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Showing posts from 2009

Cragg, Islam, and Prison

It is assumed that Islam is a faith that no Muslim would conceivably wish to question. consequently the option to do so is neither valid nor feasible. It is nonexistent. Looked at from this side Islam is a faith that no adherent is free to leave. And that which one is not free to leave becomes a prison, if one wishes to do so.

Kenneth Cragg, The Call of the Minaret, 3rd Ed. 1956 (2000). Oxford: One World. p 307.

UK Mosque burned down

From HERE.
Look for more of these to happen in the future, and then more retributive terror attacks on civilians a la July 7.
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Sharon's Christmas Prayer by John Shea

Sharon's Christmas Prayer
by John Shea

She was five,
sure of the facts,
and recited them
with slow solemnity
convinced every word
was revelation.
She said

they were so poor
they had only peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
to eat
and they went a long way from home
without getting lost. The lady rode
a donkey, the man walked, and the baby
was inside the lady.
They had to stay in a stable
with an ox and an ass (hee-hee)
but the Three Rich Men found them
because a star lited the roof
Shepherds came and you could
pet the sheep but not feed them.
Then the baby was borned.
And do you know who he was?

Her quarter eyes inflated
to silver dollars,
The baby was God.

And she jumped in the air
whirled round, dove into the sofa

The Cultivation of Christmas Trees by TS Eliot

The Cultivation of Christmas Trees (1954) TS Eliot

1 There are several attitudes towards Christmas,
2 Some of which we may disregard:
3 The social, the torpid, the patently commercial,
4 The rowdy (the pubs being open till midnight),
5 And the childish---which is not that of the child
6 For whom the candle is a star, and the gilded angel
7 Spreading its wings at the summit of the tree
8 Is not only a decoration, but an angel.
9 The child wonders at the Christmas Tree:
10 Let him continue in the spirit of wonder
11 At the Feast as an event not accepted as a pretext;
12 So that the glittering rapture, the amazement
13 Of the first-remembered Christmas Tree,
14 So that the surprises, delight in new possessions
15 (Each one with its peculiar and exciting smell),
16 The expectation of the goose or turkey
17 And the expected awe on its appearance,
18 So that the reverence and the gaiety
19 May not be forgotten in later experience,
20 In the bored habituation, the fatigue, the tedium,
21 The awareness of death, …

US at war against Islam?

When radical Muslims claim the US has declared war on Islam, it smacks of mirror imaging. It is Muslims, not secular Americans, who view wars in a religious context and fight in the name of Allah, wrongly assuming the rest of the world is trapped in a similar mind-set.From the CSM.

Short Term Missions: do they help at all?

This guy says no, not really:
Part of this response is also driven by the hollow hope, expectation, and rhetoric about the impact of short-term missions activity on long-term missions commitment. The myth says that growth in short-term missions and mission trips leads to growth in long-term missions. The facts, however, say that growth in the one has not led to growth in the other. The Mission Handbook statistics regarding the overall U.S. and Canadian trends are clear: the short-term boom has not produced a long-term echo. (p 36)
Jaffarian, Michael. ‘The Statistical State of the North American Missions Movement, from the Mission Handbook, 20th Edition’ in IBMR Vol 32:1, Jan 2008, pp 35-38.

Charles Amjad-Ali on Islam and the modern nation state

Charles Amjad-Ali suggests that much of the difficulty faced by Muslim thinking today is because “Islamic political theory developed during the heyday of such an Islamic state with multi-cultural, social, national, and tribal affiliations, they have had difficulties with the ‘modern’ concept of nation-state for their emphasis has always been on state-nations­, i.e. a single Muslim state encompassing the entire umma with many nations in it. […] So one of the greatest difficulties Islamic theorists face is how to deal among the Muslim states themselves as this falls outside the pale of their doctrinal structures” (Amjad-Ali 9).Amjad-Ali, Charles. 1996. ‘Setting the Agenda: Contemporary Challenges to the Development of Theology in the Context of Islam’ in Developing Christian Theology in the Context of Islam, Christine Amjad-Ali ed. Rawalpindi: Christian Study Centre, pp 1-20.

Dec 20: Feast Day of Saint Ammon

Ok, I like this for two reasons: it took place in Egypt, and conversion related to persecution is kind of a running theme in Dar al Islam:
St. Ammon Feastday: December 20
250

One of the Theban Martyrs who were converted by Egyptian Christians. Ammon, along with Ingenes, Ptolemy, Theophilus, and Zeno, were guards during the persecution of Christians in the reign of Emperor Decius. During the torture and trial of these prisoners, Ammon and his fellow guards were converted to Christ. They cheered the faithfulness of the Christians under torture and urged them to endure in their courage. As a result, Ammon and the others became prisoners. They were beheaded displaying the same Christian constancy.
HT to Catholic Online.

Orthodox worship in the Middle East

Image
Took this not too long ago.

Have you prayed for Tajikistan lately?

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Have you thought about Tajikistan lately? Have you considered the possibility that God designed you and formed you in your mother's womb to be a light and witness to the peoples of this nation? If not, please discuss the topic carefully with God.
Here is the Joshua Project profile on the almost entirely unreached and Islamic nation of Tajikistan: Here. Note that the two largest population groups have no witness among them to the Gospel.
In other news, here is a nice article from IHT on the trade between this nation and Afghanistan. Splendid. Thanks to the author Andy Isaacson. And also check out the photos here.

Conversion of Mosab Hasan from Islam to Christianity

Watch it all. The Fox News narration is a little outlandish, but hey, beggars can't be choosers.

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Here:

http://www.tangle.com/view_video.php?viewkey=eb653956524180b2af2b

Is God doing a 'new thing' among Muslims

Rick Brown in 2000 explained that there are five main reasons why he believes that God is doing a "new thing" in the Muslim world:

1) More workers
2) More collaboration: missions agencies working together
3) Contextualization
4) Prayer, Signs and Wonders, and Spiritual Warfare
5) Socio-political change: the fall of Communism, globalization, urbanization, the rise of Islamic governments and shari'a

How we became post-human

Ok, so not really about Islam or Christianity, but still a fascinating point. BTW I have been posting less lately (obviously) but if anyone has any topics you want me to address just let me know.
Actually, we have become symbionts, says Katherine Hayles, author of "How We Became Posthuman." Just as a lichen is the marriage of a fungus and an algae, we now live in full partnership with digital technology, which we rely on for the infrastructure of our lives. "If every computer were to crash tomorrow, it would be catastrophic," she says. "Millions or billions of people would die. That's the condition of being a symbiont."
From HERE.

