Jammu and Kashmir Christians observe solidarity and peace rally for victims of Peshwar church blast

September 29, 2013 by  
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Jammu and Kashmir ChristiansJammu, September 26, 2013: Jammu and Kashmir Christian Community Condemns the Bomb Blast and Takes out Peace Rally in Solidarity with the Peshawar Christian Martyrs

Jammu Christian community took out a peace rally to show solidarity with Peshwar church blast victims across the border. Leaders have expressed displeasure in the way the international community has ignored about the savage attacks against peaceful church worshipers in Peshwar. The most inhuman part is the hospital authorities neglected the victims of bomb blast to please the taliban. They said that the silence of the international community embolden them to carry out attacks against minority community in Pakistan and elsewhere without impunity.

– persecution.in

Pope sounds alarm on anti-Christian persecution

September 29, 2013 by  
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Pakistani ChristiansRome, September 25, 2013: Three days after an attack on an Anglican church in Peshawar, Pakistan, left at least 85 people dead, Pope Francis on Wednesday urged Christians to an examination of conscience about their response to such acts of anti-Christian persecution.”So many Christians in the world are suffering,” the pope said during his general audience Wednesday morning in St. Peter’s Square. “Am I indifferent to that, or does it affect me like it’s a member of the family?”

“Does it touch my heart, or doesn’t it really affect me, [to know that] so many brothers and sisters in the family are giving their lives for Jesus Christ?”

The Sunday atrocity in Pakistan is the latest instance of a mounting wave of anti-Christian violence in different parts of the world.

According to the International Society for Human Rights in Frankfurt, Germany, 80 percent of all acts of religious discrimination in the world today are directed against Christians.

The Center for the Study of Global Christianity in the United States estimates that in the last decade, an average of 100,000 Christians have died each year in what the center calls a “situation of witness,” meaning for motives related to their faith.

Although some experts regard that estimate as inflated, it works out to an average of 11 Christians killed each hour throughout the past decade.

Parts of the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent and regions of sub-Saharan Africa tend to be the greatest danger zones, though there are recent examples of Christians experiencing violent persecution in many other parts of the world as well.

Francis appeared to have these realities in mind Wednesday during his audience.

Speaking directly to the crowd in the square, Francis said he wanted to ask a question, and he didn’t want people to shout out an answer but rather to ponder it in their hearts.

“How many of you pray for Christians who are persecuted?” the pope asked. “Ask yourselves, do I pray for that brother or sister who’s in difficulty for confessing their faith?”

Francis also touched this morning on the unity of the church, calling on Catholics to feel themselves as part of a global “house of communion” rather than “privatizing” the church for “oneself, one’s group or one’s nation.”

As part of that reflection, Francis issued a warning against gossip, using homespun language to drive home his point.

“A Christian should bite their tongue before gossiping,” he said. “That way the tongue will swell up and you can’t gossip anymore!”

– ncronline.org

For Indian Muslim leaders, Peshawar bombing is a disgrace to Islam

September 29, 2013 by  
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Mumbai, September 27, 2013: A group of leading Islamic officials met a group of bishops in Mumbai and with one voice condemn the massacre perpetrated at a Protestant church in Pakistan. For Suhail Lokhandwala, a former chairman of the Minorities Commission, “The true Islam does not endorse any kind of violence; the terrorists are not part of our community.”

Bishop Agnelo Gracias and Dominic Savio FernandesThe attack on the church of Peshawar in Pakistan is “a disgrace to Islam and to all humanity. The authors of the attack are cowards and terrorists. Even if they are Muslims, they cannot be considered members of the Islamic community,” said Suhail Lokhandwala, an Indian Islamic leader, who along with other Muslims took part in a meeting with bishops in Mumbai to condemn the massacre that claimed the lives of nearly 100 people and injured more than 130.

