Sweden is arguably the most "European" of European countries by virtue of its historically cohesive nationhood ("one big family"), militaristic and socialist legacies, untrammeled immigration, unmatched political correctness, and its supercilious claim to the status of a "moral superpower." These features also make it perhaps the most alien of European countries to an American conservative.
In this context, I offer a summary and paraphrase of my discussion held with two senior members of the permanent bureaucracy in the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) during a recent visit to Stockholm. Our affable but pointed discussion focused on the Middle East, on which we agreed on almost nothing; I might as well have been in Sudan or Syria's MFA.
The following contains the seemingly sober officials' more colorful statements, then my responses. First, we discussed the Iranian nuclear program: more >>
Recent testimony from a former teenage ISIS fighter is providing further insight into the unusual training process that the Islamic State is using to prepare hundreds of children to join the group's military and police ranks. The youth's account also shows how children are being cruelly utilized once they complete the training.
As ISIS has posted much to its social media accounts bragging how it is training the "cubs of the Islamic State," a 15-year-old former jihadi, speaking under the pseudonym of "Yasir," told CNN's Arwa Damon earlier this week that ISIS' training of child fighters requires one month of separation from loved ones, and also includes intense religious indoctrination and deadly military exercises.
Additionally, Yasir's testimony highlights how ISIS is putting child fighters at direct risk of harm once they pass training and join the ranks by forcing them to stand guard while wearing suicide vests. more >>
The Washington National Cathedral hosted it first Muslim prayer service Friday afternoon in an effort to promote interfaith prayer and improved global relations between Muslims and Christians.
There's a new battleground in the war on Christmas – the suburbs of our nation's capital. The school board in Montgomery County, Maryland has decided to appease Muslims families by making the school calendar — religious neutral.
That's bad news for all you Jews and Gentiles out there. As of next year – all Christian and Jewish holidays will be removed from the calendar. That means no more Christmas, no more Easter and no more Yom Kippur.
There's no word on whether the board will remove the Irish from St. Patrick's Day or the love from St. Valentine's Day or the trees from Arbor Day. more >>
In a brief, nationally televised announcement on August 7th regarding the Islamic State, which invaded the multicultural, northern Nineveh Province of Iraq this summer, President Obama observed "these terrorists have been especially barbaric towards religious minorities, including Christian and Yazidis."
The brutal persecution of Iraq's non-Muslim religious groups is part of a human rights atrocity that is as grave as it is overlooked in American foreign policy. The president's eight-and-a-half-minute speech hardly scratched the surface. In fact, what the Islamic State, also called ISIS or ISIL, is undertaking in Iraq, as part of its effort to establish an Islamic caliphate, is a religious cleansing intended to eradicate the entire presence of the country's non-Muslim citizens. Nor is this campaign restricted to Iraq. Similar campaigns are under way in other countries in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. They are being carried out by a multitude of extremist groups and directed against a variety of minorities, although they are directed most commonly and with special zeal against Christian communities that in some cases have coexisted with Muslims for more than a thousand years. Militant groups such as the Islamic State are mostly to blame, but extremist influences have also gained official footing within some governments. In most places where religious oppression of Christians is taking place, Christians and other targeted religious communities find that their governments typically turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to their plight.
In Iraq and Syria, for example, the two-thousand-year-old Christian communities are facing an intense wave of religious persecution that has led to a panicked exodus of their members from the region. Even before this past summer's attack by the Islamic State on the Christian centers of Mosul, Qaraqosh, and all other Nineveh towns, leaders of the Iraqi church reported that one million, or between one-half and two-thirds of their community, have fled the country since 2003. more >>
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat might have converted to Christianity before his death in 2004, suggested Christian writer and speaker RT Kendall, a close friend of his. Kendall revealed that Arafat wept while watching Mel Gibson's epic "The Passion of the Christ" a decade ago, and said that he would not be surprised to see his friend in heaven.
"It wouldn't surprise me to see him in heaven,' Kendall said in an interview with Premier. Christianity magazine. 'I'll tell you why. I prayed with him five times, anointed him with oil, I gave him a [salvation] prayer … I'm not saying I know that he's saved; I'm saying I wouldn't be surprised."
Kendall talked about how he initially met Arafat in 2002 during a visit to Israel and Palestinian territories. During the meeting, which went on for longer than planned, the two discussed the nature of Jesus — whether He died, was resurrected and ascended to heaven, as Christianity teaches, or whether He did not die, as the Quran suggests. more >>