For light relief today, we quote from the wonderful pair of volumes titled A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom by Andrew D. White, first published in New York in 1896.
Here is what happened when Christian theologians “exerted themselves to fix the date” when one or another or all three of the persons of the Trinity created the universe. (Whether all three persons, or only one of them and then which one, was not settled; nor whether it was accomplished in six days or in a moment.)
The general conclusion arrived at by the overwhelming majority of the most competent students of the biblical accounts was that the date of the creation was, in round numbers, four thousand years before our era; and in the seventeenth century … Dr. John Lightfoot, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, and one of the most eminent Hebrew scholars of his time, declared, as the result of his most profound and exhaustive study of the Scriptures, that “heaven and earth, centre and circumference, were created all together in the same instant, and clouds full of water,” and that “this work took place and man was created by the Trinity on October 23, 4004 B.C., at nine o’clock in the morning“.
Here was, indeed, a triumph … the result of hundreds of years of biblical study and theological thought since Bede in the eighth century, and Vincent of Beauvais in the thirteenth, had declared that creation must have taken place in the spring. Yet, alas! within two centuries after Lightfoot’s great biblical demonstration as to the exact hour of creation, it was discovered that at that hour an exceedingly cultivated people, enjoying all the fruits of a highly developed civilization, had long been swarming in the great cities of Egypt, and that other nations hardly less advanced had at that time reached a high development in Asia.
We plan to entertain ourselves and our readers with morsels from this abundant store from time to time.
President Sisi of Egypt is taking measures to suppress and destroy the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). We hope he succeeds. It’s an evil organization.
Of fifty-one MB members recently brought to trial in an Egyptian court, fourteen have been sentenced to death and thirty-seven to life imprisonment.
Among the thirty-seven is a man named Gehad El-Haddad.
Being the son of an MB bigwig, he was appointed to important positions in the organization. He was Senior Adviser on Foreign Affairs to the Brotherhood’s grossly mis-titled political party, the Freedom and Justice Party, and when its leader, Mohamed Morsi, was running for the presidency of Egypt, El-Haddad was the Party’s official spolesperson and “media strategist”.
He was also employed by the William J. Clinton Foundation from 2007 to 2012. He established the Foundation’s office in Egypt, from which he ran its “Clinton Climate Initiative”.
Gehad’s father, Dr. Essam El-Haddad, chairs the Arabian Group For Development (AGD) which is where Gehad served as a consultant. The ADG lists among its most “significant and trusted clients ” Islamic Relief, an arm of the Global Muslim Brotherhood … controlled by Hamas in the Palestinian Territories. …
The leadership of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood views its entry into politics as only a stage in furtherance of its ultimate goals of Islamic government, both on an Egyptian and global basis.
Gehad El-Haddad is not the only individual employed by the Clinton family whose relationship to the Global Muslim Brotherhood should raise concerns. … long-time aid to Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin, was working, among other side jobs, as a consultant to the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation while still employed by the US State Department. …
In 2012 … a group of House representatives sent letters to five federal agencies demanding investigations into … infiltration by the Muslim Brotherhood. Many of these ties center on the Journal of the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs (IMM) edited by Human Abedin’s mother Saleha M. Abedin … and which has Brotherhood supporter and Saudi-funded Georgetown professor John Esposito on its advisory board. Huma Abedin was listed by the IMM Journal as an Assistant Editor from 1996 until 2008, a time period during which she was working for Hillary Clinton in various capacities including as a White House intern in 1996.
The IMM itself was founded by Syed Z. Abedin, Huma’s father, and has been described as having had “the quiet but active support” of Dr. Abdullah Omar Naseef, then General Secretary of the Saudi Muslim World League (MWL), established in 1962 as a means for the propagation of Saudi “Wahabbi” Islam. Muslim Brothers played an important role in its founding and, to date, the League has been strongly associated with the Brotherhood. …
In addition, as of 2010, Huma Abedin’s brother Hasan Abedin was an officer of the Oxford Center of Islamic Studies, chaired by Dr. Abdullah Omar Naseef. In addition to his role as the former Secretary-General of the Muslim World League (MWL), Dr. Naseef is an officer of the International Islamic Council for Dawa and Relief (IICDR) … and has also been associated with other UK Islamist organizations … Until 2006, global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi also served as an Oxford Centre Trustee. The Oxford Centre has been listed as a UK affiliate of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), a Saudi religious organization close to the global Muslim Brotherhood that is believed to have helped spread Islamic extremism around the world as well as sponsoring terrorism in places such as Bosnia, Israel, and India.
It should be noted that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is one of the largest donors to the [formerly named] William J. Clinton Foundation.
So if Hillary Clinton were (reason forfend!) to become president, many a purchased favor will be called in. US foreign policy will be determined by the size of the donations to the Clintons’ “charity box”.
