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Showing posts from January, 2008

Egyptian Court: Illegal to Leave Islam

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This is a huge story:

Higazi, a convert from Islam, cannot have his religion on his identity card

Cairo (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Egypt’s Court of Administrative Justice has turned down a request by Mohammad Ahmad Higazi, a Christian convert from Islam, to have his new religion written on his identity card. The Court ruled that the 25-year-old had not followed the proper legal procedures and had strayed from the nation’s traditions. “Monotheistic religions were sent by God in chronological order . . . As a result, it is unusual to go from the latest religion to the one that preceded it,” the court said. “The person who has such an attitude is straying from the right path and threatening the principles, values and precepts of Islam and of Egyptian traditions,” the ruling read.

Mohammad Ahmad Higazi converted to Islam some years ago (some reports say nine ago; others six years; Islamic sources say just a few months). He married a woman, Zeinab, who also converted to Christianity taking the nam…

Snowy day in Amman, Jordan

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Folks I know over in Amman have been surprised by a decent snowfall. This amount of snow would not be notable in many cities, but in Amman it certainly is and the cty had shut down. Here are some pictures from bloggers:


Iraq most dangerous place for Christians?

Please click here and watch this all:

Iraq most dangerous place for Christians?

Abu Daoud & Co. safely in new city

Your prayers have availed much!

We have arrived with nary a hitch, other than the fact that it is quite cold here. Yes, cold in the Middle East. While I cannot go into many details for obvious reasons I am happy to say that I see us being here for several years, interacting with both Muslims and Arab Christians for the glory of God. I have met with two gentlemen with whom I will be working extensively and we are all excited to see what our Father is going to do.

Next big thing: Find a permanent residence. While the temporary place is fine, there is no substitute for having a home of one's own.

PS: Hope to start regular blogging again within two or three days...

Abu Daoud asks for your prayers

Abu Daoud will be traveling to a new city in the Middle East and setting up residence there. Would you please pray for travel protection and that a suitable residence would be found soon after arrival.

What is the mission of the Church?

Q. What is the mission of the Church?
A. The mission of the Church is to restore all people to
unity with God and each other in Christ.

Q. How does the Church pursue its mission?
A. The Church pursues its mission as it prays and
worships, proclaims the Gospel, and promotes justice,
peace, and love.

Q. Through whom does the Church carry out its mission?
A. The church carries out its mission through the ministry
of all its members.

Catechism, Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church

Muslim Swimsuit

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Here are some swimsuits designed for Muslim women that are permitted by the shari'a:

Mormon pioneer Gordon Hinckley dead at 97

Creation and the Quran

THE COMING OF THE UNIVERSE INTO EXISTENCE

The origin of the universe is described in the Qur'an in the following verse:

"He is the Originator of the heavens and the earth."(The Qur'an, 6:101)

This information given in the Qur'an is in full agreement with the findings of contemporary science. The conclusion that astrophysics has reached today is that the entire universe, together with the dimensions of matter and time, came into existence as a result of a great explosion that occurred in no time. This event, known as "The Big Bang" proved that the universe was created from nothingness as the result of the explosion of a single point. Modern scientific circles are in agreement that the Big Bang is the only rational and provable explanation of the beginning of the universe and of how the universe came into being.

Before the Big Bang, there was no such thing as matter. From a condition of non-existence in which neither matter, nor energy, nor even time existed,…

The Wacky World of Muslim Dating

So yeah, I though this was funny...from HERE:

January 27, 2008 -- A Wall Street stockbroker fears for her life after she rebuffed a Brooklyn imam she met on a Muslim dating Web site.

In an explosive $50 million lawsuit that blows the lid off the wacky world of Muslim dating in New York, Cherine Allaithy alleges the religious leader promised he would make her one of four future wives and boasted of a cousin in al Qaeda. When she dumped him, he trashed her reputation in the Arab press.

The imam, Tarek Youssoff Hassan Saleh, 42, says Allaithy is a loose, mentally unstable woman. He has filed criminal charges against her in Brooklyn for allegedly destroying two computers at the Oulel-Albab mosque in Bay Ridge. He also claims she threatened to frame him for rape.

Allaithy, 32, says she met the imam, who goes by the name Sheikh Saleh, online at the Muslim Matrimonial Network site in May 2007. They courted for a month.

In June, she claims in court documents, Saleh proposed marriage, telling her s…

Are you Orthodox? Called to be a missionary?

Here is the link to the vacancies site of the Orthodox Christian Missions Center (OCMC). I love that evangelical Christians are quite missions-minded, but folks who have also been reading this blog for a while know that I also desire to see missionaries sent out by Orthodox and Catholic churches. And I am not speaking of the traditional monastic model of missions--ie, sending monks and nuns. I am talking about sending out families to carry forth the missionary works of those churches.

Here are a few of the options:

TANZANIA: construction manager or engineer

ROMANIA: substance abuse counselors

GHANA: seminary teachers

ALBANIA: youth and young adult worker

Read them all HERE.

Creation of the Orthodox Metropolis of Singapore

From OCMC.org:

[...] On Friday, January 11th, 2008, the Ecumenical Patriarchate announced the creation of a new ecclesiastical jurisdiction in southeast Asia, based in Singapore, to oversee Orthodox Christian parishes in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka. The decision was taken after an unanimous vote to detach the regions from the Metropolis of Hong Kong and to establish the Metropolis of Singapore.

