“Is It Really Human Beings Doing This?” Muslim Persecution of Christians, January 2019

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Massacres in and Attacks on Churches

Philippines: On Sunday, January 27, Islamic militants bombed a Catholic cathedral during Mass.  At least 20 people were killed and 111 wounded.  Two explosives were detonated about a minute apart in or near the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Jolo around 8:45 a.m.  According to one report, “The initial explosion scattered the wooden pews inside the main hall and blasted window glass panels, and the second bomb hurled human remains and debris across a town square fronting the cathedral.”  Photos on social media showed human bodies and remains strewn on the street just outside the cathedral.  The officiating priest, Fr. Ricky Bacolcol, “was still in shock and could not speak about what happened,” to quote a colleague.  After the first bomb detonated, army troops and police posted outside the cathedral rushed in, at which point the second bomb went off.  Fifteen of the slain were civilians, five military men; 90 of the wounded were civilians.  Located in a Muslim-majority area, the cathedral was heavily guarded as it had been hit before: grenades were hurled at it twice in 2010, both times damaging the building; and in 1997, Bishop Benjamin de Jesus was gunned down just outside the cathedral.  The Islamic State claimed this most recent attack, adding that the massacre was carried out by “two knights of martyrdom” against a “crusader temple.”

Egypt: An Islamic terror plot to bomb a packed Christian church on the evening of January 6,  when Coptic Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas, was foiled by police.  According to one report,

[F]our explosive devices were planted around the Church of the Virgin Mary and St Mercurius in … Nasr City.  Three were removed safely but the fourth, concealed in a bag, exploded when police bomb disposal technicians attempted to deactivate it. Police Major Mostafa Ebeid was killed in the blast, which wounded two other officers and a bystander. The explosion was the latest in a series of incidents apparently targeting Egypt’s Coptic Christian population, occurring the day before Orthodox Christmas eve….

Separately, between late December and early January, authorities forcefully shut down four more churches in Egypt after angry Muslim mobs rioted in protest of their existence.  In one instance, on Friday, January 11, over one thousand Muslims surrounded and demanded the instant closure of St. George Church in Minya. Not only did authorities comply but they evicted the two priests who were holed up inside the church and hauled them off in a vehicle used for garbage, prompting “an elated response from a jubilating, gloating mob,” which included triumphant cries of “Allahu Akbar”(Allah is greater; a brief video of the mob can be seen here.)  Police “ behaved with the priests as they would with killers,” one human rights lawyer said.  “What happened frightened us,” added another clergyman. “I am a priest and it is possible for the police to cuff me if the extremist neighboring Muslims protest or gathered in front of my church. Things are getting worse, but let us pray to make God keep us in peace.”  The local Coptic Christian bishopric said in a statement,

This is not the first time a place used for worship by Copts in Minya is closed. The common factor among all closures, however, is that they were done to appease fundamentalists and extremists to the detriment of the Copts. It appears to indicate that extremists now hold the upper hand, and appeasing them is the easy way out of problems….  This comes in the wake of declarations by the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmad al-Tayyeb in favour of churches, also positive talk and actions by President Abdel-Fattah a-Sisi that every Egyptian has the right to practise his or her religion of choice, and to Pope Tawadros’s efforts on that front.

A January 15 report discussing this attack computes that, “In total, Egyptian authorities have closed four churches within the last four and a half weeks. No formal procedures against the attackers of these churches have begun.”

Cameroon: Muslim militants invaded and ransacked two Christian villages in the middle of the night of January 24.   They destroyed 190 homes, plundered and desecrated four churches, set a Christian hospital on fire, and killed livestock.  “Is it really human beings who are doing this?” a local eyewitness was later quoted as saying.   According to the report,

The attack on Gochi and Toufou [the Christian villages] is the fourth by militants in two weeks. In the previous attacks three people were killed and churches and homes were damaged or destroyed….  Christian villages in the far north of Cameroon are subject to attacks by Boko Haram Islamist militias [as] they attempt to establish an Islamic caliphate from north-eastern Nigeria all the way to northern Cameroon, which is where most Cameroonian Muslims live in what is a predominantly Christian country.

Nigeria:  Militant Muslims have destroyed a total of 1,125 churches belonging to one Christian denomination alone, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria, which is primarily based in the Muslim majority northeast of the nation, a January 23 report found. The President of the denomination, Rev. Joel Billi continues making appeals for the local Muslim majority government to expedite the rebuilding of these places of worship: “Why are we flagrantly neglected as if we deserve to be punished? If not for the inadequacy of our security forces and political undertone, Boko Haram would not have overrun us. So, why do we pay for the sin that was not committed by us?”

Ghana:  Irate and machete wielding Muslim youth vandalized a church after its pastor predicted that the Chief Imam Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharunutu would die this year. Afterwards they made a video giving the pastor an ultimatum to withdraw his prophecy or else: “We’re warning you,” said the group leader. “You have only 24 hours to capture yourself in a video to apologise to all Muslims. Don’t bring your fake prophecies on the Muslims or our Chief Imam. If you don’t apologise, we’ll drink your blood.”

