Saturday, September 29, 2012

The passion of King David, King Jesus and Prime Minister Netanyahu

Jerusalem has been the holiest city in Jewish tradition since, according to the Hebrew Bible, King David of Israel first established it as the capital of the united Kingdom of Israel in c. 1000 BCE, and his son, King Solomon, commissioned the building of the First Temple in the city

The Jews wherever they are on the surface of the earth face towards Jerusalem when they pray.

“In a fashion not easy for us to understand, Jerusalem was a symbolic focus of loyalty felt by every faithful son of Israel. Its history was magnetic: the holy city, the holy Temple, the holy ritual. In Jesus’ day, the new temple, built by Herod the Great, was a shining monument of white marble and gold. “Thither the tribes go up,” said its poets; drawn by an impulse of loyalty we rarely feel towards cities.  It was the focus of recollection, of power and of pious practices. The tombs of the prophets were there, venerated by those who kept white their sepulchers to preserve their memory. Once a year, or oftener if convenient, the faithful Jew visited the city. It was perhaps as much an act of defiance of Rome as of dedication to Israel.

As a loyal son, Jesus was sensitive to this impulse, but the pilgrimage which with strange prescience he knew to be his last was, we assume, less easily undertaken than earlier visits had been. It was no perfunctory holiday jaunt; it was something against which we saw immense barriers heaving themselves in his track, from which less daunting dedication would have turned back without shame or self-pity. Something in the way he walked seems to have impressed the man who later was  going to record the episode. Luke says, “he set his face” (R.S.V.) and earlier versions put it ‘steadfastly’. The necessity that compelled him communicated itself to face and pace.”

Edwin McNeill Poteat


May well be the most worthwhile 20 minutes spent in recent days- The option is there to jump directly to Begg's riveting exposition: 'sermon'. The Arab spring? The end of the world predictors and their rubbish? It's all there! "When you hear rumors... ! Add his web address to your favourites and stay tuned...

The World Will End (AGAIN) On... Allistair Begg

Friday, September 28, 2012

Why the battle over Jerusalem? #1

A short intro: Why the battle over Jerusalem?

Three major world religions specify it is where their faiths started and it contain holy lands; Muslims, Jews and Christians. These 3 religious groups came from one family, the family of Abraham.

1. Jerusalem has been the holiest city in Jewish tradition since, according to the Hebrew Bible, King David of Israel first established it as the capital of the united Kingdom of Israel in c. 1000 BCE, and his son, King Solomon, commissioned the building of the First Temple in the city. It was destroyed in AD 73 by the Romans who then expelled the Jews from the land.

The Jews wherever they are on the surface of the earth face towards Jerusalem when they pray. Jerusalem was named Jerusalem by King David when he established it as the capital. Jerusalem is the location of Judaism most sacred site, the Temple Mount which is where the two Temples were located.

Jews believe that all people, Muslims, Jews, Christians, and everyone else should be welcome there, regardless of faith.

Islam makes clear that the Land of Israel (and by default, Jerusalem) belongs to the Jewish people. The clearest evidence for this comes in Surat al-Ma'ida Lines 5:20-21, where God gives the Jewish People Israel. Note that those who condemn Jewish presence in the Land of Israel use historical or hadith-based rationale where in Islamic Circles, Quranic teaching is always superior.

The referenced lines of the Qur'an state (Sahih International Translation):

2. Jerusalem is significant to Muslims as it is where Mohammed was taken to heaven, (same as Jesus) Hence the building of the Dome of the Rock.

The Muslims, at one time in history, made Jerusalem their focal point of prayer similar to the Jews. But later decided to move their focal point of prayer to Mekka in Saudi Arabia, because of the power-base which began to reside in Mekka. Yet the Muslims still consider Jerusalem their Holy Land.

3.  Jerusalem is significant to Christians as this is the place where Jesus was crucified. Jesus went to Jerusalem as it was the Passover, and it was Jewish tradition to visit the temple there prior to Passover. Thus he was crucified close to the Passover.

The Christians also considered Jerusalem Holy Land because that is where Jesus was crucified.

Isaiah 43:5-6: Fear not: for I [am] with thee: I will bring thy seed (seed of Abraham, Jews, Muslims and Christians) from the Mizrach (those who considered Jerusalem their own i.e. Jews, Muslims and Christians) and gather there from the sunset.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Colonel Bo Brekke Murdered in Pakistan 2007


Defence counsel Ali Zia Bajwa pointed out that when Col Brekke was murdered in his office in September 2007, the whole Muslim world was up in arms against publication of blasphemous caricature in Norway and some other European countries. He said missionary organisations were also receiving threats and the involvement of such an element in Brekke’s murder could not be ruled out.


