Blessed Are the Peacemakers

[ Ed. note – The video above is of a townhall meeting conducted last week by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard in her home state of Hawaii. If you want to hear the congresswoman discuss the situation in Syria, fast forward the video to about 10 minutes in. Gabbard, who introduced the Stop Arming Terrorists act in Congress and who has drawn fire for challenging the media lies about Syria (most recently for questioning the narrative that the Assad government was behind the April 4 chemical weapons attack), is one of a number of a small number of prominent Americans who have been a voice of sanity in a world seemingly gone mad and moving closer and closer to war.

The article below,

“Blessed Are the Peacemakers,” holds up Gabbard, along with Professor Stephen Cohen, as models of modern-day peacemakers, and encourages Christians to follow their example. The irony of course: Gabbard is Hindu and Cohen is Jewish. The writer of the article, Yvonne Lorenzo, makes the point that there are “too few Americans who value the teachings of Christ on the primacy of peace—or at least value them enough to fight for them.” She is right. Something like 70 percent of Americans identify in some manner as “Christian.”

Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.

So said Christ in the Sermon on the Mount. If we truly want to be children of God, it is our duty to be peacemakers. And this means challenging the war mongers and speaking out as Cohen and Gabbard have done. We owe it to ourselves, our families, and to the planet we live on. ]

Blessed Are the Peacemakers

By Yvonne Lorenzo

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Matthew 5:9 

I am writing these words before Good Friday (including Orthodox Christian) 2017. Tensions between nations have never been greater. Although there are tens of millions of people in America who profess the Christian faith, there appears to be very little in the way of public protests against military actions and incipient war.

Recently, conservative talk show host Michael Savage publicly criticized President Trump’s decision to attack Syria. His conversation with author and columnist Pat Buchannan is on this YouTube of his broadcast on April 11th. In his book, Trump’s War, Mr. Savage wrote in the chapter “Trump’s War against the War Machine” these wise observations:

Just after the election, I saw Mel Gibson’s movie Hacksaw Ridge. It’s about the U.S. Army medic Desmond T. Doss, who served at the vicious Battle of Okinawa in World War II but refused to kill anyone. He became the first man in American history to win the Medal of Honor without firing a single shot.

This was the perfect movie to see in the context of Donald Trump as an anti-war President. While I was watching this moving film, Trump was speaking to Russian president Vladimir Putin, even though Trump hadn’t been sworn in yet. The two men vowed to work together…

One of the reasons I worked so hard to get Trump elected is I believe he will be a man of peace. Put everything else aside. The most important thing in this world is not the economy. It’s peace.

I’ve written about Desmond T. Doss and there are several excellent articles on Lew Rockwell’s site; I’ve also written about the work and writing of Professor Stephen Cohen. In his appearance on Tucker Carlson’s show on April 12th, 2017, he discussed the bombing of Syria:

[Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev] said American-Russian relations are absolutely ruined—ruined. He’s considered the most pro-Western member of the Russian leadership…and the politics in Russia today as we talk is if not the conviction the concern that America is preparing for war against Russia…my concern is that Russia will overreact…

(In forty years as a Russia expert) I’ve never been as worried as I am today about war with Russia.”

Yet far from most of the political leadership agreeing with Professor Cohen, they react with outrage against those who challenge their agenda; witness the attacks against Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard:

Sporting a sweet new “Resist” picture on Twitter, Neera Tanden, President of the Center for American Progress and author of numerous embarrassing email exchanges with John Podesta, called on Hawaiians to oust their Representative, Tulsi Gabbard, for having the audacity to question whether Assad was responsible for the recent chemical weapons attacks in Syria…

Gabbard told CNN on Friday that she wants to achieve peace in Syria, “Why should we just blindly follow this escalation of a counterproductive regime-change war?”

“There’s responsibility that goes around,” Gabbard said. “Standing here pointing fingers does not accomplish peace for the Syrian people. It will not bring about an end to this war.”

Meanwhile, former DNC chair Howard Dean also decided to join in on ganging up on Gabbard, but he immediately got shut down by a follower who asked the obvious question of why engaging in dialogue was disqualifying for Gabbard but violating federal record retention laws and a Congressional subpoena was perfectly fine for Hillary.

Here is Gabbard’s official statement that enraged so many of our elected representatives:

It angers and saddens me that President Trump has taken the advice of war hawks and escalated our illegal regime change war to overthrow the Syrian government. This escalation is short-sighted and will lead to more dead civilians, more refugees, the strengthening of al-Qaeda and other terrorists, and a direct confrontation between the United States and Russia—which could lead to nuclear war.

This Administration has acted recklessly without care or consideration of the dire consequences of the United States attack on Syria without waiting for the collection of evidence from the scene of the chemical poisoning.  If President Assad is indeed guilty of this horrible chemical attack on innocent civilians, I will be the first to call for his prosecution and execution by the International Criminal Court. However, because of our attack on Syria, this investigation may now not even be possible. And without such evidence, a successful prosecution will be much harder.

I am not a Russia expert like Professor Cohen yet I believe we ignore his warning at our peril. Right now, there is the potential for military conflict with North Korea, Syria, Russia and Iran. Yet for a few righteous voices crying out and being either scorned or ignored, there are sadly too few Americans who value the teachings of Christ on the primacy of peace—or at least value them enough to fight for them. How will God judge us for not taking a stand when now more than ever it matters so much and literally the world is at stake?


Gabbard versus CNN


US Veteran Stands With Assad Government

US Marine Corps Veteran Angelo John Gage

Imran Hosein: Meeting with the Saker in beautiful Tobago by Imran N. Hosein

Meeting with the Saker in beautiful Tobago

by Imran N. Hosein

www.imranhosein.org
inhosein@hotmail.com

I have just spent 10 exciting days with my Russian friend, ‘The Saker’, in the enchantingly beautiful Caribbean island of Tobago. I was born in the island of Trinidad where I now live, and Tobago is located just next to Trinidad in the South Caribbean Sea close to Venezuela:

http://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/map/central_america_map2.htm

This was the first time that I ever met with ‘Saker’, and I am happy to report that I succeeded in persuading him to come out in the open with his true identity, while putting his trust in the One God. As a consequence, his identity is now public. He is Andrei Raevsky, but he will continue to use his nom de plume of Saker. If you visit his website: http://thesaker.is/sakers-open-letter-to-the-saker-community/you will even see his photograph. Those who are not familiar with him will get to know him if they visit his website.

I also got him to agree to record a joint video with me in which I interviewed him for half of an hour, so viewers will soon be able to see us together in that interview in Tobago. It will be placed on my website at www.imranhosein.org as well as my You-tube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/SheikhImranHosein

We were joined in Tobago by my Serbian friend, the US-trained Attorney, Stefan Karganovic, and by his friend, a Serbian Neurosurgeon. I got to know Stefan a few years ago through the Saker, and we corresponded with each other by email before I travelled to Belgrade in 2015 to meet with him and so many others in what must be recorded as a blessed visit to that historic city. It was a dream come true for me to welcome my friend Stefan to beautiful Tobago.

Stefan has just completed the Serbian/Bosnian translation of my book on ‘Methodology for Study of the Qur’an’, and Prof Branko Rakic of the Faculty of Law of the University of Belgrade has written a long Foreword for the book. It will soon be published in a new edition with Prof Branko Rakic’s Foreword Insha Allah.

Both Saker’s wife, Ana, and my wife, Aisha, were also with us in Tobago.

I took them for an all-day tour all around the island of Tobago – driving from one end of the island to the other, while passing through Roxborough and Speyside where we stopped for lunch at a beachside restaurant with an absolutely stunning view of the Speyside Bay, until we reached the town of Charlottesville located at the other end of the island. Here are some pictures of Speyside Bay and Charlotteville:

https://www.google.tt/search?q=parlatuvier+bay+pictures+tobago&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwji4_zCgozTAhUESiYKHSBTDQgQ7AkIJA&biw=1163&bih=545&dpr=1.65#tbm=isch&q=speyside++bay+pictures+tobago&*

https://www.tripadvisor.com/LocationPhotos-g1463485-Charlotteville_Tobago_Trinidad_and_Tobago.html

We then drove through the rain-forest from the eastern side of the island across to the western side, got stuck in soft mud at the side of the road, and eventually found a rest-shed where we could enjoy our desert – which, inevitably, was pineapple.

Perhaps the most beautiful sight of all was when we looked down at the Parlatuvier Bay (otherwise known as Englishman’s Bay) from high up a hill. My guests were all absolutely amazed by the stunning natural beauty of Parlatuvier Bay. Here are some pictures of the Bay

We also made the trip by boat to Tobago’s Nylon Pool as well as to the archipelago known as No Man’s Land.

https://www.google.tt/search?q=tobagos+nylon+pool+pics&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjBwfW0hozTAhUGKCYKHYMbCd4Q7AkINA&biw=1163&bih=545

https://www.google.tt/search?q=tobago+no+man%27s+land+archipelago+pics&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjA96HehozTAhXqr1QKHXd9B3EQ7AkIMg&biw=1163&bih=545

Captain Phillips, who piloted our boat, assured my guests that whoever took a bath in the Nylon Pool would emerge looking ten years younger. Not only did they all look ten years younger at the end of their visit to Tobago, but Stefan eventually looked quite red. He spent endless hours enjoying himself swimming in the blue/green Caribbean Sea. I do not know why the native people who lived in what is now known as America, were called ‘Red’ Indians, but I am satisfied that Stefan should enter history as the first ever ‘Red’ Serbian who was authentically ‘red’.

Since it was the Christian time of Lent, when Christians have certain dietary restrictions, we bought lots of fresh fish at the Lambeau Fish Market, and took turns in cooking. I had my turn twice, and I was fortunate to escape, despite my somewhat unconventional menus, without any culinary disaster. I took lots of pineapples and two large watermelons to Tobago from Trinidad, and was very relieved when they turned out to be quite sweet. Indeed we ate pineapples so often that some of my guests may even have had dreams of sweet pineapples. I also took a local Indian bread called Dhalpouri Roti. It is soft, round in shape, and large enough for two people to eat one of them. The flour is mixed with yellow lentil called Dhall, which makes it very delicious indeed. My guests loved it.

Despite the time spent in cooking, touring, and bathing in the blue/green Caribbean Sea, we still found time for all four of my Orthodox Christian guests to visit Tobago’s Masjid al-Taubah to attend the congregational prayers known as Salaat al-Jumu’ah.

The Imam invited me to deliver the Khutbah (i.e., sermon) and to lead the prayer, and I delivered a Khutbah on Christian-Muslim relations which was based on verses of the Qur’an. 

Saker responded to the sermon with a declaration that he wanted all of Russia to be able to hear it, and Stefan had the same wish for all of the Balkans.

My sermon was based on verses of the Qur’an which explicitly affirmed faith in some Christians:

كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللّهِ وَلَوْ آمَنَ أَهْلُ الْكِتَابِ لَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَّهُم مِّنْهُمُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَأَكْثَرُهُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ

“You (Muslims) are an excellent community evolved (by divine wisdom) for the sake of mankind, (provided that you) enjoin what is right, forbid what is wrong, and you have faith in Allah. If only the People of the Book (i.e., Jews and Christians) had faith (in Muhammad as a Prophet of the One God and in the latest Book, i.e., the Qur’ān, as His revealed Word), it would have been beneficial for them: amongst them there are those who have faith, but most of (the rest of them) are perverted transgressors.”

(Qur’ān, Ale ‘Imran, 3:110)

In consequence of the above unambiguous declaration by Allah Most High in which He affirmed that amongst the Christians and Jews (i.e., the People who have the Book of Allah as we, Muslims, also have the Book of Allah) there are those who have ‘faith’, while most of them are sinful in conduct, it became necessary for Muslims to make an effort to identify and demarcate the two groupsi.e., those Christians and Jews who act in a manner consistent with a people who have ‘faith’, and those whose conduct is manifestly sinful. A people who have ‘faith’ would not harbor feelings of hatred in their hearts for the believers in Allah Most High. Nor would a people who have ‘faith’ become friends and allies of those whose hearts are filled with hatred for Muslims.

I quoted the verse of the Qur’ān which explicitly identified Jews to be a people whose hearts will display great hatred for Islam and Muslims. While some Jews did not act in this way towards Muslims, most Jews did so. This was manifest in the life-time of Nabī Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم), and has once again manifested itself in the modern age in the conduct of Zionist Jews:

لَتَجِدَنَّ أَشَدَّ النَّاسِ عَدَاوَةً لِّلَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ الْيَهُودَ وَالَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُواْ وَلَتَجِدَنَّ أَقْرَبَهُمْ مَّوَدَّةً لِّلَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ الَّذِينَ قَالُوَاْ إِنَّا نَصَارَى ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّ مِنْهُمْ قِسِّيسِينَ وَرُهْبَانًا وَأَنَّهُمْ لاَ يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ

“Strongest among men in enmity to the believers will you find the Jews and Pagans; and nearest among them in love to the believers will you find those who (openly and publicly) declare, “We are Christians”: because amongst them are priests (who devote their lives to teaching and administering religious rites) and men who have embraced monasticism (and have hence renounced the world), and they are not arrogant.”

(Qur’ān, al-Māidah, 5:82)

Not only did the Qur’ān identify in the above verse the community of Jews as the People of the Book who are without faith, but it also went on to identify those (amongst the People of the Book) who display love and affection for Muslims – and hence display an important sign of faith. They are a people who declare of themselves that: “We are Christians”.

Christians who displayed love and affection for Islam and for Muslims, did appear in early Islam when the Negus of Abyssinia (i.e., modern-day Ethiopia) rejected the request of Makkah to repatriate the Muslims (who were slaves or semi-slaves) who had fled from persecution and oppression in Makkah, and had sought asylum in Abyssinia. Indeed, when the Negus died, and the news of his death reached Nabī Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) in Madīna, he performed the funeral prayer for him, thus recognizing him as a Christian who had faith in Allah Most High despite some of his Christian beliefs with which the Qur’an had taken issue.

There is absolutely no evidence that the Negus had renounced his belief in Jesus as the son of God, or that he had ceased to worship Jesus as God, prior to his death; nor do we have any such evidence from the community of Christians of whom he was the leader. When there is no such evidence from these two primary sources, dubious evidence from self-serving secondary sources is of no scholarly value. Yet the Prophet offered the funeral prayer for the Negus who was a Christian.

I argued in my sermon that such Christians who will be closest in love and affection for Islam and Muslims will once again emerge in the historical process in a time-frame that will match the contemporary emergence of Zionist Jews who have displayed unprecedented hatred for Islam and Muslims. That hatred is most visible in their barbarous oppression of the innocent people of Gaza in the Holy Land.

The verse of the Qur’ān provided important signs by which such Christians who would be closest in love and affection for Muslims, would be identified:

  1. They would be a Christian people who preserve the institution of priesthood and whose priests, from their Patriarch down to the lowest Priest, will demonstrate genuine love and affection for Islam and Muslims. This most certainly excludes the Vatican and the Roman Catholic faith, the Anglican Church (of England), and all other Christian churches in western Christianity.
  2. They would be a Christian people who preserve the institution of monasticism, and whose monks would display love and affection for Islam and Muslims. This most certainly excludes western Christianity which has almost totally abandoned monasticism and the monastic way of life. Monasteries in the West have almost all been sold, and have now become McDonalds Hamburgers etc.
  3. They would be a Christian people in whose conduct there is no arrogance. This again excludes those Christians who brought modern western civilization into being with an unprecedentedly arrogant agenda of imposing its unjust and oppressive rule over all of mankind at the point of a naked blood-stained sword.
  4. They would be a Christian people who would publicly and proudly identify themselves as ‘Christians’. This would exclude the secularized Christians of modern western civilization whose primary identity is with their nation or State, rather than with their religion.
  5. They cannot be a handful of scattered Christians who worship Allah as prescribed in the Qur’ān, and hence do not worship Nabī ‘Īsa (Jesus (عليه السلام as a third person in a trinity; and do not declare that Allah Most High had a son etc. Rather, they would have to be a community of Christians complete with their priests and monks, and hence can easily be identified. One would not have to search for them in some nook or cranny with a fine-teeth comb!

My sermon identified those Christians, referred to in the Qur’an, with the world of Orthodox Christianity.

When the prayer was over, the entire congregation of Muslims turned around and reached out to the Orthodox Christians sitting on chairs at the back of the prayer hall and greeted them with love and with affection. This first-ever visit to a Masjid was a very moving experience which Saker and his wife, Stefan and the Neurosurgeon, are unlikely to ever forget. No one turned away from them. No one rejected them. No one displayed any negative behavior towards them. I felt confident that they would have received the same welcome in all the Masajid (plural of Masjid) in the neighboring island of Trinidad. The only ones who would have displayed hostility towards them would have been those who took state-of-the-art weapons and heaps of US dollars from Santa Claus to fight their bogus ISIS Jihad in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere.

Unfortunately the sermon was not recorded, so we do not have a video of it which can be viewed.

In the ten days which we spent together in Tobago we had adequate time to engage in religious dialogue, and the remarkable thing about our dialogue was that it was always conducted with profound respect for each other, and for each other’s religion. At no time did our discussions reach a state in which either side was subjected to any deliberate discomfort. There was no hint of rivalry, and no debate, in which one side sought to defeat the other side, and yet, we never compromised in stating the viewpoint of our respective religions. In fact, what we did was to set an example for those who come after us, in engaging in Muslim – Orthodox Christian dialogue in a form and manner which was free from rancor and bigotry. In doing so, we conformed to Allah’s command in the Qur’ān in which He ordered as follows:

وَلَا تُجَادِلُوا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ إِلَّا بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ إِلَّا الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا مِنْهُمْ وَقُولُوا آمَنَّا بِالَّذِي أُنزِلَ إِلَيْنَا وَأُنزِلَ إِلَيْكُمْ وَإِلَهُنَا وَإِلَهُكُمْ وَاحِدٌ وَنَحْنُ لَهُ مُسْلِمُونَ

And do not argue or dispute with the Ahl al-Kitab (i.e., People of the Book, or followers of earlier revelation who are like us since we also have a Book) otherwise than in a most kindly manner, (or except with means better than mere disputation), – unless it be such of them as are bent on evildoing, (or who inflict wrong or injury) and say: “We believe in that which has been bestowed from on high upon us, as well as that which has been bestowed upon you: our God and your God is One, and it is unto Him that We [all] surrender ourselves.”

(Qur’an, al-Ankabūt, 29:46)

The above verse of the Qur’an has therefore prohibited Muslims from engaging in religious discussions with those who received the Torah, Psalms and Gospel, except in the best way possible. This prohibition did not apply, however, with such Christians and Jews who committed acts of Dhulm, i.e., injustice, oppression, wickedness.

The verse also went on to establish the very foundation of any engagement in religious discussions with Christians and Jews in the declaration that: “We believe in the revelation which has come down to us (i.e., the Qur’an) and in that which came down to you (i.e., the Torah, Psalms, Gospel); Our Ilah (i.e., God), and your Ilah (i.e., God), is One; and to Him we bow (in submission)”.

It is not my intention to write a comprehensive report of all subjects of our dialogue since Saker and I have decided to jointly write a book which will present both Islamic and Orthodox Christian Eschatology while examining the subject of Islam and Russia. Rather I choose to focus on only one subject of our dialogue and, in doing so, offer our readers a glimpse of what is to come when the book is written Insha Allah (God Willing).

Saker already knew that the Arabic word ‘Allah’ was a combination of the definite article (‘the’) and the Arabic word for God (‘ILAH’). Hence the word ‘Allah’ meant ‘The God’ i.e., The One God. Even though the Christian worshiped Jesus as God, he was still insistent that he worshiped One God since the Bible was unequivocal in its declaration: Know Oh Israel that the Lord, Your God, is One! Hence when I repeated to Saker on several occasions that his God and my God were One God, it built between us a solid common foundation for positive dialogue.

There might, unfortunately, be some Muslims who will be uneasy with the above verse of the Qur’an in which Allah Most High ordered Muslims to declare to Christians and to Jews that: Our Ilah (i.e., God) and your Ilah (i.e., God) is One. Their uneasiness would be in consequence of their knowledge that Christians worship Jesus as God. Allah Most High has already responded to such uneasiness by asking them whether they wish to teach religion to the Lord-God (Allah):

قُلْ أَتُعَلِّمُونَ اللَّهَ بِدِينِكُمْ . . . .

Say: “Do you want to teach your religion to Allah? . . . .

(Qur’ān, al-Hujurāt, 49:16)

It is remarkable that we conducted our religious discussions in exactly the opposite way from the boxing matches staged by the late Ahmad Deedat of South Africa which sought to expose several things in the Bible, belligerently so, as false and rancid. Many Christians were enraged by those boxing matches, and those who were not enraged were secretly smiling with Deedat’s Saudi sponsors since they shared a covert agenda of driving such a thick wedge between the two faiths as would preclude any possibility of friendship and alliance ever emerging between Muslims and Christians. I believe that Saker and I were more faithful to the Qur’an than Deedat and his acolytes ever were, and we set the right example of mutual respect and proper decorum for those who will now follow us Insha Allah, in Orthodox Christian-Muslim dialogue.

I asked Saker what were his expectations for the future of Muslim – Orthodox Christian dialogue, and he was very clear and precise in his response in directing attention, first of all, to those matters wherein we differed, and which appeared to him to be beyond resolve. Saker was forthright in his declaration that Orthodox Christianity does not recognize Muhammad as a Prophet of the One God, like unto Abraham and Moses (Allah’s blessings be upon them all), and does not recognize the Qur’ān as a divinely-revealed Word of the One God. However he did go on to explain that Orthodox Christianity does not have a book comparable in absolute authority to the Qur’an. Rather, Orthodox Christianity is dependent on both the Bible as well as the Church, and the collective wisdom of its luminaries through the ages, for an authoritative declaration of what constitute Truth and Faith. And so, it appeared to me that Orthodox Christians have a possible future in which the Church and its luminaries can modify Christian views through new interpretations of Christian religious symbolism and through divine visions etc. I therefore did not close the chapter between us pertaining to the status of the Qur’an and of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah Most High ever be with him).

I was familiar, of course with our own Islamic view that while whatever is clearly and explicitly stated in the Qur’an is eternally binding on all Muslims, there are other verses in the Qur’an which have to be interpreted, and hence that new knowledge would constantly keep on flowing from the Qur’an.

I did address the matter of Christian worship of Jesus as God, and as Son of God, and put the matter to rest between us when I quoted a passage of the Qur’an in which Allah Most High addressed Jesus on the subject:

وَإِذْ قَالَ اللّهُ يَا عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ أَأَنتَ قُلتَ لِلنَّاسِ اتَّخِذُونِي وَأُمِّيَ إِلَـهَيْنِ مِن دُونِ اللّهِ قَالَ سُبْحَانَكَ مَا يَكُونُ لِي أَنْ أَقُولَ مَا لَيْسَ لِي بِحَقٍّ إِن كُنتُ قُلْتُهُ فَقَدْ عَلِمْتَهُ تَعْلَمُ مَا فِي نَفْسِي وَلاَ أَعْلَمُ مَا فِي نَفْسِكَ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ عَلاَّمُ الْغُيُوبِ

AND LO! Allah said: O Jesus, son of Mary! Did you say unto men, `Worship me and my mother as deities beside Allah?” [Jesus] answered: “Limitless art Thou in Thy glory! It would not have been possible for me to say what I had no right to [say]! Had I said this, You would indeed have known it! You know all that is within myself, whereas I know not what is in Yourself. Verily, it is You alone who fully knows all the things that are beyond the reach of a created being’s perception.

مَا قُلْتُ لَهُمْ إِلاَّ مَا أَمَرْتَنِي بِهِ أَنِ اعْبُدُواْ اللّهَ رَبِّي وَرَبَّكُمْ وَكُنتُ عَلَيْهِمْ شَهِيدًا مَّا دُمْتُ فِيهِمْ فَلَمَّا تَوَفَّيْتَنِي كُنتَ أَنتَ الرَّقِيبَ عَلَيْهِمْ وَأَنتَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ شَهِيدٌ

Nothing did I tell them beyond what You did bid me [to say]: `Worship Allah, [who is] my Lord-God as well as your Lord-God.’ And I bore witness to what they did as long as I dwelt in their midst; but when you took me (i.e., took my soul and hence made it appear that I was dead, and then returned my soul and raised me into the Samawat or parallel universes), You alone has been their keeper: for You are witness unto everything.

إِن تُعَذِّبْهُمْ فَإِنَّهُمْ عِبَادُكَ وَإِن تَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ فَإِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ

If You punish them – verily, they are Your servants; and if You forgive them – verily, You are Almighty (and) Wise!”

(Qur’an, al-Maidah, 5:116-118)

I argued that this response implied that the matter of the worship of Jesus as God, and as the Son of God, should not become a subject of dispute and debate between Muslims and Christians. The Qur’an has advised the Muslim to let the matter rest until Allah Most High deals with it Himself on Judgment Day. This Divine wisdom seems to have escaped the attention of those misguided Muslims who ignore the Qur’an whenever they take up their boxing gloves to do religious battle with Christians and with the Bible.

This brief report does not record all the matters discussed between us, since there is a book coming, Insha Allah, which Saker and I will jointly write. He and I will endeavor to set the example, as well as the stage, for future such dialogue between Muslims and Orthodox Christians so that we can advance the cause of friendship and alliance between our two persecuted peoples.

Saker has already set the example of faithfulness to his Orthodox Christian creed, and I too will endeavor to ensure in my dialogue with Saker that I remain faithful to the Qur’an and faithful Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) who personally received in Madina a delegation of about 60 Byzantine Christians (including many religious scholars) who travelled from their native Najran in Yemen to meet with him. He not only welcomed them warmly and kindly, but offered them the Masjid itself as their place of residence and rest, as well as a place for them to pray, during their stay of approximately 3 days in Madina. The inter-religious dialogue did not yield any break-through regarding the central issues which divided the Christians and the Qur’an, but also did not result in bitter and acrimonious exchanges. Before saying good-bye and returning to Najran in Yemen, the delegation of Christians even requested of the Prophet that a learned and trustworthy Muslim be sent to them in Najran so that, among other things, the lines of communication for continuing dialogue could remain open. Despite all that has since occurred between our two peoples, and which unfriendly critics will now rush to relate, Saker and I are doing precisely that – we are continuing that Orthodox Christian – Muslim dialogue that was initiated in Madina in the presence of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and upon all the messengers of Allah Most High).

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Small post-scriptum by The Saker: with all due respect and love for the Sheikh, I don’t believe that he is correct when he writes that “it appeared to me that Orthodox Christians have a possible future in which the Church and its luminaries can modify Christian views through new interpretations of Christian religious symbolism and through divine visions etc.“.  The problem here is that for a teaching to be considered “Orthodox” it has to meet two criteria:

  1. It has to be the expression of the consensus patrum, the agreement of all the Church Fathers, and thus is cannot contradict the past position of the Church.  Saint Vincent of Lérins (5th century) expressed it in the following words when he said that is true that “which has been believed everywhere, always and by all” .  Thus, it cannot be the opinion of only some, contemporary, Church Fathers.
  2. It has to be “upward compatible” with what has been taught in the past.  Saint Athanasios (4th century) expressed this idea in the following words that the Orthodox faith is the faith “which the Lord gave, was preached by the Apostles, and was preserved by the Fathers. On this was the Church founded; and if anyone departs from this, he neither is nor any longer ought to be called a Christian“.  Thus no new teaching can be accepted if it contradicts what was taught in the past.

The Church having refused to recognize Muhammad as a prophet of God and having refused to accept the Quran as a divine book, She cannot under any circumstances change Her point of view.  On issues of faith and dogmatics the Church, being the Theandric Body of God filled with the Holy Spirit, She is infallible.

However, and as long as their is no compulsion in religion and as long as everybody recognizes the absolute right of each human being to follow his/her conscience, I totally agree with the Sheikh when he writes “the matter of the worship of Jesus as God, and as the Son of God, should not become a subject of dispute and debate between Muslims and Christians. The Qur’an has advised the Muslim to let the matter rest until Allah Most High deals with it Himself on Judgment Day“.

As long as our differences are not obfuscated or otherwise minimized, I do believe that it makes little sense to engage in disputes about them. What we all have to do is the explain our beliefs and make sure that the other is not mislead/misinformed about them.  But once that “informational” phase is over, there is simply no point in engaging in disputes.  Finally, we all have to recognize that the other is following his/her conscience with as much honesty, zeal and purity of faith as we do.  While we do not have to agree with the other, we do have to respect this quest for the truth in by the other.

These are my humble comments to the wise and kind words of the Sheikh.

The Saker

Some Thoughts on the Jews-Against-AIPAC Protestors

Posted on March 30, 2017

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What to make of the emergence of yet another group of Jewish activists protesting the policies of Israel while openly and pointedly identifying themselves as Jews?

The group If Not Now first formed back in 2014 but seems to have taken center stage earlier this week at a protest outside the AIPAC conference in Washington. The protest was attended by roughly a thousand people, and Yonah Lieberman, an If Not Now co-founder, described it as “the biggest ever Jewish-led protest of AIPAC.”

One of course might ponder: why is it so important that the protest be openly labeled as “Jewish-led”?

The group’s name is taken from a saying by Hillel, the Jewish religious leader who rose to prominence in the years prior to the birth of Christ, and who once posed three questions: “If I am not for myself who will be for me? If I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?”

A visit to the group’s website reveals a rather Judeo-centric mindset:

Today, the Jewish community is faced with a choice. Will we choose a Judaism that supports freedom and dignity for all Israelis and Palestinians, or will we let the leadership of the establishment define our tradition as incompatible with our values?

Will we continue down the path of isolation and fear that’s destroying the lives of millions of Palestinians and alienating a generation of young Jews? Or, will we create a vibrant Judaism that emerges from the trauma of our past to bring our tradition to life in the present?

We have chosen. We are building a Jewish community that recognizes we cannot be free absent the freedom of Palestinians. No longer will our community be used by American politicians and the American public to justify the violation of Palestinian rights. Like those born wandering in the desert, we are rising from our people’s trauma in order to move us toward the ongoing promise of liberation.

It’s nice that we have a group of Jews who have reached the conclusion that “we cannot be free absent the freedom of Palestinians,” and the natural tendency is to applaud them. But the entire passage, and particularly the part about “the trauma of our past” suggests a very us-against-the-rest-of-the-world outlook that seems so deeply ingrained in Jewish thinking. Moreover, the part about the Jewish community being “used by American politicians and the American public” is a very peculiar way of looking at things. How exactly is the American public “using” the Jewish community when it is the American public that direly wants the “Jewish community” (as embodied by AIPAC and Jewish, pro-Israel PACS) to stop bribing our politicians to support Israel?

Of course holding protests for Palestine under the banner of an organization which loudly and openly trumpets itself as Jewish almost inevitably leads people to wonder: What exactly is the chief priority of the protestors? Is it to win freedom for the Palestinians? Or to redeem the Jewish public image? About a week before the AIPAC conference in Washington, If Not Now held a protest outside of the AIPAC office in Los Angeles. Seven people were arrested, including the young man in the photo below, whose chief concern seems to be proving to the world that such things as “moral Jews” do indeed exist. It’s a point worth making, but perhaps one should take care not to make it in too ostentatious a manner.

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Not that the members of If Not Now would ever solicit my advice, but if they did, here is what I would say to them:

If you are going to protest in support of Palestine, do so as human beings, not as Jews. In other words, join the rest of the human race. Imagine how much more impact your protest would have had if, instead of proclaiming your membership in the Judaic tribe, you had announced your separation and divorce from it. Imagine if you had carried placards reading “We are no longer Jews.” Due to the corrupting influence of AIPAC and the crimes of Israel, the very word “Jew” has become toxic in modern discourse. I doubt that’s going to change significantly no matter how many “moral Jews” t-shirts you have printed up or how many protests you organize–and in proclaiming a bond and a tribal kinship with the same people committing crimes against humanity in Occupied Palestine you are creating a disconnect in most people’s minds–a disconnect that probably does more to damage your credibility than boost it. You say that “Jews won’t be free until Palestinians are,” but the way to win your freedom is by saying adieu and launching your exodus from this dictatorial tribe. By doing something of this nature at your protest in Washington–that is proclaiming your departure from Judaism–you certainly would have caused far more outrage inside the AIPAC conference (and if you truly had wanted to spark fury you could have converted to Christianity as well–that would really have gotten to them!) than with the protest you actually held. And while  I can well imagine that such a course of action ultimately would not be an easy road for you, the end result is that you would win your freedom.

In addition to the above, I would also suggest that members of If Not Now ask themselves: who showed more courage in standing up to the corrupt Jewish leaders of their day–Hillel or Jesus?

In the fourth chapter of the Gospel of John we see Jesus, in a conversation with a Samaritan woman, making a rather remarkable statement: “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews,” he tells her. It’s a remarkable statement because it’s one of the few instances in the Gospel of John in which the term “the Jews” is used in a positive sense. But in my view, the key word in the passage is “from.” Salvation, Jesus is saying, is not “with” the Jews, it is “from” the Jews. In other words, an exodus, a separation, a divorce has taken place.

And indeed it did. The Gospel of John was written by a group of people who formerly were Jews but who had ceased to identify as such. They were kicked out of the synagogues (John 9:22, 12:42), and there may have been instances in which Jewish Christians were even murdered by their fellow Jews (John 16:2). It isn’t only Christian sources who give us this view of early Jewish hostility toward Christianity. It can also be found in Jewish sources.

After the events of 70 A.D., the center of Judaism shifted from Jerusalem to Jamnia, where the Eighteen Benedictions were reformulated to include a curse against the minim, or heretics. Then, sometime around 85 A.D., they were revised yet again to include what appears to be a direct reference to Christians: “Let the notzrim and the minim perish immediately.” This is the wording in the twelfth benediction, the word “notzrim” generally being viewed by scholars today as a direct reference to the Nazarenes, or Christians.

After telling the Samaritan woman that salvation is from the Jews, Jesus continues with yet another remarkable comment (as so many of his comments were):

But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.

Spirit and truth are important, especially in the world in which we now find ourselves. But such things don’t seem compatible with an inward-looking tribal ideology. And maybe this is what the Jewish Christians of the first century realized.

If the young Jews of If Not Now want to help lead the world into truth and light, my guess is they would stand a much better chance of doing so by stepping outside the tribal matrix and taking their place among the larger human family.

The Jews and Their Lies and B’nai Brith Canada by Arthur Topham

 

2017 marks the 500 Year Anniversary of the birth of Protestantism and Dr. Martin Luther its Founder. Luther spent much of his active life trying to help the Jews realize the error of their ways and realize that their only salvation was to convert to Christianity.

By the end of his life Luther realized that it was a hopeless task trying to convert the Jew to the religion of Jesus Christ and as he neared his death he published a small booklet with the title as shown in the graphic above.

In Luther’s last Sermon he issued a “Warning Against the Jews.” Some extracts from that Sermon are herein quoted:

“…Besides, ou also have many Jews living in the country, who do much harm… You should know that the Jews blaspheme and violate the name of our Saviour day by day… for that reason you, Milords and men of authority, should not tolerate but expel them. They are our public enemies and incessantly blaspheme our Lord Jesus Christ, they call our Blessed Virgin Mary a harlot and her Holy Son a bastard and to us they give the epithet of changelings and abortions. If they could kill us all, they would gladly do so; in fact, many of them murder Christians, especially those professing to be surgeons and doctors. They know how to deal with medicaments in the manner of the Italians – the Borgias and Medicis – who gave people poison which brought about their death in one hour or in a month.

Therefore deal with them harshly as they do nothing but excruciatingly blaspheme our Lord Jesus Christ, trying to rob us of our lives, our  health, our honour and belongings… For that reason I cannot have patience nor carry on an intercourse with these deliberate blasphemers and violators of our Beloved Saviour.

As a good patriot I wanted to give you this warning for the very last time to deter you from participating in alien sins. You must know I only desire the best for you all, rulers and subjects.” (This Sermon was held at Eisleben, a few days before Luther’s death, February 1546.)

****  ****

Let us now look at an article published on February 21st, 2017 on the website of B’nai Brith Canada the secret Masonic organization created by the Rothschild’s back in the mid-19th Century to act as a front for the Jewish criminal cartel that now controls the governments of all of the nations of the Western world.