Southern Yemen and Secession

Why Southern Yemen is Pushing for Secession
In the CS Monitor. Please pray for Yemen. Now even Saudi is getting into the fight over in the Northern areas, as they are worried about the near-civil war going on there will spill over into KSA.
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Syllabus for Eastern Christianity--I need your insights!

Hi All,
What if you have to put together a syllabus for a course called "Eastern Christianity: Spirituality and Theology"? It would have between 10 and 14 sections. What would you include? Work from the assumption that the students have already taken early church history and thus know the basics of the first 5 centuries and the Christological and Trinitarian debates. This is a seminary-level course being taught to people training for the ministry.
Also, what books would you use?
I look forward to hearing your ideas! Please feel free to paste the above question on your blog for your readers as well.
Salam,
Abu Daoud

Dispute on the nature of the Eucharist and Priesthood

Hi All,
Abu Daoud is off to an overnight planning session for a very strategic ministry to the local churches. The goal is to motivate and train them to engage in planting cell churches in homes and thus provide a venue where inquiring non-Christians could attend safely and comfortably. Please say a prayer for us. One important thing to note is that said effort is largely an initiative of local Christians, not foreigners.
Meanwhile, two folks on my blogroll have an interesting debate going on regarding the Eucharist and the nature of Christian priesthood. Please do drop by and share your ideas. The most recent installation of said dialogue is overt at Don's blog, Positive Infinity. Check it out.
--Abu Daoud

Should governments control family size?

A question. That's what I'm asking. This author says YES, and that each woman should have one child, world-round. In a way I agree because Islam will take over europe by birthrates and migration, but still...I'm not sure how that works with my Christian ethics though. Am curious to hear your thoughts.
Here is a segment, do share your thoughts on the matter: For those who balk at the notion that governments should control family sizes, just wait until the growing human population turns twice as much pastureland into desert as is now the case, or when the Amazon is gone, the elephants disappear for good and wars erupt over water, scarce resources and spatial needs.

Read more: http://www.financialpost.com/story.html?id=2314438#ixzz0ZJk3GLVL
The Financial Post is now on Facebook. Join our fan community today.

Anyone want to pray for mission to the unreached peoples?

Dear Readers,
I recently learned that one missionary agency which is active among groups who have NO witness witness to the Gospel is looking for prayer partners. This means you will pray for them each and every day. They supply a calendar each month (by e-mail) with a different prayer point each day. Said group is Anglican so their goals should be (I hope) amenable to Catholics, evangelicals, and Orthodox. If there is one thing all Christians can unite in, it should be prayer.
Please do e-mail me if you are interested: winterlightning [@+] safe-mail [d0+] net
This is a real opportunity to contribute to the Church's work among the unreached, many of whom are Muslims.
Salam,
Abu Daoud

American Lives and Funds Expended to increase persecution of Christians in Iraq

Tragically, liberating Iraq from Saddam Hussein meant liberating some of the worst sectarian passions, which he had brutally held in check. Roughly half of Iraq’s historical Christian community has been displaced, many to Jordan and Syria, another secular Arab dictatorship. Although the government does not persecute, reports State, “violence conducted by terrorists, extremists, and criminal gangs restricted the free exercise of religion and posed a significant threat to the country’s vulnerable religious minorities.” Although overall violence is down, Christians and other religious minorities continue to be targeted by radical Muslims.

From HERE.

Vision of St Mary and Conversion from Islam

From an interview with an ex-Muslim:

What was your first exposure to Christianity or Jesus or the Bible or any of those things?Samira: Well, my first exposure was when I was six and had a vision of the Virgin Mary. And at the time I didn’t know who Mary was or who Jesus was or who Muslims were—I didn’t know anything about anything. I was in a mountain place, it was dark, I fell and I couldn’t get up. And there was this huge rock, this lady came from behind the rock, she was all in white, and she held my hand and picked me up and said that she was Mary. And when she held my hand something stayed with me and I just loved her and I asked my mother who she was and she said she was the mother of Prophet Jesus, as Muslims knew her. And I just knew since then that I wanted to be where she was which was the church. And then when I was nine I learned about St Bernadette, there was a movie called The Song of Bernadette and that is when I received my calling into ministry because I knew that my l…

A Damning indictment of House of Saud (بيت سعود)

The state of our country is best exemplified by the Musk Lake, where 1,200 tankers of human waste from Jeddah sewage have been dumped daily for the past 25 years. Naming this chasm of foulness "musk" gives great insight in how Saudi rulers distort the simplest of realities. Musk Lake, not the only lake of human waste in the country, has been the source of diseases such as dengue fever, which has killed dozens and afflicted thousands for years.

From HERE.The main portion of the article is about the recent flooding in Jeddah, which doesn't even have a sewage system.

Photos of Dubai

Great photos of Dubai here. I am so fascinated by that city, God willing we will visit it some day.
http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/30/showcase-85/?hp

Still alive

Hi All,

Been a while. I was in Scotland where I was quite busy and had irregular internet access. Will be posting stuff this week.
Salam,
Abu Daoud
PS: New blog added to the blogroll: Circumpolar: a blog about Muslim Ministry.

