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Showing posts from February, 2008

New Blog: Vagante Priest

Welcome to the Blogosphere, Fr Greg, sometimes reader and commenter here at Islam and Christianity. His new blog is:

VagantePriest

Check it out!

Muslim Accommodations Task Force, coming to you soon!

Muslim students at Australian universities have demanded that class schedules be changed to work around their prayer times, and that male and female students be provided with separate cafeterias and recreational areas.
This is in line with similar initiatives in the United States, where the Muslim Students Association carries, on the “Muslim Accommodations Task Force” page of its website, pdfs of pamphlets entitled “How to Achieve Islamic Holidays on Campus,” “How to Establish a Prayer Room on Campus,” and “How to Achieve Halal Food on Campus.”

The MSA directs Muslim students to present these demands in the context of multiculturalism and civil rights. “Most campuses,” explains the publication on getting recognition of Islamic holy “include respecting diversity as a part of their mission statement. They consider enrollment of diverse students an asset to the community, as they enhance the classroom learning experience and enrich student life. Try to find these statements specific to you…

The Didache: deacons and bishops

One of the most contentious issues, and important issues, surrounding early church history, is regarding how the church is organized. Some of the Pauline writings and the Didache both seem to lump the offices of elder/presbyter and overseer/bishop together. Yet by the time of Ignatius of Antioch (early 2nd C.) we have a very clear differentiation between the offices of the elder/presbyter and the overseer/bishop.

The main question then, as far as I can see, is this: when the Didache talks of "apostles" is it referring to the actual Twelve and Paul? If this is the case then it would be reasonable to view them as the main authorities in the church. On the other hand if it using the word apostle in the way we today use the word missionary (as in Ephesians 6), then we have what appears to be a non-monarchial form of government. These questions are also related to dating the Didache.

Chapter 15.—Bishops and Deacons; Christian Reproof

1. Appoint, therefore, for yourselves, bishops a…

Erik Twist: Why Catholic? part 2

Obsession, anyone seen this movie?

Image
Trailer looks interesting. Has anyone seen this? I'd be interested in knowing what you thought.

Obsession: Radical Islam's War against the West

Didache 9: a liturgical church

Here we see that very early in the Christian church (possibly before the some books of the NT came into their final forms--as we have them today) it was customary for pre-composed formulae to be used during various parts of the worship. We see here that the eucharist (thanksgiving) was celebrated weekly, unlike the practice of many evangelical and charismatic churches today.

Also notice: here the wine is taken first, and then the bread. Also: the 'words of institution' are not included. I am speaking about the narrative from Matthew where we read about the Last Supper. Finally: communion, as then and is now, must only be for those who have been baptized.

Very interesting material:

Didache Chapter 9.—The Thanksgiving (Eucharist)

1. Now concerning the Thanksgiving (Eucharist), thus give thanks. 2. First, concerning the cup: We thank you, our Father, for the holy vine of David Your servant, which You made known to us through Jesus Your Servant; to You be the glory for ever. 3. And c…

Didache: say the Our Father thrice daily

This shows that by the end of the 1st C. or early in the 2nd C. Christians were being taught to RECITE the Our Father. This is important because evangelicals generally speaking do not like to recite anything, even the Lord's Prayer. (This chapter also teaches Christians to fast on Wednesdays and Fridays of every week, by the way.)

Didache 8:2, 3:

2. Neither pray as the hypocrites; but as the Lord commanded in His Gospel, thus pray: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. Give us today our daily (needful) bread, and forgive us our debt as we also forgive our debtors. And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one (or, evil); for Yours is the power and the glory for ever. 3. Thrice in the day thus pray.

Baptism in the Didache

The Didache is a very early Christian document. It is dated early 2nd C. by most scholars, though some date it as early as 70 AD:

Chapter 7. Concerning Baptism

1. And concerning baptism, thus baptize ye: Having first said all these things, baptize into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in living water. 2. But if you have not living water, baptize into other water; and if you can not in cold, in warm. 3. But if you have not either, pour out water thrice upon the head into the name of Father and Son and Holy Spirit. 4. But before the baptism let the baptizer fast, and the baptized, and whatever others can; but you shall order the baptized to fast one or two days before.

Erik Twist: Why Catholic? part I

My good friend Erik over at Of Priests and Paramedics has (finally) posted the first part on his series explaining why he (and his family) decided to enter into full communion with Rome. (You all might know that I don't like calling this 'conversion' because that term should be reserved for changing religions entirely.)

Here is the link, please give it a good read.

Why Catholic?

