Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Obama administration betrays Christian pastor imprisoned in Iran

Letitia posted this article by Jay Sekulow from Fox News.

Excerpt:

In its quest for a “deal” with the hostile, jihadist Iranian regime, The Obama administration has thrown an American Christian, Saeed Abedini, under the bus – the latest American victim in the administration’s continual, naïve (at best) quest to bargain with Islamic radicals.

[...]Pastor Saeed Abedini, an Idaho resident, last year received permission to enter Iran to help build an orphanage.

Shortly after his arrival, Iran’s radical Revolutionary Guard arrested him, threw him in one of Iran’s worst prisons, and tried and convicted him on trumped-up “national security” charges – charges that had nothing to do with national security and everything to do with his Christian faith.

Even after President Obama raised Pastor Saeed’s case directly to the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Iran responded not by releasing Saeed but by transferring him to an even worse prison — a prison full of murderers and rapists, where his life is in danger at every moment.

The Iranian regime rebuked the president of the United States, and we’re now supposed to believe it’s acting in good faith?

President Obama is now trying to spin our stunning act of weakness as a breakthrough for peace.  In fact, we were so weak that (according to the administration) that the State Department did not even raise Pastor Saeed’s during the nuclear negotiations.

[...]Iran’s record of wrongdoing is long and sordid.

Beginning with the 1979-1981 hostage crisis, moving through repeated terrorist attacks – from the deadly Marine Barracks bombing in 1983, to the Kobar Towers bombing in 1996, to the direct intervention of Iran’s Quds force against American forces in Iraq – and including ongoing deadly support for terrorists fighting American forces in Afghanistan, Iran has proven by its deeds and words that it is America’s enemy.

If Iran had released Pastor Saeed we would have at least one concrete action to give Americans confidence that this deal was anything other than a disaster.  Instead, we are left with nothing but “commitments” from a regime that has proven itself committed only to killing and imprisoning Americans.

To make matters even worse, we have squandered a position of strength.

Iran was suffering under sanctions that were finally beginning to truly bite — wrecking its economy and causing deep discontent within Iraq. This was our opportunity to drive a hard bargain, to reach a deal that didn’t depend solely on Iranian “commitments.”

But we squandered that opportunity and left an American behind.

The Obama administration has betrayed Pastor Saeed.

One country that’s done a good job on promoting human rights and religious liberty is Canada, because they have a Conservative government led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Here’s what Canada said about the deal: (H/T Dennis Prager)

The Canadian government was “deeply skeptical” on Sunday of Iran’s agreement to temporarily freeze its nuclear program, saying Ottawa’s sanctions against the regime would remain firmly in place until the new deal’s words turned into actions.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird appeared to take a stronger stance on the newly brokered deal than the United States and other allies, saying Canada would be watching Iran closely over the coming weeks and months.

“We have made-in-Canada foreign policy,” he told reporters on Sunday.

“We think past actions best predict future actions. And Iran has defied the United Nations Security Council, it has defied the International Atomic Energy Agency. Simply put Iran has not earned the right to have the benefit of the doubt.”

It’s striking to me that the American government is now to the left of Canada on foreign policy – making deals with dictators that actually set back the cause of freedom and universal human rights. I would not be surprised to see a full-scale war in the Middle East because of this deal. I guess that the Obama administration is so anxious to appear as if they are doing something that they don’t care if Iran nukes Israel in a few months. Because that’s what’s going to happen unless Israel attacks Iran first. Iran was threatening to nuke Israel as recently as last week. It’s hard to interpret the Democrat treaty with Iran as anything other than their stamp of approval on that plan.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Large numbers of Christians fleeing oppression in Muslim countries

Fox News put up an editorial about a tragedy that is often neglected by the liberal media.

Excerpt:

A mass exodus of Christians is currently underway.  Millions of Christians are being displaced from one end of the Islamic world to the other.

[...]In 2003, Iraq’s Christian population was at least one million. Today fewer than 400,000 remain—the result of an anti-Christian campaign that began with the U.S. occupation of Iraq, when countless Christian churches were bombed and countless Christians killed, including by crucifixion and beheading.

The 2010 Baghdad church attack, which saw nearly 60 Christian worshippers slaughtered, is the tip of a decade-long iceberg.