Appeal to President Obama for help from a 15-year old apostate in Egypt

Let us see how much courage the President has now:


A 15-year-old Egyptian girl, Dina el-Gohary, has written an emotional appeal to President Obama asking him to use his influence to save her father, Maher el-Gohary, who is being persecuted for his beliefs. "Mr. President Obama, we are a minority in Egypt," Dina writes, according to a report from the Assyrian International News Agency. "We are treated very badly. ... We are imprisoned in our own home because Muslim clerics called for the murder of my father, and now the Government has set for us a new prison, we are imprisoned in our own country." Dina and her father are Christian converts in a part of the world where conversion can mean death. The Muslim-majority countries of the Middle East are among the world's greatest offenders against freedom of conscience. Religious liberty does not exist or is severely curtailed based on Shariah supremacy. Egypt is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and …

Berlin plans 'integration contract' for immigrants

This is a very interesting development. I wonder if we will see more of these drafted around the West? I actually don't think it is a bad idea. Much of the trouble is that the West has told Muslims, you have freedom when you come here. And they understand (well, some of them) ok, freedom to establish an Islamic society and Islamicize this society and receive preferential treatment, like the Shariah says I should. Is Europe waking up? Or is it too little too late?

The new contract, a goal for the current legislative period, will elaborate on what kind of support immigrants can expect from Germany, in addition to “what we expect from the immigrants,” Maria Böhmer told daily Stuttgarter Nachrichten.

“All who want to live and work here for the long run must say yes to our country,” she continued. “To this belongs proficiency in the German language, but also a readiness to take part in society.”

German values, such as freedom of speech and equal rights for women must also be recognised in…

Russian priest killed, possibly connected to his mission to Muslims

MOSCOW — The Rev. Daniil Sysoyev, a priest in the Russian Orthodox Church who was known for promoting missionary work among Muslims, was shot and killed in his parish church late Thursday night, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.Father Sysoyev, 35, died at a Moscow hospital of gunshot wounds to the head and chest, RIA Novosti said. The Web site of the Moscow patriarchate confirmed his death. The parish’s choir director was wounded in the shootings at the Church of St. Thomas by the unidentified assailant.A Moscow Patriarchate official called Father Sysoyev a “talented missionary” whose work among Muslims, including Tatars, might have been the motive for the shooting. [...]From IHT.

Muslims translated Aristotle, and other myths

Medieval Muslims were reluctant to travel to infidel lands. According to Islamic jurists Muslims should not stay for too long in the lands of non-Muslims if they cannot live a proper Muslim life there. Muslims had little knowledge of or interest in any Western languages. Only Italian had some currency for commercial purposes, but mainly involving Jews and Eastern Christians, especially Greeks and Armenians. Few Muslims knew any non-Muslim languages well, the knowledge of which was considered unnecessary or even suspect.
Consequently, the translators of Greek and other non-Muslim scientific works to Arabic were never Muslims. They were Christians of the three dominant Eastern denominations plus a few Jews and Sabians. The language of culture for these Christians was Syriac (Syro-Aramaic or Eastern Aramaic) and their liturgical language was Greek. The translators already knew the languages they were to translate. We do have examples of translators who traveled to Greece to per…

The Night Before Christmas and the PC Police

Twas the month before Christmas
*When all through our land,**Not a Christian was praying**Nor taking a stand.**See the PC Police had taken away,**The reason for Christmas - no one could say.**The children were told by their schools not to sing,**About Shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things.**It might hurt people's feelings, the teachers would say** December 25th is just a ' Holiday '.**Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, checks and credit**Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it!**CDs from Madonna, an X BOX, an I-pod**Something was changing, something quite odd! **Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa**In hopes to sell books by Franken & Fonda.**As Targets were hanging their trees upside down** At Lowe's the word Christmas - was no where to be fou

Free Copts: Building churches in Egypt almost impossible

A Christian "dreaming" of building a church in Egypt must adhere to the ten stringent conditions laid by the Ezaby Pasha along the Hamayouni decree(Ottoman Empire-laid rules for building Churches), and may even have to seek the consent of the street stall radish seller in the vicinity !!

Simply put, [the] building of churches in Egypt is almost impossible.


Ah, where is all that wonderful Islamic tolerance we hear about? Read it all HERE.

Islam, Rape, and Norway

A quote from a newspaper article:

"When a lightly dressed, intoxicated woman gets in alone into a taxi, the starting point is that she's already sinned. A Muslim woman can't do that. Those who attacked and raped women in the street thought that they were within their rights. They saw an intoxicated woman without an escort. She's then considered fair game in some Muslim communities. And by their own perception, the men think that women have no value as witnesses in a criminal case," says Thorsen.

Well, Norway, you asked for it.

From here.

And also this, on rape in Oslo:

Q: You're saying that Norwegian girls are asking to be raped?

A: Not exactly asking, but when then go out almost completely naked and get completelydrunk in Frogner park or go to a party together with some friend, and then they complain about being raped? It's their fault, says the 26 year old from Somalia.

Q: But even if they go around lightly dressed and get drunk then they're certainly not …

Viorst on despotism, "the Arabs' most pervasive political instituion"

“In fact, a strong argument can be made that Islam, the heart of Arab culture, sets the limit of personal and social development in the Arab world. Despotism, the Arabs' most pervasive political institution, is surely its offshoot, even though Islam has sometimes been at odds with its despots.”

Milton Viorst. 1994. Sandcastles: The Arabs in Search of the Modern World. New York: Knopf. pp 357-8.

Hmm, what do you think? Fair or unfair?

Louay Safi on the legal core of Islam

The importance of the Islamic legal code for the Arab, and Muslim society in general, may be appreciated by realizing that, historically, the most influential intellectual figures were not theologians, as was the case in Christian Europe, but jurists and doctors of law.

Louay Safi. 1994. The Challenge of Modernity: The Quest for Authenticity in the Arab World. New York, London: University Press of America. p 141.

Temple Gairdner on the Church as home for Muslim converts

If any church desires to be a spiritual home for those who come to Christ from Islam, a brotherhood, a spiritual garden, then it must have a very definite and well thought-out plan for teaching and training them in the Christian faith; and it must also, having determined its responsibility with regard to their human needs, be ready to shoulder the same. A church that makes this preparation in a spirit of thoughtful love, is already more than half-way to the ideal of being a home. A church that makes no such preparation, or whose preparation is ill thought-out, is making it that much harder for itself to be a home, indeed has not declared unmistakably that it thinks of itself as such.