Part XVII: Intro to the Shari'a (Sharia, Shari'ah, Shariah)

Part XVII: Intro to the Shari’a
by Abu Daoud

During a recent five-month sojourn in the West I had the opportunity to do a good amount of teaching on Islam, and there was one question that people kept asking: what exactly is the shari’a? Where does it come from? These are the questions I want to tackle in this paper:

Generally one hears the word shari’a translated as “law” but that’s not quite right. It would be more like the Jewish understanding of Torah in fact. It does contain positive laws (thou must) and negative law (thou shalt not), but it also has a whole series of other classifications, including things that are recommended but not mandatory (certain prayers, for example) and things that are frowned upon but not forbidden (smoking, entering churches). There are also categories for things that are neutral, and a category for things upon which there is no judgment.

The shari’a then is like law with a whole body of advice thrown in for good measure. Moreover it is not mutable. Wh…

HUGE NEWS: Turkey in radical revision of Islamic texts

Wow, things are happening these days! First the stufff about those ancient texts from Yemen that they are working on in Germany. Now this. This is news. It is exciting. God bless them. Maybe I was wrong, maybe Islam can modernize and be reformed...Alhamdulillah!

Turkey in radical revision of Islamic texts

Turkey is preparing to publish a document that represents a revolutionary reinterpretation of Islam - and a controversial and radical modernisation of the religion.

The country's powerful Department of Religious Affairs has commissioned a team of theologians at Ankara University to carry out a fundamental revision of the Hadith, the second most sacred text in Islam after the Koran.

The Hadith is a collection of thousands of sayings reputed to come from the Prophet Muhammad.

As such, it is the principal guide for Muslims in interpreting the Koran and the source of the vast majority of Islamic law, or Sharia.

But the Turkish state has come to see the Hadith as having an often negative i…

Saint Clement of Rome on justification

Clement of Rome (AD 30-100) was a personal friend of Paul's and is thought to be, after Peter, Linus, and Cletus, the fourth bishop of the Roman church (what would later be called the Pope).

He is, to my knowledge, the earliest of the Church Fathers whose writing still exists. This is a challenge to Muslims who find in the New Testament many spurious doctrines that they claim have been corrupted from the original injiil which Jesus son of Mary ('Issa bin Maryam) received from Allah. The probable date of this letter is around 97 AD, though some put it earlier. That means it was completed in the same decade as the Gospel according to St John.

Here is a brief section on justification by faith in this very early work, which was read widely in the ancient churches. This is from his letter, written on behalf of his church in Rome to the church in Corinth.

All these [OT figures], therefore, were highly honoured, and made great, not for their own sake, or for their own works, or for the…

How they used to get bishops

From HERE:

February 26, 2008
St. Porphyry of Gaza
(353-421)

We go far back in history today to learn a bit about a saint whose name is not familiar to most of us in the West but who is celebrated by the Greek and Russian Orthodox churches.

Born near Greece in the mid-fourth century, Porphry is most known for his generosity to the poor and for his ascetic lifestyle. Deserts and caves were his home for a time. At age 40, living in Jerusalem, Porphyry was ordained a priest.

If the accounts we have are correct, he was elected bishop of Gaza—without his knowledge and against his will. He was, in effect, kidnapped (with the help of a neighboring bishop, by the way) and forcibly consecrated bishop by the members of the small Christian community there. No sooner had Porphyry been consecrated bishop then he was accused by the local pagans of causing a drought. When rains came shortly afterward, the pagans gave credit to Porphyry and the Christian population and tensions subsided for a time.

For the …

Sudanese Impressions

Some recent travelers to Sudan talk about their time in Khartoum, it's not a long read:

[...]First of all, Sudan is the first country we have visited that is not really a tourist destination. A lot of people, for instance, dream of visiting Egypt or Morocco--and even Jordan--but never have we heard anyone speak of a yearning to visit Sudan. We like to do a little bit of basic research before going anywhere, but there is no "Lonely Planet" Sudan travel guidebook, and surprisingly the Internet doesn't provide much information either. Even finding a map of Sudan--when we were in Sudan--was difficult. That Sudan is not a travel hot spot--and that the government doesn't seem to care that it isn't--in itself made our trip different from others we have taken.[...]

Read it all at Mishmish.

The Night Journey of Muhammad (AKA al isra, al miraj)

Muhammad’s famous Night Journey (Isra and Miraj) is the basis of the Islamic claim to Jerusalem as an Islamic holy city. The only thing the Qur’an has to say about it is this the first verse of sura 17, which says that Allah took Muhammad from “the Sacred Mosque” in Mecca “to the farthest [al-aqsa] Mosque.” There was no mosque in Jerusalem at this time, so the “farthest” mosque probably wasn’t really the one that now bears that name in Jerusalem, but Islamic tradition is firm that this mosque is in Jerusalem.

Muhammad’s vision of this journey was as dramatic as his initial encounter with Gabriel. According to Ibn Ishaq, Muhammad described the vision to one of the Muslims as beginning “while I was lying in Al-Hatim or Al-Hijr,” that is, an area in Mecca opposite the Ka’bah, identified by Islamic tradition as the burial place of Hagar and Ishmael, when “Gabriel came and stirred me with his foot.” Soon after that “someone came to me and cut my body open from here to here” – and he gesture…

Where art thou, O moderate Islam?