Though of course – Saudis etc. be warned – Clintons don’t necessarily fulfill the promises they make, even to their donors.
What does the Clinton Foundation do? Hillary Clinton says it supports good causes. Which good causes exactly?
We extract information from the New York Times, August 13, 2013:
[The William J. Clinton Foundation] has been renamed the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation.
Worried that the foundation’s operating revenues depend too heavily on Mr. Clinton’s nonstop fund-raising, the three Clintons are embarking on a drive to raise an endowment of as much as $250 million …
The foundation … has 350 employees in 180 countries …
Big-name companies vie to buy sponsorships at prices of $250,000 and up, money that has helped subsidize the foundation’s annual operating costs.
Last year, the foundation and two subsidiaries had revenues of more than $214 million.
Yet the foundation’s expansion has also been accompanied by financial problems. … Last year , it ran more than $8 million in the red. … In 2010 and 2011 … it ran annual shortfalls of more than $4 million. …
Presumably some part of its revenues have actually gone to “good causes”?
Sure. Some. According to the New York Times (in the same report) they include:
Childhood obesity in the United States.
Is Bill Clinton succeeding where Michelle Obama failed in the thinning of American children?
Sustainable farming in South America.
Farming in South America has done pretty well for an awfully long time, so why does it need extra help from Bill? A clue probably lies in the word “sustainable”. It’s one of those red-flag words that warn readers that something is coming which might make them feel sick. Did the Clinton Foundation put up windmills? Did it send inspectors to the farms to make sure that their produce was strictly “organic”?
Oh, we all know the need entrepreneurs have for mentoring! Lucky the Clinton Foundation exists to provide the service.
Saving elephants from poaching.
… and more. That list will shift soon as Mrs. Clinton and Chelsea build their staffs to focus on issues including economically empowering women and combating infant mortality. …
The Clinton ladies too are doing great things. If they can combat infant mortality and win, it will be a huge surprise to the human race.
But hang on a moment … won’t any reduction in infant mortality be an annoyance to the Environmentalists, who want the world’s population to shrink? And to the “pro-choice” campaigners, who want abortion on demand right up to the moment of birth – and can even see the bright side of infanticide? Isn’t Hillary Clinton their champion?
As answer comes there none, we move on.
The Clinton Foundation sprouted the Clinton Global Initiative. What good causes does that serve?
We find out from The New Republic, where Alec MacGillis wrote on Sept 22, 2013:
[The Clinton Global Initiative] is not a traditional charity — unlike Clinton’s foundation, it does not dispense money of its own. Instead, it is a series of collaborations with corporations or individuals to solve global problems, anchored by an annual conference that costs $20,000 to attend.
In the past eight years, CGI has secured pledges worth $74 billion. …
CGI was the perfect vehicle for [Bill] Clinton. It allowed him to train his intellect on wonky dilemmas …
On wonky dilemmas? Such as?
Improving China’s power grid.
Now there’s a cause alright. Why call it a dilemma? What objection could any American have to that? The US owes $1.3 trillion to China, so helping them along with their electricity grid is an amazingly selfless gesture. Completely disinterested (in the real meaning of the word). Christian charity at its purest.
Bolstering Mali’s market for locally produced rice.
Wonder how that’s done? And how much it costs?
Here comes the proof that virtue is its own reward:
- it placed him [Bill Clinton] at the center of a matrix of the ultra-wealthy and the ultra-powerful, the kinds of people Clinton has always taken a special pleasure in surrounding himself with.
CGI operates like an economy in which celebrity is the main currency.
For Clinton, there is the appeal of tackling existential challenges by striking a deal, one on one, with the right influential person.
He could help expand access to health care for millions, thanks to the whim of a billionaire like Saudi Arabia’s Sheik Mohammed Al Amoudi; …
… or get $30 million in loan guarantees to finance clean water utilities in India, via Dow Chemical; or $100 million for small-business development in Africa, courtesy of Shell. …
And has he?
In some cases, such as securing agreements for carbon-emissions reductions, the solving-by-convening model has produced impressive results. …
Securing agreements was an impressive result. The agreements did not necessarily have an impressive effect on carbon emissions – a cause we know is dear to the heart of all Democrats – but the money ( how much?) secured agreements on that wonky dilemma.
So there we have it. Now we can all see why the Clintons need $250 million dollars.
The Pope has said something that has been interpreted as a probable reference to the on-going persecution of Christians in the Islamic world. He did it in the context of a speech recalling the genocide of Christian Armenians* by the Muslim state of Turkey a hundred years ago.
Today too, in fact, these conflicts at times degenerate into unjustifiable violence, stirred up by exploiting ethnic and religious differences.