WHT Gairdner, "The Christian Church as a Home for Christ's Converts from Islam", The Muslim World Vol. 14, p. 241.

Europeans too selfish to have children, says Rabi

This is according to the Lord Chief Rabi of London. He is quite right, IMHO.

Lord Sacks said: “Parenthood involves massive sacrifice of money, attention, time and emotional energy.

“Where today in European culture with its consumerism and instant gratification – because you’re worth it – where will you find space for the concept of sacrifice for the sake of generations not yet born?

“Europe, at least the indigenous population of Europe, is dying.”

“That is one of the unsayable truths of our time. We are undergoing the moral equivalent of climate change and no one is talking about it.

“Albert Camus once said, 'The only serious philosophical question is why should I not commit suicide?’.

“I think he was wrong. The only serious philosophical question is, why should I have a child? Our culture is not giving an easy answer to that question.”

He added: “Wherever you turn today - Jewish, Christian or Muslim - the more religious the community, the larger on average are their families.

“The major …

Temple Gairdner on obedience and rebirth

Oh my God,--
Obedience restores the golden, free days of childhood, for the twice-born are children always.

Gairdner, W.H.T. 1930? W.H.T.G. To His Friends. London: SPCK. p. 49.

Root Causes of Muslim Persecution of Christians

Root Causes of Persecution
The first generation of Muslims was a minority in the non-Muslim world it set out to conquer. For the Muslims, this created a sense of defensiveness and a fear of being overwhelmed by the conquered communities that persist today in spite of centuries of Muslim dominance. Even in modern secular Muslim-majority states, Islam and shari’a have such a hold on public perceptions that attitudes of contempt and practices of discrimination against non-Muslims are accepted as normal.

From this article by Patrick Sookhdeo.

Pray for Yemen: Qat and Water

Yemen is running out of water, and farmers there are using what they have to cultivate a crop that is not even a food--qat.

JAHILIYA, Yemen — More than half of this country’s scarce water is used to feed an addiction.

Even as drought kills off Yemen’s crops, farmers in villages like this one are turning increasingly to a thirsty plant called qat, the leaves of which are chewed every day by most Yemeni men (and some women) for their mild narcotic effect. The farmers have little choice: qat is the only way to make a profit.

Meanwhile, the water wells are running dry, and deep, ominous cracks have begun opening in the parched earth, some of them hundreds of yards long.


Pray for Yemen. Without the power of the Gospel true freedom and wisdom will never come to this country.

Read it all here.

Islam and Religious Imperialism

“Islam in its cradle was already a specimen of religious imperialism, which is another name for secularized theocracy.”

Hendrik Kraemer, The Christian Message in a non-Christian World

A Missions-minded Orthodox Church?

You can find them every now and then: the Antiochians in the USA are one example--though mostly they are converting Christians to Christianity (something I don't find terribly impressive). But there is also the Orthodox Church in Indonesia, whose senior priest is himself a former Muslim. (Who converted to evangelical Christianity and only later became Orthodox.) Here is their website, I recommend their newsletter which has some nice pictures. It makes me glad to see that there are places where Orthodoxy is still out planting churches and catechizing and evangelizing non-Christians.

Friends of Indonesia

Douthat on Islam: a Roman leader or Cantuar the appeaser?

I told you, great article here by Ross Douthat:

But in making the opening to Anglicanism, Benedict also may have a deeper conflict in mind — not the parochial Western struggle between conservative and liberal believers, but Christianity’s global encounter with a resurgent Islam.

Here Catholicism and Anglicanism share two fronts. In Europe, both are weakened players, caught between a secular majority and an expanding Muslim population. In Africa, increasingly the real heart of the Anglican Communion, both are facing an entrenched Islamic presence across a fault line running from Nigeria to Sudan.

Where the European encounter is concerned, Pope Benedict has opted for public confrontation. In a controversial 2006 address in Regensburg, Germany, he explicitly challenged Islam’s compatibility with the Western way of reason — and sparked, as if in vindication of his point, a wave of Muslim riots around the world.

By contrast, the Church of England’s leadership has opted for conciliation (some w…

Douthat on Anglicans, Catholics, and Ecumenism

Great stuff on Anglicanism and Catholicism and ecumenicity. This is a brilliant article. Perhaps the best I've read on the whole Anglican-Catholic ordinariate development so far:

At the same time, the more ecumenically minded denominations have lost believers to more assertive faiths — Pentecostalism, Evangelicalism, Mormonism and even Islam — or seen them drift into agnosticism and apathy.

Nobody is more aware of this erosion than Benedict. So the pope is going back to basics — touting the particular witness of Catholicism even when he’s addressing universal subjects, and seeking converts more than common ground.

Along the way, he’s courting both ends of the theological spectrum. In his encyclicals, Benedict has addressed a range of issues — social justice, environmental protection, even erotic love — that are close to the hearts of secular liberals and lukewarm, progressive-minded Christians. But instead of stopping at a place of broad agreement, he has pushed further, trying to pe…

Jerusalem, the third most holy site of Islam?

So fractured was the Muslim Ummah in the late 7th century that the
Damascus Umayyads started discouraging their subjects from going on the
hajj pilgrimage. It is said that while in Mecca, the Syrian pilgrims would be
infl uenced by the oratory of Caliph Ibn al-Zubayr and give their oath of
allegiance to the Meccan caliph. Abd al-Malik feared that returning pilgrims
would challenge his political as well as religious authority. Many historians
report that Abd al-Malik was so frustrated by his inability to capture Mecca
and to lead the hajj that he built the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem as an
alternative to the Ka’aba in Mecca. Before Abd al-Malik, there is no record
of Muslims going to pilgrimage to Jerusalem, but after he built the Dome
of the Rock, this site became a venue for Syrians to visit instead of Mecca
and Medina.


Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State, by Tarek Fatah (2008, Wiley, p 169)

The Huge News today

Wow. Huge. At least, for Anglicans like us.

