April 20, 2014

Islam’s Public Enemy #1 – Coptic Priest Zakaria Botros

The report is filtered through Evangelical theology but it remains powerful nevertheless. Another video of Fr. Zakaria: … [Read more...]

‘South Park’ and the Informal Fatwa

south-park

Wall Street Journal by: Ayann Hirsi Ali The veiled threats against the Comedy Central show's creators should be taken very seriously. 'South Park" is hilarious, right? Not any more. Last week, Zachary Adam Chesser—a 20-year-old Muslim convert who now goes by the name Abu Talhah Al-Amrikee—posted a warning on the Web site RevolutionMuslim.com following the 200th episode of the show on Comedy Central. The episode, which trotted out many celebrities the show has previously satirized, also "featured" the Prophet Muhammad: He was heard once from within a U-Haul truck and a second time from inside a bear costume. For this apparent blasphemy, Mr. Amrikee warned that co-creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone "will probably end up" like Theo van Gogh. Van Gogh, readers will remember, was the Dutch filmmaker who was brutally murdered in 2004 on the streets of Amsterdam. He was killed for producing "Submission," a film that criticized the subordinate role of women in Islam, with … [Read more...]

A Muslim Preacher Converts to Orthodoxy

HT: Notes on Arab Orthodoxy The interview was presumably conducted in English, posted in Russian here, translated to French here by Claude Lopez-Ginisty, whence the present translation. We’re speaking in London with a new Orthodox Christian who was baptized today with the name Daniel. Daniel is not a Muslim name, far from it [actually, it does exist as a Muslim name, but it’s quite rare]. Although information about his conversion will inevitably circulate among the Muslims of London, for reasons of security we will not deliberately give details about this subject because there are very often cases of threats and violence and sometimes even murders perpetrated by fanatics. That said, Daniel’s experience is very precious for the Orthodox. Fr. Nicholas Savtchenko, interim rector of the Church of the Dormition (ROCOR) in London speaks with him. Daniel, please tell us about yourself. For many years I was a zealous Muslim, as were my wife and children. I was born in the UK, but … [Read more...]

Peter Kreeft: Moral exhortations

H/T: Mere Orthodoxy Peter Kreeft is an incisive social thinker who draws from Catholic social teaching for insight into the deeper currents of American culture. The Orthodox and Catholics see eye to eye on many of his points. … [Read more...]

Bishop Thomas of the Coptic Orthodox Church on “The Myth of Islamic Tolerance and Peaceful Coexistence”

Bishop Thomas speaking at the Hudson Institute (seven videos). See more videos: … [Read more...]

Orthodoxy and Hellenism group cites Islamic charter in defense of Patriarchate

An unsigned "call to action" in defense of the Ecumenical Patriarchate was published today on the "Faith: An Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism” Web site. This appeal asks readers to sign a Web-based petition which demands that the "Turkish government ... take steps to guarantee the recognition, safety, and protection of His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the Patriarchate, the Seminary of Halki, and the ethnic minority of Greek Christians living in Turkey." The "call to action" placed the weight of its argument for religious freedom and human rights on a "Charter of Privileges to Christians" purported to have been signed by Muhammad, the founder of Islam, in the 7th Century. The "call to action" described this charter as emblematic of the "established universal position" of human rights that also inspired the U.S. Constitution. The appeal: To those who were privileged enough to see the, CBS 60 Minutes story about His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch … [Read more...]

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on CBS 60 Minutes: Text and video

Watch CBS News Videos Online Also see video "extras" on CBS site. Transcript from CBS via National Herald: Text of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew's interview on CBS's '60 Minutes' (CBS) Would it surprise you to learn that one of the world's most important Christian leaders, second only to the pope, lives in a country where 99 percent of the population is Muslim? His name is Bartholomew, and he is the patriarch of 300 million Orthodox Christians. He lives in Istanbul, Turkey, the latest in a line of patriarchs who have resided there since before there was a Turkey, since the centuries following the death of Jesus Christ. That's when Istanbul was called Constantinople and was the most important city in the Christian world. But times change, and in modern Muslim Turkey the patriarch doesn't feel very welcome. Turkish authorities have seized Christian properties and closed Christian churches, monasteries and schools. His parishioners are afraid that the authorities want to … [Read more...]

