The Blessing of Having a Voice

2014 Ramadan Prayer Day 19Most of you who are participating in the Ramadan prayer series this year receive the articles each day either through email or through a social media site such as Facebook. In Western nations, social media is considered an effective way to voice opinions and share with friends. Facebook reportedly has 1.23 billion users; Twitter has 500 million users, and Instagram (a photo sharing site) has 150 million active users. Most of us are used to sharing through one or more of these platforms; in fact Pew Research Center’s Internet Project reveals that 73% of online adults use some type of social networking site.

In many Muslim nations that same freedom is non-existent. The Independent reported that eight unidentified social media activists in Iran have been sentenced to a total of 127 years in prison after being found guilty of using the Internet to insult Iran’s leaders, spread anti-government propaganda, and undermine national security.

In Saudi Arabia, Raif Badawi was charged with apostasy after he began a website to allow users to discuss religion. Part of the evidence used against him at his trial was that he pressed the “like” button on a Facebook page for Arab Christians. He eventually was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes. He can still appeal, but now the lawyer who represented him in the case is also in prison.

Women in Saudi Arabia used blogging and social media in an effort to gain the right to drive. In October 2013, there was a campaign calling for Saudi women to defy the ban and drive on October 26. The government’s response was to block the campaign’s website. One of Saudi Arabia’s top clerics announced that women who drive risked damaging their ovaries and could have children with “clinical problems of varying degrees.” Interior ministry employees contacted the leaders of the campaign individually and told them not to drive, however despite the contact and a heavy police presence on the 26th, there were still 12 YouTube videos that were posted of women driving.

The Stealthy Freedoms of Iranian Women Facebook page encouraged Iranian women to share photos of themselves with uncovered heads. The My Stealthy FreedomFacebook page has over 573,000 likes, with thousands of women submitting their photos. In response the Iranian government has tried to smear Masih Alinejad’s reputation. Iranian state television reported that three men in a London subway raped Masih after she took drugs and undressed herself in public. In response, Masih filmed a YouTube video of herself standing with her head uncovered in the subway station singing a song.

Social media is a threat to Muslim government and authorities that adhere to a strict sharia (Islamic) law code. Prior to the advent of social media, citizens did not have an uncensored platform to express their opinions or even discuss religion. We in the West are blessed to have multiple platforms to have a voice, and we must continue to contend through prayer forothers to share in the blessing.

Prayer Points:

Be grateful and thank God that we can “like” Facebook pages without fear of punishment. Our freedom to speak what is in our heart is becoming fragile in many nations and we must contend to maintain this right.

It is very important for Westerners to be aware that oftentimes “hate speech” laws are simply a stealth method to take away our freedom of speech. Pray that citizens in these nations will recognize simple ways that our rights are diminishing and speak out. Influence leaders who make decisions about speech and laws that hinder what we are permitted to say and urge them to maintain a strong stand for freedom of speech. Above all, be faithful to pray about the situation.

Thank God for Muslim women who are bravely speaking up to be treated equally. Pray for their protection and encourage them in showing your support. Click “Like” on their Facebook pages and help spread their message for individual freedom.

Islam in the U.S. – 2012

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With major news events such as the re-election of President Barack Obama, mass shootings in Connecticut and Colorado and major destruction from Hurricane Sandy, radical Islam did not dominate the headlines of American news outlets in 2012. However the continuing efforts of radical Islamists to wage holy war did not diminish.

Since 9-11-2001, TheReligionofPeace.com has recorded Islamic attacks around the world. In 2012, there were 2,546 Islamic attacks resulting in 11,306 casualties and 20,210 wounded. Many of these attacks have been on Christians. Open Doors, a Christian ministry that supports and strengthens persecuted Christians around the world releases a Watch List each year of nations where Christians are persecuted for their faith. The list ranks the top 50 persecuting nations from extreme to sparse persecution. In the most recent listing, ten out of eleven nations listed as practicing extreme persecution of Christians are Islamic nations.

In the U.S., at least three Islamic terror plots planned for Tampa, Florida, the U.S. Capitol, and the New York Federal Reserve building were uncovered and prevented during 2012. Despite evidence that there are continuing threats to United States citizens from radical Islamists, both local and federal law enforcement agencies faced increasing criticism and censorship not only by Muslim groups such as the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR), but also by individuals within our own federal government.

