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Showing posts from October, 2007

Lodi parents complain that textbook emphasizes Islam

Lodi parents complain that textbook emphasizes Islam
The Associated Press
Article Launched: 10/30/2007 11:53:32 AM PDT

LODI, Calif.—Parents at a Lodi elementary school are complaining about a history textbook they say pays a disproportionate amount of attention to the teachings of Islam.

The seventh-grade book has three chapters about the Islamic faith. It mentions Jesus twice and devotes a paragraph to other major religions, said Jim and Korina Self.

The couple is collecting signatures on a petition asking the local school board to remove the textbook from classrooms.

The book should be used as part of a broader curriculum, said Natasha Martin, a spokeswoman for the Rancho Cordova-based publisher, Teachers' Curriculum Institute.

She and Lodi school officials said the text was approved by the California State Board of Education.

"It is common for parents in the state to raise concerns about the teaching of Islam because they do not know that it is required by the state standards, and…

The Prophet's Mosque in Medina

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Spirit of Islam = Spirit of Antichrist?

So claims one Egyptian pastor:

Egyptian Pastor and Advocate for Persecuted Seeks to Expose 'Spirit of Islam'

EL CAJON, Calif., Oct. 29 /Christian Newswire/ -- Native-born Egyptian David Joseph, of El Cajon, Calif., in "Let My People Go So They Can Worship Me," shares his vision that Christians "prepare the highway of the Lord" between Egypt, Israel and Assyria (Isaiah 19), by exposing the spirit of Islam, and praying for Muslims in order to win them to Christ.

In his autobiography, Joseph, now a U.S. citizen, also details the founding of his ministry to youth in Egypt in 1981, the difficulties he faced as a pastor harassed by Egyptian police, and how God led him to the U.S. in 1991, where he established an international ministry reaching Muslims for Christ.

"The spirit of Islam is a spirit of antichrist. Islam says Jesus is not the Son of God, is not God, and was not crucified. It's also a spirit of depression, control, and violence," Joseph said.…

Christianity growing faster than Islam?

I know that more people convert to Christianity every year than to Islam, but I thought Islam was growing faster because of a high birthrate among Muslims, especially in countries in the Middle East and places like Afghanistan and Pakistan, where birth rates are very high. But Diniesh D'souza says no, check it out and see if you agree with him:

Is Islam the Fastest-Growing Religion? Guess Again
by Dinesh D'Souza

Many people think Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the world. Not true. Islam is growing fast, but Christianity is growing faster. Indeed there are twice as many Christians as Muslims in the world today and the gap is becoming larger. Moreover, Christianity has become the world's only religion that is truly universal.

Islam too has a wide reach, but Islam has only a small presence in the United States, Canada, Central and South America, and Australia. Christianity, by contrast, is strong everywhere in the world except the Middle East. Islam is growing mainly t…

The Virtue of Patience

The religion of Allah Taa'la is 100% complete and was brought to us by the best of mankind, the Holy Prophet (May Allah send peace and blessings upon him). Allah Taa'la used the Holy Prophet (May Allah send peace and blessings upon him) to perfect this religion of His, meaning that the Prophet (May Allah send peace and blessings upon him) was the perfect example for us to follow.

The Prophet May Allah send peace and blessings upon him taught us what to do in every stage in life. This is one of the qualities that makes the religion of Islam very unique and standout from other religions which are practiced in many parts of the world.

The religion of Islam tells us what to do as soon as we open our eyes in the morning and throughout the remainder of the day and night till we close our eyes and go to sleep. For this and many other reasons the religion of Islam is the most complete.

Not only is this religion complete on telling us how to live our lives, but there is reward for all the…

Ex-Muslim convert in Egypt goes into hiding

From HERE:

• An Egyptian convert to Christianity has gone into hiding following calls for his execution. Mohammed Hegazy, the first Muslim-background believer to seek to have his religion changed on his national ID card, has been threatened by clerics and, he claims, tortured by police. Though conversion is legal according to Egyptian law, many Muslims uphold an Islamic law that proscribes death for apostates.

Encouraging news from Saudi Arabia

Looks like King Abdullah of KSA is interested in science and education even if breaks some of the taboos present in KSA today. I hope he will be successful, but it seems like there are many challenges. Would love to here from our readers in KSA about this. I found the entire article to be fascinating:

Saudi king tries to grow modern ideas in desert
By Thanassis Cambanis
Published: October 25, 2007

JIDDA, Saudi Arabia: On a marshy peninsula 50 miles from this Red Sea port, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is staking $12.5 billion on a gargantuan bid to catch up with the West in science and technology.

Between an oil refinery and the sea, the monarch is building from scratch a graduate research institution that will have one of the 10 largest endowments in the world, worth more than $10 billion.

Its planners say men and women will study side by side in an enclave walled off from the rest of Saudi society, the country's notorious religious police will be barred and all religious and ethnic g…

Pakistan: where the jihad lives now

I've been saying for some time now that Pakistan is the country we should be most concerned with, even more so than Iran. Pakistan already has nuclear weapons, does not have Western troops (like Afghanistan and Iraq), and has a huge and jihad-oriented population. Check out this article from Newsweek for more bad news:

Where the Jihad Lives Now

Islamic militants have spread beyond their tribal bases, and have the run of an unstable, nuclear-armed nation.