Meanwhile, Archimandrite Nektarios Tsilis was unanimously elected as the new Metropolitan of Hong Kong, with a jurisdiction over Orthodox parishes in the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar. The ordination of the newly elected Metropolitan took place in the Phanar at the Patriarchal church of St. George in Constantinople, on Sunday, January 20th, 2008.

Archbishop Nektarios is a graduate of the Theological Academy in Athens and the Theological School of the Uni…

Creation of the Orthodox Metropolis of Singapore

From OCMC.org:

[...] On Friday, January 11th, 2008, the Ecumenical Patriarchate announced the creation of a new ecclesiastical jurisdiction in southeast Asia, based in Singapore, to oversee Orthodox Christian parishes in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka. The decision was taken after an unanimous vote to detach the regions from the Metropolis of Hong Kong and to establish the Metropolis of Singapore.

Meanwhile, Archimandrite Nektarios Tsilis was unanimously elected as the new Metropolitan of Hong Kong, with a jurisdiction over Orthodox parishes in the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar. The ordination of the newly elected Metropolitan took place in the Phanar at the Patriarchal church of St. George in Constantinople, on Sunday, January 20th, 2008.

Archbishop Nektarios is a graduate of the Theological Academy in Athens and the Theological School of the Uni…

Migration of Muslims to the West

Question:
If a Muslim is able to practice his religion openly in a kaafir country where he is staying for work, but there is no mosque or (Muslim) community, is he sinning thereby?.

Answer:
Praise be to Allaah.

Firstly:

The evidence indicates that it is haraam to settle among the mushrikeen, and it is obligatory to migrate from the kaafir country to a Muslim country if one is able to do that.

From Islam Q&A

The Unorthodox Patriarch

Great article here on the state of the Orthodox Patriarchate in Constantinople, which is probably on the verge of extinction. Also, he is coming out with a new book and there is some info about it here. Please do read it, it's not very long.

The Unorthodox Patriarchate

Immigration to Europe out of control

[T]he number of immigrants arriving [in France] from countries outside of the European Union has already gone from 153,000 in 1999 to 251,000 in 2005. The illegals estimated at about 100,000 can be added to these official figures. One can therefore assume that about 350,000 entered French territory in 2005, which in six years is the equivalent of the population of Paris. As far as the contribution of this migratory influx is concerned, let us just quote from our Economic Report on Immigration: “Six out of ten persons from foreign countries of working age are idle. The deficit in public funds attributable to this population reaches 48 billion euros, or 80% of the total deficit recorded in 2004.”

From HERE.

Peresecution of Christians in Pakistan and Ethiopia

PAKISTAN Pastor Killed -- VOM Sources
On January 17, a pastor was shot and killed by an unknown person in Peshawar, Pakistan. According to The Voice of the Martyrs contacts, the pastor had worked with the Assembly of God Church in Peshawar, for the past 10 years. He is survived by his wife and a one-year-old daughter. Pray for this grieving family and church. Ask God to comfort believers in Peshawar and for this pastor's family to realize that to be absent from the body is to be present with Him. Psalm 27:1, Psalm 23

Pray for ETHIOPIA
ETHIOPIA Christian Family's House Bombed -- VOM Sources
On January 12, a home belonging to a Christian family was bombed in the southeastern city of Jijiga. According to The Voice of the Martyrs contacts, "Terefe Feleke, his wife and their two children were in the house at the time of the attack, thankfully none of them were seriously hurt. The roof of the house was destroyed by the bomb blast. While searching the compound, the police found anot…

Can you be a muslim and still believe that Jesus is the son of God?

Question:
Can you be a muslim and still believe that Jesus is the son of God?

Answer:
Praise be to Allaah.

One of the most important principles of belief in Allaah is to declare that Allaah is above all attributes that imply shortcomings. One of the attributes that imply shortcomings that the Muslim must reject is the notion that Allaah has a son, because that implies need and that there is a being who is like unto Him, and these are matters which Allaah is far above. Allaah says in Soorat al-Ikhlaas, which describes an attribute of the Most Merciful and is regarded as being equal in reward to reciting one-third of the Qur’aan:

“Say (O Muhammad): He is Allaah, (the) One.

Allaah-us-Samad [Allaah — the Self-Sufficient Master, Whom all creatures need, (He neither eats nor drinks)].

He begets not, nor was He begotten.

And there is none co-equal or comparable unto Him”

[al-Ikhlaas 112:1-4 – interpretation of the meaning]

Because the Christians believe that ‘Eesa (Jesus) is the son of God – exalt…

Holland 'governed by fear of Islam'

Holland 'governed by fear of Islam'

A politician has warned that a "fear of Islam" is governing Holland after he delayed the release of a short film attacking the Koran.

Geert Wilders, 44, the leader of the Dutch Freedom Party, who compares the Muslim holy book to Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf, sparked government panic after saying the anti-Islam film would be released tomorrow.

As Dutch police prepared for a weekend of riots and Mr Wilders was told by the authorities that he would have to leave country, he launched a new attack on "intolerant" Islam while announcing that his 10-minute film attacking the Muslim faith would be postponed for two weeks.
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"If I had announced that I was going to make a film about the fascist character of the Bible would there have been a crisis meeting of Holland's security forces?" he wrote to the Volkskrant newspaper.

