Saudis Pressure Christian Prisoners to Convert to Islam

Saudi Arabian officials sent a Muslim preacher to pressure Christian prisoners into converting to Islam, according to International Christian Concern (ICC).

Saudi Arabia arrested 29 Christian women and six Christian men, all Ethiopian citizens, on Dec. 15 after they held a prayer meeting in Jeddah.

“The Muslim preacher vilified Christianity, denigrated the Bible and told us that Islam is the only true religion. The preacher told us to convert to Islam. When the preacher asked us, we didn’t deny about our Christian faith. I was so offended with her false teachings that I left the meeting,” said one of the female prisoners who spoke to ICC in a telephone interview from Briman jail in Jeddah. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Pakistani Minister Was ‘Ready to Die’

As my colleagues Salman Massod and Jane Perlez report, Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan’s minorities minister, was shot dead on Wednesday morning as he left his home.

Al Jazeera has obtained this video of a recent interview with Mr. Bhatti, who was the only Christian member of Pakistan’s cabinet, insisting that he would not be stopped from opposing Pakistan’s blasphemy law, despite threats to his life by Islamist extremists:

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The forgotten Orthodox Christians of Bosnia and Kosovo

Lee Jay Walker

The Modern Tokyo Times

I come from a member state of the European Union which is meant to uphold the rights of all religions, political ideologies, acknowledge national and cultural rights, and is meant to spread “European brotherhood.” However, it appears that this does not apply to the Orthodox Christians of Bosnia and Kosovo respectively because not only have they been abandoned but outside Islamic powers are stepping up their Islamization agenda in both Bosnia and Kosovo.

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Religious Intolerance in Turkey

International Conference on Religious Intolerance in Turkey

On 16-17 November, the Order of St Andrew held a conference entitled «Turkey’s Bridge to the European Union» at the European Parliament  in Brussels. Human Rights Without Frontiers was invited to a panel addressing «Issues and Concerns of Religious Minorities in Turkey». Hereafter the paper presented by Human Rights Without Frontiers.

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«There are none so blind as those who will not see.» …

In a generation or two, the US will ask itself: who lost Europe ?’

Here is the speech of Geert Wilders, Chairman, Party for Freedom, the Netherlands , at the Four Seasons, New York , introducing an Alliance of Patriots and announcing the Facing Jihad Conference in Jerusalem .

Dear friends,

Thank you very much for inviting me.

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New Mosque Project Sparks Controversy In Moscow

MOSCOW — People in a southeastern Moscow district have begun a campaign to stop the construction of a new mosque, RFE/RL’s Tatar-Bashkir Service reports.

More than 1,000 people in the Russian capital’s Tekstilshchiki district signed a petition on September 11 protesting plans for the construction of a new mosque in the area.

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Egyptian Coptic Church Accused of Stockpiling Weapons

Coptic Cross (SVG version of Image:CopticCross...

Image via Wikipedia

A new wave of defamation by Islamists against Coptic Pope Shenouda III and the Coptic Church is seen by many observers as a serious provocation to sectarian violence against the Copts, and the possibility of Egypt being dragged into civil war.

On September 15, Qatar-owned Al-Jezirah TV broadcast a program called Without Limits, presented by moderator Ahmad Mansour, who hosted the Islamist Dr. Selim el-Awah, former Secretary-General of the World Council of Muslim Scholars, which has stunned and enraged Copts inside and outside of Egypt. «El-Awah is simply threatening Copts that the forthcoming chaos after Mubarak dies will see mass violence against the Copts,» says Magdy Khalil, Coptic activist and head of Middle East Freedom Forum.

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Ground Zero mosque…

As sympathetic as I am toward opponents of the proposed Ground Zero mosque, I don’t think they realize how fortunate they are to be able to voice their opinions.

Eastern Christians have never had such luxury. The former cradle of Christianity is now filled with mosques. Many were originally our churches, and were taken as spoils of conquest. Consider Hagia Sophia, the Church of Holy Wisdom. Built in the seventh century, this magnificent temple was later visited by emissaries of the Russian Prince Vladimir, a pagan seeking a new faith. “We knew not whether we were in heaven or on earth,” the delegates reported, adding, “we know only that God dwells there among men.” Hagia Sophia was the Patriarch of Constantinople’s cathedral for a thousand years, until 1453. Then, after generations of effort, the Turks sacked the capital, extinguishing Eastern Christendom’s temporal glory and throwing millions of Orthodox Christians into centuries of darkness.