The Pope has announced the formation of a new and rather innovative ecclesiastical structure for Anglicans/Episcopalians who are disappointed with all the wonderful developments in the West (women bishops in the UK, gay marriage in the US, church blessings of same-sex unions in Canada, you know). In a nutshell: Anglicans can become Roman Catholic AND retain their liturgy and hymnody and their married priests (to some extent, at least). That is a big deal. Hordes of evangelicals (like me) have left The Episcopal Church (USA) already. It is not unreasonable to think that a significant number of anglo-catholics (like me) will also leave now that communion with Rome AND retaining an Anglican identity is a very real option.

Anyway, the press release is HERE, as well as the best treatment of the underlying meanings of the document.

[And for those of you who are wondering if Abu Daoud & Co. are going that way, the answer is no. We don't live…

Islamdom in Sweden

From HERE:

Twenty years ago, I think that most Sweden would have found it difficult to imagine that Islam would become Sweden's second largest religion, that Swedish artists who criticize or joke about Islam would live under constant death threats, that a dozen Muslim terror organizations would establish themselves in Sweden, that leading Muslim representatives would make demands about imposing Sharia laws in Sweden, that Swedish county councils would use taxpayer's money to circumsise fully healthy little boys, that Sweden would have the most rapes in Europe and that Muslim men would be highly over-represented among the perpetrators, that Swedish pools would introduce separate swimming times for men and women, that Swedish municipalities would consider introducing sex-segregated swimming classes in the schools, that the freezer sections in our grocery stores would offer ritually slaughtered meat while Swedish preschools would stop serving pork, that Swedish schools would intro…

An Israeli arrives at Heathrow...

..and the customs officer asks, "Occupation?

The Israeli answers, "No, no! I'm just visiting."

Qutb's mythical version of the early Umma

The society was freed from all oppression, and the Islamic system was established in which justice was God’s justice and in which weighing was by God’s balance. […] Morals were elevated, hearts and souls were purified, and with the exception of a very few cases, there was no occasion even to enforce the limits and punishments which God has prescribed; for now conscience was the law-enforcer, and the pleasure of God, the hope of Divine reward, and the fear of God’s anger took the place of police and punishment.

Qutb, p 30
Milestones
Damascus

Current events and the fall of the Roman Empire

This author is talking about the gluttony of the the USA government and the corresponding decline of the country's influence in the world:

I cannot put my finger on it exactly, but there is something very "Decline and Fall of Rome"-ish about the trend of current events. In Rome, too, as things began to go downhill from its days of heroism and glory, the lawsuits multiplied (with results just as random and unpredictable as they are today), the troops were brought home to be safe as the barbarians made things rough on the frontiers, productive businesses were taxed and taxed to pay for the emperors' extravagances until people were put out of work, farms went fallow and food had to be brought in increasingly from greater and greater distances, and the citizens of Rome partied on as though there were no tomorrow.

No one at the top could bring themselves to describe the bad news as it was happening; instead, a few messengers who brought ill tidings were put to death. And s…

Antwerp: 40% of Elementary School students are Muslims

Yep. Islamization in action. It's all about demographics and migration:

40% of the students in the Antwerp municipal elementary schools (4,150) chose Islam as their religion class subject this year, according to data provided by the Antwerp alderman for education Robert Voorhamme (SP.A) upon request by Vlaams Belang.

According to Filip Dewinter (Vlaams Belang), by extrapolation, in 2012 a majority of the students in the Antwerp elementary schools will be Muslim. Voorhamme says this is an hypothesis. "People see a threat where there is none," says the alderman for education.

31.5% chose a non-confessional morals class (3,235 students) and 26.5% chose Catholic religion (2,751 students). Other religions (Protestants, Orthodox) were chosen by a small number of students.

In secondary schools, morals class is still more popular than Islam: 47.5% compared to 30.5%.


From HERE.

Chrislam: Syncretism, West African style

I love it!

Mazhar Mallouhi on attitudes about Muhammad

I am allowed to say good things about Oliver Cromwell without being reminded that he chopped off the king’s head. I am allowed to speak positively about Thomas Jefferson without incessant interruptions that he impregnated his slave. Do people think that we are somehow admitting defeat, or dishonoring Christ, if we focus on the positive aspects of Muhammad or the religion that he founded?

This is from the most recent issue of St Francis Magazine, p 12.

Mallouhi, Mazhar. 'Comments on the Insider Movement' in SFM Vol 5:5, Oct 2009, pp 3-14.

Mallouhi describes himself as a Muslim follower of Christ.

Hadith on executing apostates

Sahiih Al Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 52, Number 260:

Narrated Ikrima:

Ali burnt some people and this news reached Ibn 'Abbas, who said, "Had I been in his place I would not have burnt them, as the Prophet said, 'Don't punish (anybody) with Allah's Punishment.' No doubt, I would have killed them, for the Prophet said, 'If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him.' "

The Nicene Creed in Arabic

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Here is the Nicene Creed (sans filioque, thank God) and another miscellaneous writing:


Gadget to help women feign virginity angers many in Egypt

Whether it's seen as a clever little gadget to help a woman keep a secret or a devilish deception that threatens Islam, the Artificial Virginity Hymen Kit is not welcome in Egypt.

The kit allows a bride who is not a virgin to pretend that she is. A pouch inserted into the vagina on her wedding night ruptures and leaks a blood-like liquid designed to trick a new husband into believing that his wife is chaste. It's a wink of ingenuity to soothe a man's ego and keep the dowry intact.

From HERE.

Abu Daoud on Zakaria Botros

I have recently published in St Francis Magazine a short article/book review on Abouna Zakaria Botros. Here is an excerpt:

I believe that Botros is an example of contextualized ministry
par excellence. This might sound like a strange thing to say today
when contextualization and a non-polemical approach are seen as
inseparable. Au contraire. Contextual witness does not mean be-
ing nice, and it certainly does not mean refraining from criticism of
the Prophet of Islam or its book. What contextualization means is
that you are asking the questions to which people want to know an-
swers. A basic example of this is the now commonplace insight
that Arabs are more moved by honor-shame questions than inno-
cence-guilt ones. That is context. And Abouna does this very
well: Muslims want to know about Muhammad, the shari’a, the
ahadiith, and so on. They want to know how Islam can (or cannot)
be al haal, the solution, as other great Egyptians have argued (Al
Banna? Qutb?). And Botros is uniquely …

Pre-Christian pagans and post-Christian pagans and Newbigin

[Modern society is] a pagan society, and its paganism, having been born out of the rejection of Christianity, is far more resistant to the gospel than the pre-Christian paganism with which cross-cultural missions have been familiar.

