Muslim father deeply offended by Easter egg hunt flyer depicting bunnies

Majed Moughni holds the offending article (photo: Ryan  Garza/Detroit Free Press)

Majed Moughni holds the offending article (photo: Ryan Garza/Detroit Free Press)

by Allen West:

And here’s yet another reminder of how stupid that “coexist” bumper sticker truly is. Hat tip to Gateway Pundit for reporting that a Muslim father is upset because his children were traumatized by a… well, a flier for an Easter egg hunt. Oh, the horror of getting an invitation to join other American children in a time-honored tradition of hunting for colored Easter eggs. Really scary huh? As reported in the Detroit Free Press, some Muslim parents are concerned about public schools in Dearborn handing out flyers to all students advertising an Easter egg hunt, saying it violates the principle of church and state separation.

A flyer with the highly inflammatory “Eggstravaganza!” was given to students this week at three elementary schools in the Dearborn Public Schools district, which has a substantial number of Muslim students. The flyer described an April 12 event at Cherry Hill Presbyterian Church in Dearborn featuring an egg hunt, relay race, and egg toss, and included images of eggs and a bunny.

“It really bothered my two kids,” said parent Majed Moughni, who is Muslim and has two children, ages 7 and 9, in Dearborn elementary schools. “My son was like, ‘Dad, I really don’t feel comfortable getting these flyers, telling me to go to church. I thought churches are not supposed to mix with schools.’ ” Moughni said he’s concerned about “using school teachers paid by public funds … to pass out these flyers that are being distributed by a church. I think that’s a serious violation of separation of church and state.”

First of all, the flyer was approved by the school district. Second, it was an invitation to an event that was not religious or church-related, only took place at churchs ground. Thirdly, I believe Mr. Moughni fails to realize that his religion, Islam, is a totalitarian ideology which has no separation between mosque and state. Islamic Sharia law dictates every aspect of a Muslim’s life and decrees the most heinous of punishments, such as stoning for women — and not with chocolate or marshmallow peep stones, but real ones.

It seems this burgeoning Muslim community in “Dearbornistan” actually believes it can coerce the remaining non-Muslims there to live in fear and cower to their intolerance. Sorry, sir. Ain’t happenin’.

Maybe Mr. Moughni can explain why the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR) — an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorist funding case and subsidiary organization of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood — is suppressing the first amendment right of free speech and free expression in the showing of the documentary “Honor Diaries” which we have featured here.

This is how it happens America. There are those who enact the Islamic principle of the hijra — “migration” — in order not to assimilate but infiltrate and eventually dominate the host country culture. We see it happening across the Atlantic Ocean in Europe. It becomes a spreading cancer that uses the host country’s freedoms and principles to turn it upon itself — as Mr. Moughni attempts to use “separation of church and state” as an argument.

Read more 

Syrian Christian Leaders Show Hope in the Face of Despair

In this exclusive report to the Religious Freedom Coalition Andrew Harrod reveals the feelings toward Muslims and the Assad government in Syria by  high ranking members of the Syrian Christian clergy. Christians in Syria refer to the “golden age” of freedom they have had since 1970 that now is threatened by the installation of a Saudi style regime by the United States government. – Editor

By Andrew E. Harrod

“There will come a time when there will be no more Christians in Syria,” the Syrian Presbyterian Rev. Dr. Riad Jarjour, former General Secretary of the Middle East Council of Churches, warned recently onJanuary 27, 2014, at Washington, DC’s Heritage Foundation.  Jarjour explained Syrian Christians’ “stage of hopelessness” while “boxed in” by Muslim sectarian fighting in Syria’s civil war during two successive presentations by a Syrian Christian delegation.

Syrian clergy visiting the United States speak favorable of the government of Bashir Assad (YouTube)

Syrian clergy visiting the United States speak favorable of the government of Bashir Assad (YouTube)

The Heritage event and the previous day’s panel at McLean, Virginia’s St. John the Beloved Catholic Church clearly showed the “tragedy of the church in Syria” described at St. John by Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo.  Sookhdeo, chairman of the Westminster Institute and international director of Barnabas Aid, the Syrian delegation’s sponsors, described a “Gethsemane that leads to a potential Calvary.”  One-third of Syria’s two million Christians had fled the country during “perhaps the single greatest humanitarian disaster in the world today.”  During a slide show, Syrian Orthodox Church Metropolitan Bishop Dionysius Jean Kawak at St. John noted United Nations estimates of ten million Syrians needing assistance by the end of 2013.  Food, water, and electricity shortages afflicting the Syrian population marked a “lost generation.”

Jarjour at Heritage, meanwhile, discussed how Syrian Christians are “pressured to leave” by Sunni jihadist groups fighting for the overthrow of Syria’s Shiite-backed dictator Bashir Assad.  Jarjour recalled one funeral of a Christian beheaded by such jihadists as well as the severed heads of two Armenian Christians sent to children as a threat.  Jihadists also used Christians as human shields in the Syrian town of Homs.  Kawak at Heritage also referenced the kidnapping by jihadists of Syrian nuns and bishops.

Such “very radical Islamist groups” entering Syria meant that local Christians had abandoned their support for opposition groups initially given when protests for reform of the Assad regime began in March 2011.  Many of these groups were linked to Al Qaeda that, “contrary to popular opinion…is alive,” Sookhdeo noted at Heritage.  Jarjour at Heritage saw a worrying precedent in Syria’s neighbor Iraq, where Muslim intimidation had expelled 70% of that country’s Christian population following Saddam Hussein’s overthrow.

Rev. Adib Awad, General Secretary of the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon, explained at St John how such Muslim repression of Christians is not new.  Jews and Christians are “second-class citizens in a religious state” under orthodox Islamic laws, he explained.  While not always enforced in the past, these laws mandated distinctive clothing for Christians and low door construction in Christian dwellings so that Christians would humiliatingly bow upon entering.  Muslim repression also resulted in destroyed churches while Ottoman Empire rule in Syria enslaved Christian youth as soldiers in the Janissary Corps or as haram concubines.

While non-Muslims have had some freedoms under past Muslim rule, “it can change anytime,” Adib said to this author at Heritage.  Christians in the region have thus endured “different periods of fear for their future,” Kawak observed at Heritage.  As a result of such centuries-long repression, modern Syria’s population is only 10% Christian while the region was essentially completely Christian before Islamic conquest in the seventh-century.

Yet the Syrian church is “one of the oldest in the world,” Sookhdeo at St. John noted.  Christians are not “outsiders” in Syria, Damascus Armenian Church Primate Bishop Armash Nalbandian similarly affirmed at St. John.  Rather “Christianity belongs to Syria,” a “cradle of Christianity.”

Read more at Religious Freedom Coalition with video

Also see:

How Sickening Will Sweden Get?

by Douglas Murray:

Their gamble is that if we give the Organization of Islamic Cooperation just a little something — just a “harmless” little law — then we might all just be able to get along. But for every inch of encouragement the free nations of the world give the OIC, the more Reza Jabbaris we sacrifice — and a million more free-thinking souls.

How to deal with one madman is tricky enough, but how do you rectify things if the whole world has gone mad? Take Sweden and its apparent determination to deport Reza Jabbari back to his native Iran, most likely to be killed for having converted from Islam to Christianity.

First, there is the growing phenomenon of individuals being targeted for retribution if they have been seen to “insult” Islam. In particular there is the terrible recent case of Lars Hedegaard, who was targeted by an assassin at his home in Denmark earlier this month. The larger tapestry that hangs behind incidents such as the attempted assassination of Lars Hedegaard, Kurt Westergaard and others, however, is not just the attempt to silence a few brave voices, but the attempt to silence an entire planet. I refer of course to the attempt to criminalize – around the world – any speech which is deemed to be offensive to Islam.

This process is not only ongoing among the 57 Islamic countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), but is being considered – rather than laughed out of the room – by, among other countries, the United States of America.

For more than a decade the OIC, originating from Pakistan, has been attempting to bring in legislation via the UN to criminalize “Defamation of Religions.” Last December Hillary Clinton made a speech at the Istanbul Process’s meeting (in London, shamefully) on “Combating intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief.”

Here is the first paragraph:

Well, good afternoon, everyone, and I want to thank you all for participating in this conference where we are working together to protect two fundamental freedoms – the right to practice one’s religion freely and the right to express one’s opinion without fear.

Right there is the problem. Because her two “fundamental freedoms” might be a square peg or a round peg. But there is absolutely no way that either will ever fit into an OIC-shaped hole. Of course the OIC will continue to talk in generalities. So let us talk specifics. While the OIC pretends to worried about its feelings, let us consider a real-life, concrete, current example.

Reza Jabbari is an Iranian by birth. He is also a convert to Christianity. He is currently seeking asylum in Sweden. Why would this possibly be necessary? Surely if the OIC are being honest, Mr. Jabbari is merely someone with a different opinion from the people who run the country of his birth? And surely if the Iranians are worried about “offense” to religion, they would be standing up to ensure that Mr. Jabbari does not have his Christian faith insulted by the claims of Muslims that he is forever Muslim because he happened to have been born into a Muslim family.

Alas, the realities of the OIC are otherwise. As are those of the Swedish authorities, who appear to be doing everything they can to ensure that Mr. Jabbari is returned to Iran, where he is likely to be imprisoned, sentenced to death, or both. I suppose the Swedes reason that do not have room for him, even with all those empty homes the Jews left behind when they fled Malmo.

Read more at Gatestone Institute


Living in Fear: Coptic Christians in Egypt


After a long history of persecution as a minority in Egypt, in these days the  nonetheless resilient Copts face a dire moment. The ominously Sharia-leaning  Muslim Brotherhood government of Egypt, headed by President Mohammed Morsi, has  taken over the country from the oppressive – but slightly more tolerant -  Mubarak regime. Adding to this crisis is the absence of spiritual and political  leadership for the 18 million-strong Coptic community, namely a Pope. The church  is still in the throes of a longstanding selection process to name a new  spiritual head to permanently replace the interim administrator, a bishop, who  has been the caretaker leader since the death of Pope Shenuda III earlier this  year.

Recently, the Copts of Alexandria embarked on a three-day fast (no food, no  water), petitioning God to find the leader divinely suited to be the successor  of the beloved Pope Shenuda III. The institution of the Pope is of central  importance to Copts, since the first Pope was consecrated in the first century  AD upon the death of Saint Mark: He guides and directs Coptic life and the  Orthodox Church. During the 1,400 years that Islam has dominated Egypt, Copts  have been treated by the Muslim authorities as second-class citizens, with  minimal rights but maximum duties. The Copts, who see themselves as the rightful  inheritors of the land of the Pharaohs, have always found solace in the refuge  of the church, insulated and protected by their clergy.

Representing a culture as much as they embody a religion, Copts constitute  roughly 20 percent of Egypt’s nearly 80 million people. Morsi’s rise to power is  the result of an 80-year struggle by the Muslim Brotherhood to rule Egypt with  aspirations to control the entire Arab-Muslim world. After years of hibernation,  the Brotherhood experienced a rebirth during the Arab Spring. And now Egypt’s  Copts face the brunt of Morsi’s Islamic-supremacist leanings.

Until now, Copts managed to survive under Muslim dictatorships, even though  those dictatorships often covertly fostered crimes against the Coptic community  – bombers, snipers and gangs of Muslim thugs – who were assured of receiving  favorable court hearings that kept them free and able to commit violence.  Meanwhile, repeatedly victimized by deadly attacks, Copts were generally rounded  up and thrown into jail and received none of the special judicial privileges or  immunity that their attackers did. During the Tahrir Square protests of January  2011, Copts had good reason to rise up against the Mubarak state.

Today, under the new political class of the once-banned Muslim Brotherhood,  Copts are already paying a higher price – with their lives and property – for  their religious beliefs. They are frequently accused of showing contempt for and  insulting Islam, and face related trumped-up charges. It would not be an  exaggeration to say that the threatening atmosphere in Egypt for Copts is  Nazi-like. Coptic Christians are praying, fasting, and begging for mercy.

Islamist efforts to infiltrate Egypt’s church hierarchy have been ongoing  since Islam came to Egypt, but in the past four decades Islamic influence over  the church has intensified. This way the governing regimes could guarantee both  secular and religious Copts were corralled away from political activism and  local organizing, a strategy that worked at least until the autumn of 2010. Over  time, this subtle pressure has forced Copts into a dependency on religious  leaders to dictate political decisions for the whole body of the community,  whether related to local, neighborhood issues or to wider, international  ones.

The state political involvement in the church leadership evolved gradually,  and has now got to the point where the government is attempting to influence the  finances of the church. Under such imposed ‘oversight,’ the state is attempting  to legislate and regulate church donations and expenditures, such as church  salaries, schools, charities and maintenance. The Coptic congregation has no  state institutional power to resist the intrusion by Egypt’s government to  intrude upon the church’s decisions about how to direct its own financial  resources.

Copts represent a major obstacle in the implementation of the Islamist plan  for a pan-Islamic umma or Caliphate. By definition, in order to progress the  idea of a global Muslim state, the fate of Egyptian Copts is either to convert  or be expunged from history. So the destruction of Coptic churches, homes and  businesses, kidnappings, forcible marriages of Christian girls to Muslim men,  and mob violence instigated by the slightest perceived provocation, keep Copts  living in fear.

Read more: Family Security Matters







The Tip of the Iceberg of Christian Persecution

by Raymond Ibrahim
Special to IPT News

Two Christians living in the Islamic world under arrest and awaiting execution—the one charged with apostasy, the other with blasphemy—were just released.

According to a September 8 report on CNN, “A Christian pastor sentenced to death in Iran for apostasy was reunited with his family Saturday after a trial court acquitted him… Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, born to Muslim parents and a convert to Christianity by age 19, was released after being held in prison for almost three years under a death sentence…. Setting aside the death sentence, a trial court convicted Nadarkhani of a lesser charge—evangelizing Muslims—and declared that his prison sentence had already been served…  His case drew international attention after his October 2009 arrest, and the 34-year-old pastor refused to recant his Christian beliefs.”

In a separate story published the same day, “Pakistani authorities on Saturday released a teenage Christian girl detained over accusations of blasphemy,” for allegedly burning pages of a Koran. Up till then, local Muslims were calling for the death of the 14-year-old Christian girl, Rimsha Masih, warning that, if released, they would “take the law into their own hands.”

Why were these two Christians released—when both apostasy and blasphemy are great crimes in Islam, punishable by death? Is this a sign that Iran and Pakistan are reforming, becoming more “moderate”? One U.S. paper, for example, optimistically offers the following title, “Rescue of Christian Girl may be Turning Point in Abuse of Blasphemy Law.”

Nadarkhani and Masih were certainly not released because their governments are acting according to universal standards of justice or reason. If so, they would not have been arrested in the first place. Nor do these releases suggest that Iran or Pakistan are rethinking their Islamic apostasy and blasphemy laws.

The fact is, there are many more Christians imprisoned in both countries for apostasy and blasphemy. Unlike Nadarkhani and Masih, however, the Western mainstream has never heard of these unfortunate Christians.

And that’s the whole difference.

In Iran, where at least as early as 1990 a convert to Christianity, Pastor Hossein Soodmand, was executed by the state, apostates from Islam are under siege. A few examples from the last few months include:

• A six-year prison sentence for Pastor Farshid Fathi Malayeriwhose crime was to convert to and preach Christianity—was upheld last July following an unsuccessful appeal hearing.

• Another prominent house church pastor, Benham Irani, remains behind bars even as his family expresses concerns that he may die from continued abuse and beatings, leading to internal bleeding and other ailments. The verdict against him contains text that describes the pastor as an apostate who “can be killed.” According to one activist, “His ‘crimes’ were being a pastor and possessing Christian materials.” He is being beaten in jail and getting sick, to the point that his hair has “turned fully gray.”

• A woman, Leila Mohammadi, who had earlier converted to Christianity was arrested when security agents raided her house. Imprisoned for five months in Iran’s notorious Evin prison without any word on her fate, she was later sentenced to two years in prison.

• A June 17 report indicated that, five months after five Christian converts were arrested, their condition and fate had remained unknown. They were accused of “attending house church services, promoting Christianity, propagating against the regime and disturbing national security.” Being imprisoned for 130 days without word “is an obvious example of physical and mental abuse of the detainees….  one of the prison guards openly told one of these Christian detainees that all these pressures and uncertainties are intended to make them flee the country after they are released.”

• A young woman, who had recently converted to Christianity and was an outspoken activist against the Islamic regime, was found dead, slumped over her car’s steering wheel, with a single gunshot wound to her head.

Then there are Iran’s many other faces of Christian persecution, including the shutting down of churches, regular crackdowns on house-church gatherings, detaining and abusing Christians, banning church services in Farsi, and confiscating Bibles and other Christian literature.

As for Pakistan’s blasphemy law—which calls for the death penalty—here are a few stories from the last few months:

• A Muslim mob doused a man with gasoline and literally burned him alive for “blaspheming” the Koran (graphic picture here).

• A 26-year-old Christian woman was arrested after neighbors accused her of “uttering remarks against Muhammad.” A few days prior, some of her relatives who converted to Islam had pressured her to do likewise: “She refused, telling them that she was satisfied with Christianity and did not want to convert.” She was arrested of blasphemy soon thereafter.

• A female Christian teacher was targeted by Muslims due to allegations that she burned a Koran. A mob stormed her school in an attempt to abduct her, but police took her into custody.

• A Christian man was arrested and charged with “blasphemy” for rescuing his 8-year-old nephew from a beating at the hands of Muslim boys who sought to force the boy to convert to Islam.  Later, “a Muslim mob of about 55 led by the village prayer leader besieged the Christian’s house,” and insisted that “the blasphemer” be turned over to them.

• A banned Islamic group attempted to burn down a Christian village after accusing a 25-year-old mentally retarded Christian man of “blasphemy.”

• A 20-year-old Christian man was arrested and charged with “blasphemy” after Muslims accused him of burning a Koran soon after a billiard game. The Muslims kept taunting and threatening him, to which the Christian “dared them to do whatever they wanted and walked away.” Days later came the accusation and arrest, which caused Muslim riots, creating “panic among Christians” who “left their houses anticipating violence.”

In the last two decades, over 50 people have been murdered in Pakistan for blasphemy. Even the recent assassination of the nation’s only cabinet-level Christian, Shahbaz Bhatti, was in retaliation for his being an outspoken critic of Pakistan’s “blasphemy” laws.

Read more

Obama’s Favorite Islamic University Outlaws Judaism in Egypt

By Daniel Greenfield at Front Page:

In 2009, Barack Obama spoke at Al-Azhar and declared, “As a student of history, I also know civilization’s debt to Islam.  It was Islam — at places like Al-Azhar — that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe’s Renaissance and Enlightenment.”

Dr. Abdul Hamid al-Atrash

In 2012, Dr. Abdul Hamid al-Atrash, the head of the Fatwa Committee of Al Azhar in Egypt, which issues rulings of Islamic law, declared that Jews could be banned from going to pray in a synagogue.

Al-Atrash says that as long as Muslims cannot travel to Jerusalem while it is in Jewish hands, then Muslims have the right to bar Jews from visiting their own holy places, under the Islamic concept of “reciprocity.” Therefore, he says, Egyptian authorities have the right to ban Jews from going to the Alexandria synagogue on Rosh Hashanah.

Muslims can visit Jerusalem. They choose not to because it’s full of Jews. And since they are too bigoted to visit Jerusalem, then Jews shouldn’t be able to pray in Egypt either.

For all intents and purposes this means that Judaism is on the verge of being outlawed in Egypt. It can still be practiced privately, but not communally, and Judaism is a communal religion.

At Al-Azhar, Obama said, “Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance.  We see it in the history of Andalusia and Cordoba during the Inquisition.  I saw it firsthand as a child in Indonesia, where devout Christians worshiped freely in an overwhelmingly Muslim country.  That is the spirit we need today.  People in every country should be free to choose and live their faith based upon the persuasion of the mind and the heart and the soul.  This tolerance is essential for religion to thrive, but it’s being challenged in many different ways.”

And we keep seeing that tolerance over and over again. At Al Azhar, Obama boasted of standing up for the right of Muslim women to wear the Hijab. Will be similarly stand up for the right of Jews to pray in a synagogue in Egypt?

Pakistan: 2,000 minorities girls converted to Islam forcibly: report

Daily Times, By Aliya Mirza: LAHORE: As many as 2,000 women and girls from various minority sects were forcibly converted to Islam through rape, torture and kidnappings, while 161
people were charged with blasphemy in 2011, according to a report by the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC).

SPARC released the report on Tuesday at a press conference at a hotel.

The report read that minorities make up three to four percent of the country’s population but remain sidelined in state policies. In 2011, extremists killed governor Salmaan Taseer and federal minorities minister Shahbaz Bhatti, as both were advocating minority rights by calling for amendments in the country’s controversial blasphemy law.

After the 2011 floods, 130,000 Hindus were forced to leave their homes and 86,500 ended up on streets of various cities in Sindh. Whereas 27 Hindu children were kidnapped for ransom from different parts of northern Sindh. The primary school enrolment rate of scheduled caste Hindu girls is only 10.2 percent. Ahmadi students have been especially targeted by the hate
campaigns. In Hafizabad, 10 Ahmadi students, including seven girls and a
teacher, were expelled from school on account of their religious affiliation.

Violence against children: The report also read a total of 2,303 instances of sexual abuse were recorded from various parts of the country. The actual number is larger as many cases go unreported. In majority of the cases,
people close to the child (parents or relatives) or officials who are supposed
to give them protection are the abusers. For instance, policemen are involved in
more than 60 percent of sexual abuse cases of street children. The number of
acid attacks rose from 65 to 105 in 2011. A majority of the acid attacks involve
women and girls between the ages of 15 and 25.

Child labour: According to a study by SPARC, most of the child domestic workers in Pakistan are aged between 10-15 years (sometimes five years old children are also employed). In the absence of official statistics, it is impossible to assess the magnitude of bonded labour, but it is estimated that 1.7 million people are engaged in bonded labour in Pakistan.

Juvenile justice: The number of juveniles detained in prisons increased from 1,225 in 2010 to 1,421 in 2011. Punjab has the highest number of juvenile offenders (833), Sindh 318, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 241 and Balochistan has 40 juvenile offenders.

Education: Pakistan ranks second in the global ranking of countries with the highest number of out-of-school children with the figure estimated to be about 25 million. Seven million have yet to receive some form of primary schooling. As many as 9,800 schools were reportedly affected in Sindh and Balochistan due to floods. Around 600,000 children of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are reported to have missed one or more years of education due to ongoing militancy.

Pakistan has the lowest youth literacy rate. Only 59 percent females are literate as compared to 79 percent of males in the age group of 15 to 24 years. There are around 51.2 million adult illiterates in Pakistan. Only 65 percent schools have drinking water facilities, 62 percent have toilet facilities, 61 percent have a boundary wall and only 39 percent have electricity.

Health: According to the National Nutrition Survey (NNS) 2011, 43 percent children born in Pakistan are afflicted by stunting (low height for age). The rate of child mortality in Pakistan is 87 deaths per 1000 births. Although full immunisation coverage of children between the ages of 12-23 months has increased from 78 per cent in 2008-09 to 81 per cent in 2010-11, it is still short of the MDG target for Pakistan (90 per cent for the years 2010-11). It is estimated that at the start of 2011 Pakistan was accounting for nearly 30 per cent of all polio cases recorded worldwide with 197 cases reported from different parts of the country.

Floods: The 2011 floods affected 4.8 million people, half of them children (an estimated 500,000 below the age of five). It is estimated that over 2.5 million men, women and children still lack essentials of life such as clean water, adequate food and durable shelter. The floods left over 2.4 million children and 1.2 million women vulnerable and exposed; lacking access to safe drinking water, sanitation and healthcare.

The World Through Rose Colored Glasses (with video)

By Gadi Adelman:

The photo accompanying this article was taken in central Cairo on October 13,  2011. Nearly 3,000 Egyptian mourners gathered in honor of Coptic Christians who  were among 25 people murdered during a demonstration over an attack on a  church.

Those who don’t want to believe this is actually occurring in the 21 Century  won’t. No matter how many pictures or videos make it out some people just will  dismiss it all as Islamophobic lies.

I had no intention of covering this story this week, I’ve written about the  murder of Coptic Christians before as well as those being murdered in other  countries as well. Over two years ago in April 2010 my article “No  Big Deal, Just Some People in Africa, Right?” was about the murder of  Christians in Nigeria at the hands of Islamists.

This all started when someone posted a picture on my  Facebook page.

I read the denials of the stories, pictures and videos of the Crucifixions of  the Egyptian Coptic’s and decided to set the record straight.

One individual posted a comment under this picture on my Facebook page,

this isn’t in Egypt. stop telling lies about EGYPT. you jews will never  remove hatred from your hearts to EGYPT

The National Post reported that none of these stories were true either.  Author Jonathan Kay wrote an article  on August 22 that “Egypt’s “crucifixion” hoax becomes an instant Internet myth”.  He starts his article with,

Have you heard the one about how Christians are being nailed up on crucifixes  and left to die in front of the Egyptian presidential place?

It’s a story worth dissecting – not because it’s true (it isn’t), but because  it is a textbook example of how the Internet, once thought to be the perfect  medium of truth-seeking, has been co-opted by culture warriors as a weapon to  fire up the naïve masses with lies and urban legends.

“Fire up the naïve masses with lies and urban legends”, really? Well Mr. Kay  I suggest some light reading for you. It’s this year’s Annual Report from the  U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

The cover of the report shows a similar picture to the one I chose for my  story. You know the one, where “nearly 3,000 Egyptian mourners gathered in honor  of Coptic Christians who were among 25 people murdered during a demonstration  over an attack on a church.” I guess it was Photo-shopped.

But what is more interesting than the cover picture is who makes up this  agency and what the report  contains.

The website  U.S.  Commission on International Religious Freedom explains this on the ‘about’  page,

USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission.  USCIRF Commissioners are appointed by the President and the leadership of both  political parties in the Senate and the House of Representatives. USCIRF’s  principal responsibilities are to review the facts and circumstances of  violations of religious freedom internationally and to make policy  recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State and Congress.