Indonesia: A Muslim mob stormed a house church meeting on Sunday, January 13, in the North Sumatran capital of Medan.   Video footage shows a loud and angry throng led by men wearing Muslim skullcaps and women in hijabs surrounding a pastor’s residence, which had allegedly been converted into a place of worship for use by the Bethel Indonesia Church congregation.  The mob shouted at and shoved Christians in attendance before forcing the service to a close.  “We didn’t do things that were prohibited,” wrote one church member on Instagram. “We only wanted to pray, but why was our church attacked this morning? Where is justice in this country? Where is our religious tolerance? God is with us.”  Due to this and similar incidents, Christians are increasingly  “feel[ing] intimidated to worship in their own country,” the report notes, before adding that:

members of the congregation claim that they have obtained some permits for the building to function as a house of worship but are still missing some documents, which they say have been difficult to obtain from government officials, especially during the recent holiday period.  In September, authorities in the East Sumatran city of Jambi sealed three churches, which had been used as places of worship for over a decade, because they lacked official permits. An administrator at one of the churches said they were given no warning prior to the closure and that he suspected the churches were shut due to pressure from certain groups who threatened to protest if they remained open. Officials from one of the churches said their attempts to obtain the proper permits had proven difficult as government officials [in the Muslim majority nation] always denied them.

Algeria: After authorities shut down their church, a 300-strong Christian congregation began to meet and worship in a tent—only to be forced out of and ordered to dismantle it as well on January 28.  The tent was erected on the grounds of Azaghar Church, allowing the congregation to continue worshipping following the forced closure of their church on spurious “health and safety” reasons.  According to one report,

The church … lost the use of its building in October 2018, despite the congregation responding to requests to install fire exits and fire extinguishers.  While conversion from Islam is not a criminal offence in Algeria, those who witness to Muslims potentially face a five-year jail sentence.  The officially recognised church had been open for five years and is a powerful ministry to local Muslims. ….  A number of churches have been shut down since the start of 2018, either for alleged breaches of health and safety, or because authorities claim they are not properly registered.

Violence against Christians and Conversion Pressure

Uganda:  Muslims beat and hospitalized a Christian woman for praying to Christ in her home.  “Today we have come to warn you that you should avoid noisy prayers and the use of Issa [Jesus] in your prayers,” one of the four assailants informed Deborah Gimbo’s after bursting into her home.  They added that a local cleric had said that “people who pray in Jesus’ name should be fought and pressured until they accept only worship of Allah, or else be killed.”  “I cannot stop praying,” she responded, “and more so, Issa [Jesus] is my Lord and Savior, and I will continue praying in His name….  Immediately two of the intruders left the house, and in no time entered the room again with sticks and started beating me. I was hit on my face, and blood started flowing down my face as I started shouting for help.”  Neighbors came to her rescue; she was hospitalized for two days.

Iran:  During their final appeal hearing held on January 15,  two Christians “were asked by presiding judges Hassan Babaee and Ahmad Zargar to renounce their faith, but refused to do so,” says one report.  Earlier, on September 22, 2018, the two, Saheb Fadaie and Fatemeh Bakhteri, were sentenced to prison on the charge of “spreading propaganda against the regime,” and “promoting Zionist Christianity.”  The January 15 verdict also “claimed that discussions of Christian doctrine held in house churches were considered attacks on Islam.”  A human rights activist familiar with the case elaborated:

The conviction of Mr Fadaie and Ms Bakhteri for asserting Christian doctrine is not only a grave violation of their right to espouse a religious belief of their choosing, but also criminalises the Christian faith, which the Iranian constitution purports to recognise…. We call for the verdict against Mr Fadaie and Ms Bakhteri to be overturned, and urge the Iranian authorities to ensure due process in cases involving religious minorities. We also continue to urge the Iranian government to cease all forms of harassment and intimidation of peaceable religious communities, and to release all those detained in connection with their religion or belief.

Somalia: “It’s very dangerous for anyone to identify you as a Christian in this country,” an underground pastor going by the pseudonym of John explained in a January 7 report concerning the dangers of being outed as a Christian in the Islamic Horn of Africa. “You will, in fact, be counting your days on Earth.  So we are always silent as long as we meet and share the word of God in private.”  The report elaborates:

Hundreds of Christians in Somalia, typically foreigners from nearby countries who work across the East African nation, fear [that] Muslim extremists — both jihadists in al-Shabab, a group linked to al-Qaida, and rogue elements among their otherwise peaceful neighbors — would kill them if they knew they held Christian services.  Around 99.8 percent of Somalis are Muslim….  In recent years, the situation for Christians in the Horn of Africa has worsened, as illustrated by killings shared on social media. In the region under the control of al-Shabab, the militants hunt for Christians.