[...]In October 2012 the last Christian in the city of Homs—which had a Christian population of some 80,000 before jihadis came—was murdered. One teenage Syrian girl said: “We left because they were trying to kill us… because we were Christians…. Those who were our neighbors turned against us. At the end, when we ran away, we went through balconies. We did not even dare go out on the street in front of our house.”

In Egypt, some 100,000 Christian Copts have fled their homeland soon after the “Arab Spring.” In September 2012, the Sinai’s small Christian community was attacked and evicted by Al Qaeda linked Muslims, Reuters reported. But even before that, the Coptic Orthodox Church lamented the “repeated incidents of displacement of Copts from their homes, whether by force or threat.

[...]In Mali, after a 2012 Islamic coup, as many as 200,000 Christians fled. According to reports, “the church in Mali faces being eradicated,” especially in the north “where rebels want to establish an independent Islamist state and drive Christians out… there have been house to house searches for Christians who might be in hiding, churches and other Christian property have been looted or destroyed, and people tortured into revealing any Christian relatives.” At least one pastor was beheaded.

Even in European Bosnia, Christians are leaving en mass “amid mounting discrimination and Islamization.” Only 440,000 Catholics remain in the Balkan nation, half the prewar figure.

Problems cited are typical: “while dozens of mosques were built in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, no building permissions [permits] were given for Christian churches.” “Time is running out as there is a worrisome rise in radicalism,” said one authority, who further added that the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina were “persecuted for centuries” after European powers “failed to support them in their struggle against the Ottoman Empire.”

The article has even more disturbing statistics.

This violence is not surprising, considering the attitudes of Muslims in Muslim dominated countries.

Consider this article from the liberal Washington post.

Excerpt:

A majority of Muslims in several countries say that any Muslim who leaves the faith should be executed, with the share who support this nearing two-thirds in Egypt and Pakistan. In Afghanistan, 78 percent say apostates should be killed.

As I wrote yesterday, the issue of apostasy is a complicated one with its roots in Islam’s unique foundational history. But the effect is a deeply chilling one for religious freedom, with atheists and converts often persecuted.

I was listening to a debate recently featuring Jim Wallis and Jay Richards on Christianity and economics, and I was surprised when Jim Wallis sort of threw out this strange thought at the end of one of his speeches about Islam. Something like “What are Christians doing to love their Muslim neighbor?” I think a very good thing for Christians in the West to do would be to realize that not all religions are the same, and that some are more peaceful than others. Maybe instead of worrying about not offending Muslims all the time, we could instead think about what it is like for Christians to be living in these Muslim countries, and facing horrors like being killed, raped and tortured.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Obama foreign policy: Muslim Brotherhood imposing anti-US dictatorship in Egypt

North Africa and Middle East Political Map

North Africa and Middle East Political Map

The Heritage Foundation explains what Obama enabled by using American military force to remove Hosni Mubarak in Egypt.

Excerpt:

Egypt was wracked by protests today, the day after President Mohamed Morsi purged key judicial officials and issued a decree that granted himself sweeping new powers. In Cairo, protesters gathered in Tahrir Square, the epicenter of Egypt’s stalled revolution, to denounce Morsi’s power grab and chant: “Morsi is Mubarak.” There were reports of heavy rioting in three Suez Canal cities, Suez, Port Said, and Ismaila, with angry crowds burning the offices of Morsi’s political party, the Freedom and Justice Party.

Opposition political leaders accused Morsi of “monopolizing all three branches of government.” Mohamed El Baradei tweeted that Morsi had “appointed himself Egypt’s new pharaoh.”

And more from a different Heritage Foundation article:

Egypt has been rocked once again by a political crisis triggered by President Mohamed Morsi’s relentless efforts to secure dictatorial power. Hundreds of protesters from liberal and secular opposition groups demonstrated in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the birthplace of Egypt’s stunted “Arab Spring” revolt. One barometer of the coming test of strength between Morsi and the weak and splintered opposition will be whether the disappointed democrats can retain control over Tahrir Square in the face of police and Muslim Brotherhood countermoves.

Egypt’s judiciary also has pushed back against Morsi’s power grab. The Supreme Council of the Judiciary denounced Morsi’s unilateral assertion of power over the judiciary as “an unprecedented attack on judicial independence.” The Judges Club, an association of judges made up of many appointees by the Mubarak regime, called for a strike by courts across Egypt.

