students, condemned the study: "This disgusting report is a reflection of the biases and prejudices of a right-wing think tank – not the views of Muslim students across Britain. Only 632 Muslim students were asked vague and misleading questions, and their answers were willfully misinterpreted."The report was criticized by the country's largest Muslim student body, the Federation of Student Islamic Societies. Most of the Islamic societies on campuses operate under the FOSIS umbrella.The authors of the report note that campus Islamic societies have, in the past, been where some UK terrorists became radicalized. They cite Kafeel Ahmed, who drove a jeep engulfed in flames into a building at the Glasgow airport last year and died of his burns. Investigators believe he adopted jihadist beliefs while studying at Anglia Ruskin university, Cambridge.In April, WND reported that the director-general of MI5 had warned the government that donations of hundreds of millions of pounds from Saudi Arabia and powerful Muslim organizations in Pakistan, Indonesia and the Gulf Straits had led to a "dangerous increase in the spread of extremism in leading university campuses.""The finding that a large number of students think it is okay to kill in the name of religion is alarming," said Anthony Glees, professor of security and intelligence studies at Buckingham University."There is a wide cultural divide between Muslim and non-Muslim students. The solution is to stop talking about celebrating diversity and focus on integration and assimilation."
As in the days of Noah...

Iran now has 6,000 centrifuges for uranium

TEHRAN, Iran-Iran's president said Saturday his country now possesses 6,000 centrifuges, a significant increase in its nuclear program that is certain to further rankle the United States and others who fear Tehran is intent on developing weapons.The new figure is double the 3,000 uranium-enriching machines Iran had previously said it was operating.President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's announcement, reported by the semi-official Fars news agency, comes a week after the U.S. reversed course in negotiations over Iran's nuclear program by sending a top American diplomat to participate in talks between Tehran and world powers.The bend in policy had prompted hopes for a compromise under which Iran would agree to temporarily stop expansion of enrichment activities. But the White House said Saturday's development did not facilitate a resolution. "Announcements like this, whatever the true number is, are not productive and will only serve to further isolate Iran from the international community," said White House spokesman Carlton Carroll.Iran, which insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, declared in April that it was aiming to double the 3,000 centrifuges it was running in its underground uranium enrichment plant in Natanz."Islamic Iran today possesses 6,000 centrifuges," Fars news agency quoted Ahmadinejad as saying Saturday in an address to university professors in the northeastern city of Mashhad.Washington and its allies have been demanding a halt to Iran's uranium enrichment - something Tehran has repeatedly refused to do.The July 19 talks in Geneva were aimed at trying to reach a deal with Iran, and in exchange, the six world powers - the U.S., Germany, Britain, France, Russia and China - would hold off on adopting new U.N. sanctions against Iran. The country is already is under three sets of U.N. sanctions for its refusal to suspend enrichment.But participants in Geneva said Iranian negotiators skirted the freeze issue despite the presence of U.S. Undersecretary of State William Burns.Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice later accused Iran of not being serious at the Geneva talks. She warned that Iran would face a fourth set of U.N. penalties if it does not meet a two-week deadline to agree to freeze suspect activities and start negotiations.On Saturday, Iran's chief delegate to the IAEA, Ali Ashgar Soltanieh, lashed back at U.S. criticism of his country's role in the Geneva talks.His U.S. counterpart, Gregory L. Schulte, told the British Daily Telegraph in an interview published earlier this week that Tehran's chief negotiator delivered a "rambling" discourse in Geneva instead of focusing on the talks.Soltanieh told The Associated Press on Saturday that Schulte's comments "further damage his credibility and that of his country." He described the Geneva talks as "successful and constructive." Ahmadinejad asserted Saturday that Iran's interlocutors had agreed to allow it to continue to run its program as long as it was not expanded beyond 6,000 centrifuges, state radio reported.
"Today, they have consented that the existing 5,000 or 6,000 centrifuges not be increased and that operation of this number of centrifuges is not a problem," state radio quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.A report by the U.N.'s nuclear monitoring agency that was delivered to the U.N. Security Council in May said Iran had 3,500 centrifuges, though a senior U.N. official said at the time that Iran's goal of 6,000 machines running by the summer was "pretty much plausible."In the enrichment process, uranium gas is pumped into a series of centrifuges called "cascades." The gas is spun at supersonic speeds to remove impurities. Enriching at a low level produces nuclear fuel, but at a higher level it can produce the material for a warhead.The workhorse of Iran's enrichment program is the P-1 centrifuge, which is run in cascades of 164 machines. But Iranian officials confirmed in February that they had started using the IR-2 centrifuge, which can churn out enriched uranium at more than double the rate.A total of 3,000 centrifuges is the commonly accepted figure for a nuclear enrichment program that is past the experimental stage and can be used as a platform for a full industrial-scale program that could churn out enough enriched material for dozens of nuclear weapons.Iran says it plans to move toward large-scale uranium enrichment that will ultimately involve 54,000 centrifuges.Ahmadinejad called the U.S. participation in the latest round of nuclear talks "a victory for Iran." In the past, the U.S. said it would join talks only if Iran suspends uranium enrichment first."The presence of a U.S. representative ... was a victory for Iran, irrespective of the outcome. ... The U.S. condition was for Iran to suspend enrichment but they attended (the talks) without such a condition being met," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying in the state radio report.On Wednesday, Ahmadinejad praised the U.S. participation at the talks as a step toward recognizing Tehran's right to acquire nuclear technology.

Iran hangs 29 convicted criminals in Tehran: report

TEHRAN-Iran executed 29 convicted drug smugglers and "bandits" on Sunday morning in Tehran's Evin prison, the state broadcaster's website IRIB reported. "Twenty-nine drug smugglers and well-known bandits were hanged in Evin prison on Sunday at dawn.These criminals had smuggled thousands of kilos of narcotics in the country and outside the country," IRIB reported.Iran said on Saturday it planned to execute 30 people for murder, rape, drug smuggling and other crimes.Police have in recent weeks arrested dozens of people in a new crackdown on "immoral behavior" in the Islamic Republic, whose human rights record is often criticized in the West."Some of these people were convicted of other crimes such as rape, murder, armed robbery ... and disrupting public security and peace," IRIB said.Iran usually carries out executions by hanging and in prisons. Sunday's executions all took place at 0510 (8:40 p.m. Saturday EDT), according to IRIB.At least 10 people were hanged in the country in July. In September last year, 21 people were executed in one day, but in two different places.Murder, adultery, rape, armed robbery, apostasy and drug trafficking are all punishable by death under Iran's Sharia law, enforced since the country's 1979 Islamic revolution.Amnesty International in April listed Iran as the world's second most prolific executioner last year, with at least 317 people put to death, trailing only China which carried out 470 death sentences.
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Yemen police station attack

Yemen Qaeda group claims attack on police station

DUBAI-An al Qaeda-linked group has claimed responsibility for an attack on a police station that killed two people and injured 18 others in Yemen's Hadramout province.The attack on Friday was in retaliation for the killing of al Qaeda militants in Yemen, the Yemen Soldiers Brigades said in a statement on a Web site often used by al Qaeda.In Friday's attack, a car tried to enter the police complex but exploded after it was stopped at the gate, killing the attacker and a police guard.Earlier this year, gunmen killed two Belgian tourists in the Hadramout region in an attack the government said was believed to have been the work of al Qaeda.Yemen, the ancestral home of Osama bin Laden, is grappling with a campaign by al Qaeda militants, who have said they were behind several attacks in recent months, including a shelling near the U.S. embassy and a mortar attack on a refinery in Aden.The government has also been fighting Shi'ite rebels in the northern province of Saada since 2004, although President Ali Abdullah Saleh said earlier this month that battle had ended.