A Muslim leader urges Christians to defend their own faith — peacefully

NEW YORK — As an anti-Islamic video fuels deadly unrest in northern Africa and the Middle East, and a 15-year-old exhibit mocking Jesus Christ reopens in New York, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) points out that Catholics are frequently the targets of anti-religious bigotry in art and popular media.
His organization condemns the violent Muslim reactions to The Innocence of Muslims, but spokesman Ibrahim Hooper wonders why Christians, and Catholics in general, don’t make more effort to peacefully defend against attacks on Jesus, Mary, the Eucharist and the Church.
“We’ve seen a crucifix in urine, elephant dung on Mary and The Last Temptation of Christ, and mockery of Jesus on TV has become common,” said Hooper, a Muslim. “We oppose violence, but I would like to see Christians speak out more than they do about these insults. We all too often see Jesus mocked.”
Ten years ago, Ibrahim’s organization began defending Christianity when it called upon the TV Guide Channel to pull a professional wresting ad that portrayed Jesus gambling at a bar. Since then, it has often asked networks to stop mocking that which is sacred to Catholics and other Christians.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Arab Spring and TSA's response...

How should Salvationist react to the recent conflicts engulfing Arab nations?

In December 2010, Tunisian protestors filled the streets, sparking a revolution that resulted in the overthrow of their long-standing dictator, President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali. What happened in Tunisia set off an often violent chain reaction around the Middle East now referred to as the “Arab Spring”, and I know of no world leader or policy maker who didn’t appear off-guard.  But the rioters weren’t limiting their actions to political ambitions, the overthrow of national leaders, but their fanned violence targeted western embassies and religious institutions.
There are two primary problems with radical Islam. The first is their tendency to want to murder everyone who follows a different faith. A second serious problem with modern Islam is that those in the general population in the Arab world, who are not violent terrorists, are expected to keep silent when terrorism is committed in the name of their religion.
The White House does not want to call the action in Libya or that sweeping the Arab states a war. But what is it?
“It is a time-limited, scope-limited military action, in concert with our international partners, with the objective of protecting civilian life in Libya from Moammar Gadhafi and his forces,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Thursday.
“But not a war?” a reporter asked.
“I’m not going to get into the terminology,” Mr. Carney replied. “I think what it is certainly not is, as others have said, a large-scale military—open-ended military action, the kind which might otherwise be described as a war. There are no ground troops, as the president said. There’s no land invasion.”
Why then has the White House officially named their retaliatory actions as the ‘War on Terror’. These operations include the use of drones, air attacks, and Special Forces to carry out a focused, targeted war against AQAM Al Qaeda. The group has declared its intention to attack Algerian, Spanish, French, and American targets. It has been designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. Department of State, and similarly classed as a terrorist organization by the European Union.
A few weeks ago we read about the destruction of the SA hall in Mombasa, Kenya. As a result of rioting in Mombasa, Kenya, the Salvation Army corps (church) building has been considerably damaged. Kenya church attacks are latest sign of tension between Christians, and Muslims.
MOMBASA, KENYA -- The Salvation Army church had stood in Mombasa, Kenya’s second largest city, since before the country was declared independent in 1963. Regulars said they’d always maintained neighborly relations with the impoverished Muslims who lived around them. Now that world of harmony was as shattered as the windows lying around their feet.

"It was as if there was a war here. Stones were flying," recalled Herbert Kaduki, an elder of the church. "They were specifically targeting us."

What now? "We still don’t know," he replied despondently.
Kenya is no Nigeria, where Muslim-Christian antagonism dominates the nation’s politics and roils its hinterlands in fatal clashes every year. Kenya, with a booming economy and a strengthening democracy, is predominantly Christian and the relationship between that majority and the sizable Muslim minority has been mostly friendly.

But that veneer of tolerance was ripped open last week. At least five churches, including the Salvation Army one in the poor Muslim district of Majengo, were attacked during heavy rioting, local religious leaders say. Other churches have been attacked with grenades in separate incidents over the past year.
McClatchy Newspapers

“Part of the building has been burned and most of the corps equipment, including brass instruments, the sound system and corps flags, has been destroyed. 

