NEW YORK — At age 12, the concerns of most American children usually revolve around schoolyard politics and the awkwardness of becoming a teenager, but for Rifqa Bary, a young girl in Ohio, a life-changing decision to secretly convert to Christianity completely consumed her world and left her living in constant fear.
"I was terrified of my parents finding out, and for four years I hid my faith and my friends were afraid for me," Bary, now 22, told The Christian Post on Wednesday, a day after the release of her new memoir, Hiding in the Light: Why I risked Everything to Leave Islam and Follow Jesus.
When Bary was 8, her family relocated from Sri Lanka, an Island near southeast India to the U.S., and first settled in Ohio. It was two devastating ordeals suffered by Bary that caused her family to flee her homeland and that would, in essence, lead to her leaving Islam for good. more >>
There has been no shortage of outrage directed at the pope for calling the phantom president (serving the 11th year of a four year term) of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, an angel of peace. Coming on the heels of the Vatican recognizing the equally fictitious state of Palestine, whose boundaries are a matter of conjecture, supporters of Israel have felt this was an additional act of betrayal.
But rather than unduly criticize the pope, we might wish to consider the tortured desperation confronting the leader of the Catholic Church as he watches daily reports of the wanton slaughter of Christians by an Islamic fundamentalism that is sweeping across the Middle East.
There is a reformation sweeping the Islamic world, but rather than being directed toward the greater advancement of liberty and tolerance, it has turned toward emulating the most violent and bloodthirsty aspects of Islam's beginnings. Like many revival movements, it requires "the other" (some group to be different) for its own definition of self. more >>
In a May 2014 article entitled, "Can Christianity in the West Endure?" I expressed concerns about the fate of the Christian faith under the stewardship of current and future generations of western believers. I concluded thusly:
"But for Christians lucky enough to live in the free West, we have in large part become complacent and apathetic. Our embrace of relativism and our addiction to material things, coupled with our self-obsession, has dulled our sense of the Transcendent and diminished our faith. We take our freedom and our God for granted. What will it take to rekindle the vision of Christian martyrs past? Would even the rise of a modern day Bloody Mary be enough to shake us from our stupor, or have we reached that fatal point where perpetual diversion and comfort are more important to us than truth? If this is the case, then the Christian heritage preserved in the cathedrals, monuments, and universities of England and Europe may be all that will endure of Christianity in the West."
A recent report from the Pew Research Center confirms my fears. Entitled, The Future of World Religions: Population Growth Projections, 2010-2050: Why Muslims Are Rising Fastest and the Unaffiliated Are Shrinking as a Share of the World's Population, the report forecasts the following: more >>
A detailed Islamic State "secret agent" training manual has been distributed on the Internet and is designed to provide prospective ISIS supporters in Western nations with ways to disguise themselves and their motives when trying to plan and carrying out "lone wolf" attacks and espionage missions.
The 71-page e-book, which was originally published in March and has recently resurfaced on the Internet, includes wide-ranging suggestions for the group's radicalized sympathizers in the West who are looking to make significant contributions to the terror group's jihad, Radio Free Europe reported.
The ebook, which contains 11 chapters, advises extremists in the west not to show any signs that they're devout Muslims so that they do not raise suspicion from national and local law enforcement agencies. more >>
In the ongoing debate (or debacle) concerning free speech/expression and Muslim grievance—most recently on exhibition at Garland, where two "jihadis" opened fire on a "Prophet Muhammad" art contest organized by Pamela Geller—one thing has become clear: the things non-Muslims can do to provoke Islamic violence is limitless and far exceeds cartoons.
Writes Victor Davis Hanson for example:
[Pamela] Geller, and not the jihadists who sought to kill those with whom they disagreed, was supposedly at fault. Her critics could not figure out that radical Muslims object not just to caricatures and cartoons, but to any iconographic representation of Mohammed. Had Geller offered invitations to artists to compete for the most majestic statue of the Prophet, jihadists might still have tried to use violence to stop it. Had she held a beauty pageant for gay Muslims or a public wedding for gay Muslim couples, jihadists would certainly have shown up. Had she offered a contest for the bravest Islamic apostates, jihadists would have galvanized to kill the non-believers. Had she organized a support rally for Israel, jihadists might well have tried to kill the innocent, as they did in Paris when they murderously attacked a kosher market. more >>
In a twist of irony, the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which was attacked by Islamic extremists in January after publishing cartoons of the prophet Muhammad, has reportedly suspended one of its columnists after she received death threats for writing critically about radical Islam.
The French news site Le Monde has reported that Charlie Hebdo journalist Zineb El Rhazoui, who has joint French and Moroccan nationality, was called into a preliminary dismissal hearing last Friday, which allegedly could be the first step in a process that could lead to Rhazoui's firing.
A spokesperson for Charlie Hebdo assured on Friday that the meeting was to remind Rhazoui of her obligations to the paper. However, the 33 year old accused her employer of punishing her for speaking out about the editorial direction the newspaper has gone in since it was victimized by a deadly attack conducted by radical Muslims on Jan. 7, which left 12 employees dead. more >>