Attacks on Muslim Converts to Christianity

Kenya: “Muslim policemen on Saturday (Jan. 19) beat and arrested a Christian man on the outskirts of Nairobi, in retaliation for refusing to recant Christianity,” states one report. “Accompanied by two Muslims of Somali descent who had attacked him previously, the policemen arrived at the home where Hassan (surname withheld for security reasons) lives with his widowed mother, and the officers along with the two others punched, kicked, trampled and struck him with blunt objects…”  According to his mother:

The police arrived and carried Hassan away with blood flowing from his body. My son’s leg is bruised, he has serious chest and back pain, he is unable to walk and some of his teeth were removed.  My family is in danger, where are we going to hide ourselves? I cannot go back to Islam. I am better dying with my family than going back to Islam….I have suffered several persecutions from the Muslims for converting to Christianity….  My stomach is ailing from the attack I suffered few years ago. I cannot stand in an upright position. I and my family have chosen the cause of Christ. No turning back.

Sudan/Egypt:  A January 31 report recounted the persecution experienced by a former Muslim woman turned Christian. Ebtehaj Alsanosi, 42, “had fled to Egypt in 2005 after being jailed five times for her faith in Sudan.”  She eventually married another convert who had also fled Sudan and birthed a daughter.  Her persecutors eventually tracked her down, kidnapping her on the way to market in Egypt:

They called her name, grabbed her, covered her nose and mouth, twisted her hands and sprayed some chemical on her that left her unconscious…They took her to the windowless room in an unknown house where they poured water on her, pulled her hair and tied her hands and legs to a chair, all the while shouting her name. Covering her eyes, they reminded her of her Islamic upbringing in Sudan, and how after her school years she moved with her family to Saudi Arabia. Her Sudanese father, they reminded her, is a sheikh (Islamic teacher) in Saudi Arabia.

“You are disgrace to your Muslim family, you brought shame to the family,” they yelled at her as they beat her. “You are ‘kafira’ [infidel].”  They ordered her to return to her Sudanese family in Saudi Arabia, otherwise, she, her husband, and daughter aged 11 would all be slaughtered.  “I will not go back to Islam—I hate Islam,” she shot back, prompting them to beat her even harder.  One of her abductors then brought “a copy of the Koran and began reciting verses that call for the killing of those who leave Islam”—even as they all shouted “Allahu Akbar”  in between recitals.  “The extremists then untied her, forced her to lie on the floor and ripped her clothes. In spite of her pleas to stop, they raped her in turns.” One of the men said, “This is lesson number one.”  They continued abusing and beating her, asking after each torture session if she was ready to renounce Christ and resubmit to Muhammad, only for her to refuse.  She was eventually struck unconscious, and when she came to, was lying in the middle of a busy street.

A separate January 21 report revealed the sufferings of a Muslim man who also fled from Sudan to Egypt after converting to Christianity.  Osman “left Khartoum in April 2014 after police from Sudan’s Criminal Investigation Department accused him of apostasy, punishable by death in Sudan.”  At one point, “National police arrested him from the streets of Khartoum, covered his eyes with a cloth and took him into secret detention, where they tortured him for three weeks…  He was suspended from the ceiling while agents poured cold water on him, leaving his left hand permanently damaged…”  “[T]hey told me they were going to kill me if I do not return back to Islam,” he explained.  “I fled Sudan for my life after I learned that my life was in danger.”  Before long, however, unknown persons in Cairo began sending him death threats via phone texts.  Most recently, his apartment was raided and his passport stolen, prompting him to go into hiding.   “My life is in great danger as Egypt is becoming an insecure place for me,” Osman was last reported as saying.

Uganda: The story of a mother and daughter who were driven out of their home by their Muslim husband/father after they converted to Christianity appeared in a January 7 report.  According to Adijah, the mother:

All the years that I was a Muslim, I found nothing wrong with it. But last year, when I was listening to a radio program about Jesus, I started thinking about Christianity and why there was so much enmity between Muslims and Christians. I did not know [it then, but it] started my journey to Christianity.  My husband learned that I had accepted Christ when he found a Bible in the house. I pleaded with him to allow me to try out my new faith and see how far I would go, but he was reluctant. Within days, he became hostile towards me and Nuriah [the daughter] who had also started reading the Bible. I was given a one-week ultimatum to decide if I wanted to become a non-Muslim and follow the lost religion of Christianity.

Knowledge of her apostasy from Islam eventually spread throughout the region and extended family and others urged her husband to drive her out: “You are an infidel,” he eventually burst out.  “I do not want to see you here. Pick your clothes and leave with Nuriah because she has also started reading the Bible and singing Christian hymns. See the shame and destruction you have brought to us. Nuriah used to be a good Muslim, but now she hides and goes with you to church.”

The following day before we left [continues Adijah], he had uprooted all the cassava crops I had planted. Shouting at the top of his voice, he threatened to take back everything that he had put under my name so that I will not inherit any property from him. He said these were the dire consequences of forsaking Allah and his prophet and following after other gods.

