Thursday, January 28, 2010

New Book: Lee Smith's 'The Strong Horse'

This looks like a very good book. I have some favorites on the topic of recent developments in the Muslim world. I like Viorst's 1995 book 'Sandcastles' quite a lot. There is also the under-rated Warriors of the Prophet.

But this new book by Lee Smith looks quite excellent. I would very much like to read it. Also if any of you do read it please let me know your thoughts on it. Here is a review over at the CS Monitor.

A section:

But just pages into the introduction, Smith, who is the Middle East correspondent for the Weekly Standard, shatters the stereotype evoked in the jacket’s photograph by stating that, “I give no credence to the idea that the Arab-Israeli crisis is the [Middle East’s] central issue.” Just one of a number of provocative assertions, Smith wastes little time in introducing a reexamination of Middle Eastern history that calls into question even the most conventional of American and Western beliefs.

To begin with, he argues that 9/11 was not an attack on America but rather the extension of an inter-Arab fight exported to the new battleground of lower Manhattan. “Bin Ladenism is not drawn from the extremist fringe but represents the political and social norm [of the Arabic-speaking Middle East].” Smith explains these two conclusions, as he does the Middle East’s political philosophy writ large, using the “strong horse” principle.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Liberals and Islam?

Don over at Positive Infinity has come out with a good post on liberals and Islam, please do check it out. Here is a section:

Why should the left care if anyone hates Islam or not? They certainly don’t care if people hate Christians. But Islam, if it succeeds, will be the end of much of what leftists hold to be “beautiful and good.” That includes but is not limited to their sexual agenda. Homosexuals and those who engage in sexual activity outside of marriage—especially women—will find themselves subject to capital punishment if sharia is implemented, a frequent goal of Muslim groups.

And here's another great quote:

Experience teaches that Islam, once the controlling factor in a country, will move to impose sharia on the population and do so without exception. Although the Ottomans were probably the most able rulers the Islamic world has ever known, their system of encapsulating and using non-Islamic groups to their own advantage is going out of fashion, replaced by the religious cleansing we see all too often in the Middle East today.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

London: Muslim police blast official anti-terror strategy

LONDON — Muslim police have attacked the government's anti-terrorism strategy for triggering an upsurge in Islamophobia and deepening divisions in communities.

The National Association of Muslim Police (NAMP) warned that the Prevent programme, which aims to combat violent extremism, was "stigmatising" Muslims by focusing on "so-called Islamist extremism."

The group said the real threat came from the growing far-right movement.

"The hatred towards Muslims has grown to a level that defies all logic and is an affront to British values," said the association in a written submission to a parliamentary commission examining the anti-terror initiative.

"The climate is such that Muslims are subject to daily abuse in a manner that would be ridiculed by Britain, were this to occur anywhere else." [...]

From the AFP.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Steve Scott: Protestant traditions not found in the Bible

Steve at From the Pew has posted his list of Protestant traditions not found in the Bible and I just had to post it:

Here is a list of Protestant traditions that I don't remember finding in the bible. I may be mistaken about some of these, and these are off the top of my head, in no particular order other than the order that I thought them in, so if I have goofed up this list, please let me know! I'm not suggesting any of these things are wrong in and of themselves. It's simply a list.

  • Sunday School
  • The pulpit
  • Preaching of the gospel in church - isn't every example in the NT of preaching the gospel outside of the church and to unbelievers?
  • Bringing people to church to hear the gospel
  • Grape juice used for Lord's Supper instead of wine
  • Christmas
  • Church buildings
  • Stained glass
  • The Sunday meeting being called a "worship service"
  • Choir
  • Tithing to the church instead of in ministry to others
  • Sunday meeting of the church without a meal
  • Sunday meeting of the church without Lord's supper being part of that meal
  • "Personal quiet time"
  • A Sunday church meeting without considering how to stimulate one another to love, or how to stimulate one another to good deeds, or the encouraging of one another.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Norwegian Immigration Policy and Rape

The police in the Norwegian capital Oslo revealed that 2009 set yet another record: compared to 2008, there were twice as many cases of assault rapes. In each and every case, not only in 2008 and 2009 but also in 2007, the offender was a non-Western immigrant. At the same time, in 9 out of 10 cases, the victim was Norwegian, not just by nationality, but also by ethnicity.

