Thousands of police officers lined the streets… – Press Association

Thousands of police officers lined the streets of London ahead of the funeral of PC Keith Palmer.

Police Constable Palmer was the officer who, despite being unarmed, attempted to take down the jihadi terrorist Khalid Masood at the gates to the Houses of Parliament in Westminster (London), after Masood had already killed or mortally injured five people and injured 50 more in a ramming attack with an automobile. PC Palmer was stabbed fatally while attempting to subdue the attacker, who was subsequently shot by other, armed, officers.

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Archimandrite Serfim – Our Father Prayer (Aramaic) 2016 – YouTube

The Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic, chanted by Father Serafim Bit-Kharibi and parishioners in Qanda, Georgia. This parish is made up of a group of people of Assyrian descent who belong to the canonical Georgian Orthodox Church.

If Bashar al-Assad is removed as President of Syria, Assyrian Orthodox Christians – those who have not already fled – will be in grave danger. Perhaps I should say, even more grave danger than they are in already, with the spread of ISIS, and other manifestations of militant Islam. The surviving Christian enclaves in the Middle East – the wellspring and original home of Christianity – are increasingly islands in a sea of fire…

 

Coptic Christians, 5 things to know – Aleteia

With the news of the terrible bombing during Divine Liturgy in a Coptic Orthodox church in Cairo, December 11, 2016, attention is being drawn again to the sufferings of Christian brothers and sisters in the Middle East. Who are these Coptic Christians? What do we share with them?

Source: Coptic Christians, 5 things to know – Aleteia

As I have commented here and elsewhere, not only are Coptic Christians a beleaguered and persecuted minority faith, but Copts themselves are a beleaguered and persecuted ethnic minority – the last of the true (ancient) Egyptians: most of those called “Egyptians” today, Copts excluded, are actually Arabic immigrants who entered Egypt in the years (decades, centuries…) following the Islamic invasion and subjugation of the Christian civilization that had grown and flourished there. Copts are the remnants, not only of the early Egyptian Christians, but of the people of the Pharoahs, the last survivors of an ancient and iconic civilization.

For more information on this ancient people, see the linked article.

Sweden will ‘never go back’ to mass immigration, PM says | Daily Mail Online

The Prime Minister of Sweden has vowed his country will ‘never go back’ to recent levels of mass immigration after it emerged the terrorist who killed four people in a truck attack was a failed asylum seeker.

Source: Sweden will ‘never go back’ to mass immigration, PM says | Daily Mail Online

The Stockholm truck-ramming terrorist was a failed asylum seeker? Okay, everyone who’s surprised, raise your hands! *looking around* No one? That’s what I thought.

On the one hand, I’m encouraged to read report of the PM’s remarks. I hope that late is better than never, and I know that some people require a two-by-four across the forehead before they wake up to threats that are right in their face. Yet, I’m afraid this smacks a bit of locking the proverbial barn door after the horse has already been stolen.

Said the Prime Minister:

‘Sweden will never go back to the [mass migration] we had in autumn 2015, never,’ Mr Löfven said yesterday.

‘Everyone who has been denied a permit should return home.

‘This makes me feel enormously frustrated. If you have been denied a visa you are supposed to leave the country.’

“Should”…? “Frustrated”…? “Supposed to”…? Why doesn’t he just say, “C’mon, guys, play fair!”

Far be it from me to tell someone else, let alone another country, what they should do, but I hope Sweden is able to get in touch with its ancestral roots, however belatedly! This is what Sweden needs today, in my opinion – updated with respect to technology, naturally:

(There are plenty of Swedes who feel the same, I know! To them, deepest respect. This is not directed at you, but at the political and media elites, and those who have been brainwashed by them. Sverige evigt!)

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Islam’s Most Eloquent Apostate – WSJ

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, born in Somalia in 1969, is Islam’s most eloquent apostate. She has just published a slim book that seeks to add a new four-letter word—dawa—to the West’s vocabulary. It describes the ceaseless, world-wide ideological campaign waged by Islamists as a complement to jihad. It is, she says, the greatest threat facing the West and “could well bring about the end of the European Union as we know it.” America is far from immune, and her book, “The Challenge of Dawa,” is an explicit attempt to persuade the Trump administration to adopt “a comprehensive anti-dawa strategy before it is too late.”

