Facing God


Frontpage, by Danusha V. Goska, Nov. 11, 2015:

The Judeo-Christian tradition recognizes the individual, apart from the mob. That individual is invited to meet and talk, face to face and utterly spontaneously, with God, without interruption from any earthly authority. That encounter is the life spark of Western Civilization.

We define, and recognize, by contrasts. I learn much about Christian prayer and Christian monasticism by comparing them with their opposites. I think of Michelangelo’s “Creation of Adam” and what it says about my faith – specifically, what it says about the Judeo-Christian concept of God, of man, and of prayer. I think of how that artwork and its implications contrast with other belief systems: modern Atheism, ancient Paganism, and Islam.

Between 1508 and 1512, on the ceiling of the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo depicted the spark of life in the fingertip-to-fingertip, eye-contact encounter between one, loving, creator God and one human being – not a teeming mass – just one person. In Michelangelo’s fresco, we see Adam’s full naked form, from head to toe. God looks like Adam, and Adam looks like God. They are the same size. Every detail here matters – that Adam is just one man, that he is naked, that he is anatomically detailed, that he is the same size as God, that God and Adam are fundamentally structured the same, that Adam is making eye contact with God, that God looks upon Adam with fiercely attentive love – every detail here has an impact on the life anyone can live in a Judeo-Christian society.

Organized Christophobes and anti-Semites have targeted Michelangelo’s “Creation of Adam” for attack. They call themselves “The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.” They blather, “Oh, you Christians and Jews are so stupid; you think God is an old man in the sky with a long, white beard.” They insist that it doesn’t matter what story a society tells itself about its origins. They say that the Judeo-Christian God may as well be a monster made of spaghetti. They are ignorant and childish enough to believe that if we told ourselves that story, we’d be able to have the same society that we have now. They are wrong on every count.

“God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them”: Sofers, ancient Jewish scribes, committed these words to print in the book of Genesis thousands of years ago. Each individual person is the image of a loving God – “tzelem elohim” in Hebrew, “imago dei” in Latin. Michelangelo used the language at which he was fluent – his gift for accurately depicting anatomy and physiology – to communicate the essence of the relationship between the Judeo-Christian God and each individual person.

Adam and God meet face to face, eye to eye, in the Sistine Chapel fresco. Exodus 33:11 tells us that “The Lord spoke with Moses face to face, just as a man speaks with his friend.” Deuteronomy 5:4 tells us that “the Lord spoke to his people Israel” face to face as well. In Numbers 6:25, God blesses thus “The Lord let his face shine upon you.” The Bible repeatedly adjures us to seek God’s face. “When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek” Psalm 27:8. “Face to face:” this metonym has meant intimate connection – human and spiritual – for the past four thousand years. “To face” means “to meet.” The sixth amendment to the US Constitution guarantees the right to face one’s accuser. “Face” often means “dignity,” e.g. “To save face.” This is true not just of English, but of many languages. In Medieval Slavic languages, “without face” means “shame.” In China and other Asian cultures, face is reputation, honor, and dignity.

Adam is an individual, apart from a mob. The Talmud teaches that God created only one Adam, rather than a group of men at once, to emphasize the value of each, individual life. One man, in himself, is an entire universe. The Bible teaches: you matter. Not some ideal you. Not you as a cog in a big machine. You who you are, right now. You matter. The God who created the universe wants contact with you. Bring your moment-by-moment concerns to God. Suffering? Pray. Rejoicing? Pray. Sick? Pray. Worried about someone else? Pray. Anxious for yourself? Pray. (James 5 13-18, Philippians 4:6). David, Mary, and Jesus model candid, spontaneous prayer. David nags God in the Psalms, Mary spikes the ball in the Magnificat, and Jesus on the cross holds back nothing. No prayers are as poignant as the prayers of desperate women. Hannah is reprimanded for the intensity of her prayer – “Lady, are you drunk?” – and the woman with a hemorrhage prays her tentative, tiny prayer silently, “If only I can touch the hem of his garment.”

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The Quiet Christian Insurgency in the Middle East



Breitbart, by Katie Gorka, Feb. 12, 2015:

While the U.S. government continues to search for an information campaign that can effectively weaken ISIS and other radical groups, Christians have been waging a surprisingly successful war of ideas against radical Islam.

The New York Times recently published an article on an initiative by Maj. Gen. Michael K. Nagata, commander of American Special Operations forces in the Middle East, which brought together a group of experts to figure out a strategy for weakening the Islamic State’s appeal. But according to the article, General Nagata expressed a dismay that has become a common theme of the Obama administration: “We have not defeated the idea. We do not even understand the idea.”

The State Department’s counter-terrorism messaging initiative equally fails to inspire confidence. The Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSCC) was created in 2011. With a budget of about $5 million and a team of 50 as of 2014, it works to counter the tweets and Facebook posts of jihadists. It is best known for its campaign, Think Again Turn Away. Its current Facebook page, which has 10,455 likes, features the question, “ISIS: Why is Your ‘Caliph’ Hiding?” It maintains a count of the days since Baghdadi was last seen (220 as of February 9, 2015).

But the campaign has about as much subtlety as the “Just Say No” campaign against drugs. As Jacob Silverman, an author who writes about social media, noted, “State’s messages usually arrive with all the grace of someone’s dad showing up at a college party.”

A third key component of the U.S. government’s messaging campaign is carried out by the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa), Radio Free Asia, and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (Radio and TV Martí). According to the BBG’s website, their mission is to inform, engage and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy. They have a massive budget with which to carry out that mission–a hefty $733 million last year. But a 2014 audit of the BBG by the State Department’s Inspector General revealed fraudulent and wasteful purchasing practices, which lead Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee to conclude that the BBG’s “wasteful spending, non-competitive contracting practices, and violations of current law point to an organization without accountable leadership.” Rep. Royce went on to say, “For the sake of our national security interests, it is critical that U.S. international broadcasting be effective; that is why we have to scrap this broken agency.”

Thus, to the extent that the United States government is even engaging in the war of ideas, it is not doing a very effective job. As Robert Reilly, a former director of the Voice of America has said, “…the U.S. government has failed to show up for the war of ideas. Strategic communication or public diplomacy, the purpose of which is to win such wars, is the single weakest area of U.S. government performance since 9/11.”