That was it. That’s all. He added a suggestion that the heads of states and “International Organizations” might do something about it:
All who are Heads of State and of International Organizations are called to oppose such crimes with a firm sense of duty, without ceding to ambiguity or compromise.**
Uncountable numbers of Christians have been killed in this century by Muslims. In Nigeria, the Muslim organization Boko Haram shoots, hacks, burns its victims to death, buries them alive, enslaves them, and scatters them, destitute, from their homes. The Muslims cut off the limbs of living babies or throw them on fires. (See our post with pictures here.)
In Iraq and Syria, Christians are victimized in just such savage ways by the Islamic State (IS/ISIS/ISIL).
In Pakistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, and in Judea under the government of the Palestinian Authority – notably in Bethlehem, the putative birthplace of the Christian God – Christians are mercilessly oppressed. The numbers of Christians in Muslim lands continually dwindle as those survivors escape who can.
What is the Christian world doing about it? Nothing.
Are Christian leaders speaking out in angry protest? No, except for the remark made in passing by Pope Francis a few days ago. Maybe another Pope will talk about it more fully in another hundred years.
So what is the good of Christianity? If ever in its history it has been put to the test, it is now.
And it fails.
But it does not recognize its failure.
Recently we had a Christian visitor to this site who called himself/herself “LilySmith”. (I’ll use the pronouns “she” and “her” since it is a woman’s name.) She commented in defense of Christianity under our post A perfect match. She wrote this about what her Christian group is doing about the victimization of Christians by the Islamic State:
Governments, not individuals, are responsible for law enforcement and going to war. Christianity isn’t a government. Instead we are taught as individuals to overcome evil with good. In that vein, we support the work of Christian friends living in Iraq serving the people there in any way needed. We also support those helping Christians in the ME who are under stress right now.
What form does that “help” for the victims of “stress” take which she and her friends “support”? Food, clothing, shelter, a secure refuge? Or just sympathy? She did not say.
Nor did she say anything about wanting to see justice done. Nothing about stopping and punishing the perpetrators. That sort of thing is the concern of governments not Christians, she says.
Thinking like that is as true to Christianity as savage cruelty is true to Islam. Both are true to their holy texts.
Christianity does not speak of justice. It orders Christians to love and forgive the evil-doer. “Resist not evil,” it commands.
Christian websites which report the sufferings of Christians at the hands of Muslims, dwell on the brave endurance of the victims.
Here again we quote from the Pope’s speech from the Vatican, April 12, 2015, on the centenary anniversary of the Armenian genocide:
As Saint John Paul II said to you, “Your history of suffering and martyrdom is a precious pearl, of which the universal Church is proud …” .
… Saint Gregory of Narek, an extraordinary interpreter of the human soul, offers words which are prophetic for us: “I willingly blame myself with myriad accounts of all the incurable sins, from our first forefather through the end of his generations in all eternity, I charge myself with all these voluntarily.” …
The Church thrives on suffering, on bloodshed, on agony. It invites persecution, and is thus a promoter of evil. And that makes it co-responsible for the atrocities Islam inflicts on Christians.
The Christians who are having their throats slit, their heads sawn off, their babies burnt alive, are martyrs, potential saints, and that is what matters; because Christianity is not a religion for the betterment of the life we live on this earth. Its concern is with an imaginary afterlife in an eternal heaven or hell.
So Christianity has not failed by its own lights.
By every measure of reason, by the yardstick of accustomed morality and the norms of civilization, by the judgment of common-sense, by the test of whether it serves good and opposes evil, Christianity has failed utterly.
* On the Armenian genocide, Dr. Ileana Johnson Pugh, writing at Canada Free Press, quotes Ambassador Henry Morgenthau, who “published in 1918 his personal account of the Armenian genocide”. ( A Personal Account of the Armenian Genocide, Henry Morgenthau, Cosimo Classics, New York, 2010). We extract a small part of the passages she quotes which describe the atrocities committed by the Turks.
Throughout the Turkish Empire a systematic attempt was made to kill all able-bodied men, not only for the purpose of removing all males who might propagate a new generation of Armenians, but for the purpose of rendering the weaker part of the population an easy prey.
When thousands failed to turn in weapons, the Turks ransacked churches, desecrated altars, marched the naked men and women through the streets, letting them be whipped by angry Turkish mobs. Those imprisoned who did not manage to flee into the woods and caves were subjected to the “bastinado” torture, the beating of the soles of the feet until they burst and had to be amputated.
Crucifixion, pulling of fingernails, of hairs, of eyebrows, tearing of flesh with red-hot pincers, and then pouring hot oil into the wounds were some of the barbaric methods of torture drawn from the records of the Spanish Inquisition.