Please pray for the corps as it seeks to find a way forward, while still bringing the love of Jesus to the community, during this time of unrest.”
From TSA, Nairobi, Kenya:

‘Today I call you to a special prayer for our fellow Salvationists in Kenya. In consequence of the breakdown of civil order in the city of Mombasa, our corps of the Salvation Army had suffered extensive damage. Part of the building was burned and most of the equipment, including wind instruments, sound system and corps flags were destroyed. Unfortunately, not only the building of the Salvation Army was attacked, but also to other churches in the settlement. Yet, in light of such risks, our building after the damage had been used as a place where people could come and get medical help. Thank God for giving us the opportunity to remain a bright light, even in the areas affected by the attack!

Our prayers should be on many levels. Please pray for the body, as it seeks to address, during the ongoing unrest, while bringing the love of Jesus to people. Also pray that the light of this religious and ethnic tensions and the peace of God.’

Do we as a movement, numbering just over 1,000,000 soldiers, realistically believe we can impact or shape policy among a people whose numbers seek our extinction? Can Christians really trust an Arab movement?

While there are no easy answers, one thing is clear: The Arab Spring has put Salvationist in a dilemma.
“Only the army, as a matter of official policy at his international center, refused to pass judgment or to make formal comment of any kind upon the warring parties, or to offer political or moral opinion as to the origins or course of the conflicts”. (WW II) Shaw Clifton, The Army’s Attitudes to War p160
 “Don't suppose that you are under any obligation to have any opinion as to the righteousness or otherwise of the war… A pronouncement on these characters not required from you...” William Booth in the War Cry addressing Salvationist during the Boer war.
Are we to do nothing as we witness the destruction of our property and abuse of our brother and sister Salvationists?

Sven Ljungholm
Liverpool, UK

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Libya’s Militias

Attack by Fringe Group Highlights the Problem of Libya’s Militias

CAIRO — Ansar al-Sharia, the brigade of rebel fighters that witnesses say led the attack on the United States diplomatic mission in Benghazi, holds that democracy is incompatible with Islam. It has paraded the streets with weapons calling for an Islamic state, and a few months ago its leader boasted publicly that its fighters could flatten a foreign consulate.

Hani al-Mansouri, a spokesman for Ansar al-Sharia, spoke Thursday about the Benghazi attack.

But if the group’s ideology may put it on the fringe of Libyan society, its day-to-day presence in society does not. It is just one of many autonomous battalions of heavily armed men formed during and after the uprising against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi who have filled the void in public security left by his fall, resisting calls to disarm by saying that the weak transitional government is not up to the job.
Ansar al-Sharia’s fighters have given conflicting stories about their role in the attack. Said to number fewer than 200, they can usually be found at Al Jala Hospital in Benghazi, where they act as its guards and protectors. And when instead they turned their guns on the United States mission, American security officers and the Libyan authorities did not call for help from any formal military or police force — there is none to speak of — but turned to the leader of another autonomous militia with its own Islamist ties.
“We had to coordinate everything,” said that militia leader, Fawzi Bukatef, recalling the first phone call about the attack that he received from the mission’s security team. The Libyan government, he said, “was absent.”
The organization and firepower used in the assault, which killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, has raised alarm in Washington about the possibility of links to Al Qaeda and a premeditated conspiracy that found a pretext in anger over an American-made video mocking the Prophet Muhammad. But to Libyans, the battle for the mission has underscored how easy it is for a spark like the earlier protest in Cairo to set off such an attack in post-Qaddafi Libya, when major cities are still controlled by a patchwork of independent militias and all keep their weapons at the ready.
The battle over the mission has also became the latest skirmish in a larger struggle unfolding across the region between hard-line and moderate Islamists seeking to determine the fate of the Arab Spring.
The leaders of Libya’s interim government say they hope public dismay at the attack on the mission will be the catalyst they need to finally disarm and control the militias. Mr. Stevens, the United States ambassador, was a widely admired figure for his support during the revolt against Colonel Qaddafi, and in the days after the attack far larger crowds than the one that attacked the mission turned out in both Tripoli and Benghazi to demonstrate their sadness at his death and their support for the United States.
But since the militiamen, who still call themselves “revolutionaries,” remain the power on the streets, there is an open question who will disarm or control them. “The government is required to do so,” said Mr. Bukatef, leader of eastern Libya’s most potent armed force, the February 17 Brigade. “But the government can’t do it without the revolutionaries,” he said, noting that many brigades continued to operate independently even though they now nominally report to the defense minister. “It takes a delicate approach.”
Ansar al-Sharia declined to be interviewed for this article. The brigade in Benghazi, whose name means Supporter of Islamic Law, came together during the fight against Colonel Qaddafi.
Mr. Bukatef said that its numbers had seemed to range from 50 to about 200. He claimed that some of its members were responsible for the assassination during the uprising of the rebel commander Abdul Fattah Younes, in revenge for his previous role as a minister in the Qaddafi government who led a crackdown on Islamists. The transitional government, Mr. Bukatef said, was too weak to confront such a brigade, and so no one has been charged with the crime.