For example, CAIR was reportedly the driving force behind two articles and an Op-Ed by the New York Times criticizing the use of the film, The Third Jihad: Radical Islam’s Vision for America, for counterterrorism training for the New York City Police Department. The articles called the documentary a “hate-filled film about Muslims” and quoted CAIR saying the film “defiled our faith and misrepresented everything we stood for.” The film, narrated by Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, a practicing Muslim boldly states at the beginning, “This is not a film about Islam. It is about the threat of radical Islam. Only a small percentage of the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims are radical.” The NY Times failed to mention that CAIR was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial, the largest terrorism financing trial in U.S. history. The NYPD no longer uses the film.

FBI Director, Robert Mueller met with a coalition of Muslim groups (which included the Islamic Society of North America – also an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation Trial) in February to reveal that the FBI had removed more than 700 documents and 300 presentations on Islam from FBI training materials that were deemed “offensive.” Some of the documents removed included articles and presentations that defined jihad as “holy war” and portrayed the Muslim Brotherhood as an organization that planned to take over the world. In order to purge the documents from the FBI training materials, the agency must ignore the words of Hasan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, which state, “It is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated, to impose its law on all nations and to extend its power to the entire planet.” In addition, FBI agents reported FBI headquarters had banned offices from inviting counter-terrorism specialists who were considered “anti-Islam,” and in June this policy extended to the military at the National Defense University when they suspended Lt. Col Matthew A. Dooley, an instructor of a college course that suggested the U.S. was “at war with Islam.”

The State Department removed sections from its Country Reports on Human Rights that discussed the status of religious freedom, which meant the reports did not include any information about the status of Christians and other minorities in Muslim nations that were a part of the Arab Spring revolutions in countries such as Egypt and Libya.

Six Army officers received administrative punishments for burning Qur’ans used by detainees at the Parwan Detention Facility in Afghanistan to exchange messages. NBC reported the punishments would most likely result in the end of their military careers. The Qur’ans and other religious material were burned in February. It was reported that up to 75% of the material contained extremist inscriptions on them. The material including Qur’ans had been boxed for storage, but were accidently sent to an incinerator. When Afghan workers discovered the burned Qur’ans, violent protests erupted. After several days of protest, 30 people were killed including four Americans and over 200 were wounded. Following this incident, the U.S. military released an advisory on the proper way to dispose of Islamic religious material. The material states, “If in doubt about the religious significance of any material, assume it is SACRED!” and “Non-Muslims should not handle a Quran.” The training even goes so far to say, “Any copy of a Quranic verse containing the name of Allah is an equally sacred text and should be handled the same as a Quran.”

As the U.S. government continually capitulated to the demands of Islamist groups, five members of Congress, Representatives Michele Bachmann, Louie Gohmert, Trent Franks, Thomas Rooney and Lynn Westmoreland sent letters to the Inspectors General of the Department of Defense, Department of Justice, Department of State, Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence questioning the direct influence within the intelligence community of members of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Representatives requested that the offices conduct investigations into the extent of the Muslim Brotherhood involvement into their agencies. Rather than investigations beginning, the Representatives were met with vicious personal attacks.

Congressional investigations continue into the deaths of four Americans including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens killed in a terrorist attack at the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya on 9-11-2012. Initially the Obama administration blamed the attack on a YouTube video that was critical of Islam rather than a pre-planned act of terror against the United States.

As 2012, came to a close the Washington Times reported about the draft of the U.S. Army’s new handbook to be given to U.S. troops heading to Afghanistan. The draft of the handbook, reviewed by the Wall Street Journal, blames recent deadly attacks by Afghan soldiers against American troops on Western ignorance of Afghan culture. The handbook gives soldiers a list of topics to avoid which include, “making derogatory comments about the Taliban,” “advocating women’s rights,” “any criticism of pedophilia,” directing any criticism toward Afghans,” “mentioning homosexuality and homosexual conduct,” and “anything related to Islam.”

Although it may not have been in the headlines, Islamists inflicted great damage on the security and freedoms of American citizens in 2012 through the efforts of those who ignorant of their agenda. We as citizens must continue to be watchmen, sounding the warning of the threat as we move into 2013.

 

Ramadan Prayer Day 9 – Media: “The Scales Fall When Faced With the Truth”

Filmmaker Eric Allen Bell learned firsthand of U.S. media bias toward Islam. Bell, taking a break from his work in Hollywood, had moved to Murfreesboro, TN. He found himself in the middle of a controversy that continues today.

The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro was planning to build a 53,000 square foot mosque on some farmland on the outer edge of town. Bell, not a fan of religion as he describes himself, felt the controversy was one of fanatical Evangelicals bullying peaceful Muslims who simply wanted to build a place of worship. When he learned of an anti-mosque parade planned for the community, he decided to make a documentary to illustrate what he believed to be typical Christian intolerance.  This documentary was to be titled “Not Welcome.”

