Islam: a real threat or just the latest US scapegoat?

July 31, 2014 by admin  
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IslamUnited States, July 23, 2014: Historians have a term we call the scapegoating concept of history. This is the idea that people tend to look for others to blame — scapegoats — for their condition. They then attack that group even if it had little or nothing to do with their situation. Scapegoats are usually weaker or marginalized members of society easily made to look suspicious.

Scapegoats ease our anxiety especially when ethnic minorities or immigrants come into view. Bigotry, however, while burning intensely, has a short memory.

Islam is currently on the list of things we are supposed to be afraid of. The threat is such that even the president himself is apparently some kind of secret Muslim in league with unsavory characters. We seem to have forgotten that the deadliest example of domestic terrorism in America before Sept. 11, 2001, came at the hands of Timothy McVeigh, who blew up the federal building in Oklahoma City. Despite McVeigh’s claims to loving Jesus, no calls to ban Christianity or close churches sounded following his detestable act.

If you know anything about American history, all this sounds familiar. In the 19th century, there was a flood of immigrants whose plan, social commentators said, was to destroy the United States, replace the republic with the iron fist of foreign religious law, steal our freedoms and make life generally unpleasant. This inherently violent and insidious group, this clan of people with their strange ways, odd accents and bizarre foods, who hated democracy and couldn’t be trusted, called themselves Catholics.

Though largely forgotten now, in the 1800s if you wanted scapegoats in America, you went looking not for Muslims, but for Catholics. They stood as enemies because they were reportedly loyal not to the Constitution, but to the pope. Fanatical papal armies, it was said, waited in French Canada and Spanish Mexico for the signal from the pontiff (who surely was the Antichrist) to attack.

Along with the many bizarre reasons to hate Catholics, there were the accusations of the Runaway Nuns: women who joined Catholic convents, but then left because of the insidious dealings they claimed went on behind closed doors. The media accepted their stories and they went on lecture tours. The most infamous Runaway Nun, Maria Monk, wrote “The Awful Disclosures” (1834) in which she detailed various atrocities and conspiracies being perpetrated by the church. It became one of the most popular books in the country, selling more than 300,000 copies.

The allegations of the Runaway Nuns helped stoke already-widespread suspicion and resentment among “real Americans” for “foreigners” and drove decades of vicious and often violent hatred of Catholics that continued into the 20th century. Arguments about John F. Kennedy not being fit to be president included his Catholic faith.

In the end, a series of investigations showed the Runaway Nuns to be hoaxes. They had been cobbled together out the raw material of fear-mongering by bigoted commentators and self-styled religious leaders with agendas all their own. Fortunately, anti-Catholic hysteria eventually died down as it became clear no Catholic conspiracy to overthrow the country existed and that Catholics were just as loyal and patriotic as any other Americans.

In years to come, we will look back on the current anti-Muslim hysteria and wonder how we could ever have felt this way, just as we look back on the 19th century anti-Catholic movement as a foolish part of our history. We will accept that Muslim Americans are just as patriotic and loyal as any other. Hopefully, we will get to that point quicker this time and with less memory loss. Brian Regal is a fellow of the Kean University (N.J.) Center for History, Politics and Policy.

- ucan

Goa CM: No Rama Sene. Wear what you like, but no obscenity

July 31, 2014 by admin  
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Shri Rama SenaPanaji, July 30, 2014: Sri Rama Sene will not be allowed to set up a branch in the state, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar told the Goa Legislative Assembly on Wednesday.

Parrikar said this in a written reply tabled on Wednesday in response to a question by ruling Bharatiya Janata Party legislator Vishnu Wagh.

The Chief Minister also said that “no concrete evidence was found” to prove that Muthalik was attempting to create a communal divide in the state.

The issue of the Sene, known for ransacking a pub in Mangalore and attacking young men and women there, starting a branch in Goa has been heavily debated by politicians as well as civil society here.

Muthalik had called for a crackdown on what he called “pub culture” in Goa, which is known as the night-life capital in the country.

Muthalik had also said that he would distribute swords and Bhagwad Gitas to Hindus, exhorting them to use the weapon if needed.

- ians

Wear what you like, but no obscenity

Panaji, July 30, 2014: People are free to wear what they want in Goa, but those who find it objectionable are also free to book them for obscenity, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar told the legislative assembly Wednesday.

Parrikar was replying to a question by Congress legislator Aleixo Lourenco.

“If anyone tries to take law in hand and harass a lady because of her clothes I will not tolerate. If someone feels that a particular cloth(ing) is too offensive and indecent he has the option of filing a case and going to court under obscenity act whatever it is,” Parrikar said, assuring that no one would be allowed to do “moral policing” in the state.

