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.
Ukrainian Church Autocephaly: A Web of Intrigue
It is for long that the non-recognized Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kiev Patriarchate (UOC –KP) tries to get autocephaly and sever the link with the canonical Russian Orthodox Church. To get it the UOC-KP appealed to Patriarch Bartholomew of the Constantinople.
At the meeting with His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew of the Constantinople Patriarchate His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow warned him about the disastrous consequences the provision of autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the so called Kiev Patriarchate (UOC-KP) could have for the religious life and the believers in the Ukraine.
According to some sources Patriarch Kirill tried to get across to the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew the idea that the political forces behind the idea of an independent status for the UOC-KP “do not represent the people. Those who came to power as a result of the Maidan coup in Kiev want autocephaly in order to consolidate their illegally seized power”. Fearing ouster by the disgruntled people and exile these people, who represent a mere 8 percent of Ukraine’s population, hope that the authority of and assistance from the Ecumenical Patriarchate will help them stay in power. The arrival of the two envoys dispatched to Ukraine by the Constantinople Patriarchate was followed by weeks of hectic and tense activity by local political and religious leaders.
In the wake of a series of meetings recently held by the Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) at the Kiev-Pechersk Monastery news feeds and social networks continue to report on a flurry of consultations, meetings and statements made by bishops, clergy and laity of the canonical UOC-MP, the schismatic UOC-KP and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC). Meanwhile, it is becoming increasingly clear that in the Client – Executor – Statists (also Beneficiaries) – Victim scheme, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who is acting as Executor, is using the Constantinople Patriarchate and the unrecognized Kiev Patriarchate as Statists in a bid to boost his chances for re-election with this “final step to independence.”
In turn, the Ecumenical Constantinople Patriarchate is trying to improve its image and financial status by foraying into foreign canonical territory and granting the self-proclaimed and self-styled KP and UAOC the status of “Churches” as part of the overall scam. Much to our regret, the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOK-MP) is already falling victim to all this with separation lines already being drawn between the clergy and laity , dioceses and parishes being isolated and fragmented, conflicts flaring up, the faithful unaware of what is going on, temples and monasteries being expropriated with the help of the powers-that-be and “conscious” militants, and the UOC-MP being branded as the “aggressor’s church.”
All this is already a sad reality. Just as Metropolitan Hilarion of the Russian Orthodox Church noted: “Renaming the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate amid an ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia is like forcing a Jew living in Nazi Germany to wear a yellow star.”
The main benefactor, behind all this, is the United States, as the proclamation of Tomos to the non-recognized Ukrainian church will inevitably set off a series of new conflicts, all of which will immediately be blamed on canonical priests and the Russian Federation. The Americans’ hand in these efforts, both in the form of advisers and ongoing consultations with the main actors of this process, aimed at the establishment of the new – United Ukrainian Local Orthodox Church (UCLOC), is impossible to miss.
The most recent consultations by three personalities, all of them, in one way or another, connected with the issue of granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kiev Patriarchate), was not lost on the editors of SPZ-website.
“On Monday, September 24, Petro Poroshenko arrived in the United States,” – the online publication wrote. “The official purpose of his visit is to attend a regular session of the UN General Assembly”. By a mere chance ”the Metropolitan” (he names himself – Patriarch) of Kiev – Filaret (Denisenko) and the Metropolitan of Vinnitsa and Barsky – Simeon (Shostatsky), both of whom are playing key roles in the ongoing process and vying for the head of the United Ukrainian Local Orthodox Church happened to be in the US.
Metropolitan Simeon went to the United States on September 20 at the invitation of the American clergy.
The self-proclaimed “Metropolitan” Filaret has been in US since September 14.
On September 18, he met with former US Vice President Joseph Biden, who calls himself an advocate of LGBT rights, and awarded him the ecclesiastical order of Prince Vladimir the Great, Second Degree.
A little later, Filaret thanked Ohio Senator Robert Portman, another defender of LGBT rights, for his “continued support of Ukraine” bestowing on him the same award.
In his September 19 speech at the Atlatnic Council think tank, which looked more like one made by a job seeker to his would-be employers than by a church leader, Filaret said that “we are grateful to the United States of America for supporting the Ecumenical Patriarch and his intention to give us Tomos on autocephaly.”
“We hope that the United States of America will help us complete our church effort,” he added.
Like we already mentioned before, Denisenko, who is absolutely disrespected by Orthodox Church primates, including (surprisingly as it may seem) the Ecumenical Patriarch himself, is the main stumbling block on the way to Tomos. However, this fact is completely ignored by Filaret who still hopes…
Simeon, Metropolitan of Vinnitsa and Barsky, stayed in the shadows until the very last moment. His godbrother in the UOC-MP, Metropolitan Jonathan (Yeletskih), the head of the Tulchin and Bratslav eparchy, spoke openly about Simeon’s participation in the creation of the UCLOS. Presiding over an emergency meeting on autocephaly on September 14, he issued a decree forbidding any contacts with representatives of the Constantinople Patriarchate, and also named Metropolitan Simeon as the likely candidate for the head of the UCLOS.
Adding to Metropolitan Simeon’s chances of winning US support is the fact that, unlike Filaret, he is a canonical bishop of the canonical church. And, according to an analysis of recently obtained information, this fact is very important not only to the world Orthodox Churches, but above all, to Patriarch Bartholomew himself.
An article carried by the newspaper Kommersant sheds light on how the Ecumenical Patriarch wants to conduct and complete the procedure of granting autocephaly to the UOC-KP. An unnamed member of the Constantinople Patriarchate told the newspaper that “… Ukrainian hierarchs make a mistake hoping that Tomos will be granted to one of the non-recognized churches here. This will be a new structure: the hierarchs will be appointed by the Patriarch of Constantinople, and the parishioners of the Ukrainian churches, as well as the clergy, will have the opportunity to join the new Ukrainian Orthodox Church in unity with the Patriarchate of the Constantinople. ”
In other words, the Ecumenical Patriarchate has been insisting that the Ukrainian Church cannot be in canonical subordination to the Russian Orthodox Church, since, allegedly, it is the Kiev Metropolis of the Constantinople Patriarchate. It also faults the UOC-MP for “shamelessly forgetting” the Mother Church of Constantinople, and is going to undo this “historical injustice that has developed over the centuries.”
The second step will apparently be bringing together under Constantinople’s hand the “lost” bishops and priests from all jurisdictions – both the canonical Church (here Metropolitan Simeon comes in just right!), and factious entities. Everyone will have to repent, both canonicals and impostors. Both are guilty of one terrible, yet forgivable, sin – they did not bow to the Ecumenical Patriarch of the Constantinople. Other sins just don’t matter.
The “repentant” convene a Council, which is named the winner and awarded with Tomos. Filaret is not among the winners because there is no place for the “patriarch” and the “Kiev patriarchy” in the new plans and no one cares about its future.
The remaining prize-winners, helped by the state, the “national battalions” and conscious citizens, start snapping up the churches, parishes and monasteries that remain loyal to the UOC_MP. Goodbye, Filaret, your mission is over. Long live the new Constantinople metropolis. The game is over.
Unfortunately, we have to admit that those who ordered the drama unfolding before our eyes firmly believe in the omnipotence of the “human factor”. It seems that, being pragmatists excluding the existence of the Heavenly Power, they don’t take into account the main factor – the existence of the Creator.
“The Lord cannot be mocked”. Therefore, the miserable end of this project is imminent even though if it may take some time coming.
First published in our partner International Affairs
The Swedish Church of Plaka
There were many clouds in the sky. The temperature was still hot enough for early October and I was walking hurriedly across the narrow streets of Plaka. Shortly before 15.00 pm I would ring the bell in the building of 18, Daidalou street. Looking up I would notice a Swedish and Finnish flag fluttering on the balcony of the first floor while at the door of the entrance I would see only a small inscription with the emblem of the official Church of Sweden — Svenska Kyrkan.
Going to the first floor, Rev’d’ Björn Kling would open the door. Coming in, I heard a mixture of Scandinavian languages while Björn is offering me a tea to start our conversation. Brigitta, who is responsible for the cafe of the Swedish Church, is giving me my brown sugar, smiling, while she is speaking her mother tongue on the phone.
Founding the Swedish Church
“The Swedish church has been established about 45 years ago and not even in Athens where we are now but in Piraeus. Originally, it was a branch of the Seamen’s Churches, part of a huge network. The thought behind it, was that all Scandinavian countries had a large number of men working in shipping, at sea. When they got to the harbor, they were all in a bad situation due to the harsh working conditions and there was no one to take care of them as their own people would do. Well, this role has come to be covered by the Swedish Church.” says Björn, sitting on the white couch.
But the time when the Swedish sailors were at sea was over and the Swedish Church had to change its role and mission. It was now there to help the Swedish truck drivers who were waiting to load and unload goods from the port of Piraeus. Due to time-consuming customs procedures, drivers waited in Piraeus for several days or weeks and the Church was there to help them and facilitate their stay.”
“Then we entered the era of the European Union and there were no customs and therefore no truck drivers. Our Church had to think very seriously about its raison d’être, its reason of existence. Why do we exist? Whom should we help?
From Piraeus to Athens
The needs were now shifted from Piraeus to the center of Athens. “There were quite a few Swedes and Scandinavians in Athens. Mainly women who married Greeks 30–40 years ago and settled here permanently. The need to find a common bond with their homeland again, to speak their language again and to pray in a church with memories from their childhood was more intense than ever.”
Based on this reasoning, the Church settled in this building 8–10 years ago. Access now is pretty easy and everyone can come. But who are they all?
“The truth is that we are a very small parish, and indeed a “poor” parish. At Easter, 60 people were in the mass, while in Sunday’s services we did not exceed 20 people. “
The average age of Swedes who are members of the Church is growing while younger generations do not come to the church.
“Our people here are growing up. Mobility impairs and diseases do not allow them to come to the church regularly. Also, many choose to return to Sweden because of the economic crisis. An even more important problem is that the descendants of these people, children and grandchildren, have nothing to do with Swedish culture and identity. Because of their daily life in Greece, they did not learn to speak Swedish and they have no contact with this country culturally, let alone religiously. “
While we are talking, I am hearing people arrive and coffee cups take their place in front of the coffee maker. Fika is called the habit of Swedes to take a break from everyday life to have coffee with friends while enjoying the cinnamon buns. Coincidentally, on the same day of the interview, October 4th in Sweden, they celebrate the National Day of Cinnamon Buns.
“As I told you, our parish here is quite poor. Of course, the Church supports us back to Sweden, but we have to face several challenges. That’s why I chose tbeing and serving abroad. Parishes abroad do not enjoy the advantages of parishes in Sweden such as huge, clean buildings, bureaucratic organization, several employees, etc. “
In my question about their activities as a parish, I would be happy to learn that there have been several things in the last two years. There is a children-youth choir and a youth club where it meets Wednesdays or Saturdays. “We study and discuss. We study mainly religious books, but we love the ancient Greek philosophers and ancient Greek mythology. Despite the odds, the Swedish church will celebrate with all the glory the Christian feasts as well as the Swedish traditions such as the tradition of Lucia — Lucia. The custom of Lucius is celebrated every year in St. Paul’s Anglican Church. We have an excellent collaboration with both the Anglican and all other Lutheran churches here.”
“Unfortunately, we would love to help even more actively to tackle social problems. We are not running our own programs to alleviate vulnerable social groups. Instead, we provide some sponsorship for some who know very well how to do it. First, we give an amount to the Non-Profit Organization APOSTOLI belonging to the Greek Orthodox Archbishopric. Then we give a support to a very worthwhile effort, ANASA. It is a school — circus where pupils either Greeks or refugees or immigrants learn acrobatics. It supports young people so that they can come out of the margin or do not get to the margin. They learn how to work together and how to acquire skills. We are interested in souls. Everyone will give a dish of food or do a medical examination. But who will care for these so tormented souls? “
Volunteers play a very important role in the parish’s actions. “Generally, we have quite a few volunteers. Mostly young volunteers from the Finnish church.”
A few months earlier, I would have noticed a new Finnish in Greece. She had just begun to work in the refugee on behalf of the Finn Church Aid, official organization of the Finnish church.
“But we also have paid staff for a few hours a week. Brigitta, Eva or Mari but also other women. They are employed for the cafe or the administrative part while there are two musicians. “
“Are you optimistic about the future of the parish in Greece?” I will ask with naivety. He has traveled with the church as a volunteer but also as a priest in places like Tanzania and Eritrea, Paris, Spain. His experiences marked him and shaped him.
“I grew up in a small town in northern Sweden. My parents were not particularly observant, but my friends and I were going to the church. It was a little normal for me to become a priest … “
“At first I went to a very small place of Sweden. I had awesome dreams and innovative ideas for a priest. I dreamt to create a football team, a volleyball team, etc. The people there taught me to make close relationships and learn each other.”
