Subject: This is a must watch and very scary
A Feast with the Beast
Ahmadinejad dines with church officials in New York.
by Mark D. Tooley
10/02/2008 12:30:00 AM
IN A FOURTH encounter over two years, American church officials shared an Iftar meal with the visiting Iranian president on September 28 in New York City. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad earlier in the day had delivered his usual rant against Israel and the United States at the United Nations. But hosting religious officials, anxious for dialogue, were undeterred. Nor were they were intimidated by boisterous demonstrators outside their Manhattan hotel, where some placards demanded: “No Feast with the Beast.”
Hosts of the evening with Ahmadinejad were the Mennonite Central Committee, the Americans Friends Service Committee (Quakers), the World Council of Churches’ UN Liaison Office and Religions for Peace. About 300 religious representatives attended, mostly American church officials, but also including the Council on American-Islamic Relations, leftist Jewish Renewal movement chief Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, a Zoroastrian priest, and former Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Bondevik, a Lutheran minister.
Called “Has Not One God Created Us?”, the meal and gabfest “demonstrated both the power and potential of religious leaders contributing to peace,” explained a World Council of Churches (WCC) official. “While there were points of contention and clear disagreements, the event reaffirmed that religious traditions insist on dialogue, respect and love for peace making.” The discussion question for the evening was: “What does my faith tradition bring to the struggle to eliminate poverty, injustice, global warming and war?”
Moderating the evening with Ahmadinejad was former Indiana Democratic congressman John Brademas, who is also President Emeritus of New York University. “We believe that war is not the solution to the differences that divide peoples,” Brademas implored, according to a WCC report. “Dialogue can make a real difference.”
Finding left-wing church officials to meet with Ahmadinejad is relatively easy. Finding willing Jewish leaders has been considerably harder. But Rabbi Gottlieb has previously joined in the interfaith outreach to Iran. “Torah councils us that no matter what problems face us, we are to engage in solutions through dialogue, reconciliation and peace building measures,” she opined, according to the WCC. “Dialogue brings many perspectives together, gives special attention to minority opinions and must be conducted by treating everyone with respect.”
Some participating church groups published reports of their evening with Ahmadinejad, but they focused on their own comments, while mostly only paraphrasing the Iranian president. According to the WCC, Ahmadinejad addressed the “commonalities of religions, the fundamental place of justice, and the essential role religion plays in the spiritual, moral and legislative fabric of society,” while stressing the “dire situation facing the world and called with urgency for religious groups to contribute to peace building.”
But according to Reuters, Ahmadinejad specifically denied that he is anti-Semitic, instead insisting he only opposes the “Zionist regime.” During his earlier UN speech, he had denounced “Zionist murderers” and purported Zionist influence on world finance. “As soon as anyone objects to the behavior of the Zionist regime, they’re accused of being anti-Semitic, whereas the Jewish people are not Zionists,” Ahmadinejad reportedly told the religious officials. “Zionism is a political party that has nothing to do with Jewish people.” He also denounced “selfish powers” that try to dominate the globe and oppose Iran’s supposedly peaceful nuclear program. “A lot of it was very challenging,” Rabbi Gottlieb admitted afterwards to Reuters. She said Ahmadinejad had not specifically denied the Holocaust to the religious officials but had minimized it in his description of World War II.
Some of Ahmadinejad’s comments were responding to questions from Mennonite official Arli Klassen, who symbolically lit an oil lamp before talking about peacemaking, according to a Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) report. “As a Christian, I believe that we are following Jesus Christ’s example and his teaching as we eat together and hold this dialogue despite our many differences,” she explained. “We ask you to find a way within your own country to allow for religious diversity, and to allow people to make their own choices as to which religion they will follow.” Klassen also told Ahmadinejad that she was “deeply concerned” about his Holocaust statements and asked him to “change the way” he speaks about it. She likewise pressed him to declare that his “one-state solution” to the Palestine/Israel conflict was a “political, not a military solution.”
The MCC reported that Ahmadinejad did not respond to the concern about human rights in Iran, instead speaking “at length about theological issues, such as monotheism, justice and commonalities among religions.” His remarks about opposing Zionism did not make it into the MCC account. “All divine prophets have spoken of one truth,” Ahmadinejad sermonized. “The religion of Islam is the same as that offered by Moses.” According to the MCC, he decried the suffering from wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon and spoke “extensively” about the Palestinians’ difficulties. And he criticized the United States’ nuclear arsenal.
