Wednesday, September 30, 2009

LOL: Muhammad foretold in the Bible...

I came across this blog that you may enjoy.  A fine Muslim tries to show that the prophet Muhammad was foretold in the Bible.  It's all in the eyes of the beholder.  Maybe Muslims get encouragement from arguments like this, but for convincing Jews or Christians? I would not hold my breath, beloved Muslim friends.  Try another one ;-) SEE HERE

This one is really nice:
Who is the foretold Prophet? The answer is in Songs of Solomon 5:16
 In HEBREW :Chiku mamtakim v'khulo Machamadim zeh dodi v'zeh re‘i b'not yerushalayim

In English : His mouth is most sweet; and he is altogether Mohammads. This is my beloved, and this is my friend,O daughters of Jerusalem

The same verse is translated in the English Bible As:
His mouth is most sweet; and he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem

Lovely: Muhammads is replaced with Lovely

 Ah yes, all those Bible translators are crooks, what do you think!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Was it world-Judaism, or are the Arabs to blame?

For days after Egypt’s culture minister, Farouk Hosny, failed in his bid to lead the United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organization, Egyptian newspapers and government officials presented the defeat as a sign of Western prejudice against Islam and the Arab world, the product of an international Jewish conspiracy.

“America, Europe and the Jewish lobby brought down Farouk Hosni,” read a headline in an independent daily newspaper, Al Masry Al Yom. The foreign minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, criticized “international Judaism and Western powers” in a television interview. Mr. Hosny himself helped stoke those sentiments, saying, “There was a group of the world’s Jews who had a major influence in the elections who were a serious threat to Egypt taking this position.” MORE HERE

The Arabian Gulf is running out of fresh water

While the Gulf has seen tremendous economic development since the discovery of oil, there’s one important resource, which has not been able to keep apace: fresh water.

“Most of the groundwater can not be used for direct utilization as drinking water or even agriculture, without treatment,” Professor Waleed K. Al Zubari, Editor-in-Chief of the Arab Gulf Journal of Scientific Research, Arabian Gulf University in Manama Bahrain, told The Media Line. MORE HERE

Syria wants the Golan back

The US demonstrated its commitment to reengage Syria as a partner for Middle East peace Monday, advancing a process that some Arab countries had declared dead in recent weeks. At Washington's invitation – the first one extended to a high-ranking Syrian official in five years – Deputy Foreign Minister Fayssal Mekdad came to town to meet US officials.

Syria's cooperation is crucial to the chief goal of President Obama's Middle East policy: Arab-Israeli peace. With ties to three Israeli enemies – Iran, and the militant groups Hezbollah and Hamas – Syria says it can moderate the threats against the Jewish state and thus pave the way for reciprocal Israeli concessions to the Palestinians and their Arab allies.
In return, Syria wants one thing: the Golan Heights.MORE HERE

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sudan announces complete freedom of written press

President Omar al-Beshir on Sunday announced the immediate lifting of state censorship on the press, meeting a key demand of the media ahead of Sudan's first elections in almost 25 years.
In a decree carried by the official SUNA news agency, Beshir put an end to "pre-censorship," a system where newspapers are screened by state censors every night before hitting the stands to purge them of "sensitive" articles.
"As of today, censorship is over and journalists have complete freedom," Ali Shimo, head of the Press Council told AFP, adding that editors, journalists' associations and censors had signed an "ethics code" for practicing journalism.
Africa's largest country boasts around 30 titles in both English and Arabic published daily to represent all persuasions -- pro-government, Islamist or communist -- and showcase the country's multi-faceted political make-up.
In June, parliament passed a new law guaranteeing "freedom of the press" but banned the press from "provoking religious or ethnic or racial sedition or calling for war or violence," while "respecting and protecting public ethics, religious values."
Journalists found guilty of violating the press law had to pay a fixed penalty set by the courts. But while the law was meant to guarantee freedoms, in practice, censors continued to exercise their powers.
The new press law and lifting of censorship in Sudan, which is to hold general elections in April, its first since 1986, apply only to the written press and not to television which is largely controlled by the Sudanese state. (c) AFP