From HERE:

That Proper Interpretation of Islam which will allow for Muslims to coexist peacefully with non-Muslims as equals on an indefinite basis, without implementing any endeavor to impose Sharia, continues to be the great unicorn in which everyone believes but no one has actually seen.

It would be great for the Pakistani authorities to reform the madrassas. But what will be taught in the reformed madrassas? How will the reformed madrassas counter the jihadist claim to represent the pure, true teachings of Islam? If such a counter to that claim is readily available, why do the condemnations of terrorism by American Muslim advocacy groups continue to be so vague and hollow?

Everyone believes in this Proper Interpretation of Islam that is peaceful and tolerant -- why then is it so hard for Muslims actually to point to it and explain its contents in contradistinction to the Islamic arguments of the jihadists?

Perhaps in reply someone will trot out the soothing theories of some Western ac…

Saint Francis Magazine

Very excellent resource for missions and religious news:

Saint Francis Magazine

Please read it on a regular basis.

30,000 Hits for Islam and Christianity

I guess it's a big number, for a little blog run by one guy. But I have to tell you all that a lot of those hits are from people looking for pictures of the Maldives :-)

But you know, ma sha' Allah, as they say--as God wills...

The Anglican Church in Egypt

The Pilgrims and...Beer?

From Pilgrims Pub:

"During the voyage of the Mayflower, the cooper who guarded the Pilgrims' casks of beer and pipes of gin and brandy was the famous John Alden. The supply was of no small importance to the Pilgrims. When the Puritans set sail, they were well freighted with astounding amounts of alcohol. In the hold of skip, the Arabella, which hit the seas for America in 1630, sloshed some 42 tuns of beer, 10,000 gallons of wine, and, "almost as an afterthought , fourteen tuns of fresh water," A tun of beer was a wooden barrel-like vessel and was also a unit of measurement, equal to about 252 gallons. Also aboard there were 120 hogshead of malt for brewing, since a hogshead is between 63 and 140 gallons, we are talking about 7,560 gallons at minimum. And note: This was just the official supply-most families brought their own backup barrels."

More protests about Muhammad cartoons

So yeah, more protests. And they want Pakistan to break off diplomatic ties with Denmark. Guess who that's going to hurt more. Oh yeah, and why are they burning US flags? Did they have som leftovers from the last protest? I'm just not sure how these things work :-(

But here's the link:

Pakistani cartoon protesters burn Danish, US flags

KARACHI - Hundreds of angry Muslim youths rallied in major cities in Pakistan on Friday and torched Danish flags to protest against the recent republication of a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh).

Witnesses said about 150 supporters of fundamentalist party Jamaat-i-Islami gathered outside a mosque in the port city of Karachi, flying banners demanding Pakistan sever diplomatic ties with Denmark.

“We don’t need to have diplomatic relations with a country that hurts our religious sentiments,” the banners read, as demonstrators burned Danish and US flags and chanted: “Death to the cartoonist.”

In the capital Islamabad, cries of “Say no to Denmar…

Shaking hands with women forbidden by shari'a

This will soon be the law in the UK if Archbishop/Mufti Williams gets his way :-)
But anyway, here is the hadiith:

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “If one of you were to be stabbed in the head with an iron needle, that would be better for him than his touching a woman who is not permissible for him.” Narrated by al-Tabaraani from Ma’qil ibn Yasaar; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’ no. 5045.

Egypt 'monitoring attacks on Islam ahead of Dutch TV film'

From AFP:

CAIRO (AFP) — Egypt on Friday deplored what it called gratuitous attacks on Islam and said it was closely monitoring plans by a Dutch filmmaker to release an anti-Koran film.

"It is regrethttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.giftable that European lawmakers and politicians use gratuitous methods to gain electoral votes by attacking the sacred values and religions of others," foreign ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki said in a statement.

Dutch far-right deputy Geert Wilders has said he will be airing on television in the Netherlands in March a controversial anti-Islam film called "Fitna" (Ordeal), which accuses the Koran of inciting people to murder.

Such politicians, Zaki said in reference to Wilders, "focus their hatred on Islam" and plan to broadcast a film undermining Islamic symbols.

These acts "feed hatred against Muslims and encourage extremism and confrontation instead of opting for dialogue based on mutual respect," Zaki said.

Egypt is mo…

Raymund Llull: First Missionary to the Moslems

The entire text to this book which I just quoted is available online. It is a quick read and very well-written. Very engaging book really. Lull is an awe-inspiring individual. Certainly one of my greatest heroes--now more than ever.

And did I mention it was written by Samuel Zwemer? Himself a father of Protestant missions to Muslims?!