According to his daughter, Nuriah, “I am ready to become a Christian, but my father might look for me and beat me. I still love my father but he doesn’t want us to worship the way we want. He should not force us into Islam. One of our relatives has informed us that my father is looking for ways to kill us.”  He has since remarried. “I hear that he has looked for a Muslim lady and they are staying together in the same house we used to live,” said his ex-wife. “We live in fear because we don’t know what he is planning to do to us.”   The destitute mother and daughter have experienced much  poverty and turmoil since, and were last reported as taking refuge with a Christian family in another part of the nation.

Separately in Uganda, a former Muslim turned Christian lives in fear for his life after local Muslims razed the church he led to the ground and threatened him with death for apostatizing and causing other Muslims to apostatize from Islam.    “A gang of radical Muslims entered the church compound,” Simon Mustafa Waseke, who became Christian in 2017, recalled, “and pulled down the church building while shouting ‘Allah Akbar [Allah is greater], away with this church and Pastor Mustafa Waseke. No more prayers in this place, or else you will all lose your lives,’ and in no time the church was on its ground.”  A clandestine Christian in touch with the Muslim community informed him that they are plotting his murder:  “Even if am given police protection, I am not sure of the security of my members of the church, who are now very fearful.  I am at a crossroads of not knowing what to do. My church members are scattered like sheep without a shepherd. Soon their faith in Christ will diminish, and they will possibly return to Islam…. The Muslims are now out to kill me and my family—we are having sleepless nights.  How long are we going to hide ourselves from our enemies of Christianity? Please pray for us.”

Pro-Muslim and Anti-Christian Bias in the West

United Kingdom: A Christian man who had been residing in the UK for 15 years was in early January deported back to Pakistan, even though he had been persecuted there.  Asher Samson, 41, “first arrived in the UK in 2004 to carry out his theology training in order to become a pastor, but later applied for asylum after receiving threats from Islamic extremists during visits home,” notes a report. His former pastor, Rev Lorraine Shorton from Hall Green United Community Church, described his current situation:  “I’ve received some messages from him. He’s very scared, he’s fearful for his life….  He’s in hiding in Pakistan and his family are terribly worried for him….  At the moment he has no funds to live on—he can’t work …. [T]he UK is sending people back to these countries where their lives are in danger. Pakistan is number five on the World Watch List for extremism against Christians and it’s just disgraceful really that we’re sending people potentially to their death…. Pray that the government will see sense.”

Another separate report from January 20 asserts that, when it comes to offering asylum, the UK “appears to discriminate in favour of Muslims” instead of Christian minorities from Muslim nations. Statistics confirm this allegation:  “out of 4,850 Syrian refugees accepted for resettlement by the Home Office in 2017, only eleven were Christian, representing just 0.2% of all Syrian refugees accepted by the UK.”

New Zealand:  Of those foreign nationals offered asylum between October 31, 2017 and October 31, 2018, seven were from Iraq, 105 from Afghanistan, and 277 from Syria—yet all were Muslims a report found: “Figures for previous years … are equally bleak. In 2016, only six Christians were among the 377 Syrians granted sanctuary, and in the five weeks up to 10 February 2017 no Christians were among the 45 Syrians, all Muslims, who were allowed to settle. Christians made up 10% of the population of Syria before the war.”  Responding to this disparity, a government spokesman said refugees were considered for resettlement on the basis of “their protection needs and not religious affiliation.”  However, considering that the Islamic State regularly targets people based on their “religious affiliation” suggests that Christians, Yazidis, and other minorities have many more “protection needs” than Muslims.

Raymond Ibrahim, author of the new book, Sword and Scimitar, Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute and a Judith Rosen Friedman Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

About this Series

The persecution of Christians in the Islamic world has become endemic.  Accordingly, “Muslim Persecution of Christians” was developed to collate some—by no means all—of the instances of persecution that surface each month. It serves two purposes:

1)          To document that which the mainstream media does not: the habitual, if not chronic, persecution of Christians.

2)          To show that such persecution is not “random,” but systematic and interrelated—that it is rooted in a worldview inspired by Islamic Sharia.

Accordingly, whatever the anecdote of persecution, it typically fits under a specific theme, including hatred for churches and other Christian symbols; apostasy, blasphemy, and proselytism laws that criminalize and sometimes punish with death those who “offend” Islam; sexual abuse of Christian women; forced conversions to Islam;  theft and plunder in lieu of jizya (financial tribute expected from non-Muslims); overall expectations for Christians to behave like cowed dhimmis, or third-class, “tolerated” citizens; and simple violence and murder. Sometimes it is a combination thereof.

Because these accounts of persecution span different ethnicities, languages, and locales—from Morocco in the West, to Indonesia in the East—it should be clear that one thing alone binds them: Islam—whether the strict application of Islamic Sharia law, or the supremacist culture born of it. (Click to Source)

 
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Photos: Typhoon Mangkhut ravages Philippines, Hong Kong, and southern China

Dozens were killed, many in a deadly landslide in the Philippines.