"Would I have received as many death threats as I have done since announcing I was m…

Against the divine Arrangement of the Quran

According to Ali Dashti, the author of famous book Twenty Three years, Zayd’s Quran “was badly edited and its contents are very obtusely arranged. All students of the Quran wonder why the editors did not use the natural and logical method of ordering by date of revelation, as in Ali b. Taleb’s lost copy of the text” (Dashti, Twenty Three Years, p.28)

Dashti goes on to say, “The text which was finally prepared under the supervision of a committee appointed by Uthman is regrettably not ordered in chronological sequence of the revelations. The texts in the possession of Ali b.Abi Taleb and Abdollah b. Masud were not consulted. The suras are placed illogically in order of decreasing length, when at least the Meccan suras might have been placed first and the Madinan suras last. There are also misplacements of Meccan verses inside Madinan suras and suras of Madinan verses inside Meccan suras.” (Dashit, Twenty Three Years, p. 173).

From HERE

The Divine Arrangement of the Quran

The Jews were commanded by God to preserve their holy book, the Torah. The responsibility for preserving these early divine scriptures thus fell to their followers, whereas it was God who Himself shouldered the burden of keeping the Qur'an intact: 'We have, without doubt, sent down the Message, and We will assuredly guard it.' (15:9) Earlier scriptures were books of God just as the Qur'an was. The only difference was that the bearers of those books failed in their task of preserving them, and hence they lost their original qualities. As for the Qur'an, God having taken it upon Himself to provide His special divine succour for its safeguarding, it remained in its pristine state.

From HERE.

Anti-missionary initiative in Algeria

From HERE:

"Algerian Security Forces Weigh New Anti-Missionary Program"


("El-Khabar", January 15, 2008)

Algiers, Algeria - An Algerian security forces team is examining a new program for fighting missionary activity, to be submitted to Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

The program, which was prepared by clerics, includes encouraging citizens to report missionary activity and efforts to raise funds to support indigent individuals considering converting to Christianity, and counterpropaganda in order to point out the contradictions and heresy in Christianity and Judaism.

The main region of concern is Kabylia, but missionary activity is taking place also in other regions of the country.

Religious freedom under Islam?

Bat Yeor:

The current fanaticism and mass killings perpetrated in Lebanon, Algeria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, Darfur, Indonesia and the Philippines evoke the continual tribal wars that have permanently ravaged the dar al-Islam with their religious-cleansing, the exodus or the deportation of populations, mainly non-Muslim, and the associated pillage, destruction, abduction and enslavement. Jihadist terrorism that has, over the centuries, eliminated the indigenous Jewish and Christian populations from their Islamized homelands continues unabated today, giving us a glimpse of this past, rosy time of dhimmitude. It is strange that [Mark] Cohen remains at Princeton instead of emigrating to Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, even Sudan, to enjoy, under a shari’a–taliban type rule, that dhimmi condition he admires so much for Oriental Jewry.

(Abu Daoud says: Cohen wrote a silly article about the supposed freedoms of Jews and Christians under Islamic rule. This is part of Bat Yeor's response …

Excellent lectures on Islam

Great lectures on Islam can be found here:

Lecture I

Lecture II

Lecture III

Just click on the links for the audio files.

(Hat tip to Erik over at Of Priests and Paramedics)

Afghan journalist sentenced to death for blasphemy

Afghan journalist sentenced to death for blasphemy

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — An Afghan court on Tuesday sentenced a 23-year-old journalism student to death for distributing a paper he printed off the Internet that three judges said violated the tenets of Islam, an official said.

The three-judge panel sentenced Sayad Parwez Kambaksh to death for distributing a paper that humiliated Islam, said Fazel Wahab, the chief judge in the northern province of Balkh, where the trial took place. Wahab did not preside over the trial.

Kambaksh's family and the head of a journalists group denounced the verdict and said Kambaksh was not represented by a lawyer at trial. Members of a clerics council had been pushing for Kambaksh to be punished.

The case now goes to the first of two appeals courts, Wahab said. Kambaksh, who has been jailed since October, will remain in custody during appeal.

Wahab said he did not immediately have the details of the paper that Kambaksh circulated, other than that it was a…

Why Muslims become Terrorists

One man's story, read it all:

...I was born in Cairo to a secular Muslim family. My father was an orthopedic surgeon and an agnostic at heart; my mother was a French teacher and a liberal. Both considered Islam to be, primarily, an integral part of our culture. With the exception of my father, we would fast on Ramadan. Even though my father was not religious, he understood our need to fit into the community and never forced his secular views on us. He espoused diverse philosophical ideas but encouraged us to follow our own convictions. Most importantly, he taught my brother and me to think critically rather than to learn by rote.

I never had any doubt, however, that we were Muslim - that Allah was our creator, Muhammad his messenger and the Koran our book. I believed that if I performed good deeds, I would be admitted to paradise where I could satisfy all my personal desires. I also knew, alternatively, that my transgressions would be punished by eternal torture in hell. I absorbed …

Against Islamic Apartheid

Against Islamic Apartheid

By Mark D. Tooley
FrontPageMagazine.com
January 21, 2008

When others in his church and nation are often blinded by multiculturalism and rigid political correctness, the Church of England's ethnically Pakistani Bishop of Rochester often speaks boldly. His recent column in The Daily Telegraph warning against encroaching self-segregation and even the growing practice of Islamic Sharia law within British Islamic communities has aroused the ire of some Muslim clerics in Britain.

"There has been a worldwide resurgence of the ideology of Islamic extremism," Nazir-Ali wrote. "One of the results of this has been to further alienate the young from the nation in which they were growing up and also to turn already separate communities into 'no-go' areas where adherence to this ideology has become a mark of acceptability."

The Islamization of some parts of British cities has happened thanks to high immigration from Muslim countries, low birth-rat…

Global markets tanking....