Raymund Lull: First Missionary to the Moslems

Raymund Lull (Ramon Lully): Tears and Blood

I see many knights going to the Holy Land beyond the seas and thinking that they can acquire it by force of arms; but in the end all are destroyed before they attain that which they think to have. Whence it seems to me that the conquest of the Holy Land ought not to be attempted except in the way in which Thou and Thine apostles acquired it, namely, by love and prayers, and the pouring out of tears and blood.

Blessed Raymund Lull (Ramon Lully)

Qtd. in Zwemer, Samuel M. 1902. Raymund Lull: The First Missionary to the Moslems. London: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

P. 52-53

Missio Dei: the sending of God

From the font of all knowledge, Wikipedia:

Missio Dei is a Latin theological term that can be translated as the "sending of God." Mission is understood as being derived from the very nature of God. The missionary initiative comes from God alone.

In 1934, Karl Hartenstein, a German missiologist, coined the phrase in response to Karl Barth and his emphasis on actio Dei (Latin for “the action of God”).

When kept in the context of the Scriptures, missio Dei correctly emphasizes that God is the initiator of His mission to redeem through the Church a special people for Himself from all of the peoples (τα εθνη) of the world. He sent His Son for this purpose and He sends the Church into the world with the message of the gospel for the same purpose.[1]

Mission is not primarily an activity of the church, but an attribute of God. God is a missionary God. "It is not the church that has a mission of salvation to fulfill in the world; it is the mission of the Son and the Spirit through …

The Taj Mahal: Islamic Architecture...sorta

The great Taj was built by Shah Jahan, the fifth Mughal Emperor, in memory of his late wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It was completed in 1648 after 200,000 man-years of labor. Koranic verses adorn the four exactly symmetric entrances and appear to remain of constant size even as they recede from the observer. The minarets tilt slightly away from the main structure so as to fall outward in the event of earthquake. Pretty clever!

It seems that Shah Jahan had actually begun construction on a second Taj exactly opposite the first on the far bank of the Jamuna river. It was to be built entirely from black marble in order to compliment the first, made entirely of white. But his son managed to throw the old man into prison before he could truly break the bank. Still, that would have been something.

Interestingly, Shah Jahan was something of a religious syncretist, who incorporated Hindu, Jewish, Zoroastrian, and Christian themes into the otherwise distinctively Islamic edifice. According to our Muslim g…

Islamization of Europe continues apace

It’s well-known, and widely (if quietly) lamented, that birthrates among Islamic immigrants and their children are vastly higher throughout Europe than those of native peoples. I’ve read at least one prediction that France will have an Islamic majority within 50 years—assuming the Moslems’ stern desert creed proves resistant to our contraceptive culture. (Hard to know who to root for there....) Indeed, Eurocrats openly advocate the mass importation of (still more!) young and fertile immigrants from the Middle East, the better to fund the cozy retirements which the dying peoples of Europe voted themselves after World War II. It’s hard to imagine a more perverted scheme for keeping oneself in office, than to sell your motherland into the seraglio, to auction it off piece by piece to an intolerant, alien civilization. It’s as if members of the Byzantine government in the 15th century were to gradually dismantle the walls protecting the city, to use the stones for Roman baths. As Burke on…

News from Yemen

Bad news from Yemen these days:

Oil production is down, a third of the government budget goes to fuel subsidies, and some people are complaining that the Saudis are exporting Wahabi/Salafi Islam to Yemen.

Read more at the most excellent Yemen blog in the net: www.armiesofliberation.com.

How did the Albanians become Muslims?

The newest nation, Kosovo, is ethnically speaking Albanian. Though Albania itself is a sovereign nation of its own, which borders Kosovo.

Albanians are largely Muslim. How did that happen? you ask:

The Albanians are a genuine nation. Their national symbol derives from a seal of their national hero George Kastrioti, alias “Skanderbeg.” He led an independent Albania from 1443 until his death in 1468. After having served in the Turkish Ottoman army, Skanderbeg rebelled in 1443. He choose a Roman/Byzantine eagle as his standard, abjured his Muslim faith and liberated the Roman-Catholic Albanians, thereby halting the advance of Islam into Christian Europe. Ten years after his death, in 1478, Albania was conquered by the Turks who ruled it until 1912 and imposed Islam. Over 400 years of Ottoman rule resulted in a nation that has a 70% Muslim majority, though it proudly displays the Roman eagle and has Skanderbeg, a Muslim apostate and a defender of Christianity, as its national hero. Such are…

Church in the USA: winners and losers

Which churches are the country's largest?
by Julian Duin

It's always intriguing to see which churches have grown and which denominations have faded in the past year. According to the 2008 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches (a Bible of sorts for us religion writers), the fastest-growing religious body in 2007 was the Jehovah's Witnesses at 2.25 percent.