Torture was just the beginning of the Armenian atrocities. What was to come was the actual destruction of “an entire Armenian race” by deporting it to the south and southeastern part of the Ottoman Empire, the Syrian desert and the Mesopotamian valley. …
The deportations took place through the spring and summer of 1915. The entire Armenian population of villages were ordered to appear in the main square, sometimes with little time to prepare, their homes and possessions confiscated for “safekeeping” and then divided among Turks. Once the deported Armenians had traveled several hours, they were attacked and killed in secluded valleys by Turkish peasants with clubs, hammers, axes, scythes, spades, and saws.
Out of a population of two million Armenians, only about 500,000 Armenians survived the genocide.
(Later in the twentieth century, Turkey was admitted as a member of NATO.)
** When the Inquisition condemned a heretic to be burnt at the stake, the Catholic Church handed the victim over to the secular authorities whom it compelled to carry out the atrocious deed, so the Church might keep itself clean of the sin of killing. The term used by the Church for the handing-over was that he or she was “relaxed”.
Is Obama’s realignment of US foreign policy so astonishing that it leaves Congress too stunned to act?
Has there ever before been such a clear case of high crimes and misdemeanors as now with the action of this president – selling out the country’s interests to its worst enemy?
Why have impeachment proceedings not begun?
Shawn Mitchell writes today, March 30, 2015, at Townhall:
Ponder the dire significance of the extraordinary story from MSNBC(!) last Friday, reporting on US “incoherence” in the Middle East, the exploding chaos there, and the shocking news Arab states like Egypt, the Saudis, and UAE are withholding intelligence and launching attacks without consulting the US. Why? Because they don’t trust Obama not to leak information to Iran. In seeking closer ties with Iran, Obama is threatening every other strategic US relationship in the region and candidly committing alliance-cide against America’s closest ally there, Israel.
The president, as chief executive and commander in chief may be the captain of foreign policy, but the Senate, representing the American public, has a Constitutional role, which Obama is deliberately evading.
What is happening is historically unprecedented. … Obama is pursuing a one-man foreign policy of realigning the US in the Middle East, ending our friendship with Israel, forging ties with Iran, and facilitating, or at least benignly accepting, the expansion of Iran’s interests, influence, and agents throughout the region.
Facilitating. Not “benignly accepting”.
This profound agenda is not one he ran on. It is not disclosed to, or understood by, the American people. It is not vetted or discussed in high circles of military and security leadership. It is contrary to long and widely held understandings of US security interests. It is a covert one man revolution.
In playing his chess pieces, Obama unsuccessfully pressed Egypt to submit to the Muslim Brotherhood; stiff-armed President al-Sisi who wants to move Egypt closer to America, keep peace with Israel, and move Islam closer to modernity; launched unprovoked missiles against Libya’s Qaddafi, lighting that nation on fire, delivering it to chaos and Iran-backed rebels; played patsy with Iran’s client Assad while Assad scorned Obama’s red lines and gassed civilians; and manufactured an escalating series of confrontations and crises with Israel, most recently exposing top secret details of its previously unacknowledged nuclear program. After Yemen fell to Iran backed rebels, the White House continues to insist its approach there is a “model of effective counterterrorism”.
… It’s becoming apparent the trade of five Taliban field leaders for one US deserter was not a “bad deal” but a head fake. Bergdahl was just cover for Obama to hand back five Jihadi leaders and move closer to his goal of closing Gitmo.
Did he swap the Taliban leaders for Bergdahl because he wants to close Gitmo, or is his spoken intention to close Gitmo an excuse for silently strengthening the Taliban? That one can even ask the question, that the suggestion is not implausible, shows how extraordinary are the circumstances in which it arises.
Recent reports of the surreal “negotiations” with Iran would make for farce if they weren’t terrifyingly real. Alone among the P5 + 1 world powers, the US is desperate to sweeten the pot to offer Iran whatever it takes. Obama originally set a redline of 500 high-speed centrifuges; we now shrug at 6,000. We’re good with Iran continuing operations at its reinforced, underground lab. It doesn’t have to reveal its ongoing research with military dimensions until after the world lifts sanctions … wink. Surprise inspections will be rare to never. Last week, the Associated Press astonishingly reported a final agreement may not even be in writing. Spokesman Josh Earnest failed to deny that unfathomable idea after three direct queries.
We recently witnessed the spectacle of France trying to put the brakes on this runaway concession train, complaining it’s a weak, bad, unenforceable deal and the US is still conceding. That’s something … the French accusing Americans of being burger eating surrender monkeys.
The president’s defenders might call his upheaval a matter of high stakes, high risk strategy to improve US standing in the Middle East by aligning it with the region’s strongest power. Other commentators might call it wrongheaded, reckless, and dangerous. And others, seeing what’s right in front of their face, might call it hostile to America’s interests and security, treacherous to America’s allies, and of great aid and comfort to America’s enemies.