Report: Egyptian State Security Accused of Cover-up in Muslim Riots

From the Assyrian International News Agency. (HT: The Volokh Conspiracy): Cairo (AINA) -- In an effort to cover up the Muslim mob violence against the Copts which broke out last week in the town of Farshoot and neighboring villages (AINA 11-22-2009, 11-23-2009), and in view of the complete news blackout imposed by the Egyptian government, Egyptian State Security has intensified its pressure on the Coptic Church in Nag Hammadi and the victims of the violence into accepting extrajudicial reconciliation with the perpetrators, and opening their businesses without any compensation. Similar State Security scenarios have been experienced by Copts in all sectarian incidents in the past, in which they always come out as losers, having been forced to give up civil and criminal charges, while the criminals get away scot-free. "There will be no reconciliation before full financial compensation has been paid to the Coptic victims, and the criminals are brought to justice, so that safety … [Read more...]

A ‘Controversial’ Priest

The Russian Orthodox priest gunned down in his church last week was buried yesterday in Moscow. There has been an intense amount of media coverage of this crime and most of the speculation, by the media and police authorities, centers on a suspected Islamist killer in light of Fr. Daniel Sysoyev's outspoken and aggressive campaign to promote Orthodox Christianity among Muslims and other non-Christian communities. From the Moscow Times: Church insiders said the attack, which happened late Thursday in southern Moscow, could have been the work of radical Islamists, who had regularly threatened him for preaching to Muslims. Law enforcement officials said they believed religion was the primary motive in the killing. The 35-year-old Sysoyev, who led the St. Thomas Church on Kantemirovskaya Ulitsa, was shot point-blank four times by an unidentified man wearing a medical face mask, police said. He was severely wounded and died in an ambulance. Vladimir Strelbitsky, a … [Read more...]

Review: How the Byzantines Saved Europe

The Surprising Life of  Medieval Empire

The Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Studies. Edited by Elizabeth Jeffreys, John Haldon, Robin Cormack. Oxford University Press (2008) Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire by Judith Herrin. Princeton University Press (2008) Ask the average college student to identify the 1,100 year old empire that was, at various points in its history, the political, commercial, artistic and ecclesiastical center of Europe and, indeed, was responsible for the very survival and flourishing of what we know today as Europe and you’re not likely to get the correct answer: Byzantium. The reasons for this are manifold but not least is that as Western Europe came into its own in the later Middle Ages and Renaissance, Byzantium gradually succumbed piecemeal to the constant conquering pressure of Ottomans and Arabs. When Constantinople finally fell in 1453 (two years after the birth of the Genoese Christopher Columbus), Europe, now cut off from many land routes to Asian trade, was already … [Read more...]

Benedict XVI in the Holy Land

Pope Benedict's trip is off to a good start and the intense media coverage (1,300 journalists covering the trip by one estimate) is already bringing much needed attention to the plight of Christians in the Middle East. The Bishop of Rome has a deep appreciation for Eastern Christianity, as did his predecessor John Paul II. In his Vespers homily delivered in the Greek-Melkite Cathedral of St. George in Amman, Benedict said this: The ancient living treasure of the traditions of the Eastern Churches enriches the universal Church and could never be understood simply as objects to be passively preserved. All Christians are called to respond actively to the Lord's mandate -- as Saint George did in dramatic ways according to popular record -- to bring others to know and love him. In fact the vicissitudes of history have strengthened the members of particular Churches to embrace this task with vigor and to engage resolutely with the pastoral realities of today. Most of you trace ancient … [Read more...]

Using ‘Human Rights’ to Squelch Free Speech

In the June issue of Reason Magazine, Ezra Levant details his long and unnecessary struggle with Canadian human rights watchdogs over charges that he insulted a Muslim extremist, who claimed to be a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad. This sorry episode also cost Levant, the former publisher of Canada's Western Standard magazine, about $100,000. Read "The Internet Saved My Life: How I beat Canada's 'human rights' censors." (HT: RealClearPolitics). Levant sums it up this way: The investigation vividly illustrated how Canada’s provincial and national human rights commissions (HRCs), created in the 1970s to police discrimination in employment, housing, and the provision of goods and services, have been hijacked as weapons against speech that offends members of minority groups. My eventual victory over this censorious assault suggests that Western governments will find it increasingly difficult in the age of the Internet to continue undermining human rights in the name of … [Read more...]