United Methodist Women’s chief Harriett Jane Olson told Reuters afterwards that she wished Ahmadinejad had talked about “practical issues” such as the treatment of women and children in Iran instead of abstract theology. But most of the quoted religious officials expressed appreciation for the chance at dialogue with Ahmadinejad. “While there were points of contention and clear disagreements, the event reaffirmed that religious traditions insist on dialogue, respect and love for peace making,” a WCC host commented.
Notably absent from the interfaith evening with Ahmadinejad was the National Council of Churches (NCC), whose chief, Michael Kinnamon instead released a statement to be read at an earlier anti-Ahmadinejad rally. “President Ahmadinejad’s hateful language, denying the Holocaust and apparently calling for Israel to be ‘wiped off the map,’ must be persistently and forcefully denounced by all who value peace,” the ecumenical official declared. “If President Ahmadinejad has so little regard for the verifiable facts of history and the legitimacy of a state created by UN decision, it is hard to believe he means it when he insists that Iran’s nuclear program is only intended for peaceful purposes.”
Also remarkable was a statement specifically against the dinner with Ahmadinejad by the president of the very liberal United Church of Christ (UCC), a routine partner in such interfaith political events. “I fear the occasion can and will be used by President Ahmadinejad to claim legitimacy and support for himself by an association with respected United States religious leaders,” said the Rev. John Thomas. “I respect the sponsoring organizations’ intent for dialogue, but fear that the more likely outcome is sowing confusion and disappointment among our own members and, in particular, the American Jewish community.”
The NCC and UCC leadership have been sensitized to contacts with Ahmadinejad, thanks mostly to warnings from U.S. Jewish groups. The other denominations that sent representatives to the Iftar dinner included the United Methodist Church, Episcopal Church and Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), all of which, along with the UCC, have recently rejected anti-Israel divestment initiatives, thanks partly to appeals from American Jews.
An attending Presbyterian official explained that he was attending the dinner to press for the release of a recently arrested Protestant minister in Iran. It’s not clear whether he had the chance. After his long speech, Ahmadinejad left the hotel without taking any questions.
Mark D. Tooley directs the United Methodist committee at the Institute on Religion and Democracy.
These works vividly capture the long history of America’s encounters with the Arab world.
by Michael Oren, Wall Street Journal Opinon Journal, June 2, 2007
1. “An Algerine Spy in Pennsylvania” by Peter Markoe (1787).
“An Algerine Spy in Pennsylvania” appeared in Philadelphia at the time of the Constitutional Convention and as America faced its first hostage crisis in the Middle East. Pirates from the so-called Barbary States–Morocco, Tripoli, Tunis and Algiers–had waylaid American merchant ships in the Mediterranean and enslaved 127 sailors. CONTINUE
Shiraz Ahmed was tending his music store in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, when a group of 15 bearded young men walked in bearing bamboo poles and a chilling message.
Politely but firmly, they instructed him to take down the colourful array of Bollywood and bhangra dance tunes on display and to restrict his business to Islamic music.
“They told me I had to change my business,” said Mr Ahmed, 25, whose family has run the store for 15 years. “I am so confused. I don’t know what to do.”
Until last week he might not have worried about these men from Islamabad’s Lal Masjid (Red Mosque). After all, his shop is legal and within walking distance of Pervez Musharraf’s presidential palace.
But this was just one of several signs in the past ten days that a creeping campaign to “Talebanise” Pakistan has spread from tribal areas on the Afghan border right to the heart of the capital. And to judge from the Government’s response, even here it is reluctant to confront the radical clerics who openly preach jihad (holy war) and defy the writ of the state.
Pakistani police have promised to arrest Abdul Rashid Ghazi, the seminary’s vice-principal, and to prevent more vigilante raids. Maulana Abdul Aziz, the seminary’s principal, has refused to give up Mr Ghazi, who is his brother, and has vowed to cleanse Islamabad of brothels, liquor stores and other “unIslamic” activity.