Source: Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Islam’s Most Eloquent Apostate – WSJ

I am not sure I agree with Ms Hirsi Ali’s belief that Islam is susceptible to reform, although I’d like to think so – I just haven’t seen much that gives me confidence, in that regard. She “believes that Islam can indeed be reformed, that it must be reformed, and that it can be reformed only by Muslims themselves”—which is certainly true, if it’s going to happen at all—and that it must be “by those whom she calls ‘Mecca Muslims.'”

“These,” she says, “are the faithful who prefer the gentler version of Islam that she says was ‘originally promoted by Muhammad’ before 622. That was the year he migrated to Medina and the religion took a militant and unlovely ideological turn.” True, but whether the trend initiated then and promulgated for most of the succeeding nearly 1400 years is, to say the least, open to question. As I say, it’d be nice, but I’m not holding my breath!

However, she says a lot that the West needs to hear! For example:

Ms. Hirsi Ali—now a research fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution (…)—is urging the West to look at Islam with new eyes. She says it must be viewed “not just as a religion, but also as a political ideology.” To regard Islam merely as a faith, “as we would Christianity or Buddhism, is to run the risk of ignoring dawa, the activities carried out by Islamists to keep Muslims energized by a campaign to impose Shariah law on all societies—including countries of the West.”

Dawa, Ms. Hirsi Ali explains, is “conducted right under our noses in Europe, and in America. It aims to convert non-Muslims to political Islam and also to push existing Muslims in a more extreme direction.” The ultimate goal is “to destroy the political institutions of a free society and replace them with Shariah.” It is a “never-ending process,” she says, and then checks herself: “It ends when an Islamic utopia is achieved. Shariah everywhere!”

Ms. Hirsi Ali contends that the West has made a colossal mistake by its obsession with “terror” in the years since 9/11. “In focusing only on acts of violence,” she says, “we’ve ignored the Islamist ideology underlying those acts. By not fighting a war of ideas against political Islam—or ‘Islamism’—and against those who spread that ideology in our midst, we’ve committed a blunder.”

This is precisely what I have been saying for some years, now! If you don’t believe me, perhaps you’ll believe someone who comes “from the inside,” as it were.

“What the Islamists call jihad,” she continues, “is what we call terrorism, and our preoccupation with it is, I think, a form of overconfidence. ‘Terrorism is the way of the weak,’ we tell ourselves, ‘and if we can just take out the leaders and bring down al Qaeda or ISIS, then surely the followers will stop their jihad.’ But we’re wrong. Every time Western leaders take down a particular organization, you see a different one emerge, or the same one take on a different shape. And that’s because we’ve been ignoring dawa.”

I can’t help but be reminded of J.R.R. Tolkien’s words, that “Always after a defeat and a respite, the shadow takes another shape and grows again.” This is why I am not convinced it can be reformed – because I am not convinced that it is not actually evil. To quote Tolkien again, “there have been and still are many Men, warriors and kings, that walk alive under the Sun, and yet are under [the Dark Lord’s] sway.”

I think that Islam “took a militant and unlovely turn” because that is in its nature, its fundamental and existential origin, its essence. I do not believe the god of Islam is the same as the God of Judaism and Christianity, despite its claim to be descended from Abraham. Satan is a master of deceit, after all! But that is a theological question, and I may be wrong. Although the essential nature of Islam matters, and matters deeply, combating its militant and ideological manifestation is a pragmatic issue.

And that is why the warnings that Ms Hirsi Ali provides are so timely and apposite:

America needs to be on full alert against political Islam because “its program is fundamentally incompatible with the U.S. Constitution”—with religious pluralism, the equality of men and women, and other fundamental rights, including the toleration of different sexual orientations. “When we say the Islamists are homophobic,” she observes, “we don’t mean that they don’t like gay marriage. We mean that they want gays put to death.”

Islam the religion, in Ms. Hirsi Ali’s view, is a Trojan horse that conceals Islamism the political movement. Since dawa is, ostensibly, a religious missionary activity, its proponents “enjoy a much greater protection by the law in free societies than Marxists or fascists did in the past.”