[*PLEASE NOTE: DUE TO A COURT ORDER THAT DISALLOWS ME FROM PUBLISHING THE NAME/S OF THOSE INDIVIDUALS WHO LAID THE “HATE CRIME” COMPLAINT AGAINST ME I AM FORCED TO CHANGE THEIR NAME TO “AGENT Z” RATHER THAN SPEAK THE TRUTH ABOUT THEIR IDENTITY. AS WELL I CANNOT POST A LINK TO THE ARTICLE IN QUESTION. EDITOR]

B’nai Brith Canada’s primary purpose is to act as media and judicial bludgeon and work in tandem with the Jewish owned press to lie and slander and vilify and indict all Canadians who attempt to expose their criminal actions be they here in Canada or in Israel or anywhere around the world.

By Aidan Fishman
Campus Advocacy Coordinator
B’nai Brith Canada
February 21, 2017

 

The British Columbia Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from Arthur Topham, who was convicted of promoting hatred against Jewish people in November, 2015.

Through his website, RadicalPress.com, Topham has called for Jews to be forcibly sterilized, claimed that Canada is “controlled by the Zionist Jew lobby,” and described Jewish places of worship as “synagogues of Satan.”

The decision of Justice G. Bruce Butler in B.C. comes as part of a long legal saga spearheaded by AGENT Z, a B’nai Brith Canada member who first reported Topham’s antisemitic screeds to the Canadian Human Rights Commission, and then later to the B.C. Hate Crimes Unit.

“I’m pleased with the court’s verdict,” AGENT Z said. “Calling to sterilize an entire ethnic or religious group is not free speech – it’s a crime in Canada, and rightfully so.”

“This is an important victory for tolerance and human rights in Canada,” added Amanda Hohmann, National Director of B’nai Brith’s League for Human Rights.

“In recent years, police and prosecutors have been hesitant to charge individuals with wilful promotion of hatred, perhaps because they fear that the accused will successfully appeal against the charges. This verdict shows that the hate speech sections of the Criminal Code are constitutionally sound and should be utilized whenever necessary.”

Topham’s sentencing is likely to take place in the near future. He faces a maximum of two years in prison, and the forced closure of his hateful website. It is not yet clear if he will appeal the ruling.

****   ****

I have emphasized the LIES that these two Jews are telling here in the article. Fishman is stating that I called for Jews to be forcibly sterilized. Agent Z lies when he states, “Calling to sterilize an entire ethnic or religious group is not free speech – it’s a crime in Canada, and rightfully so.

Here is the TRUTH that these two lying Jews have twisted around and turned inside out and upside down and reinterpreted so as to convince not only the jury that found me guilty on Count One but the general population that it was I who stated those words.

On my website I have a digital copy of the actual book which speaks about “sterilizing an entire ethnic” group. That book is called Germany Must Perish! and it was written by a Jew by the name of Theodore N. Kaufman back in 1941 in the USA.

As I stated in my Introduction to that book,

In 1941 Kaufman’s book was a brilliant piece of Zionist Jew propaganda designed to stir up anti-German hatred in America. Some say that it formed the basis of the infamous “Morgenthau Plan” that was later signed in Quebec, Canada by President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill; one designed to dismember Germany after its defeat and reduce it to the status of “a goat pasture.” It probably remains to this day the foremost example of hate literature ever to have been published and dispensed to the general public.

At the very beginning of the book Kaufman states:

Germany Must Perish!

“This dynamic volume outlines a comprehensive plan for the extinction of the German nation and the total eradication from the earth, of all her people.”

Kaufman then expends about 83 pages vilifying the German nation and accusing it of the most insidious crimes possible. Finally at Page 84 of the 95 page book Chapter 7 appears and it is titled Death to Germany. It is here that we first find mention of the method which Kaufman affirms is the only expedient way in which to deal with German nation. On Page 86 the Jew author states:

There remains now but to determine the best way, the most practical and expeditious manner in which the ultimate penalty must be levied upon the German nation. Quite naturally, massacre and wholesale execution must be ruled out. In addition to being impractical when applied to a population of some seventy million, such methods are inconsistent with the moral obligations and ethical practices of civilization. There remains then but one mode of ridding the world forces of Germanism — and that is to stem the source from which issue those war-lusted souls, by preventing the people of Germany from ever again reproducing their kind. This modern method, known to science as Eugenic Sterilization, is at once practical, humane and thorough. Sterilization has become a byword of science, as the best means of ridding the human race of its misfits: the degenerate, the insane, the hereditary criminal.” [emphasis is mine. A.T.]

Having read this small book through I was determined to somehow bring its existence to the general public and attempt to show people who, in truth, were the real haters in this world. The method I chose to do that was to write a satire of Kaufman’s book and change a few key words so that instead of Germany being the victim it would show Israel as the victim. The satire consisted of quotes found here and there in Kaufman’s original book and the intent of the satire was to show the utter hypocrisy of the Jews in attempting to accuse others of “hate crimes” when it was they themselves who were the actual guilty party calling for the absolute genocide of the whole German nation.

And so we see that the Jew media is continuing along in its same course and doing everything possible via its media and the Jew media in general to promote this false notion that I was calling for the “sterilization” of the whole Jewish population when I wrote my satire and titled it Israel Must Perish!

Throughout the trial in October and November of 2015 the Crown and the presiding Justice continually misrepresented my satire and did everything they could to convince the jury that I had actually written a real book and called it Israel Must Perish! and that in that book I was advocating the total genocide of the Jews. Other than this one satire there was no actual evidence of any of my personal writings that could be misconstrued as being “hateful.”

Now you know what Dr. Martin Luther was talking about 500 years ago when he titled his book “The Jews and Their Lies.” And now you know why B’nai Brith Canada is still carrying on with the same lies that their forebearers were guilty of throughout the past centuries.

****   ****

Pence Consoles Jews in Missouri Over Vandalizing of Jewish Cemetery

Statue of Jesus vandalized at the Cottage Avenue Pentecostal Fellow Church, in Indianapolis, Indiana

Statue of Jesus vandalized at the Cottage Avenue Pentecostal Fellow Church, in Indianapolis, Indiana

Two heinous acts of religious desecration occurred last weekend at two separate sites in two separate states. In response to one of these events, the vice president of the United States personally involved himself, making a trip to the scene to denounce what had happened and to assist in the cleanup.

The other event he seems to have completely ignored.

At the Cottage Avenue Pentecostal Fellowship Church in Indianapolis, Indiana, vandals targeted a statue of Jesus outside the church, severing the head from the body. The attack occurred sometime during the night of February 19/20.

On the same weekend vandals attacked a Jewish cemetery causing damage to approximately 150 headstones at the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery, Jewish cemetery located in University City, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis.

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Vandalized gravestones at the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery

After the media raised an uproar over the attack on the cemetery, an uproar which included complaints that President Trump had not sufficiently condemned the attack or denounced anti-Semitism enough, Vice President Pence made a trip to St. Louis, where he spoke at the cemetery and even participated in the cleanup.

“I am so inspired by what the people of Missouri are doing, by the way you are handling this,” he is reported to have said.

I did an Internet search in an effort to determine if Pence had made any similar-type gestures on behalf of the Christians at the church in Indianapolis, but could find no indication he had, or even that he had bothered to issue a public comment on it–even though the attack occurred in Pence’s home state of Indiania and even though it was the second time in two weeks that the statue had been desecrated.