But the judges alone will not be enough to reverse Morsi’s power grab. The key vote will be wielded by the armed forces. Morsi appears confident that he can count on support from key military leaders, whom he hand-picked after purging the top ranks of Mubarak loyalists in August.

While the army’s ultimate verdict on Morsi’s power grab is not yet apparent, Egypt’s investors voted with their wallets and withdrew their money from Egypt’s stock market, which plunged almost 10 percent on Sunday. Even if Morsi does secure the backing of the army, his assertion of dictatorial powers will further undermine what little confidence remains in Egypt’s deteriorating economy.

Guess what? It’s not always a good idea to use American power abroad. We have to ask what is in it for us. And in Egypt and Libya, there was nothing in it for us. We should have intervened appropriately in Syria and Iran, which are much more threatening to us.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ayaan Hirsi Ali talks about the war on Christians in Muslim countries

Map of Africa

Map of Africa

This story appeared in the radically left-wing Newsweek, of all places.

Excerpt:

From blasphemy laws to brutal murders to bombings to mutilations and the burning of holy sites, Christians in so many nations live in fear. In Nigeria many have suffered all of these forms of persecution. The nation has the largest Christian minority (40 percent) in proportion to its population (160 million) of any majority-Muslim country. For years, Muslims and Christians in Nigeria have lived on the edge of civil war. Islamist radicals provoke much if not most of the tension. The newest such organization is an outfit that calls itself Boko Haram, which means “Western education is sacrilege.” Its aim is to establish Sharia in Nigeria. To this end it has stated that it will kill all Christians in the country.

In the month of January 2012 alone, Boko Haram was responsible for 54 deaths. In 2011 its members killed at least 510 people and burned down or destroyed more than 350 churches in 10 northern states. They use guns, gasoline bombs, and even machetes, shouting “Allahu akbar” (“God is great”) while launching attacks on unsuspecting citizens. They have attacked churches, a Christmas Day gathering (killing 42 Catholics), beer parlors, a town hall, beauty salons, and banks. They have so far focused on killing Christian clerics, politicians, students, policemen, and soldiers, as well as Muslim clerics who condemn their mayhem. While they started out by using crude methods like hit-and-run assassinations from the back of motorbikes in 2009, the latest AP reports indicate that the group’s recent attacks show a new level of potency and sophistication.

The Christophobia that has plagued Sudan for years takes a very different form. The authoritarian government of the Sunni Muslim north of the country has for decades tormented Christian and animist minorities in the south. What has often been described as a civil war is in practice the Sudanese government’s sustained persecution of religious minorities. This persecution culminated in the infamous genocide in Darfur that began in 2003. Even though Sudan’s Muslim president, Omar al-Bashir, has been indicted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, which charged him with three counts of genocide, and despite the euphoria that greeted the semi-independence he grant-ed to South Sudan in July of last year, the violence has not ended. In South Kordofan, Christians are still subject-ed to aerial bombardment, targeted killings, the kidnap-ping of children, and other atrocities. Reports from the United Nations indicate that between 53,000 and 75,000 innocent civilians have been displaced from their resi-dences and that houses and buildings have been looted and destroyed.

Both kinds of persecution—undertaken by extragovernmental groups as well as by agents of the state—have come together in Egypt in the aftermath of the Arab Spring. On Oct. 9 of last year in the Maspero area of Cairo, Coptic Christians (who make up roughly 11 percent of Egypt’s population of 81 million) marched in protest against a wave of attacks by Islamists—including church burnings, rapes, mutilations, and murders—that followed the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak’s dictatorship. During the protest, Egyptian security forces drove their trucks into the crowd and fired on protesters, crushing and killing at least 24 and wounding more than 300 people. By the end of the year more than 200,000 Copts had fled their homes in anticipation of more attacks. With Islamists poised to gain much greater power in the wake of recent elections, their fears appear to be justified.

Egypt is not the only Arab country that seems bent on wiping out its Christian minority. Since 2003 more than 900 Iraqi Christians (most of them Assyrians) have been killed by terrorist violence in Baghdad alone, and 70 churches have been burned, according to the Assyrian International News Agency (AINA). Thousands of Iraqi Christians have fled as a result of violence directed specifically at them, reducing the number of Christians in the country to fewer than half a million from just over a million before 2003. AINA understandably describes this as an “incipient genocide or ethnic cleansing of Assyrians in Iraq.”