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FBI:"America is teeming with 20,000 terrorists".

Homeland Security: Forced to defend its growing terrorist watch list, the FBI let slip a chilling fact that should silence ACLU grumblers: America is teeming with 20,000 terrorists...After 9/11, federal authorities estimated that as many as 5,000 terrorists were living in the U.S. The new figure is jarring not only because it's four times as large but because it's based on real persons, not estimates.It's not something headquarters wanted to publicize. Officials had downplayed the threat so as not to spook the public. The spin had been that Britain has the homegrown problem, not us.But that was before the ACLU launched a campaign with the Democrat Congress to demonize the watch list as a Gestapo-like tool. The FBI had no choice but to knock down their myths.The ACLU charged that an "out-of-control" FBI is adding mostly innocent people to the list, ballooning it to "over 1 million names.""I doubt this thing would even be effective at catching a real terrorist," ACLU spokesman Barry Steinhardt harrumphed.In fact, the list has saved countless lives, according to the head of the FBI's terrorism screening center-an assertion backed up by a recent independent review by the GAO.And the watch list monitors only 400,000 people, not a million, says the FBI official, Leonard Boyle. The rest are aliases due to the myriad spellings and variations of Arabic surnames.In a rare public appearance on C-Span, Boyle added that the overwhelming share of individuals on the terrorist list are foreigners, while "5% to 6%" of individuals are U.S. citizens or legal residents.That still pencils out to at least 20,000 people living in this country right now — at large and on the streets — who have "some relationship with terrorist activity," as Boyle described it.They pose a big enough threat for airlines to legally bounce them off planes, and for every law enforcement authority from border agents to local police to detain them for questioning.At 20,000 strong, these suspected homegrown terrorists number a full army division. And they don't include the more than 440 active terrorists the Justice Department already has put behind bars since 9/11. Britain, by comparison, is watching just 8,000.But never mind all that. The ACLU and its allies on the Hill want to scrap the terrorist watch list and take law enforcement's eye off these potentially dangerous suspects.In a perfect world, the ACLU might qualify as a terrorist facilitator deserving of its own spot on the list.
As in the days of Noah...

JIHAD WATCH:"India Mujahedeen" Bomb Indian City Kill at Least 29

Islamic Party Threatens Beijing Olympic Games

Hamas arrests many after blast

Hamas have arrested dozens of Fatah supporters in the Gaza Strip after an explosion killed six people.

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Hamas seizes Abbas-run agency in Gaza crackdown

GAZA-Hamas security forces stormed the office of a Palestinian news agency run by President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday and arrested dozens from his Fatah faction in their biggest crackdown since seizing Gaza, Fatah sources said. The sweep, in which 162 Fatah activists were arrested including two faction officials, came in response to an explosion on Friday that killed five members of the armed wing of the Gaza Strip's ruling Islamist Hamas group and a girl.The blast, the third of its kind in a day, marked one of the biggest flare-ups in internal Gaza violence since Hamas routed the forces of Abbas's more secular Fatah faction to seize control of the coastal territory a year ago.The sources said Hamas security men seized computers and files at the Gaza offices of the WAFA news agency, a Palestinian media outlet run by Abbas, and stormed 40 other Fatah offices.Two of those arrested on Saturday were senior Fatah officials, including, Ahmed Naser, a political Fatah leader in Gaza, and Abu Al'Abed Khattab, a former major-general in the Palestinian Authority, the sources said.A Palestinian said to have worked as a cameraman for a German television station was also among those held. But a security source said the man, Sawah Abu Saif, was arrested as a suspected Fatah activist and not for being a journalist.Hamas blamed "members of the fugitive party"-a derogatory term for Fatah-for Friday night's blast at a major junction outside Gaza City.
Thousands turned out for the funerals of the six victims of Friday's attack, some chanting "Revenge, revenge" as shots were fired into the air.Senior Hamas leader Khalil al-Hayya, whose nephew was killed in the blast and whose oldest son was wounded, vowed to punish those responsible."Those who did this must be hanged in a public square and must be fired upon," Hayya said before the burials.Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh convened an emergency cabinet meeting and in a statement afterwards ministers said the bombing was "proof that Fatah is not interested in resuming any dialogue".Fatah officials in Ramallah denied Fatah had any link to the violence and blamed it on Hamas infighting. A statement from Abbas's office said: "The claim that Fatah carried out these explosions aims to cover up the fact that there are disputes within Hamas."A group called the "Al-Awda Brigades", which said it is aligned with Fatah, claimed responsibility for the attack. The authenticity of the claim could not be verified. "The turn will come to all those who shared in executing and liquidating our people," the al-Awda statement read. "Our revenge will reach all members of the black militias of the executive force and leaders of Qassam (Hamas)."Abbas, finding his authority limited to the occupied West Bank, split with Hamas and revived peace efforts with Israel. He recently sought reconciliation with his Islamist rivals but they have balked at his precondition that they give up Gaza.The factional violence has eclipsed Israeli-Palestinian fighting in Gaza, where an Egyptian-brokered truce has largely held since last month despite some violations on both sides.
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More deadly bombs rock India

Sixteen bombs hit India's Ahmedabad, 29 killed

AHMEDABAD, India-At least 16 small bombs exploded in the Indian city of Ahmedabad on Saturday, killing at least 29 people and wounding 88, a day after another set of blasts in the country's IT hub, officials said.On Friday, eight bombs exploded in quick succession in the southern information technology city of Bangalore, killing at least one person and wounding six others.Saturday's blasts were in Ahmedabad's crowded old city dominated by its Muslim community. One was in a metal tiffin box, used to carry food, another apparently left on a bicycle."The blasts occurred in 90 minutes, one in a hospital, others in the old city of Ahmedabad," Narendra Modi, the state's Hindu-nationalist chief minister told reporters.There were two separate series of bombings, the first near busy market places. A second quick succession of bombs went off 20 to 25 minutes later around a hospital, where at least six people died, police said.Several TV channels said they had received an email from a group called the "Indian Mujahideen" at the time of the blasts. The same group claimed responsibility for eight bombs that killed 63 people in the western city of Jaipur in May.One television channel showed a bus with its side blown up, shattered windows and the roof half-destroyed. Another showed a dead dog lying beside a blown-up bicycle."The bus had just started when the blast happened," P. K Pathak, a retired insurance official who was traveling in nearby bus, told Reuters.
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Sri Lanka fighting kills 74, mostly rebels