Benazir Bhutto was worried she would not survive the day. It was, for her, to be a moment of joyous return after eight years of exile, but also an hour of great peril. Just before she left Dubai for Pakistan on Thursday, Oct. 18, Bhutto directed that a letter be hand-delivered to Pervez Musharraf, the embattled Pakistani autocrat with whom she had negotiated a tenuous political alliance. If anything happens to me, please investigate the following individuals in your government, she wrote, according to an account given to NEWSWEEK by…

Erik from ...Of Priests and Paramedics

Had a very splendid time this evening with my good friend Erik Twist, blogger over at ...Of Priests and Paramedics. He and his wife have decided to leave the Anglican Community and enter into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church.

We have known each other for many years--going all the way back to our undergrad days, though we studied at different universities. We last met in Rome in May of this year and attended a papal audience (where Pope Benedict XVI spoke about Tertullian), and visited the Basilica of Saint Peter where that apostle's body lies awaiting the day of the resurrection. I suspect that played part in this decision that has been long in the making...

I still remember years ago debating with him about women's ordination when he was advocating that position! How the times have changed, but for the better in his case, I think.

May God bless the Twists and guide them in this new stage of life.

...of priests and paramedics

Central Mosque in Abuja, Nigeria

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Big new building!

JUSTIFICATION AND SANCTIFICATION: one divine action

Excerpt from: How are we Saved? The Understanding of Salvation in the Orthodox Tradition by Bishop Kallistos (Timothy) Ware.

By this time it will be abundantly clear that, when we Orthodox speak about salvation, we do not have in view any sharp differentiation between justification and sanctification. Indeed, Orthodox usually have little to say about justification as a distinct topic; I note, for example, that in my own work The Orthodox Church, written thirty years ago, the word “justification” does not appear in the index, although this was not a deliberate omission.

Orthodoxy links sanctification and justification together, just as St. Paul does in 1 Cor. 6:11: “You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” The reference to justification in the opening chapters of Romans (for example 3:20, 24, 28), we understand in the light of Romans 6:4-10, which describe our radical incorporation through baptism into …

Leaving Islam outlawed in Algeria

Hat tip to Wahaudi:

UN Human Rights Committee considers report of Algeria

from the United Nations Human Rights Committee

Explaining why activities leading to conversion from Islam to another religion had become criminal offences, the delegation said that Islam was the official religion of the Algeria. It was practised by more than 99% of the population. Having noted the exploitation of certain difficulties persons were facing to spread doubt in their faith and to seduce them into other religions, measures such as this one had been implemented to invite anyone preaching a religion to respect the law ... a UN official noted that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights allowed freedom of religion, but it was clear that the sharia law did not ... The Algerian delegation, which presented the report, included members of the Algerian Permanent Mission in Geneva; the Ministries of Justice, Communication, Health, National Solidarity, Foreign Affairs, and the Interior; the Gendarm…

The Call to Prayer

TRANSLATION OF THE CALL TO PRAYER

God is most great. God is most great.
God is most great. God is most great.
I testify that there is no God except God.
I testify that there is no God except God.
I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God.
I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God.
Come to prayer! Come to prayer!
Come to success! Come to success!
God is most great. God is most great.
There is none worthy of worship except God.

[Abu Daoud says: note that some prefer "come to well-being" rather than "come to success."]

Mecca in Archeology

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From Does archeology support the Quran?

Mecca
According to the Qur’an, Mecca was the first and most important city in the world. Adam placed the black stone in the original Ka’ba (sanctuary) there, while Abraham and Ishmael rebuilt the Meccan Ka’ba centuries later (Sura 2:125-127). Mecca was allegedly the centre of Arabian trading routes before Muhammad’s time.

Yet there is no archeological corroboration for this. Such a great ancient city would surely have received a mention in ancient history. However, the earliest reference to Mecca as a city is in the Continuato Byzantia Arabica, an 8th century document. Mecca is certainly not on the natural overland trade routes- it is a barren valley requiring a one hundred mile detour. Moreover, there was only maritime Graeco-Roman trade with India after the first century, controlled by the Ethiopian Red Sea port Adulis, not by the Arabs. If Mecca was not even a viable city, let alone a great commercial centre until after Muhammad’s time, the Qur’…

Why Muslims Follow Jesus

Please read it all, and bookmark this if you don't have time right now to read the whole article. From Christianity Today:

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," Charles Dickens said about the time leading up to the French Revolution in A Tale of Two Cities. The same could be said today of Christian witness to Muslims, who belong to a bitterly divided community undergoing a revolution.
Related articles and links

The anti-Christian part of the Islamic resurgence certainly qualifies as the "worst of times." It burst onto the world scene with the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and into everyone's living room on September 11, 2001, leaving victims and sometimes churches in its wake.

In the eyes of those who long for Muslims to know Jesus as they do, the unprecedented trickles—and in a few cases, floods—of Muslims who have chosen to follow Christ in previously evangelistically arid lands undoubtedly constitute the "best of times." In the late …

EU promoting Islamization?