Hmm, this appears to be pretty bad news, but just wait til tomorrow (Tuesday) and the US markets are open.

Global markets plunge on U.S. recession fears

LONDON (AP) -- Stocks fell sharply worldwide Monday following declines on Wall Street last week amid investor pessimism over the U.S. government's stimulus plan to prevent a recession.

U.S. markets were closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but were primed to open Tuesday's session with steep declines, according to futures trading. [...]

Demographics, Terror, Western Europe

By H. Fitzgerald:

[...] The larger the local population of Muslims, the more incessant the demands by that population for severe, absurd limits on methods used to prevent such terrorism. For example, take the demand that there be no "profiling" at airports or elsewhere for Muslim terrorists, on the basis of the perceived belief in Islam of those in the population who, intelligently and effectively, should be subject to much greater scrutiny. Take also the severe limits placed on public discussion of the nature of Islam, of what its adherents believe or can reasonably be assumed to believe, if they call themselves Muslims. The larger the Muslim population, the greater the number of people attempting to influence Western politicians to lay off of Islam, the greater the pressure to remove all obstacles to the spread and dominance of Islam, and the greater the likelihood that some in that population will offer political, moral, financial support to those who plot and plan, and th…

Tisdall on the origin of the Quran

The Muhammadan explanation of the origin of Islam therefore, based as it ultimately is upon the Qur'an, is that the sole Source and Fountain-head of the Religion of Islam is God Himself. It had accordingly no human source, and no single part of it was derived directly or indirectly from earlier revelations or from other religions, though it was revealed to confirm the Law and the Gospel, and claims to agree with their original and uncorrupted teaching (cf. Surah LVII., Al Hadid, 26, sqq.).

European readers hardly require proof that such an opinion of the origin of Islam in general and of the Qur'an in particular is untenable. Those who cannot read the book in the original Arabic are enabled to examine its teaching by consulting the various translations of the Qur'an which have been made into various European languages, the best known of the English versions being those by Sale, Rodwell, and Palmer. To an intelligent mind the assertion which we are considering refutes itself…

January 19: Saint Fabian, martyr, bishop of Rome

One of my favorite saint stories of all time, please read it, and notice how early a saint he is:

January 19, 2008
St. Fabian
(c. 250)

Fabian was a Roman layman who came into the city from his farm one day as clergy and people were preparing to elect a new pope. Eusebius, a Church historian, says a dove flew in and settled on the head of Fabian. This sign united the votes of clergy and laity and he was chosen unanimously.

He led the Church for 14 years and died a martyr’s death during the persecution of Decius in a.d. 250. St. Cyprian wrote to his successor that Fabian was an “incomparable” man whose glory in death matched the holiness and purity of his life.

In the catacombs of St. Callistus, the stone that covered Fabian’s grave may still be seen, broken into four pieces, bearing the Greek words, “Fabian, bishop, martyr.”

From HERE.

Medical Miracle in the Quran?

This sort of proof is often offered as evidence of the miraculous and divine nature of the Quran:

IT is a long-established custom among Muslim parents to put a piece of well-chewed date (or other available sweet fruit) in the mouth of a newborn baby. Muslims do this following the practice of the Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh), believing him to be, as the Qur’an says, sent as a healing and a mercy to mankind. We may infer from the way this custom originated that there is a virtue in it. There is - complimentary to the virtue and pleasure of following the Sunnah (the practice of the Prophet) - placing a ‘sugary substance’ inside the mouth of a new-born baby dramatically reduces pain sensation and heart rate. An interesting scientific medical study, published in the British Medical Journal (No 6993, 10 June 1995), proved beyond any doubt the benefit of giving a new-born child sugar, in order to reduce the feeling of any painful procedure like heel pricking for a blood sample or before circumcisi…

Muhammad and the "miracle of the Quran"

[In Islam, each prophet] is supported by miracles to prove that he is not an impostor. Those miracles are granted by the power and permission of God and are usually in the field in which his people excel and are recognized as superiors. We might illustrate this by quoting the major miracles of the three prophets of the major world religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Moses' contemporaries were excellent in magic. So his major miracle was to defeat the best magicians of Egypt of his days. Jesus' contemporaries were recognized as skillful physicians. Therefore, his miracles were to raise the dead and cure the incurable diseases. The Arabs, the contemporaries of the Prophet Mohammed, were known for their eloquence and magnificent poetry. So Prophet Muhammad's major miracle was the Quran, the equivalent of which the whole legion of the Arab poets and orators could not produce despite the repeated challenge from the Quran itself. Again Muhammad's miracle has somethin…

Recommended Journal: Christians Understanding Islam

"Christians Understanding Islam" is a journal published by the Foundation for Advanced Study and Training (FAST). The journal is free and is sent out by post mail and I encourage you all to contact the editor and subscribe to the journal.

Just send an e-mail to editor [at] christiansandislam [dot] com.

Check out their website HERE.

Bread in Egypt and Corruption

Very nice article here on Egypt and her bread subsidies and how that affects peasant life there:

[...]So the bread subsidy continues, costing Cairo about $3.5 billion a year. Over all, the government spends more on subsidies, including gasoline, than it spends on health and education. But it is not just the cost that plagues the government. The bread subsidy fuels the kind of rampant corruption that undermines faith in government, discourages investment and reinforces the country's every-man-for-himself ethos, say government officials and political experts, not to speak of bakers and their customers.