COLOMBO-Sri Lankan troops continued their offensive against Tamil Tiger rebels in two days of fighting in the north that killed 66 Tigers and eight soldiers, the military said on Saturday.The fighting in the district of Jafna, Vavuiya Polonnaruwa, Mannar and Mullaitivu came three days after the government dismissed a declaration by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) of a unilateral ceasefire from July 26 to August 4."Our offensives are going on, troops had killed 66 LTTE terrorists in the fighting on Thursday and Friday," said military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara."Eight soldiers had died and 11 were injured from the fighting," he added.The Tigers were not immediately available for comment. The government and rebels trade death toll claims that are almost impossible to verify independently.Sri Lanka's government is pursuing a strategy to gradually retake the Tiger's northern stronghold and win the 25-year civil war amidst an almost daily barrage of land, sea and air attacks in northern rebel-held territories.The latest fighting comes a week after the military said it had dealt a "fatal blow" to the rebels with the capture of the northwestern town of Vidattaltivu, the main base of the Tigers' sea wing and their logistics hub for the region.An email statement from the Tamil Tigers early on Tuesday said the rebels would refrain from military action during the 15th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) conference from July 26 to August 4.But warned they would be forced to take "defensive action" if the military attacked them.
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Rival clashes continue in Lebanon

Lebanese army deploys to halt second day of clashes

TRIPOLI, Lebanon-The Lebanese army deployed on Saturday to halt two days of heavy sectarian fighting in the northern city of Tripoli which medical sources said had killed nine people.Soldiers, backed by armored vehicles, took up positions between Sunni and Alawite districts of the city in an effort to stop clashes which have wounded at least 68 people and forced residents to flee their homes. The sides exchanged heavy grenade and machinegun fire until dawn.In the past two months, at least 22 people have been killed in the predominantly Sunni city in sectarian fighting blamed by politicians and analysts on political turbulence in Lebanon.The Lebanese army, which often takes on a policing role, said in a statement it would not tolerate any security violations "even if that requires the use of force in all its means". One soldier was among the wounded.The dead included a woman, a boy and a man who was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade while driving his taxi."It's unacceptable for Tripoli and its poor and deprived districts to keep paying the price of escalating internal political crisis," Economy Minister Mohammed Safadi, a Sunni politician from Tripoli, said in a statement.The bouts of violence in the city since late June have been linked to lingering disputes between the Sunni-led parliamentary majority bloc and a rival alliance led by Shi'ite Hezbollah, which is close to Alawite groups in the north.A protracted political conflict between the sides was largely resolved in May by a Qatari-mediated deal.But they are now at odds over the policy statement of a national unity government which was finally formed on July 11 after weeks of wrangling over portfolios.

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China denies group's claim of role in bus bombings

BEIJING-Chinese authorities denied claims by a group calling itself the Turkistan Islamic Party that it was responsible for deadly bus explosions in Shanghai and Yunnan province ahead of the Olympic Games, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday.The group released a video threatening the Beijing Olympic Games and claiming responsibility for deadly bus explosions in Shanghai and in Yunnan's Kunming, a terrorism monitoring firm in Washington said on Friday.But Xinhua reported that a police investigation of the Shanghai blast on May 5 had nothing to do with "terrorist attacks".The blast, which killed three people and wounded 12, was caused by inflammables such as oil, Cheng Jiulong, Shanghai Municipal Public Security Bureau deputy head, was quoted by Xinhua as saying."The blast was indeed deliberate but had nothing to do with terrorist attacks," he said.IntelCenter, a U.S.-based terrorism monitoring firm, said the group had released a video entitled "Our Blessed Jihad in Yunnan", featuring a statement by the group's leader, Commander Seyfullah, threatening next month's Olympics."Despite the Turkistan Islamic Party's repeated warnings to China and international community about stopping the 29th Olympics in Beijing, the Chinese have haughtily ignored our warnings," IntelCenter quoted Seyfullah as saying.Seyfullah said the group bombed two public buses in Shanghai on May 5 and "took action against police" in Wenzhou on July 17 with a tractor loaded with explosives.The group also bombed a plastics factory in Guangzhou on July 17 and bombed three public buses in Yunnan on July 21, according to IntelCenter.
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War on terror is Pakistan's own war: prime minister

ISLAMABAD-Pakistan is fighting al Qaeda and the Taliban for its own interests, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said on Saturday as he embarked on his first official visit to the United States.Gilani, in office since March, is due to meet U.S. President George W. Bush in which militant sanctuaries along the Pakistani border with Afghanistan is expected to figure prominently. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, speaking in Australia on Friday, set the tone for the visit by stressing Pakistan had to do more to curb the flow of militants fuelling the Afghan insurgency."Extremism and terrorism are our own problems. This is our own fight. This is our own cause," he told reporters at a military airbase in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, near Islamabad, before his departure."My priority number one is to maintain law and order in the country ... and that's why it is in our own interest that extremism and terrorism is contained."The United States has long been frustrated at what it views as inadequate efforts by its major ally in the war on terror to do enough to combat militants along the border with Afghanistan.Washington has broadly supported Gilani's policy of using tribal elders to influence militants to give up violence but has expressed worries that militants would use the breathing space provided by talks to step up attacks on Western forces in Afghanistan.In recent weeks, U.S. officials have shown impatience over the rising number of attacks in Afghanistan, raising fears in Pakistan that U.S. forces might take action against militant bases on Pakistani soil.Pakistan, which itself is facing growing militant violence at home, says it would continue fighting al Qaeda and the Taliban but would not allow foreign forces to take action in its territory.

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'Space burial' of 63 Japanese to take place at end of July

NEW YORK-Celestis Inc., a U.S. provider of the so-called "space burial" service, has scheduled a post-cremation memorial spaceflight for the ashes of 208 people from around the world, including 63 from Japan, at the end of this month, company officials said Friday.The number of Japanese included in the service is the highest number ever in the United States, they said. Space burial is a memorial service that began in 1997 in the United States. In the service, a small sample of the cremated ashes of the deceased is placed in a capsule and launched into space using a rocket.The idea of being "buried" in space has attracted an increasing number of people. The number of Japanese who have asked for the service has grown to the second highest on its list following Americans, said a Celestis spokesperson.The rocket for the upcoming service will be launched at the U.S. military facility on the Marshall Islands. It carries a satellite that contains the capsules of the ashes-ranging 1 gram to 14 grams per person.The satellite will go around the earth for several years before burning out in the atmosphere. The service costs from around $2,500, or about 270,000 yen, to $7,500.For security reasons, the specific date of the launch is not announced, and bereaved family members of the deceased are not allowed to witness the launch.
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Bent cross to remain as symbol of strength

Parkersburg, Ia.-The cross is the eternal symbol of Christianity, a reminder of both Jesus' suffering during the crucifixion and the hope borne out of Christ's resurrection. There are three crosses atop the Parkersburg United Methodist Church.Two point skyward.The third cross bends eastward at an angle.The cross points in the same direction as the path of the tornado that roared through Parkersburg two months ago, when 200 mph winds descended upon this town of 2,000 people and eight churches. The tornado took six lives here while wiping clean the southern third of the town.Now, scores of destroyed homes are rising anew.But the bent cross atop the Methodist church won't be replaced.Here's why:Twenty-two of the church's parishioners lost their homes in the tornado. Many told the Rev. Betsy Piette that when they climbed out of their basements that afternoon and saw their houses gone, they looked south to see if their church was still there. Trees and houses were gone, so everyone had a clear view. What they saw on Parkersburg's horizon were the church's three crosses, one bent by the flying storm debris. The church had survived, its hymnals sitting perfectly in place, its sanctuary missing just one stained glass window.During the first church service after the tornado, Piette — who also lost her home — led the congregation in a group therapy session of sorts. Members spoke about the tornado. They spoke about survival. And one asked: What about the bent cross?Leave it that way, Piette said. The congregation shouted its approval. "We want people to know that we may be bent, but we're not broken," Piette said.And so, as this town rebuilds, the bent cross will stay bent.
As in the days of Noah....