“We are not going to curtail anything, unless it becomes cause of law and order (problem) or too much obscenity,” the chief minister also told the House. A senior cabinet minister Sudin Dhavalikar had sparked national outcry earlier this month, after he demanded a ban on mini-skirts and bikinis in Goa, known as one of the top tourism and entertainment destinations in the world.

- deccan herald

9 years after, High Court acquits priest charged of instigating suicide of student

July 31, 2014 by admin  
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Bombay High CourtMumbai, July 22, 2014: In a major relief to a priest of a school in Buldhana district, the Bombay high court recently quashed and set aside a conviction handed down to him under charges of abetting the suicide of minor student in 2000.

Justice PN Deshmukh, while quashing the conviction of Father Peter Paul Antony, said, “There is absolutely no evidence to establish that on the day of the incident or immediately prior to the deceased committing suicide, the applicant had instigated or abetted the deceased to commit the same. In that view of the matter, applicant cannot be attributed the requisite ‘mens rea’ so as to hold him guilty as abettor.”

According to the prosecution, deceased Tarun Bagde, a student of St Joseph English School, used to reside in the hostel run by Meerymeyar Church of which the accused was the rector. It is alleged that a month before the incident, which occurred on October 14, 2000, the accused had ill-­treated the deceased due to which, he committed suicide.

The police said on October 13, 2000, the father of the deceased was informed that Tarun was suffering from gastro as he had eaten poisonous chocolate. When his father reached the hospital, he was informed that his son was declared dead soon thereafter.

On December 15, 2000, the father of the deceased received a letter written by his son before his death alleging ill-treatment by the accused. Based on which a complaint was lodged against the accused and further investigations were done.

During the trial, the prosecution examined nine witnesses, while Father Anthony, denied the charges and claimed that he was being falsely implicated. The trial court though based on the evidence of witnesses convicted the accused in the year 2002, which was confirmed by a sessions court in 2005. This order was challenged in the high court.

Justice Deshmukh after going through the evidence found several discrepancies and contradictions in the testimonies of the witnesses including doctors, who had examined Tarun. The court said, “There appears to be a fundamental defect in the case of prosecution and it does not spell out any offence punishable under section 305 of IPC.”

- dna

MP: Hindu fundamentalists threaten pastors

July 31, 2014 by admin  
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Madhya PradeshMadhya Pradesh, July 30, 2014: Pastor Jagadish is in charge of a small congregation of Christians in Nagda, a small town, about 55 kilometers from Ujjain, the famous Hindu religious City of Madhya Pradesh. Pastor Jagadish had to be away from the town so he asked Pastor Rakesh Goyal, a 30 year old pastor, to conduct the Sunday Service on his behalf. So Rakesh from Ujjain went to Nagda to condut the Sunday service on behalf of Jagadish on Sunday the 27th of July 2014.

The service began at the usual time and Pastor Rakesh was preaching. About 25 people, mostly ladies, were present at the worship service. Just as the pastor was preaching, about 30 VHP and Bajrang Dal workers came to the church accompanied by machine-gun wielding policemen, and one of the Area leaders of Bajrang Dal, one Bherulal Taank, along with 2 others, entered the church and ordered Pastor Rakesh to come out of the church and demanded to know whether he was converting people to Christianity, and if so he must stop it at once. He also told Pastor Rakesh to inform Pastor Jagdish to meet him when he came back. Then they also seem to be planning to take Rakesh to the Police Station. But then they seem to have decided against it and so didn’t take him to the police station.

Ever since the BJP Government has come to power at the Centre, Bajrang Dal and other Hindu outfits seem to have been provided with gun-totting escorts by the State Government, a new development in the BJP-ruled State of Madhya Pradesh.

- persecution.in

Uganda: Teenager killed by machete in attack on church

July 31, 2014 by admin  
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ugandaAfrica, July 23, 2014: An 18-year-old Christian woman was hacked to death and a one-year-old baby injured in a savage attack by Muslims during an overnight prayer meeting at a church in Uganda.

A group of around 20 Christians had gathered at Chali Born Victory Church in Kyegegwa district on 27 June for their regular Friday night prayer session when armed Muslims burst into the building at around 2am.

Pastor Jackson Turyamureba said he was preaching when he saw somebody peeping through a window:

I thought he was a drunkard and told him to either enter or go away. Shortly after that I heard doors being banged and men shouting ‘Allahu Akhbar’ (Allah is great) as they stormed the church brandishing pangas (machetes) and beating worshippers.

Beatrice Mukashaka (18) was killed and three others, including a one-year-old baby, were injured.

Pastor Jackson only narrowly escaped death. He said:

One of the attackers followed me and threw a panga which went over my head. I ran through a garden and the man who was pursuing me fell down and gave up the chase.

The assailants escaped to a nearby mosque and police surrounded the building. A police officer was killed when one of the attackers opened fire. Two suspects were arrested.