The aftermath of Typhoon Mangkhut in Alcala, Philippines on September 15, 2018.
Jes Aznar/Getty Images

Typhoon Mangkhut made its deadly march across the Philippines, Hong Kong, and southern China over the weekend, unleashing flooding, dangerous winds, and landslides, and killing dozens.

Mangkhut was the world’s most powerful storm this year so far, according to meteorologists, reaching sustained winds as high as 170 miles per hour — about the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane — and spanning as wide as 550 miles. (Hurricanes and typhoons are both tropical cyclones, but called different names based on the regions where they form; hurricanes exist in the Atlantic or northeastern Pacific, and typhoons originate in the northwest Pacific.)

The typhoon slammed into the region around the same time Hurricane Florence was battering the Carolinas. Florence was a Category 2 storm (winds between 96 and 110 miles per hour) when it made landfall — though the slow-moving storm and its relentless rains created different hazards.

Here are some scenes of Mangkhut’s devastation as it ripped through the region.

The Philippines got hit first — and the hardest

Super Typhoon Mangkhut Batters the Philippines as it Makes Landfall
Debris in Alcala, Philippines.
Jes Aznar/Getty Images

The typhoon slammed into the northern Philippines early Saturday morning, where the death toll stands at 66, though it’s expected to rise. Many were killed by landslides, including more than 34 miners who were buried when a mountain collapsed on a bunkhouse in the remote mining town of Itogon.

Typhoon Mangkhut causes deadly landslide in Philippines.
Rescuers assist people in Itogon, which was hit by a deadly landslide, on September 16, 2018.
Jayjay Landingin/AP

Dozens remain missing, including children who were working at the illegal mining site, Philippines authorities said. The mayor of the town, Victorio Palangdan, said it was likely that those who had not yet been recovered were dead. “I am 99% sure the people there are dead,” he said, according to the Guardian.

Typhoon Mangkhut landslide in Philippines.
The aftermath of landslides in Itogon on September 16, 2018.
Jayjay Landingin/AP

Tens of thousands are said to have been affected by the storm, and the government is still trying to assess the extent of the damage.

Mangkhut was the strongest storm to hit Hong Kong in decades

Hong Kong Sets Highest Storm Alert As Super Typhoon Mangkhut Arrives
The aftermath of Typhoon Mangkhut on September 17, 2018, in Hong Kong.
Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images

After devastating the Philippines, Mangkhut veered toward Hong Kong, making it one of the strongest storms to make landfall there in decades. The storm had weakened, with sustained winds of about 96 miles per hour, but the still-powerful gusts blasted out windows and downed trees, crippling the city and its transportation network.

Hong Kong Sets Highest Storm Alert As Super Typhoon Mangkhut Arrives
Hong Kong after Mangkhut on September 17, 2018.
Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images

Storm surge threatened the coastal areas, and reached as high as 11 feet — which broke a more than century-old record, according to the BBC. The seaside town of Heng Fa Chuen was particularly hard-hit, with rapid flooding and wind damage.

Tiffany May@NYtmay

Residents held hands and helped each other cross the flooded streets. “Heng Fa Chuen has become a reservoir,” a longtime resident said in dismay. #Mangkhut #HongKong#HengFaChuen

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Hundreds of people were injured, though authorities said no one had been killed.

China deals with a weakened Mangkhut

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

People’s Daily,China

@PDChina

Super Typhoon #Mangkhut landed at 5 p.m. (Beijing time) Sun on the coast of Jiangmen, S China’s Guangdong, packing winds up to 162 km/h (101 mph); it also slammed China’s Hong Kong on Sun with strong winds and heavy rain, leaving 213 people injured.

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Mangkhut arrived in China late Sunday into early Monday morning, killing at least four people and forcing millions to evacuate from the province of Guangdong and other coastal areas.

Macau, the autonomous region also in its path, was forced to shut down its casinos, as the area was inundated with flood waters.

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SCMP News

@SCMPNews

Replying to @SCMPNews

Typhoon #Mangkhut: Major roads near #Macau‘s Inner Harbour are severely flooded http://buff.ly/2My3zdc #TyphoonMangkhut

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The storm was downgraded to a tropical depression on Monday afternoon as it moved west from Guangdong, on the southern coast of mainland China. (Click to Source)

 

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Philippines’ Duterte vows to resign if anybody can prove God exists

Jul 7, 2018

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. (Romans 1: 28-32King James Version (KJV) Public Domain

The Philippine president, who recently sparked outrage for calling God stupid, has courted new controversy in his largely Roman Catholic country by saying he will resign if anybody can prove that God exists.

President Rodrigo Duterte, who has had a thorny relationship with the church, questioned anew in a speech late Friday some of the basic tenets of the Catholic faith, including the concept of original sin, which he said taints even innocent infants and can only be removed through baptism in a church for a fee.

“Where is the logic of God there?” Duterte asked in a speech at the opening of a science and technology event in southern Davao city.

The 73-year-old leader said that if there’s “one single witness” who can prove, perhaps with a picture or a selfie that a human was “able to talk and to see God,” he will immediately resign.

