Truth matters. That's why during the lunch hour at a northern Israeli kibbutz, I skipped a group event to set the record straight about the first few days of my headline-making trip in Israel. It seems that those vilifying it are misinformed.
I've been traveling with people who represent many faiths, ethnicities, ages, and even have friends and relatives whose lifestyles and/or political beliefs are quite different than theirs. And we are witnessing first-hand the reality of Israeli daily life that most Americans cannot comprehend.
Imagine the state of New Jersey, approximately the same size in square miles as Israel, under constant threat of attack by all of North America. Next imagine not only being blamed for being attacked but also having no one come to its aid. That is Israel's situation. more >>
Notable preacher and retired pastor John Piper has recently stated that racism is a "human issue" and cannot be merely divided into a "North-South kind of thing."
The chancellor of Bethlehem College and Seminary recently preached to the congregation of Passion City Church in Atlanta, Georgia.
In a sermon titled "The Plundering of Your Property and the Power of Hope", Piper spoke about the suffering Christians endure for their beliefs and practices. more >>
As the anniversary of 9/11 has once more been observed with solemnity and promises of eternal remembrance, the question of how the West should understand the religion of the terrorists who then and now swear destruction for America remains a disquieting issue.
What has become the stock response – that Islam is a religion of peace – contains, however, a serious flaw. Even Islamic scholars, like Sahar Aziz of Texas A&M, argue that "these terrorists are not related to religion" and that terrorism is instead "a complex political problem." This is echoed in official foreign policy statements, such as the keystone speech on September 10, when President Obama stated that ISIL is not "Islamic" and that "no religion condones the killing of innocents." Other authors take a slightly more balanced view, calling terrorism a "complex problem" in which religion is a "symptom" rather than a cause.
These various explanations center on a premise that religion is not and even cannot be the motivation behind terrorist attacks. However, these arguments appear far less credible when examined in the light of Islamic history, Quranic scripture, and, perhaps most clearly of all, the statements of the terrorists themselves regarding their own actions. The evidence points not only to a logical association between Islamic religious teaching and terrorist violence, but also to a unique relationship between Islam and violent conquest which is not associated with any other religion (as key differences are present, though usually ignored, between past Islamic wars and the Crusades or the European Wars of Religion). While acknowledging the complexity of the problem of terrorism, it is thus essential to question realistically the premise of peace that is currently guiding our foreign policy and which, if not corrected with a more balanced view, may have long-lasting consequences for the West. History provides us with a "two-eyed" perspective. more >>
U.S. officials are considering sending lethal aid such as defensive weapons to the government of Ukraine in its ongoing battle against pro-Russian rebels, as the clashes have been intensifying in recent weeks. The rebels, who are attacking a number of cities in the eastern parts of the country, are looking to build an army of 100,000 fighters.
"Although our focus remains on pursuing a solution through diplomatic means, we are always evaluating other options that will help create space for a negotiated solution to the crisis," said Bernadette Meehan, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council.
Several media outlets, including The New York Times, noted an independent report on Monday that was issued by eight former senior American officials which urges President Barack Obama to send $3 billion in defensive arms and equipment to Ukraine. This aid would include weapons such as anti-armor missiles and armored Humvees. more >>
A Nigerian official is warning that the terrorist group Boko Haram, which aims to establish its Islamic caliphate in Nigeria, plans to conduct a number of large-scale suicide attacks using not only young men, but cattle and other livestock, as well.
Mike Omeri, the coordinator of Nigeria's National Information Centre, announced last week that intelligence reports indicate that Boko Haram, the militant group that killed over 9,000 people and displaced over 1 million in 2014, is planning to carry out suicide attacks on a number of "soft target" public areas like markets, restaurants, and other places where people congregate.
Although most people think of suicide bombers as being extremists who are so devoted to their jihad that they're willing to die for it, Omeri stated that the extremist group is planning on using disguised young men, as well as animals, to carry out their deadly suicide plots. more >>
Good for Michelle Obama! She refused to cover up during a recent snap visit to Saudi Arabia. And our First Lady showed more grit than the entire Obama administration. She is also closer to a correct U.S. posture vis à vis the Mideast.
President Obama has been vigorously pursuing a policy of appeasement in the Mideast for his entire term. He has apparently adopted the view that if we give billions to the "democracy" movements within the Muslim majority lands, and back them up with military force where they happen, however tenuously, to gain control, they will support our efforts to crush the "violent extremists" in their midst. Heaven forbid we call them Islamists or Jihadists. We wouldn't want to offend the overwhelming majority there. White House spokesmen claim, for example, that the Taliban is an armed insurgency, not a terrorist group. (Even though they harbored al Qaeda and are themselves listed as a sponsor of terrorism.)
The Obama administration is not alone in pursuing a wholly erroneous policy toward jihadists. And we do not spare the previous administration from what we hope is justified criticism. It was during the Bush years that Alain Chouet, a former senior member of France's DSGE foreign intelligence service, wrote this: more >>