The dominant liberal, mainstream media picked up on his project and soon he wrote several pieces for Michael Moore and others. He returned to California to show a short version of his documentary attempting to gain additional support to finish the project. He found someone who promised they would back him to finish the movie. The documentary on the Murfreesboro mosque would be used to focus on what he considered America’s “religious lunatic fringe” ignoring any serious investigation into the Muslims.

Around this time he returned to Tennessee and while in a taxi driven by an Egyptian cab driver, his views began to change. It began when he asked the driver, a Coptic Christian, how he felt about the fall of Mubarak. The cab driver replied he was concerned because he feared for his family back home. He said if the Muslims took control, it would become very dangerous for his family.  After this conversation, Bell took a fresh look at Islam. He began to read reports from authors like Robert Spencer and Frank Gaffney, and he did his own independent research, which verified this newly discovered information for him.  Indeed, this fear is especially well founded when considering how the most ancient of Christian populations is being driven from their homes in many nations in the Middle East including Iraq and Egypt.  This is a good example of an Islamist government taking over from a Sunni, secular government and then systematically persecuting Christians.

Bell’s change of perspective did not endear him to his former supporters as he soon discovered as he began to share his findings with them. They told Bell his judgment was unsound and unclear and suggested he step away from the project. He was even told to make the documentary the way it was originally planned painting a strong negative perspective on Christians or to return the money. To his credit, he decided to stick to the truth.

In January of 2012, he wrote three articles for Daily Kos. The first was called, “Loonwatch.com and Radical Islam” asserting Loonwatch was “fundamentally a radical Islamic front for terrorism, spreading distorted information about the reality of rapidly spreading Islamic fundamentalism – through lies of omission.” The next day Loonwatch.com called Eric Bell the “Loon at Large.” All three articles were ultimately met with cries of Islamophobia and “hate speech.”  The attacks were not on the truth of the information he presented, rather they were personal attacks no his character. His final article called, “Are You in Favor of Human Rights?” led to him being banned from Daily Kos.

Unfortunately, Eric Bell’s experiences are not unique, as we have seen recently with the personal attacks against Rep. Michele Bachmann.

PRAYER FOR MEDIA:

  • Pray that more members of the press will have their eyes open to the truth and have the strength to stand up to the personal attacks.
  • Pray that Americans will stop tolerating personal attacks by journalists and demand that media outlets present facts without prejudice.
  • Like Eric Bell, pray that American Muslims will begin to question the Islamist agenda and those that claim to speak for them. Pray that as they question they will come to know the truth about the system of Islam and come to know the one who is the Truth, Jesus Christ.

Ramadan Prayer Day 7: Government: “Honoring the Oath”

Members of Congress are required by Article VI of the U.S. Constitution to be bound by oath or affirmation to support the Constitution. The oath reads in part, “I, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic…”

Five members of Congress, defending the Constitution against an enemy that is operating both foreign and domestically, have been attacked personally by other members of Congress for simply calling for an investigation by government agencies regarding the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood in our government. The hesitation of members within our government to investigate these valid concerns raises the question of how seriously those leveling personal attacks take their oath of office.

The Muslim Brotherhood was founded by Hassan al-Banna in Egypt in 1928 as a result of the dismantling of the last Islamic caliphate by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1924.  Al-Banna was angered the caliphate had been dissolved and said, “It is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated, to impose its law on all nations and to extend its power to the entire planet.” The creed of the Muslim Brotherhood is, “God is our objective, the Qur’an is our law; the Prophet is our leader, Jihad is our way and death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations.” In case you think the Muslim Brotherhood has toned down its message, one week ago, Muhammad Badi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide, “called on all Muslims to wage jihad with their money and their selves to free al-Quds [Jerusalem].”

The Muslim Brotherhood today is active in more than 100 countries around the world – overtly in some countries and covertly in others. The United States has a large and active Muslim Brotherhood presence. During the 2007, Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development trial, the largest terrorism funding trial in our nation’s history, evidence was introduced about the Muslim Brotherhood’s activities in the United States.

One document called The Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America detailed the Muslim Brotherhood’s strategy for our nation. The document said the Brotherhood is engaged in “a civilization Jihadist process” planning on “eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within.” In addition this document listed 29 “organizations of our friends.” These friends include many prominent Islamic groups currently operating in our nation including the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Muslim Students Association of the U.S. and Canada (MSA), the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT).  These groups were named “unindicted co-conspirators” in the Holy Land Foundation trial. The Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) actually opened its first office through a $5,000 donation from the Holy Land Foundation.