So let’s understand from the outset that those involved with this agency are  handpicked by the President and made up from both political parties. So for all  you naysayers out there argue with them, not me.

I saw this coming long before Hosni Mubarak was ousted. Back in February of  2011 while those in the Obama administration were saying that the Muslim  Brotherhood wouldn’t place a candidate in the Egyptian elections, I wrote in my article  “A Series of Unfortunate Re-Runs”,

The Muslim Brotherhood has been waiting for an opportunity like this for over  60 years and it is not something they are going to let slip by. Since the fall  of the Ottoman Empire in 1924 and the founding of the Muslim Brotherhood only 4  years later in 1928 there has never been an opportunity such as this for a  return of a Caliphate and you can bet your life the Brotherhood is working  harder than any other group or government to see that this happens.

So now that the Muslim Brotherhood leader, Mohamed Morsi has become the  President of Egypt is it really any surprise that we see Coptic Christians being  murdered for no other reason than they are Christian?

It appears to be no surprise to those that wrote the annual  report from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom either.  The report is 331 pages and from start to finish this report is a “who’s who” of  Islamic countries.

The second paragraph of page one starts off with Egypt,

In Egypt, an epicenter of the Arab Spring, hope turned to dismay, as human  rights conditions, particularly religious freedom abuses, worsened dramatically  under military rule.   Authorities continued to prosecute and sentence  citizens charged with blasphemy and allowed official media to incite violence  against religious minority members, while failing to protect them or to convict  responsible parties.  Law enforcement and the courts fostered a climate of  impunity in the face of repeated attacks against Coptic Christians and their  churches.  Rather than defending these minorities, military and security  forces turned their guns on them, using live ammunition against Coptic  Christians and other demonstrators, killing dozens and wounding hundreds in  Maspero Square.

Page two continues with just a few instances,

To be sure, religious freedom abuses harm members of religious majorities and  minorities alike.  But make no mistake:  across much of the world,  persons associated with religious minority communities often are harmed the  most.  Even when violations do not include or encourage violence, intricate  webs of discriminatory rules, regulations, and edicts can impose tremendous  burdens on these communities and their adherents, making it difficult for them  to function and grow from one generation to the next, potentially threatening  their existence.  For example, while an electoral democracy, Turkey fails  to legally recognize religious minority communities, such as the Alevis, the  Greek, Armenian, and Syriac Orthodox Churches, the Roman Catholic and Protestant  Churches, and the Jewish community.  Furthermore, Turkish officials meddle  in these communities‘ internal government and education and limit their worship  rights.

But as I stated earlier it is a “who’s who” of Islamic countries. The report  explains those countries that are of particular concern,

The first section highlights countries which USCIRF recommends that the State  Department designate as countries of particular concern (CPCs) under IRFA  (International Religious Freedom Act) for particularly severe violations of  religious freedom.

The countries that make up the “CPCs” are listed on page 4,

For the 2012 Annual Report, USCIRF recommends that the Secretary of State  designate the following 16 countries as CPCs: Burma, the Democratic People‘s  Republic of Korea (North Korea), Egypt, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan,  the People‘s Republic of China, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey,  Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.

Those countries that you would expect to see on this list are not mentioned  are because they are already listed as “CPCs”,

Afghanistan, Belarus, Cuba, India, Indonesia, Laos, Russia, Somalia,  Venezuela

The report then writes a chapter for each country of concern, but for this  article I am concentrating on Egypt since that appears to be the source of these  “internet myths”.

On page 50 of the report are the agencies “Findings” in Egypt,

FINDINGS: Over the past year, the Egyptian transitional government continued  to engage in and tolerate systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of  freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief.

Serious problems of discrimination, intolerance, and other human rights  violations against members of religious minorities, as well as disfavored  Muslims, remain widespread in Egypt. Violence targeting Coptic Orthodox  Christians increased significantly during the reporting period.  The  transitional government has failed to protect religious minorities from violent  attacks at a time when minority communities have been increasingly  vulnerable.  This high level of violence and the failure to convict those  responsible continued to foster a climate of impunity, making further violence  more likely.  During the reporting period, military and security forces  used excessive force and live ammunition targeting Coptic Christian  demonstrators and places of worship resulting in dozens of deaths and hundreds  of injuries.  The government also continued to prosecute, convict, and  impose prison terms on Egyptian citizens charged with blasphemy.   Implementation of previous court rulings – related to granting official identity  documents to Baha‘is and changing religious affiliation on identity documents  for converts to Christianity – has seen some progress but continues to lag,  particularly for Baha‘is. In addition, the government has not responded  adequately to combat widespread and virulent anti-Semitism in the  government-controlled media.

Understanding that this report was published in February of this year a lot  more deaths have occurred during the last 6 months. As noted in the above  section of the report,

This high level of violence and the failure to convict those responsible  continued to foster a climate of impunity, making further violence more  likely.

Unfortunately they were correct. The report continues,

Religious freedom conditions have not improved in most areas and attacks  targeting religious minorities have continued.  In 2011, violent sectarian  attacks, targeting primarily Coptic Orthodox Christians, have resulted in nearly  100 deaths, surpassing the death toll of the previous 10 years combined.   During the transitional period, the lack of adequate security in the streets has  contributed to lawlessness in parts of the country, particularly in Upper  Egypt.

Read more at Family Security Matters

FamilySecurityMatters.orgContributing  Editor Gadi  Adelman  is a freelance writer and lecturer on the history of  terrorism and  counterterrorism. He grew up in Israel, studying terrorism and  Islam for 35  years after surviving a terrorist bomb in Jerusalem in which 7  children were  killed. Since returning to the U. S., Gadi teaches and lectures  to law  enforcement agencies as well as high schools and colleges. He can be  heard  every Thursday night at 8PM est. on his own radio show “America Akbar”  on Blog  Talk Radio.  He can be reached through his website

Watch this dramatic video showing the suffering of the Egyptian Copts posted by Walid Shoebat:


A Brave Challenge to Sharia in Egypt

By Nonie Darwish:

Could  this be the real Arab Spring?  This is huge!  The Muslim  world does not have to blame Pastor Terry Jones anymore for burning the Quran or  non-Muslims for desecrating it.  They are now in shock over seeing a  YouTube post of an Egyptian young man doing the unthinkable on camera: tearing  up the Quran and putting it in the trash.

This  is a summary translation of what he said:

There  it is, Allah’s book, this is the basic catastrophe. I don’t know what day it is  of this disgusting month of Ramadan! You are making the tearing of the Quran  such a big and dangerous thing.. it is instinctive to tear this book, those sons  of —– think they can threaten me and challenge me to tear the Quran, but I  want to proof to them that they are nothing and what is the big deal in tearing  this book!! There it is (he starts tearing the Quran) in the trash. Are you  feeling better now! You cannot touch a hair in my head! We keep blaming Hamas  and Gaza, but it is not them, it is this son of —– book that I am stepping on  right now. That book is the source of all evil and the real catastrophe. There  is nothing new here, it is not Omar Abdel Rahman, Abbud or all the others, it is  this garbage that is causing us to run in a demonic never-ending circle that  will never end.

The  young man’s worlds were very insulting, but, unfortunately, this is the same  language that Muslims commentators of this video use against him and against  anyone who leaves Islam.  The comments on this video are extremely violent  and scary, and more insulting than anything this young man may have said in the  video.  This is the kind of language many Muslims use against any critique  of Islam.  I am very worried about this young man, who seems to be living in Egypt.  There are hundreds of  fatwas of death issued against him already, and the responses to the video  threaten him: “I will kill you” or “I will cut your tongue, your ears, your arms  and legs, like Mohammed, and leave you for dead.”

Instead  of giving religious visas to Islamists  who come to build mosques in America and preach hate, the U.S. should  immediately declare that anyone who leaves Islam and is threatened will get  priority visa to the U.S., ahead of Islamists.  American embassies across  the Muslim world should stop giving religious visas, especially to those who are  obviously Islamists, because by doing that, we are breeding our own home-grown  terrorists inside America.

Throughout  the history of Islam, many people were tortured, beheaded, limbs cut, jailed,  ostracized — and for as little as accidentally stepping on the Quran.  The  sharia punishment for blasphemy of the Quran and Mohammed is death, even if the  perpetrator pleads that it was an accident and that he never meant to desecrate  the Quran.  There is a Filipino maid in the Arab Gulf who was jailed for  accidentally sitting on a Quran which was on a sofa.  Now the Muslim world  is starting to face the nightmare of a new kind of challenge from within:  Muslims deliberately challenging this taboo and putting their lives on the  line.

Islamic  customs have elaborate rituals giving the highest esteem to the book itself and  physically protecting the Quran from any disrespect.  I remember, as a  child, placing a schoolbook on top of the Quran on a table — my grandparents  harshly scolded me for doing that.  The message was often repeated over and  over again to never, ever place anything visually or mentally on top of the  Quran.  In the same year the Arabs conquered the Christian city of  Alexandria in Egypt, 639 AD, the Alexandria Library was burned, and the Quran  became the one and only source of knowledge to the country.

I  truly believe that the beginning of the end of Islam as we know it is  underway.  That will be the true Arab Spring.  The violence we are  seeing today in the Arab world will accelerate when such confrontations to Islam  increase and when the Muslim world wakes up from its 1,400-year  slumber.

In  the last chapter of my latest book The Devil We Don’t Know, I predicted  that Islam will fall like a house of cards, but the bloodshed will be huge, and  the world must leave the Muslim world to settle this on its own.  This is  the only way for Muslims to learn about their true enemy: sharia and Islam  itself as it is practiced today.  The number-one enemy of Islam is the  truth, and with today’s technology, many Muslims are seeing the truth clearly on  the internet, with satellite dishes, and  via mobile devices.

Read more at American Thinker

Nonie  Darwish is author of The Devil We Don’t  Know.

The Silence of the Pulpits

By Bill Warner at Political Islam:

If you are even slightly awake about the world news today, it is no surprise   that Christians are being killed, raped and brutalized throughout the Islamic   world. However, there is a place where you can go and escape the dreadful and   relentless details of Christian annihilation by Islam. You can just go to church.   For example, this week in Nigeria   Christians were killed. Nothing out of the ordinary, indeed in the world   of Christian persecution, this is routine.
And so the response to the murder of Christians is found in nearly every church   is …wait for it…, complete silence—not a mention or reference   to it or the brutality against Christians that happens almost every day in the   Islamic world. This is not a passive silence, because if you try to change it,   you will fail. The silence is an active, working conspiracy that goes throughout   nearly all of Christendom.

Take a simple example: prayer for the persecuted. From a Christian perspective,   this falls under the heading of obvious. Try taking the idea of prayer for the   routinely murdered Christians in Nigeria or Egypt to ministers, boards and any   part of the structure of the church and see how far you will get. You will get   rejection with a myriad of lame and evasive excuses, since they fear to recognize   the suffering of Christians around the world. If you acknowledge the suffering,   you might ask the question: why are these Christians suffering? Ah, there is   the rub. The suffering is caused by Muslim jihadists who are following the Islamic   doctrine of jihad against the Christian as found in Koran, Sira and Hadith.   Islam is the cause of suffering of Christians, as well as Jews, Hindus, Buddhists   and atheists.

STOP!!! We cannot say those things! Facts are the new hate speech, so we cannot   speak about the jihad against Christians. Therefore, we get no prayers for the   persecuted, because it would lead to talk about why the murder of Christians   keeps happening. And that truth would lead to being called an Islamophobe, so   we are not going there. Result: silence.

It is ironic that the Wall Street Journal, a FINANCIAL newspaper, has run   an article about the silence in the pulpit concerning the suffering of Christians.   We live in a time of moral inversion when Christian leaders are chastised for   their moral bankruptcy by money men. It is supposed to be the other way around.

Actually, there are few religious leaders left in America. Instead we have   chief-executive-officers who manage a 501 c 3 institution that has meetings   on Sunday. In too many cases, Christianity has devolved into an hour’s   meeting that is supposed to make you feel good for a week.

This 501 c 3 corporate mentality is another one of the roots of the denial   of the Christian suffering. If you are willing to see the doctrinal roots of   the ongoing murder of Christians by Muslims, then you might have to speak about   it from the pulpit and that could be seen as political speech. In spite of the   fact that there has never been a 501 c 3 revoked because of political speech   by a minister, the imagined loss silences ministers. Hmmm, if a minister is   worried about the IRS revoking his 501 c 3 then who is the minster serving?   Caesar or Christ?

Now you may not be a Christian, and so it might seem that there is nothing   here for you. But in reality we all have pulpits. Are we using the suffering   of Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, women, gays, and intellectuals caused   by Islam as a topic of conversation with those around us? Who is is comfortable   with bringing up anything negative about Islam? To tell those facts about Islam   is a social crime and you will be accused of being a hater/Islamophobe. So most   of us remain silent about the evils of political Islam, and we are just like   the ministers—silent in our own pulpits. Christians and non-Christians   share the fear of being insulted as bigots and Islamophobes.