Following them were the Mormons at 1.56 percent and the Roman Catholics at .87 percent. Compare this to last year's states that had the Catholics out front at 1.94 percent, followed by the Assemblies of God at 1.86 and the Mormons at 1.63.


The denomination with the biggest decrease is the Episcopalians at 4.15 percent.
There are all sorts of arguments why some of these figures on the list below are bogus. For instance, several of the historic black churches with the "no increase or decrease listed" after their name do not release statistics at all. So the membership figure after their name is a guess at best…

Hating Islam but not hating Muslims?

A politician recently said that he hates Islam, but does not hate Muslims. But this article from Arab News, which is overall well-written if not logically rigorous, is a rejoinder to that. I give you the last section, and ask for your opinion:

Is it possible to hate Islam while not hating Muslims? Or is Islam such a deep and profound element of Muslims' identity that the Muslim and his faith are the same thing?

But the Dutch politician was careful with his words. He did not say he hated Muslims, he said he hated Islam. In his view, he is merely criticizing an ideology, not attacking a people. But when I read his words I felt personally attacked. He is not criticizing my religion; he is expressing hate in the set of beliefs that makes me a Muslim. He is very clearly expressing hatred for Muslims and his affirming the contrary only makes it all the more offensive to Muslims. His words not only offend me but more importantly threaten me. I accept being offended. I do not accept being h…

Shari'a and martinis

This quote is just too good to pass up, also from BrusselsJournal.com:

Archbishop R. Williams‘ position raises issues.

(1) Why should the process that facilitated Europe‘s rise by privatizing religion, be reversed?

(2) One might argue that integration presupposes acceptance by the majority. Should this be extended to include accepting a now alien and previously consciously rejected system?

If so, why should this be required, since not the English have recruited their immigrants but that it was these Moslems who asked to come. Why? Because the system whose protection they requested has worked so well. Analogously, is it my right to attend a AA meeting and demand a double martini?

Decline of Roman Empire: Decline fo Europe

Great stuff, from BrusselsJournal.com:

An Excess of Inconvenient Similarities

[...] Modern Europe has an uncanny ability to imitate those last sad stages of the Roman Empire. It does it though with such persistence and gusto that it does appear like a parody of the Roman Empire in decline. If Aristophanes was around the time when the Romans were liquidating the shop he would definitely come up with something like the Europe of today to satirize it.

“The number of ministers, of magistrates, of officers, and of servants, who filled the different departments of state, was multiplied beyond the example of former times; and (if we may borrow the warm expression of a contemporary), ‘when the proportion of those who received exceeded the proportion of those who contributed, the provinces were oppressed by the weight of tributes’”.

This is from Edward Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Retroactively Gibbon has become the authority on modern European politics.

Gibbon on our military…

A new favorite: Mission to Jerusalem

Hi All,

I can't tell you how much I enjoy reading the great material appearing on Harry Gunkel's blog, Mission to Jerusalem. While I don't live there over the years I have visited the city a good number of times and it is always an enigma to me. He does a great job capturing the tension and difficulty and, yes, the beauty of living in that city.

If you don't read it often please check it out:

Mission to Jerusalem

It is worth your time.

The Bee and the mystery man

From a commentary on the 16th surah of the Quran, the Bee:

Verses 97-128 defend Muhammad and the Qur’an against some of the charges of the unbelievers, and call all people again to accept Muhammad’s message, which is the message of Abraham (v. 123), and worship Allah alone. Allah laments that whenever he abrogates a verse of his revelation and replaces it with another, the unbelievers accuse Muhammad of making it all up (v. 101). But actually Muhammad’s revelations come from the Holy Spirit (v. 102) – that is, Gabriel. The unbelievers claim that Muhammad is learning the contents of the Qur’an from a man and then passing them off as divine revelation, but the one they have in mind is a foreigner, while the Qur’an is in pure Arabic (v. 103). Ibn Kathir grants that “maybe the Messenger of Allah used to sit with him sometimes and talk to him a little, but he was a foreigner who did not know much Arabic, only enough simple phrases to answer questions when he had to.” Who was this mysterious…

Kosovo declares independence

Well, the article is here at CNN.com:

Kosovo declares independence

But is this good news? Probably not, I think. It is quite ironic that you have the UK and the US helping to establish what will be basically a Muslim state to the detriment of the surrounding Orthodox Christian state of Serbia.

While the Albanian Kosovars are not very devout, once you have a Muslim state you have a good beginning point for shari'a. Muslims will generally fight against shari'a, even if they don't like it. Non-Muslims (excepting the Archbishop of Canterbury) will generally resist the instauration of shari'a.

It should also be understood that Kosovo is basically a state of the EU--they are providing much of the police force and government bureaucracy. It will be interesting to see where this ends up--other than the fact that Russia is really mad.