Under a different Iranian regime, maybe a secular one, or a reformist product of the Green Revolution that Obama strangely spurned, it might make sense to support Iran as a stabilizing force. It’s the Mullacracy with its radical, bloody vision that makes Obama’s policy deranged. His defenders and critics alike speculate Obama is betting the regime can be enticed to make nice and join the community of nations during the limited lifespan of the agreement. But that surmise is incoherent. If Obama wanted a reformed Iran, he would have spoken up for millions of brave protesters who confronted the Mullahs and pled for his support. He stood mute as they were brutally crushed.
It’s an unresolved question if, or where, there is a redline that a president’s policies abroad become Constitutionally actionable. He leads in foreign policy. But, he also took an oath to protect American peace and security. If, for an extreme hypothetical, videotape emerged showing a president handing over US nuclear codes to Vladimir Putin, presumably, he would be dealt with as a treasonous traitor, his foreign policy authority notwithstanding.
Obama’s actions in the Middle East raise troubling questions about how fundamentally a president can contradict deeply rooted US understandings, policies, and alliances before he enters a danger zone. Cutting off the Senate’s voice adds to the gravity. To conclude any position a president holds, no matter how radical, must be the position of the US, is akin to embracing Louis XIV’s declaration: “”L’État, c’est moi” or Richard Nixon’s more recent formulation: “When the President does it, that means that it is not illegal.”
Twenty months remain in this presidency. About a day is left till Obama’s contrived deadline to reach a deal with Iran. It may be one of the only lines he means to respect. Few imagined after the 2012 election how fast events would unfold in the Middle East and how fast Obama’s hand would emerge into view. It is going to be a dangerous and scary ride.
Valerie Jarrett, Obama’s unofficial co-president, was born in Iran. Does she have a sentimental attachment to it? With this administration that could be enough “reason” – silly as it is – for Obama to put its interests and ambitions above the interests of the United States.
Can anyone think of any other possible reason?
Ah, yes. If Iran is allowed to become nuclear armed, there is a high likelihood that it will destroy Israel. That’s a consummation the Muslim world devoutly wishes. And where the Muslim world leads, can Obama be far behind?
Obama has shown great favor to the Muslim Brotherhood. He has members of that appalling organization advising his administration on the security of the United States – which the Muslim Brotherhood is sworn to conquer! – and on foreign policy.
That is all outrageous. Why are Americans tolerating it?
Obama was delighted when the abominable Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood took power in Egypt, and was furious when he was bounced out again by the far preferable Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
The puzzle is this: since Obama is so obviously committed emotionally and in practice to the Muslim Brotherhood, which is a Sunni organization and movement, why is he helping Iran, which is Shi’a and everlastingly the enemy of the Sunnis, to become the dominant power in the Middle East?
It’s not as if he has forsaken the Muslim Brotherhood. On the contrary, he is still punishing Sisi for chucking Morsi out.
This is from PJ Media, by P. David Hornik:
Again, those disturbing questions about whose side the president is on.
A disturbing report by Avi Issacharoff, one of Israel’s leading Middle East analysts, notes that Egypt is now under assault by ISIS from two directions — from its own Sinai Peninsula to the northeast and from the state of Libya, or what’s left of it, to the West.
It was last month that 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians living in Libya were kidnapped by ISIS and subjected to a mass beheading on a beach. In response to that violent episode, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi ordered airstrikes against ISIS in Libya.
And in Sinai, Egyptian forces trying to tame the region have been hit by at least three ISIS terror attacks just last week. The trouble, Issacharoff notes, is that “precisely during these difficult days for the Egyptians, Washington is delaying military assistance deliveries to Cairo . . .”
The Obama administration has held a deep grudge against the government ever since Sisi, backed by a massive popular revolt, overthrew Egypt’s short-lived Muslim Brotherhood regime in July 2013. The administration reacted by embargoing arms — even though Egypt had been a longstanding U.S. ally and Sisi’s is a nonradical, anti-terror government.
It was Sisi who, when recently addressing an audience of Sunni clerics at Egypt’s Al-Azhar University, called for a more moderate Islam that would not “want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants.”
Soon after, Sisi took the unprecedented step for an Egyptian leader of attending mass at a Coptic church.
Sisi also appears likely to keep the peace between Egypt and Israel. The two countries are tacitly collaborating against terror both in Sinai and Gaza, as Sisi cracks down hard on a common enemy — Hamas.
None of this is meant to say that Sisi is an angel who has brought democracy to Egypt by waving a magic wand. Seemingly, though, he deserves better treatment from Washington.