From the Brussels Journal:

Egyptian-born scholar Bat Ye'or, author of the book "Eurabia," ... explained how the European Union (EU) has become a vehicle for the Islamization of Europe and how the EU has promoted "a massive Muslim immigration [...] hoping that the Euro-Arab symbiosis through economic development, soft diplomacy and multiculturalism would guarantee [Europe] peace, markets and oil."

The citizens of Europe are extremely worried by this Islamization process, but their political leaders impose it on them against their wish. Europe is in worse shape than America because European democracies lack two pillars of freedom that America still has – solidly enshrined in the first and second amendments of its Constitution. In many European countries, freedom of speech no longer exists. It has been restricted by laws intended to curb so-called "hate speech." These laws forbid people to express their worries about massive immigration and about the Islam…

Want to study Islam? Try the Zwemer Center

Here is a great program for Islamics at a Christian university:

The Zwemer Center for Muslim Studies at Columbia International University

Named after Samuel Zwemer, the greatest American missionary to work in the Muslim World, the Zwemer ministry is a program established in 1979 as the Zwemer Institute at the U.S. Center for World Missions in Pasadena, California. Over the years Zwemer has offered in-depth courses in Islam, produced papers, fostered dialogue, and facilitated research on pertinent topics, earning an esteemed position in Christian mission circles. In 2003, the Zwemer Institute merged with the Muslim Studies program at Columbia International University in Columbia, SC to become "The Zwemer Center for Muslim Studies" and is directed by Dr. Warren Larson. (From their website.)

Most of the classes are intensive one or two week courses, so attending does not mean you need to drop everything and move permanently. There are also distance education courses.

Rioting in Amsterdam

From BrusselsJournal.com:

Every night since the beginning of last week, immigrant youths have been torching cars and clashing with police in Amsterdam’s Slotervaart district. The incidents started on Oct. 14 when a policewoman shot dead Bilal Bajaka, a 22-year old ethnic Moroccan, whilst he was stabbing her and a colleague with a knife. The officers were stabbed in the breast, face, neck and back. Surgeons could only narrowly save their lives.

Since the incident, Slotervaart has seen rioting almost every night. The Amsterdam Moroccans are “shocked” because one of them has been killed by an infidel woman. According to his family, Bilal Bajaka was mentally deranged and had a suicide obsession. Ahmed Marcouch, the Moroccan-born Socialist mayor of Slotervaart, criticized the Dutch authorities for failing to provide adequate health care for Bajaka’s mental problems.

Read it all HERE.

Twelver Shi'ism

Twelver [Shi'ism] (اثنا عشرية Ithnā 3ashariyyah), is the largest denomination within the Shi'ite sect of the Islamic faith. An adherent of Twelver Shi'ism is most commonly referred to as a Twelver, which has been derived from their belief in twelve divinely ordained leaders, or Imams. Approximately 80% of Shi'a are Twelvers, representing the largest school of thought in Shi'a Islam.

Twelvers share many tenets of Shi'ism with relating sects, such as the belief in Imams, but is contrary to that of the Ismaili and Zaidi Shi'ite sects, who each believe in a different number of Imams, and for the most part, a different path of succession regarding the Imamate. They also differ in the role and overall definition of an Imam.

The Ithna-'Ashariyya faith is predominantly found in Azerbaijan (est. 75%), Iran (est. 90%) , Iraq (est. 63%), Lebanon (est. 35%), Kuwait (est. 35%), Saudi Arabia (est. 20%), Bahrain (est. 70%) and parts of Afghanistan (est. 15%) and Pakista…

How do Sunni Muslims view Shi'a Muslims?

Twelver Shi'a Islam is the predominant form of Shi'a Islam and differs significantly from Sunni Islam. Here is a partial list from Islam Q&A regarding the deficiencies of Twelver Shi'a Islam:

-1-

They exaggerate about their imams, claiming that they are infallible, and they devote many acts of worship to them such as supplication, seeking help, offering sacrifices and tawaaf (circumambulating their tombs). This is major shirk which Allaah tells us will not be forgiven. These acts of shirk are committed by their scholars and common folk alike, without anyone among them objecting to that.

-2-

They say that the Holy Qur’aan has been distorted, and that things have been added and taken away. They have books concerning that which are known to their scholars and many of their common folk, and they even say that believing that the Qur’aan has been distorted is an essential tenet of their beliefs. See the answer to question no. 21500.

-3-

They regard most of the Sahaabah (may All…

How can I meet Muslims in the USA?

I think there are a good number of people who would like to form friendships with Muslims but they just are not sure how to get started. So here are a few ideas:

+ Find out the places owned by Muslims and go there: think of places like restaurants, books stores, ethnic grocery stores, cultural centers, Islamic centers, and neighborhoods that are known for having concentrations of Muslims. You can start by just looking through the yellow pages for restaurants that serve Arab or Persian food, for example.

+ Call a few larger evangelical churches and ask if they have any ministries to Muslims going on. Even if your church is not doing anything (it probably isn't) most churches are glad to have others join in their ministry as long as you are a good team worker and will submit to the leadership.