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Gadhafi angers Italy with call for Islam to become ‘Europe’s religion’

During a visit to Italy, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi enrages opposition parties by saying Islam must become ‘Europe’s religion’ and that Europe’s conversion would ‘begin when Turkey becomes an EU member.’ Gadhafi made the comments during a lecture to a group of 500 young women hired and paid by an agency to attend his talk.

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s visit to Rome has become mired in controversy after he said Europe should convert to Islam and the conversion would “begin when Turkey becomes an EU member,” daily Hürriyet reported Tuesday.

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Sympathy for the Turkish devil

The American commentariat is shocked, shocked , to discover that Turkey has abandoned the Western alliance for an adventurous bid to become the dominant Muslim power in the Middle East. Tom Friedman of the New York Times suggested on June 15 that «President [Barack] Obama should invite him for a weekend at Camp David to clear the air before US-Turkey relations get where they’re going – over a cliff.» Friedman blames the European Community for rejecting Turkey’s membership bid which, he says, was a «key factor prompting Turkey to move closer to Iran and the Arab world».

But it is not quite so simple. Friedman and the conventional wisdom are wrong, as usual. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is behaving dreadfully, to the point that a group of retired senior Turkish diplomats denounced him for «neo-Ottomanism». But Turkey has not moved closer to Iran, except in tactical diplomatic terms. The problem is more subtle: America’s blunders in Iraq gave Iran the chance to become a regional hegemon, and Turkey must vie with Iran for this role as a matter of self-preservation.

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Victims of Radical Islam. Christianity’s Modern-Day Martyrs

Members of the Indonesian Muslim extremist group Laskar Jihad wave their swords during a demonstration in Jakarta in this April 2000 photo. Christians are now considered the most persecuted religious group around the world.

The rise of Islamic extremism is putting increasing pressure on Christians in Muslim countries, who are the victims of murder, violence and discrimination. Christians are now considered the most persecuted religious group around the world. Paradoxically, their greatest hope could come from moderate political Islam. By SPIEGEL staff.

Kevin Ang is cautious these days. He glances around, taking a look to the left down the long row of stores, then to the right toward the square, to check that no one is nearby. Only then does the church caretaker dig out his key, unlock the gate, and enter the Metro Tabernacle Church in a suburb of Kuala Lumpur.
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Les deux « monothéismes » (3)

Face à la plupart des religions et des métaphysiques où la relation « je-tu » disparaît dès que l’on aborde la sphère propre à la divinité, la Bible affirme l’originalité irréductible du Dieu personnel, à la fois absolu et personnel. Mais alors apparaît par rapport à la révélation plénière du christianisme une autre limitation : le Dieu des Juifs cache les profondeurs de sa nature ; il ne se manifeste que par son autorité, son Nom lui-même est imprononçable. Il s’entoure d’une lumière inaccessible et l’homme ne peut le voir sans mourir : ni réciprocité véritable, ni face à face ne sont possibles entre cette terrifiante monade divine et l’humilité du créé. Venant de Dieu seulement, la parole, venant de l’homme, seulement l’obscurité de l’obéissance et de la foi. La « théologie » au sens propre, comme l’entendent les Pères, reste fermée à Israël.

Ainsi hors du christianisme voit-on s’opposer : Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Can One Consider the Death of Father Daniel Sysoev to be a Martyrdom?

Hieromonk Job Gumerov

Death is the last event in a person’s earthly life. For a missionary, death is the last homily, the last message preached, the last witness for Christ, Whom the missionary loved with complete readiness to sacrifice his or her life for the sake of the triumph of the Faith. Father Daniel Sysoev[1] had prepared himself for this sacrifice long before. Even in his younger years when studying at the Moscow Theological Seminary where this writer taught Fundamental Theology, Father Daniel was pierced through with the fiery conviction that only Orthodoxy contained the fullness of saving truth. Possessed of great talents, as a seminarian he already knew the church canons, and passionately contested with students and instructors when they allowed themselves the slightest compromise. To people who were indifferent to the spreading and deepening of the faith, his aversion to compromise seemed strange; and some of them fell into judgment and condemnation—but his death as a priest in the church which he himself had built, gave proof of his earnestness, his zeal, his single-minded commitment to Jesus Christ and His Church.