Christians targeted in Gaza

...just before dawn Friday, masked gunmen attacked the Gaza City premises of the YMCA and blew up its 8,000-volume library, according to Eissa Saba, the center's director. A second bomb was defused. A dozen gunmen overpowered two security guards and brought them to northern Gaza, where they were later released.

It was the latest attack on institutions associated with Christianity, attacks condemned by Hamas, Fatah and local nongovernmental organizations like the Palestinian Center for Human Rights. About 3,500 Christians, mostly Greek Orthodox, live in the Gaza Strip.


From IHT:

http://iht.com/articles/2008/02/15/mideast/gaza.php

Arab development, or lack thereof

Weigel again, quoting a 2002 study of Arab development: “the Arab world translates about 330 books annually, one-fifth of the number that Greece translates. The accumulative total of translated books [into Arabic] since [the ninth century] is about 100,000.’ More books are translated into Spanish in an average decade or two than have been translated into Arabic in a millennium.”

From HERE.

Iran introduces law that imposes death penalty on converts (murtaddiin)

Ah, the smell of shari'a in the morning! But Dr. Williams, the Grand Mufti of Canterbury, only wants shari'a for things related to family law. Well guess what, someone in your family leaving Islam is very much a family matter. I guess now the question for Dr. Williams is simply this: which manner of execution does he prefer? Shari'a permits stoning, crucifixion, and beheading. Which one does he like the best? (Let us note that burning a person to death is prohibited by the shari'a.)

Iran introduces law that imposes death penalty on converts

Karl Barth and "The Great Passion"

Image
So what is Abu Daoud reading these days? you ask... Far be it from me to deprive you all of this important information!

Right now I am reading the very boring and arduous "The Great Passion" by Eberhardt Busch, which is a book about the theology of Barth. You see, I did not study theology at a university that was particularly interested in Neo-Orthodoxy, so I found it was a something of a blind spot in my education which I should fill.

I like Barth, I guess. I had read his book on evangelical theology before and I found it to be quite helpful. I especially like his theology of the Word and his understanding the Bible as the witness to the Word, which is the Word Incarnate. In other words, when we speak of the Bible as the Word of God, it is because of its status as a unique and authoritative witness to the Word Incarnate. Jesus Christ IS revelation.

I also like his reconfiguration of election as an intra-Trinitarian dynamic. The question, who is elect? is answered: the Son is …

Shari'a, life, revolution and justice

From Muslim Brotherhood scholar Al Qaradawi:

Al-Qaradawi says that "all the rules and laws of Islam contain all that is in favour of people in this life and the hereafter." He adds: "The Islamic shari'ah serves the interests of mankind in their life and religion." He says: "Among these are the political interests. What God decreed in the political field in terms of laws is aimed at establishing the truth and justice, safeguarding dignity, and taking care of people's rights. This is why it was very strict on the issue of revolting against the ruler. By revolting here I mean armed revolt. This is because this will pave the way for sedition and indiscipline. As a result, perhaps blood might be shed, people might be killed, and houses and property might be destroyed."

Al-Qaradawi adds: "The issue is not that if anyone becomes angry at a ruler he then should brandish his sword and revolt against him. No. It is true that Islam does not accept…

Shari'a in the UK

From HERE:

[...] Witness the archbishop's insistence that he wasn't advocating the "inhumanity" of Sharia à la Saudi Arabia or Iran where adulterers are stoned and thieves have hands amputated. No, no, he told us. He was just referring to the use of Sharia to resolve marital disputes, he insisted.

But that is precisely where the "inhumanity" of Sharia lies for women. As a Muslim woman -- born in Egypt, raised in Saudi Arabia -- I can only laugh at the archbishop's naiveté. In Egypt, as in many Muslim countries, the legal system has been completely modernized with the exception of one area that stubbornly remains caught in the web of edicts issued by Muslim scholars who lived centuries ago -- family law.

Sharia is used only to govern the lives of women and children.

Sudanese-American law professor Abdullahi An-Nai'm long ago pointed out the lie at the heart of calls for Sharia: They are essentially an attempt to "protect a patriarchal system."

T…

Missionary Saints: Cyril and Methodius

My favorite kinds of saints, it is their feast day today (Feb. 14th), in addition to being the feast day of Saint Valentine. But read up on these guys and see they great stuff they accomplished for the Kingdom of God:

[...]A decisive change in their lives occurred when the Duke of Moravia (present-day Czech Republic) asked the Eastern Emperor Michael for political independence from German rule and ecclesiastical autonomy (having their own clergy and liturgy). Cyril and Methodius undertook the missionary task.

Cyril’s first work was to invent an alphabet, still used in some Eastern liturgies. His followers probably formed the Cyrillic alphabet (for example, modern Russian) from Greek capital letters. Together they translated the Gospels, the psalter, Paul’s letters and the liturgical books into Slavonic, and composed a Slavonic liturgy, highly irregular then.