He also gave the Government until [April 6] to introduce Sharia (Islamic law) across Pakistan. Otherwise, he said, his students would do it themselves, starting with the surrounding G-6 neighbourhood in central Islamabad.
“It’s like if you have garbage outside your house and the city authorities fail to clear it — you have to do it yourself,” he said. “We’re urging the whole country to rise up and make the country clean and pure.”
They have also been seen at traffic lights around the capital telling women to stop driving cars and asking people playing “unIslamic” music to turn it off.
“We teach the students complete Islam…Jihad is a big pillar of Islam.” And while putative Muslim reformers in the West self-righteously remind us that Islam is not a monolith and jihad is a spiritual struggle, these clerics and students in Islamabad teach jihad is warfare and peaceful Muslims have mounted no effective theological response to them.
From DPA, with thanks to Jeffrey Imm:
The hostage-taking of three police officers by students attached to Islamabad’s notorious Red Mosque Wednesday again highlighted the rising strain of religious militancy in the very heart of the Pakistani capital.If the police did not to release several of his students and teachers they would face a jihad, or holy war, warned cleric Abdul Rashid Ghazi, deputy head of the Lal Masjid, or red mosque, and adjacent madrassa religious school where Osama bin Laden is regarded as “our hero”.
But their arrest and the seizure of the officers and an alleged manager of a local brothel during a morality dispute is a sideshow to more sinister activity inside the giant complex with 11,000 students.
“We encourage our people to go and fight (foreign troops in Afghanistan),” Ghazi told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa during a recent visit.
Any means of stopping the “aggressors” was justified, including suicide bombings, and it was just a matter of time before the international contingents are forced to leave, he said.
Pakistan is a key ally of the United States in the war against terrorism, yet hatred towards the western “occupiers” in Afghanistan is openly preached a short distance from the offices of the prime minister, parliament and the Supreme Court.
Earlier attempts to take action against the complex were dropped amid fears of a broad backlash, leaving Ghazi free to impress the call to arms upon the 6,500 females and 4,500 males who take classes and worship on premises he jointly administers with his brother.
While a generation of young fighters appears to be taking shape under their tutelage, the state’s authority now seems to end at the heavily guarded gates….
Foreign armies had no right to invade Afghanistan after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, says Ghazi, who in 1998 met al-Qaeda leader bin Laden in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar.
“They will never succeed, they will go, defeated like the Russians,” he pronounces, before rhetorically asking how many of the 50,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan would be willing to carry out a suicide attack on the Taliban.
Hearing the answer “none”, Ghazi says opposition among the masses to western intervention can produce “hundreds of thousands of suicide bombers” eager to sacrifice themselves….
“We teach the students complete Islam,” Ghazi explains, but noting that, “Jihad is a big pillar of Islam.”
“We teach them the concept of jihad, not how to fight,” he clarifies, confident of the superior determination of those waging the armed struggle.
“For us this life does not matter,” says Ghazi. “(The fighting) will continue for some time, there will be a lot of casualties on our side, no doubt, but finally (the foreign troops) will retreat.”
A return of the Taliban to power in Afghanistan is the only solution for the country, he believes, while claiming that his men have contacts with the militant resistance and al-Qaeda.
Bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Omar are alive and actively continuing the fight and neither their death or capture would not significantly weaken the effort, according to Ghazi.
“In our jihad a person is not important – another would just take over,” he says.
As we have often noted here.
The Inconvenient Truth about Muslim Extremists
Author: Jason Rantz
Source: The Family Security Foundation, Inc.
Date: February 7, 2007
While a documentary based on questionable science is honored at the Academy Awards and shown throughout college campuses, another one based on the cold stark facts of our real world is not. FSM Contributing Editor Jason Rantz explains how such a travesty could happen.
The Inconvenient Truth about Muslim Extremists
By Jason Rantz
Former Vice President and apocalyptic visionary Al Gore is one happy man today. Fresh off a win for Best Documentary Film by the Academy Awards Sunday night, Gore – and his “crisis climate” friends – are seeing copies of the documentary get screened all across the country on college campuses.
Since An Inconvenient Truth was released in theaters last year, college administrators, professors and hippie, self-aware students have flocked together to discuss how on earth they can save… the earth. Pushing the facts about global warming aside, they have created a false sense of urgency and are propagandizing their classmates to fix the “crisis” by showing the documentary.