While we share our experiences from Sweden, I would tell him that I believe that the Swedes are not at all religious. “I think the Swedes are very Christian,” Bjorn told me. “And when I say Christians I mean they have, they maintain and they share Christian values. The negative is that it is now a polarized society where everyone is afraid of religion. Is he a Muslim? He is a terrorist. “
We close the interview and the last question I want to ask is about memories. A memory he will keep with him when he leaves Greece.
“I will never forget a feeling. How people feel when they speak their mother tongue again, when they pray and sing hymns that remind them of their childhood, when they find shelter and themselves in their memories.
You next cofee meeting can take place at the cafe of the Swedish Church: https://www.svenskakyrkan.se/grekland/cafe-paulusgarden (with Google translation you will also see the days and hours of operation). If you are interested in seeing a typical Sunday service in Swedish, you can be on Sunday at 18.00 at the Anglican Church of St. Paul in Filellinon. But where you will meet the original Swedish and Scandinavian culture will be in the annual Christmas Bazaar and the tradition of Lucia. To keep up with their news, follow them: https://www.svenskakyrkan.se/grekland & Facebook.
Achieving religious harmony in a world of fear and populism
This is a tough time for men and women of the cloth, at least those whose message is one of peace, tolerance, mutual respect, equality and inter-faith dialogue.
Underlying the rise of populism, nationalism, protectionism, fear of the other, anti-migrant and anti-foreigner sentiment, and hate speech is an erosion of the norms of debate. Articulation of hate speech has become permissible, if not fashionable. Often blunt and crude language employed by leaders, politicians and some people of the cloth help shape an environment in which civility has been lost.
Intolerant, racist and supremacist have risen in significance even in democratic societies that project themselves as open, tolerant guarantors of equal rights irrespective of nationality, ethnicity, religion, colour or sexuality. Suppressing those voices through laws and bans drives hate speech and racism underground, it doesn’t erase or eradicate it. Countering it with a message of tolerance and mutual respect won’t erase it either but can help shape an environment in which those principles become dominant again.
Let’s face it, prejudice is a fact of life. Its inbred in whatever culture each of us adheres to and whatever education at home and in schools that we have enjoyed, irrespective of how conservative or liberal our family and societal backgrounds are. We all were raised on implicit or more explicit notions that our culture is best or by implication other cultures are not as good.
In other words, prejudice is not the issue, its how we deal with it, how we manage it. The problem arises when we lose our sense of relativity, when we adopt an absolutist approach, the high way or no way. It arises when pluralism is thrown out the window and we abandon the notion that our world is populated by a multitude of equally valid faiths, worldviews and belief systems.
To quote Mahatma Gandhi, a deeply religious Hindu, who said in 1942: “I believe with my soul that the God of the Qur’an is also the God of Gita and that we are all, no matter by what name designated, children of the same God. My whole soul rebels against the idea that Hinduism and Islam represent two antagonistic cultures… To ascent to such a doctrine is for me a denial of God.”
In the battles in the late 1940s and 1950s over a proposed national ban in India on the slaughter of cows, Gandhi declared himself a worshipper of cows whom he regarded with the same veneration as he viewed his mother. Yet, Gandhi, went on to say that “the Hindu religion prohibits cow slaughter for the Hindus, not for the world. The religious prohibition comes from within. Any imposition from without means compulsion. Such compulsion is repugnant to religion.”
On a visit in 1942 to a German camp populated by Indian prisoners of war captured from the British during fighting in North Africa, Subhas Chandra Bose, a deeply religious leader of the Indian independence movement, reportedly warned inmates that “if you use religion to unite yourself today, you leave the door open for someone to divide you later using the same sentiments.”
Recent history validates Bose’s warning, not only in India and Pakistan, but across the globe expressed in Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and anti-Shiism, just to name a few, as well as in conflicts, wars and brutal repression in places like Syria, Yemen and the north-western Chinese province of Xinjiang.
Many of you represent faiths with multiple sects, legal schools and interpretations – proof that your belief system in the narrow context of that system is open to multiple interpretation. Some of those interpretations may be intolerant, anti-pluralistic, supremacist. They too are a fact of life, like it or not. Countering them depends on the social environment one creates, a sphere within which men and women of the cloth have an important role to play as well. It is also a function of the social and economic policies implemented by governments.