That and their free use of the vernacular in preaching led to opposition from the German clergy. The bishop refused to consecrate S…

Europe in the House of War

(This article is so excellent that I am posting it in its entirety. Please read it all.--Abu Daoud)

Europe in the House of War
by Spengler

Violence is oozing through the cracks of European society like pus out of a broken scab. Just when liberal opinion congratulated itself that Europe had forsaken its violent past, the specter of civil violence has the continent terrified. That is the source of the uproar over a February 7 speech by Archbishop Rowan Williams, predicting the inevitable acceptance of Muslim sharia law in Great Britain.

Not since World War II has British opinion been provoked to the present level of outrage. Writing in the Times of London, the editor of the London Spectator, Matthew d'Ancona, quoted former British Conservative parliamentarian Enoch Powell's warning that concessions to alien cultures would cause "rivers of blood" to flow in the streets of England. Times columnist Minette Marin accuses the archbishop of treason.

Coercion in the Muslim communi…

Population explosion continues in Yemen

One of the poorest, least developed, and least educated countries in the world. The Northern Yemenis are also our unreached people of the day:

Yemeni population increases with 1,555,200 babies each year, according to a recently released bulletin by the National Council of Population at the Ministry of Health.

The bulletin also pointed that the country receives 193,600 newborn babies a month, 4,320 a day, 360 an hour and 6 in every minute. Built on these statistics, the council estimated Yemen’s population to reach 37 million souls just ten years as of now.

In return, the council warned against this inordinate increase rate of population, emphasizing it hinders the authorities from meeting their growing demands especially in economic, health, education and infrastructure fields.

A recent study attributed the high fertility rate to the rampage of illiteracy particularly among women in the countryside where the percentage reaches over 77 percent. Further, rural families that depend on agricu…

Ex-Muslims meeting eachother and hanging out...

Well, I'm not a Muslim or an ex-Muslim but this is an interesting way for this growing community to meet others:

Ex-Muslims Meet Up

Ex-Muslims' Survey

I have decided to add this page to the blog roll over on the right-hand side of your screen.

If you are an ex-Muslim I would be glad to post your testimony here on this blog. Also, please do fill out the survey on the Survey website.

For fairness sake I am willing to do the same for Christians who have become Muslims.

Ex-Muslims' Survey

“I wish lots of them [ex-Muslims] would tell about their apostasy and encourage muslims to find out the truth about Islam. Everyone should have the possibility to leave islam without consequences all over the world. Different organizations and governments should help and support apostates who have faced problems or threats in their own countries. ”– Maddalena, Finland

Obama: the first Muslim-born president?

From HERE:

[...]Perhaps Mr. Obama strikes the Europeans as the “most European candidate” because he was born a Muslim. If America can have a Muslim-born leader, why not Europe, many Europeans will ask. They know that the latter is “unavoidable” (to use the archbishop of Canterbury’s words). In America, Mr. Obama’s Muslim family background (unlike Mr. Romney’s Mormonism) is a non-issue because he attends a Christian church. Nevertheless, being born from a Muslim father, raised by a Muslim stepfather, having been enrolled at school (in Indonesia) as a Muslim and having attended Friday prayers at the local mosque as a young boy, he cannot be seen by Muslims as anything but a Muslim, especially because he has never explicitly rejected the faith of his fathers nor said anything negative about it.

The day Barack Hussein Obama comes to the White House many Muslims, also in Europe, will see it as a vindication of recent announcements by radical Islamists that the green flag of Allah will soon f…

Ex-Muslims and apostates of Islam

One reader of this blog left a comment which implied that conversion from Islam to Christianity doesn't happen so I wanted to post a couple of links to sites where you can read personal stories from ex-Muslims who have become Christians:

Muslims for Christ

Answering-Islam.org

This one has some conversions to Christianity and also some who simply became atheists or agnostics: Apostates of Islam

And here are some short statements on why different apostates left Islam: Ex-Muslims' Survey

And finally More than Dreams about Muslims who had dreams or visions of Jesus which led to their conversions.

There are other sites as well, but that's a good start.

The love and compassion of Muhammad

The love and compassion of Allaah’s Messenger (may Allaah exalt his mention) for all kinds of creatures was not of the kind claimed by today’s ‘humanists’. He was sincere and balanced in his love and compassion. He was more compassionate than any other person. He was a Prophet raised by Allaah, the Creator and Sustainer of all beings, for the guidance and happiness of conscious beings - mankind and jinn - and the harmony of existence. Therefore, he lived not for himself but for others; he is a mercy for all the worlds.

From HERE.

