Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Urgent Comments from Baghdad

We are relieved once again to find our friend "the Mesopotamian" still alive and able to post his thoughts on his blogspot. Please read what he has to say:


"Today, I have something quite serious to talk about. At long last, it has come to be realized that any security strategy in Iraq must start from securing the Capital. This is something that I have said long ago and was probably the main reason for starting to blog just to get across this message.

"It would have been easier to implement such a strategy earlier before the “enemy” has had enough time to infest many neighborhoods and entrench in considerable areas of the Capital. Indeed it was the enemy who started the offensive with a deliberate and coordinated plan that escalated especially after blowing up the shrines in Samara, which was definitely an important part of the plan in order to escalate sectarian violence and invite retaliation which would then facilitate and help a campaign of “ethnic cleansing” to clear increasingly large chunks of the capital and turn them into “Faluja” style safe havens for the “insurgency”.

"I don’t know whether people abroad are really aware of the real situation in Baghdad right now. The capital is divided along sectarian lines with parts of it becoming no-go zones especially for Shiaa’s, and these zones are not just in the peasant outskirts of the city but have moved to the heart of middle class areas especially to the west of the city. The situation has worsened considerably in the last couple of months. Many of our relatives and acquaintances ......."

Please turn to the full text of this Baghdadi's heart-rending plea. You will find it on his oft-mentioned blogspot www.messopotamian.blogspot.com

Friday, June 23, 2006

Zan Tyler's New Book on Homeschooling

7 Tools for Cultivating your Child’s Potential by Zan Tyler. 2005. Broadman and Holman Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee

In spite of the unique title of this attractive book, and regardless of your age or station in life, here is a combination life story/practical advice/devotional book which is guaranteed to hold your attention.

To give you a taste of its contents let me quote two paragraphs.

P110 “America has gone from a country that once welcomed God (and His Word) to one where His Word is unwelcome outside the church. When a Christian view of the world prevailed in our society, being able to define worldview was not so important. Now that we live in a society that prefers to view the world apart from God, Christians must educate themselves on what a biblical worldview is and why it’s important. As Christian parents, we must commit ourselves to understanding worldview issues for our children’s sake because they are confronted daily with peer pressure and a pop culture that are often openly hostile to their values. If we choose to remain ignorant, our children’s faith will suffer.”

p.119“We must communicate to our children that each of them, in God’s economy, brings important gifts to employ in this world for God’s glory and our neighbor’s welfare. That is why we work. The engineer, the doctor, the mother, the lawyer, the car mechanic, the writer all serve God by doing their work well—by using their gifts to solve problems and improve the world. This idea of improving the world at every level is what God told Adam and Eve to do in the Garden of Eden.”

I can assure you that the end result of reading this lively piece of writing will be that you will get a glimpse of the value of any learning derived from “home” and an appreciation for the involvement of all parents, in conjunction with whatever style of schooling their children may be having.

Shirley W. Madany

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Western Dhimmitude

http://www.news.faithfreedom.org/index.php?name=News&file=article&sid=105

Posted by: Jacob Thomas on Jun 16, 2006

It was natural for Western media to be preoccupied, during the week of June 4, 2006, with the news from Canada and Iraq. Early that week, the Canadian authorities uncovered a plot of Islamist residents who were planning to perpetrate some horrific acts of terrorism. The mainline media kept telling us that some of these terrorists were Canadian citizens, while others were long-time residents, but the “M” word was absent. There was complete silence about the fact that all those arrested were Muslims.

On Saturday evening June 9, PBS broadcast its “Washington Week.” Four journalists appeared with moderator, Gwen Ifill. First they dealt with the hottest news item: the killing of Zarqawi, near the northern Iraqi city of Ba’qubah, earlier during the week. Then, the moderator turned to the terrorist plot in Canada, saying,

“The threat of terror hit closer to home this week with the arrest of 17 suspected extremists in Canada. The arrest of 12 men and five teenaged suspects also raised questions about U.S.-Canadian border security amidst the on-going debate over immigration reform. NBC News Justice Correspondent Pete Williams updates us on the investigation into the homegrown terror suspects in Canada and the arrest of two more terror suspects in Britain with possible links to the Toronto group.”