It turns out that all of those who oppose any social evil will be hated. Think   about it. It takes a massive amount of power to put into place any societal   doctrine, such as multi-culturalism and political correctness. The government,   universities, many churches, synagogues and the media have become enforcers   of multi-culturalism and political correctness. They are very powerful and believe   that their dogma rules all peoples.

They are also full throated apologists for Islam. Now it turns out that their   actual knowledge about the doctrine and history of political Islam is close   to zero and Muslim-brotherhood-approved, but that is no problem. The Establishment   just says that those who find fault with Islam are bigots and they hate us.

The silence of the pulpits is the greatest aider and abettor of Islam in the   US. No one serves and advances Islam better than the silent ministers. They   have abandoned their duty of courage in the face of persecution, but the rest   of the flock still looks for moral leadership from them. Islam triumphs when   Christian leaders do not condemn the murderous evil of political Islam.

Even worse than the silent ministers are those who go to “interfaith dialogs”   and smile while the Muslims assert religious and political dominance over them.   The nice, oh so nice, Christians and Jews show up to tie, while the Muslims   are there to win, and they do.

Christians need to follow the example of Jesus and willingly suffer the condemnation   by the Establishment and fight against the political Islam that murders Christians.   Said another way, Christians should demonstrate courage and sacrifice to support   their cruelly murdered brothers and sisters.

We cannot defeat political Islam until we get Christian boots on the ground.   Do the math. The pulpits must become a source of courage and knowledge and stand   up for Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and all others who suffer under Islam’s   persecution today and for the last 1400 years.

It isn’t just about religion; it is about the survival of our civilization.

Dr. Warner founded the Center for the Study of Political Islam (CSPI) and is   its director. He has produced a dozen books, including a Koran, a biography   of Mohammed and a summary of the political traditions of Mohammed. He also developed   the first self-study course on Political Islam. He has given talks nationally   and internationally about Islamic political doctrine. He writes articles and   produces news Bulletins that record the suffering of the victims caused by Political   Islam.

Liberals Against Orthodox Islam

Citizen Warrior:

The counterjihad movement just keeps getting better. Here is a 115-page informative PDF document entitled, “Why All Democrats Need to Start Speaking Out Against Islamic Indoctrination and Supremacist Islam.”


Here’s the table of contents:

1. Manifesto against totalitarianism

2. Islam, orthodox Islam and Islamism

3. Getting a better understanding of Islam

4. Online resources used in this document

5. The incompatibility of Islamic doctrines with fundamental Western values

6. Major concerns related to the indoctrination pandemic

7. The unrestricted export of Islamic doctrine to the free world

8. Why conservative Islam critics need to welcome liberals into the movement

9. Developing strategies to counter Islamic indoctrination and protect human rights
Check it out and share it with your liberal-leaning friends and family: PDF Document.

The Obama Administration’s War on Persecuted Christians

By Raymond Ibrahim:

The Obama administration’s support for its Islamist allies means lack of U.S. support for their enemies, or, more properly, victims—the Christian and other non-Muslim minorities of the Muslim world.  Consider the many recent proofs:

According to Pete Winn of CNS:

The U.S. State Department removed the sections covering religious freedom from the Country Reports on Human Rights that it released on May 24, three months past the statutory deadline Congress set for the release of these reports.  The new human rights reports—purged of the sections that discuss the status of religious freedom in each of the countries covered—are also the human rights reports that include the period that covered the Arab Spring and its aftermath.  Thus, the reports do not provide in-depth coverage of what has happened to Christians and other religious minorities in predominantly Muslim countries in the Middle East that saw the rise of revolutionary movements in 2011 in which Islamist forces played an instrumental role.  For the first time ever, the State Department simply eliminated the section of religious freedom in its reports covering 2011… (emphasis added).

The CNS report goes on to quote several U.S. officials questioning the motives of the Obama administration.  Former U.S. diplomat Thomas Farr said that he has “observed during the three-and-a-half years of the Obama administration that the issue of religious freedom has been distinctly downplayed.”  Leonard Leo, former chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, said “to have pulled religious freedom out of it [the report] means that fewer people will obtain information,” so that “you don’t have the whole picture.”

Of course, censoring information is a regular theme under Obama: if the administration is suppressing knowledge concerning the sufferings of religious minorities under Islam, earlier it suppressed knowledge concerning Islam itself (see here for a surreal example of the effects of such censorship).

In “Obama Overlooks Christian Persecution,” James Walsh gives more examples of State Department indifference “regarding the New Years’ murders of Coptic Christians in Egypt and the ravaging of a cathedral,” including how the State Department “refused to list Egypt as ‘a country of particular concern,’ even as Christians and others were being murdered, churches destroyed, and girls kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam. ”

And the evidence keeps mounting.  Legislation to create a special envoy for religious minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia—legislation that, in the words of the Washington Post“passed the House by a huge margin,” has been stalled by Sen. James Webb (D-Va):

In a letter sent to Webb Wednesday night, Rep. Frank Wolf [R-Va, who introduced the envoy bill] said he “cannot understand why” the hold had been placed on a bill that might help Coptic Christians and other groups “who face daily persecution, hardship, violence, instability and even death.”

Yet the ultimate source of opposition is the State Department.  The Post continues:

Webb spokesman Will Jenkins explained the hold by saying that “after considering the legislation, Senator Webb asked the State Department for its analysis.”  In a position paper issued in response, State Department officials said “we oppose the bill as it infringes on the Secretary’s [Hillary Clinton’s] flexibility to make appropriate staffing decisions,” and suggested the duties of Wolf’s proposed envoy would overlap with several existing positions.  “The new special envoy position is unnecessary, duplicative, and likely counterproductive,” the State Department said (emphasis added).

But as Wolf explained in his letter: “If I believed that religious minorities, especially in these strategic regions, were getting the attention warranted at the State Department, I would cease in pressing for passage of this legislation.  Sadly, that is far from being the case. We must act now….  Time is running out.”

Much of this was discussed during Coptic Solidarity’s third annual conference in Washington D.C. last month, which I participated in, and which featured many politicians and lawmakers—including the U.K.’s Lord Alton, Senator Roy Blunt, Congressman Trent Frank, Congressman Joseph Pitts, and Frank Wolf himself.  As Coptic Solidarity’s summary report puts it, “All policy makers voiced strong support to the Copts…. Some policy makers raised concerns about the current U.S. Administration’s overtures towards religious extremists.”

There was little doubt among the speakers that, while Webb is the front man, Hillary Clinton—who was named often—is ultimately behind the opposition to the bill.  (Videos of all speakers can be accessed here; for information on the envoy bill and how to contact Webb’s office, click here).