Enter the Christians. With limited dollars and a limited goal, American Christians are having far-reaching success that few outside their circle know about. Their goal is to bring the message of Christianity to as many people as possible. That used to mean sending missionaries to far-flung and often dangerous places. But increasingly, Christian groups are putting the tools of social media and technology to work for their cause. And unlike the U.S. government’s efforts, their messaging is having a profound resonance in the Middle East and Africa.

Take, for example, Isik Abla, a charismatic and bubbly Turkish woman who converted to Christianity from Islam and now broadcasts daily into Muslim-majority countries. Isik’s book, I Dreamed Freedom: An Abused Muslim Girl’s Journey to Find Freedom, describes her dysfunctional family, rife with addiction, abuse and infidelity, and her eventual conversion to Christianity. Today, she shares that story openly with Muslims, and rather than chastising them with messages like “Think Again, Turn Away,” she offers messages of empathy, hope, and love. A recent post on her Facebook page, says, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” She uses hashtags that include #GiveittoGod and #YouareLoved!! It is a message people are responding to well: her Facebook page has 1,654,111 likes.

“Brother Rachid” is another popular convert to Christianity who is reaching out to Muslims. Born to a devout Muslim family in Morocco, today Rachid hosts a weekly call-in show entitled “Daring Questions,” in which he challenges Muslims to think hard about their faith, and he debates Muslim scholars. Rachid’s programs air by satellite all over the Middle East and North Africa, Europe, North America and Australia. On one website, “Daring Questions” was streamed 10,763,988 times. On the same website, his program was downloaded 1,648,217 times. This would suggest that Muslims are hungry for meaningful discussion and debate about their faith.

Isik Abla and Brother Rachid are engaging in the war of ideas not only in Muslim countries, but also here at home. After President Obama said in September 2014 that “ISIS is not Islamic,” Rachid posted a YouTube video, where he challenged the president:

I ask you, Mr. President, to stop being politically correct — to call things by their names. ISIL, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Al Shabab in Somalia, the Taliban, and their sister brand names, are all made in Islam. Unless the Muslim world deals with Islam and separates religion from state, we will never end this cycle.

It is Christians who understand– perhaps better than anyone else– that this is not a war for territory or treasure, but for hearts and souls. It is not a war that can be won on the battlefield. Unfortunately, the majority of those currently in charge of America’s messaging campaign are post-modern secular bureaucrats. They cannot grasp the profound pull religion can have on men’s hearts.

This is not to suggest that the State Department should get into the preaching business or that Christianity is the answer to all of Islam’s ailments. But it is to say that the Islamic world is deep in crisis, as virtually any Muslim can attest. There are wide-ranging debates going on across the Muslim world over the future of Islam. In a recent speech, Egyptian President Sisi admonished the scholars of Al Azhar University to help bring about a revolution in Islam. The United States, in contrast, merely denies that the crisis has anything to do with Islam and offers a gentle hand-slap to would be jihadists: #ThinkAgainTurnAway.

Those currently in charge of America’s information campaign do not take seriously the ideas driving the enemy, and therefore they do not wade into the deep waters where the real battle is taking place—in the world of ideas and beliefs. Christians, on the other hand, know exactly what this battle is about, and they are more than willing to go where the State Department fears to tread.

Katie Gorka is the president of the Council on Global Security. @katharinegorka.

Obama’s Criticizing of Christianity Examined by Bishop E.W. Jackson

Published on Feb 6, 2015 by Steve Laboe

“Instead of closing Guantanamo Bay, frankly sir you should try closing your mouth”
says Bishop E.W. Jackson in response to Barack Obama’s lame comments stated at the National Prayer Breakfast where he criticizes Christians instead of calling out Radical Islam


Also see:

Obama And Islam’s Non-Existent Golden Rule

obama1 (1)NER, by Hugh Fitzgerald, Feb. 6, 2015:

Barack Obama ended his talk at the National Prayer Breakfast with a quote from the Hadtih (Sahih Muslim):

“And, finally, let’s remember that if there is one law that we can all be most certain of that seems to bind people of all faiths, and people who are still finding their way towards faith but have a sense of ethics and morality in them — that one law, that Golden Rule that we should treat one another as we wish to be treated. The Torah says “Love thy neighbor as yourself.” In Islam, there is a Hadith that states: “None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” The Holy Bible tells us to “put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” Put on love….”

Quoting this Hadtih — incidentally, this is the first time that Obama has publicly used that word — from the Sahih Muslim is like quoting Quran 5.32 without its modifier 5.33, that vitiates the original verse lifted from the Mishnah, or 2.256 (“There is no compulsion in religion”) without understanding what that verse means, for clearly the three possibilities open to non-Muslims under Muslim rule — death, conversion, or life as a dhimmi, with a host of economic, political, and social disabilities that for many proved unendurable.

Ali Sina, the celebrated apostate who was born and raised in Islam, has written extensively, in a debate with Yamin Zakaria, about the non-eexistence of the Golden Rule in Islam. It can be found at his website, http://www.faithfreedom.org. He also wrote, a few years after the original article, a rebuttal to the objections raised by a Muslim defending the faith:

“The Quran is a book of double standards. Indeed there are exhortations to Muslims to be kind to the poor, the traveler, the orphan and the sick. This is to be expected. If you want to start a religion you must preach something good or you”d not find anyone to believe you. You cannot preach only evil. In order to attract followers you must teach things that people like and can easily identify as good. Once they accept you as a prophet, guru or their spiritual guide, then you can do whatever you want and get away with it.

The difference between a true spiritual teacher and a conman is in their consistency. There are several teachings of Muhammad that can be compared to those of Jesus, but the teachings of Jesus are consistent while those of Muhammad are not. Even a criminal can give you good advises, this does not mean this criminal is a good person.

When I was young there was a radio show in Iran called A City within Our City. Every week the producer interviewed a prison inmate on death roll and the criminal would tell the story of his life and what brought him to crime. At the end of the program the producer would ask, whether the criminal had any advice for young people. These criminals often had the best advices. They knew exactly the difference between right and wrong. I recall thinking, if only someone complied the advices of these criminals he could write the best book of guidance. Good words are dime a dozen. If they are not accompanied by good actions they are worthless. In fact the difference between a great man and a conman is in how much their word and deed differ. Demagogy is the domain of all charlatans and they are good at it.

