By David Gardner – “In a square in Nazareth, right below the Basilica of the Annunciation, a Koranic verse warns that ‘whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers’. Yet it is the spectre of losing in the here-and-now that most haunts the dwindling number of adherents to Christianity in the land of its birthplace.
In the hometown of Jesus, where it all began two millennia ago, Christians feel under siege. This fear is not limited to Nazareth or the Holy Land. Across the Arab world, Christians ask whether they are an endangered species: threatened by Islamist radicals; forced by limited opportunities at home to seek new lives abroad; accused of complicity in the schemes of foreign predators; and now menaced by the wave of revolution ripping through the region — which some fear could uncover the submerged hard-wiring of sectarianism.” Read more.
Regardless of what one may think about Terry Jones and him burning the Qur’an as a protest against radical Islamism, something is terribly wrong in America when the Land of the Free begins to deny someone their First Amendment rights by denying freedom of expression and then jailing them. This action says only one thing to would-be Islamists: threaten violence, and you’ll get your way. Ignoring the US Constitution and denying someone their right to peaceful protest sets a dangerous precedent. The question now is, where will this lead?
BY Alan Kurtz – “In a Good Friday showdown, Chief Judge Mark Somers of Michigan’s 19th District Court saved countless lives from Muslim rioters by torching the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Somers, a Methodist, figuratively stood in the doorway of the Islamic Center of America, the continent’s largest mosque, to shield it from a planned protest by Dr. Terry Jones, Qur’an-burning pastor of a charismatic Christian church in Gainesville, Florida.
The [Islamic Center of America], which bills itself as ‘more than a place of worship but an Institution and a beacon for Islam in North America,’ is located in Dearborn, a third of whose 98,000 inhabitants are Muslims. Naturally this attracted Pastor Jones like a bee to honey for a demonstration against jihad, Sharia, and other tenets of radical Islamism.
Although Jones made clear that Qur’an burning was not on his agenda, local authorities balked. After the City of Dearborn denied Jones a permit to protest outside the mosque, he was given the option of demonstrating in a designated ‘free speech zone.’ Failing to understand how free speech can be zoned, Pastor Jones declined and reiterated his intention to peacefully protest at the mosque, permitted or not.
Wayne County prosecutors thereupon sought court-ordered prior restraint, arguing that the threat of violence was too great to allow Jones anywhere near the mosque. Assistant Prosecutor Robert Moran warned that ‘people could die’ should the protest proceed.” Read more.
Meanwhile, Muslims praise Allah while the US Constitution is trampled, a constitution that they themselves will quote and point to when it comes to building mosques throughout the United States (cough, such as the one near Ground Zero, cough):
‘Egypt should take a courageous step for upgrading diplomatic ties with Iran,’ Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi told official news agency IRNA.
Salehi said Cairo should resist the opposition from the United States and Israel, and take an independent decision to bring the two Islamic countries closer together.
Iran has several times said it was ready to resume full diplomatic ties with Cairo, but former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak rejected the overtures for 15 years.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil al-Arabi declared last month a readiness to promote bilateral ties and ‘open a new page with Iran’ in the post-Mubarak era.” Read more.
By George Weigel – “… The Hoover Institution Press at Stanford University recently published a short booklet by Dr. Malik [of the Lebanese American University] that should be required reading for anyone concerned with the fate of ancient Christian communities throughout the Levant, including the Holy Land. Islamism and the Future of the Christians of the Middle East can be read in one sitting. Its brevity is an advantage: a concise mind and an accomplished pen distilling a vast amount of knowledge and experience into 68 pages. Let me try, with far greater brevity, to highlight several of the book’s key points.
1) Middle East Christians today have had two distinct historical experiences. One is an experience of freedom. The other is an experience of being a dhimmi, a second-class citizen existing on the sufferance of the Muslim majority in an Islamic state.
2) 90 percent of Christian Arabs live in conditions of dhimmitude today, including the Copts in Egypt, the Chaldeans and Assyrians in Iraq, and the Greek Orthodox and Melkites in Syria, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority. These are the Christians at greatest risk from Islamism and jihadism.
3) Christians who have been subjugated for generations have, over time, ‘lost all sense of what it meant to experience a life of true liberty.’ Thus they have developed a variety of survival strategies which, having been thoroughly internalized, now seem natural: kowtowing to authority; accepting benefactions from dictators like Saddam Hussein in Iraq or the Assad dynasty in Syria; remaining silent in the face of atrocities committed against Christians by Islamists and other Muslims; blaming the current problems of Christians in the Middle East on that great bugbear, the State of Israel.” Read more.
Lambert-St. Louis International Airport said in a statement Saturday that it will remain closed pending the return of electric power but is working to resume up to 70 percent of airline service by Sunday if power can be returned to Airport facilities.
The airport’s busiest terminal sustained heavy damage from fierce winds that blew out a majority of windows and sections of the concourse roof, Lambert-St. Louis International Airport spokesman Jeff Lea said.” Read more…
Recently more than a dozen dead sharks were found on the north ends of Longboat Key and Anna Maria Island.
‘There were no real indicators of what went wrong with them,’ Dr. Nick Whitney, Staff Scientist for the Center for Shark Research at MOTE Marine Laboratory said. ‘There are no obvious signs of damage from fishing or net damage or anything like that.’
The species of sharks found were bonnetheads, blacknose and sharpnose.” Read more.
“The Solomon Islands, in the south-western Pacific Ocean, were struck by a powerful earthquake in the early hours of the 23 April 2011. The earthquake, which was reported by the United States Geological Survey as having a magnitude of 6.9, occurred offshore, around 50 miles from the town of Kirakira (USGS ‘Magnitude 6.9 Solomon islands’, earthquake.usgs.gov).” Read more.
Richter magnitude 6.0, east of Honshu, Japan
Saturday, April 23, 2011 at 07:12:48 PM
Depth: 38.9 km (24.2 miles)
‘We are experiencing the worst drought we have seen in decades; since the beginning of March, we have buried 54 people who died from the effects of the drought, seven of them today [20 April],’ said Ali Barow, leader of the small town of Guulane, 220km northeast of Mogadishu, the Somali capital.
Barow said Guulane and the surrounding villages of Eil Barwaaqo, Hirka Dheere and Hagarey, with an estimated population of 20,000-25,000, were suffering the effects of a prolonged drought.” Read more.
“Muslims in Abu Qurqas have marked their homes with the statement ‘There is no God but Allah’ and pictures of Ka’ba. This is in preparation for tomorrow’s planned attacks on the homes of all Coptic homes in Abu Qurqas, a day they deemed as ‘Bloody Friday’ This also coincides with Holy Friday for the Coptic Christians.
For several days, the Christians have been under attack although today after the Thursday liturgy there was an eerie calm. Although security forces have prohibited any filming of damages, the video associated with this article was taken without notice by authorities. While there is no violence today, eye witnesses say that there is a large gathering of Muslims in the Mosques in Abu Qurqas. The Copts are worried for tomorrow. Eye witnesses say there is a build up of Muslims from surrounding regions ready and armed for attacks tomorrow. Cars full of weapons have been spotted including one which was intercepted by security forces.” Read more…