The meeting took place on Wednesday at the Archbishop’s Palace. In addition to Lokhandawala, a former chairman of the Minorities Commission, other Islamic leaders were present at the meeting with Mgrs Bishop Agnelo Gracias and Dominic Savio Fernandes, auxiliary bishops of Mumbai. Minorities Commission Vice President Janet D’Souza was also in attendance.

“As a follower of the Prophet Muhammad and a devotee to Allah,” said Lokhandawala, “I remember that true Islam does not endorse any kind of violence. The Christian and Catholic communities have our full solidarity.”

The other Muslim leaders also noted that “wherever Islam is the majority, it has a duty to protect minorities.”

For his part, Mgr Fernandes pointed out that “we Catholics do not condemn the entire Muslim community for this attack. Terrorists have no religion; there is only hatred in their hearts. This is why we must fight terrorism with the weapons of prayer and love. They are the only tools with which we can transform the hatred of these people in love.”

The prelate went on to tell AsiaNews that the Peshawar massacre “is not only a crime against humanity, but against the same God that these people claim to represent. Anyone who is capable of doing something so vile has no religion.”

– asianews

The resurgence of Islamic terrorism after the Arab Spring

September 29, 2013 by  
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Syria, September 26, 2013: Christians , moderate Muslims , Shiites are strangled by terrorist violence in Syria , Egypt, Kenya , Pakistan … This flare up is a sign of the deep crisis of Islam, which has not yet addressed the discernment of the modern world and prefers to take refuge in an outdated Islam. The Islamic world must recognize connivance with such violence. The commitment of Christians to dialogue with Islam and modernity.

The resurgence of Islamic terrorism after the Arab SpringRecent events in the news have confronted us with a series of Islamic terrorist attacks: the two suicide bombers on the Church of All Saints in Peshawar , the kidnapping and killings in the commercial center of Nairobi , the agony of many Christians in Egypt , the threats to Christians in Maaloula and throughout Syria …

The Arab Spring , which united Christians and Muslims , had raised hopes for a better future and a partnership for human rights , democracy , religious freedom . Instead it seems we have been propelled back to the past of a few years ago, during the American occupation in Iraq and internationally, with executions, beheadings, car bombs even during religious services.

The phenomenon of Islamic terrorism

In fact we have – Egypt, Pakistan , Kenya , Syria – the common point that unites them all is the phenomenon of terrorism and the fact that they are all Islamic terrorists. How can we explain that?

In some cases they are Sunnis attacking Shi’ites , sometimes attacking the police, the symbol of the order that they want to destroy, in most cases, they attack Christians . Their psychology deserves to be underlined. They are terrorists ready to risk their lives to bring death to others, without any explanation. They do this against innocents, against categories seen as enemies, Shiite Muslims or Ahmadis, but more often against Christians.

All of these people suffer a hardship. In Somalia, where al- Shabab the group behind the massacre in Nairobi originate,,the problem is among Muslims (given that there is only a small number of Christians), but they have exported the problems to Kenya , with the excuse that Nairobi is helping the Somali government to regain control of the country. The motivation is political , but whatever motivation is expressed , it is translated into violence. And the worst is that it is expressed as a violence carried out in the name of Islam.

How do Muslims react?

It is also worth evaluating the reaction of Muslims. In some cases, they say: This is unacceptable! But what does this mean? What is being done to stop these groups? To answer this question we need to understand where the violence comes from. In fact, it is the mental formation , the education received, which drives the terrorists to violence. Backed by a learned imam , who emits a fatwa (legal judgment) , they become accustomed to using violence against anyone who does not think like them.

In Pakistan, the Imam Hafiz Noman Kadir , who is against terrorists, has expressed solidarity “with our Christian brothers and sisters “, explaining that they have been affected by “terrorists who have no religion.” The same Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the suicide attack , saying, ” The terrorists do not observe any religion .”