+ Invite Muslim families over for dinner. Make sure to observe the Islamic dietary rules, of course. Muslims generally come from very community-oriented cultures and an invitation for two …

High Tech Borders for KSA

KSA is into building high tech borders, just like the USA and Israel. From HERE, hat tip to Armies of Liberation:

Now Saudi Arabia, like India, is building not one, but two separate border fences on different fronts. The first is on its southern border and is intended to try and get its illegal immigration of 400,000 people a year from neighboring Yemen under control. The second, far more ambitious one, is along the Saudi border with Iraq and is an attempt to prevent Islamist extremists in Iraq, both Sunni and Shiite, from exporting their violence and doctrines back into Saudi Arabia.

However, modern barriers are not just about orders for barbed wire and concrete: They are also about night-vision enhancers and sensors, and every kind of high-tech electronic gadgetry to detect explosives, weapons, drugs and whatever else terrorist organizations and drug gangs try to get across closely monitored borders.

Immigrant youth riot in Amsterdam

From Radio Netherlands:

It has been an unusually violent week for Amsterdam's western Slotervaart district. Cars were torched and youths clashed with police on several consecutive nights after a 22-year-old ethnic Moroccan was shot dead at a police station. He was killed by a policewoman he had just stabbed a number of times. The riots that followed reminded Amsterdam's Chief Commissioner Bernard Welten of a major nightmare for Western European cities: violence on a Parisian scale. Every major town in the Netherlands has its share of so-called problem youths, the type of violent adolescents who gang up to terrorise the neighbourhood. Many of them are the children of migrant workers of Moroccan descent who arrived in the Netherlands in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The Dutch called them guest workers, the operative idea being that they would return to their country of origin when they were no longer needed. So nobody bothered to teach them Dutch, or much of anything else for t…

The Reverse Jonah Effect

I just returned from a meeting that brought together dozens of ministries that have a desire to see Muslims come to faith in Jesus Christ as well as a good number of Muslim-background Believers (MBB's). Great work is being done in inner cities among Black Muslims, immigrants from places like Turkey, Yemen, Iran, and Bosnia. There are some vibrant student ministries that are thinking creatively about witnessing to students who come here to study from places like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

One of the speakers called it "The Reverse Jonah Effect." Jonah, you will recall, heard the Lord and ran away. The Reverse Jonah Effect stipulates that there are people who have not heard the Gospel and come to us. And it is happening.

I don't want to sound triumphalistic though: every year about 50,000 people in the USA convert to Islam. Every year in the USA about 20,000 Muslims convert to Christ. (Note that I do not say they convert to Christianity because there is a debate amon…

I'm Back

Back from a VERY helpful meeting about ministering to Muslims in N. America. Will share some info and insights tomorrow (Sunday), but first must go to church and teach Sunday School and preach a sermon :-)

Did you know that about HALF the Muslims in N. America are converts to Islam?

Part VII: Reformed Islam

[Abu Daoud says: I will be gone for a few days so not much blogging will take place I think. I leave you with part VII of my series on Islam, which was originally posted over at Of Priests and Paramedics. Please read carefully. I think it's pretty good material and helpful for putting things into an accurate and historical perspective.]

***

Part VII: Reformed Islam
by Abu Daoud

Dear Friends,

I have noticed a good deal of talk regarding the hope that exists in the West of a Reformation for Islam. There are two points I wish to make in response.
The first is regarding what exactly constitutes a "reformation." Historically the term refers to a decentralized group of reformation movements throughout western Europe in the 16th Century. But there is a significant gap between what the Reformers intended and actually accomplished. The complete picture is complex, but Calvin and Luther (among others) would be horrified to see the seemingly endless multiplication of Protestant-traditi…

October 17: Feast Day of Ignatius of Antioch, martyr, bishop

From Here:

October 17, 2007
St. Ignatius of Antioch
(d. 107?)

Born in Syria, Ignatius converted to Christianity and eventually became bishop of Antioch. In the year 107, Emperor Trajan visited Antioch and forced the Christians there to choose between death and apostasy. Ignatius would not deny Christ and thus was condemned to be put to death in Rome.

Ignatius is well known for the seven letters he wrote on the long journey from Antioch to Rome. Five of these letters are to Churches in Asia Minor; they urge the Christians there to remain faithful to God and to obey their superiors. He warns them against heretical doctrines, providing them with the solid truths of the Christian faith.

The sixth letter was to Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, who was later martyred for the faith. The final letter begs the Christians in Rome not to try to stop his martyrdom. "The only thing I ask of you is to allow me to offer the libation of my blood to God. I am the wheat of the Lord; may I be ground by the te…

Artist defiantly draws Prophet Mohammed

From cnn.com:

Artist defiantly draws Prophet Mohammed

by Paula Newton

HOGANAS, Sweden (CNN) -- Swedish artist Lars Vilks says all he's doing is taking a stand in the name of artistic expression. But because of that stand, on this afternoon he's lying low -- on the ground, in fact -- looking for bombs under his car.