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Church leader in Sudan warns for increase of violence

Violence in southern Sudan is rife, with many women, children and elderly people among the victims, the new head of the Sudan Council of Churches, the Rev Ramadan Chan Liol, has warned - writes Fredrick Nzwili.
Chan urged those responsible for the violence to cease their actions immediately in the south of the country, where four years ago an accord known as the Comprehensive Peace Agreement ended 21 years of civil war.
"The violence is getting serious," Chan, a Baptist minister, told Ecumenical News International in Nairobi this week. "The worse thing is that there are killings of children, women and elderly people."
Chan was elected General Secretary of the Sudan Council of Churches in August 2009. He spoke to ENI three days after about 100 people were killed in Duk, a county in Jonglie state in southern Sudan. The killings were blamed on fighters from the Lou Nuer ethnic group who have clashed with members of the Murle group.  MORE HERE

Friday, September 25, 2009

Egypt - the most Religious Country in the World!

A Gallup Poll <> , posted Feb 2009, compiled findings about the importance of faith to individuals in 143 countries.  Egypt was listed as the Most Religious Country in the world!  When people were asked "Is religion an important part of your daily life?" Egypt registered in at 100%.

As the Bible provider for Egypt, the Bible Society of Egypt (BSOE) is fortunate to work with such religious people!  A major problem of Bible publishers in many other countries, and especially the "Christian West," is the lack of interest in the Scriptures, with one of their main tasks being to convince people of the relevance of the Bible.  

Not a problem in Egypt!  Scripture products are constantly in demand by all, gratefully received and valued, and the Church is essentially overwhelmed and unable to keep up with the needs. Operating at full capacity, the Churches in Egypt are only able to serve 20 – 30% of the total Christian population (10-12 million).

The Gallup article states, "Obviously, these data only compare the importance of religion in people's lives -- they say nothing about what being highly religious means in different parts of the world and among different faiths".

For many in Egypt, being "Christian" simply means being baptized, married and buried in the Church, and there is great security in that.  Many are culturally Christian, very passionate about their religion, simply because they are intensely non-Muslim.  While many would desire the blessings of attending church or reading/hearing the Scriptures, the pressures of life and difficult economic situation leaves little time or energy for this.  Many in fact, have no church in their vicinity at all.  

Coptic Christian festivals in honor of a variety of saints are a good example of Egyptian religiosity.  Held annually at many traditional sites where Jesus passed through Egypt as a small child, festivals last from 5 days to 2 weeks.  A very festive atmosphere, vendors of every sort sell food and drink, literature, music, clothes, make-up, toys, etc. from their makeshift booths and tents.  Children swarm about small carnival-type rides.  Families save throughout the year in order to make this annual visit, camping out for days, making do with crowded and less-than-adequate facilities.  Children are baptized, and many receive the customary cross tattoo on the inside of the wrist.

The attendance at these occasions is in the thousands, even millions.  Poor and illiterate people attend particularly, even some Muslims, in order to seek healing or blessing from the saints.  The vast majority are unable to read the Bible or understand the classical Arabic used in Church, have little Biblical knowledge, and are steeped in folk religion and superstition.

Such large gatherings provide a key opportunity to increase awareness and availability of the Scriptures.  Bible Society representatives set up booths alongside the others, pointing people to the Scriptures in daily discussions with many, pleading and urging these religious Christians to seek protection and peace in God's Word.

Along with the tragic spiritual need, there is heart-breaking physical need.  Many in Egypt, both old and young, suffer from poor vision.  One family came to the booth several times, their attention focused on the large-print Bible.  An expensive item, sold at a discounted price, still cost too much.  The staff offered the Bible, originally priced at 200 LE, to them for just 25 LE ($5).  Emptying their pockets and purses, they came up with 23 LE, which the staff accepted.  On afterthought, the salesman asked the family if they had money for return transportation to their village, which they did not.  Some money was then returned to the family for travel fare.