This is not correct: the religion of terrorists is declared, and how! They declare themselves Muslims. In fact, they claim to be the true Muslims, who faithfully apply Shari’a . Unfortunately, moderate Muslims, almost manically, attempt to water down all criticism of Islam , saying that terrorists “have no religion”, or “are not true Muslims, because Islam is a peaceful religion , the ‘ Islam is the religion of the middle ground ( dīn al- wasat ) and can not be extremist . ” I would also like to believe them, but I would like to ask: What are you doing to combat this false Islam ?

Every week there are new fundamentalist groups that are born, inspired by Islam , supported by the imams who guide them and support them in using violence against Christians or against a Muslim group , or against the disbelievers ( kuffar ) .

The majority of Muslims say: “This is not true Islam !” So then we must fight against this falsehood, give precise details, ask the police to stop these massacres.

I terroristi sono guidati da veri e dotti imam fanatici

A Nairobi, lo sheikh che guida il gruppo degli Shebab somali, autori dell’attacco, è sheikh Ali Mahmoud Raji, loro portavoce. Egli ha pubblicato questo messaggio: “Autorizziamo i nostri mujāhedīn ad uccidere i prigionieri in caso di attacco. I cristiani che stanno muovendo verso i nostri uomini, abbiano pietà degli ostaggi all’interno dell’edificio”.

Già l’uso del termine “mujāhedīn” mostra l’origine islamica: il mujaheddin è colui che pratica il jihad, come è riportato nel Corano e nelle hadith.

La tattica che hanno usato è anch’essa islamica. Ad un certo punto hanno fatto uscire dall’edificio i musulmani. Per distinguere gli uni dagli altri, hanno chiesto a tutti: Conosci il nome della madre del Profeta? (Āmina). Chi ha risposto giusto ha potuto uscire e salvarsi; gli altri sono rimasti ostaggi e diversi sono stati uccisi.

The terrorists are driven by real, scholarly and fanatical imams

In Nairobi , the sheikh who leads the Somali Shabab group,  the authors of the attack, is Sheikh Ali Mahmoud Raji , their spokesman . He has posted this message: “We authorize our Mujahedin to kill the hostages in case of attack . Christians who are moving towards our men, have pity on the hostages inside the building .”

Already the use of the term “mujahedin” shows the Islamic origin: mujahideen is the one who practices jihad , as is reported in the Koran and the hadith .

The tactics they used are also Islamic . At one point they let the Muslims out of the building . To distinguish from each other, they asked everyone: Do you know the name of the Prophet’s mother ? (Amine) . Those who answered correctly could leave and save themselves , the others were hostages and several were killed.

It is an Islamic fanaticism in various forms. Muslims first of all must protest against this , and not just with words. The terrorists attitude is based on the teaching of some imams who form them to Islamic disciplines, guide them , support them, educate them up to give everything in order to kill.

As long as people continue to ignore that this attitude is the responsibility of Islam, and that those who remain silent are complicit in some way, then it is useless to condemn the violence , even if you then console the families of the killed Christians.

These considerations hold true for Pakistan , Kenya , Egypt, Syria.

The Islamist trend is taking power everywhere

In some of these countries, especially Egypt and Tunisia, there was a new spirit brought by the Arab Spring : they have brought out a new vision of human rights , citizenship common to Christians and Muslims , placing religion in a secondary place, a secular style open to all religious and non religious. But this only lasted about three months. After that, they were replaced everywhere by Islamist groups : the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the Salafis , in Syria all the fundamentalist bands from abroad, paid for by the Arab Gulf countries, even Western converts , in Tunisia the Salafis and the Muslim Brotherhood (under another name) .

There is a desire in the Muslim world for true freedom, democracy, for an Islam open to the world today , but the awareness is not a great enough to lead to action as a counterweight to the Islamist restoration . Everywhere the Islamist trend is taking power , because the groups are well organized and know how to operate on crowds in Tunisia, in Egypt (even if it is losing ) , Libya , Syria , even if they are still unaware …

The Muslim world is in deep existential crisis of civilization

The real issue is that Islam is in deep existential crisis of civilization. The Muslim today presents itself as a block, like a Umma that knows no geographical or political boundaries, but moves from one border to another to spread their ideas , their vision of Islam and to fight in accordance with this vision. This is not the case for the Christian world , divided by national, cultural character, etc. ..

Muslims feel politically weak, militarily weak, culturally poor, scientifically weak or reduced to a flicker . This malaise is even heavier when they think about their past, in the VII – XIII centuries. It was a powerful empire, open to so many cultures, the most advanced of Europe. It was the great period of the Renaissance, our Enlightenment!

To explain this large step backwards by Muslim fundamentalists there is a simple and convincing explanation. It can be summarized as follows: as long as we faithfully followed everything that was prescribed in the Koran and tradition of our prophet, we were the best in everything, the more we strayed from this tradition, the weaker we became. Therefore, the solution is clear: let’s return to the seventh century ! This simple analysis has convinced many Muslims.

And since the Koran says of Muhammad : “There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often” ( Sura 33, Faction allies , Al – Ahzab , v . 21) , imitation of the Prophet of Islam becomes an obligation. Now, he has fought against unbelievers by all means, including war (according to tradition , he made more than sixty raids ( ghazawāt ) in less than ten years). The return to the origins raises therefore the ideal of jihad (the struggle in the way of God).

Finally, with the oil windfall , it became easy to buy arms and keep groups of fighters (mujahideen). With the money they take from the West weapons , and we see as much in Syria, where weapons are pouring in from Europe, the U.S., from Arabia, Qatar. Money is needed for violence, in a vicious circle that closes in on itself without producing a way out . They kill a few thousand Christians , then – most importantly – they kill their co-religionists in droves.

The real problem is Islam’s need to confront modernity

But violence brings no solution because the urgent problem is Islam’s need to confront modernity , to discern what things in Islam need to be reviewed and what things can be accepted or rejected. It is a discernment process as individual Muslims and as a civilization. Such discernment is used to discriminate between positive and negative, then one can start building on the positive.

This idea is a simple, but very difficult, and never put into practice. Thus the struggle continues between Muslims themselves , between those who want to embrace modernity at all costs, taking and those who fight it, rejecting it en masse as atheist , as neo – paganism ( the new jāhiliyya) , inspired by Muhammad, who fought against paganism ( the jāhiliyya) . This is the theory of Sayyid Qutb , the eminent thinker and member of the Muslim Brotherhood , which was developed in his book ʿMaʿālim fī al-ţarīq ( ” Milestones on the road ” ), written in prison during the years 1965-66 , shortly before being executed August 29, 1966 by hanging .

Questo islam integralista, vede la modernità proprio come un neo-paganesimo. Essi sono convinti che vinceranno se combattono il neopaganesimo che è rappresentato dall’occidente, dai cristiani visti come emissari dell’occidente[1], e dai musulmani liberali.

This fundamentalist Islam , sees modernity as a neo- paganism. It is convinced of victory if believers fight neo-paganism which is represented by the West , Christians, seen as emissaries of the West[I], and liberal Muslims .

Unfortunately, not many Muslims arrive at making this analysis, although the considerations which I summarize here are present among some Muslim authors . But out of more than one billion followers of Islam, even a thousand scholars remains lit a small number . Tunisia, for 50 years, under Bourguiba (who was president from 1957 to 1987 ), had a critical approach that was positive, with an evolution towards modernity without creating terrorism.

Unfortunately, this modernity takes place almost always with a dictatorship. You can not propose a modernity without dictatorship. This is because the population , not having walked with the intellectuals feels they are being imposed lifestyles that they do not understand . For their part , presidents , dictators often , are forced to impose a method of modernity on the masses, which they might need in order to be educated .

In Syria and Iraq a similar thing took place with the members of the Baath party (or Baas ) , in Syria from 1963 to 1966 , then from 1970 to the present , in Iraq from 1968 to 2003 : they had introduced some important education and social reforms, but always with the strong hand of the dictatorship.