The 2.8 million Christians who live in Pakistan make up only about 1.6 percent of the population of more than 170 million. As members of such a tiny minority, they live in perpetual fear not only of Islamist terrorists but also of Pakistan’s draconian blasphemy laws. There is, for example, the notorious case of a Christian woman who was sentenced to death for allegedly insulting the Prophet Muhammad. When international pressure persuaded Punjab Gov. Salman Taseer to explore ways of freeing her, he was killed by his bodyguard. The bodyguard was then celebrated by prominent Muslim clerics as a hero—and though he was sentenced to death late last year, the judge who imposed the sentence now lives in hiding, fearing for his life.

Such cases are not unusual in Pakistan. The nation’s blasphemy laws are routinely used by criminals and intolerant Pakistani Muslims to bully religious minorities. Simply to declare belief in the Christian Trinity is considered blasphemous, since it contradicts mainstream Muslim theological doctrines. When a Christian group is suspected of transgressing the blasphemy laws, the consequences can be brutal. Just ask the members of the Christian aid group World Vision. Its offices were attacked in the spring of 2010 by 10 gunmen armed with grenades, leaving six people dead and four wounded. A militant Muslim group claimed responsibility for the attack on the grounds that World Vision was working to subvert Islam. (In fact, it was helping the survivors of a major earthquake.)

Not even Indonesia—often touted as the world’s most tolerant, democratic, and modern majority-Muslim nation—has been immune to the fevers of Christophobia. According to data compiled by the Christian Post, the number of violent incidents committed against religious minorities (and at 7 percent of the population, Christians are the country’s largest minority) increased by nearly 40 percent, from 198 to 276, between 2010 and 2011.

The litany of suffering could be extended. In Iran dozens of Christians have been arrested and jailed for daring to worship outside of the officially sanctioned church system. Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, deserves to be placed in a category of its own. Despite the fact that more than a million Christians live in the country as foreign workers, churches and even private acts of Christian prayer are banned; to enforce these totalitarian restrictions, the religious police regularly raid the homes of Christians and bring them up on charges of blasphemy in courts where their testimony carries less legal weight than a Muslim’s. Even in Ethiopia, where Christians make up a majority of the population, church burnings by members of the Muslim minority have become a problem.

Please read the whole thing.

I am actually perplexed as to how this got published in Newsweek, a magazine that might as well be edited by George Soros. But there it is, so we need to read it and share it while it lasts. I would expect that this is the first that any of Newsweek’s readers have heard about how Christians are persecuted in the Middle East.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Conservative Party unveils plan to promote religious liberty abroad

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper

From the Montreal Gazette.

Excerpt:

A Conservative government would create a new, special “Office of Religious Freedom,” the party announced in its electoral platform on Friday.

The office would be housed at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and its role would be:

  • To monitor religious freedom around the world;
  • To promote religious freedom as a key objective of Canadian foreign policy;
  • And to advance policies and programs that support religious freedom.

Under the heading, “Defending Religious Freedom,” the Conservatives said they recognize that “respect for religious pluralism is inextricably linked to democratic development.” And that the federal government could and should do more to respond to the plight of those “who suffer merely because of their faith.”

[...]The Conservative platform also includes a pledge to create a national Holocaust memorial in the Ottawa area and to support the establishment of a memorial to the victims of communism.

This is not a surprise, as the Canadian conservatives are famous for taking bold stands to defend the rights of persecuted Christians in places like Egypt.

Excerpt:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper participated in a round table discussion on security with Coptic Christian leaders.

A deadly suicide bombing in Egypt on New Year’s Day claimed the lives of some 21 worshippers.

And nearly 100 people were wounded in the attack as they left a midnight mass at an Alexandria church.

Harper condemned the attacks, saying the international community must stay vigilant against such violence against Coptic Christians.

Harper met with several priests at the Church Of the Virgin Mary and St. Athanasius in Mississauga Thursday.

He says he wants Coptic Christians in Canada to know the country stands behind their right to safely practice their faith.

So, not only is Harper introducing policies that will strengthen families and marriages so that there will be fewer abortions and healthier children, but he is also dedicated to defending the religious liberty of minorities abroad.

 

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wintery Tweets

RSS Intelligent Design podcast

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Evolution News

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
Click to see recent visitors

  Visitors Online Now

Page views since 1/30/09

  • 4,607,230 hits

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,221 other followers

Archives

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,221 other followers

%d bloggers like this: