Islam has been, from its very beginning, not only a religion but a political community (Ummat al-Islām), and Muhammad was not merely a prophet, but a political leader and military commander whose aim is occupying the world. Therefore, Islam is more politics than a religion. Since Allah promised the Muslims victory and superiority over all other religions worldwide, it is sanctioned for all Muslims to occupy the world. Humanity is divided into two groups: the followers of Islam who are called “believers,” as compare to all the others, who, being not Muslims, are infidels or apostates by definition and deserve death.
It is the duty of the Muslims to propagate the only one true faith, Islam, throughout the world. It is the duty of the Muslim to invade, by force, to the lands of the infidels. Should the infidels refuse to embrace Islam, jihad is the means to vanquish them. These are the three main arms of Islam, the Muslims use at will and according to the circumstances.
A brief glance to world situation today clearly reveals what Western leaders refuse to utter; and Western media refuses to display; and what Western academia refuses to teach and to investigate – that Islam is the main source of all humanity’s troubles. 95 percent of world terrorism and more than 70 percent of world violence are purely Islamic. There are political, religious and ethnic minorities all over the world. In our global world, there is not even one country that has not minorities. However, there are three salient facts:
First, and of critical importance, Muslims are the only minority that do not want to integrate and assimilate. On the contrary, they have come to change and transform. Muslim minorities are almost the only cause of turbulence, agitation, hatred, rage and violence. This fact is one of the main reasons to the mired situation in most states globally.
Second, In the US, they have exacerbated the rage of Blacks and Hispanics, large parts of them converted to Islam, and part of them have deteriorated their upheavals to more radical-violent spectrum. In other states Muslims are the cause violence takes so high level of societies’ situation.
Third, in Arab-Islamic states, minorities are extinct species. They are persecuted, butchered, massacred, and slaughtered. This fact shows the true face of Islam. While demanding (by force of violence!) civilian rights in the West without accepting and recognizing any civility or loyalty, they treat other minorities savagely and deadly.
We have clearly to understand and declare that only one religion today regularly motivates large numbers of its followers to murder, behead, terrorize, rape, butcher, and enslave all other peoples across the globe. It is Islam; not Christianity; not Judaism; not Buddhism; not others. Islam. Only Islam. We know it, and still run away; we see it, and still we close our eyes; it is so clear and obvious, and still we deny it. It is one of the unfortunate facts that we all ignore this unprecedented evil in history and continue to pay protection money out of deep intimidation and ignorance. We all whitewash this horrific situation, as we are in deep mental and willful blindness.
Contrary to the Free World’s beliefs and conceptions, Muslims take Islam’s doctrine and teachings seriously and take it a must to follow. The Qur’an explicitly and repeatedly commands Muslims to engage in Jihad: “Jihad is ordained for you Muslims.” It explicitly and repeatedly commands Muslims to “kill the infidels wherever you find them;” “strike off their heads,” enslave and make sex slaves of their wives and daughters, and continue this Jihad “until all opposition ends and all submit to Allah.”
As is clearly seen from current history, Muslim terrorists across the globe are murdering, beheading, enslaving, and raping infidels wherever and whenever they can. There is not even one state around the world that is not influenced and/or inflicted by Jihad, Da’wah and Hijrah. These Jihadists are encouraged by Islamic exegetes and Imāms’ preaching; are directly supported by many Muslim sponsor states, like Saudi-Arabia, Qatar, and Iran; and by terrorist exporting states, like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, and Sudan.
The Qur’an explicitly and repeatedly commands Muslims to use all means of propagation to accomplish Islam’s targets and Muslim exegetes. Travelling Imāms, who are the uppermost enemy as preachers of evil, legalize the immigration, Hijrah, as a strategy to occupy the world. There is a perpetual Islamic political and religious encroachment into the deep fabrics of the non-Muslim states, perpetuated by Da’wah and Hijrah. This new kind of invasion, unknown in the record of history, happens since the Free World is voluntarily conceding to Islamic whims.
The strategy is simple but brilliant: Muslims consistently suppress any criticism of Islam by all means, from intimidation and riots to butchering and slaughtering. They immediately cry out, ‘racism,’ even though Islam is not a race; or ‘Islamophobia,’ even though it is absolutely not a phobia to fear Islam as it is founded upon a concrete reality. Indeed, this horrific situation is due to the fact that Islam is a political religion with political goals and political means to achieve its political strategy. It is a political system meant to impose its political ideological teachings on the entire universe.
The fact is that Muslims present their sensibilities and cry out they are insulted as a tactic and a strategy at the same time. When they do it, they are successful in imposing their will and censoring the Free World’s freedoms. With Western stupidity, ignorance, and intimidation, Muslims aim at bringing the world into submission.
The last example of continuing stupidity that motivates and drives Islamic atrocities is the media’s idiotic, retarded, unprecedented stupidity, detached from reality, as if, Muslim grievances, poverty and lack of education, is responsible for the terrorism. We have already referred to this in one of the articles in Modern Diplomacy. The fact is it is exactly the opposite. But the media continue to spread Islamic Da’wah, propagation, and the result is blaming the West and defending Islam.
The Nice massacre, is another example how the media viciously acts to rescue its narrative that Islam has nothing to do with terrorism. With this line, Reuters reporter, Tom Heneghan, leaves no stone unturned, in portraying France as an “aggrieving” Muslims. The Islamic Caliphate State’ French-language magazine Dar al-Islam appeared with the Eiffel Tower on the cover and the headline “May Allah curse France.” In its words: “France is gripped by an irrational and deaf hatred against Islam and Muslims that pushed it to the head of the coalition against the caliphate.” For Heneghan, Muslims are angry with France because it is warring against ISIS. Why? Because France is secular and it alienates non-Christian minorities. Muslim community is discriminated and Muslims live in poorer neighborhoods.