From HERE.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Roman Catholic Church in Lebanon complains about people evangelizing Muslims

Thank God for the Catholic Church! Without their bringing this horrible reality to light Muslims might be converting to Christianity, which, as we all know, would be terrible.

In Lebanon, the Roman Catholic diocese and Muslim groups have accused the evangelical Christians of trying to convert Muslims. One bishop said Bonnie Penner Witherall, the missionary killed by a gunman [in 2002], combined preaching about Christianity with the distribution of toys and food to Muslim children.

From HERE.

Catholic Archbishop Refuses to Baptize Muslim Converts

Morocco's government says it practices religious tolerance but the Christian presence is low-key. St. Peter's Cathedral in Rabat does not ring its bells and churchgoers are all foreign.

Moroccan Christians worshipping there would risk arrest and Archbishop Vincent Landel told Reuters he would not baptize a Moroccan convert as it is against the law.

From HERE.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Bad publicity for the cowards at Google

Recently posted something about Google censoring its own material on Islam. And now, alhamdulillah, we have coverage of this in other media. Good!

The more people post this stuff the better. The internet is, in its own imperfect way, democratic, and even Google can't covert that up.


Saturday, January 09, 2010

Muslim Cleric Laments the Effectiveness of Christian Missions

From HERE:

Many of the young Muslims today are not afraid of this [Christian] missionary campaign, they think that it does not affect anything. I say that this is wrong, It was proven by study that this is not true, and that many Muslims are effected by this missionary activity, and that many Muslims leave Islam and enter into Christianity! add to that the ones who are slightly affected by christianity they for example leave Islam without entering into christianity, or accept some of the Christian belief, or help Christians in their activities, or accept that their relatives become Christians then that is a huge number of people! So the missionary activity is doing what it is supposed to do.

Read it all, it is a fascinating document.

Google: dhimmi cowards with no balls

From here.

What's Islam? Don't Ask Google

Google's search engine returns common results to most queries as you type. But the "don't be evil" company appears to be censoring its results when it comes to Islam.

Type a few words into the search field on Google's home page and the engine automatically returns a helpful list of popular, similar searches for the words you've typed in so far -- a convenient way to find the right information.

Enter "Christianity is" and you'll find results that, while offensive, at least indicate common discussions on the Internet. Likewise, type "Judaism is" and Google suggests other, potentially offensive searches such as "Judaism is false" and "Judaism is not a race."

But type "Islam is" into the search engine and Google's auto-results pane mysteriously vanishes, leading some to conclude that Google, whose mantra is "don't be evil," is censoring its search results. [...]

Friday, January 08, 2010

The Sunna of the Prophet regarding sexual activity during menses

Al Bukhari Volume 1, Book 6, Number 297:

Narrated Um Salama:

While I was laying with the Prophet under a single woolen sheet, I got the menses. I slipped away and put on the clothes for menses. He said, "Have you got 'Nifas' (menses)?" I replied, "Yes." He then called me and made me lie with him under the same sheet.

Volume 1, Book 6, Number 300:

Narrated Maimuna:

When ever Allah's Apostle wanted to fondle any of his wives during the periods (menses), he used to ask her to wear an Izar.

AD says: an Izar is a dress worn below the waist.

Leaving Islam for Catholicism in France

Ibn Warraq ed. Apostates of Islam, p 99:

“Even in the West, Muslim apostates fear for their lives and find it difficult to come out in public; hence the difficulty in finding reliable statistics for conversions in the West. However, we do have some figures for adult baptisms in French Catholic parishes. The latter parishes also record the religion of origin of those baptized. In the year 2000, 2,503 adults were baptized of which 9% were of Muslim origin; thus 225 apostasized in France alone in 2000.”