An excellent 10-part video series about the Muslim Brotherhood’s activities in America is available from the Center for Security Policy. The Center reveals, “The Muslim Brotherhood’s civilization jihad is being pursued through stealthy means involving penetration and subversion of this country’s civil society and governing institutions. A central feature of this stealthy, pre-violent jihad is what the military calls ‘information dominance’ – it helps the Muslim Brotherhood keep us ignorant of the true nature of the threat they pose and the progress they are making in bring shariah to America.”

In light of what our own government has uncovered regarding the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood in our nation, the call by Reps. Bachmann, Gohmert, Franks, Rooney and Westmoreland is completely warranted and necessary for the security of our nation. Contact your Congressmen and urge them to support these Representatives and their call for investigations.

PRAYER FOR GOVERNMENT:

  • Pray that any enemy, foreign or domestic, will be revealed and defeated.
  • Pray that every Representative and Senator in the United States Congress will take their oath of office seriously and defend our Constitution against enemies foreign and domestic.
  • Pray for these Representatives as they are enduring many personal attacks. Pray the eyes of those who have made personal attacks against these Congressmen will have their eyes opened and will examine the evidence behind the call for the investigations.
  • Pray the Inspectors General of Department of Defense, Department of Justice, Department of State, Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence will indeed conduct thorough investigations of their departments.
  • Many Muslims in the United States who have lived in oppressive nations want to live in freedom under the U.S. Constitution. Ask God to reveal His heart to them and give them a revelation of His love for them.

Ramadan Prayer Day 5 – Arts & Entertainment: A Cartoonist Meets Shariah

A young cartoonist named Molly Norris learned first hand the influence that Islam demands upon the sphere of Arts & Entertainment in our nation. In response to censorship of the show “South Park” by Comedy Central, Norris drew a cartoon declaring an event called “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day.” Although nothing in the Qur’an bans depictions of Muhammad, there are passages in the hadith (statements or actions of Muhammad) that bans the depiction of any living creature, including images of Muhammad or any other prophet in case the images become idols.

The creators of South Park had been threatened by members of an organization called Revolution Muslim because the group considered the depiction of Muhammad wearing a teddy bear costume in an episode insulting to Islam. A threat was posted on the group’s website saying that violent retaliation would likely happen to the show’s creators. In addition the website published the addresses of the show’s production office in Los Angeles and Comedy Central’s New York office. Comedy Central obscured all images and bleeped all references to Muhammad and removed a speech about intimidation and fear from the next episode.

Molly Norris drew a cartoon on April 20, 2010 declaring May 20,2010 as  “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” in protest of Comedy Central’s censoring of South Park. She reasoned that if everyone drew Mohammed, Islamic terrorists would be unable to murder them all and thus their threats would become unrealistic. Part of the text on her cartoon read, “Do your part to both water down the pool of targets and, oh yeah, defend a little something our country is famous for…the first amendment.”

The idea quickly became popular on Facebook and was supported by many bloggers drawing attention to Molly Norris. In a radio interview, she explained her reasoning behind the cartoon, “…as a cartoonist I just felt so much passion about what had happened, I wanted to counter Comedy Central’s message about feeling afraid.”

The cartoon and the idea took on a life of its own and by April 29, Norris suggested that “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” be called off. She said the campaign had grown much bigger than she ever imagined and her cartoon was being used in ways she could not control. “I said that I wanted to counter fear and then I got afraid.”

Unfortunately for the cartoonist, al-Qaeda cleric Anwar Awlaki called for Molly Norris’ execution even though she tried to end the campaign. The FBI notified Norris that they considered it a “very serious threat.”  Norris changed her name and went into hiding.

We read of art displays that are offensive to Christians, yet however repulsive Christians may find the art they do not attempt to force their beliefs on the artist through death threats. Molly Norris is only one of many within the Arts & Entertainment industry that discovered firsthand what happens when western freedoms are met with the archaic system of shariah law. Unlike law within the Christian and Jewish faiths, Islamic law applies itself to non-believers and believers alike.

Fear is a weapon oftentimes used by Islamists to intimidate Muslims and non-Muslims. Christians believe “there is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…”

PRAYER FOR ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT:

  • Pray that Christians will begin to understand that love does not mean compromise or capitulation – Jesus Himself was perfect love, yet part of His very essence is Truth.
  • Pray that western Christians will take a decisive stand and insist that Muslims, who choose to live in our nation and use our system of Judeo-Christian laws to protect their rights to practice their religion, do not infringe upon the rights of all other Americans to exercise their freedom of expression.
  • Pray that Muslims and other non-Christians will begin to see the differences between the two religions and be drawn to the gospel message and freedom in Christ.