Orthodox Christians get back to their roots

Obama Held Private Session With Iranian-Americans

Sen. Barack Obama held a private session with a group of about two dozen Iranian-American donors shortly before a fundraiser this month in California after one of the participants said the Obama campaign would hold such a forum if local Iranian-Americans were able to raise $250,000.The forum-which was not on Obama's public schedule and was closed to the press-took place shortly before a fundraiser at the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach, Calif., on July 13. That was less than a week before Obama's trip to the Middle East, where the U.S. relationship with Iran is a critical issue.Obama spoke for about 15 minutes, according to the Obama campaign. He did not take questions, and did not stray substantially from his standard stump speech about the need to engage with Iran and the rest of the world in new manner, according to one attendee.While such private meetings with well-heeled donors are not out of the ordinary, at least one fundraising pitch for the event was unusual.A businessman contacted by the campaign to help raise money suggested that special access to the candidate would only be granted if a fundraising threshold was met-making it sound like the kind of pay-to-play event that is frowned upon by watchdog groups and generally avoided by campaigns."The Obama campaign has promised to have a private meeting with Iranian Americans if we as a group can raise $250,000 for this coming Sunday's event," Manouch Moshayedi, a prominent Iranian-American businessman in Orange County, Calif., wrote in an e-mail distributed to potential donors July 9, according to a copy of the message obtained by ABC News."I am asking for your help in making this private meeting happen," he added. "If we are able to succeed, we will inform all of the Iranians who have signed up for this event to gather in a different room either before or after the general meeting to privately meet with Senator Obama."Shortly after the e-mail was distributed, the Obama fundraiser who enlisted Moshayedi's help, Hassan Nemazee, contacted Moshayedi to tell him he got some key details wrong: $250,000 was the target for him to help raise among Iranian-Americans in his area, but Obama was poised to address the group regardless of whether they achieved it.
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The Pentagon Didn’t Say Obama Couldn’t Visit The Troops In Germany

They just said that Obama couldn’t take his campaign staffers with him since their inclusion would have made the visit too much like a campaign stop.
Meaning that Obama could visit the troops, but he chose not to because he couldn’t bring his army of campaign staffers with him to act as a buffer between him and the troops.So the “the Pentagon wouldn’t let Obama visit the troops” line is just spin.He could have, but he chose not to.But Obama did call some of the soldiers today after he got blasted for deciding to spend a night on the town in Berlin instead of visit them.So that was big of him.After the fact.
By Rob

As in the days of Noah....

Rick Warren, 'gay' advocate team up to host Obama-McCain:Joint appearance at Saddleback Church co-sponsored by faith group challenging 'right'

The upcoming joint appearance by Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain at Rick Warren's evangelical Saddleback Church is co-sponsored by a left-leaning group led by a Unitarian-Universalist minister who once headed her denomination's homosexual advocacy office.Meg Riley is the board president of Faith in Public Life, whose board members include other theological liberals, including a pro-abortion Muslim leader and a Jewish rabbi, reported OneNewsNow.The group's stated vision hints at its challenge to the influence of the so-called religious right, saying it "envisions a country in which diverse religious voices for justice and the common good consistently impact public policy; and those who use religion as a tool of division and exclusion do not dominate public discourse."The blog Watchers Lamp noted Faith in Public Life offers a list of faith-based groups on its website that promote the homosexual-rights agenda.Warren told OneNewsNow, a Christian Internet site, he's not troubled by the association with a group at odds with his church's conservative evangelical theology."Really we just are ... co-hosting [the event]," Warren said, noting Faith in Public Life came up with the idea."Actually, we're in total control of the format, the program, the questions," he said. "It's at our church; and so it's not their event, it's our event."Warren will moderate the event with the presumed Republican and Democratic presidential nominees Aug.16 at Saddleback Church's Civil Forum on Leadership and Compassion. He said the forum will be "a civil and thoughtful format absent the partisan 'gotcha' questions that typically produce heat instead of light." Issues, he suggested, would include poverty, HIV/AIDS, climate and human rights.Warren said that, at the candidates' request, the two-hour forum will be held in a non-debate format and open to all media. Both candidates want the questions to be posed exclusively by Warren, instead of a panel or members of the audience. Obama and McCain will each have an hour to converse with Warren, beginning with Obama, as determined by a coin toss.As WND reported, Obama's appearance in 2006 at Saddleback's Global Summit on AIDS and the Church stirred controversy when some evangelicals objected to a pro-choice Democrat being given the pulpit of a church that opposes abortion. At last year's AIDS summit, in November, Sen. Hillary Clinton gave a warmly received speech while Obama and McCain were among several candidates who presented taped messages via satellite.In addition to the Civil Forum event, Warren will convene an interfaith meeting at the church for some 30 Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders to discuss "cooperation in projects for the common good of all Americans." Warren, author of the mega-best-seller "The Purpose Driven Life," told OneNewsNow he does not believe the biblical Gospel is compromised by working with non-Christians in efforts to promote the "common good.""Now, I don't happen to agree with Muslims," Warren said, 'and I don't happen to agree with Jewish people, and I don't even agree with all of the things Catholics believe, but I ... can work with them on doing something like stopping AIDS, because we all believe sex is for marriage only."In the candidates' forum, Warren plans to focus on issues political reporters often ignore, such as how the candidates view the Constitution. One question might be, he told OneNewsNow, "Is it a quote 'living document' that can be changed, that can be reinterpreted with each generation as things change? Or is it a truth written in granite that is a standard by which we evaluate everything else, and you don't change it unless we amend it?"A Warren critic, evangelical pastor Bob DeWaay, author of the book "Redefining Christianity: Understanding the Purpose Driven Movement" and founder of the apologetics ministry Critical Issues Commentary, says he believes Warren is operating under the mistaken notion that uniting all religions to fight problems like AIDS and poverty will "warm people up" to Christianity.But he admits many evangelicals have a strong affinity for Warren."He's a very likeable guy on the surface, and I think pastors and Christians think, 'Well, look at this, if he can get all these people on board and he can build a big church and he's popular, and maybe if we get on board with that, some of that will rub off. Maybe we'll learn how to have a bigger church and how to be popular,'" DeWaay said in an audio report on his website.But DeWaay often reminds people "Jesus told us that the world would hate us.""Okay, so something's seriously wrong if we do achieve popularity with the world," he said.
As in the days of Noah....