However, the truth is that Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, the Muslim terrorist who massacred 84 people at Nice was not a “lone Wolf” (what is this stupid definition?); he had accomplices, part of the Jihad syndrome. No, we was not poor and miserable in France and he was not depressed because of a divorce. No, he was not mentally unstable but good Muslim believer. No, his father is not a good French citizen but a member of a Tunisian Islamic party. No, his vicious terrorist murderous attack was not out of whim but meticulously planned and well thought out. No, his terrorism is not an isolated incident, but part of large world-wide Islamic Jihad.
However, the stupidity of the day concerning Nice massacre was the declaration of the French Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, that “France must live with terrorism.” Is it? Moreover, what was the reaction of French President, Francois Hollande, to the Islamic atrocity? He sounds almost as if he was being forced to speak: “We cannot deny that it was a terrorist attack.” Thank you so much. Raymond Ibrahim is so correct by blaming: imagine Winston Churchill declaring, “Britain must live with Nazism.”
And how both French leaders get out of this shame? They ‘externalize’ France’s foreign policy in the Middle East: now there is a ‘new’ diplomatic move to resolve the so-called “the Middle East Conflict,” by organizing a peace conference between Israel and the Palestinians. Instead of finding and executing a reliable strategy to fight Islamic Jihad, in fact Islamic atrocities in France and in Europe at large, France is meddling in Israeli affairs, and finds time to deal with Israel, as if pressing Israel will ease its mired Islamic situation. The standing ovation Abu Mazen received in his racial anti-Semitic speech in the European Parliament was a shame and must be totally denounced.
To the French oblivious and ignorant leaders there is Hungary’s Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, declaration that there was a clear link between illegal immigration to Europe and terrorist attacks on the continent. “It is clear as two and two makes four, it is plain as day. There is an obvious connection… If somebody denies this connection then, in fact, this person harms the safety of European citizens.”
Europe is a dying continent. Europe has become a province of Islam, as the late Oriana Fallaci referred to years ago. Europe is walking toward its own cultural suicide with eyes wide open, as if it does not care surrendering to a 7th century cult. Indeed, with its disastrous multiculturalism, European self-loathing and self-hatred gain ground over its Judeo-Christian values. The European states in their trauma of “no more war,” has created a deep black-hall, a vacuum that Islam entered freely and with full force. Not only that Europe has no answer to this hideous encroachment, it adds insult by helping to establish Islamic occupation in its continent.
William Kilpatrick has referred to the current situation in the US. Nihad Awad, the Executive Director of CAIR, urged Muslim Americans to take up the cause of Black Lives Matter. “Black Lives Matter is our matter… Black Lives Matter is our campaign.” At the same conference, Khalilah Sabra told the Muslim audience, “Basically you are the new black people of America… We are the “community that staged a revolution across the world; why can’t we have that revolution in America?”
In 2014, CAIR used the protests and clashes in Ferguson, Missouri as an opportunity to attempt to recruit blacks. The same is relevant to most of massacre atrocities done in the US. The paradox is that CAIR has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates, but not in the US, though it is a direct outgrowth of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is listed as a terrorist group by the by Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Islam is a missionary political religion. Islamic proselytizers see the present situation in the US as an opportune time to concentrate on blacks and to radicalize them. They are the tool, the means to transform the US, according to the Muslim Brotherhood grand strategy, published in 1991. Islam has managed to convince the blacks and Hispanics that America is a racist society that was built on the back of slavery and Hispanic hard workers. America belong to them and not to the Whites. CAIR and other Muslim “civil rights” organization reinforce this narrative, while advocating that Muslims are victims of a similar oppression, colonialism, racism, and Islamophobia.
According to an academic approach the chief theorists of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hassan al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb, and Abu al-A’la al-Maududi, were heavily influenced by Lenin and by the communist revolutionary thought. Maududi said: “Islam is a revolutionary ideology and program which seeks to alter the social order of the whole world and rebuild it in conformity with its own tenets and ideals… it is an International Revolutionary Party organized to carry into effect its revolutionary program… Muslims are under an obligation to do their utmost to dislodge the infidels from political power and to make them live in subservience to the Islamic way of life.”
Ali Gomaa, the grand mufti of Egypt, said: “Muslims must kill the infidels wherever they are unless they convert to Islam.” Infidels are apes and pigs. Muhammad Sayyid al-Tantawi, the president of al-Azhar University, also approves of killing Christians, Jews, and other infidels. He added, “This is not my personal view. This what the Shari’ah says, the law of Allah, the only valid law on the earth.” Abdallah Bin Muhammad Bin Humaid, The Chief Justice of Saudi Arabia, teaches In his book, Islamic Law and Constitution, that “Islam wishes to destroy all states and governments anywhere on the face of the earth which are opposed to the ideology and program of Islam.”
Hasan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood: “Islam is an all-embracing world concept which regulates every aspect of life. Waging warfare against the infidels is the highest expression of fidelity… It is a duty incumbent on every Muslim to struggle towards the aim of making every people Muslim and the whole world Islamic, so that the banner of Islam can flutter over the earth and the call of the Muezzin can resound in all the corners of the world.” Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the prominent Islamic cleric, “the most well-known legal authority in the whole Muslim world today,” said: “No peace can be made between us (Muslims) and the infidels. This what our holy book says. This is what Allah says. As Islam is a comprehensive system of worship (’Ibadah) and legislation (Shari’ah), the acceptance of secularism means abandonment of Shari’ah, a denial of the divine guidance and a rejection of Allah’s injunctions. The call for secularism among Muslims is atheism and a rejection of Islam.”