Indeed, the key is not suppression, what is suppressed doesn’t go away, at best it goes into hibernation, only to re-emerge at some point in the future. The key is containment, communities and societies that make discriminatory, racist, supremacist expressions socially taboo. That key is not enforcement by force of law but by social custom and an environment in which those expressions are continuously challenged in public debate, social settings and individual encounters. I am not talking about political correctness that stifles debate.
Leaving aside those whose beliefs are absolute and intolerant of any other view, a majority of people gravitate towards the middle. It’s what some call moral shock or what former trader Nassim Nicholas Taleb dubbed black swans coupled with economic, social and societal uncertainty and political manipulation that drives people towards more literal, absolutist, intolerant beliefs.
It is those circumstances in which normally tolerant communities and societies become more amenable to those beliefs. It’s what allows men like Slobodan Milosevic or Bashar al-Assad to turn societies where inter-communal relations and inter-marriage were the norm into wastelands in which one community tries to exterminate the other.
Think of Bosnia Herzegovina in the 1990s that seemingly transformed overnight from a beacon of harmony into a hell or the tensions in multiple countries ranging from Bahrain to Nigeria or the tenth parallel that journalist Elizabeth Rush aptly described as the fault line cutting across Africa and Asia between more strident forms of Islam and Christianity.
The last two decades have witnessed a renewed hardening of fault lines, not just ones between strands of Islam and Christianity, but across the board. This latest round started in 2001 with the moral shock of the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington and subsequent attacks across Europe as well as in Asia and Africa that continue until today. 9/11 was the death knell of multi-culturalism and the cradle of the latest wave of Islamophobia and rising anti-Semitism.
The economic financial crisis of 2008/2009 with its decimating effect on the lower and middle classes, the flourishing of jihadism, the impact of heinous attacks close to home and the fear, a human being’s most irrational emotion, that generated the breeding ground for populism, nationalism, protectionism and the return to primordial, absolutist beliefs propagated by multiple sources, including men and women of the cloth.
To be sure, the groundwork for this pre-date 9/11, fuelled by some strands of Christianity, massive Saudi funding across the globe of ultra-conservative strains of Islam, and the use of religious intolerance by leaders and governments because it served a political purpose.
Pakistan illustrates what this can produce. The tolerant and live-let-live types live in a bubble, primarily in Pakistan’s three foremost cities, Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. The gravity of society has shifted towards intolerance, anti-pluralism and supremacism. Ultra-conservatism has been woven into the texture of segments of society and the culture of some institutions of the state. It is a world in which absolute truth rules supreme, discrimination based on an absolute truth is anchored into law, competence is determined not exclusively on the basis of merit but on what faith one adheres to, democratic freedoms are curtailed. Mob lynching becomes acceptable, violence against minorities the norm, and anti-blasphemy the tool.
It’s a trend that is not unique to Pakistan and not unique to the Muslim world. It is a trend that is nurtured by the rise of populism, nationalism, authoritarianism and autocracy visible across Western societies, the Muslim world and Israel, in other words irrespective of cultural-religious roots.
In most, if not all of these countries, significant segments of the population have no real stake in society. Intolerance, anti-pluralism, racism and supremacism fuel the perception of disenfranchisement and marginalization that often produces a sense of not having anything to lose. It is some combination of religious ultra-conservatism, exclusivist ethnic and nationalist sentiment, and lack of a stake that creates breeding grounds for militancy and extremism.
Men and women of the cloth working in Singapore are in many ways privileged. While Singapore regulates hate speech or expressions it believes would undermine harmony, it has been successful in ensuring that all segments of the population have a stake in society – perhaps the most important factor in combatting discrimination, racism and supremacism as well as militancy and extremism.
Singapore demonstrates messages of tolerance and inter-ethnic and inter-faith harmony can and will be heard in a political and social environment that fosters mutual respect and dialogue.
There is however one caveat. Peace and harmony in society requires peace and harmony at home. The divisions and animosity between different religions and ethnicities at large are reflected in divisions and animosity within faith groups.
Tolerance, mutual respect and dialogue starts in one’s own community and its message is as credible as one practices it without exception. That probably requires a redefinition of the concept of absolute truth. That’s a tough order, but no one claims that ensuring that a peaceful and harmonious existence and future would be easy. It also is a litmus test of one’s sincerity.
Edited version of remarks made at the Inter-Religious Organization Singapore, 1 October 2018
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