Rice warns China on Olympic security

AUCKLAND, New Zealand-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned China on Saturday not to use its massive Olympic security apparatus to crack down on legitimate dissent. Beijing officials maintain the Olympics are threatened by terrorists and other extremists and some fear Chinese authorities could use that as an excuse to move against political opponents. Rice and New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark said any such action could mar the Games."Security threats have to be dealt with and that is fully understood by everybody, but security should not become in any way a cover to try and deal with dissent," said Rice who will head the U.S. delegation to the Olympic closing ceremonies. "That would be unfortunate."President Bush will attend the opening ceremony on Aug. 8 to demonstrate U.S. support for what Rice called "really a wonderful thing for China and the Chinese people.""We are hopeful that the Olympic games will come off without a hitch," Rice said, adding that Chinese authorities should make good on promises to "showcase not just the Olympics but an attitude of openness and tolerance.""They should carry through on those pledges, " Rice told reporters after numerous reports that an unspecified terrorist plot to disrupt the Games in co-host city Shanghai had been broken up. Chinese officials have said East Turkestan Islamic Movement, or ETIM, has been plotting terror attacks on games venues as part of their decades-long fight against Chinese rule.Neither Rice nor Clark said they had any specific concerns about the safety of U.S. or New Zealand athletes who will compete although Clark said that any disturbances should be "dealt with proportionality and due restraint."While the event has become a magnet for critics of the government, ranging from free-speech advocates to activists over Tibet and Sudan's troubled Darfur region, most experts say the actual threat to the Beijing Games from terrorism is low.

As in the days of Noah...

Nuclear dispute dogs US ties with New Zealand

AUCKLAND, New Zealand-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Saturday that a lingering nuclear dispute between the United States and New Zealand ought to be overcome to focus on a new era of cooperation in the Pacific and elsewhere. Rice said joint efforts to return to democracy to Fiji, stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction, push maritime and fisheries security along with promoting free trade must take precedence over New Zealand's ban on nuclear-powered vessels and those carrying atomic arms.Despite attempts to put the contentious issue behind them, New Zealand's 23-year-old "nuclear free" status continues to hamper joint military activities with the United States. Rice said outstanding issues should be resolved, although she offered no thoughts on how to do so."New Zealand is certainly seen as a friend and an ally and one with whom we share values," she said at a news conference with New Zealand's Prime Minister Helen Clark, adding that "a whole host of problems" had been dealt with in recent years."This is a very broad and deepening relationship, and it is going to continue to be so," Rice said an earlier event with New Zealand's Foreign Minister Winston Peters. "It is by no means a relationship that is somehow harnessed to or constrained by the past."Rice is just the second secretary of state to visit New Zealand in the past nine years. Although officials have called the dispute a "relic" and the country's prime minister has cordial relations with President Bush, the nuclear issue continues to be problematic.Since 1985, U.S. warships have been denied entry into New Zealand ports because the Pentagon refuses to declare if they are carrying nuclear weapons and, as a result, New Zealand has been effectively dropped from a joint security treaty with the U.S. and Australia.Joint military training exercises between the United States and New Zealand have also been suspended since then.Rice insisted that "the relationship is not stuck in the past" and noted that there have been "a lot of changes in the world since that time.""If there are remaining issues to be addressed then I think we ought to find a way to address them, because the relationship between New Zealand and the United States is such a beneficial one," she added.Yet, neither she nor Peters spoke to how that might be achieved.Instead, they pointed to a broad array of shared interests and projects, particularly in stopping the transport of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons on the high seas and engagement with the island nations of the South Pacific, especially Fiji, where a military government has been in place since a December 2006 coup.Earlier this month, Fiji's military ruler postponed elections promised for March 2009, saying the timetable was unachievable because much-needed electoral reforms cannot be completed and implemented over the next eight months.The announcement prompted widespread condemnation and New Zealand, along with Australia, are demanding that the decision be reversed. The matter will figure prominently when Rice and Peters both attend a meeting of senior South Pacific officials on Saturday in Samoa."There is no impediment, logistical or otherwise, to a free and fair and open election in Fiji by March 2009," Peters said. "We know and believe that Fiji's only future lies in a democratic government, and that's what we're going to work for."Rice echoed that call, saying the matter had to be resolved."Clearly, the return to democracy in Fiji, clearly elections are the way to do that," she said.Rice and Peters also said they would continue to work on a languishing free-trade agreement between the United States and New Zealand.

As in the days of Noah...

FAA May Cut Back Flights From Israel To U.S.:Finds Israel's Aviation Safety Has Serious Security Flaws

WASHINGTON-The Federal Aviation Administration could soon cut back the number of flights from Israel to the United States after finding Israel's aviation safety to have "severe security shortcomings," according to a report by Israeli newspaper Haaretz. The FAA says it uncovered serious flaws in flight safety during a tour of Israel's airport security this week. Primarily, at Ben-Gurion International Airport the FAA found a lack of proper supervision, overcrowded airspace, and outdated technology. An Israeli air panel came to the same conclusion just a year ago,but no changes were implemented.A report is expected to be released in 90 days which will detail the FAA's decision on whether flights from Israel to the U.S. should be limited.
As in the days of Noah....

JIHAD WATCH:Group threatens Olympics attack, claims bombed buses

WASHINGTON-A group calling itself the Turkistan Islamic Party released a video threatening the Beijing Olympic Games and claiming responsibility for recent deadly explosions on two Chinese buses, a terrorism monitoring firm said on Friday. IntelCenter, a U.S.-based terrorism monitoring firm, said the group had released a video entitled "Our Blessed Jihad in Yunnan," featuring a statement by the group's leader, Commander Seyfullah, threatening next month's Olympics. "Despite the Turkistan Islamic Party's repeated warnings to China and international community about stopping the 29th Olympics in Beijing, the Chinese have haughtily ignored our warnings," IntelCenter quoted Seyfullah as saying."The Turkistan Islamic Party volunteers who had gone through special preparations have started urgent actions."Seyfullah said the group bombed two public buses in Shanghai on May 5 and "took action against police" in Wenzhou on July 17 with a tractor loaded with explosives.The group also bombed a plastic factory in Guangzhou on July 17 and bombed three public buses in Yunnan on July 21, according to IntelCenter.The bus explosions killed at least two people and injured 14 in the southwestern city of Kunming on Monday amid a security clampdown ahead of the Olympics.The official Xinhua news agency had blamed the blasts on "sabotage" and was seeking to find out who was responsible."The Turkistan Islamic Party warns China one more time," Seyfullah said, according to the IntelCenter transcript.
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As in the days of Noah....