"The most corrupt sector in the country is the provisions sector," said a government inspector who asked not to be identified for fear of punishment. His job is to go to bakeries to ensure they are actually using the cheap government flour to produce cheap bread that is sold for the proper price. "There is a great deal of corruption. The amount of money in it will make an…

Sarkozy, France, and no security

In May, the French voters elected Mr. Sarkozy as president because he had promised to restore the authority of the Republic over France’s 751 no-go areas, the so-called zones urbaines sensibles (ZUS, sensitive urban areas), where 5 million people – 8 percent of the population – live. During his first months in office he has been too busy with other activities, such as selling nuclear plants to Libya and getting divorced. While the French media publish nude pictures of the future (third) Mrs. Sarkozy, the situation in the ZUS has remained as “sensitive” as before.

People get mugged, even murdered, in the ZUS, but the media prefer not to write about it. When large-scale rioting erupts and officers and firemen are attacked, the behavior of the thugs is condoned with references to their “poverty” and to the “racism” of the indigenous French. The French media never devote their attention to the bleak situation of intimidation and lawlessness in which 8 percent of the population, including m…

US baby boomlet bucks world trend

US baby boomlet bucks world trend

ATLANTA, Georgia (AP) -- Bucking the trend in many other wealthy industrialized nations, the United States seems to be experiencing a baby boomlet, reporting the largest number of children born in 45 years.
US baby boomlet bucks world trend

The United States has a higher fertility rate than every country in continental Europe.

The nearly 4.3 million births in 2006 were mostly due to a bigger population, especially a growing number of Hispanics. That group accounted for nearly one-quarter of all U.S. births. But non-Hispanic white women and other racial and ethnic groups were having more babies, too.

An Associated Press review of birth numbers dating to 1909 found the total number of U.S. births was the highest since 1961, near the end of the baby boom. An examination of global data also shows that the United States has a higher fertility rate than every country in continental Europe, as well as Australia, Canada and Japan. Fertility levels in those count…

Part XVI: Islam and Mormonism

by C. Fletcher

In studying world religions, I have noticed several similarities between Mormonism and Islam. Sure, there are significant differences as well (Monotheistic Islam vs. Polytheistic Mormonism for example), and I would not suggest that they are theologically compatible, but the foundings of both religions are surprisingly similar and worth noting.

Here are 12 of the parallels that have been noted (this list is by no means exhaustive):

1. Both claimed that the original meaning of the teachings of Jesus and those who preceded him had either been forgotten or corrupted.
2. Both prophets are reported to have come from humble beginnings with no formal education and were barely literate.
3. Holy Books: Both prophets wrote a new holy book that was apparently inspired by God, and both claimed that their holy book was the most correct and perfect book on earth. Also, they both claimed that their holy books were based upon a record stored in heaven. Both religions claim that thei…

Latest from Saudi Arabia

Since the US President is there, here are a few links with recent news from The Kingdom, aka the Custodian of the Two Holy Places:

Bush asks for more oil production

POTUS and King of KSA agree on huge arms deal

Saudi Blogger Al Farhan still imprisoned for, uh, talking and stuff
(Sad ironic note, his surname, Al Farhan, means 'the happy one' in Arabic.)

The Quran: from spoken to written

Good material here on the process whereby the Quran took written form as opposed to simply recitation:

Some of the Surahs may have been written down on any materials that came to hand by some of Muhammad's amanuenses, of which we are told he had a considerable number, as soon as they were first recited by him. The knowledge of writing was not uncommon in his time among the Meccans, for we are informed that some of the latter, when taken captive, obtained their liberty by instructing certain of the people of Medina in the art. Whether written down at once or not, they were instantly committed to memory, and were recited at the time of public worship and on other occasions. During Muhammad's lifetime frequent reference was made to him when any doubt arose with regard to the proper wording of a passage. Tradition mentions certain Surahs or verses which were preserved in a written form in the houses of Muhammad's wives during his life, and we are even told that some verses thus…

The Church is the fullness of Christ

That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

Ephesians 1:19b-23

I was reading this last night and I was struck by how audacious this sort of language is regarding the relation of the Church to the Christ. I am also intrigued by the preposition "for" in the last verse. Christ was appointed head over everything for the church? Like for the sake of the church? As a gift/grace to the church? The NA says it like this:

And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body…

Why do they Convert to Islam?

Why do they Convert to Islam?
by Abu Daoud

RE my post on the rise of white Muslim terror in the UK, Fletcher asked:

I just don't get it... What do you suppose the motivation is for these non-Muslims Brits to join Al-Qaida in terrorizing westerners indiscriminately? How are they convinced that the value of human life is nil?

I am just glad that the majority of their major plots are stopped before they launch.

There are many different reasons why ethnic Americans and Brits convert to Islam. But I will outline some of the main ones here for you all:

1) Discipline: Let's be honest about most of our churches today: they don't ask much--and that includes evangelical churches. In fact one is hard pressed to differentiate between the Sunday morning service and a concert with a inspirational talk, right? In Islam you find a very detailed system of rules that tell you all about your life and how you should live it and what you should do. People who grow up with broken families or broken…

January 14: Saint John the Gardener

I just live the idea of this guy being called "John the Gardener," and not being a prince or bishop or military leader or anything like that! I also like the he had the gifts of prophecy and the reading of hearts (knowledge). Long live the gifts of the Spirit!

Servant of God John the Gardener
(d. 1501)

John was born of poor parents in Portugal. Orphaned early in life, he spent some years begging from door to door. After finding work in Spain as a shepherd, he shared the little he earned with those even more needy than himself.