The founder , Michel Aflak , an Orthodox Christian , is a pillar of the secular party , while recognizing the predominant role of Islam in Arab “nation”. For this reason, when we started to fight the dictatorship , everything went up in smoke. By removing the dictatorship , only Islam remains, an enemy of modernity ( coming from the West ) and secularism .

For this it would be necessary that universities like Al Azhar and other Islamic universities in Tunisia, in Morocco, or outside the Arab world , such as Indonesia or Malaysia, undertook this task of discernment of Islam and modernity.

This work , which began in 1870 , lasted for 60 years, until 1930. There are texts of great thinkers , whose books were once banned , who have made these steps . An example : we compare the fatwa of a great character of Al Azhar, Mohammed Abdo (died in 1905 ) , with the fatwas issued now, on the same topics : his fatwas are much more intelligent and open to reality, a true master of Islam.

In the Islamic world today, people can either submit to the dominant Islam, stay silent, or flee to the West.

We Christians have already experienced this labor between faith and modernity, faith and reason.

For this we can help our brothers and sisters of the Muslim faith, pushing them in this work, to help Islam to respond to today’s needs of their countries.

Reconciling classical thought of Islam with modern thought is the real answer to the fanaticism of the terrorists.

Instead , a lot of the Western world believes it can help the Islamic world with military aid , or business relationships with the countries of the Middle East : these relationships are dictated only by the respective national interests and cannot bring about evolution . Instead , we need a total rethinking of Islam for the contemporary world .

– asianews

Islamist Terrorists brutally attack shopping Mall in Kenya

September 29, 2013 by  
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Washington DC, September 23, 2013: Targeting of Christians and Non-Muslims

Nairobi mall attackInternational Christian Concern (ICC) expresses grave concern over the horrific terrorist attack that took place at a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, over the weekend. On Monday afternoon, local time, Kenyan forces again raided the mall, killing two additional members of the Al-Shabaab terrorist group. They reclaimed control of the shopping center, moving closer to an end of the hostage situation that began on Saturday and claimed the lives of at least 69 people. This is the latest in Al-Shabaab’s campaign of terror, motivated by Islamic extremism, targeting Christians and non-Muslims across East Africa.

The nightmare scenario started Saturday, about 12:00 p.m. local time. The terrorists entered the Westgate Shopping Mall in the Kenyan capital, indiscriminately firing automatic weapons and throwing hand grenades. They then began targeting Christians and non-Muslims. According to the BBC, witness reported the terrorists “told Muslims to leave and said non-Muslims would be targeted.” The Independent reports, “Some non-Muslims who attempted to talk their way past the fighters armed with grenades and AK-47s were asked to identify the mother of the Prophet. Those who could not were shot on the spot.” Targeting of Christians by Al-Shabaab is even more direct as they had been criticized by Osama bin Laden for their indiscriminate killing of Muslims. Bin Laden warned that the group was killing too many Muslims in their attacks, Peter Bergen reported for CNN.

Nairobi mall attackThe death toll from the attack continues to rise as Kenyan security forces regain control of the scene. The Westgate Mall is a prominent hangout for tourists and upscale Kenyans. Victims of the deadly attack include nationals from at least 11 different countries, including England, Canada, France, China, and India, as well as dozens of Kenyans, including a nephew of Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta. Some 200 people were wounded in the attacks, including five Americans, according to CNN. The attack on the Westgate Shopping Mall is the deadliest terrorist attack in Kenya since the 1998 bombing of the United States Embassy by Al-Qaeda, which killed 213 people.

The Al-Shabaab terrorist group, which claimed responsibility for the attack, is a Somalia-based terrorist network operating throughout much of East Africa. As ICC previously reported, Al-Shabaab is ruthless in their killing of Christians. Designated by the U.S. government as a terrorist organization since 2008, Al-Shabaab is seeking to turn Somalia into an Islamic state. The group has been implicated in attacks across Africa, including Somalia, Kenya, and a July 2010 suicide bombing in Uganda. While the government and some religious leaders have denounced the group, the economic poverty and absence of rule of law have allowed the group to grow in influence. Al-Shabaab, which has known ties to Al-Qaeda and other Islamic extremist terrorist groups, boasts of its large number of foreign recruits among its ranks. Though unconfirmed, there are reports of involvement by individuals recruited from the United States and England in the Westgate attack.