Muslims are not ‘radicals;’ they are ‘orthodox.’ They follow and observe the scriptures of Islam. They are abiding by the law of Muslims. They do not ‘hijack’ Islam and they do not misinterpret it. They adhere to their accepted established faith. The ‘radical’ Muslims, according to the Free World’s vocabulary, are in fact true orthodox believers in Islam, while ‘moderate’ Muslims, according to the Free World’s vocabulary, are in fact heterodox Muslims, who are also butchered.
It is clearly commanded: “Fight in the name of Allah and for the sake of Allah against those who disbelieve in Allah… When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. If they respond to any one of these, you also accept it and withhold yourself from doing them any harm. Invite them to (accept) Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them… If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizyah. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah’s help and fight them.” These are the words of Muhammad.
The first directive is to understand the track Professor Mike Dobbins, from Georgia Tech, has passed over and to follow it. For years, he was an apologist for Islam. In his words: I believed those who painted Islam in a peaceful, glowing light. I made excuses for radical Muslims and lived in a flood of denial that religious teachings could still motivate a person to commit evil. I criticized those who warn of the dangers of Islamic doctrine, recklessly labeling them Islamophobes.
Today I am writing to say I am sorry, I apologize, and I ask for forgiveness. Those who have blindly defended Islam are tragically wrong. The critics of Islam are right. Islam is intrinsically, alarmingly violent, hate-ridden and oppressive on a scale greater than all other major religions combined. To say that Islamists are motivated to commit atrocities and embrace oppression based on religious doctrine is the understatement of the century. I, like most defenders of Islam, was ignorant, naïve, and in deep denial. I wrongly assumed that Muhammad promoted peace, love, and non-violence.
We who have carelessly thrown around the Islamophobe label, should lower our heads in shame and guilt. We must now live with the knowledge that we have abandoned and betrayed our principles. Those who criticize Islam, especially reform minded Muslims, are the bravest of the brave. They are literally putting their lives at risk by the simple act of criticizing the Qur’an, Muhammad, and the Sharī’ah.
We were unwittingly misinforming the public and deluding ourselves by not making the connection between Islamic religious teachings and Islamic hate and violence. We did not connect the dots and we refused to look for proper solutions. At the same time, we liberals were busy tarnishing the critics of Islam as bigots and racists, and by that abandoned our cherished values of defending equality of women, gays, and minorities, protecting free speech and religion, and other freedoms and civil rights.
No religion, book, prophet, law, or god, no matter how sacredly held by the follower, is exempt from criticism. We either live in a free society or a tyrannical one. Rather than self-censoring and abiding by Islamic blasphemy laws, we should be defending our values and freedoms. I challenge everyone, especially the people who smear the critics, to read the Qur’an, the biographies of Muhammad, the history of Jihad, and the political ideology of Islam.
Indeed, apologists not only pretend that Islam is not inherently aggressive and deadly; they also smear those who point out that it is inherently aggressive and deadly. As Sam Harris says: the leftist-smear-brigade will label you “Islamophobic” (as if fear of Muslims who actively seek to kill you were irrational); “racist” (as if Islam were a race rather than a religion); “intolerant” (as if you should put up with people who seek to behead, enslave, or rape you and your loved ones); and all manner of other absurdities. Leftists will also point out that, like the Qur’an, the Bible contains commandments to kill unbelievers, homosexuals, and other sinners, ignoring the fact that today only Islam motivates large numbers of its followers, indeed entire nations, to murder and enslave people in the name of Allah.
What the Free World has to do as a must?
The first task is that is it should recognize, define and understand Islam. It was Albert Einstein whom we can take an analogy: “if I was given one hour to solve a problem, I would have spent 55 minutes to understand the issue, and 5 minutes to find a solution.” Indeed, we must really and deeply understand Islam and its cultural framework, by reading its scriptures, by learning its bloody history, and by analyzing its current behavior and practices. Then, the Free World should learn its own weaknesses and strengths and openly tell, loud and clear, with sobriety and wisdom, the true story of the situation. Without these, the Ummah, the Islamic Caliphate, wins.
Islam wins because we fail to understand its motives and aims. We must call a spade, spade. It is impossible to understand what the situation is all about, if one fails to call it by its name, or is not ready to name its ideology, or cannot define the situation. However, concerning Islam, we do not understand or we are afraid to declare that Islam is the problem all along. We even do not want to admit that we have the solution to the Islamic horrific encroachment.
The Free World’s media and the cultural elite love root causes, but the root causes of al-Qaeda, the Islamic Caliphate State and other Muslim organizations are not poverty, unemployment, lack of education, or lacking democracy. It is Islamic religion. The Muslim terrorist groups are not unnatural to Islamic reality; they are in fact an organic part of the Islamic religion and its culture. It is exactly the teaching of the Qur’an that matters; it is exactly Islam that is important.
Former House Speaker, Newt Gingrich, is correct by rattling the orthodoxy of political correctness, saying that Shari’ah is incompatible with Western civilization, the US constitution and the Free world basic values. Those who follow it are not loyal citizens, and either should not be allowed to enter the U.S. or should be deported from it. Islam and the values of democracy are totally incompatible. Everything that America stands for, freedoms, free speech, freedom of religion, civil rights, equal rights for all, and all the democratic power plays that are enshrined in the U.S. Constitution are in total contrast to Islamic teachings and doctrine.
Anything that is not in Islam is apostasy and all non-Muslims are infidels, including those Muslims who do not follow the articles of the Shari’ah. As early as 1991, the “Muslim Brotherhood in North America” has delineated in details the process of Islamic occupation of the US. The plan is to carry out a “grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated.”
Indeed, the Shari’ah is toxic; it is totalitarian with everything the democratic West stands for. It is an unfortunate fact that Europe ignored the announced goals and intentions of Adolf Hitler in his Mein Kampf, now the entire West ignore the horrific and much more concrete ideology and intentions of the Islamic doctrine. Moreover, the Nazis concealed the Holocaust and did everything to hide their actions. But today the spokesmen of Islam – Sunni-Salafi; Sunni-Wahhabi; Shiites – proclaim their intentions loud and clear without any camouflage. To paraphrase Mubarak Hussein Obama, the future must not belong Islam and those adhere the Shari’ah.
Arab and Muslim countries are not modern states with civil sovereign peoples. They are collections of quarreling antagonistic tribes and clans that were forced to live in states without any of the substance. When the Europeans left, the countries quickly became military juntas, and now they are fighting for survival against Muslim Jihadi groups that strive to bring the Muslims and the infidels to their 7th century desert. These Muslim groups are not a reaction against, but constitute the underlying pathology in the Muslim world.
The Free World’s media and cultural elite, with their ignorance and stupidity, are oblivious to the situation and insist that Western colonialism is the problem. But they fail to understand that the true regional alternative to Western colonialism is tyrannical rule, genocide of the minorities, discrimination of the other, and slavery.
Therefore, instead of pursuing liberalism and democracy as a solution to the Muslim countries, the Free World should strengthen the non-Islamic and counter-Islamic forces in the Muslim world. In order to win over, even trying to stop Islamic encroachment, it has to understand that the way that leads to the defeat of the Muslim Jihadi groups is paved only by defeating the culture and ideology that sustains and encourages them.
The problem is that Western leadership does not want to connect the dots between the Islamic ideology and teachings, so clearly permeating in the Sharī’ah. The cultural elite and the media even refuse to realize that the battlefield is in our own homelands; in our own streets and neighborhoods; in the TV studios; in the editorials of the papers; in university campuses; in the public opinion venues; and in the courts of law. That is why, if the Free World does not follow this, it has to experience Winston Churchill’s declaration:
If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.
Not faith, ‘but those who manipulate the faithful’ driving wedge between religions
Following a string of hate-fuelled attacks on places of worship around the world, the High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations (UNOAC), said on Thursday that it was with a “heavy heart” that he was opening the annual UN-backed forum in Baku, Azerbaijan, on the role of cultural dialogue in building human solidarity and countering violence.
Miguel Angel Moratinos said the theme of the 5th World Forum for Intercultural Dialogue, Building Dialogue into action against discrimination, inequality & violent extremism, was very timely as those gathered at the Forum, which wraps up tomorrow, would no doubt reflect on the “horrific terrorist attacks” that had taken place over recent days and months.
“I stand before you today with a heavy heart”, he lamented, explaining that just yesterday he had been in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where he had paid his respects to the victims of terrorist attacks on Catholic Churches and hotels that left over 250 people dead on Easter Sunday.
Citing a “spate of hate crimes and terrorist attacks” targeting places of worship, Mr. Moratinos said this was a stark reminder that that “no religion, country or ethnicity is spared” from such unspeakable violence.
He recalled that last Saturday, a synagogue in California was attacked while Jewish worshipers were observing the final day of Passover, and that last year there had been a deadly shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburg. These incidents came amidst similar violence, including an attack on a cathedral in the Philippines, as well as the massacre last month of Muslims worshiping inside mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.
“In all these heinous and cowardly attacks… we see a common pattern: hatred of the ‘other’, he said. “These criminals are hijacking entire faith communities, pitting religions against each other.”
Yet the problem is never the faith, Mr. Moratinos affirmed, it is “those who manipulate the faithful and turn them against each other by their perverted interpretations of holy texts.”
Social media only adds ‘fuel to the raging fire’
“The volatile nexus between protracted conflicts, terrorism, and violent extremism remains an ongoing challenge for the international community”, he stated, saying that violent extremists seek to “divide and sow instability in our societies”.
According to Mr. Moratinos, social media platforms only add “fuel to the raging fire”, along with the dark web, which offers a space for radicals, white-supremist and ultra-right advocates to “spew their twisted ideologies”.
He maintained that preventing violent extremism and ensuring sustainable peace are complimentary and mutually reinforcing goals.
“The importance of dialogue as an essential tool for conflict prevention and prevent violent extremism cannot be overstated,” he stressed.
The problem is never the faith. It is those who manipulate the faithful and turn them against each other by their perverted interpretations of holy texts – UNAOC High Representative Miguel Moratinos
Mr. Moratinos also highlighted the role of youth in providing a counter-narrative for violent extremism through their community engagement promoting inter-cultural and inter-faith dialogue and countering hate speech through positive use of social media.
“After all, these young people are our hope not only for the future but also for our present”, he said. “Their work responds to the recommendations outlined in the recent progress study on ‘youth, peace and security’ mandated by the UN Security Council pursuant to resolution 2250, and the Plan of Action on Preventing Violent Extremism”.
‘No room’ for exclusion
In her opening remarks, Nada Al-Nashif, Assistant Director-General for the Social and Human Sciences at the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), stressed the importance of promoting intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding.
Noting that the Baku Process was launched by Azerbaijan over 10 years ago to establish an effective and efficient dialogue between cultures and civilizations, she said that while “we have come a long way”, there is a need to focus and follow up with concrete actions to create continuity and impact.
She pointed to new emerging forces of division that are spreading hatred, intolerance and ignorance.
At a time when cultural diversity is under threat from the pressures of exclusive populism, she noted that “the world is facing the largest refugee and displacement crisis of recent history”.
“New technologies with the potential to better connect individuals and communities, are being misused to seed division and misunderstanding”, she said.
Ms. Al-Nashif stressed the urgent need to bolster inclusion and cohesion in societies undergoing “deep, sometimes unpredictable transformations”, adding that they are also important to catalyze the necessary innovation to advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
“Challenges today are complex and pay no respect to borders,” she underscored. “There is no room for unilateralism or exclusion.”
The goal must be “to embrace change on the basis of human rights and mutual respect, to shape it in positive directions, to craft a future that is more just, inclusive and sustainable for every women and man,” she said.
Because “dialogue is key”, she said that is why it “stands at the heart of UNESCO’s mission to build the defenses of peace in the minds of women and men”.
Ms. Al-Nashif said that UNESCO tirelessly protects education as a human right, calling it “the most effective way to disarm processes that can lead to violent extremism, by undermining prejudice, by fighting ignorance and indifference”.
“Diversity is our key resource for achieving inclusive and sustainable societies,” she asserted.
Ms. Al-Nashif concluded by urging everyone to continue working together to promote dialogue “to understand our differences, reinforce our common values, and cooperate together for our common good”.
Baku ‘positive platform’ process
Ilham Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan, spoke in depth about the Baku Process, which he credited with focusing international attention on intercultural dialogue, calling it a “good and positive platform to make the right decision”.
Saying that the Baku process is “one of the most important” between Europe and the rest of the world, he underscored: “We need dialogue on cultural, inter-religious, political, economic and security issues.”
Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen, Organization of Islamic Cooperation Secretary General, lamented that today the world is witnessing all kinds of discrimination.
“Terrorism has no religion, race or nationality”, he asserted, calling dialogue between cultures “an absolute necessity”.
Speaking on behalf of the Council of Europe, Deputy Secretary General Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni argued that inclusive societies, with equal rights and dignity for all, require understanding.
“Promotion of intercultural dialogue is not an event, it is a never-ending challenge” that requires education to ease anxiousness and dispel ignorance, she said. And that by coming together, with mutual assurances, governments pave the way for social inclusion based on political will.
The final speaker at the opening ceremnony, Abdulazia Othman Altwaijri, Director General of Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, spoke passionately on the need for political will to make intercultural dialogue a success.
“We cannot fight the rise of extremism without political will,” he said, castigating the world’s decision-makers – from the global super powers to the UN Security Council – for their inabilities to deliver much-needed progress on this front.
Ukraine’s Autocephaly: First Results and Possible Influence on Orthodox World
Nearly three months ago, on January 6, Patriarch Bartholomew signed the Tomos of Autoceplahy for the Ukrainian Orthodoxy. Though the whole process of granting autocephaly took less than a year – Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko appealed to the Ecumenical Patriarchate in April 2018 – the “healing of the schism” seems to be requiring much more time as the reconciliation between former schismatics and the Orthodox Church, which used to be the only canonical one in Ukraine, can’t happen in one moment.
The Phanar is said to have implemented everything Kyiv had asked it to: the leaders of the two previously schismatic churches – the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate (UOC-KP) and Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) were suddenly reinstated. The two organizations merged in the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), which was designed to unite the Ukrainian faithful and attract the followers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP). After the Tomos of autocephaly was granted to the OCU in early January, its hierarchs and the state urged the followers of other denominations (primarily of the UOC-MP) to join the newly established church.
To date, more than 500 UOC-MP parishes have transferred to the OCU. Ukrainian media claim that the majority of them were voluntary but according to the recent report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), in some cases they were initiated by state or local authorities or even representatives of extreme right-wing groups, who were not members of those religious communities. If the Orthodox Church of Ukraine wants the UOC-MP followers actively join it, its hierarchs must intervene and show that violence is not a solution.
Autocephaly was to become one of Poroshenko’s main advantages during the elections. He finally brought to the Ukrainians an independent church separate from Moscow and recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. However, recent polls show that he is lagging behind. The newly elected OCU Primate Epiphanius often highlights the role of Petro Poroshenko in the process of gaining autocephaly but it hardly yields any results as it makes the OCU look like a political project.
So far, the Tomos so hastily granted by Constantinople hasn’t brought the long-expected peace to the Ukrainian Orthodoxy. Believers are still divided, violence has grown and the authority of the new church leaders in Ukraine is weak.
Autocephaly affected not only Ukraine but also the Orthodox world. The Tomos, which was fiercely opposed by the Moscow Patriarchate for obvious reasons, led to an increased level of misunderstanding between the Orthodox Local Churches. Some Churches (of Antioch, Serbia and Poland) joined Moscow in criticizing Constantinople while the others still haven’t recognized the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. There have been calls to convene a Pan-Orthodox Synaxis on the Ukrainian issue (for example by John X of Antioch) but Patriarch Bartholomew refused to hold such a council.
The Ukrainian autocephaly did influence the relations between the Local Churches, and this influence wasn’t positive.
Really disturbing is that the Ecumenical Patriarchate can no longer unite or reconcile the other Local Churches. One can remember the conflict between the Churches of Jerusalem and Antioch in 2013 when the first established an archdiocese in Qatar, the land which canonically belongs to the Patriarchate of Antioch. The Phanar that claims to bear the title ‘first among equals’ did nothing to resolve the issue, and that was one of the reasons why the most ancient Orthodox Church was absent at the Pan-Orthodox Council convened by Patriarch Bartholomew on Crete in 2016.
However, Constantinople willingly interferes in the affairs of the Local Churches if it’s beneficial for it. Along with the Ukrainian issue, the Ecumenical Patriarchate is focused on France, in particular on the Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox Churches in Eastern Europe (AROCWE). On November 27, 2018, the Holy Synod of the EP suddenly and unilaterally dissolved the Archdiocese declaring that all its parishes and properties must be transferred to the Patriarchate of Constantinople. The Extraordinary General Assembly held on February 23, 2019, refused to dissolve the Archdiocese. Later, it will be decided whether to come under the jurisdiction of another Church – the Moscow Patriarchate, Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia or Romanian Orthodox Church.
It is still unclear why all of a sudden Constantinople decided to revoke the Tomos of 1999 granted to the AROCWE. It is rumored that this was masterminded by Metropolitan Emmanuel (Adamakis) of France who decided to acquire the Archdiocese’s parishes. Of course, such an act doesn’t boost Constantinople’s popularity among the AROCWE parishioners.
Another act unilaterally revoked by the Phanar was the 1686 ruling that placed Ukraine under the Patriarchate of Moscow. This was a decision that led to the escalation of the conflict between Moscow and Constantinople. These two incidents are serious reasons for concern. What if it decides to declare the ‘New Lands’ in Greece its own territory, for example? An Orthodox war between the Church of Greece and the Phanar?
The Ecumenical Patriarchate has shown how easily it can influence the fates of Orthodox Churches by revoking or interpreting documents it had once issued. On the other hand, it’s not that capable of resolving conflicts even in its own dioceses (see the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America whose Primate Archbishop Demetrios faces strong criticism amid numerous calls of Bartholomew to leave). The gap between Local Churches is widening. And today the Ecumenical Patriarchate is not seen as the leader, the ‘first among equals’ at least, that can unite the Orthodoxy and deal with the threat of another great schism.
Plight of Christians in India
Two Hindu teenagers in Pakistan embraced Islam. It was alleged that they were abducted and forced to change their religion. Pakistan is looking into the incident to ferret out the truth. India’s external-affairs minister trumpeted the incident into limelight. All major newspapers published her rants. Her knee-jerk was obviously intended to please Hindutva adherents, to mint political advantage and to spur anti-Pakistan sentiments. India, itself, has a long history of forced conversions, and persecution of minorities, particularly the Christians. Let us have a bird’s-eye of the problem in India.
Roots of Christianity in India
Christianity is India’s third-most followed religion after Hinduism and Islam. According to religious tables in India’s 2011 census of population, excepting counting, errors and omissions, about 28 million Christians live in India. They constitute 2.3 percent of India’s population. Thomas the Apostle introduced Christianity to India. He reached the Malabar Coast (Kerala) in 52 AD. And, he carried on preaching in every nook and corner of India until martyred.
Today, Christians live all across particularly in South India and the southern shore, the Konkan Coast, and Northeast India. Through sheer hard work, Indian Christians developed niches in all walks of Indian national life. They include former and current chief ministers, governors and chief election commissioners. To ruling Bharatya Janata party’s chagrin, Christians are the second most educated religious group in India after Jains. Christian women outnumber men among the various religious communities in India.
Arrival of Catholicism
Till 16th century, Roman Catholicism was unknown to India. It was introduced by the Portuguese, Italian and Irish Jesuits who preached the gospel of Jesus Christ among the Indians. Alongside preaching, the preachers established Christian schools, hospitals, primary health-care centres through their missions. Later, British, American, German, Scottish missionaries came to preach Evangelical. The evangelist introduced English in missionary schools and translated the Holy Bible into various Indian languages (including Urdu, Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, and others).
Christians now form a major religious group in three states of India: Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Nagaland with plural majority in Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh. Significant Christian population lives in Coastal Andhra, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Kanara (South India).
Disgusted with religio-economic extremism, more and more people, including dalits (down-trodden) are converting to Christianity, a class-less community. Dalits are not allowed to enter even high-caste Hindu temples. Some dalits were even killed at doorsteps of temples for daring tread foot-steps to temples. According to religious tables in India’s Census Report, 24 million Christians constitute 2.3 percent of India’s total population of 1,028 million. The Christian population includes 14 million Christian dalits. Dalits are Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist members of “untouchable” castes who convert to Christianity. The untouchable Christians are the most neglected community in India.
Despite India’s Supreme Court’s decision, Sabrimala Temple remained out of bound for even high-caste adult women. The fanatic Hindus fear lest Christianity, with its egalitarian and social- service message, should engulf Hinduism.
Beginning of Christians’ persecution
India’s present prime minister Narendra Modi, when chief minister of Gujarat state, and LK Advani could be called pioneers of anti-Christian movement. They distributed Bharatya Janata Party (BJP) manifesto, which, inter alia, spoke of enacting an anti-conversion law in states including Gujarat. The laws against conversion are meant to persecute Christian and Muslim minorities.
The BJP’s manifesto was outcome of decades of hatred, stoked up by Hindutva (Hindu nationalist) elements acting with legal impunity and state governments’ connivance. The anti-Muslim hatred created a gory situation first in Gujarat and then in Orissa. The BJP accentuated its propaganda to create an incendiary situation against the aforementioned minorities in different states during elections.
The BJP acted hands in gloves with Sangh Parivar a collection of Hindu nationalist organisations co-operating towards making India a Hindu State to weave religion and politics strategically together in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) enabling the Sangh to exploit religion for political gain.
The ostensible justification for such laws is that, in a democracy, the majority has the right to benefit from the principle of ‘majority rule. So, Hindustan (India) is primarily for the Hindus only.
The anti-conversion campaign aimed at restricting the right to propagate religion, which is guaranteed by Article 25 of the Indian Constitution. The aim of the two parties was to convert India into a Hindu state. India claims to be a secular country. But, unfortunately, the country’s legislative history, relating to the issue of conversion underscores the reality that the government always harbored grudge against conversion. Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan. Arunachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu passed Freedom of Religion Acts. A common feature of these anti-conversion law is that they made so-called ‘forced conversion’ a cognisable offence under sections 295 A and 298 of the Indian Penal Code.
Cognisability of the offence licensed police to harass missionaries and converts under influence of Hindu fanatics or Government functionaries. Some Indian courts intervened to stop persecution of nouveau converts or Christian preachers. For instance, Chief Justice A.N. Ray in Reverend Stainislaus v. State of Madhya Pradesh (AIR 1977 SC 908), and Yulitha v. State of Orissa and others, ruled that propagation is different from conversion. Ray observed adoption of a new religion is freedom of conscience, while conversion would impinge on ‘freedom of choice’ granted to all citizens alike. But the state governments remained nonchalant to the courts’ observations. The courts’ decisions being declaratory (certiorari), not mandatory (mandamus), remained un-implemented. Interestingly, India’s Ministry of Home Affairs (February 1981) advised the State Governments and Union Territories to enact laws to regulate change of religion on the lines of the existing Acts in Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Arunachal Pradesh (The Statesman, Delhi, November 16, 1982).
There are iron-clad guarantees in the Constitution for religious freedom. Yet, not only the born Christians but also Hindus who become Christians complain of persecution. It is not only Orissa, but also several other Indian states that have passed anti-conversion bills forbidding Hindus to convert to other religions. Such legislation violates the UN Charter of Human Rights which gives a person right to change his or her religion.
Harassment and social boycott
To discourage dalits from converting to Christianity, not only the Centre but also the Indian states have deprived ‘dalit Christians’ of minority-status privileges. Any Hindu who converts to Christianity is socially boycotted and tortured in different ways. Six women at Kilipala village in Jagatsinghpur district (Orissa) had their heads tonsured by influential Hindus. Their offence was abandoning Hindu faith at their own free will. Christian missionaries are harassed, deported and even killed. Indian government ordered ‘deportation of three American preachers from Church of Christ in North Carolina on the first available flight to the US.’. To add insult to their injury, the preachers were even attacked by Hindu fanatics. They had a narrow escape. Courts rarely punish people who manhandle Christian preachers. Dara Singh murdered Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two minor sons.
A few years back, Hindus attacked Christians as tit-for-tat for a book which allegedly insulted Hindu deities. Investigations revealed that the book was not written by any Christian. But, it happened to be displayed on one of the Emmanuel Mission’s book-shops for sale. The Mission is a Christian organisation that runs a chain of schools in various Indian states.
Hindus ignore the fact that Christian missionaries started coming to India, particularly the North-East, in the late 19th century. They promoted education and socio-economic developmental work in the region. In Rajasthan, the Emmanuel Mission, alone, runs over 50 schools.The bill makes religious conversion a non-bailable offence. While giving vent to their wrath against Christians,
Secret survey of Christians
Indian states sometimes conduct secret surveys of Christian population. With Narendra Modi, then as chief minister, the Gujarat government harboured xenophobic attitude not only towards Muslims but also Christians.
A survey of the Christians’ living in northern and central Gujarat, in February 1999 was withdrawn after protests. Modi restarted the survey March 2003 and May 2003 in Christian – inhabited areas (Ahmedabad, Sanaskantha, Jabarkantha, Kutch, Rajkot, Patan, Vadodara, Anand and Banaskantha).
The purpose of the survey was to ‘pinpoint Christians and sort them out, if they become a headache like Muslims’. Indian Express dated June 13, 2003 (dateline Ahmedabad, June 13, 2003) reported Gujarat police has again started a survey of Christian localities. The Christian community in Indian state of Gujarat came to know of the survey when policemen in plain clothes visited a few institutions in Kheda district of central Gujarat and made enquiries about their source of funds, origin and items of expenditure.
The Christian community was rueful at the recommencement of the survey. To them, it negated the state’s then chief minister Narendra Modi’s assurance to visiting team of the National Commission for Minorities, “No survey or census of Christians or other minorities would be carried out in the state”.
The policemen allegedly had a list of 42 Christian institutes, including Don Bosco School and Pushpanjali Society, in Kheda district. The Don Bosco is a secondary school run for poor students from nearby villages, with 150 boys staying in the boarding. Puspanjali is a medical centre with boarding capacity for 60 girls studying in the school.
The Christian trustees refused to give information for fear of harm at the hands of the fanatic Hindus. The analysts point out that the survey of institutions or homes to note down addresses of people on a communal basis are usually a prelude to focused violence against minority communities. Similar surveys were conducted some year ago when Sangh Parivar stalwarts targeted Christian tribes in the Dangs area. Such surveys are akin to door-to-door survey of Jewish localities in pre-World-War-II Germany.