One day two Franciscans encountered him on a journey. Engaging him in conversation, they took a liking to the simple man and invited him to come and work at their friary in Salamanca. He readily accepted and was assigned to the task of assisting the brother with gardening duties. A short time later John himself entered the Franciscan Order and lived a life of prayer and meditation, fasting constantly, spending the nights in prayer, still helping the poor. …

The Rise of Indigenous Terror in the UK

From the Scotsman:

Al Qaeda's White Army of Terror
by Richard Elias

HUNDREDS of British non-Muslims have been recruited by al-Qaeda to wage war against the West, senior security sources warned last night.

As many as 1,500 white Britons are believed to have converted to Islam for the purpose of funding, planning and carrying out surprise terror attacks inside the UK, according to one MI5 source.

Lord Carlile, the Government's independent reviewer of anti-terrorism legislation, said many of the converts had been targeted by radical Muslims while serving prison terms.

Security experts say the growing secret army of white terrorists poses a particularly serious threat as they are far less likely to be detected than members of the Asian community.

Since the 7/7 and 21/7 London bombings, police and intelligence services have had considerable success in identifying, disrupting and stopping extremist plots. As a result, groups such as al-Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Harkat-ul-Mujahideen have b…

Greatness of the Quran

The Qur’an contains at least the principles of all the branches of knowledge either in summary or detail and not even a single piece of the knowledge it contains has ever been contradicted.

There has been no one in human history who has written books accurate to the same degree on both religion and law and sociology and psychology and eschatology and morality and history and literature and so on. However, the Qur’an contains at least the principles of all the branches of knowledge either in summary or detail and not even a single piece of the knowledge it contains has ever been contradicted. Must this not be enough for one unprejudiced to acknowledge its Divine origin?

From HERE.

Anglican Bloggers...since I am one :-)

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Pre-marital sex, an issue in Jordan

I am so glad there are bloggers in Jordan and other countries in MENA (Middle East and North Africa) that can actually provide some insightful commentary on social issues facing Arab Muslims throughout that huge region. I am happy then to refer you to a short but insightful commentary from Khalaf over at What's up in Jordan:

An Illegitimate Issue

In the last couple of months, the media has been interested in various cases of abandoned infants, who mostly were born out of wedlock. Being the type of conservative society it is in Jordan, the mothers of these children face dire consequences. The babies are placed in garbage bins or left at doors of mosques.

According to a report in Al Ghad, 36 such children were dealt with through the ministry of social development last year, as opposed to 28 from the year before. In a country where there is a child born every three minutes, the birth of 0.02% of children under these conditions is hardly remarkable, and would hardly warrant mention were…

The Strength of the Absurd

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By JD at Fisher of Men:

The movement of faith must be continually on the strength of the absurd…
Faith…having performed the movements of infinity…makes those of finitude.
-Soren Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling

In his exegesis of the concept of faith through Abraham’s trial on Mt. Moriah, Kierkegaard states that Abraham’s theological identity as the ultimate father of faith comes from his ability to assert himself as the particular over the universal/ethical in “absolute relation to the absolute.”

To put it in Layman’s terms, Abraham, through that very act of faith, supercedes universal ethical boundaries, thereby becoming the highest manifestation of faith one can achieve as a fallen being. His faith, through a steadfast belief that God would redeem the situation and protect his lineage through Isaac, surpasses the realm of the ethical and enters a realm that few have entered.

C.S. Lewis, while taking a more simplistic view of faith in his writings, corroborates Kierkegaard’s assert…

Ibn Taymiyya on Takfiir

"Any group of people that rebels against a single precept of the clear and reliably transmitted prescripts of Islam has to be fought, according to the leading scholars of Islam, even if the members of the group pronounce the Islamic confession of faith. If such people make a public formal confession of their faith, but, at the same time, refuse to carry out the five daily prayers, then it is obligatory to fight them. If they refuse to pay the religious zakaat-tax, it is obligatory to fight them until they do so. Similarly, if they refuse to keep the fast of the month of Ramadan or to perform the Pilgrimage to Mecca, and similarly if they refuse to forbid abominations or adultery or gambling or wine or anything else that is forbidden by the laws of Islam. Similarly [they have to be fought and killed] if they refuse to apply the judgment of the Book and the Example of the Prophet to matters of life and property, or merchandise and commodities of any kind. Similarly [they have to be…

Muslim Victims of Jihad

Muslim Victims of Jihad

In the earliest period of the history of Islam, in the years before 660, a novel Muslim religious movement appeared that claimed the monopoly on representing 'real Islam', and that regarded all other Muslims as apostates if they refused to join their movement. Christians and Jews may have been relatively safe from the aggression of this sect-like movement, but born Muslims are reported to have been ruthlessly killed if they rejected the absolute claims this novel group made. If they refused to join, they were accused of having committed the sin of apostasy, and killed.

The Caliphs in Damascus and later in Baghdad, who represented mainstream Islam, fought these movements desperately. Eventually, the armies that the Caliphs sent out crushed them in the last decades of the 9th century AD. It is, of course, not easy to find out whether the historical reports that were written about these movements were accurate. Their enemies wrote most of these reports, ands…

India: Violent Hindu reaction to Christian conversions

India's Burning Issue
Conversions in Orissa—and the violent reaction against them—highlight tension in India's not-so-dead caste system.