Madrasas fight against rampant illiteracy

Friday, July 25, 2008

Famine, soaring food prices threaten millions in east Africa

More than 14 million people across east Africa are facing a humanitarian disaster because of a "lethal mix" of soaring food prices, drought and conflict, aid agencies say."The situation in the region is of extreme concern," Peter Smerdon, spokesman for the World Food Programme in Nairobi, told AFP Friday."Rising food prices on top of drought this year means that more and more people than in previous years are falling over the edge into destitution," he said.His comments echo warnings from the UN children's agency and the British-based development charity Oxfam."A lethal mix of drought, expanding conflict, rising food and energy prices, disease and high poverty is pushing children and their families in the Greater Horn of Africa to the brink of disaster," UNICEF said earlier this month.Oxfam said Thursday a "toxic cocktail" of crises was putting millions at risk.Aid agencies estimate that a total of 14.6 million people are facing disaster if donors do not urgently release funds.Smerdon said UN agencies, non-governmental organisations, governments and donors "need to react now to provide sufficient food and other assistance to bring the situation under control, or else there will be widespread suffering and increased deaths".At least 2.6 million Somalis-out of a total population of between nine and 10 million-are facing acute food shortages, but this figure could rise to 3.5 million by the end of the year, the UN says."An estimated 180,000 children are believed to be acutely malnourished" in the Horn of Africa nation, an increase of 11 percent in the past six months, according to the Food Security Analysis Unit, run by the UN's food agency.In certain areas the rains have failed for the fourth season running, it noted in a report published Friday.The situation is made worse by the pull-out of aid agencies from Somalia, where civil war has raged since 1991 and where aid workers have increasingly been targeted in the violence.The World Food Programme has launched an urgent appeal for 254 million euros (400 million dollars) to feed people threatened with starvation in Somalia, as well as Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya and Uganda, until the end of the year.In Ethiopia, where a rebellion is raging in the southeast Ogaden region, a serious drought has left about 4.6 million people in need of urgent food aid, the UN says. It has raised fears of a repeat of the devastating famines of the 1980s that killed almost one million people.In Kenya, which is recovering from a bloody political crisis that left hundreds of thousands of people displaced, 1.2 million people are facing starvation.The UN says 707,000 people in Uganda's rural region of Karamoja are in dire need of food, and a further 80,000 people face severe food shortages in Djibouti, which has been hit by numerous droughts in recent years.In Eritrea, drought and rising food prices are also likely to have serious humanitarian consequences, but details are scant because the Asmara government has ordered at least nine NGOs to leave the country since the beginning of 2006.

As in the days of Noah.....

Famine fears for East Africa

Gloomy summer headed toward infamy:CHILLY:Anchorage could hit 65 degrees for fewest days on record

The coldest summer ever? You might be looking at it, weather folks say.Right now the so-called summer of '08 is on pace to produce the fewest days ever recorded in which the temperature in Anchorage managed to reach 65 degrees. That unhappy record was set in 1970, when we only made it to the 65-degree mark, which many Alaskans consider a nice temperature, 16 days out of 365.This year, however-with the summer more than half over-there have been only seven 65-degree days so far. And that's with just a month of potential "balmy" days remaining and the forecast looking gloomy.National Weather Service meteorologist Sam Albanese, a storm warning coordinator for Alaska, says the outlook is for Anchorage to remain cool and cloudy through the rest of July."There's no real warm feature moving in," Albanese said. "And that's just been the pattern we've been stuck in for a couple weeks now."In the Matanuska Valley on Wednesday snow dusted the Chugach. On the Kenai Peninsula, rain was raising Six-Mile River to flood levels and rafting trips had to be canceled.So if the cold and drizzle are going to continue anyway, why not shoot for a record? The mark is well within reach, Albanese said:"It's probably going to go down as the summer with the least number of 65-degree days."
In terms of "coldest summer ever," however, a better measure might be the number of days Anchorage fails to even reach 60.There too, 2008 is a contender, having so far notched only 35 such days-far below the summer-long average of 88.Unless we get 10 more days of 60-degree or warmer temperatures, we're going to break the dismal 1971 record of only 46 such days, a possibility too awful to contemplate.Still, according to a series of charts cobbled together Tuesday evening by a night-shift meteorologist in the weather service's Anchorage office, the current summer clearly has broken company with the record-setting warmth of recent years. Consider:
• 70-degree days. So far this summer there have been two. Usually there are 15. Last year there were 21. In 2004 there were 49.
• 75-degree days. So far this summer there've been zero. Usually there are four. It may be hard to remember, but last year there were 21. In 2004 there were 23.
So are all bets off on global warming? Hardly, scientists say. Climate change is a function of long-term trends, not single summers or individual hurricanes.
Last year the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that it's "unequivocal" the world is warming, considering how 11 of the warmest years on record have occurred in the past 13 years.
So what's going on in Alaska, which also posted a fairly frigid winter?
Federal meteorologists trace a lot of the cool weather to ocean temperatures in the South Pacific. When the seas off the coast of Peru are 2 to 4 degrees cooler than normal, a La Nina weather pattern develops, which brings cooler-than- normal weather to Alaska. For most of the past year, La Nina (the opposite of El Nino, in which warmer-than-normal ocean temperatures occur off Peru) has prevailed. But that's now beginning to change.According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Web site, water temperatures in the eastern South Pacific began to warm this summer-and the weather should eventually follow.The current three-month outlook posted by the national Climate Prediction Center in Camp Springs, Md., calls for below-normal temperatures for the south coast of Alaska from August through October-turning to above-normal temperatures from October through December.
As in the days of Noah....

Power outages widespread in Texas after Dolly

HARLINGEN, Texas-Business at reopened restaurants was humming, grocery store parking lots were packed and residents of south Texas were venturing out on the newly dry roads again as the remnants of Hurricane Dolly moved well away from the Rio Grande Valley.But thousands were still without power Thursday and cleanup was ongoing following the Category 2 storm. Officials also warned that Dolly's aftereffects were not necessarily gone for good.Downed power lines remained the greatest danger. One person in Matamoros, Mexico, died from electrocution after walking past a power line on the ground.Fallen billboards and business signs still littered the streets, but residents were out and about after hunkering down for most of Wednesday. As the sun peeked through dark clouds, people began cleaning up and expressed relief that the storm didn't take many lives."We're all OK," said Hilario Cruz as he chopped up a felled tree that just missed his pickup truck in Harlingen. "We covered the windows. The water was up to our knees yesterday."There will be substantial cleanup: President Bush declared 15 counties in south Texas a disaster area to release federal funding to them, and insurance estimators put the losses at $750 million.By Thursday afternoon, forecasters downgraded Dolly to a tropical depression. The storm, which brought 100 mph winds, was expected to break up by Friday. It left behind more than a foot of rain in some areas and broke all-time July rainfall records in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.But with Dolly long gone, 159,000 people in the region were still without power at 10 p.m. EDT Thursday, according to Gov. Rick Perry's office. The figure was down from 228,000 earlier in the day.Steve McCraw, the state's homeland security director, said about 1,500 workers were on hand to help restore power and seven stations were distributing water, ice, food and hygiene kits.An aerial view of the Rio Grande Valley showed fields forming a checkerboard pattern, some inundated with water, others spared. Traffic was moving again in most places, but some residential areas were surrounded by floodwaters and debris was strewn across lawns.Perry, who flew over the area Thursday with U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, cautioned residents not to rest easy just yet."It appears that we have handled it as well as it can be handled. But it is far from over," Perry said, noting possible flooding over the next five days from runoff as the storm moves northward.Sen. Cornyn said Dolly should remind the federal government that it needs to fund levee improvements along the Rio Grande."We're lucky Mother Nature didn't deal us a harsher blow," Cornyn said.After crashing ashore on South Padre Island midday Wednesday, Dolly meandered north, leaving towns on the northern tip of the Rio Grande Valley with a surprise. Officials had feared the Rio Grande levees would breach, but the storm veered from its predicted path and they held strong."We're glad it didn't make a direct hit but it just refocuses on the issues we have," said Cameron County Judge Carlos Cascos. "The levees are suspect. Nothing's changed in my opinion."While the area near the border that expected the bulk of the storm was counting its blessings, residents a little farther north were wondering what hit them.In the La Quinta section of San Benito, flooding is routine as rain normally drives torrents of water off a nearby expressway and pool around raised railroad beds.But they said Thursday they'd never seen anything like this.One subsidized housing project will likely have to be torn down, having just barely survived three or four other floods, said Arnold Padilla, the city's housing director."If it was salvageable at all, it would be three or four months before it was livable," Padilla said.The raised railroad tracks that define the neighborhood became the vantage point, boat launch and the only dry ground around.Residents waded through waist-deep brown water with a few belongings wrapped in plastic bags held high in a sad caravan of Dolly's displaced.A bit farther northwest in Harlingen, Joanna Nunez was considering how to fix the new hole in her roof. She said that not long after the storm had torn away the chunk, a neighbor boy staying at her house asked if he could go outside to see Dolly."I told him, 'We are outside,'" she said, smiling and looking at the hole.Rain and wind from Dolly probably doomed much of the cotton crop in Texas' Rio Grande Valley. About 92,000 acres of cotton in the region were awaiting harvest but driving rains and high winds knocked bolls to the ground, making them unsalvageable, Texas Agri Life Extension agent Rod Santa Ana said. Sorghum acres damaged by rain in early July also could be doomed, he said.A remnant of the storm on Thursday blew several roofs off houses and businesses on San Antonio's south side, about 300 miles northwest of where the storm made landfall. There were no immediate reports of injuries and the National Weather Service sent a storm survey team to determine whether it was a tornado or strong winds.On South Padre Island, which endured the worst of Dolly's wrath, power could be out for another day, said town spokeswoman Melissa Zamora. A 9 p.m. curfew was set for the second night in row Thursday, and the National Guard and FEMA were distributing ice, water and food.South Padre Island officials said no buildings were in danger of collapse, but damage was widespread to hotels and other businesses. There were no dollar estimates on damage yet.
Avi Fima was mourning the damage to "my baby"—his Surf Stop store on Padre Boulevard. Windows were blown out, half the roof was torn away and water bubbled up the carpeting inside. "This is going to hit us good," Fima said. "We actually started summer really good. ... To rebuild it—the season will be over. We have a month left."Across the Rio Grande in Matamoros, Mexico, power was restored to large parts of Brownsville's sister city, and Tamaulipas Gov. Eugenio Hernandez said he hoped the lights would be on by the end of the day.Gas stations and factories reopened as about 2,500 police and soldiers patrolled to prevent looting while many of the 13,000 people who had taken shelter returned home.The last hurricane to hit the U.S. was the fast-forming Humberto, which came ashore in southeast Texas last September.The busiest part of the Atlantic hurricane season is usually in August and September. So far this year, there have been four named storms, two of which became hurricanes. Federal forecasters predict a total of 12 to 16 named storms and six to nine hurricanes this season.