--Lesslie Newbigin

Girl sentenced to jail in Saudi for being raped

Girl gets a year in jail, 100 lashes for adultery
By Adnan Shabrawi

JEDDAH – A 23-year-old unmarried woman was awarded one-year prison term and 100 lashes for committing adultery and trying to abort the resultant fetus. The District Court in Jeddah pronounced the verdict on Saturday after the girl confessed that she had a forced sexual intercourse with a man who had offered her a ride. The man, the girl confessed, took her to a rest house, east of Jeddah, where he and four of friends assaulted her all night long. The girl claimed that she became pregnant soon after and went to King Fahd Hospital for Armed Forces in an attempt to carry out an abortion. She was eight weeks’ pregnant then, the hospital confirmed. According to the ruling, the woman will be sent to a jail outside Jeddah to spend her time and will be lashed after delivery of her baby who will take the mother’s last name. – Okaz/SG

From HERE.

More Protestants leave for Orthodoxy in the USA

Well, what can I say? I can't blame them. You look at the Protestant churches in the US and they are, on the whole, a pathetic lot (including mine, TEC). Here is a good vignette:

As he entered, a vespers service was under way. Maybe two dozen worshipers stood, chanting psalms and hymns. Incense filled the dark air. Icons of apostles and saints hung on the walls. The ancientness and austerity stood at a time-warp remove from the evangelical circles in which Mr. Oren traveled, so modern, extroverted and assertively relevant.

“This was a Christianity I had never encountered before,” said Mr. Oren, 55, a marketing consultant in commercial construction. “I was frozen in my tracks. I felt like I was in the actual presence of God, almost as if I was in heaven. And I’m not the kind of person who gets all woo-hoo.”


Read it all at IHT.

Is it all worthwhile?

I have found myself in the last week or two asking myself several times, is this all worthwhile? I know the Kingdom is invisible. I know we, more often than not, don't see the fruit of our labors. But still, I wonder, is it all worthwhile? The precariousness of our life in the ME, the financial uncertainties, the apparently unstoppable progress of Islam both in the West and the ME...it's hard to see any purpose in what we are doing here. Sometimes.

AD

Arabs didn't invent zero

There are some very real contributions to mathematics made by Arab Muslims, but they are vastly inflated by the Western press and indeed by Muslim themselves. The Brussels Journal has this to say on the topic:

I heard the claim from one European reader that “The Arab world invented the zero, and it’s been downhill ever since.” This is false, but unfortunately not an uncommon mistake. Our numeral system dates back to India during the post-Roman era, but it came to Europe via the medieval Middle East which is why these numbers are called “Arabic” numbers in many European languages. Yet even Muslims admit that they imported these numerals from India. Calling them “Arabic” numerals is this therefore deeply misleading. “Hindu-Arabic” number system could be accepted, but the preferred term should be “Indian numerals.”

Read it all here.

The Pope and his European Crusade

I like this guy, he's really got balls:

Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Velvet Revolution that overthrew Communism in Czechoslovakia, the pope is visiting what many religious observers, unfairly or not, consider the ground zero of religious apathy in Europe. Vatican officials said that he had chosen the Czech Republic for a mission central to his papacy: fomenting a continentwide spiritual revolt against what Benedict labeled Saturday as “atheist ideology,” “hedonistic consumerism” and “a growing drift toward ethical and cultural relativism.”

From IHT.

Tarek Fatah on Israel and Palestine

It caused the 1948 “Naqba”—the Catastrophe—but it was not Israel alone. It was politician Nuri as-Said’s Iraqis who sold out after secret deals made on the island of Rhodes; it was Jordan’s King Abdullah trying to reach backroom deals with Israel’s Golda Meier; but above all it was the arrogance and self-righteousness that made us refuse every advantage that came our way, lose every war we fought, and fail to develop a literate, democratic, secular society as an answer to Israel’s challenge. The all-or-nothing strategy meant “all” for the monarchs and mullahs, and “nothing” for the Palestinians.

Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State
Tarek Fatah
Wiley, 2008, pp 78, 79

Elders are priests? From 1 Clement

It is often said by fellow evangelicals that it is a post-Constantinian development (and maybe even medieval) that the elders and deacons of the Church started to be identified with Aaronic priests and Levites of the OT. And that because of this the 'biblical' concept of the priesthood of all believers was gradually lost.

The problem? Clement, a disciple of Paul and bishop of Rome, writing around the year 100AD, makes the connection explicitly himself:

1 Clement 40 -- LET US PRESERVE IN THE CHURCH THE ORDER APPOINTED BY GOD.

These things therefore being manifest to us, and since we look into the depths of the divine knowledge, it behoves us to do all things in [their proper] order, which the Lord has commanded us to perform at stated times. He has enjoined offerings [to be presented] and service to be performed [to Him], and that not thoughtlessly or irregularly, but at the appointed times and hours. Where and by whom He desires these things to be done, He Himself has fixed by Hi…

Christian Lange on the Islamic vision of hell

Am reading right now parts of a recently-published volume called Public Violence in Islamic Societies (2009 Edinburgh University Press) and one of the articles in it, 'State Punishment and Eschatology' by Christian Lange, has some great clarifications regarding the medieval Islamic understanding of hell:

In the eschatological imaginaire of medieval Islam, punishment of Muslims in the other world is thus conceived of as a real threat. There is a tangible fear of becoming the target of divine acts of violence after death. This is not an ever-present fear, perhaps, but rather, a nagging suspicion that things might go terribly wrong after all. (p 160).