We find similar good exhortations in the teachings of Jim Jones who actually based his religion on “social justice”. He even adopted children from many races to set the example.

The problem with the good teachings of Muhammad is that they are reserved for fellow Muslims. When the hadith says “None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself,.” it is talking about the fellow Muslims. The brotherhood in Islam does not extend to everyone. The Quran (9:23) states that the believers should not take for friends and protectors (awlia) their fathers and brothers if they love Infidelity above Islam. In fact there are many verses that tell the Muslims to kill the unbelievers and be harsh to them. A clear example that Islam is not based on the Golden Rule is the verse (48:29): “Muhammad is the messenger of Allah; and those who are with him are strong against Unbelievers, (but) compassionate amongst each other.”

There are many other verses that show the brotherhood in Islam is not universal. The non believers have no rights and should not be treated in the same way that Muslims are to be treated. The entire Quran is a breach of the Golden Rule. The Quran tells Muslims to slay the unbelievers wherever they find them (2:191), do not befriend them (3:28), fight them and show them harshness (9:123), smite their heads (47:4), etc. Are these verses compatible with the Golden Rule?

Islam is the only doctrine that calls upon its believers to do evil to others for the simple fact that they are not believers.

According to Muslims it is not the Golden Rule that defines the good and bad, it is Muhammad who does it. They believe that what is good for Islam is the highest virtue and what is bad for Islam is the ultimate evil. This is the definition of good and evil in Islam. This is the ethos of all cults. From Asahara’s “Aum Shinrikyo” to Jim Jones” “People’s Temple”; from Sun Myung Moon’s “Unification Chruch” to David Koresh’s “Davidian Branch”, the recurring theme is that the cult’s interests override the human understanding of right and wrong. In order to advance the interest of the cult, which is regarded as the ultimate good, everything, including lying, and even murder and assassination are permissible. The end is deemed to be so lofty that it justifies the means. This is the same idea of fascism where the glorification of the state and the total subordination of the individual to it are enforced.

None of the verse quoted above have anything to do with the Golden Rule.

Verse 13:22 tells the believers to be patient and generous with their money. This is what all cults demand from their followers. The more sacrifice the cultist makes the more he or she can be manipulated. Verse 23:96 asks Muslims to repel evil, whereas the definition of evil for Muhammad was contradicting him. Verse 41:34 is a Meccan verse where Muhammad and his followers were the underdogs and here he preached patience and said repel evil with good so your enemy becomes as friend. Could he have done anything else? These orders changed when Muhammad came to power. In Medina Muhammad banished and massacred entire populations just because he suspected that they may not be friendly to him. 28:54 is a repetition of 23:96 and 42:40 says whoever forgives and amends, he shall have his reward from Allah. However, Muhammad never forgave those who mocked him. As for Muhammad’s unforgiving nature it is enough to recall the fate of Oqba the man who when Muhammad was in Mecca used to mock him and when he was captured in the Battle of Badr, Muhammad ordered his decapitation. He ventured to expostulate, and demand why he should be treated more vigorously than the other captives who were kept for ransom. “˜Because of your enmity to God and to his Prophet,” replied Muhammad. “˜And my little girl!” cried Oqba, in the bitterness of his soul, “˜Who will take care of her?” — “˜Hellfire!” exclaimed the heartless conqueror; and on the instant his victim was hewn to the ground. “˜Wretch that he was!” continued Muhammad, “˜and persecutor! Unbeliever in God, in his Prophet, and in his Book! I give thanks unto the Lord that has slain you, and comforted mine eyes thereby.”

How do you reconcile the claim that Muhammad in his farewell sermon said, “Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you.” With the fact that in his deathbed he said, “No two religions are allowed in Arabia” and ordered the forced conversion, expulsion or ethnic cleansing of the Jews and Christian and the murder of Pagans?

The sura 9, which is the last words of Muhammad, is a manifesto of discrimination and human rights abuses. This sura alone is proof that Islam is against the Golden Rule

The first requisite to feel the pain and suffering of others is to accept that they have feelings like us and they also feel hurt the way we do. If we deny such feelings on others we do not feel any remorse in abusing them. Muhammad claimed all those who disbelieve in Allah are the worst creatures. He even said that all non-believers will end up in hell where they will be tortured for eternity. How then Muslims can treat equally those whom they believe to be worst than beast and that deserve eternal punishment?

There is nothing in the Quran and Hadith that would make us believe that Islam is compatible with the Golden Rule.


Obama, I suppose, has not had time — nor have his advisers and speech writers, including those who helped write that speech on Islam that Obama gave at Al-Azhar a few years ago — to read a bit more to understand what that line from a hadith that one of his advisers — Ben Rhodes? — means. It does not mean “love his brother” where “brother” stands for “fellow man.” It refers only to fellow Muslims. The Qur’an instructs Muslims not to take Christians and Jews as friends, and to make war on them if they do not convert, or submit, as dhimmis, to Islam. If Obama can quote a Hadith (that’s the first time he’s used that word in public) he can find out  what’s in the Qur’an.

When is Barack Obama going to look into Islam, and stop all this nonsense? He has a duty to instruct. And that begins with the task — possibly a little less watching of basketball games and suchlike on television is called for  of self-instruction.

Obama: Christianity No Different Than the Islamic State

Obama-at-2015-National-Prayer-Breakfast-450x315Frontpage, by Raymond Ibrahim, Feb. 6, 2015:

As the world reacts with shock and horror at the increasingly savage deeds of the Islamic State (IS)—in this case, the recent immolation of a captive—U.S. President Obama’s response has been one of nonjudgmental relativism.

Speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast on February 5, Obama counseled Americans to get off their “high horse” and remember that Christians have been equally guilty of such atrocities:

Unless we get on our high horse and think this [beheadings, sex-slavery, crucifixion, roasting humans] is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.

There is so much to be said here.  First, the obvious: the wide gulf between violence and hate “justified in the name of Christ” and violence and hate “justified in the name of Muhammad” is that Christ never justified it, while Muhammad continuously did.

This is not just a theoretic point; it is the very reason that Muslims are still committing savage atrocities.  Every evil act IS commits—whether beheading, crucifying, raping, enslaving, or immolating humans—has precedents in the deeds of Muhammad, that most “perfect” and “moral” man, per Koran 33:21 and 68:4 (see “The Islamic State and Islam” for parallels).

Does Obama know something about Christ—who eschewed violence and told people to love and forgive their enemies—that we don’t?  Perhaps he’s clinging to that solitary verse that academics like Philip Jenkins habitually highlight, that Christ—who “spoke to the multitudes in parables and without a parable spoke not” once said, “I come not to bring peace but a sword.” (Matt. 10:34, 13:34).

Jesus was not commanding violence against non-Christians but rather predicting that Christians will be persecuted, including by family members (as, for example, when a Muslim family slaughters their child for “apostatizing” to Christianity as happens frequently).

Conversely, in its fatwa justifying the burning of the Jordanian captive, the Islamic State cites Muhammad putting out the eyes of some with “heated irons” (he also cut their hands and feet off).  The fatwa also cites Khalid bin al-Walid—the heroic “Sword of Allah”—who burned apostates to death, including one man whose head he set on fire to cook his dinner on.

Nor is the Islamic State alone in burning people.  Recently a “mob accused of burning alive a Christian couple in an industrial kiln in Pakistan allegedly wrapped a pregnant mother in cotton so she would catch fire more easily.”

As for the Islamic “authorities,” Al Azhar—the Islamic world’s oldest and most prestigious university which cohosted Obama’s 2009 “New Beginning” speech—still assigns books that justify every barbarity IS commits, including burning people alive.  Moreover, Al Azhar—a religious institution concerned with what is and is not Islamic—has called for the cutting off of the hands and feet of IS members, thereby legitimizing such acts according to Islamic law.

On the other hand, does Obama know of some secret document in the halls of the Vatican that calls for amputating, beheading or immolating enemies of Christ to support his religious relativism?

As for the much maligned Crusades, Obama naturally follows the mainstream academic narrative that anachronistically portrays the crusaders as greedy, white, Christian imperialists who decided to conquer peace-loving Muslims in the Middle East.

Again, familiarity with the true sources and causes behind the Crusades shows that they were a response to the very same atrocities being committed by the Islamic State today.  Consider the words of Pope Urban II, spoken almost a millennium ago, and note how well they perfectly mirror IS behavior:

From the confines of Jerusalem and the city of Constantinople a horrible tale has gone forth and very frequently has been brought to our ears, namely, that a race from the kingdom of the Persians [i.e., Muslim Turks] … has invaded the lands of those Christians and has depopulated them by the sword, pillage and fire; it has led away a part of the captives into its own country [as slaves], and a part it has destroyed by cruel tortures; it has either entirely destroyed the churches of God or appropriated them for the rites of its own religion ….  What shall I say of the abominable rape of the women? To speak of it is worse than to be silent….  On whom therefore is the labor of avenging these wrongs and of recovering this territory incumbent, if not upon you? You, upon whom above other nations God has conferred remarkable glory in arms, great courage, bodily activity, and strength…

If the crusaders left their own lands and families to come to the aid of persecuted Christians and to liberate Jerusalem, here is Obama portraying them as no better than the Islamic State—which isn’t surprising considering that, far from helping persecuted Christians, Obama’s policies have significantly worsened their plight.

According to primary historical texts—not the modern day fantasies peddled by the likes of Karen Armstrong, an ex-nun with an axe to grind—Muslim persecution of Christians was indeed a primary impetus for the Crusades.

As for the Inquisition, this too took place in the context of Christendom’s struggle with Islam. (Isn’t it curious that the European nation most associated with the Inquisition, Spain, was also the only nation to be conquered and occupied by Islam for centuries?)  After the Christian reconquest of Spain, Muslims, seen as untrustworthy, were ordered either to convert to Christianity or go back to Africa whence they came.  Countless Muslims feigned conversion by practicing taqiyya and living as moles, always trying to subvert Spain back to Islam.  Hence the extreme measures of the Inquisition—which, either way, find no support in the teachings of Christ.

Conversely, after one of his jihads, Muhammad had a man tortured to death in order to reveal his tribe’s hidden treasure and “married” the same man’s wife hours later.  Unsurprisingly, the woman, Safiya, later confessed that “Of all men, I hated the prophet the most—for he killed my husband, my brother, and my father,” before “marrying” her.

In short, Obama’s claim that there will always be people willing to “hijack religion for their own murderous ends” is patently false when applied to the Islamic State and like organizations and individuals.

Muhammad himself called for the murder of his enemies; he permitted Muslims to feign friendship to his enemies in order to assassinate them; he incited his followers to conquer and plunder non-believers, promising them a sexual paradise if they were martyred; he kept sex slaves and practiced pedophilia with his “child-bride,” Aisha.

He, the prophet of Islam, did everything the Islamic State is doing.

If Muslims are supposed to follow the sunna, or example, of Muhammad, and if Muhammad engaged in and justified every barbarity being committed by the Islamic State and other Muslims—how, exactly, are they “hijacking” Islam?

Such is the simple logic Obama fails to grasp.  Or else he does grasp it—but hopes most Americans don’t.

Study: Widespread Islamic Fundamentalism in Europe

sharia-law-uk-newby :

“Religious fundamentalism is not a marginal phenomenon in Western Europe,” concluded a December 9, 2013, press release of the Berlin Social Science Center (Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung or WZB) with respect to European Muslims in particular.  The social survey results from six West European countries supporting WZB’s conclusion present troubling questions concerning Muslim immigrant integration into free societies in Europe and beyond.

As a WZB Discussion Paper explained, the WZB-funded Six Country Immigrant Integration Comparative Survey (SCIICS) involved a 2008 “large-scale telephone survey.”  Respondents were “Turkish origin” and “Moroccan origin” people “who came during the guest-worker era” pre-1975 or their descendants.  SCIICS surveyed both groups in Belgium, France, Germany, and the Netherlands, while insignificant Moroccan populations limited the survey to Turkish-descent individuals in Austria and Sweden.  SCIICS sought 500 respondents from each group in each country as well as from a control group of non-immigrant descended country citizens, with the exception of Belgium with its “high degree of federalism.”  Here SCIICS surveyed 300 individuals from each group in both Flanders and Wallonia provinces.  Almost 9,000 completed surveys or 3,373 native, 3,344 Turkish, and 2,204 Moroccan origin, resulted.

For WZB study author Ruud Koopmans the results revealed unsettling aspects of Islamic belief in Western Europe as discussed in his article “Fundamentalism and Out-Group Hostility:  Muslim Immigrants and Christian Natives in Western Europe.”  Among other issues, SCIICS sought to remedy the deficiency that “very little is known about the extent of religious fundamentalism among Muslim immigrants” in Europe.  A “large number of studies” on American Protestant fundamentalism, meanwhile, “have shown that it is strongly and consistently associated with prejudices and hostility against racial and religious out-groups, as well as ‘deviant’ groups such as homosexuals.”

For a comparative religious fundamentalism survey, SCIICS employed Bob Altermeyer and Bruce Hunsberger’s “widely accepted definition of fundamentalism” with “three key elements.” These are (1) “that believers should return to the eternal and unchangeable rules laid down in the past;” (2) “that these rules allow only one interpretation and are binding for all believers;” and (3) “that religious rules have priority over secular laws.”  Accordingly, “native respondents who indicated” being Christian (70%) and “Turkish and Moroccan origin” respondents who professed being Muslim (96%) received three questions.  These were (1) “Christians [Muslims] should return to the roots of Christianity [Islam];” (2) “There is only one interpretation of the Bible [the Koran] and every Christian [Muslim] must stick to that;” and (3) “The rules of the Bible [the Koran] are more important to me than the laws of [survey country].”

These questions revealed that “religious fundamentalism is not a marginal phenomenon within West European Muslim communities.”  Almost 60% of surveyed Muslims advocated a “return to the roots of Islam,” 75% accepted following “only one interpretation of the Koran,” and 65% considered “religious rules…more important” than domestic laws.  “Consistent fundamentalist beliefs, with agreement to all three statements,” existed among 44% of the Muslim survey respondents.

“Fundamentalist attitudes are slightly less prevalent among Sunni Muslims with a Turkish (45% agreement to all three statements) compared to a Moroccan (50%) background,” Koopmans noted.  In contrast, only 15% of Alevi, a “Turkish minority current within Islam,” were similarly fundamentalist. The “lowest levels of fundamentalism” among the individually surveyed Muslim communities appeared in Germany, where a nonetheless “widespread” 30% affirmed all three statements.  This result opposed the “idea that fundamentalism is a reaction to exclusion by the host society” given that German Muslims had the least legal recognition as a religious community among all the surveyed countries.  Koopmans discerned “remarkably similar patterns” in other studies of West European Muslims such that 47% of German Muslims prioritized religious rules over democracy in both his and the 2007 Federal Ministry of the Interior Muslime in Deutschland study.

By contrast, only 13-21% of Christian survey respondents agreed to the individual statements, with fewer than 4% accepting all three as “consistent fundamentalists.”  Corresponding “with what is known about Christian fundamentalism,” fundamentalism rates were low among Catholics (3%) and “mainstream Protestants” (4%).  A “most pronounced” high of 12% occurred “among the adherents of smaller Protestant groups such as Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Pentecostal believers.”  Thus Christian “support for fundamentalist attitudes remains much below the levels found among Sunni Muslims.”

Read more at Front Page

‘Merry Christmas’ from the Religion of ‘Peace’

By Paul Wilkinson:

There is an ongoing ruthless de-Christianisation of British society by the elitists advocating multiculturalism and hell-bent on destroying their own culture, identity and heritage, while desperately not wanting to ‘offend’ anybody else’s feelings or beliefs. However this aggressive ‘secularism’ is not just an attack on Christianity, but an assault on the Judeo-Christian values that makes our society what it is.

Multiculturalists have been stripping the nation of a spiritual soul and suppressing Christianity, the religion of the majority. This leaves a vacuum that actively encourages other religions to flourish, which would be fine in and of itself, but the predator of Islam needs no invitation to mount an attack. The only followers of a non-Christian faith intent on eliminating Christmas in their adopted country are Muslims.

According to the 2011 census, ‘officially’ 59% of people in England and Wales identify themselves as being Christian, 25.1% stated no religion, 4.8% are Muslim and the remaining 11.1% account for all other religions and categories combined. Multiculturalists may repeat the “all cultures are equal mantra,” but this ideology turns British culture on its head because it implies that 4.8% of the population in the UK that follow Islam are ‘equal’ with the 95.2% non-Muslim population and the host culture that Islam despises!

This theory is a misnomer because multiculturalism and Islam cannot be promoted together. Islam by its very nature is supremacist, rejects anything that is not Islamic and is fundamentally against multiculturalism. Yet this irrational self-loathing and suicidal political correctness that no one asked for has been forced upon us.

Read more at Cherson and Molschky


Gohmert on Religious Persecution: It’s Time We Stand Up for Christians

217709_167870656601694_55452_aRep. Louie Gohmert (TX-01) spoke on the House floor about religious persecution, namely Christian persecution in the Middle East. He read tragic stories of Christians, murdered, trying to peacefully assemble at church. He also noted a startling statistic: Every 11 minutes, 1 Christian is killed because if their faith.

The Most Despised People in the World

By Bill Warner:

The most persecuted group in the world today is Christians. Christians in Nigeria, Egypt, Syria and other nations are murdered, raped, kidnapped, enslaved and persecuted on a daily basis. The reason for the vast majority of all of this violence is that they are Christian among Muslims.

But their abuse does not stop with the violence. The perpetrators of violence are measured in the thousands, but the greatest abuse is at the hands of those who should demand that the violence stop. The silence in the face this persecution is denial and justification. The persecutors are few, but the deniers are in the billions.

Christians are enjoined to care for all persecuted people, but in particular, they are to care for their own brothers and sisters. They manage to ignore the persecution by doing good works, such as care for the poor. Christians have compassion but no courage to face the enemy who kills them. In Nashville, TN (the buckle on the Bible belt) the favorite indoor sport for those who should be dealing with the enemy, Islam, is going to Family of Abraham events and bridge building dialogues where they dance to the tune of Muslims. There is no problem of meeting with Islam, but the rules of engagement are that nothing will be said that offends Islam.