Through these festivals, the Bible Society is reaching masses of religious Christians who might not access the Scriptures otherwise.  The Coptic Orthodox Church approves BSOE materials and is very supportive of our efforts to provide them with the "source texts" of the Faith.

Please pray for the millions of people who have received God's Word through all these past years of Bible Work in Egypt.  Pray that for many, "being highly religious" would come to mean a close and personal relationship with Christ through His Holy Word.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Top Ten Ways to Convince Muslims We’re On a Religious Crusade

If you want to convince Muslims that the USA is involved in a religious crusade against Islam, here are ten proposals.  If you find those too 'in your face', you may think of some other ways?  These 10 manners are quite convincing, I think.  How illy can missionaries be? Are we in the business of exporting our Christian faith with the help of the army of the USA?

Actually, you wonder whether those Christians who use the help of the army of the USA ever consider that their own country and its goals and methods may NOT God's choice vehicle to make the Gospel of Jesus Christ known?  Read Ten Ways HERE

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Egypt: split personality?

The holy month of Ramadan has brought out Egypt's raging case of cultural schizophrenia, twisting Egyptians into knots over whether their society is secular, Muslim or a muddled mix.
Two furious debates have been raging through the season in the Arab world's most populous nation. On one hand, rumors that police arrested Egyptians violating the daily Ramadan fast raised dire warnings from secularists that a Taliban-like rule by Islamic law is taking over.
On the other, Ramadan TV talk shows on state-sponsored television featuring racily dressed female hosts discussing intimate sex secrets with celebrities have sparked outrage from conservatives, denouncing what they call the decadence that is sweeping the nation.
So is Egypt being taken over by sinners or saints? Egyptians have always been a boisterous combination — priding themselves on their piety, while determined to have a good time. MORE on AP

Al-Qaeda losing strength as key operatives are killed in strikes

Recent targeted attacks that killed militants in Somalia, Indonesia and Pakistan have chipped away at al-Qaeda's power base, sapping the terrorist network of key leaders and experienced operatives.
Intelligence officials said Friday that the military strikes have reduced al-Qaeda's core leadership to only a handful of men and have diminished its ability to train fighters, forcing al-Qaeda to turn to its global affiliates for survival.
The killings of Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan in Somalia, Noordin Muhammed Top in Indonesia and Baitullah Mehsud in Pakistan – all in recent weeks – have been the latest blow.
A U.S. counterterrorism official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the deaths deal "a major near-term blow to their respective militant groups." HERE the whole AP story

Friday, September 18, 2009

Israel is not planning to listen to Obama's peace plans

Like so many of his predecessors, President Obama is quickly discovering that persuading Israel to change course is nearly impossible.
Obama came to office determined to achieve a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians. His opening move was to insist that Israel stop building settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem -- a tough line aimed at bolstering Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and persuading key Arab states to make conciliatory gestures toward Israel. These steps would pave the way for the creation of a viable Palestinian state and the normalization of Israel's relations with its Arab neighbors, and also help rebuild America's image in the Arab and Muslim world.
Unfortunately, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has no interest in a two-state solution, much less ending settlement expansion. He and his government want a "greater Israel," which means maintaining effective control of the West Bank and Gaza. His response to Obama's initiative has ranged from foot-dragging to outright defiance, with little pushback from Washington. MORE in the Washington Post

Thursday, September 17, 2009

80 Yemeni's killed in air strike

More than 80 people, including a large number of civilian refugees, were killed in a government air strike in northern Yemen Wednesday as they sought shelter from a month-long conflict between the military and rebel forces, tribal leaders said.
Local and international human rights groups have condemned the attack, which appeared to be the deadliest single episode in a worsening war between government forces and the Houthi rebels in Yemen’s remote and mountainous north.
It was not immediately possible to independently confirm the numbers killed. MORE in the New York Times