Ms. Hirsi Ali is not afraid to call these groups out. Her book names five, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which asserts—and in turn receives in the mainstream media—the status of a moderate Muslim organization. But groups like CAIR, Ms. Hirsi Ali says, “take advantage of the focus on ‘inclusiveness’ by progressive political bodies in democratic societies, and then force these societies to bow to Islamist demands in the name of peaceful coexistence.”

Again, this is exactly what I have been saying! As dire as the situation is, I cannot help feeling at least somewhat vindicated.

Again, I am not in full agreement with everything she has to say – in some respects, she’s still too easy on Islam for me: for example, where she would like to “modernize the ‘communism test’ that still applies to those seeking naturalization,” for example (taqiyya, anyone…? asking questions of someone who has religious permission to lie is of dubious benefit, I fear!), I would prefer to not let any more Muslims into this country at all, unless or until the overall situation is resolved (in terms of reform, or lack thereof, of Islam itself). And watch the ones already here, like the proverbial hawk!

But she says a lot that needs to be heard. Read the article. It’s important.

PETER HITCHENS: Our ‘noble’ cause? Dropping bombs on behalf of Al Qaeda – Mail Online – Peter Hitchens blog

PETER HITCHENS: Now we have definitely moved from being a post-war world to being a pre-war world. Madness and folly are loose again.

Source: PETER HITCHENS: Our ‘noble’ cause? Dropping bombs on behalf of Al Qaeda – Mail Online – Peter Hitchens blog

Hitchens is right on target (no pun intended). If you think it’s great, noble, and humanistic that we bombarded Syria with Tomahawks, and are now making noises about putting together a grand coalition to bring about forcible regime change there, read this, mark, learn, and inwardly digest it. Things are not (as happens all too often) as they may seem.

As I have stated previously, Assad is a dictator, a despot by Western democratic standards – but, he’s also a secular ruler in a part of the world where those are rare, he’s opposed to militant Islam / jihadism, and he protects the rights of women and minority religions, including Christianity (see, inter alia, “Syria and Christianity: Aleppo presents a moral dilemma for Christian leaders).

IF he is intentionally responsible for the chemical dispersal (it was only an “attack” if it was done intentionally, which is by no means certain), that is bad. But even if that is true, we made common cause with JOSEPH STALIN in WW II, for cryin’ out loud! We need to figure out who our real enemies are – who is really gunning for us.

Hint: it’s not Bashar al-Assad!

Palm Sunday bombings kill dozens at Christian churches in Egypt – CNN.com

ISIS claimed responsibility for bombings that killed 36 at two Coptic churches in Egypt on Palm Sunday — brazen strikes against a vulnerable minority on one of the most important days on the Christian calendar.

Source: Palm Sunday bombings kill dozens at Christian churches in Egypt – CNN.com

Horrific! Both because these are multiple attacks on Christian churches during Palm Sunday – one of the holiest days of the Christian year – and because the Copts are not only a beleaguered Christian minority in Egypt, they are a beleaguered minority, period.
 
Copts were the original Egyptians: when you think of the Pharoahs, etc. – the “ancient Egyptians” – you are thinking of the Copts. Most of those called “Egyptians” now are actually the descendants of Arabic Muslim invaders, who attacked and subjugated the Christian civilization of Egypt (and nearly everywhere else in the Middle East) in the late 7th and early 8th centuries, after three or four hundred years of Christianity.
 
One of the churches bombed was St. George’s Church in Tanta; St. George, of course, is patron saint of England (among many other places and things). The other was St. Mark’s Orthodox Cathedral, in Alexandria. Alexandria is one of the historic Five Patriarchates of the early Christian Church (the others being Jerusalem, Antioch, Constantinople, and Rome), and a major center of Christian learning and devotion prior to the Islamic invasion. The head of Egypt’s Coptic Church, Pope Tawadros II, was inside St. Mark’s when the attack occurred; by God’s grace, he was not injured. A second suicide bomber was stopped by police in Alexandria and prevented from following through on his attack.
 
I should not have to post something like this, on a day like this. But those Coptic Christians should not have had to die while attending the sacred liturgy of Palm Sunday, either. These attacks are deeply saddening, and honestly, angering. I cannot help but agree with a friend of mine, who commented: “Christians in two churches slaughtered by ISIS and yet we’re talking about toppling a secular leader who is fighting ISIS. Insane.” Indeed.

Here are some photos of the carnage. Warning: this may be disturbing. It should be.