Things did seem to be improving last September when Washington said it was going through with a sale of ten Apache helicopters to Egypt. But since then … [Obama] has been making it increasingly difficult for Cairo to make additional military purchases. For example, the US is delaying the shipment of tanks, spare parts and other weapons that the army desperately needs in its war against Islamic State.
So why is it? Why is an administration that seemingly has made fighting ISIS one of its missions choking off a would-be friendly state under ISIS assault?
The administration’s coziness with the Brotherhood — the incubus of modern Sunni terror, subject of a possible imminent crackdown in Britain — is well known (see, for instance, here and here). Thus, is the punishment for overthrowing a Brotherhood regime — even when that overthrow was backed by the most massive popular protest in history — getting thrown to the dogs amid an ISIS siege?
“According to an Egyptian official,” says Issacharoff, “the formal explanation [for the arms cutoff] is that Cairo does not respect human rights.”
As mentioned, Sisi has not transformed beleaguered Egypt into the Arab world’s first model democracy. Still, the idea that Egypt is being punished for human-rights failings is peculiar especially in light of reports of severe abuses by U.S.- (and Iran-) supported Shiite militias fighting ISIS in Iraq.
ABC now reports that “U.S.-trained and armed Iraqi military units, the key to the American strategy against ISIS, are under investigation for committing some of the same atrocities as the terror group…” Compared to such forces, let alone the Iranian regime itself, Sisi’s government is indeed a very mild human rights culprit (not to mention Egypt’s deposed Muslim Brotherhood regime, which was hardly a human rights beacon).
For a list of “human rights violations” in Egypt since the fall of Hosni Mubarak, first under the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF), and then under the presidency of Mohamed Morsi, go here.
The situation is also parallel in some respects to the administration’s arms cutoff to Israel while it was fighting Hamas in Gaza last summer. … A similar message came through: that being a U.S.- and Western-aligned country that is fighting terror is no guarantee of sympathy from the Obama administration.
The administration’s strange behavior at present — supporting ISIS-fighting forces on one front that are just as barbaric as ISIS; denying support to much more moderate ISIS-fighting forces on another front — can perhaps be explained in terms of moral confusion, of difficulty distinguishing between friends and enemies.
Or perhaps in terms of something darker.
Andrew Klavan, whose political comment, often satirical, we sometimes quote with approval and appreciation, now turns us cold with his column at PJ Media.
He starts by quoting a news item from Christianity Today:
The brother of two of the 21 Coptic Christians slaughtered by ISIS beasts in Libya thanked the slavering Islamist murderers because the video of their damnable atrocity included the dying martyrs’ final words of Christian faith:
Speaking on a live prayer and worship programme on Christian channel SAT-7 ARABIC, Beshir Kamel said that he was proud of his brothers Bishoy Estafanos Kamel (25) and Samuel Estafanos Kamel (23) because they were “a badge of honour to Christianity”.
Harrowing scenes of the murders have been seen around the world. The last words of some of those killed were “Lord Jesus Christ”.
Beshir Kamel thanked ISIS for not editing out the men’s declaration of belief in Christ because he said this had strengthened his own faith. He added that the families of the ex-patriate workers are “congratulating one another” and not in despair: “We are proud to have this number of people from our village who have become martyrs,” he told the programme.
He said: “Since the Roman era, Christians have been martyred and have learned to handle everything that comes our way. This only makes us stronger in our faith because the Bible told us to love our enemies and bless those who curse us.”
And then he comments:
Last week, I remarked what good news it was for the victims of the ISIS murderers that Barack Obama says Islamist terror is not an existential threat. But of course that’s pure satire on my part. The real good news for the Coptics is the promise of Christ: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Truly, Christianity and Islam are a perfect match for each other, two ideologies neatly complementary.
Christianity courts persecution. It preaches: “Resist not evil.” It insists on injustice: “Forgive your enemies.”
Islam commands persecution. It preaches: “Kill the infidel.” It prescribes the smiting, stoning, burning and enslaving of its enemies.
Theirs is the mutual dependence of the masochist and the sadist: a strong relationship that will endure as long as they both shall live.
Is that a flight of pigs on the horizon?
Is a crack of light breaking at last into the darkness of Islam?
President Sisi of Egypt, speaking at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, said (translation by Raymond Ibrahim at Front Page):
I am referring here to the religious clerics. We have to think hard about what we are facing — and I have, in fact, addressed this topic a couple of times before. It’s inconceivable that the thinking that we hold most sacred should cause the entire umma [Islamic world] to be a source of anxiety, danger, killing and destruction for the rest of the world. Impossible!
That thinking — I am not saying “religion” but “thinking” — that corpus of texts and ideas that we have sacralized over the years, to the point that departing from them has become almost impossible, is antagonizing the entire world. It’s antagonizing the entire world!