It is interesting to note that, despite their ugliness and general nastiness, the gaolers of hell are angels. They are, as it were, on the side of power. In a sense, they are agents of God's siyasa, His terrifying but ultimately just use of punishment. (p 163)

On the Relation between commerce and mission and Providence

Note that this is from way back in 1863:

And has not He made Britain and America great in [merchant] ships for this end? Let our rich merchants beware of boasting that the arms of their own skill and enterprise have done all this. God has assuredly done it, in order, among other things, to provide means and afford facilities for the setting up of his Kingdom. But it does not follow from this that the missionary is to be, in any sense, an auxiliary to the trader.

p 77, The Heathen World and the Duty of the Church
Alexander Robb
Edinburgh: Andrew Elliot 1863

If Europe's values aren't Christian then what are they?

From a WSJ book review:

Most European elites, though, have not debated seriously the potential effects of introducing into this land of postmodern chatter millions of devout believers in another religion, one previously seen as antagonistic to European culture. As Mr. Caldwell says, Europe's elites seem hardly to have considered that the ethical views they pride themselves on have little meaning when divorced from Christian origins.

Many Europeans are determined to defend their values— witness France's ban on headscarves in schools—but it is hard to defend what you cannot define. "There is no consensus, not even the beginning of a consensus," Mr. Caldwell writes, "about what European values are." When the Netherlands decided not long ago to try to define its values and inculcate them in prospective new residents, it ended up producing a ghastly naturalization packet that included a video that featured "gays expressing affection in public, and bare-breast…

USA: Anti-every religion (except Islam)

Great quote here from an Islamic author:

"Upon landing in the U.S. after speaking at a conference in Poland, I noticed that the first picture welcoming international visitors to the U.S. at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) was of two Muslim women wearing the hijab. The photo also portrayed a mosque and the crescent as a symbol for Islam. I have noticed on other visits to the airport that the same photo is in the same position: Window A1 of the immigration hall, where the travelers show customs officials their documentation. I have checked the other pictures in the hall to see if other religions are also represented in the same manner. To my surprise, there are none. The ONLY religious symbols that exist in such a manifest manner are the Islamic ones. This situation raises an important question: why don't the airport authorities acknowledge other faiths as well? If the answer is that Muslims are a minority, then why doesn't acknowledge the other religious minor…

The Early Church called the Eucharist a sacrifice

It is hard to argue with such a clear statement as that which we find in the Didache (written c. 100):

And when coming together on the Lord's own day, break bread and give thanks after confessing your transgressions. In that manner, your sacrifice will be pure. And do not let anyone coming with a quarrel against a brother join you until they get reconciled, in order that your sacrifice is not impure. For this has been spoken of by the Lord, "in every place and time offer me a pure sacrifice, for I am a great King," says the Lord, "and My name is wonderful among the nations." (Didache 14:1-3)

There is no interstice between 100 AD and the Apostolic period. The Gospel of John was probably taking its present form at the time and, according to some scholars, 2 Peter had not yet been written.

The Apostolic Church called the eucharist a sacrifice and had no problem with that sort of language.

Prayer, Ramadan, Cookies

Hi All,

My wife made some cookies and I went out today to visit three groups of friends to give them a plate of cookies as a Ramadan gift, along with a nicely printed Sermon on the Mount in Arabic.

Please say a prayer for the people who received this. We have known them all for some time and have good relationships with all of them.

Salam,

AD

Sayyid Qutb on the Western concept of religion

These research scholars [who define jihad as defensive warfare], with their defeated mentality, have adopted the Western concept of 'religion', which is merely a name for 'belief' in the heart, having no relation to the practical affairs of life, and therefore they conceive of religious war as a war to impose belief on peoples' hearts.

Milestones, 76.

The important thing here is that Qutb is correct in finding the Western category of 'religion' as shallow and false. --AD

Sayyid Qutb on the rights of Islam over society

Thus, wherever an Islamic community exists which is a concrete example of the Divinely-ordered system of life, it has a God-given right to step forward and take control of the political authority so that it may establish the Divine system on earth, while it leaves the matter of belief to individual conscience.

Sayyid Qutb, Milestones, p 76.

The slow death of the Jordan River

The BBC has a great photo-series about the Jordan River. Do check it out. Very sad.

In Pictures: Journey down the Jordan

And remember my predictions about the next big war being about water--not oil.

AP: UK troubled by anti-Islam rallies, counterprotests

[...]On Friday, an openly Islamophobic group, Stop Islamification of Europe, promised an evening protest outside a northwest London mosque to coincide with the eighth anniversary of Sept. 11 and with Ramadan, the Muslim holy month.

Only a handful of demonstrators showed up — and they were vastly outnumbered by Muslims coming to defend the mosque.

Police hustled the protesters away from the angry crowd. But television footage showed Muslim youths racing through the streets shouting "Allahu Akbar!", waving Islamic banners and throwing projectiles at riot police. Scotland Yard reported 10 arrests.[...]

From here.

AD says: wait, so the police rushed the handful of demonstrators away? Um, why? Shouldn't they protect them from the angry crowd?

Woodberry and Shubin on why Muslims convert to Christ

From their article 'Muslims tell "Why I Chose Jesus"' in Mission Frontiers (March 2001):

1) A sure salvation
2) Jesus
3) A Holy Book: the power of the Bible
4) Then you will know the truth (Christianity teaches the truth about God, humanity and ethics)
5) Dreams and vision
6) The love of God manifest in Christ and the Church
7) I have called you friends: relationship with God
8) Persecution (both being persecuted and seeing others persecuted)

Conversions per year to Islam and Christianity

From HERE:

Conversion growth is where you find quite a contrast. According to figures presented in the 2000 edition of the World Christian Encyclopedia, each year some 950,000 people convert to Islam from some other persuasion. Christianity, by contrast, sees some 2.7 million each year shift their affiliation to Christianity and presumably their allegiance to Christ from some other religion.


