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 >>
Islamic State terrorists reached a new level of atrocity after releasing a video of the captive Jordanian pilot being burned to death on Tuesday.
The terrorist group, known as ISIS, released a video entitled "Healing the Believers' Chests" on Tuesday, which revealed the brutal murder of Moaz al-Kasasbeh, the pilot held captive by ISIS. The 26-year-old pilot is the first foreign serving military soldier (non-Iraqi or Syrian) held captive by ISIS since the U.S.-led international coalition began its aerial campaign against the extremists in September. Furthermore, Kasasbeh is the first victim known to have been burned to death as opposed to being beheaded.
The video, which has been deemed the most appalling footage from ISIS yet, was released just days after ISIS' British Jihadi John brutally murdered Japanese journalist Kenji Goto in a filmed beheading after days of intensive negotiations through intermediaries to save him. 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 >>
Kim Kardashian West and her rap mogul husband Kanye West recently spent some time with Minister Louis Farrakhan Muhammad, the leader of the Nation of Islam.
The Wests were pictured with the minister in a recent photograph posted by 30-year-old Georgia rapper Cyhi The Prynce. According to the rapper born Cydel Young, the Chicago rap mogul and his "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" reality television star wife went to see the minister who engaged in encouraging conversation with them.
"Me YE North and @kimkardashian went to see the Minister @louisfarrakhan and I was honored the words he spoke to us were very encouraging. Then we at some good soup and Ye asked me to rap a verse for him so I had to give him the first verse to #Mandela he said I have a brilliant and deep mind," Cyhi The Prynce captioned an Instagram photograph. "Great experience with his family and Ye's family!!! I came along way from getting kicked out of highschool in the 10th grade lol hey now I might be the most influential person to ever come out my highschool crazy how GOD works!!!#Mr.Redan #Goodmusic #Family #Leaders." more >>
In the summer of 2009, thousands of Iranians took to the streets to protest what was almost certainly a rigged presidential election. The protests were quickly dubbed the "Twitter Revolution," because protestors were able to use the well-known social network to communicate with one another and with the world. TIME magazine said of Twitter at the time:
"What began as a toy for online flirtation is suddenly being put to much more serious uses. After the  election in Iran, cries of protest from supporters of opposition candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi arose in all possible media, but the loudest cries were heard in a medium that didn't even exist the last time Iran had an election."
Eighteen months after the start of the Iranian uprising, millions of Egyptian protestors—many of who communicated with one another through Facebook and other social media platforms—flooded Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo to demand the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak. After 18 days of protests, Mubarak abdicated, Egypt's constitution was suspended and its parliament disbanded. 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 >>