Here is a news report on what happened at the church…

And here is a video of Pence at the cemetery, participating in a prayer with a Jewish rabbi and helping with the cleanup…

I guess it’s nice to see a member of America’s political elite with a rake in his hand and doing some actual physical work, but the video would seem to provide us with ample evidence of what group of people he’s really working for.

We Are Living in a ‘Post-Truth’ Era

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By Richard Edmondson

Recently Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made an interesting comment. He described the time we are living in as a “post-truth” era. It’s a very apt, on-target description.

Lavrov made the comment at the Munich Security Conference, held February 17-19 in Munich, Germany. In his remarks at the gathering he spoke of the need for nations to seek harmony by advancing justice and also by practicing “modesty,” as he termed it. It’s hard to find fault with such a proposal.

“If everyone adopts that approach,” said Lavrov, “we could overcome the period of post-truth fast and resist information wars imposed on the international community.”

“Information wars” in a “post-truth” era–this of course is what we are experiencing now.

Lavrov also said that the expansion of NATO “has led to an unprecedented level of tension over the last 30 years in Europe,” and yet Russia now nonetheless seeks a relationship with the US based upon “pragmatism, mutual respect, and an understanding of special responsibility for global stability.”

Compare Lavrov’s remarks to those of Vice President Mike Pence, who represented America at the conference. Pence alluded to President Trump’s desire for better relations with Russia, but at the same time he also adopted a belligerent tone, calling for Russia to be held “accountable” for events in Ukraine.

“In regard to Ukraine we must hold Russia accountable and demand that they honor the Minsk agreements, beginning by deescalating the violence in eastern Ukraine,” Pence said.

He also spoke of “Russia’s efforts to redraw international borders by force,” an apparent reference to the alleged “forced annexation” of Crimea. Despite claims perpetually made by the media in this post-truth era, Crimea was not annexed by force. A referendum was held there on March 16, 2014 in which more than 96 percent of the people voted to join Russia. The referendum took place after the US had sponsored a coup in Kiev, overthrowing the legitimate, democratically-elected government.

One wonders: does Pence believe the US should be held “accountable” for organizing the coup which triggered the Ukrainian conflict in the first place? Apparently he does not.

Another US speaker at the conference in Munich was Sen. John McCain, who discussed what he views as the indispensable role that America and the rest of the West have played in advancing “truth,” and in advancing the current global order as well as the “prosperity” that the West now supposedly enjoys.

“We must take our own side in this fight,” said McCain. “We must be vigilant. We must persevere. And through it all, we must never, never cease to believe in the moral superiority of our own values—that we stand for truth against falsehood, freedom against tyranny, right against injustice, hope against despair.”

McCain made no mention of America’s shameful support for terrorists in Syria, and it defies logic of course to describe the US, whose mainstream media are widely recognized as the number one purveyors of fake news, as standing “for truth against falsehood” in today’s world.

The Arizona senator also described the West as having ushered in an “unprecedented period of security and prosperity that we have enjoyed for the past seven decades”–and of course for the wealthiest one percent, we are, no doubt about it, in an “unprecedented” period of prosperity. But the unemployment rolls and the numbers of homeless people on the streets of America would suggest that the “prosperity” has not been enjoyed by all. McCain may not be “certified,” as such, but he does appear to be a fully-fledged lunatic.

The unprecedented period of security and prosperity that we have enjoyed for the past seven decades did not happen by accident. It happened not only because of the appeal of our values, but because we backed them with our power and persevered in their defense. Our predecessors did not believe in the end of history—or that it bends, inevitably, toward justice. That is up to us. That requires our persistent, painstaking effort. And that is why we come to Munich, year after year after year.

McCain objectified his laudatory comments in terms of “the West,” for of course he was speaking at a conference held in the EU. But in his use of the words “we” and “us,” what he really meant was America. America is the “indispensable” and “exceptional” nation–this is the ideology relentlessly, one might even say fanatically, adhered to by US leaders and the mainstream media.

So it seems that while we get truth out of a Russian official like Lavrov, we get delusions, reverie, fantasy, and outright lies from our own leaders. Americans, I would say for the most part, are good, decent people. How did we end up in this fix?

Perhaps worth recalling are the words of Jesus: “The last will be first, and the first will be last.” If that principle applies to nations as well as to individuals, then the implications for America are not good.

By the way, those words–about the last becoming first and the first becoming last–appear in one form or another in Matthew 19:30 and again in 20:16, as well as in Mark 10:31 and Luke 13:30. Additionally, in Luke 9:48 we have Jesus telling his disciples that, “the one who is least among all of you is the one who is the greatest,” this after overhearing them arguing about which one was to become the “greatest.”

And let us not forget also the episode related in the Gospel of John of Jesus washing his disciple’s feet. What we can conclude, then, is that the practicing of humility was a central tenet of Jesus’ teachings. Perhaps little wonder that Jesus was not terribly popular with his fellow Jews. Jewish “exceptionalism” (or more specifically “chosenness”) was, and still is, a central component of Judaic belief.

And yes, what we have in America are leaders who, rather than practice humility, spout boastful words like McCain’s. Thus it should come as no surprise we now find ourselves in a “post-truth” era. After all, boasting and lying are two human traits which go very much hand in hand.

I often wonder when, if ever, we will have a leader who will make Americans proud to be Americans again. Sadly it has been a very long time since we had one.

Appeal Aimed at Fordham University: ‘Don’t Ban Students for Justice in Palestine!’

 

Posted on January 31, 2017

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[ Ed. note – Imagine a student organization at a major American university–(where such lofty ideals as academic freedom and free speech presumably are held dear)–being banned before it even gets organized or holds its first meeting.

Well, that’s what happened at Fordham University with the local Students for Justice in Palestine chapter.

The school’s dean of students, Keith Eldredge, vetoed a measure approved by the University Student Government association which would have recognized the SJP group. Eldredge announced his decision in a December 22 email sent out to the young student activists who had applied for permission to form the organization on campus.

“After consultation with numerous faculty, staff and students and my own deliberation, I have decided to deny the request to form a club known as Students for Justice in Palestine at Fordham University,” he wrote. “While students are encouraged to promote diverse political points of view, and we encourage conversation and debate on all topics, I cannot support an organization whose sole purpose is advocating political goals of a specific group, and against a specific country, when these goals clearly conflict with and run contrary to the mission and values of the University.”

So in other words opposing an apartheid state and calling for an end to a decades-long occupation runs against the “mission and values” of Fordham University? What’s disgusting about this is that Fordham is, at least nominally, a Christian university that was founded by the Catholic diocese of New York. So is Eldredge trying to imply that SJP’s support for the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement somehow violates the teachings of Jesus?

“There is perhaps no more complex topic than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and it is a topic that often leads to polarization rather than dialogue,” Eldredge goes on.

So Jesus–a man who called the Pharisees hypocrites, turned over the tables of the money changers, and accused the Jewish scribes of turning his Father’s house into a den of robbers–was somehow timidly averse to being polarizing when a clear need presented itself?

“The purpose of the organization [SJP] as stated in the proposed club constitution points toward that polarization,” the dean continues. “Specifically, the call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of Israel presents a barrier to open dialogue and mutual learning and understanding.”

Thank you, Dean Eldredge, and I’m sure the Zionist settlers in the West Bank are also aware of the dire need for “open dialogue and mutual learning and understanding”

Maybe the occupation of Palestine is a “complex topic” to the deans at Fordham University, but of course for most of the rest of us, it’s really not that hard to figure out.