Duterte, however, suggested that there must be a God or a supreme being that prevents billions of stars and celestial bodies from colliding in a frequency that could have long threatened the human race.

Last week, he was slammed, including by some of his political allies, for calling God “stupid” in another speech, with one Catholic bishop calling him a “psychopath.”

Duterte lamented in that speech that Adam and Eve’s sin in Christian theology resulted in all the faithful falling from divine grace.

“Who is this stupid God? This son of a bitch is then really stupid,” he said last week. “You were not involved but now you’re stained with an original sin … What kind of a religion is that? That’s what I can’t accept, very stupid proposition.”

Opposition Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV shot back at Duterte by describing him as “one evil man” and his remarks as “very much consistent with the deceitfulness, heartlessness and ruthlessness of his policies.”

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque has defended his remarks, saying Duterte has the right to express his opinion on religion and cited the president’s previous disclosure that he was once sexually abused by a priest.

Duterte on Friday recalled that experience, when he said he and other students were fondled by a foreign Jesuit priest, who has since died.

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Amid the criticisms, officials have arranged a meeting between Duterte and the head of the largest association of Catholic bishops on Monday. Filipino bishops opened an annual conference in Manila Saturday and were expected to address Duterte’s tirades when they conclude their meeting on Monday.

Some Catholic bishops have been critical of Duterte’s brutal crackdown against illegal drugs, which have left thousands of suspects dead in reported clashes with the police, along with his vulgar and expletives-laden speeches. He once called Pope Francis a “son of a bitch” for sparking a monstrous traffic during a 2015 visit in Manila that trapped Duterte for hours. (Click to Source)

 
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Pharma Co Has License Suspended As Vaccine Blamed For Sterilization Of 500,000 Women And Children

vaccine-closeup-web

By Matt Agorist

A state-sponsored forced sterilization on a massive scale has allegedly taken place in Africa according to opposition leaders and the public who are railing against the government. An industrial pharmaceutical laboratory has since had its license suspended by the Kenya Accreditation Service as a result of the controversy.

Kenya’s opposition leader Raila Odinga—who swore himself in as president on Tuesday—claimed that at least 500,000 young girls and women may be infertile, following a tetanus vaccine administered by the government in 2014 and 2015.

The controversy began coming to a head in 2016 when Agriq-Quest Ltd, a Nairobi-based pharmaceutical company got in a dispute with Kenya’s Ministry of Health over their tetanus and polio vaccinations. A group of Catholic doctors originally made the accusations claiming that the vaccines may contain a hormone that is dangerous to young women and can cause potential sterilization.

As the Agence de Presse Africaine reported:

Odinga said girls and women aged between 14 and 49 from the fastest growing populations in the country will not have children, because of a state-sponsored sterilization exercise that was sold to the country as a tetanus vaccination.

The Catholic Church was ignored when it mounted a strong but lonely campaign against the mass tetanus vaccination, after it raised concerns about the safety of the vaccine that was being used, he said.

At the time, the Catholic Church in Kenya claimed that the tetanus vaccine used by the government of Kenya and UN agencies was contaminated with a hormone (hCG) that can cause miscarriages and render some women sterile.

“The Church’s position was informed by what had happened in Mexico, Nicaragua and Philippines, where the various governments together with WHO/UNICEF had conducted similar campaigns using tetanus toxoid impregnated with beta human chorionic gonadotropin (BhCG) that causes permanent infertility among girls and women,” Odinga continued.

Odinga says they confirmed through analysis of samples that the vaccines used were tainted with the hormone.

“Today, we can confirm to the country that the Catholic Church was right. Hundreds of thousands of our girls and women, aged between 14 and 49, from the fastest growing populations in the country will not have children, because of the state-sponsored sterilization that was sold to the country as tetanus vaccination,” he declared.

After Agriq-Quest’s license was suspended, the company pointed the finger at the government. They claimed that the government’s decision to suspend their license was due to the fact that Agriq-Quest refused to doctor the tests for them.

According to Business Daily Africa, when Agriq-Quest conducted the tests on the vaccines, they found the Catholic Church’s suspicions to be correct.

As BDA reported, “The company’s results from tests carried out on the vials showed that the samples of the vaccines were contaminated as had been claimed by the Catholic Church and Agriq-Quest claimed the government wanted the results altered to show that they were fit to be administered to women and children.”

According to Odinga, as reported by APA, the government, for some mysterious reason, was hell-bent on misleading the country, while intentionally sterilizing Kenyan girls and women.

“The vaccines were a great crime committed against women. Women should choose when to have children and how to space them,” he said.

It is important to point out that the belief that tetanus vaccinations sterilizing citizens has been a long time controversy in Kenya and has been disproven prior to these claims.

Also, after the discussion came to a head, in spite of claims of tests showing contamination, UNICEF and the World Health Organization later said that the vaccines were safe and procured from a pre-qualified manufacturer.