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Recaiming the Christian faith from the Western World

Sitting near my keyboard is an iftar invitation. The word iftar is an Arabic word used to describe a gathering where people break their Ramadan fast. My invitation was to join friends and colleagues of Mr Issam Darwich, a religious scholar of Lebanese heritage. He lives and works in the south western Sydney suburb of Greenacre, home to a large Arabic-speaking population.
But this was no ordinary iftar invitation. Issam Darwich is the local Bishop of the Melkite Catholic Community. Yet if Bishop Darwich telephoned a talkback radio station and announced he was holding an iftar for Ramadan, what would listeners assume to be his religious affiliation? MORE HERE

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Saudi Arabia fears its Jewish and Christian past

Much of the world knows Petra, the ancient ruin in modern-day Jordan that is celebrated in poetry as "the rose-red city, 'half as old as time,'" and which provided the climactic backdrop for "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade."
But far fewer know Madain Saleh (see picture), a similarly spectacular treasure built by the same civilization, the Nabateans.
That's because it's in Saudi Arabia, where conservatives are deeply hostile to pagan, Jewish and Christian sites that predate the founding of Islam in the 7th century.
But now, in a quiet but notable change of course, the kingdom has opened up an archaeology boom by allowing Saudi and foreign archaeologists to explore cities and trade routes long lost in the desert.
The sensitivities run deep. Archaeologists are cautioned not to talk about pre-Islamic finds outside scholarly literature. Few ancient treasures are on display, and no Christian or Jewish relics. A 4th or 5th century church in eastern Saudi Arabia has been fenced off ever since its accidental discovery 20 years ago and its exact whereabouts kept secret. MORE HERE

Church in Pakistan up in flames

An angry mob torched a church in Sambarial area of Sialkot over alleged desecration of the holy Quran, a private TV channel reported on Friday. According to the channel, a Christian boy snatched the holy Quran from a 10-year-old girl and allegedly disrespected it.

After the incident, an infuriated mob set a church on fire.  Police cordoned off the area to prevent any untoward incident, the channel reported.  Early last month, a Muslim mob had attacked a Christian neighbourhood in Gojra over reported desecration of the holy Quran in a nearby village.

Federal Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti has condemned the incident and directed the police and authorities to arrest the perpetrators and submit a report within 24 hours. (c) Daily Times Pakistan

Egypt killing many who try to cross border to Israel

Egyptian authorities should bring an immediate end to the unlawful killings of migrants and asylum seekers near Egypt’s Sinai border with Israel, Human Rights Watch said today. According to news reports, Egyptian border guards shot and killed four migrants on September 9, 2009, bringing to at least 12 the number killed since May as they tried to cross into Israel.

General Muhammad Shousha, the governor of North Sinai, was quoted after the recent killings justifying the policy of shooting at the migrants as “necessary.” The latest killings come just days before President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel are scheduled to hold high-level talks in Cairo on September 13.

“Egypt has every right to manage its borders, but using routine lethal force against unarmed migrants – and potential asylum seekers – would be a serious violation of the right to life,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “These individuals appeared to post no threat to the lives of the border guards or anyone else. Attempted border crossings are not a capital offense.”

Friday, September 11, 2009

Fatefull schism in Islam

The Wall Street Journal has a book review by Eric Ormsby on After the Prophet by Middle East journalist Lesley Hazleton.  It deals with the Sunni-Shia schism that developed after Muhammad died; a schism that still haunts Islam and the world.
When the Prophet ­Muhammad died ­unexpectedly after a brief illness in ­Medina, in present-day Saudi Arabia, on June 8, 632, his followers were stunned. A contemporary called it "the greatest of calamities." Their grief was not only for the loss of an irreplaceable leader. ­Muhammad was "the seal of the prophets," the last in a line that stretched back to Adam. He had ­received revelations as "God's emissary" for some 20 years—revelations that he had communicated to the ­embattled community of his followers, first in Mecca and then, after the hijra, or emigration, in 622, in Medina—but now they came to an end. It was as though God, who revealed Himself through the Prophet, had suddenly fallen silent.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Fighting in North Yemen intensified

