MIAMI BEACH — Can the Islamic State, or ISIS, be classified as a "religious movement," or is it a political movement that's only superficially religious? This issue was discussed by two Middle East experts at a recent Faith Angle Forum.
Bernard Haykel noted that many of his colleagues in the social sciences "want to push very hard against the idea that ISIS is a religious movement or that Islam has anything to do with the Islamic State." Social scientists, he added, usually prefer analyses centered on race, class and gender to those centered on religion as an explanatory variable. He also noted that President Barack Obama prefers to not associate ISIS with Islam.
"If you look at the cultural production, the intellectual production, the legal and theological production of ISIS, which is plentiful on the Web, there is no question that this is a movement that's drawing on a very particular strain or trend within the Islamic intellectual history, legal history, theological history," Haykel countered. "It has particular obsessions with certain theological concepts, and, of course, it's presenting itself as an heir to the 'true' version of Islam, which is a kind of projection backwards onto what true Islam was, by people who are living with us today, by moderns." more >>
Days after The Christian Post reported that American pastor Saeed Abedini, who's in an Iranian jail because of his Christian faith, was "viciously beaten" by fellow prisoners, the Rev. Franklin Graham has called on President Obama to help secure his release just as the White House recently worked to free an Egyptian-American Muslim from an Egyptian prison.
"Mr. President, American pastor Saeed Abedini has been imprisoned in Iran for two-and-a-half years, and last week he suffered another severe beating at the hands of inmates," Graham wrote in an open letter posted on his Facebook page, which is followed by more than 1.6 million people.
"His life is continuously threatened not only because he's an American, but also because he's a Christian. This was why he was arrested — and he has been told his only way out is to deny Jesus Christ," added Graham, who leads Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. more >>
The "wars" on poverty, drugs and terrorism have failed. The goals are noble on the surface, but they have been used -- with scant results -- to tax us more, employ more government workers, and expand the power of Washington. All three "wars" have benefitted only one group of people: the D.C. political class. If we had every penny back that we spent on these fake "wars," the country would be better off and there would be no federal deficit.
If you now self-identify as "poor" and "aggrieved," you get money to sit at home.
Recent data from the Senate Budget Committee tells the real story of how out-of-control our supposed "War on Poverty" has become. According to the latest census, about 17 million American families' income falls below the poverty line. Counting all federal and state spending on welfare, food stamps, healthcare, housing, Obamaphones and other hand-outs intended to buy their votes, we spend $61,000 per year on each household under the poverty line. more >>
Real estate mogul and reality TV star Donald Trump became the 12th candidate to jump into the growing pool of 2016 Republican presidential candidates Tuesday when he declared in a 45-minute speech that he wants to be in the White House and promised that he "will be the greatest jobs president God ever created."
"So, ladies and gentlemen, I am officially running for president of the United States, and we are going to make our country great again," Trump told a supportive crowd at the lavish Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York City.
Trump, who declared his net worth to be nearly $9 billion ($8,737,540,000 to be exact), launched withering criticism at both the domestic and foreign policy agenda being pursued by the Obama administration on signature issues such as healthcare, immigration, trade and nuclear weapons. more >>
The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom elected on Thursday as Chairman Robert P. George, the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University. George said that the defending religious freedom around the world is a key element for global security.
"I am honored to again serve as chair of USCIRF and work alongside my fellow commissioners in support of religious freedom and belief abroad," said George, who previously served as USCIRF chairman in 2013 and USCIRF vice–chairman in 2014.
"World events underscore the importance of this fundamental freedom. Religious liberty is an essential human right and a key element in the quest for regional and global security. It deserves a seat at the table with economic and security concerns as the U.S. and other nations conduct their affairs." more >>
President Barack Obama has ordered an additional 450 U.S. troops be deployed to Iraq, but insisted that they will not engage in battle with terror group ISIS. The U.S. has 3,050 forces stationed in the country, but they are focused on training Sunni militias and providing other types of support.
"To improve the capabilities and effectiveness of partners on the ground, the president authorized the deployment of up to 450 additional U.S. military personnel to train, advise and assist Iraqi Security Forces," the White House said in a statement on Wednesday.
Elissa Slotkin, the principal deputy assistant secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, added: "These forces, again, will provide an advisory, training, and support role. They are not conducting offensive ground combat operations." more >>