However, according to Odinga, they accessed the analysis from four highly-regarded institutions, such as Agriq Quest Ltd, the Nairobi Hospital Laboratories, the University of Nairobi and Lancet Kenya.

“These results all indicate that the Tetanus Toxoid Vaccine had high contents of beta human chorionic gonadotropin hormone (BhCG) that causes sterility in women.” (Click to Source)

Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor at Large at the Free Thought Project, where this article first appeared.  Follow @MattAgorist on Twitter, Steemit, and now on Facebook.

India takes fight to China via SEAsia

Association of Southeast Asian Nations and India’s newly announced ‘Delhi Declaration’ puts maritime security at the forefront of relations

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In what has been described as “the most significant exposition of its ‘Act East’ policy,” India invited Southeast Asian heads of state as its chief guests during its recent 69th Republic Day parade.

The Commemorative Summit, held on January 25 and themed “Shared values, Common Destiny”, arguably marked the arrival of India as a major force in the broader Indo-Pacific theater.

The event was held against the backdrop of a revived and still emerging India, United States, Japan and Australia “quadrilateral” strategic arrangement aimed at counterbalancing China’s ambitions in the region.

Under its “Act East” policy, previously known as “Look East”, India has recently doubled down on its trade, investment and strategic relations with East and Southeast Asia, home to some of the world’s most dynamic economies and source of the natural resources, technology and markets needed to fuel its own fast growth.

The rise of China and perceived threats to India’s interests has reinforced New Delhi’s hopes of deepening its cooperation with key regional actors, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) and Indian Vice President Venkaiah Naidu (C, in black) with other ASEAN head of states arrive to attend the "At Home" reception at the Rashtrapati Bhavan presidential palace after the Republic Day parade in New Delhi, India, January 26, 2018. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

Certain Southeast Asian countries have gradually come to embrace India as a major trading partner and a potential counterbalancing force for stability in the region. China’s rising assertiveness, including in the contested South China Sea, served as backdrop for the recent India-hosted summit.

The pageantry of the summit, which saw the attendance of 11 heads of state and government, underlined the diplomatic uptrend. Both sides celebrated 25 years of dialogue partnership, 15 years of summit level interaction, and five years of strategic partnership.

The event was attended by all Southeast Asian leaders, including those with the hottest claims vis-a-vis China in the South China Sea, namely Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc. Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, this year’s Asean rotating chairman, was also in attendance.

As expected, trade and maritime security issues dominated the agenda. At the same time, India’s business-oriented and nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi deftly leveraged the event to project himself as a global and regional statesman.

The economic stakes are high. Over the past year, India’s trade with Asean expanded by 10%, rising from US$65.1 billion to US$71.6 billion. While a positive uptrend, the numbers still pale in comparison to China’s US$452.31 billion in trade with Asean countries in 2016.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte shakes hands with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a photo opportunity ahead of their meeting at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India, January 24, 2018. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton

The Modi administration is intent on expanding trade and investment relations with booming Southeast Asia, which is moving towards greater economic integration with the hope of creating a common market within a decade.

India is also interested in engaging and influencing the direction of negotiations of Asean-led initiatives, namely the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) free trade agreement.

The Indian leader also sought to enhance into underdeveloped bilateral relations across Southeast Asia. In particular, Modi held cordial exchanges with Filipino leader Duterte, who likewise called for deeper economic ties between the two countries.

The Philippines and India discussed US$1.25 billion worth of bilateral investment pledges, largely in the area of energy, transportation, pharmaceutical industries and information technology which are expected to create as many as 10,000 jobs.

Yet, maritime security issues were also a key theme during the summit, with particular focus on China’s rising naval and territorial assertiveness in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

US aircraft carrier US Nimitz was part of the Malabar naval exercise in July which included vessels from the Indian and Japanese navies The annual exercise in the Indian Ocean is seen as an ongoing effort to maintain security cooperation among the major democracies in south and east Asia.Photo: AFP/US Navy/Cole Schroeder

During his speech before Asean heads of state, Modi identified “humanitarian and disaster relief efforts, security cooperation and freedom of navigation” as key areas for maritime cooperation.

During the “retreat” segment of the summit, the leaders held off-the-record discussions which addressed maritime security issues, according to sources familiar with the talks.

Maritime security issues were highly prominent in the joint India-Asean statement, dubbed as the “Delhi Declaration.” Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to, “maintaining and promoting peace, stability, maritime safety and security, freedom of navigation and overflight in the region, and other lawful uses of the seas.”

They emphasized the necessity for protecting “unimpeded lawful maritime commerce”, while “promot[ing] peaceful resolutions of disputes” in accordance to international law.

In a clear reference to China’s disputes with Southeast Asian claimant states, the declaration also called for “full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of the Parties in the South China Sea (DoC)” as well as “early conclusion of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (CoC).”

 

The summit underlined India’s burgeoning interest in the South China Sea, through which the bulk of India’s trade and energy passes, not to mention major energy investment deals, particularly with Vietnam.