In the parable of the Good Samaritan, an injured man is on the side of the road. Two religious leaders pass him by on the other side of the road. They don’t harm the injured man, they just ignore him. This is the same thing that Christian leaders do at dialogues such as Family of Abraham. They meet with Muslims who adhere to a doctrine that includes killing Christians. But, the leaders will not bring up the Islamic persecution to them. The Christian leadership response to murder of their brothers and sisters is silence. They pass by on the other side of the road. Their silence is consent.

But Christians are not the only deniers. Normally, Jews are quick to step forward in the area of charity and support of victims, but not so with persecuted Christians. Some of this denial may be due to a dislike of Christianity, but Jews are no quicker to help their own.

If you go to thereligionofpeace.com you will find an amazing data base of jihad attacks since 9/11. The current number of attacks is in excess of 22,000 attacks. It is very instructive to parse the data and see what are the top four nations of jihad attacks. When you put the data on a per capita basis, you get the following countries: Israel, Thailand, Philippines and India. Or by religion: Jews, Buddhists, Christians and Hindus. So Jews are the victims of violence by Islam, but the Jews of America love to go to Family of Abraham events and be as silent as the Christians.

But what about the most sensitive victim group – the black American? Victim-ology is the dogma of a myriad black “civil rights” groups with their high priests of race hustles such as Al Sharpton. The most persecuted Christians are in Africa. But the civil rights hustlers of America just love to hang with Muslims as their brothers. All of those dead Africans? Not a problem for African Americans.

It is surprising how many Buddhists are being killed in jihad, but is it a surprise that Buddhists never talk about it? And aside from a few Hindu activists, never a word is heard from the Hindu community about their deaths by jihad.

gty_pope_francis_ll_130313_ssh-450x348The deaths in the Philippines are Catholics and what does Pope Francis say about Islam? He says,

Faced with disconcerting episodes of violent fundamentalism, our respect for true followers of Islam should lead us to avoid hateful generalizations, for authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.

Oh, I see. Over 1400 years of Christian deaths at the hands of jihadists means that they were not true Muslims and that the 22,000 jihadic attacks since 9/11 are not authentic. The annihilation of Christianity in Turkey, Middle East and Africa is not the result of “proper reading of the Koran”. The Pope is the perfect candidate for magical thinking and idiot compassion. And notice the little hate speech riff: “avoid hateful generalizations”. Pope Francis, do you mean generalizations such as conclusions that result from reading the Koran, the Sunna, the Sharia and a 1400 year history of the murder of all kinds of Kafirs (non-Muslims)?

But, in his own way, Pope Francis is the leader of all Christians. He just happens to have on more elaborate clothing as he practices denial.

So, it turns out that Christians are not the most despised group of people in the world. They just happen to be the largest subgroup. The most despised group in the world is the victim of Islam. And whether it is a dead Christian congregation, a murdered apostate, a sad Muslim woman with FGM, or any other victim of jihad, no one will speak out for the victim and against the perpetrator. All leaders share in the shame of being ignorant cowards practicing idiot compassion.

How is this to stop? Well, being polite won’t help, because if polite worked, the problem would be solved. The key to our response is that we have the high moral ground. We must oppose the oppressor, Islam, and stand with the oppressed – Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and all others who are oppressed by jihad. Our opponents, the deniers, support the oppressor, Islam, and ignore and suppress the fate of the victims. The deniers are evil, period.

If you are a Christian, get some allies, and come up with a program about the persecuted church. The program could be bringing in some persecuted Christians, such as Copts, to speak to Sunday school classes or doing a long term study of the Armenian holocaust in 20th century Turkey. When you go to leadership, do not ask permission or make a request. Make demands and if those demands are not met, then some form of protest inside your church must be launched.

Stand up at services and protest, hand out brochures, do whatever it takes until “leadership” agrees to not pass by on the other side of the road and neglect the dead Christians. Point out their moral position is wrong and evil. Do not be shy. Ask them to use scripture to morally justify their denial and ignorance. Be respectful, but firm and do not stop until good prevails.

This is a moral battle and if you are not a Christian, you should do the same in other venues. A possible venue is the local media. Make demands to recognize the victims of jihad and if they are not met, make a protest. Public protest is a powerful tool for change. We must acknowledge the world’s largest human rights tragedy. Being nice is the road to civilizational annihilation.


Bearing Witness: Survivor Describes Nigerian Islamist Terror

Defending Islam: The Height of Leftist Hypocrisy

By: Amber Pawlik

Ever since 9-11, Islam has been a topic of debate in many circles.  President George Bush announced that Islam is a “religion of peace.”  Leftists, though, in particular have convinced us that to criticize Islam is to be “intolerant.”  This has created a culture unwilling to call Islam for what it is.  Here is a list of common debate arguments in defense of Islam, usually given by leftists, and quick rebuttals to them, proving otherwise.


You are a racist if you condemn Islam.  

As soon as you go to criticize Islam, the first response you always get hit with is “you are a racist.”  This is not true.  Islam is an ideology not a race.  You can criticize Islam in the same way that you can criticize communism, liberalism, feminism, etc.   

In fact, the biggest victims of Islam are Muslims themselves.  Every Muslim I have ever met is bright and hard working.  It is unfortunate that Muslims are under the spell of Islam, which prevents them from making the kind of scientific and technological progress they clearly could otherwise make.


Christianity can be just as violent as Islam.  

When you point out the verses in the Koran which call for the murder of Christians and Jews, etc., or point out that Muslims are killing people in the name of Allah, the instant response you get is, “Christianity has violent passages too, and people have killed other people in the name of Christianity too.”  

All I have to say is:  and?  If people are using Christianity as a reason to kill innocent people, guess what:  they are wrong too.  You can’t excuse one evil by pointing to another evil.   

Besides that, there are no Christian nations right now that are responsible for killing 3000 Americans or 200 Spaniards.  It is the Islamic nations and organizations that are.   


It’s the wrong interpretation of Islam that is the problem.  

Leftists insist that the Koran isn’t bad; it is the “wrong interpretation” of the Koran.  I’m not sure how anyone can fail to correctly interpret statements like, 

They long that ye should disbelieve even as they disbelieve, that ye may be upon a level (with them). So choose not friends from them till they forsake their homes in the way of Allah; if they turn back (to enmity) then take them and kill them wherever ye find them, and choose no friend nor helper from among them, Surah4:89, Nobel Koran) but I guess that’s just me.