On Christmas Eve, violence broke out against Christians in the Kandhamal district of the eastern Indian state of Orissa, which has become well known for poor governance and class tensions. Hindu fundamentalist groups led by the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP, the World Hindu Council) have attacked Christians and their institutions at will in rural areas. Over 90 churches and Christian institutions have been burned and vandalized, over 700 Christian homes destroyed, and the number of pastors and Christians killed is yet to be known, according to a report by my colleagues in the All India Christian Council. A pastor in Chennai told me that 11 pastors have been killed and thousands of Dalit Christians displaced. Compass Direct reports that the death count is at 9. Many people are missing, and others have vanished in the nearby forests.

Human Rights Wat…

Pakistan bombings reach 'unprecedented' level

Pakistan bombings reach 'unprecedented' level

... On Thursday, a suicide bomber killed at least 23 people and injured more than 58 others outside a court in Lahore, police said.

The attack brought to 20 the number of suicide attacks in Pakistan in the last three months, including a failed attack on Bhutto's life in October. The bombings have killed close to 400 people and wounded nearly 1,000 others in the last three months, according to government officials.

Pro-Taliban militants with ties to al Qaeda are carrying out the attacks, according to analysts and government officials.

CNN terrorism analyst Peter Bergen says the number of suicide bombings in Pakistan has "reached unprecedented levels in the past year." Previously, Bergen says, such attacks were rare.[...]

Eliot on Old Age

Old men should be explorers
Here and there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity.

T.S. Eliot, "East Coker"

Kierkegaard on risk and youth

"During the first period of a man's life the greatest danger is not to take the risk."

Søren Kierkegaard

Kierkegaard on God's Love

“God’s love is for me, both in a direct and inverse sense, incommensurable with the whole of reality.”

--Søren Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling

(HT to Fisher of Men)

Muslim Orthodoxy and the Return of Jesus (Issa)

The Hadiths on Jesus Are "Tawatur"

The hadiths relating Jesus' second coming are reliable [tawatur]. Research shows that scholars share this view. Tawatur is defined as "a tradition which has been handed down by a number of different channels of transmitters or authorities, hence supposedly ruling out the possibility of its having been forged."

[...]

In his Al-Tasrih fi ma Tawatara fi Nuzul al-Masih, the great hadith scholar Muhammad Anwar Shah Kashmiri writes that the hadiths about Jesus' second coming are all reliable, and quotes 75 hadiths and 25 works by companions of the Prophet and their disciples (tabi'un).

In the Sunni school of Islam, Imam Abu Hanifa is the greatest collector of hadiths on Jesus' second coming. In the final part of his Al-Fiqh al-Akbar, he states that:

The emergence of the Dajjal [Antichrist] and of Gog and Magog is a reality; the rising of the sun in the West is a reality; the descent of Jesus, upon whom be peace, from the heav…

Can Islam be Reformed?

Ibn Warraq:

But how likely is such a reformation in today’s Islamic societies? Can Islam institute such reforms and stay Islam? There are some, I believe, misguided liberal Muslims who want to have their cake and eat it. These liberals often argue that the real Islam is compatible with Human Rights, that the real Islam is feminist, that the real Islam is egalitarian, that the real Islam tolerates other religions and beliefs, and so on. They then proceed to some truly creative re-interpretation of the embarrassing, intolerant, bellicose and misogynist verses of the Koran.

But intellectual honesty demands that we reject just such dishonest tinkering with the Holy Text, which, while it may be open to some re-interpretation is not infinitely elastic. As a tactic it will simply not work either, because to trade verses with fundamentalists is to do battle on the fanatics’ terms, on the fanatics’ ground. For every text that the liberal Muslims produce, the mullahs will adduce dozens of counter…

Wife Beating in Islam

Zeid, a reader of Islam and Christianity, recently commented on my connection between domestic violence and Islam, saying that such activity exists in all religions. Which is true. You can read our comments if you like. For now though I just want to give a link to an article on the topic.

Wife Beating in Islam

Whatever the case may be, it should be made very clear that killing one's wife is in most occassions a violation of the sharia.

'Family turned a blind eye' as teenage bride was beaten to death by arranged husband

'Family turned a blind eye' as teenage bride was beaten to death by arranged husband

A teenage bride was beaten to death by her husband while her in-laws stood by and did nothing, a court heard yesterday.

Sabia Rani, 19, was repeatedly attacked over a three-week period, suffering bruising to 90 per cent of her body and "catastrophic" injuries usually only seen in car crash victims.

She had arrived five months earlier from Pakistan for an arranged marriage to Shazad Khan, 25, of Oakwood Grange, Leeds, a jury at Leeds Crown Court was told.

But Khan's family, with whom she lived, took an almost instant dislike to her, said Simon Myerson, prosecuting, and Khan began beating her.

The attack which killed her was "prolonged and vicious," the court heard.

Her agonising rib fractures were caused by "kicks, stamps or very hard punches".

The victim's mother-in-law and a sister-in-law blamed the injuries on "evil spirits, curses and black magic".

Bu…

Pope: Convert the unbelievers

Praise be to God for this. Do you all realize how powerful it woudl be if just 5% of the one billion Catholics of the world started actively working to evangelize non-Christians?

Good Works not Enough

Roman Catholic missionaries should aim to convert people and not restrict themselves to humanitarian good works, the Vatican said on December 14.

A 19-page document, which was personally approved by Pope Benedict XVI, draws on the controversial Vatican declaration he issued in 2000 that asserted Catholics alone have "the fullness of the means of salvation." The document aims to correct a "growing confusion" among theologians who argue that "it is enough to build communities which strive for justice, freedom, peace, and solidarity."