I watched carefully to see whether any of the four commentators would mention the true identity of the plotters. Almost all, with one accord chanted the clich√© that these men were “home grown terrorists.” But they were all Muslims. What’s wrong in identifying them with the “M” word? The fact that some or most of them were born in Canada meant nothing to those Muslims. As men who had embraced the teachings of radical Islam, they had only one loyalty --- to the Islamic Umma. The acts of terror they planned; such as storming the Parliament building in Ottawa, holding cabinet ministers hostages, beheading the Prime Minister, all those acts would hasten the victory of Islam over the world!

The mainline media, both in Canada and the United States, played down the true identity of the terrorists. After all, they must not offend the growing Islamic community in both countries, by any reference to the true source of the terrorists’ ideology.

The reticence of so many Westerners, both in government and in the media, to utter the “M” word, is shocking. But it has been coming for a long time. Back in July 1991, the late Jacques Ellul*, the French Protestant scholar of the University of Bordeaux, alluded to this phenomenon in his “Foreword” to Bat Ye’or’s Book, “The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam from Jihad to Dhimmitude.”**

Ellul’s “Foreword” remains as an excellent essay that should be read by all concerned about the global threat of Islamic extremism. The French scholar predicted the growing phenomenon, on both sides of the Atlantic, of the “Dhimmitude of the West.” Here are some very pertinent quotations:

“I have greatly stressed the characteristics of this war, [Ellul was referring to the institution of Jihad in Islam] because there is so much talk nowadays of the tolerance and fundamental pacifism of Islam that it is necessary to recall its nature, which is fundamentally warlike! Moreover, the author [reference here is to Bat Ye’or’s book] provides us an enlightening explanation of “Islamization,” a complex process whereby Islamicized populations supplanted peoples, civilizations, and religions in the conquered countries. This comprised two phases …the first is war; the second is the imposition of the dhimmi status.

“We are again faced with the fundamental choice: the world is still divided between the world of Islam and the world of war. And inside the umma, the only possible existence for the infidel is dhimmitude.

“This leads the author to pose the question which has become so alarming today: “Dhimmitude of the West”? After having thus covered thirteen centuries of history, read in the light of this question, we reach our present situation, actually feeling its ambiguity and instability. We misunderstand this situation, for lack of a clear vision of the alternative which, whether explicit or not, existed throughout the centuries and which the present book has the immense merit to analyze rigorously. The author has the courage to examine (summarily, because this is not the purpose of the book) whether a certain number of events, structures, and situations that we know in the West do not already derive from a sort of “dhimmitude” of the West vis-√†-vis an Islamic world that has resumed its war and its expansion. Hostage-taking, terrorism, the destruction of Lebanese Christianity, the weakening of the Eastern Churches (not to mention the wish to destroy Israel), and conversely, Europe’s defensive reaction (antiterrorist infrastructure, the psychological impact of intellectual “terrorism”, political and legal restraints regarding terrorist blackmail): all this recalls precisely the resurgence of the traditional policy of Islam. Indeed many Muslim governments try to combat the Islamist trend, but to succeed would require a total recasting of mentalities, a desacralization of jihad, a self-critical awareness of Islamic imperialism, an acceptance of the secular nature of political power and the rejection of certain Koranic dogmas. Of course, after all the changes we have seen taking place in the Soviet Union, it is not unthinkable, but what a global change that would imply: a change in a whole historical trend and the reform of a remarkably structured religion! This book thus allows us to take our bearings, so as to understand more easily our present situation, as every genuine historical study should do --- without, of course, making artificial comparisons and by remembering that history does not repeat itself.”