When leftists say it is the “wrong interpretation” of Islam that is wrong, really what they mean is “why can’t Muslims just ignore the bad parts of the Koran?”  Leftists don’t understand the psyche of the person who takes things literally.  To them, things are just suggestions not commandments – even the law, as evidenced by the San Francisco mess.  

It’s not the wrong interpretation of the Koran that produces terrorists; it is an exact interpretation of the Koran that produces terrorists.


Most Muslims are nice people.  

The more emotional appeal is that most Muslims are nice, hard working people and criticizing Islam is to criticize these nice people.  Of course most Muslims are nice people.  The problem is in the leadership, i.e. people who are responsible for taking the Koran seriously and literally, not the naïve followers.   

It is not limited to leadership in the Middle East either. Representative Peter T. King said publicly while promoting his book Vale of Tears that he estimates 80-85% of the Muslim leadership in America supports “Islamic fundamentalism.”   

Islam is not benign.  To ignore this, being politically-correct, is to ignore a very large, deadly pink elephant in the room. 


Islam has produced scientific achievements.  

Lots of people insist that Muslim culture has produced various scientific achievements. The biggest “Muslim” achievement that they point to is that they supposedly discovered Algebra.  This isn’t true.  It wasn’t Muslims or even Arabs that invented Algebra:  it was the Iranians. The Iranians have had a very enlightened culture – one that radical Muslims have waged a war against, in an effort to Islamicize them (which you will never hear leftists condemn).   The Iranians also had their own religion, Zoroastrian, which was as opposite as you can get from Islam.    

Something else Islam defenders might point to as proof that Islam can produce scientific progress is a man named Razi, who they say was Muslim.  Razi made several findings in medicine.  But Razi, again, was not Arab or Muslim but Iranian.  In fact, he was so hostile to Islam that he wrote several books denouncing faith and upholding reason, and became a heretic.  Razi, an enlightened Iranian, was to the Muslim world what Galileo or Copernicus was to ours.  After treating these men of scientific achievement as heretics forced to live like gypsies, claiming them as proof that Islam can produce scientific achievement is a bit much.   

There is my short list of common arguments regarding Islam.  This brings me to what I believe is the biggest issue of our time and one of the largest hypocrisies. 

Leftists try to claim they are enlightened, sophisticated people, supporting the mind not faith – therefore denounce religion, especially Christianity.  Yet it is these very leftists that are most sympathetic to Islam: one of the most faith-based and anti-enlightened religions that has ever existed.   

Despite their theatrics, announcing they are intellectual, leftists are not enlightened or intellectual.  Genuine enlightenment came when men discovered reason and reality.  It started with one man:  Aristotle.  Accepting that reality was firm and external to man and that men can use reason to understand and explore it allowed for an explosion of scientific progress, technology, and civilization, as we know it.   

Read more at Faith Freedom

Christianity being suppressed while Islam promoted



According to information released at a May 9, 2013 press conference by the families of Navy SEALs killed in an August 2011 helicopter shoot-down in Afghanistan, “military brass prohibited any mention of a Judeo-Christian G-d” and “invited a Muslim cleric to the funeral for the fallen Navy SEAL Team VI heroes who disparaged in Arabic the memory of these servicemen by damning them as infidels to Allah.”

The accusations arose over a “ramp ceremony” held at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan as flag-draped caskets of the dead soldiers were loaded onto a plane for transport back to the United States.  The shocking words of the Muslim cleric, revealed in later translations, were spoken at a memorial service meant to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.  They were yet another example of the abject disrespect of Christians and Christianity endemic to the Muslim world.

Here at home, Christianity and Christian religious practices are also under attack, but in more subtle ways and under a misinterpretation of the principle of freedom of religion.  In the United States, that legal doctrine is cited to marginalize Christian prayer and traditions, while, at the same time, dramatically accommodating and even expanding Muslim religious practices.  Myriad examples exist.

During the recent government shutdown, Catholic priests were warned that they could be arrested for celebrating Mass, even if performed on a voluntary basis.  Under Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s direction and determination was that priests do not “contribute to the morale” and “well-being” of military personnel.”  Thus, offering of the sacraments was prohibited and the Eucharist placed under lock and key.  Curiously, no mention was made of curtailing religious freedom for Muslim service members or furloughing imams.

This prohibition against Christian religious practice is not limited to the military.  Police throughout the land also frequently come down hard against Christians.  In 2010, a group of students from the Arizona-based Wickenburg Christian Academy were ordered by a police officer to cease their quiet prayers on the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.  The officer cited a statute that prohibits demonstrations on the steps, but no official policy bars prayer at that location.

In June of 2010, David Wood and two other Christian missionaries were arrested by Dearborn, Michigan, police at the annual Arab festival for discussing Christianity on a public sidewalk outside the event. The men, who have since been acquitted, were charged with disturbing the peace and spent the night in jail.

Contrast these incidents with a massive public display of praying Muslims during the annual Muslim Day Parade in New York City. Muslims, who are protected each year during the event by Muslim NYPD officers, are free to engage in mass prayer, even prostrating themselves on the streets of midtown Manhattan. Vehicular traffic halts and participants freely harass non-Muslims who attempt to pass through the area on foot.

Meanwhile, the ACLU has been at the forefront of an extensive effort to ban Christian prayer from public schools under the “separation of church and state” provision of the First Amendment.  This is a signature issue for the “civil rights” organization.  However, for Muslim prayers, the organization reverses its interpretation and fights for student rights to engage in prayer.

Read more: Family Security Matters


Video: Daniel Greenfield and Walid Shoebat on Obama’s Political Strategies

obamad-450x281This week’s Glazov Gang was joined by Daniel Greenfield, the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s Shillman Fellow, who discussedObama’s Shutdown Strategy, the administration’s Brotherhood Romance, the Huma Abedin-Anthony Weiner saga. the Unholy Alliance and much, much more:

Don’t miss this week’s #2 Glazov Gangepisode with Walid Shoebat, the former Muslim Brotherhood terrorist who turned to love and Christianity, who exposes Obama’s brother, Malik Obama, dissects the administration’s Islamist odyssey, makes The Case for Islamophobia, and much, much more:


Blaming the Crusades for Jihad

islamic-crusades1-412x350By :

The cultural relativists on the Left and apologists for radical Islam like to blame the Crusades for almost everything. The Muslim extremists are only responding to the deeds of Christian extremists, the argument goes. In his new book, Sir Walter Scott’s Crusades and Other Fantasies, former Muslim Ibn Warraq takes on this misleading theme intended to blame the West for the Muslim world’s troubles.