The Kindness of the Prophet

Towards Children

He (may Allaah exalt his mention) was especially fond of children and used to get into the spirit of childish games in their company. He (may Allaah exalt his mention) would have fun with the children who had come back from Abyssinia and tried to speak in Abyssinian with them. It was his practice to give lifts on his camel to children when he returned from journeys. [Al-Bukhaari]

He (may Allaah exalt his mention) would pick up children in his arms, play with them, and kiss them. A companion, recalling his childhood, said: "In my childhood I used to fell dates by throwing stones at palm trees. Somebody took me to the Prophet (may Allaah exalt his mention) who advised me to pick up the dates lying on the ground but not to fell them with stones. He (may Allaah exalt his mention) then patted me and blessed me." [Abu Daawood]

From HERE

The Muslim Brotherhood in Europe

From HERE:

The Muslim Brotherhood, today widely regarded as the largest Islamic movement in the world, was founded by Hassan al-Banna in 1928. Its member groups are dedicated to the motto: "Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Qur'an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope."

Research analyst Lorenzo Vidino writes about The Muslim Brotherhood's Conquest of Europe: "Since the early 1960s, Muslim Brotherhood members and sympathizers have moved to Europe and slowly but steadily established a wide and well-organized network of mosques, charities, and Islamic organizations." Their ultimate goal "may not be simply 'to help Muslims be the best citizens they can be,' but rather to extend Islamic law throughout Europe and the United States. With moderate rhetoric and well-spoken German, Dutch, and French, they have gained acceptance among European governments and media alike. Politicians across the poli…

The Anglo-Islamic Church

The Anglo-Islamic Church
by Gary Fletcher

This unbelievable headline caught my eye immediately. Archbishop: Adoption of Sharia Law in U.K. is 'Unavoidable'

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, has suggested that it "seems unavoidable" that elements of Islamic law be accepted into the British legal system.

I suggest a better headline would have been: "Archbishop of Canterbury Loses His Mind." Why in the world would the leader of the Church of England advocate for the imposition of Islamic law in Britain?

So profound a misunderstanding of the proud English and British heritage from the leader of the Church of England it is incomprehensible. Ironically, his comments demonstrate either ignorance of or hostility toward the historic commitment of the British people to freedom and self-determination. The first nation to emerge from the political chaos of the Middle Ages, the defiant victor over the militarily superior Spanish Armada in the 16th century, th…

Saudi Arabia bars all things red through Valentine's Day

When I think of Valentine's Day I think, "I wonder where I could get an icon of Saint Valentine?" But it looks like I'm not the only who has unconventional thoughts:

Saudi Arabia bans all things red ahead of Valentine's Day

(CNN) -- Saudi Arabia has asked florists and gift shops to remove all red items until after Valentine's Day, calling the celebration of such a holiday a sin, local media reported Monday.

With a ban on red gift items over Valentine's Day in Saudi Arabia, a black market in red roses has flowered.

"As Muslims we shouldn't celebrate a non-Muslim celebration, especially this one that encourages immoral relations between unmarried men and women, " Sheikh Khaled Al-Dossari, a scholar in Islamic studies, told the Saudi Gazette, an English-language newspaper.

Every year, officials with the conservative Muslim kingdom's Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice clamp down on shops a few days before February 14, i…

Egypt court recognises reversion to Christianity

This is a big deal, I think this is already part of the law in Jordan. In Lebanon and Turkey one can actually convert from Islam to Christianity. But in all other Middle Eastern countries (minus Israel) it is illegal. This is a start. I look forward to the day when someone's conversion from Islam to Christianity is lawfully accepted by a government. That will open the flood gates.

Egypt court recognises reversion to Christianity

CAIRO, Feb 9 (Reuters) - In a landmark case, an Egyptian court ruled on Saturday that the state must recognise the right of Christians who convert to Islam to change their minds and revert to Christianity, court sources said.

Until now, Egyptian courts have upheld a traditional reading of Islamic law in such cases, prohibiting the conversion from Islam to any other faith, regardless of the convert's original religion.

While Egyptian law is largely secular and modelled on the French legal system, personal status issues such as conversion, marriage and divo…

The excellence of the Apostles' Creed

I love the Apostles' Creed. I am happy to see that more evangelicals are realizing what a great treasure it is! Check it out, from CT:

I love Christian doctrine. Perhaps that's because of the way I was brought up.

No, it wasn't that my church taught me to love doctrine. In fact, it taught me to hate it by emphasizing all the things that our group had right that everyone else had wrong. In my youth, doctrine was not about being illuminated by the truth, it was about memorizing arguments that would prove other Christians wrong.

But when I finally broke out of that sectarian "remnant" mindset, I discovered that there was a classical Christian tradition that was not bankrupt (as I had been taught). There was indeed a rich foundation, built up out of biblical truth. I fell in love with what I thought I had despised.

There were several doors into my new experience: C. S. Lewis's Mere Christianity was one, as was John R. W. Stott's Basic Christianity. Much less cele…