Monday, September 24, 2012





A FSAOF colleague's tribute

Too late to say what should have been said. I remember you testifying as a teenager about how God had turned your fiery temper into a passion for His Word and Ray..he never took it back. Thank you for being an influence in my life although you probably didn't know. It was your passion and zeal for everything army that at many time kept me going. I am not worthy to say, well done !  but.... thank you for being you...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

My war on multiculturalism Part Two

Cameron: My war on multicul-turalism

David Cameron launched a devastating attack today on 30 years of multiculturalism in Britain, warning it is fostering extremist ideology and directly contributing to home-grown Islamic terrorism.

Signalling a radical departure from the strategies of previous governments, Mr Cameron said that Britain must adopt a policy of "muscular liberalism" to enforce the values of equality, law and freedom of speech across all parts of society.
He warned Muslim groups that if they fail to endorse women's rights or promote integration, they will lose all government funding. All immigrants to Britain must speak English and schools will be expected to teach the country's common culture.
The new policy was outlined today in a speech to an international security conference in Munich and will form the basis of the Government's new anti-terrorism strategy to be published later this year.

But his remarks have already infuriated Muslim groups, as they come on the day of what is expected to be the largest demonstration so far of anti-Muslim sentiment being planned by the English Defence League. They accused Mr Cameron of placing an unfair onus on minority communities to integrate, while failing to emphasise how the wider community can help immigrants feel more welcome in Britain. They suggested his speech was part of a concerted attack on multiculturalism from centre-right European governments and pointed out he was making it in Germany – where Chancellor Angela Merkel recently made a similar attack.
In his speech, Mr Cameron rejected suggestions that a change in Western foreign policy could stop the Islamic terrorist threat and says Britain needs to tackle the home-grown causes of extremist ideology. "We have failed to provide a vision of society [to young Muslims] to which they feel they want to belong," he said. "We have even tolerated segregated communities behaving in ways that run counter to our values. All this leaves some young Muslims feeling rootless. And the search for something to belong to and believe in can lead them to extremist ideology."
Mr Cameron blamed a doctrine of "state multiculturalism" which encourages different cultures to live separate lives. This, he says, has led to the "failure of some to confront the horrors of forced marriage". But he added it is also the root cause of radicalisation which can lead to terrorism.

"As evidence emerges about the backgrounds of those convicted of terrorist offences, it is clear that many of them were initially influenced by what some have called 'non-violent extremists' and then took those radical beliefs to the next level by embracing violence. This is an indictment of our approach to these issues in the past. And if we are to defeat this threat, I believe it's time to turn the page on the failed policies of the past.

"Instead of ignoring this extremist ideology, we – as governments and societies – have got to confront it. Instead of encouraging people to live apart, we need a clear sense of shared national identity, open to everyone."

Mr Cameron went on to suggest a radically new government approach which Downing Street said would form the basis of a review of the "Prevent Strategy", launched under Labour in 2007. "We need to think much harder about who it's in the public interest to work with," he said. "Some organisations that seek to present themselves as a gateway to the Muslim community are showered with public money despite doing little to combat extremism. This is like turning to a right-wing fascist party to fight a violent white supremacist movement."
He adds, that in future, only organisations which believe in universal human rights – particularly for women – and promote integration will be supported with public money. "Frankly, we need a lot less of the passive tolerance of recent years and much more active, muscular liberalism," he will say.

But Muslim groups said Mr Cameron's approach was simplistic and would not succeed in tackling extremism. "Communities are not static entities and there are those who see being British as their identity and there are those who do not feel that it is an overriding part of their identity," said Fiyaz Mughal, founder of interfaith group Faith Matters. "Finger-pointing at communities and then cutting social investment into projects is a sure-fire way of causing greater resentment. It blames some communities while his Government slashes social investment."

Inayat Bunglawala, chairman of Muslims4UK, described the speech as "deeply patronising". He said: "The overwhelming majority of UK Muslims are proud to be British and are appalled by the antics of a tiny group of extremists."

In its latest annual survey of immigration attitudes, the German Marshall Fund found that 23 per cent of Britons believed immigration was the country's largest problem. In Canada and the US, where the number of foreign-born people is considerably higher, the figure is closer to 10 per cent.

* Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of Muslim youth group The Ramadhan Foundation, said: "The speech by British Prime Minister David Cameron MP fails to tackle the stooge of the fascists EDL and the BNP. Singling out Muslims as he has done feeds the hysteria and paranoia about Islam and Muslims.

"British Muslims abhor terrorism and extremism and we have worked hard to eradicate this evil from our country but to suggest that we do not sign up to the values of tolerance, respect and freedom is deeply offensive and incorrect.

"Multiculturalism is about understanding each others faiths and cultures whilst being proud of our British citizenship - it would help if politicians stopped pandering to the agenda of the BNP and the fascist EDL.

"On the day we see fascists marching in Luton we have seen no similar condemnation or leadership shown from the Government. Only when we see true action on the fascists will confidence be restored in our politics.

"Politicians should be working to bring communities together not ripping them apart." This sort of rhetoric to score cheap political points will damage community relations in the long term and affect our efforts to deal with terrorism and extremism."

Dr Faisal Hanjra, assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, described Mr Cameron's speech as "disappointing". "We were hoping that with the new Government, the coalition, there would be a change of emphasis in terms of counter-terrorism and dealing with the problem at hand," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

He said he supported the Prime Minister's comments about learning English and the need for a more coherent national identity.

But he went on: "In terms of the approach to tackling terrorism, though, it doesn't seem to be particularly new - it wasn't so long ago that the Labour government was telling Muslim parents to look out for your young children and make sure you tell us if they are becoming radicalised.

"Again, it seems very much that the Muslim community is in the spotlight and being treated as part of the problem rather than part of the solution."

Friday, September 21, 2012

What about the 2,000,000 Christians in Syria? Part One

 Six week’s ago Kurt J. Werthmuller Ph.D., a Middle East historian and analyst in the Washington, D.C. area, of the Hudson Institute Center for Religious Freedom wrote about the looming reality facing Syria’s 2,000,000 Christians; Caught in the Middle of Worsening Chaos.

“Several months ago, I expressed several important concerns related to Syria's sizeable Christian minority (10% of the county’s population), particularly regarding its uniquely vulnerable position between the brutal tactics of a failing, unscrupulous regime and a fractured, un-predictable myriad of opposition forces. At least some of those concerns are now moving from speculation into reality. Members of Syria's diverse Christian communities are finding themselves engulfed in the fog of war and increasingly targeted, both as pawns of the regime and armed rebels as well as by the rising (if still limited) presence of al Qaeda-linked and other foreign militants in the conflict.

…. We have known from the beginning of this uprising that al-Qaeda and its ilk would do their best to engage in this conflict, and recent reporting from the front lines has demonstrated that their presence is steadily growing and are thought to now number at least 200 individuals. They will not extend mercy to any communities in Syria that continue to assume a neutral stance toward the uprising.

External intervention appears to remain a theoretical debate for now, even as time grows short for Syria while the body count rises (now past 18,000) and a severe refugee crisis expands. Perhaps, then, the only way this worst-case outcome may be prevented is for the United States, European Union, Turkey, and allies in the region to push anyone who will listen within the Syrian opposition, as well as the Gulf governments who materially support the Free Syrian Army, that foreign jihadi fighters must not be tolerated among their ranks- even if it means a loss of their rifles and "experience."

 ‘The rising (if still limited) presence of al Qaeda-linked and other foreign militants in the conflict’ speculation ended on September 11, and should have been foreseen and a tragedy abated. The USA Ambassador, Chris Stevens, 52, was killed. Precisely what happened is still unclear. But we do know that Obama’s intelligence agencies dropped the ball. Should the date and the events already raging out of control not have been a red flag? The outbursts of anger and resentment caused many to ask, “Was the Arab Spring worth it?” Or did the Arab Spring lead us to a Dark Autumn? 
Is there an equation to be made that pits a few hundred, and occasionally a few thousand men who vent for a few hours here and there to be allowed to express their legitimate anger at having their prophet and religion deliberately demeaned.
The Arab Spring arrived and spread basically without interrupting a seemingly peaceful transition. For almost 22 months we have seen tens of millions of ordinary citizens go out into the streets to demonstrate peacefully for the most part, as they worked to remove their dictators and live a more dignified and free life.
Yes, there have been a few illegitimate, unacceptable and reprehensible acts of violence. The attacks against the American consulate in Benghazi were such despicable acts. But to include a pre-planned attack by a small band of Salafist jihadist’s militants, the followers of Al Qaeda, in the same breath as a thousand men who vent peacefully begs disbelief.
End part One
Sven Ljungholm