The incident prompted 40 families in the area to leave their homes.

Pastor Jackson said that the church has had problems with a group of Muslims in the area who had unsuccessfully tried to convert them to Islam. Church member Polly Tashobya added that the group said they wanted to transform Uganda into an Islamic nation and would kill anyone who refused to convert.

Attacks against Christians by Muslims in Uganda are relatively uncommon but are becoming more frequent. Although the country is around 85% Christian, Christians in predominantly Muslim areas live in a hostile context and converts from Islam are especially vulnerable.

A Barnabas contact in Uganda said that some Muslims were seeking to advance jihad in the country by sending their children to hidden training schools.

- barnabas team

Gregory III: “Christians and Muslims, we are each other’s best guarantors”

July 31, 2014 by admin  
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damascusDamascus, July 30, 2014: “Christians and Muslims, we are each other’s best guarantors,” writes Gregory III Laham, Greek-Melkite Catholic patriarch of Antioch and All the East in a message “to our beloved Muslim brothers and sisters of the Arab countries and the world” on the occasion of the feast of Eid al-Fitr, which concludes Ramadan.

“This celebration,” the message said, “comes under particularly difficult and tragic circumstances in the world; especially in our Arab countries. As beloved Syria and Iraq suffer, Palestine and Gaza hurt, not to mention Morocco, Egypt, Yemen and the Gulf countries.”

“Everywhere blood is flowing and desolation grows. Places of worship, mosques like churches, are destroyed. Humanity’s sacred rights are violated and its dignity, freedom, and honour are trampled upon, threatening all human, artistic, technical, moral and religious achievements of our culture.”

“This Arab civilisation, we Christians and Muslims have forged it together and we have lived in mutual respect. Overcoming the ‘clouds of crisis’ that came at times,” we continued along the path of life; living together, building together and growing together.”

“It is with full friendship and loyalty that we present our greetings to our Muslim brothers. Lamenting the innocent victims, Christians and Muslims, men and women, old and young, who die every day, with their blood soaking roads, houses and places of worship in our cities and our villages. They mix their blood, embraced in shared death, as they have been in their history, civilisation, and culture. ”

Gregory III then pleads with our “Arab brothers to come together to save Islam and Muslims from its enemies, internal and external, that threaten the Arab world, the Muslim world and elsewhere.”

“We, Arab Christians, are the most sincere defenders of Islam, because we know that in good times as in bad times, we were together, keeping together our common heritage and our history. Christians and Muslims. Because we are the best guarantors of each other.”

“We appeal to the conscience of the Arab world and Europe and the international community to stand together as one man, in the face of takfirist currents that invade our Arab countries, disfiguring Islam, and driving Christians towards exodus, making death threats against them, humiliating them, slaughtering them, thus depriving the Arab world of its Christians and impoverishing the Muslim world.”

The patriarch ends by repeating the terms of a joint Muslim-Christian pledge:

“We have to stay together, Muslims and Christians, to build together a better world for our future generations and our common future.

We can stay together, Muslims and Christians, to build together a better world for our future generations and our common future.

We want to stay together, Muslims and Christians, to build together a better world for our future generations and our common future.”

- asianews

Alzheimer patient’s prayer

July 31, 2014 by admin  
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Pray for me I was once like you. Be kind and loving to me that’s how I would have treated you.

Remember I was once someone’s parent or spouse. I had a life and a dream for the future.

alzheimer

Speak to me, I can hear you even if I don’t understand what you are saying. Speak to me of things in my past of which I can still relate.

Be considerate of me, my days are such a struggle.

alzheimer

Think of my feelings because I still have them and can feel pain. Treat me with respect because I would have treated you that way.

Think of how I was before I got Alzheimer’s; I was full of life, I had a life, laughed and loved you.

alzheimer

Think of how I am now, My disease distorts my thinking, my feelings, and my ability to respond, but I still love you even if I can’t tell you.

Think about my future because I used too. Remember I was full of hope for the future just like you are now.

alzheimer

- fwd: samuel machado

Trust your finances to God’s provision

July 29, 2014 by admin  
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” God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus “. Philippians 4:19 (NIV)

Everybody has financial fears.

You don’t have to be poor to get anxious about money.

You don’t have to be on welfare to have financial fears.

In fact, it seems the more you have the more you have to maintain, to insure, to protect, to worry over.

finance

But God gives us a guarantee regarding our finances.

Philippians 4:19 says, “God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”

This verse is so packed! I want you to notice several words.

First it says, “God will…” It doesn’t say, “He might meet your needs”

it says “He will.”

God takes care

It’s a fact.  He’s staking his character and his reputation on it.

“I will meet your needs.”

Then it says, “God will meet all…”  It doesn’t say “I’ll meet some of your needs”

He says all.  Does that include car payments? Braces? Home?