Kenyan military forces have taken a leading role in international peace-keeping efforts in Somalia targeted at rooting out Al-Shabaab. Kenya’s role in the intervention has resulted in previous retaliation attacks, as documented in a 2012 ICC special report. As ICC documented earlier this year, Al-Shabaab has a significant presence in the Eastleigh neighborhood of Nairobi, a few miles from the Westgate mall, where they have carried out church bombings and the murder of Christians.

Nairobi mall attackFormed in 2006 as a break-off from a now defunct group, Al-Shabaab, which means “The Youth” in Arabic, “has imposed a strict version of Sharia law in areas under its control, including stoning to death women accused of adultery and amputating the hands of thieves,” according to the BBC. Attacks like this are part of their tactics to inflict massive casualties on civilians and to specifically target Christians.

Jeff King, President of ICC and author of Islam Uncensored, said, “A brutal attack on a shopping mall inflicting massive casualties on civilians, and specifically targeting Christians, is part of the standard operating procedure for militant Islamic groups like Al-Shabaab. To hear stories of forced conversion and point-blank assassinations is heart-breaking, but unsurprising for this group. This is part of their stated agenda to impose radical Islamic law and to purge their land of Christians.”

– icc

EFI News: Persecution in Maharashtra, Karnataka and MP

September 29, 2013 by  
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Anti Christian ViolenceA Gospel meeting was stopped after Hindu extremists from the Bajrang Dal barged into a three day Gospel meeting conducted by Mission to the Blind on 8 Sept in Thilari, Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh. The Hindu extremists at about 4:30 p.m. barged into the second day of the three days Gospel meeting at St. Xavier School organised for the blind people.

“A mob of Hindu extremists barged in, accused us of forceful conversion and told us to vacate the premises immediately,” Pastor Sanjeev Xena, co-ordinator of the Mission to the Blind said. The extremists later asked the participants what subjects were being taught and were there any forceful conversion activity.

All the participants replied that they come to the meeting by their own accord and that they are interested to learn all the three subjects offered to them i.e. Religion, Medical and Blindness and that there was no forceful conversion.

However, the extremists along with the police who arrived told the Christians to close down the meeting immediately or face dire consequences. The next day before dawn, the Christians shifted their meeting place to another area , about 110 kms away from St. Xavier school.

Christian Workers Beaten up in Maharashtra

Maharashtra ChristiansOn 8 September in Devdongri village, Nasik District, Hindu extremists disrupted a prayer meeting and beat up three Christians from the Friends Missionary Prayer Band (FMPB).

“At about 1 p.m., the attackers suddenly barged into the prayer meeting, dragged the Christians out on the road, tore up their clothes and beat them up†J. Solomon, representative of the FMPB told EFI News.

Christian workers, Saraswati Pagi, Lathabai Shankar, Hiraman Pagi sustained injuries.

Christian Couple Beaten up in Karnataka

Christians Beaten up in KarnatakaA mob of Hindu extremists accused a Christian couple of forceful conversion and beat them up which resulted in the wife being hospitalized on 8 September in Kolipalya, Chamrajnagar.

At about 4 p.m. the Hindu extremists stopped Sannamma and her husband Naik Lambani as they were returning back home after attending a prayer meeting.

The extremists snatched Bibles and Gospel tracts from them, tore them up and thereafter kicked, punched and beat up the Christians. They further accused them of forceful conversion and dragged them to a Hindu temple.

At the temple, the extremists poured water on the Christians as a form of religious cleansing and thereafter applied Kunkum on their foreheads to signifies that they are Hindus. After the intervention of the Karnataka Legal Aid Cell, the police registered First Information Report against the attackers.