The document comes as the Catholic Church faces increased competition from Pentecostals and evangelicals, particularly in third-world countries, and charges of improper "sheep stealing" from Orthodox churches, especially in …

Muhammad instructed to consult with the Jews and Christians

The [tenth] sura concludes with reassurance for Muhammad and affirmations of Allah’s sovereignty, in verses 94-109. Allah tells Muhammad to “ask those who have been reading the Book from before thee” if he doubts the revelations he has been receiving (v. 94). The Tafsir al-Jalalayn says that this means that Muhammad should “question those who read the Scripture, the Torah, before you, for it is confirmed [therein] with them and they can inform you of its truth.” This assumes, of course, that uncorrupted versions of the Jewish (and Christian) Scriptures were available in Muhammad’s day – a contention that creates immense difficulties for the Islamic claim that they were corrupted at all, since copies exist from that era, and they are not different from the Jewish and Christian Scriptures as they exist today.

From HERE.

20,000 mark

Well, I'm not sure how many people actually read what is posted on this blog, but we passed the 20,000 hit mark yesterday. Yeay!

Timeline of Islam

What else would you add? Subtract?

Timeline

330: Capital of Roman Empire moved to Constantinople
c. 570-632: Muhammad ibn ‘Abdallah
638: Jerusalem falls to Caliph ‘Umar
732: Battle of Tours, Muslim expansion in Iberia halted
1095: First Crusade preached by Pope Urban II
1099-1291: Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem
1453: Constantinople falls to the Turks
1492: Reconquista of Spain completed
1571: Battle of Lepanto, Turkish naval defeat
1683: Battle of Vienna, Ottoman armies repelled
1703-1792: Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al Wahhab
1922: Ottomon Empire dissolved
1924: Caliphate abolished by Ataturk
1926: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia declares independence
1945: Baath party founded by Michel Aflaq, a Greek Orthodox Christian
1948: Israel declares independence
1957: Osama bin Laden born
1958-1968: United Arab Republic
1967: Israel victorious in the Six-Day War
1979: USSR withdraws from Afghanistan
1988: Al Qaeda founded
1996-2001: Taliban rules Afghanistan
2001: 9/11

Slavery in Islam still lawful

From the indefatigable Islam Q&A:

When the question is asked: why does Islam permit slavery? We reply emphatically and without shame that slavery is permitted in Islam, but we should examine the matter with fairness and with the aim of seeking the truth, and we should examine the details of the rulings on slavery in Islam, with regard to the sources and reasons for it, and how to deal with the slave and how his rights and duties are equal to those of the free man, and the ways in which he may earn his freedom, of which there are many in sharee’ah...

Islam limited the sources of slaves that existed before the beginning of the Prophet’s mission to one way only: enslavement through war which was imposed on kaafir prisoners-of-war and on their womenfolk and children.

Shaykh al-Shanqeeti (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: The reason for slavery is kufr and fighting against Allaah and His Messenger. When Allaah enables the Muslim mujaahideen who are offering their souls and their wealth…

Picture of the Dead Sea

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The Dead Sea (Bahar al Mayit) from the Jordanian side, looking towards Israel. Great picture, taken by Mishmish.

Taqiyya, not lying

Al Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 49, Number 857:

Narrated Um Kulthum bint Uqba:

That she heard Allah's Apostle saying, "He who makes peace between the people by inventing good information or saying good things, is not a liar."

The Manner of Revelation to Muhammad

Al Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 1, Number 2:

Narrated 'Aisha:

(the mother of the faithful believers) Al-Harith bin Hisham asked Allah's Apostle "O Allah's Apostle! How is the Divine Inspiration revealed to you?" Allah's Apostle replied, "Sometimes it is (revealed) like the ringing of a bell, this form of Inspiration is the hardest of all and then this state passes ' off after I have grasped what is inspired. Sometimes the Angel comes in the form of a man and talks to me and I grasp whatever he says." 'Aisha added: Verily I saw the Prophet being inspired Divinely on a very cold day and noticed the Sweat dropping from his forehead (as the Inspiration was over).

Eastern Orthodoxy (Part VII)

By Frederica Mathewes-Green:

6.) Can you explain why a postmodern generation might be attracted to Orthodoxy in ways that their parents and grand-parents might not have been?

Something generational is happening with Evangelicalism, and I suppose we don't yet know quite what it is. There is persistent restlessness--I keep getting books from writers who are trying to define the problem and solve it, and everyone has a different theory. So I think one of the reasons postmodern folks are more open, to Orthodoxy as well as other alternatives, is that current Protestantism is less satisfactory than it used to be.

Orthodoxy itself is appealing, I think, initially because it is visibly beautiful, and because it is rooted in something other than a Baby Boomer's bright idea. As an explorer draws nearer, he finds that it is more guileless and unstudied, less "organizational", than Roman Catholicism (Orthodox projects can be *very* disorganized, compared with Western standards. The…

The Maldives and Water and Mission

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“Water is worth loving” is a Finnish advertising slogan, but it also describes how precious water resources can be in the Maldives. The surface area of the country of close to 1,200 islands is 99 per cent seawater and almost all of the about 200 inhabited islands are dependent on harvested rainwater as the principal source of drinking water.

During the dry season that runs from January to April, fresh water resources can run drastically low leaving people in acute need of additional supplies. [...]

From HERE.

The Maldives is one of the least-reached countries in the world. This country needs some very innovative and creative Christians who are capable in the areas of tourism, engineering, and business to establish a presence there and just see what God does. Water engineering, as you can see above, is one need that can be met through the love of Christ.