Al Qaeda has put a $100,000 price on his head and offered an extra $50,000 for anyone who murders him by slitting his throat after the eccentric artist and sculptor drew a cartoon depicting the Prophet Mohammed as a dog.

"I don't think it should not be a problem to insult a religion, because it should be possible to insult all religions in a democratic way, " says Vilks from his home in rural Sweden.

"If you insult one, then you should insult the other ones."

His crude, sketched caricature shows the head of Prophet Mohammed on the body of a dog. Dogs are considered unclean by conservative Muslims, and any depiction of the prophet is strictly forbid…

Islam and Democracy?

From an interview with Salman Rushdie:

Reason: Where does this leave us on the question of democratic reform in Islamic countries? Do you think that Islam lacks a crucial piece to build a foundation for freedom?

Rushdie: What it has is an extra piece that believes that religion can be the foundation for a state. It's a question of removing that piece rather than adding something. There have been various moments in the history of Pakistan when attempts to Islamize the country were resisted strongly by both generals and civilian governments. It's not inevitable that a country full of Muslims will seek to Islamize its structures. But I do think there is a need for a widespread realization among Muslims that you cannot build a state based on religion. Pakistan is proof of that. Here was a state that was built on religion, but a quarter of a century after it was founded it fell apart, because the glue is not strong enough.

Naughty Riba

Riba is the receiving, paying or charging of interest on loans or deposits, something forbidden by Islam. Islam, in addition to being a religion and system of civil and martial law, also contains many elements of economic policy, this being one. But do you want to know how bad Riba is? Check this out:

Muslim (1598) narrated that Jaabir (may Allaah be pleased with him)said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) cursed the one who consumes riba and the one who pays it, the one who writes it down and the two who witness it, and he said: they are all the same.

And he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “A dirham of riba that a man consumes knowingly is worse before Allaah than committing zina thirty-six times.”

Narrated by Ahmad and al-Tabaraani; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’ no. 3375.

Church planting in France

I am always glad to read about various new missionary endeavors. One that I just learned about is an American family moving to France with the goal of planting churches and reaching the unevangelized and unchurched. Here is a summary of the work they hope to do from their website:

Anticipated Ministry Focus The Butchers’ vision is to creatively communicate the gospel to start churches through new technologies and meaningful relationships.
The People The unchurched population in and around Paris: French people, refugees and immigrants of all ages.
Ministry Experience Blaine and Abigail have been involved in various ministries: drama, youth, children, refugees, construction, medical missions, evangelism, discipleship, preaching and choir. They’ve been on several mission trips to places like Italy, Mexico, Morocco, Brazil, and Ecuador. Abigail helped start a ministry in San Antonio developing friendships with women from Iran and other countries from that area of the world. Blaine served …

Conceptual Terrorists Encase Sears Tower In Jell-O

From The Onion:

CHICAGO—In what is being called the first conceptual terrorist attack on American soil, the landmark Sears Tower was encased in 18 million tons of strawberry gelatin early Monday morning, leaving thousands shocked, angry, and seriously confused.

Authorities called to the scene of the senseless attack said they could do little to control the large crowds of dangerously bewildered citizens, many of whom searched desperately for some semblance of meaning in what had just taken place. As of press time, 11 night security guards were still trapped inside the famous structure, their rescue unlikely until the Jell-O melts.

[...]

"Your outdated ideas of what terrorism is have been challenged," an unidentified, disembodied voice announces following the video's first 45 minutes of random imagery set to minimalist techno music. "It is not your simple bourgeois notion of destructive explosions and weaponized biochemical agents. True terror lies in the futility of hum…

Tribal Revolt pushes Pakistan to brink

I have been saying for a few months now that Pakistan is ripe for a coup, or perhaps more likely, a protracted and violent civil war. For example:

Tribal revolt pushes Pakistan to brink

by Saeed Shah from The Scotsman

In the North West Frontier Province last week, bombs have been placed in record shops and barbers, despised by Islamic extremists who regard music and clean-shaven men as Westernised heresy. They espouse the obscurantist creed of Wahhabi Islam preached by Osama bin Laden ... In the valley of Swat, in the North West Frontier Province, a religious fanatic, Maulana Fazullah, has taken over the area. The police are too afraid to patrol and the local administration has gone into hiding. Pakistani army battalions have been sent to the area but as yet they are still in camp, awaiting instructions to deploy. Fazullah issues decrees over his own FM radio station, and his men have even taken over traffic control duties. Analysts point out that the same Pushtun tribesmen are settled …

Global Christianity in 2007

Well, I am posting ONE item today (Sunday the 14th) and it is this link to Intentional Disciple which contains some very excellent information on world missions and the state of Christianity today. This info is must-read for all Christians, really.

Please read it, there are also several very helpful graphs and the layout is very easy to understand:

Global Christianity in 2007

Advice from a Martyr

From Christian History and Biography. Great quotes from a very early Christian leader, it is likely that he knew some of the Apostles personally. Note how he emphasizes authority of the bishop. Clearly the early church was not following a congregational model like in many evangelical churches today. Here you go:

Ignatius of Antioch (c. 35 — c. 107) was so eager to be martyred for Christ's sake that he even begged the Roman church not to prevent his death. Before his death, Ignatius wrote to seven churches instructing them to be unified, to trust their leaders, and to be steadfast in the faith.