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Violations of international human rights standards on freedom of religion in Turkey

Otmar Oehring and Güzide Ceyhan

Ahead of the UN Human Rights Council May 2010 Universal Periodic Review of Turkey, Forum 18 News Service has found that the country continues to see serious violations of international human rights standards on freedom of religion or belief.

A long-standing crucially important issue, with many implications, is that Turkey has not legally recognised religious communities in their own right as independent communities with full legal status – such as the right to own places of worship and the legal protection religious communities normally have in states under the rule of law. Additionally, the most dangerous threat to individuals exercising freedom of religion or belief has been a series of violent attacks and murders on those perceived as threats; in recent years the victims have been Christians. Turkish citizens have argued to Forum 18 that the protection of the right of all to freedom of religion or belief, as laid down in the international human rights standards which Turkey is party to, should be the standard used by the authorities in all affected fields. They also argue that the authorities act against the intolerance fuelling violent attacks and murders.

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Patriarch Kirill to Islamic states: More attention to Christian minorities

Kiril-BartholomewMoscow (AsiaNews / Agencies) – The Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow has urged the governments of Muslim majority states to respect Christian minorities.

Meeting ambassadors from 20 Arab States, September 4, Kirill said that » More attention to the needs of the Christian minority [in Islamic countries] would be an additional factor in the Christian-Muslim dialogue».

During the talks, held in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow, the Patriarch also stressed the theme of reciprocity by stating that «Christian Orthodox churches in Arab lands the same as numerous mosques in Russia are a symbol of the friendship of Christians and Muslims, an indication of our intentions to live in friendship and mutual respect». Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Turks Increasingly Turn to Islamic Extremism

turksReporting from London — In an audio message from a hide-out in South Asia this month (June), an Al Qaeda chief did something new: He sang the praises of an ethnic group that once barely registered in the network.

«We consider the Muslims in Turkey our brothers,» said Mustafa Abu Yazid, the network’s operations chief. Lauding Turkish suicide bombers killed in recent attacks near the Afghan-Pakistani border, he declared, «This is a pride and honor to the nation of Islam in Turkey, and we ask Allah to accept them amongst the martyrs.»

The message is the latest sign of the changing composition of Islamic extremism, anti-terrorism officials and experts say. The number of Turks in Al Qaeda, long dominated by Arabs, has increased notably, officials say. And militant groups dominated by Turks and Central Asians, many of whom share Turkic culture and speak a Turkic language, have emerged as allies of and alternatives to Al Qaeda in northwestern Pakistan.

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Medvedev Backs More Religion in Russian Schools and in the Russian Army

russian_priest_on_tank

By Nabi Abdullaev / The Moscow Times

President Dmitry Medvedev pledged Tuesday to support the study of religion in schools and hiring chaplains from major Russian religions, in what could pose a major challenge to the constitutional separation of religion and state.

“I have made a decision to support both these ideas: teaching the basics of religious culture and secular ethics in Russian schools, and I also consider it expedient to organize on a regular basis the work of clergymen representing traditional Russian confessions in our Armed Forces,” Medvedev said at the meeting with top religious and government officials at his Barvikha residence outside Moscow.

The so-called traditional Russian confessions include Orthodox Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism.

Medvedev said he based his decision on requests and suggestions sent to him by religious leaders.

The two initiatives are among the most debated and controversial in Russian society. Their critics claim that the Russian Orthodox Church is significantly better prepared to install its priests in schools and garrisons, which would leave others at a disadvantage. Opponents also say a conflict of subordination could arise in military units between priests and commanders. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Blocked from Europe by the impregnable walls of Constantinople

Byzantine naval battle

Byzantine naval battle

«Blocked from Europe by the impregnable walls of Constantinople and the unyielding spirit of the Emperor and his people, the armies of the «Prophet» were obliged to travel the entire length of the Mediterranean to the Straits of Gibraltar before they could invade the continent- thus extending their lines of communication and supply almost to breaking point and rendering impossible any permanent conquests beyond the Pyrenees. Had they captured Constantinople in the seventh century rather than the fifteenth, all Europe- and America- might be Muslim today».

Byzantium, the Early Centuries. John Julius Norwich