As in the days of Noah....

PERSECUTION WATCH:Chad rebels free U.S. missionary after 9 months

N'DJAMENA-Chadian rebels have freed a U.S. missionary after holding him hostage for more than nine months in the remote north of the central African country, his U.S. evangelical organization said on Friday...
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As in the days of Noah...

Rhodes fires rage

OBAMA'S OWN WORDS:What he really thinks of white folks

Resisting Islamization

Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Rev. Keith Roderick(picture left), a defender of religious prisoners of conscience since 1982 as the Director of the Society of St. Stephen and Co-Director of the International Taskforce on Soviet Jewery. After responding to the appeals of Coptic Christians in 1987, he began working for Christians and other minorities from predominantly Muslim countries.He organized the Coalition for the Defense of Human Rights in 1993, the largest umbrella organization representing these minorities.Fr. Roderick also serves as the Washington Representative of Christian Solidarity International and is the Canon for Persecuted Christians for the Diocese of Quincy, the only Canon defending persecuted Christians in the Episcopal Church.
FP: Rev. Keith Roderick, welcome to Frontpage Interview.
Roderick: Thank you.
FP: We’re here today to discuss the capability that of non-Muslim minorities to resist Islamization. What do you think is the reality and where is the potential?
Roderick: Non-Muslims have survived centuries of Islamization, but just barely. The fact that they still exist in spite of conquest, violent persecution and institutional discrimination is remarkable. Unfortunately, accommodation to the pressures of Islamization has opened their communities to demise. Non-Muslims in Islamic societies never speak from the perspective of power. The historic realities of living as a “them” in a society that is religiously, politically, and economically delineated between “us” (Muslim) and “them” (Khafir) means that non-Muslims speak from the perspective of victimization. Their survival response has often been to submit to the forces of their own oppression rather to resist them. Accommodation as the strategy for survival has all too often meant abandonment of their cultural identity and values. Nevertheless, Christians and other non-Muslims have shown remarkable resilience.
Perhaps resilience itself may be the most powerful force of resistance to Islamization.
FP: What is the goal of the Islamist?
Roderick: The goal of the Islamist is to order all things in society by Islamic law. That goal is inherently racist. It assumes that a favorable balance of power favoring Muslims is the norm. Some argue that co-existence between Muslims and non-Muslims in the past is a template for today. However, unless there is the acceptance of true parity between Muslims and non-Muslims it is delusional to believe that such a peaceful “co-existence” can be achieved. The imbalance of power always and inevitably works against the non-Muslim in Islamic society.
Therefore, to be resilient in the face of this reality means that the minority must seek to preserve the integrity of his own culture. When one finds that all of the institutions of society are constructed to ensure that non-Muslims remain second class citizens, it becomes necessary to seek out one’s own cultural institutions to identify with and strengthen. Integration into a society of mutual benefit presupposes equality and security. When these are denied to minorities, “co-existence” becomes a facade to justify the status quo of discrimination and prejudice.
It is true that, even in the deepest throes of “Jim Crow” American society, whites and blacks lived and worked together. However, this did not signify a just society. Institutional inequality, prejudice, and insecurity made true co-existence impossible until the black minority asserted their basic civil rights and the white majority, under the pressure of that movement, institutionalized into law equal rights and security for all.
FP: Is there anything non-Muslim minorities in Muslim majority countries can do in terms of their disempowerment?
Roderick: Non-Muslim minorities should not expect to be saved by a “champion” from the United States or Europe. They cannot wait to have someone else preserve their existence. During the past 20 years Western countries have been supportive of the self-determination campaigns of Muslims, but neglectful of others, especially Christians. They should expect, however, that allies will join them in solidarity. Coalition building among various ethnic and religious groups who have experienced jihad and subsequent Islamization is becoming an important instrument of unity and strength.When Igbo and Pakistani Christians, Indonesian Christians and Copts, Maronites and Assyrians recognize a common history of oppression that they share, they see the value of working to form a common strategy of resistance.Co-religionists in the West suffer a lack of passion for supporting non-Muslim minorities. There is often more interest in inter-religious dialogue than in speaking on behalf of those persecuted. It is part of the West’s self-denial.Western Christians and Jews were in the forefront of the Civil Rights movement in the U.S., the campaign to end apartheid in South Africa, and the Save Darfur actions. Yet, when it comes to defending minorities in the Islamic world, they suddenly turn timid.Where is the sense of moral obligation and courage to advocate for Coptic monks that are beaten in their monasteries in Upper Egypt, or for Christians, Mandaeans, and Yezidis, murdered and ethnically cleansed from the land where they are indigenous in Iraq? What happens to Christians and other minorities in the Middle East, Pakistan, Indonesia, etc. is not isolated from the fate of Christians in the West who will face soon enough similar challenges. Inner cohesion and external solidarity are necessary components to the kind of resilience that resists Islamization.
FP: Why is the West in the state of “self-denial” that you refer to?
Roderick: It is difficult for many liberals, who dominate the pulpits, as well as the political and academic institutions of the West, to accept Christians as victims.There is a general misconception that Christians are new to the Middle East, that they are interlopers, rather than threatened indigenous cultures, all of whom predate Islam.I suspect that there may be fear that by drawing attention to Christians and other minorities who are suffering as the result of Islamization, one might be accused of being anti-Muslim or bigoted. Political correctness is a strong force in our society.
FP: In terms of the silence that you discuss in terms of how we have betrayed non-Muslims in the Islamic world, what do you think are the causes? For instance, the lib-Left purports to be against racism, yet it says nothing about the racism inherent in the Islamist agenda? Where is the outcry from the Left? Why its silence?
Roderick: Someone from the Middle East told me once that Westerners play games, looking for win-win outcomes. Islamists play for win-lose outcomes. Liberals have a very difficult time dealing with the kind of triumphal attitudes inherent in Islamism. They think that everyone should be able to paint reality in subtle shades of gray. Islamic intolerance and barbarism is often excused as merely cultural expression.Several years ago my family was involved in liberating a young Philippina girl who had been given as a wedding gift to a Saudi student attending our local university. When challenged about the enslavement of this young girl by one of his students, the university provost cautioned that we should be more sensitive, because in Saudi culture this sort of thing is acceptable.Silence can only be construed as tacit consent of the Left. Two million Southern Sudanese were killed in the 20 years of terrible blood letting. This genocide was a direct consequence of the jihad instigated by the Islamic Front leaders in Khartoum. Religious conservatives were in the forefront of the movement to halt the slaughter and bring about a comprehensive peace. When that same Khartoum regime launched its jihad against Muslims in Darfur, religious conservatives again protested. This time they were joined by liberals in calling for an end to the violence. In fact, liberal organizations made it the cause de jour for a myriad of celebrities. All well and good, but where were they when Christians and animists were being murdered? All that the Christians and other non-Muslims of the Middle East want from the Left is a little more consistency in compassion. The liberal press has occasionally been responsive to the plight of the Christians of Iraq, but one suspects that it is not because of an authentic sense of solidarity, but the fact that the issue provides one more opportunity to show the failure of the Bush administration.
FP: What must we do to confront the Islamist agenda and to defend non-Muslims who are victims of Islamism?
Roderick: As I argued previously, resistance must be in the form of strengthening the non-Muslim communities within. The Islamist agenda is to annihilate the history and cultures of non-Muslim indigenous communities. We should encourage the non-Muslim communities to demand their rights and stand in solidarity with them as they do so. Non-violent resistance is a course that brings much risk. However, in face of the reality that non-Muslim minorities possess so little political power to bring about true parity with Muslims, thus security, this is the only course that remains practical. All institutions and social-political systems, including Islam, are constituted by human beings with conscience. There are many who may brutally act according to blind faith, but there are certainly others who respect the dignity of every human being. To these we must appeal with the reason of justice.
FP: Rev. Keith Roderick, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview.
Roderick: It was a pleasure to have this discussion. Thank you.
By Jamie Glazov
As in the days of Noah...