Is it possible that 1.6 billion people [Muslims] should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants — that is 7 billion — so that they themselves may live? Impossible!
I am saying these words here at Al-Azhar, before this assembly of scholars and ulema — Allah Almighty be witness to your truth on Judgment Day concerning that which I’m talking about now.
All this that I am telling you, you cannot feel it if you remain trapped within this mindset. You need to step outside of yourselves to be able to observe it and reflect on it from a more enlightened perspective.
I say and repeat again that we are in need of a religious revolution. You, imams, are responsible before Allah. The entire world, I say it again, the entire world is waiting for your next move … because this umma is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost—and it is being lost by our own hands.
Daniel Greenfield comments (in part):
The implication is that he’s calling for a departure from texts that promote international holy wars. Obviously he isn’t taking issue with the Koran. But it appears he is calling for a religious framework that invalidates freelance Islamic expansionism of the ISIS kind. That would be a somewhat conservative step. …
And Sisi is “telling Al Azhar’s clergy to take an enlightened perspective and look outside themselves. That is dangerously close to secularism.”
Will Egypt, with the consent of Al-Azhar, become a secular state? There is a precedent in the Turkey of Kemal Atatürk and his immediate successors. (Turkey is reverting now to an Islamic theocracy under the presidency of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.)
Is it possible that Egypt will persuade Islam to give up its jihad?
And even perhaps – to hazard an even wilder hope – revise sharia law, set women free, tolerate apostasy … ?
Nah! Pigs may figuratively fly, but never very far.
An Egyptian atheist dares to speak the truth about Islam on television, and argues with a – thoroughly deluded, or deliberately lying – imam:
It would say a lot for Egypt under President Sisi if Ahmad Harqan can speak this freely with impunity. But is that the case?
This information accompanies the YouTube video captured by Memri:
“In an October 21 TV interview, Egyptian human rights activist Ahmad Harqan explained why he had become an atheist and said that Islam is a “harsh religion”, which was being implemented by ISIS and Boko Haram. They are doing “what the Prophet Muhammad and his companions did”, said Harqan. According to media reports, Harqan and his pregnant wife survived an assassination attempt on October 25, and when they went to the police to complain, were arrested for disrespect to Islam.”
We hope we will learn what happens to them.
After World War I, the Gaza Strip, which for centuries had been part of the Ottoman Empire, came under a British mandate. From 1949 to 1959, it was governed by Egypt, ostensibly under the authority of the Arab League. In 1959, the Strip was incorporated by Egypt, though the population was not granted Egyptian citizenship.
In 1967, the territory was occupied by Israel in the course of its defensive Six-Day War. Thousands of Israelis settled in the Strip and established industries there. But in 1993, by the tragically misconceived Oslo Accords, Gaza came under the administration of a “Palestine National Authority” (PNA). In its perpetual pursuit of peace with the Arabs, Israel agreed to remove the settlers. They resisted, and the Israeli government had them removed by force. They left acres of excellently functioning and highly lucrative greenhouses to the Arabs – who promptly destroyed them.
So it was that a Judenrein Gaza Strip became an autonomous “Palestinian” region, officially administered by the PNA.
In 2007, the terrorist organization Hamas, after an internecine struggle with the PNA, seized control of the Strip and proceeded to launch attacks on Israel with suicide bombers and rocket fire. Israel dealt with the suicide bombers by putting up a protective fence, and from time to time responds to the rocket fire with bombing raids. The world thinks Israel is not being fair to the Palestinians by taking these measures.
The world, chiefly the Western powers, has chosen to keep the population of Gaza as a perpetual beggar nation, dependent on aid. The children of Gaza are taught in schools run by UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) – created specially for the purpose of keeping generations of Palestinians as “refugees’ – and under its tutelage are raised to be Israel-haters and terrorists. The result is the perpetuation of intense hostility, which makes a mockery of the pretense of those same Western powers to be honest brokers of peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis.
Now the Islamic State (IS/ISIS/ISIL) has infiltrated the Strip and is threatening to take over control of it from its fellow Sunni-Muslim terrorists, Hamas.
This is from an article by Khaled Abu Toameh at Gatestone:
It is always dreamlike to see one Islamist terror group accuse the other of being too “lenient” when it comes to enforcing sharia laws. But it is not dreamlike when a terrorist group starts threatening writers and women.
That is what is happening these days in the Gaza Strip, where supporters of the Islamic State are accusing Hamas of failing to impose strict Islamic laws on the Palestinian population — as if Hamas has thus far endorsed a liberal and open-minded approach toward those who violate sharia laws.
Now, however, almost everyone is talking about the Islamic State threats against poets, writers and women.Until this week, the only topic Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were talking about was how to rebuild homes and buildings that were destroyed during the last war between Hamas and Israel.