Yemen has expanded and intensified its attack on Iranian-supported Shi'ite rebels near the border with Saudi Arabia. Officials said the Yemeni military has been pounding Shi'ite rebel positions in the northern province of Saada. They said Yemen Air Force Mig-29 fighter-jets, joined by artillery units, were bombing strongholds of the Believing Youth, including the provincial capital of Saada.
"They broke [the ceasefire] and resumed sabotage in the regions of Malahiz and Hafr Sufyan," the Yemeni Security Commission said on Sept. 5. MORE HERE

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Two photographers in Saudi Arabia on trial for photo's of lashings

Two Saudi men who allegedly photographed 30 convicts being lashed recently at Az-Zahra Square on Al-Arbaeen Street will soon go on trial.
The two were referred by the Commission for Investigation and Prosecution (CIP) to the Summary Court.
They were arrested and detained at As-Safa Police station before being referred to the CIP which released them pending trial.
Court punishments of lashings are usually executed in public places like markets, mosques and squares.
It is not uncommon for crowds to gather and watch the lashings. Officials do warn those gathered not to photograph the lashings. Warning signs are also displayed at these sites. (c) Saudi Gazette

Muslims should stop prayer for the downfall of their enemies

Muslims should avoid prayers that call for the destruction of non-Muslims, an influential Saudi cleric said.  Many mosque Imams and preachers in some Muslim countries, including Saudi Arabia, close their Friday sermons with prayers that call for the destruction of Islam's enemies, especially Israel and its allies.

"Praying for the ruin and the destruction of all infidels is not permitted because it goes against God's law to call upon them ... to take the righteous path," Sheikh Salman al Awdah told Dubai-based MBC Television channel. "Calling for their offspring and ancestors to be eradicated is not legitimate ... (except) for the tyrants among the infidels and those who violate the sanctities and harm the faithful," he said. MORE of this REUTERS story HERE

Friday, September 4, 2009

Story of Martyred Fatima of Saudi Arabia

In 2008, the young Saudi woman Fatima (26) was very brutalled murdered by her own brother because she had accepted the Christian faith.  She had become a Christian through the internet and Christians satellite TV.  Here a pdf that contains some of her poetry and emails, and also the reports in the Saudi media about her martyrdom. HERE.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Saudi shi'ite 16 years in jail for insulting the prophets, and gets 5 more years

A Shi'ite who has been on death row in Saudi Arabia for 16 years for insulting the Prophet Mohammed was sentenced this week to another five years in jail for criticising the Saudi justice system, an activist said.

The verdict issued on Monday punished Hadi al-Mutif for criticising the justice system and the U.S.-allied absolute monarchy's human rights record in comments he made from prison to U.S.-funded Alhurra television in 2007. Prisoners are often able to access mobile phones from visitors to Saudi jails.

"He said that he was a victim of sectarian segregation," said Mohamed al-Askar, a leading Ismaili activist.

Mutif's situation has become a rallying call for Ismailis, a minority within Shi'ism. Based in the Najran area bordering Yemen, the Ismailis say majority Sunnis are favoured for jobs, housing and land and complain they cannot practise their rites openly. This whole Reuters story HERE

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Islam in its own words

You may find the discussions on this blog interesting.  'Islam in its own words'

Allah-inspired comic wildly popular in the Islamic world, is set to make its TV debut

The animated creations of Kuwaiti cartoonist Naif al-Mutawa wear dashing, body-hugging outfits, though nothing like the super-tight tights and flamboyant capes so prominent in franchises like "Watchmen" and "Batman."

Yet Mutawa's creations "Noora the Light" and "Jabbar the Powerful" are so popular in the Islamic world that they are set to appear in their own TV series, joining "The Simpsons," "The Boondocks" and other cartoon titles that have made the jump from the printed page to the television screen. MORE HERE