AD says: it's something, but don't get all excited. Many more nominal Christians become Muslim in a given year than the other way around, at least in France.

Does the Left's support of shari'a mask a secret racism?

Muslims living in Muslim countries may not have the courage or
capability to fight the introduction of sharia, but those of us who live in
North America and Europe carry the responsibility to stand up to the thugs
who relish authoritarianism. We need to realize that segments of the non-
Muslim community in the West, especially the guilt-ridden Left that comes
out in support of sharia, are practising racism of lower expectations, where,
under the garb of diversity, Muslims are being encouraged to ghettoize and
withdraw from the mainstream.

Tarek Fatah
Chasing a Mirage
p 264

Thursday, January 07, 2010

A Prophet Speaks: "The fall of Europe is close at hand."

The Cardinal of the Czech Republic, Miloslav Vick, is concerned about the fate of Christianity in Europe. He argues that Europe must return to its roots, if not the fate of the continent will be to become Islamic.

"Medieval Muslims tried to conquer Europe but Christians expelled them,” he said. “Today there is a similar war but with spiritual weapons. However, Europe lacks the tools and ability for a spiritual struggle while Muslims are well equipped," he says, adding that "the fall of Europe is close at hand.”

From HERE.

The day is coming when finding a practicing Christian in France will be as interesting and exotic as finding an Assyrian Christian in Iraq.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

More than just translation, but what to call it?

I have lately been thinking about how to speak of the Christian approach to communication/language. It is translation, but broader than that. I can't quite figure out a name for it though. I am talking about something that would include storying, picture books for illiterate people, the use of different sorts of media, and so on. Also, it does not seem uniquely evangelical, in many ways the icons and statues of other churches are trying to do something similar--speak something broader and deeper than any one spoken language or strata of society can comprehend.


Monday, January 04, 2010

Family Missions Company: Lay Missions for the Roman Catholics

Catholic Lay Missions and Muslim Evangelism
by Abu Daoud (4 Jan. 2010)

I have often complained about the lack of a culture of lay missions in the Catholic Church. And then you find something like FMC. In one way, this is very encouraging. But the main problem that I see with this is that the missionaries are sent out with the permission of the local bishop. Now how many Catholic bishops in the Middle East are going to tell some lay missionaries they can come over and evangelize Muslims? The answer is close to zero. The Catholic Church has physical resources scattered throughout the region, from hospitals to schools to monasteries to historical sites. In all honesty, and I'm not saying this to be a jerk, the upkeep and well-being of those physical resources will almost always trump Muslim evangelism. And the bishops, in a way, are right. When you get into the business of Muslim evangelism you really are putting everything on the line. Calling Muslims to embrace Christianity stirs up Islamic anger like few other things. Might there be a bishop here or there who is willing to do this? Maybe, but I wouldn't bet on it.

But that doesn't mean groups like FMC and Kerygma Teams (both Catholic) can't have a successful ministry to Muslims. I am thinking that bishops in places like southern Spain and some of the French ports would be happy to have lay missionaries explicitly (if quietly) working to evangelize Muslims. Ah but then you run into the funding problem. Catholic parishes do not have a tradition of supporting lay missions like Protestant churches do. Depending on where you are in the Middle East I would say a family can get by on between $70,000 to $100,000 a year in donations. That might seem like a lot, but from the top of that take of 10-15% which goes to administration of the missionary agency, then account for travel, communications, health insurance, and so on, and you're left with a man making about $40,000 gross in self-employment income. Work out the taxes and SEI and you end up with a man who has a net income of $15k to $30k.

But Europe is a different story. I would say Europe is about twice as expensive as the Middle East. So unless your independently wealthy (and I don't really know any missionaries who are) you have to raise funds from local churches. Figure in the fact that Catholics rarely tithe to their churches, and when they do it is at about 50% the rate of Protestants.

In sum, while I applaud this groups like FMC, I don't see how they can make a substantial contribution to the Church's mission to Islam.

[Note: the director of FMC has been invited to respond to this article.--AD]