Read more at Front Page

Related article:

Bulletin of the Persecution of Christians June 28 – July 30, 2012 (Political Islam)

International Religious Freedom Report: Time to Back Up Tough Talk with Tough Actions

By John G. Malcolm:

Yesterday, the State Department issued its 2011 International Religious Freedom Report, which represents the culmination of an annual review the State Department must undertake pursuant to the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (IRFA). However, other than exhorting countries that are egregious violators of religious liberties (as defined in IRFA) to stop doing bad things, the report appears to be short on specific recommendations designed to improve the situations in those countries.

IRFA affirmed America’s commitment to religious freedom as enshrined in our Constitution and in various international instruments, such as Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which provides:

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

At the release of the report, Suzan Johnson Cook, the U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, stated:

Freedom of religion is not just an American right but the right of all people. It goes hand in hand with freedom of expression, freedom of speech and assembly, and when religious freedom is restricted, all these rights are at risk. And for this reason, religious freedom is often the bellwether for other human rights. It’s the canary in the coal mine.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered a serious and sobering speech later in the day at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, in which she noted that “[m]ore than a billion people live under governments that systematically suppress religious freedom.” She stated that the report “sends a signal to the worst offenders that the world is watching.” Unfortunately, if “what’s past is prologue,” to quote Shakespeare, there is reason to believe that insufficient action will be taken by President Obama to undergird the Secretary’s inspiring words.

IRFA requires the President, who has delegated this authority to the Secretary of State, to designate as “countries of particular concern” (CPCs) those countries whose governments have engaged in or tolerated “particularly severe violations of religious freedom,” which are defined in Section 3(11) of the Act as ones that are systematic, ongoing, and egregious, including acts such as torture, prolonged detention without charges, disappearances, or other flagrant denials of the right to life, liberty, or the security of persons. After a country is designated a CPC, the President is required by law to conduct an annual review, no later than September 1 of each year, and to take one or more of the actions specified in the IRFA.

Section 405 of the IRFA provides the President with an array of options to consider including demarches; private or public condemnation; the denial, delay or cancellation of scientific or cultural exchanges; the cancellation of a state visit; the withdrawal or limitation of humanitarian or security assistance; the restriction of credit or loans from United States and multilateral organizations; the denial of licenses to export goods or technologies; a prohibition against the U.S. government entering into any agreement to procure goods or services from that country; or “any other action authorized by law” so long as it “is commensurate in effect to the action substituted.”

Although IRFA provides that the “President shall seek to take all appropriate and feasible actions authorized by law to obtain the cessation of violations,” the President retains the authority to invoke a waiver of sanctions against a CPC if, in his judgment, circumstances warrant it.

Unfortunately, although IRFA envisions an annual review by the President of the State Department’s CPC recommendations, yesterday’s report did not contain any, citing instead CPC recommendations that were made by the State Department in August 2011. The eight countries that were designated as CPCs by the State Department in August 2011 were Burma, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), Eritrea, Iran, the People’s Republic of China, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Uzbekistan. These are the same eight countries that have been designated as CPCs since January 2009, and many have been on the list for far longer than that.

Although the IRFA is ambiguous as to whether a new designation is required, it is seems strange that, as part of an annual review, the State Department did not proffer an updated list. Equally strange is that the State Department did not offer any explanations as to why it rejected many of the recommendations of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), an independent, bipartisan federal government commission, that recommended CPC designation for several other countries in its 2012 Annual Report.

Specifically, USCIRF, where I used to serve as General Counsel, recommended that Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Vietnam be designated as CPCs and provided detailed information to support those recommendations, along with specific policy recommendations to remediate the problems in those and other countries. IRFA provides that the Secretary of State must take “into consideration the recommendations of the Commission.” While this does not mean, of course, that the Secretary must or even should adopt all of the Commission’s recommendations, it is somewhat surprising that the International Religious Freedom Report doesn’t address—even in passing—these seeming discrepancies in views toward the appropriate designation of these additional eight countries.

And what actions have been taken against the eight countries that the State Department did designate as CPCs? Well, in the case of Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan, the answer is none, since the President has waived the imposition of sanctions supposedly to further the purposes of the IRFA, although it is hard to see how. With respect to the other countries, sanctions have been imposed, some of them quite severe. However, unfortunately, even with respect to these countries, the sanctions that have been imposed have been under other statutes for other violations of law. While this practice of “double-hatting” is permissible under the IRFA, it sends the wrong signal that our government cares more about other violations of law than it does about egregious violations of religious liberty, and it also provides little incentive for CPCs to ameliorate those violations and improve the human rights of people living within their borders.

Religious freedom has often been given short shrift at Foggy Bottom. Indeed, the U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom is one of the few Ambassadors who does not report directly to the Secretary of State, reporting instead to the Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Let us hope that the President will take sufficient action under the IRFA to attempt to address the suffering that many people of faith endure at the hands of egregious violators of religious liberties abroad.

Read more at Heritage

View Hillary Clinton’s 57 minute speech to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on C-Span and here is the Transcript

Clinton praises GOPers for denouncing Islamophobic attacks on top aide

Cardinal Dolan Announces His Support of Thomas More Law Center Lawsuit Challenging HHS Mandate

Thomas More Law Center:

ANN ARBOR, MI – In a letter dated June 21, 2012, the Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, expressed his support of the Thomas More Law Center’s federal lawsuit on behalf of Legatus challenging the HHS Mandate.

The Cardinal wrote:

“I am especially encouraged to hear of your efforts to pursue litigation through the Thomas More Law Center. Your particular voice in defense of the business owner is a unique and important part of the efforts to defend long-held rights of conscience for institutions and individuals.”  (See entire letter here.)

The Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, filed the federal lawsuit on May 7, 2012, challenging the HHS mandate on behalf of Legatus, the Nation’s largest organization of top Catholic business CEOs and professional leaders.

Also joining in the lawsuit as Plaintiffs are the Weingartz Supply Company, a Michigan retailer since 1945, and its President who is a member of Legatus. The 42-page Complaint against the Obama administration was filed in the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

The purpose of the lawsuit is to permanently block the implementation of the HHS Mandate requiring employers and individuals to obtain insurance coverage for abortions and contraception on the grounds that it imposes clear violations of conscience on Americans who morally object to abortion and contraception.

The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of the HHS Mandate under the First Amendment rights to the Free Exercise of Religion, Free Speech, and the Establishment Clause. It also claims that the HHS Mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the Administrative Procedure Act.
Thomas More Law Center attorney, Erin Mersino, is the lead counsel in the lawsuit. Joining as co-counsel is the Law Office of Charles LiMandri, the Law Center’s West Coast Regional Director and a member of Legatus.