Ignatius has long been esteemed as one of the church "fathers." His lifetime even overlapped with Christ's disciples and he was purportedly a disciple of the Apostle John himself. Here are some excerpts from Ignatius's letters to the Ephesians and to the Romans.

Worship Together
Take heed, then, often to come together to give thanks to God, and show forth His praise. For when …

Al Qaeda Mastermind Becomes Christian?

From Here, hat tip to Jihadwatch.org:

THE mastermind of the first terrorist attack on New York's World Trade Centre claims to have converted from Islam to Christianity.

Ramzi Yousef, a self-proclaimed Muslim extremist with past links to al-Qaeda, plotted with others to blow up the twin towers in lower Manhattan. Six people died in the February 26, 1993, bombing.

Yousef was sentenced to life in prison plus 240 years for the New York bombing and another on a Philippines Airlines plane in 1994 in which a Japanese man died.

A report to be broadcast on 60 Minutes in the US this weekend claims Yousef has now converted to Christianity but the former warden of the supermax prison in Colorado has scoffed at the claims....

Robert Hood, its warden from 2002 to 2005, told 60 Minutes Yousef was a special case.

He never left his cell because he did not want to face the indignity of a strip search required for recreation, he said.

When told that Yousef had begun leaving his cell and now claimed to be a…

Shadows of the Swords

From Here:

The tradition has been narrated on the authority of 'Abdullah b. Qais. He heard it from his father who, while facing the enemy, reported that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: Surely, the gates of Paradise are under the shadows of the swords. A man in a shabby condition got up and said; Abu Musa, did you hear the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) say this? He said: Yes. (The narrator said): He returned to his friends and said: I greet you (a farewell greeting). Then he broke the sheath of his sword, threw it away, advanced with his (naked) sword towards the enemy and fought (them) with it until he was slain. Sahih Muslim Book 020, Number 4681

This quotation from the Sahih Muslim hadith afford us a look into the mindset of a person who desired his own death in Allah's Cause.

1. He trusted the words of Muhammad implicitly.
2. He was motivated by a promise of an eternal heavenly Paradise.
3. He reassured himself that he heard correct…

Steeds of War

And make ready against them all you can of power, including steeds of war (tanks, planes, missiles, artillery, etc.) to threaten the enemy of Allâh and your enemy, and others besides whom, you may not know but whom Allâh does know. And whatever you shall spend in the Cause of Allâh shall be repaid unto you, and you shall not be treated unjustly.

Qur'an 8:60

Beautiful Preaching

“Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious..." -- Qur'an 16:125

Scary Comments

But she's an ex-Muslim, though not a Christian, and I think this is representative of the kind of talk that will become more common the coming years:

Reason: [When you say that Islam has to be defeated] Don’t you mean defeating radical Islam?

Hirsi Ali: No. Islam, period. Once it’s defeated, it can mutate into something peaceful. It’s very difficult to even talk about peace now. They’re not interested in peace.

Reason: We have to crush the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims under our boot? In concrete terms, what does that mean, “defeat Islam”?

Hirsi Ali: I think that we are at war with Islam. And there’s no middle ground in wars. Islam can be defeated in many ways. For starters, you stop the spread of the ideology itself; at present, there are native Westerners converting to Islam, and they’re the most fanatical sometimes. There is infiltration of Islam in the schools and universities of the West. You stop that. You stop the symbol burning and the effigy burning, and you look them in the ey…

2000 Converts to Christianity in Yemen?

Now I've heard it all (but I hope the part about Christianity spreading is true):

Yemeni clerics are warning that Christianity is spreading in the country and called on President ‘Ali ‘Abdallah ‘Salih to stop this phenomenon, the Yemeni weekly Al-Ghad reported, according to UPI.

One hundred Muslim clerics convened in the capital, Sana’a, over the weekend. They claimed that approximately 2,000 Yemeni citizens from the old city of Sana’a have recently converted to Christianity as a result of the cooperation of the local citizens with foreigners in executing terror attacks.

The clerics also warned of the spread of dangerous phenomena of deviations and sinful activities.

(Hat tip to Armies of Liberation)

Abu Daoud in the Lone Star State

Well here I am in the Lone Star State for some teaching and meetings and preaching and so on. If anyone hereabouts wants to see about meeting or just chatting on the phone let me know. I am available (sometimes) to share with churches about Islam and missions.

Iraqis flooding Jordan get free schooling

From CNN:

[...] The reason behind the jump in the number of Iraqis at the school is a new government policy: For the first time since the start of the Iraq war, Jordan is allowing all Iraqi children -- regardless of refugee status -- to enroll in state-funded schools.

Simply, this means that even illegal refugees with no paperwork can send their kids to school with no questions asked.

The move is cementing a massive population shift in the Middle East. More than 2.2 million Iraqis have fled the violence in their homeland, most of them seeking refuge in neighboring Jordan and Syria, according to humanitarian officials.