– efi

The Silent Sermon

September 28, 2013 by  
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The Fire PlaceA member of a certain church, who previously had been attending services regularly, stopped going.  After a few weeks, the preacher decided to visit him.

It was a chilly evening. The pastor found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire.  Guessing the reason for his preacher’s visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a comfortable chair near the fireplace…and waited.

AmberThe preacher made himself at home but said nothing.  In the grave silence, he contemplated the dance of the flames around the burning logs.  After some minutes, the preacher took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth all alone, then he sat back in his chair, still silent.

The host watched all this in quiet contemplation.  As the one lone ember’s flame flickered and diminished, there was a momentary glow and then its fire was no more.  Soon it was cold and dead.

Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting.  The preacher glanced at his watch and realized it was time to leave.  He slowly stood up, picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire.  Immediately it began to glow, once more with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it.

Amber Burning As the preacher reached the door to leave, his host said with a tear running down his cheek, ‘Thank you so much for your visit and especially for the fiery sermon. I will be back in church next Sunday.’

We live in a world today, which tries to say too much with too little.  Consequently, few listen.  Sometimes the best sermons are the ones left unspoken.


– fwd: vathan shettigar

Lessons to Learn…

September 27, 2013 by  
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your good health is in your own handsRemember, your good health is in your own hands, look after it.

Wealth is only meaningful if you can enjoy while you are still alive and kicking.

What you do for yourself dies with you but what you do for others, lives on.

It is called “Legacy.”

Happiness keeps you Sweet,
Trials keep you Strong,
Sorrows keep you Human,
Failures keep you humble,
Success keeps You Glowing,
But Only God keeps You Going!

fwd: saldanha meena

Psalm 17:5

Barnabas Editorial: Christians forced to pay “protection” money to Islamists in Egypt

September 27, 2013 by  
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Egypt, September 19, 2013: Pay the jizya, convert to Islam, leave or be killed. That is the impossible choice facing Christians in parts of Egypt that remain Islamist strongholds over two months after the ouster of President Mohammad Morsi.

Egyptian Christians have faced unprecedented attack in recent months

Egyptian Christians have faced unprecedented attack in recent months

The jizya is, on the face of it, a protection racket; it is a humiliating tax or tribute historically imposed by Muslims on Christians and Jews in “conquered” territory to safeguard their existence.

But its significance runs deeper than that of a mafia-style extortion scheme. The Quran commands that non-Muslims pay the jizya “with willing submission and while feeling themselves subdued” (9:29).

It is part of a collection of rules and regulations imposed on those granted dhimmi status that are intended to mark them out as inferior to Muslims. So while paying the jizya does guarantee a level of protection for Christians and Jews, it comes at the high price of them accepting a sub-class status in which they are not recognised as citizens and their rights are restricted.

The only way for conquered subjects to exempt themselves is to convert to Islam or to leave. Those who refuse to pay are liable to be killed as they are considered to have broken a pact with the Muslims.

This archaic tax is being enforced today in parts of Minya and Assuit, where Islamists remain strong. These provinces both have a large Christian population, Minya, the largest in Egypt, providing ruthless Muslims with ample targets.

Egyptian Christians are particularly loathe to pay the jizya – and the acceptance of inferiority that comes with it – as they are descended from the pharaonic Egyptian people who long pre-date the Arab Muslim settlers’ arrival in the country. They understandably resent being made non-citizens by those who came after them.

Minya and Assuit were among the areas worst affected by the anti-Christian violence unleashed by the Muslim Brotherhood in the wake of Morsi’s removal from power; scores of churches were torched, countless Christian homes and businesses destroyed and a number of Christians killed.

With such a trail of devastation in their wake, the Islamists’ demand that Christians pay the jizya – or else – has been no idle threat.


On 12 September, two Christians were shot dead in Assuit Province for refusing to pay up. Emad Damian (50) and his cousin Medhat Damian (37) from the village of Sahel Selim were contacted two days before their murder by the leader of a Muslim gang, who demanded 10,000 Egyptian pounds (£900; US$1,400).