Yes.  All your needs.

Greed

It doesn’t say “I’ll meet all your greeds.”

There’s a difference between needs and wants.

God’s not going to give you everything you want; you’d be spoiled to death.

But it says, “I will meet all your needs” according to his wealth, his riches.

It’s not based on your assets.

It’s based on what God has and he doesn’t run out of resources.

Finally he says “… for you in Christ Jesus.”

Christ in Me

This is not a promise for everybody.

God has not promised to meet the needs of people who reject His Son.

This is a promise only for believers.

He says, “If you’re one of my children, in my family, I promise to meet all your needs.”

Then how come you have financial needs? Did God fail?

Did He lie?  Exaggerate?  No.

God and Man

With every promise there are conditions or requirements.

There are things God says, “I’ll do my part and you do your part.”

God says if you meet the following five conditions, then he will meet your financial needs –

If I ask for his help.

If I learn to be content.

If I practice giving in faith.

If I maintain financial integrity.

If I trust him with my life — completely.

- valliamannill mathews

Iraq: End of Christianity ‘Very Near’ – Anglican Bishop

July 29, 2014 by admin  
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isis iraqIraq, July 28, 2014: The end of Christianity in Iraq could be “very near” according to Canon Andrew White, the vicar of the only Anglican church in Iraq, as Islamic militants continue their attacks of Christians and the central government.

“Things are so desperate, our people are disappearing,” White said in an interview with BBC Radio 4 over the weekend. “We have had people massacred, their heads chopped off.

“Are we seeing the end of Christianity? We are committed come what may, we will keep going to the end, but it looks as though the end could be very near.”

ISIS militants had warned Christians in the northern state of Iraq that they need to convert to Islam, pay a tax or be put to death, forcing thousands of them to flee the region. The militants have also been painting the letter “N” for Nasrani, the Arabic word for Christian, in Christian homes in Mosul.

The Islamic extremists have declared an “Islamic state” in the territory of Iraq and Syria, and have vowed to take control of Baghdad.

ISIS killed 31 people in the capital during a suicide bombing last week, which wounded another 58.

White, who was in London at the time of the interview, urged the international community to offer urgent help to the persecuted minority.

“The Christians are in grave danger. There are literally Christians living in the desert and on the street. They have nowhere to go,” the vicar said.

He continued: “We do not want Britain to forget us. We – and I’m saying ‘we’ talking like an Iraqi Christian – have always been with the British because they have already been with us.

“Individual churches, individual Christians in Britain, have been a bigger help than anybody around the world.”

Watchdog groups like International Christian Concern have said that up to a million Christians lived in Iraq prior to the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 against the government of dictator Saddam Hussein, but that number has dropped to less than half.

Other church leaders, such as Syriac Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan, who last week traveled to Washington to speak with federal government representatives and members of Congress, have also condemned the “mass cleansing” of Christians from Mosul by what he called “a bed of criminals.”

“We wonder how could those criminals, this bed of criminals, cross the border from Syria into Mosul and occupy the whole city of Mosul … imposing on the population their Shariah (law) without any knowledge of the international community,” Patriarch Younan said, referring to Islamic State fighters, according to Catholic News Service.

“What happened is really kind of a cleansing based on religion. You have heard about what they did: proclaim — they announced publicly with street microphones, the ISIS – there’s no more room for Christians in Mosul, that they either have to convert, pay tax, or just leave. And they have been leaving now since then with absolutely nothing,” he added.

Patriarch Younan noted that “there is no more Christian presence” in Mosul, which he described as “tragic” because it had been the largest Christian city in Iraq, and a nucleus of Christians for many centuries.

“And we have at least 25 churches in that city. All are abandoned. No more prayers, no services, no more Masses on Sundays in Mosul because no clergy, no people there that are Christian,” he said.

- christian post

Two Christian aid workers shot dead in Afghanistan

July 29, 2014 by admin  
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Christian aid workersAfghanistan, July 27, 2014: Two foreign female aid workers were shot dead by unknown gunmen while travelling in a taxi in the western Afghan city of Herat on Thursday, officials said.

“This morning at around 11:30am (0700 GMT) gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire at two foreigners riding in a taxi and killed them,” Sayed Fazullah Wahidy, governor of Herat province told AFP.

Interior ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi confirmed the attack and said the perpetrators had escaped.

“One person was detained at the scene but the two gunmen escaped and the police are searching the area,” he said.

Wahidy said the women were working as psychiatrists for International Assistance Mission (IAM), an international Christian charity providing eye care and medical help in Afghanistan.

The charity confirmed the victims were employees but did not disclose their nationalities.

“Their bodies are now in the Central hospital and the police have launched an investigation to find out who is behind this attack,” he added.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but criminal gangs as well as Taliban are active in Herat.

- afp

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