Jordanian Minister of Education Khalid Touqan says he expects Jordan to accommodate 40,000 to 50,000 Iraqi students this year. That's more than double the number of Iraqi children enrolled in public school two years ago.

Harb, on the front line of the phenomenon, says the influx is putting a strain on her school. Even with some U.N. and U.S. aid to Jordan, there's sti…

Maronite Patriarch on Lebanon

Lebanon is characterized, in this region of the world, by what can't be found in other countries, an atmosphere of freedom and humane warmth. This freedom does cloak it with charm that makes it lovable to Easterners and Westerners alike, if it were not for the frivolity of some of its children who want to monopolize it and mark it with a character of violence and individuality. Over and above, God has granted it with beauty of nature, moderate climate, rich history and culture which made its children be open up to the East and West. The Lebanese have spread over most countries in the world, this brought the poet Hafez Ibrahim to say about them: "They sought the springs in the world, and if it were found in the milky way there they would ride up to". In spite of that, the authorities here have been reluctant, since long, to register them as citizens having, like other citizens in the world, the right to participate in parliamentary elections and national life. Doing so is…

Dietary regulation on meat, more

Here is the origin of the Islamic practice of hallal meat, this is from a commentary on the chapter of the Quran entitled "The Cattle" or al baqara in Arabic. There are some other goodies too:

Verses 118-121 tell Muslims not to eat meat unless Allah’s name has been pronounced over it; this is the foundation for the halal preparation of meat, which dictates that the jugular vein, windpipe and foodpipe of the animal be severed after the butcher recites “In the name of Allah.” Then the blood is drained out. The Muslims would be “pagans” if they obeyed the advice of unbelievers in this matter (v. 121). According to Ibn Kathir, this means that “when you turn away from Allah’s command and Legislation to the saying of anyone else, preferring other than what Allah has said, then this constitutes Shirk.” (Shirk, of course, is the greatest sin of all, the associating of partners with Allah.) This is one reason why democracy has had such difficulty taking root in Islamic countries.

Verse…

As Egypt cracks down, charges of wide abuse

From the CS Monitor:

Cairo - The regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is in the midst of one of its largest crackdowns against public dissent in a decade.

Seven journalists have been given prison sentences in recent weeks; more than a thousand activists of the Muslim Brotherhood, the country's most popular political opposition, languish in jail; and labor organizers involved in a wave of strikes at government-owned factories have been detained.

On Sunday, fighting between rival Bedouin clans in the Sinai Peninsula quickly spiraled into a riot targeting the police and President Mubarak's National Democratic Party (NDP). While local grievances sparked the fight, regular reports of widespread police brutality and torture fed anger in the Sinai, where locals called for the police chief's resignation, and are fueling public outrage around the country.

As the government cracks down hard in both the Sinai and on opposition activists, such as members of the Muslim Brotherhood, …

Saudi king issues decree detailing regulations to implement succession law

[...] The 2006 law that established the Allegiance Commission aims at defusing internal power struggles over which of the younger generation of royals will be appointed crown prince when the last son of Abdul-Aziz becomes king.

The kingdom's rule has been passed down to the sons of Abdul-Aziz, but they are aging and succession could become more complicated. There are believed to be some 6,000 Saudi princes, dozens of whom are considered contenders in the line of succession.

Previously, the only time family feuds came to the surface was in the 1960s when King Saud was forced to abdicate the throne in favor of King Faisal due to economic mismanagement.

(From IHT)

The Beauty of the Infinite

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All done with The Spirit of Islamic Law and am now moving on to The Beauty of the Infinite by David B. Hart, an American theologian from one of the Eastern Orthodox Churches (not sure which one). I am very much looking forward to this book, I haven't read any good, difficult contemporary theology in quite some time. The truth be told most contemporary theology is mediocre, dealing with questions that are totally uninformed by persecution and mission and the reality of what it looks like to live with costly faith and grace that is not cheap.

But enough of my griping. Am interested in knowing if any of you have read this book, and if so what you thought about it. I have heard this book described as the best book of theology written by an American in the last decade or so. We shall see.

And Happy Birthday to my good friend Erik over at Of Priests and Paramedics who kindly gave me this book as a gift.

Israelis debate Torah-mandated sabbatical for the land

[Abu Daoud says: OK, so the blog is not called Islam and Christianity and Judaism, but what happens in the Holy Land affects everyone, and the article is really interesting and well-written.]

Israelis debate Torah-mandated sabbatical for the land
by Steven Erlanger

JERUSALEM: As Israel's Jews start a new year, the country finds itself in the middle of a fierce religious dispute about the sanctity of fruits and vegetables.

Rabbis are pitted against one another, the interests of the state and the religious authorities are in conflict, the Supreme Court is involved, the devout are confused and the cost of produce is rising.

And a country in love with flowers, proud of "making the desert bloom," is, in its own disputatious way, letting much of its land go to seed.

This year, 5768 by the Jewish calendar, is a shmita, or sabbatical year. Jewish-owned land is supposed to be left fallow, whatever grows there is supposed to be free for everyone, and at the end of the year, all personal…

Father's consent required for marriage?