Rewarding Terror

On July 2, 2008 an Arab terrorist seized a bulldozer in Jerusalem, rammed it into people and vehicles, and ended up murdering three people (including the mother of an infant) and injuring dozens.The home of the murderer was not demolished.Because the murderer held Israeli citizenship, as an East Jerusalem resident, his family members collected "survivor benefits" from Israel's National Insurance Institute (like social security).They probably also collected payoffs from the Palestinian terrorist groups or their bankrollers in Arab countries who reward families of murderers.Terrorist family members were not expelled or deported.All in all, engaging in murder paid off handsomely.No subprime financial distress for them!The failure to penalize the family of the mass murderer had its effect this past week.Taking his cue, yet another terrorist seized a bulldozer in Jerusalem and rammed it into vehicles and people, injuring dozens.Both attacks could likely have been prevented if Israel were to get serious about fighting terrorism and defeating it, as opposed to its existing policy of seeking to end terrorism through appeasement.Israel treats terrorists as ordinary criminals, entitled to Miranda warnings, due process, legal representation, and longwinded trials.But terrorists are neither combatants nor common criminals and should be treated as neither.Terrorists are not summarily executed in Israel when caught, nor given the death penalty afterwards.Once captured, they are held under resort conditions, with DVDs and air conditioning.The baby murderer Samir Kuntar, released recently by Israel as a payoff to the Hezbollah for recovering the corpses of two IDF soldiers murdered by terrorists, was allowed to do a BA while in prison at an Israeli university and to marry.Israel is at war, but its leaders are too pusillanimous to declare so.Israel refuses to take any action at all against the families of suicide bombers, regarding them as "innocents" entitled to "rights," rather than as de facto accomplices in murder. Israel's only way for dealing with terror is to ask the terrorist squad leaders who send out the mass murderers in the first place kindly to take action and arrest the terrorist foot soldiers.While treating terrorists as enemy combatants is better than allowing them to enjoy civilian due process, rules, and protections, it is also an erroneous way of dealing with them. Terrorists must NOT be granted Geneva Convention privileges and POW rights. They must NOT be held under humane conditions, with Red Cross visits.Terrorists must be treated under a third unique paradigm, neither as POWs nor as criminals.Terrorists must be treated inhumanely.They should be denied human dignities, for behaving without human dignity is the very basis for their behavior and agenda.People who murder groups of children are not entitled to any privileges or exhibitions of compassion.They are beyond the pale.They are garbage. Treating them as such makes a huge powerful statement to the world. We honor those whose values we cherish in myriad ways; let us also exhibit our contempt for those deserving of it.
Moreover, the latest attempts to mollify the Hezbollah terrorists by releasing the baby murderer Kuntar contain even worse unprecedented dangers. One of the unique features of Nazism was the insistence that Jews were "Untermenschen" or an inferior species, and so killing Jewish civilians was not only a legitimate instrument for social policy but downright just.Since Jews were inferior to other humans, there could be nothing wrong with exterminating them like vermin. Jewish lives did not count.For decades the position of the Arab world has been largely the same. Arabs not only tried to make the point that killing Jewish children and civilians is legitimate, but attempted to coerce Israel into publicly and officially acquiescing in accepting this definition of Jewish inferiority.They did so by equating murderers of Jewish children with soldiers, and demanding that Israel do the same.
The vast majority of media organizations largely acquiesced, as manifested in their insistence on referring to suicide bombers as "activists" and "militants," and counting the suicide bombers among the "victims" of any terror atrocity.Israel's leaders, even the most cowardly, refused to accept this equation.Until now. When the Israeli cabinet under Ehud Olmert approved a "hostage deal" that traded a baby murderer for the corpses of two murdered IDF soldiers, it for all intents and purposes acquiesced in accepting the axiom of Jewish inferiority and the legitimacy of murdering Jewish children.Ehud Olmert has made me ashamed to be an Israeli.
By Steven Plaut
As in the days of Noah....