It is no secret that the Islamic State has a presence in the Gaza Strip. According to sources there, many disgruntled members of Hamas and other radical salafi-jihadi groups have already joined the Islamic State, with some fighting together with ISIS groups in Syria and Iraq.
Earlier this year, it was revealed here that Islamic State has already begun operating inside the Gaza Strip – much to the dismay of Hamas.
Hamas, nevertheless, continues to deny any presence of Islamic State inside the Gaza Strip. “There are no members of Islamic State in the Gaza Strip,” said Eyad al-Bazam, spokesman for the Hamas-run Interior Ministry.
Many Palestinians, however, do not seem to take Hamas’s denials seriously, and remain unconvinced.
Over the past few days, two separate leaflets signed by Islamic State threatened to target Palestinian poets and writers for their “wantonness” and “atheism.” The leaflets mention the poets and writers by name – a move that created panic among many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
The leaflets also included an ultimatum to Palestinian women to abide by Islamic attire or face the Islamic State style of punishment — presumably being stoned to death. The threat leaves one with the false impression that, under Hamas, women can wear swimming suits at the beach and walk around the streets of Gaza City in mini-skirts.
But this is what happens when one fundamentalist group believes that the other is not radical enough.
“We warn the writers and poets of their wanton sayings and atheist deeds,” one of the leaflets reads. “We give the apostates three days to retract their apostasy and wantonness and enter the religion of Islam anew.”
The threats issued by Islamic State have drawn strong condemnations from many Palestinians. This is the first time that such threats have been made against poets and writers or women.
Although Hamas has denied any connection to the threats, Fatah officials [aka the PNA] in the West Bank were quick to accuse the Islamist movement — which has been in control of the Gaza Strip since 2007 — of being behind the leaflets. …
Palestinians point out that the two leaflets were not the only sign of the presence of Islamic State inside the Gaza Strip. They say that Islamic State flags can be seen in many parts of the Gaza Strip, especially at football stadiums and public buildings. In addition, Islamic State stickers can be seen on the windshields of many vehicles.
More recently … families have begun attaching the Islamic State emblem to wedding invitations sent out to friends and relatives. Photos of Palestinians who were killed while fighting with Islamic State in Iraq and Syria appear in many places, especially mosques and educational centers.
Of course, all of this is taking place while Hamas continues to insist that the Islamic State is not operating in Gaza.
Those who are taking the threats seriously are the women and writers whose names appeared in the leaflets.
Amal Hamad, a member of the Palestinian Women’s Union, expressed deep concern about the threats made by Islamic State. “We are headed toward the worst in the Gaza Strip,” she complained. “We hold the Hamas security forces responsible for the leaflets of intimidation and terror.” She and a large group of women in the Gaza Strip held an emergency meeting to discuss the repercussions of the threats.
Judging from reactions, it is clear that many Palestinians – including Hamas – are extremely worried about Islamic State’s presence in the Gaza Strip. Even if the terror group still does not have many fighters in the Gaza Strip, it already has countless followers and admirers.
It is also clear that if and when the Hamas regime collapses, the Gaza Strip will not fall into the hands of less-radical Palestinians.
The Gaza Strip has already been turned into an “Islamist Emirate” that is run by Hamas and other radical groups such as Islamic Jihad.
While Islamic State may have succeeded in infiltrating the Gaza Strip, its chances of entering the West Bank are zero. This is thanks to the presence of the Israel Defense Forces [IDF] in the West Bank. The Palestinian Authority and its President Mahmoud Abbas are well aware that without the Israeli security presence in the West Bank, the area would easily fall into the hands of Hamas or Islamic State.
It is important to keep in mind that the countries in Europe now voting for a Palestinian state may effectively be paving the way for a takeover by Islamic State.
We wonder how many people living in Gaza secretly wish the alleged Israeli “occupation” were real, and are nostalgic for the days when it was. Their lives were better, and more secure, under Israel than under the PNA or Hamas.
Now they – especially writers, poets, and women it seems – must dread the prospect of life under the rule of the Islamic State.
But if the Islamic State does absorb Gaza, its population will be stateless no longer. As citizens of the Caliphate they may be miserable, but they will no longer be “refugees”.
No more UNWRA. No more exploitation of the Palestinians by the Arab States as “victims” of Israel.
Of course, the attacks on Israel will not stop. They will very likely intensify. Will the world object as much to Israel defending itself against the Islamic State as it does to Israel defending itself against Hamas?
Time may tell.
Meanwhile, the Islamic State is taking possession of the minds of millions of Muslims all over the world. If it is not growing territorially at this moment, it is certainly growing as an ideal.
An ideal of savage cruelty and enslavement! Islam triumphant.
The Egyptian Goddess Isis
(just for decoration)