Indeed, a screening of An Inconvenient Truth kicked off “Green Week” at George Washington University. Free screenings have aired at Penn State, Holy Cross, Macalester College, University of Rochester, and other colleges, big and small. All this, despite the questionable science behind the film.
Even though Gore seems to think the debate on global warming is over, actual scientists and other experts tend to disagree. National Review Online author and senior fellow in environmental studies at the CATO Institute Patrick Michaels strongly questions the fuzzy science behind Gore’s documentary and declares “When it comes to global warming, apparently the truth is inconvenient.” Oregon State’s climatologist George Taylor “has said human activity isn’t the chief cause of global climate change.” And two terrific books, that should be mandatory reading on many college campuses, lay out the inconsistencies of the climate crisis studies: Marlo Lewis, Jr. of the Competitive Enterprise Institute penned the A Skeptic’s Guide to An Inconvenient Truth and Chris Horner, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, recently published the Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming (and Environmentalism).
Yet despite the lively debate over global warming, campuses seem to move ahead to fix a problem that is not really considered an immediate threat. They seem utterly convinced that global warming can take this planet at any time.
Ironically, there is an immediate threat that faces not just the United States, but civilized countries across the globe, which isn’t tackled with the sense of urgency that it demands – Jihadism.
Whereas An Inconvenient Truth is welcomed with open arms, Obsession is not. Obsession is a frightening documentary on the extreme Muslims who wish to destroy Western civilization and everything it stands for. Rather than get support from American campuses, administrators and students are doing whatever they can to get the documentary screenings shut down.
Indeed, at the University of California at Los Angeles, dozens of protestors showed up to a screening of Obsession. The screening’s intent was to denounce “militant Islamic radicalism,” but the PC-left didn’t think it was appropriate. According to the Daily Bruin, “Representatives from the Muslim Student Association and Students for Justice were gathered outside the event because they said it portrayed Islam in a negative light in that it highlighted the radical sects of the religion.” (An aside: I wonder if these students protested outside theaters that showed the Academy Award nominated Jesus Camp, which highlighted the radical sects of Christianity; one wonders if they protested during seminars that portrays big business and capitalism as a leading contributor to the “climate crisis”).
As I reported several weeks ago, Pace University pressured the campus Jewish group to cancel its screening of Obsession. (After conservative bloggers and publications reported this, Pace quickly backed away and tried to spin their actions). Similarly, at State University of New York at Stony Brook, the campus Jewish group was pressured into canceling their Obsession screening.
Unlike An Inconvenient Truth, there is not much serious debate over the dangers of the extremists portrayed in Obsession. Indeed, the student protestors and critics of the film are mad that the film accurately portrays the extremists in the religion and not the normal practitioners of Islam. The only people who seem to think we’re not at war with terrorists are the New York Times and CBS.
Why are leftist campuses so eager to accept An Inconvenient Truth, but so hesitant to accept the inconvenient truth about militant Islam? It’s pretty simple, really: anti-American sentiment.
You see, those behind the “climate crisis” lunacy are the same people who hate our capitalistic ways. They want big business to suffer; every time they see a Starbucks or WalMart, they scream in anger. They see capitalism as exploiting the poor and weak, all while polluting Mother Earth. And they just hate it!
On the other hand, they secretly agree with some anti-American Islamo-fascists who want to put an end to our Western ways. Much like our Islamic enemies, they see a problem with Western culture: our excess, our waste, our “arrogant” attitudes. No, the environmentalist hippies don’t want us to suffer car bombs or planes-as-missiles – but they do want to put a dent in the ways of big business. And an easy way to get us to stop driving SUVs or drinking coffee from Starbucks or buying cheaper good from WalMart is to tell us – subtly and sometimes not-so-subtly – that every time we partake in big business, we are helping to destroy the planet. And no one wants to be told their actions will lead to our extinction.
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Jason Rantz is a producer and talk radio show host based in Southern California whose program has been called “irreverent and skillfully witt.y. His program frequently broadcasts on Free FM in San Diego, California. Check your local listings or listen to his show online at his website http://www.JasonRantz.com.
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Note — The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, views, and/or philosophy of The Family Security Foundation, Inc.