(Woodberry and Shubin 2001)

Steven Masood on Jesus (Issa) and the table from heaven (sura 5, al ma'ida)

From HERE. BTW Steven is an MBB:

Surah 5 is named after Jesus' miracle of providing "a table laden with food" (Surah 5:112-114). From the Qur'anic narrative it is not clear whether it is the story of the last supper or the feeding of the five thousand (Mark 6:34 ff; 14:12ff). Some Muslims relate it to the prayer Jesus taught his disciples, "Give us this day our daily bread." (Matthew 6:11). However the Qur'anic reference says that this occasion was "to be to us a festival". The word Eid is used, which is applied also to Islamic festivals, and so this would be appropriate for the Lord's supper, which many Christians celebrate every first day of the week also known as the Communion.

Some Muslims think that a real table came from heaven and it stayed with Jesus and his disciples for three days and then was taken into heaven. Another version says that there was no table from heaven. It was Jesus who multiplied the bread. They refer to the feedin…

Francis Schaeffer on Freedom and Christianity

Great quote from Schaeffer over at Tulip Times, where Abu Tulip is doing a series on FS, do check out his other posts:

The central message of biblical Christianity is the possibility of men and women approaching God through the work of Christ. But the message also has secondary results, among them the unusual and wide freedoms which biblical Christianity gave to countries where it supplied the consensus. When these freedoms are separated from the Christian base, however, they become a force of destruction leading to chaos. When this happens, as it has today, then, to quote Eric Hoffer (1902--), 'When freedom destroys order, the yearning for order will destroy freedom.'

At that point the words left or right will make no difference. They are only two roads to the same end. There is no difference between an authoritarian government from the right or the left: the results are the same. An elite, an authoritarianism as such, will gradually force form on society so that it will …

Ramon Llull and his philosophy in action

“If Moslems according to their law affirm that God loved man because He created him, endowed him with noble faculties, and pours His benefits upon him, then the Christians according to their law affirm the same. But inasmuch as the Christians believe more than this, and affirm that God so loved man that He was willing to become man, to endure poverty, ignominy, torture, and death for his sake, which the Jews and Saracens do not teach concerning Him; therefore is the religion of the Christians, which thus reveals a Love beyond all other love, superior to that of those which reveals it only in an inferior degree.” --Ramon Llull

What we have here is Llull arguing from his fundamental premise, which is at the heart of his epistemology and missional theory: allahu akbar. God is greater. Since love and power and glory and truth are all related to each other, and the Christian understanding of God yields the most loving God, he is also the most glorious God. The Christianity as a religion con…

Seyyid Qutb on Jihad and Takfiir

Well, I am now in chapter 4 entitled "Jihad in the Cause of God." It is easy to see why this guy is said to be a great inspiration for Al Qaeda and other groups which use violence. One of the things that surprised me is just how unapologetic he is about jihad NOT being about defense:

...these defeatist-type people try to mix the two aspects and want to confine jihaad to what is today called 'defensive war'. The Islamic Jihaad has no relation to modern warfare, either in its causes or in the way it conducted.

He chalks it up to a bunch of pseudo-Muslim scholars and orientalistis--this terrible plot to redefine Islamic jihad to deprive it of such an important element and tool.

He also begins to touch on takfiir, which is an important aspect of the spirituality of al qaeda type gorups today. The doctrine is that anyone who is no following true Islam, even if they say they are a Muslim, are not. Such a person practicing an incomplete or incorrect Islam is a hypocrite and an…

Jimmy Akin on Fatima (فاطمة بنت محمد المطيري), martyr, evangelist. and saint

An extended Roman Catholic article on the martyrdom and status of our dear sister and martyr Fatima bint Muhmammad. Please do head over there and express your views on the topic.

Jimmy Akin

blogging on Ramon Llull

As you may know, the greatest man in the history of Christian mission to the Muslim world is, and I say this with no doubt in my mind, Ramon Llull, a 13th C. Catholic layman, husband, and father of two. Tyler over at The Call of the Master is blogging on Llull's life and thought. Enjoy and salaam allah 3ala Tyler.

1st Post

2nd Post

And if you want to see my other stuff on Llull just type in LLULL in the search box for this blog. You'll get some comments and quotes and so on.

More on Fatima of Saudi Arabia (فاطمة بنت محمد المطيري)

I recently posted some info on this martyr and offered to send out a PDF to anyone interested. I got a number of requests but nothing dramatic. But now one of the BIG blogs picked up the story, and there is an interesting discussion going on over there.

First Things

Good reading: Sayyid Qutb and Milestones

Milestones by Qutb is one of the key texts in understanding the recent rise of puritanical (and sometimes violent) movements within Islam.

I read the first chapter today and a few things caught my attention:

His view of the first generation of Islam is totally unrealistic. After the death of Muhammad tons of Muslims left (or tried to leave) Islam, and it was only after being 'convinced' (beaten in battle) that they came back to the fold.

I found his extensive concern with the scientific and military power of the West interesting. He says basically that the Muslim world won't catch up, so it has to offer something of a totally different category. For him that is the life-giving values of Islam. (And genuine freedom, but that's for another post.)

He also reminds me a little of Jospeh Smith with his ridiculous "the church disappeared from 100 AD through 1840 or so" thing. Qutb actually does not say that Islam has been polluted. He says that it has disappeared. It…

Fatima bint Muhammad al Matayri, martyr of Saudi Arabia

Hi All,

In August of 2008 Fatima bint Muhammad al Matayri of Saudi Arabia was martyred--burned to death by her brother who also cut her tongue out. She was 26. I have a PDF file with some of her writings, both in English and Arabic, and some other background info. It is pretty short, but very powerful.

If I were Catholic I would work for her canonization. Heck, maybe as an Anglican I'll do it anyway. But if anyone would like the PDF file (about 1 MB) e-mail me. winterlightning [@+] safe-mail [d0t] net.

Salam u Ramadan Mubaarak,

AD

Sharkey on why some identified Western Imperialism with Missionaries

“Thus, under the aegis of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Western imperialism, missionaries were able to do what had once been unthinkable in Islamic state domains: to attempt openly to convert Muslims to Christianity.” (p 99)

Sharkey, Heather J. 'Arabic Antimissionary Treatises: Muslim Responses to Christian Evangelism in the Modern Middle East' in the International Bulletin for Missionary Research, Vol 28:3, July 2004, pp 98-104.