The current president of Fordham is the Rev. Joseph M. McShane. If you follow one of the links below you will find a letter addressed to McShane written by Palestine Legal, whose mission is to protect “the civil and constitutional rights of people in the US who speak out for Palestinian freedom.” Quite a big job obviously and probably about to become even more challenging.

Also below you will find an appeal addressed to Fordham University by the Friends of Sabeel North America. I must say I admire their diplomacy. It’s probably more than I could have mustered. FOSNA, by the way, is a Christian ecumenical group affiliated with Sabeel, an international peace movement launched by Palestinian Christians. ]


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After subjecting Palestinian student activists to an extensive and abnormally elongated vetting process that lasted over a year, Fordham University in New York City has banned its chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine. Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights stated that the ban “blatantly violates [the University’s] promise to guarantee freedom of inquiry on campus,” calling on Fordham’s administration to “immediately permit and facilitate the formation of SJP.”

On Monday, FOSNA Executive Director Tarek Abuata sent an open letter to Fordham’s administration urging them to reinstate the chapter.

Help us tell Fordham University that as people of conscience, now more than ever, we have a responsibility to take action and support Palestine solidarity efforts.

Please call, write, or e-mail:

President Rev. Joseph M. McShane
president@fordham.edu

Keith Eldredge, Dean of Students
eldredge@fordham.edu

Office of the President, Fordham University
441 East Fordham Road
Bronx, NY 10458
Tel: 718-817-3000

Free debate and open inquiry are hallmarks of university study. Help us ensure that Fordham University gives students who seek to debate, organize, and advocate for justice in Palestine and Israel the opportunity to do so as part of their educational experience.

Support our work by donating

Letter in support of Fordham Students for Justice in Palestine:

President Rev. Joseph M. McShane
Keith Eldredge, Dean of Students
Office of the President, Fordham University
president@fordham.edu
eldredge@fordham.edu
441 East Fordham Road
Bronx, NY 10458
Tel: 718-817-3000

Dear President Rev. McShane and Dean Eldredge,

Friends of Sabeel North America is a Christian ecumenical organization seeking justice and peace in the Holy Land through nonviolent advocacy and education. As executive director, I write to express deep concern that Fordham University has decided to prohibit students from organizing a Students for Justice in Palestine chapter on your campus.

You may have seen this week’s statement from the Catholic Bishops of the 2017 Holy Land Coordination. This statement provides an urgent plea for the people of the world (and Catholics in particular) to pray and act for justice in the Holy Land:

Fifty years of occupation demands action.

For fifty years the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza have languished under occupation, violating the human dignity of both Palestinians and Israelis. This is a scandal to which we must never become accustomed.  Our Coordination has called for justice and peace every year since 1998, yet the suffering continues. So this call must get louder. As Bishops we implore Christians in our home countries to recognise our own responsibility for prayer, awareness and action.

So many people in the Holy Land have spent their entire lives under occupation, with its polarising social segregation, yet still profess hope and strive for reconciliation. Now, more than ever, they deserve our solidarity.

(See the signatories and full text)

We implore you to encourage your students to become active for justice and peace in Palestine and Israel by allowing the SJP chapter to form. As you know, throughout history students have been at the forefront of debating and organizing for justice causes (women’s rights; abolition of slavery; equality in racial, ethnic, and economic matters; opposition to war and to the apartheid regime in South Africa).

The First Amendment protects free speech as a hallmark of our democracy. Free debate and open inquiry are hallmarks of university study. Please give to the students who seek to debate, organize, and advocate for justice in Palestine and Israel this fundamental opportunity as part of their educational experience at Fordham University.

Friends of Sabeel North America has worked closely with SJP groups across the country. We find they are composed of bright, compassionate, highly conscientious students. SJP chapters are usually comprised of Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and secular students. They represent a cross-section of ethnic, racial, and religious diversity.

Please allow your Fordham students the freedom all Americans hold dear. Encourage rather than prohibit their work for justice in Palestine and Israel as the Catholic Bishops of the 2017 Holy Land Coordination have urged.

With warm regards,

Tarek Abuata, Executive Director

Friends of Sabeel North America


Fordham University’s Ban on Palestinian Rights Group Sets Dangerous Precedent

By Joe Catron | January 26, 2017

Mint Press News

NEW YORK — Nearly a hundred students and community members rallied on Fordham University’s Manhattan campus before marching to nearby Columbus Circle on Monday.

The protest marked the latest chapter in an ongoing effort by students at the Jesuit institution to found a chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine on their campus.

SJP organizations, which take their name from a still-existing student group founded at the University of California, Berkeley in 1993, already exist on over a hundred campuses in the United States, as well as several overseas.

A national organization using the same name organizes annual conferences attended by many of these loose affiliates, but maintains no formal relationship with them.

On Nov. 19, 2015, four students at Fordham applied with the university’s administration to register an SJP club at the school’s Lincoln Center campus.

By all accounts, they did not expect the grueling ordeal that lay before them.

Their plans finally ground to a halt on Dec. 22, 2016, when Keith Eldredge, dean of students at the Lincoln Center campus, informed several SJP activists in an email that he had overruled a vote by the school’s United Student Government to recognize the group a month earlier and denied it registration as a student organization.

“According to sources within student government, he has never even reviewed a club for veto, let alone actually vetoed one, in his entire ten years here at Fordham,” Sapphira Lurie, a senior and lead campus organizer for Fordham Students for Justice in Palestine, told MintPress News. “This is a clear example of the Palestine exception to free speech.”

“The Palestine exception,” a term popularized by Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights in a 2015 report of that name, refers to barriers to free speech and organizing faced by Palestinian and solidarity activists in the US.

In a Jan. 17 statement on Fordham’s ban of SJP, Palestine Legal, a nonprofit organization that provides legal assistance and representation to Palestine activists, said it had responded to more than 600 attempts to repress their activities nationally since the start of 2014.

Of these, it said, “the vast majority” targeted students and faculty.

On campus, these efforts often include obstacles to student organizing, like challenges to event funding and space registration, or the unwarranted suspension of recognized groups, as well as the intimidation, and occasional termination, of faculty.

But Fordham’s preemptive ban of a student organization sets a dangerous new precedent, one students and other local activists are determined to fight.

“As far as we’re aware, this is the first time a college has summarily banned a group supporting Palestinian rights before students even held their first meeting,” Radhika Sainath, a Palestine Legal staff attorney and cooperating counsel at the CCR, told MintPress News.

‘Fordham breached its express promise’

Palestine Legal’s statement summarized a letter, sent by it and the CCR to Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., Fordham’s president, on the same day.

When they filed their application, the letter said, “[T]he students expected Fordham would approve their group within a few weeks so that they could start their educational programming.”

[[[ Read Palestine Legal’s letter to Fordham’s president Rev. Joseph M. McShane. ]]]

Instead, they faced months of stonewalling, punctuated by meetings at which administrators asked if they would consider a different name, expressed concern at their support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and use of the word “apartheid,” and inquired about their willingness to work with groups like Jewish Voice for Peace, J Street, and Seeds for Peace.

The administrators also inquired whether an anti-BDS resolution passed by the New York City Council or an executive order and blacklist opposing the movement issued by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, all last year, should preclude SJP’s recognition by the university.

As the USG decision on Nov. 17 neared, one administrator, Dorothy Wenzel of the university’s office of student leadership, who had previously admitted to polling Jewish faculty on whether SJP should be allowed to register at Fordham, instructed a USG officer to notify the school’s Jewish Student Organization of the pending vote.

Continued here

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