Fifteen years have passed since Jacques Ellul penned these clear sounding words! How relevant these words, as the Islamic terrorism is multiplying shockingly! And how blind are Western politicians and the mainline media in exercising self-censorship when dealing with Islam and Muslims! “The Dhimmitude of the West” is here with us; it’s become a fait accompli, thanks to the ideologies of multiculturalism and political correctness.
Thus, as long as we refuse to use the word “Muslim” when dealing with the various manifestations of Islamic terrorism, our efforts in the “War on Terror” will be in vain. The enemy must be clearly identified, in order to stop his advances; and gain complete victory over him. We must throw off the self-imposed shackles of dhimmitude; this is the only way to achieve victory.

* Jacques ELLUL died in 1994 at 82. A jurist, historian, theologian and sociologist, he published more than 600 articles and 48 books, many of which were translated into a dozen languages (more than 20 into English). From 1950-70 he was a member of the National Council of the Protestant Reformed Church of France. Professor at the University of Bordeaux, his oeuvre includes studies on medieval European institutions, the effect of modern technology on contemporary society, and moral theology. In American academic circles, he was widely known for "The Technological Society" written in the 1950's (English edition, 1964) and recognized as one of the most prominent of contemporary thinkers.
** The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam: From Jihad to Dhimmitudeby Bat Ye’or, with Foreword by Jacques Ellul, published in 1996 by Associated University Presses, 440 Forsgate Drive, Cranbury, NJ 08512

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Ex-Muslims Attracted to Western Secularism

By Rev. Bassam M. Madany

From my earliest days, I noticed a certain fascination with Western secularism that was exhibited by Arab authors who dealt with modern history. For example, they showed a high regard and admiration for the French Revolution of 1789, notwithstanding the unbelievable bloodshed and turmoil that resulted from it.

During the past century, that attraction has manifested itself specifically in the rapid spread of Marxist ideology throughout the Middle East. In the 1960s, a Muslim professor at the American University of Beirut, Dr. Sadeq Jalal al-Adhm, published, “A Critique of Religious Thought.”(Naqd al-Fikr Al-Deeni.) This book was critical, not only of the Qur’an, but of all theistic religions. His approach and methodology were thoroughly Marxist. He got into trouble with the Lebanese authorities, but was exonerated from the charge of inciting divisions among the Lebanese religious communities. Al-Adhm stuck tenaciously to his secular ideology. The last sentence in a revised and expanded version of his “Critique” was this: “It is beyond doubt that Dialectical Materialism is the best known attempt to formulate a complete and universal worldview that can be reconciled with the spirit of this age and its sciences. I believe that this is exactly what Jean-Paul Sartre meant when he said: ‘Marxism is the philosophy for our times.’”

We now have unassailable proof that Marxism has been an utter failure, both ideologically and practically. We need only to read Aleksander Solzhenitsyn’s “The Gulag Archipelago” to see that Sartre, Albert Camus, and all their Middle Eastern disciples, were wrong in their prophecies.

Having said that, I don’t want to imply that Western Secularism has ceased to attract Arab and Muslim intellectuals. For example, early in 2006, I came across a relatively new Arabic-language website, http://www.kwtanweer.com/ , serving as a forum for dialog among Arab intellectuals who are concerned about tajdeed (renewal), tahdeeth (modernization), and Islah (reformation.) As I glance daily at their contributions, I can’t help but notice how most of them manifest the impact of Western secular worldviews on their thoughts. This is clearly seen by their repeated references to such philosophers as Nietzsche, Kant, Descartes, Voltaire, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

In May 2006, a Syrian Muslim contributed an unusual article to the Tanweer (Enlightenment) site, in which he related his painful spiritual journey that ended with his leaving Islam. Its title was, “From Religion to No Religion: The Confession of a Muslim who has renounced Islam.”

If you wish to read more of this article please go to the following URL:
http://www.reformationtheology.com/missions/