In a resolution, the RSS has called upon the Hindus, particularly Swayamsevaks, to be vigilant about `anti-national and terrorist’ Christian groups, posing a threat to the country’s internal security. It urged the Government to take strong measures against said groups. They condemned Pope John Paul II’s statement criticising Indian states’ legislations banning conversions of the Hindus by missionaries. The executive declared that such conversions were a direct challenge to the sovereignty of the country. It is significant to mention that the Pope had just said that ‘‘free exercise of the natural right to religious freedom was prohibited in India”. RSS’s resolution ignored that the right to change one’s religion was enshrined in the UNO’s Charter of Human Rights, also.
The RSS urged the Centre to lodge a protest with the Pope for exhorting the Christian missionaries to carry on their campaign of conversions defying the law of the land. The persecution continued for five more years. On 12 October 2008, he Pope Benedict XVI was compelled to draw Indian government’s attention the continuing anti-Christian violence in India.
On 28 October, the Vatican called upon the memory of Mahatma Gandhi for an end to the religious violence in Orissa. In a written appeal addressed to Hindus, the Vatican office said Christian and Hindu leaders needed to foster a belief in non-violence among followers (“Vatican invokes Gandhi in plea to end Orissa violence“. In.reuters.com. 28 October 2008).
Christians dubbed `insurgents’
In his interview with India Today (April 4, 2005, Christian Missionaries are with Naxals, page 80-81), K. S. Sudersan (Rashtrya Swayem Sevak Sangh) says, ‘Naxals have a safe base in Andhra Pradesh because Christian missionaries are with them. They attack mandir (temples) and other Hindu institutions but never attack a Church. Because the Chief Minister is a Christian, he has given them abhaydaan (freedom from fear)and crowds of two lakh or more they can gather’.
Sizeable number of Christians (Catholics) also lives in Pondicherry and Goa. A much smaller number live scattered amongst the majority Hindu population in the rest of India.
Trajectory of anti-Christian violence
Incidents of violence against Christians have occurred in nearly all parts of India, it has largely been confined to north, central, and western India, in the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and the capital area of New Delhi.
Most incidents remain un-reported for fear of reprisal. Reported incidents date as far back as back as 1964. Human-rights body incorporate reported incidents.
The genocide of Christians in India’s north-eastern state Orissa was outcome of Hindus’ muffled hatred against Christians. Over 500 Christians, including some nuns, were burnt alive. Countless churches, houses and shops were gutted. Even Christian orphanages were not spared. India is, constitutionally, a secular country.
In 1999 a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report stated that Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), Bajrang Dal, and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (the sister organisations of the Bharatiya Janata Party) are the most accused Hindu organizations for violence against Christians in India. The National Commission for Minorities has stated that the State governments ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies provided support to the perpetrators. In most reported cases the named perpetrators are members of the Sangh Parivar organizations. The Sangh Parivar are small subgroups that formed under the umbrella of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), an umbrella organization whose roots date back to 1925. The RSS, who promote a form of Hindu nationalism called Hinduvata, oppose the spread of “foreign religions” like Islam and Christianity. According to Human Rights Watch, Sangh Parivar and local media were also involved in promoting anti-Christian propaganda in Gujarat. Mainstream Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox Christians are targeted far less frequently than Evangelical and Pentecostal Christians. There was an increase in incidents of violence against Christians after the new BJP government under Narendra Modi came to power after the general election in April–May 2014. Maximum number incidents were reported from Uttar Pradesh. According to a report by Open Doors, the persecution of Christians in India increased sharply in the year 2016.
Attacks on churches
In June 2000, four churches around India were bombed (Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu). A church in Maharashtra was ransacked. In September 2008, two churches were partly damaged in Kerala. In 2015, a church building under construction was vandalised in Haryana. St. George church in Mumbai was also attacked by masked persons. In the same month, the cathedral of Jabalpur was attacked and more than a dozen people were injured. The same cathedral had also been attacked in 2008 and the entire altar burnt down. In April 2015, St. Mary’s Church in Agra was vandalised and statues of Mother Mary and the Infant Jesus were damaged. A Church in Kachna area of Raipur was attacked by a mob during a Sunday service and five people were injured when they tried to stop the assailants.
Several churches were attacked in the capital Delhi in recent years. They include St. Sebastian’s Church (burned), St. Stephen’s college chapel May 5, 2018 (vandalised and the cross desecrated with pro-Hindutva slogans).
In Madhya Pradesh a church was destroyed and bibles were burnt in Mandla district in September 2014. In March 2015, a Bible convention was attacked in Jabalpur, with allegations that religious conversions were taking place. So on.
Christian Council protests
The All-India Christian Council’s president, Joseph D’Souza, alleged, “The State Government was been a passive spectator and often connives, by its deliberate inaction, in the violence against Christians’. According to the Council, ‘Apart from ignoring the distress calls of the community, the Central Government nurtures a hate campaign against it. There should be a halt to the calumny unleashed by the Sangh Parivar leaders”. The Council regretted that the Indian constitution was secular only in name. In practices, the minorities’ life and prestige was at the mercy of the armed RSS gangs’ _ Four nuns and three Brothers belonging to the Missionaries of Charity were attacked by a 40-member gang chanting pro-RSS slogans at a Scheduled Caste colony in Nallalam near Kozhikode in north Kerala.
With likely BJP’s win 2019 elections, hard times await Christians and other minorities. Till a let up in Kashmiri protests, the Christians can sleep well.
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