From a Fatwa of a well-known and well-respected Saudi cleric, Sheikh Aziz bin Baz:

...The father must seek her permission if she is nine years of age or above. Similarly, her other guardians may not marry her off except by her permission. This is obligatory upon all of them. If o­ne is married without permission, then the marriage is not valid. This is because o­ne of the conditions of the marriage is that both partners accept the marriage. If she is married without her permission, by threat or coercion, then the marriage is not valid. The o­nly exception is in the case of the father and his daughter who is less than nine years of age. There is no harm if he gets her married while she is less than nine years old, according to the correct opinion. This is based o­n the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) marrying Aisha without her consent when she was less than nine years old, as is stated in authentic Hadith. However, if she is nine years old or more, she cannot be married, even by …

Christian Split in Lebanon Raises Specter of Civil War

From NYT, hat tip to Titus 1:9:

With the Islamist group Hezbollah having brought Lebanese politics to a standstill, the country’s once-dominant Christian community feels under siege and has begun re-establishing militias, training in the hills and stockpiling weapons.

Many Lebanese say another civil war — like the 15-year one that started in 1975 — is imminent and that the most dangerous flash points are within the divided Christian community.

Christian youth are signing up for militant factions in the greatest numbers since the end of the civil war, spray painting nationalist symbols on walls and tattooing them on their skin, and proclaiming their willingness to fight in a new civil war — in particular, against fellow Christians.

“When the war begins, I’ll be the first one in it,” said Fadil Abbas, 30, flexing his biceps in Shadow Tattoo as an artist etched a cross onto his shoulder. “I want everyone to know I am a Christian and I am ready to fight.”

The struggle is over who gets to be th…

Questions and Conversion

Loved this section from an account of a Muslim who converted to the way of Christ. He was asking questions of both religions, and I think that when you ask questions of both religions, generally speaking, people will go with Christianity. But that's just me. Check out this man's questions and ask yourself if you can answer the questions he had about Christianity:

I reached a point where I was not sure how to deal with some of the difficulties in the Bible that were very unclear such as:

1. Why four books to present the "gospel" and not one, as Quran teaches of one gospel.
2. The whole issue of Sin and the need for shedding of blood and a Savior.
3. Jesus being God and Man and the whole concept of the Trinity.
4. Did Jesus really die on the cross and was he resurrected or not?
5. How could followers of Jesus commit the atrocities that are part of the church history such as the crusades?

But also in my quest to use the Quran as my standard, and the teaching an…

Christians and the Burmese Crackdown

This is an interview with a Burmese pastor from Christianity Today:

Here is one section, but read it all, Here:

Two ethnic groups—the Karen and the Chin—have historical ties to Christianity.

Pastor David, a Burmese church planter who has been working in Myanmar for the last few years, spoke with CT about the situation of Christians in the country

What's happening with the protests? Why was the sudden rise in oil prices the catalyst?

The government doubled the price on the morning of August the 15th without any prior notice to the public. So what happened is that there was a sudden raise in the price, buses and public transportation cannot operate. There is simply no public transportation, so people who need to go to work got stranded. There was a lot of chaos.

I was still in the country at that time and I knew at that moment that something was going to happen. Now before the raising of oil prices, there was a convention going on on the northern side of Rangoon. And there was already qui…

The Blogging Parson: The collapse of the evangelical consensus?

Interesting questions here: The Blogging Parson: The collapse of the evangelical consensus?

Is evangelicalism as a "movement" collapsing, at least in the UK? How is that related to what is happening in the USA?

What happens with evangelicalism will be important for world missions because almost all the missionaries out there trying to convert non-Christians are evangelicals. A handful are non-evangelical Protestant, and a couple here or there are Catholic. I have heard that there are Orthodox working in this area of converting the unbaptized, but I have never met one or known one personally.

For better or for worse, evanglicalism with all its warts and blemishes is carrying the torch of the church's mission to the nations.

The article at Blogging Parson is short, but here's the heart of it:

The common diagnosis of the problem is that, in the 60s, there were three or four leaders of the evangelical movement around whom we all (or our spiritual parents) gathered - Stott, …

Abu Daoud, Abu Daoud, and Abu Daoud

Funny things happen when you Google your own name.

The first Abu Daoud on Google is this Abu Daoud:

"[He] was the leader of the Black September, the Palestine Liberation Organisation splinter group that carried out the 1972 Munich massacre. Many of its members were killed in Israel's campaign Operation Wrath of God, although Daoud was never assassinated. In 1981, Daoud claimed that the Mossad tried to assassinate him while in Poland, although it is not clear who was behind the attempt. In 1996 he was permitted to travel through Israel to attend a PLO meeting in the Gaza Strip. During that meeting, Daoud voted in favor of the resolution to rescind the section of the PLO's charter calling for the destruction of Israel" (Wikipedia).

The next Abu Daoud in Google (the eighth hit!) is yours truly.

Then there's this other Abu Daoud who helps train terrorists for Al Qaeda.

Then there's the guy who is an Iraqi refugee in Jordan who can't get a job. There's also som…