The claim that the Crusades are the starting point of Islamic jihad is basically the political application of, “For every action, there is an equal but opposite reaction.” It equates the Christian beliefs driving the Crusades with the Islamic beliefs driving jihad.

Ibn Warraq’s new book tackles this misconception. Islamic atrocities were not provoked by the Crusaders’ own reprehensible acts, but preceded them. Islamic jihad was not triggered by the Crusades; it preceded them.

In fact, as explained by Warraq and in books like The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and What’s So Great About Christianity, the Christian world was reduced to about one-third of what it was by the sword of jihad. The Crusades were launched with the objective of, without any exaggeration, saving Europe and Western civilization from Sharia.

My personal experience in school is that the opposite was taught. The Crusades were framed as offensive and the jihads as defensive. The Crusaders were depicted as barbarians, particularly to Jews. I cannot recall hearing about a single Islamic atrocity before or during these wars.

This is a common phenomenon, Warraq explains, and it’s part of an overall trend when it comes to education about the history of Islam.

“What are seen as positive aspects of Islamic Civilization are ecstatically praised, even exaggerated, and all the negative aspects are imputed to the arrival of the pestilential Westerners, and where the Arabs, Persians and Muslims in general are seen as passive victims,”  Warraq said in an interview.

As proof, Warraq and the other authors mention the countless mass killings and persecutions of Christians and Jews before the Crusades. The destruction of over 30,000 churches during a 10-year period starting in 1004 AD is little-known. So is the burning of crosses, the beheading of converts to Christianity from Islam, the destruction of Christian holy sites like the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the forced tax for non-Muslims (the jizya) and the list goes on and on.

Modern-day Islamists and their apologists point to these times as proof of the historical tolerance of Islamic civilization. Islam-ruled Spain (Andalucia) and the city of Cordoba are held up as the golden examples of interfaith coexistence. For example, the Islamic Society of North America’s official publication included an article in its March-April issue titled, “Andalucia: Paradise Still Lost?”

One of the most interesting claims made in Waraq’s book is that the Crusades did not have a permanent impact on the Muslim psychology. Part of the reason is because the Muslim world viewed the wars as an overall victory.

“Many believe that modern Muslims have inherited from their medieval ancestors memories of crusader violence and destruction. But nothing could be further from the truth. By the fourteenth century, in the Islamic world the Crusades had almost passed out of mind,” Warraq said.

This begs the question of what revived the relevancy of the Crusades in how the Muslim world views the West.

Warraq says that the Crusades were reentered into the discourse by Europe. Imperialism was purposely framed as a continuation of the Crusades; something particularly agitating for the growing Arab nationalist movement

Read more at Front Page


Christianity becoming extinct in its birthplace, says Holland

A Report from Lapido Media

20th September 2013

‘Medieval scale of horror . . . ’ Historian Tom Holland. Photos: Stephen Sizer

‘Medieval scale of horror . . . ’ Historian Tom Holland. Photos: Stephen Sizer

MIDDLE EAST historian Tom Holland told a briefing in London last night that the world is watching the effective extinction of Christianity from its birthplace.

In an apocalyptic appraisal of the worsening political situation in the region, a panel of experts provided a mass of evidence and statistics for the end of the region’s nation states under the onslaught of militant Islam.

‘In terms of the sheer scale of the hatreds and sectarian rivalries, we are witnessing something on the scale of horror of the European Thirty Years War,’ said Holland.

‘It is the climax of a process grinding its way through the twentieth century – the effective extinction of Christianity from its birthplace.’

The event titled ‘Reporting the Middle East: Why the truth is getting lost’ at the National Liberal Club in Whitehall, sought answers to the ‘anaemic’ coverage of attacks on Egypt’s Christians on 14 August.

‘Horrific levels of violence’: Nina Shea

‘Horrific levels of violence’: Nina Shea

Pre-planned destruction of scores of ancient churches, monasteries, schools, orphanages and businesses had gone unreported for days across the West, Nina Shea, Director of the Hudson Institute Religious Freedom Centre in Washington said.

After the Islamists swept multiple elections during the first revolution in 2011, US newspapers asking how it would change Egypt suggested merely that women would be prohibited from wearing skimpy clothes, and Sharm el-Sheikh would close as a tourist destination.

This was ‘utterly trivial’ she said.  Persecution of Copts, who dated their church to Gospel writer St Mark in Alexandria, was at its worst since the fourteenth century, with ‘horrific levels of violence’.

‘It has been the worst persecution in 700 years against the oldest, largest remaining Christian minority in the Middle East.’

The media had failed to ask the most basic questions, she said.  ‘Why were the Copts singled out, what was the significance and purpose of the attacks?’

A fourth-century church dedicated to St Mary – whom Muslims were supposed to revere – and that was a UNESCO World Heritage site, had been destroyed and designated as a Muslim prayer space.

It was 200 years older than the Bamyan Statues in Afghanistan, yet the mainstream media had ignored its demise.

Yet there was enough evidence to show that the violence was part of a plan to ‘drive out the Copts, to terrorise them into leaving’, she added.

Lapido Chief Executive Dr Jenny Taylor who organized the event which was co-hosted with foreign policy think tank Henry Jackson Society, said the media’s job was impeded by ‘secular blinders’.

They tended to report the Middle East’s religions as a ‘variant of a Westminster debate’ with ‘left-wing underdogs versus right-wing overdogs and the Christians getting lumped in with the overdogs if they get mentioned at all.’

Holland said Egypt was not a developing nation, which needed help to emerge as a Western democracy but had been the world’s first state, with a civilization on a level with China and Iran.  In Roman times, it had been the world’s bread basket.

Now it was the single largest importer of wheat anywhere on the planet.

Read more