Emad’s brother, Dr Samy Damian, said, “My brother said that he had no problems with anyone, does not require services from anyone, and does not have the money.”

The two threatened cousins reported the matter to the police and asked for protection but received no support.

The jizya has also been imposed on Christians in the village of Dalga, Minya, which Morsi’s supporters captured following his ouster.

Church leader Yunis Shawqi said that it was applied to all the Christians “without exception”, although the “value of the tribute and method of payment differ from one place to another in the village, so that, some are being expected to pay 200 Egyptian pounds (£20; US$30) per day, others 500 Egyptian pounds (£45; US$70) per day”.

In some cases, those who have not been able to pay have been attacked and their wives and children beaten and/or kidnapped. At least two people have been killed in Dalga since Morsi’s ouster.



The Egyptian authorities have struggled to get to grips with Islamist militants

The Egyptian authorities have struggled to get to grips with Islamist militants

The Christians of Dalga have felt abandoned by the Egyptian authorities. On Monday (16 September), the latter finally recaptured the village after two earlier failed attempts and arrested at least 45 people suspected of carrying out attacks on Christians, including murder.

But the intervention has come too late for hundreds of Christians who had already fled the village.

Antwan Adel, spokesperson for the Christian rights group Maspero Youth Union, said:

Christians in Dalga were living like prisoners in their homes thanks to a campaign of intimidation by Islamists and Muslim Brotherhood sympathisers. They went to Christian houses to demand money and threatened to burn them down or abduct family members if they didn’t pay.

The Egyptian military was swift to remove Morsi from power in response to major public protests, but it has been slow to restrain Islamist influence in some parts of the country – and it has been the vulnerable Christian minority that has paid the price.

The authorities are currently fighting militants in the Sinai Peninsula and say they are planning assaults on up to ten towns in Minya where Islamists have also weakened state control since July.

They must get to grips with the militants or else could find themselves facing an insurgency in central and southern Egypt. The security of the region’s Christians depends on it.

– dr patrick sookhdeo

Lay Leadership in Public Life

September 27, 2013 by  
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Assam, September 25, 2013: To become the “Salt” and “Light ” of our country.

Seminar on “Lay Leadership in Public Life”The CBCI – Office for Laity conducted a two-day Seminar on “Lay Leadership in Public Life” for the North East Regional Catholic Council (NERCC) on 14th and 15th, September 2013, at North East Diocesan Social Forum at Guwahati, Assam.

All the Bishops of the Region, 4 lay representatives each from the dioceses, representatives of regional CRI and a priest from each diocese participated in the Seminar.

Fr. Vincent Chinnadurai, Secretary of the CBCI – Office for Laity and Dr. Christy Fernandez IAS, former Secretary to the President of India, were the resource persons.

Archbishop Dominic Lumon of Imphal welcomed the resource persons and the participants. Bishop Stephen Rotluanga of Aizawl explained the dynamics of the Seminar.

Fr. Vincent Chinnadurai in his address focused on the documents of the Church and reminded the Laity of their call and that it is ‘vocation’ derived from their baptism.

Dr. Christy Fernandez called on the Bishops and the Clergy to trust the laity and to entrust them with responsibilities. He exhorted the Bishops to educate and train both the Laity and the Clergy so that each one understands his or her role and that the Church becomes a participatory Church.

Special care and attention should be given to identify promising young people right from the school days, educate them with human and Christian values and they should be placed in influential positions so that they can make a change in the polity of the Country. They become the ‘ Salt ‘ and ” Light ” of our country.

Archbishop Dominic Jala of Shillong and the President of the NERCC presided over the Holy Eucharist. The participants were very enthusiastic to learn and made meaningful interventions. They were very appreciative of the outcome of the seminar and about the plan of action to be executed in the Region.

Fr. Santiago, the Executive Secretary of the North Eastern Regional Catholic Council thanked all the participants and the resource persons.

– fr vincent


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