Perturbed by China’s expanding footprint in the Indian Ocean and rising tensions in disputed India-China borderlands in the Himalayas, the Modi administration appears to be taking the fight to China via stronger cooperation with Asean.

Yet, as Indian experts such as Abhijit Singh have warned, it’s important that both sides effectively manage their expectations lest they set themselves up for strategic disappointment.

They note bilateral India-Asean relations are, in many ways, still in their developmental stages, especially when compared to the bloc’s more robust relations with China, Japan and the United States. For instance, both sides are yet to discuss joint naval exercises, nor were there indications of a major boost to bilateral investment deals.

What is clear, however, is that India is emerging as a key strategic partner for Asean at a time several of its leading states are keen to diversify the region’s rising dependence on an increasingly assertive China. Shared concerns over China’s rise are fast becoming the glue which is bringing India and Asean closer and closer together. (Click to Source)

Slaughtered Christians “A Viable Target”?

Muslim Persecution of Christians, March 2017

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  • According to a report in the Christian Post, Christians displaced by Islamic attacks at the hands of Boko Haram terrorists are being denied food and vital assistance at camps run by local Muslim organizations. As many as 1.8 million people in Nigeria are currently facing starvation. “They will give food to the refugees, but if you are a Christian they will not give you food. They will openly tell you that the relief is not for Christians.” — Bishop William Naga, who fled his home in the Borno state, Nigeria.
  • A Pakistani government want-ad for street sweepers states that applicants must be Hindu, Christian or Shia — anyone but the dominant Sunni Muslim population – illustrates the way in which minorities are prevented from earning a living wage.
  • A sophomore at Rollins College in Florida was suspended for challenging a Muslim professor’s assertion that the crucifixion of Jesus never took place, and that his disciples never believed he was God. After the incident, during a Middle East Humanities class, the straight-A student was graded an “F” on a major essay.

The uptick in often lethal persecution of Christians in Muslim regions has caused many Christian leaders to appeal for aid. Canon Andrew White, the prominent minister known as the “Vicar of Baghdad” told Fox News in March, “If there is anything I can tell Americans it is that your fellow brothers and sisters are suffering, they are desperate for help,” he said. “And it is not just a matter of praying for peace. They need a lot – food, resources, clothes, everything. They need everything.”

White also went as far as to say that Christianity in Iraq, where it has been since the times of the apostles, is finished.

As Fox News reported:

“Thirty years ago, there were approximately 1.4 million Christians in Iraq. The number dwindled to around 1 million after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, and a year ago it was estimated that there were less than 250,000 left. Numbers have continued to decline as families flee, and today even approximate figures are difficult to obtain.”

According to a Vatican Radio report, Nigerian Catholic Bishop Joseph Bagobiri responded to “the recent atrocities of Fulani [Muslim] Cattle herdsmen…, which resulted in the deaths of thousands of Christians and the destruction of property worth millions of Naira,” by calling on all Christian denominations to implement counter measures against the “systematic elimination of Christianity in the northern part of Nigeria.”

One source said that in one of these assaults, two of the victims “had their eyes plucked out.” A survivor of another said, “The sad thing is that these Fulanis have been attacking our communities, and no one is doing anything about it.”

Commenting on the “horrific attacks” on Coptic Christians in Egypt between December 2016 and March 2017 — during which 40 “innocent children, women and men had their lives brutally and tragically ended for no other reason except that they are Christians” — Coptic Bishop Anba Angaelos of the United Kingdom said the slaughter has “gone largely unnoticed by the international community.” He continued:

“In our fast moving world that is filled with so much news of tragedy, war and death, it is all too easy for atrocities to become ‘incidents,’ and for individuals suffering them to become mere statistics, very quickly pushed aside by the next item of news. In the eyes of the perpetrators they are a viable target, and in the eyes of the world they become a regrettable phenomenon; yet what is actually left behind is traumatized individuals, families and communities that have lost loved ones, living the reality of themselves being targeted.”

report released in early 2017 by Open Doors — a non-denominational mission supporting persecuted Christians in over 60 countries — reveals:

  • “Islamic extremism” remains the dominant force responsible for the persecution of Christians in 40 of the 50 worst nations;
  • Nine out of the 10 worst nations for Christians have a Muslim majority (with North Korea being the only non-Islamic exception);
  • In the 21 (18 of which are Muslim-majority) worst nations for Christians, “100 percent of Christians experience persecution”;
  • 1,329 churches have been attacked, damaged, or destroyed, mostly in Muslim-majority nations;
  • Muslim Somalia is now the second worst nation for Christians, who are executed instantly if their faith is discovered, or even rumored;
  • In Nigeria — where more Christians have been slaughtered by Muslims than possibly in any other nation — the killing of Christians went up by 62 percent;
  • The nation where the most violent and sexual attacks on Christians take place – Muslim-majority Pakistan — rose to the number four spot on the list of the worst countries for Christians.

Accounts of widespread Muslim persecution of Christians to surface in the month of March include, but are not limited to, the following: (Click to Site)