31 October 2014

APN on Islamic terrorism

SYDNEY ISLAMISTS CALL FOR A TOTAL ISLAMIC SOCIETY
More than 200 people packed the headquarters of hard-line Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir in Sydneys west last week to cheer as the groups local head called for the overhaul of Australian society into an Islamic totalitarian state while relying on the nations democratic traditions to achieve that goal. Despite the rallying by such groups, the Australian Imams Council and the nations top Islamic figure, the Grand Mufti, called for the rejection of anti-terror security legislation that would extend laws banning the advocacy of terrorism. We are especially concerned that the new laws will broaden the definition of advocating terrorism to include promote and encourage, as well as counsel and urge, the council said.

(Bob says, "I call this #OneWayReligiousTolerance, where we have to allow their ideas, but they don't allow ours.")

Hizb ut-Tahrir, which is estimated to have as many as one million members worldwide, states as its aim to replace the corrupt society of Western countries so that it is transformed into an Islamic society. The group made headlines recently when spokesman Wassim Doureihi appeared on ABCs Lateline and continually refused to condemn terrorist group Islamic State, despite repeated questioning from host Emma Alberici. Mr Doureihi dodged the question when asked whether he was outraged by images of a seven-year-old Australian boy holding up severed heads like trophies in Iraq or Syria.

At the public lecture, The War to End a Blessed Revolution in reference to the foreign campaign against Islamic State in Syria Hizb ut-Tahrirs Australia head Ismail Alwahwah called for a new world order and said he was willing to sacrifice everything for the groups goals. Underlying the hard-line nature of the group, the audience chanted in unison in response to regular screams of Takfir from an audience member throughout the presentation. Takfir is a highly evocative term used by Muslims accusing other Muslims of apostasy, or being unbelievers, because they hold less radical interpretations of Islam. It is also used against non-Muslims.

Other Muslim groups have been eager to point out Hizb ut-Tahrir is at the radical fringe of the religion and does not represent them. While last week's lecture raised a number of reasonable concerns, such as the deaths of Muslims in the Middle East as the result of foreign actions, Mr Alwahwahs lecture often wandered into rambling territory and much of the logic was counterintuitive. Despite seeking the abolition of democracy and the imposition of a totalitarianism Islamic state in Australia, the group relies on Western democratic concepts and railed against its perceived wind-back of freedoms under the new anti-terror laws.

The group claimed the new laws would restrict rights, and allow computers to be hacked without a warrant and for people to be stopped randomly in the street. Mr Alwahwah said he was open to changing his mind if presented with a convincing argument. However when presented with simple questions, Mr Alwahwah refused to respond. When Non-Muslim audience member Alison Bevege repeatedly asked what the penalty for her as a non-Muslim would be for apostasy under Hizb ut-Tahrir Mr Alwahwah refused to answer directly. Instead he spoke about Muslims killed in the Middle East by foreigners. Many Islamic scholars consider apostasy a crime, with several stating it was punishable with the death penalty.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

For more about Australia/ Islam terror/ ISIS, see today's news here: Killed or martyred?

26 October 2014

Shapiro on terrorism

In the newspaper (The Australian) yesterday we read this report by Ahron Shapiro about Islamic terrorists.

Moral clarity about Islamic State needs zero tolerance of terrorism 

"In Ottawa on Wednesday, a lone gunman rampaged in and around Canada’s parliament, killing a Canadian soldier before being killed. Authorities said he was a convert to Islam, radicalised to commit his act of terrorism.

That day in Jerusalem, a newborn girl was run down and killed in her pram when a vehicle intentionally rammed a crowded tram stop. The Palestinian driver, killed while fleeing, had an extensive ­arrest record for nationalistic violence and familial connections to Hamas. He was glorified on Hamas-affiliated websites as a martyr and a Hamas spokesman said his attack was only “natural”.

In Australia, we looked in horror at a photo of an Australian child in Syria holding a severed head aloft like a hunting trophy, basking in his father’s pride.

This week, a baby-faced jihadist joined Islamic State, the militia responsible in Syria and Iraq for mass executions and beheadings of aid workers and journalists, filmed to shock the civilised world. The AK-47-toting teen taunted Tony Abbott in a video that might have been grimly funny if people weren’t losing their lives daily to such bloodthirsty zealots.

All these disparate incidents are linked by Islamist terror, but when the violence is perpetrated against Israel, there is a widespread tendency in the media to rationalise it, suggesting Israeli policies invited or caused the attacks. This rationalisation is unfair and harmful to Israelis in general and Jews in particular, but lessons learned by Islamist terrorists from this immoral exemption extend far beyond Israel.

Mainstream Islamic groups have rightly distanced themselves from those who they say have misappropriated an Islamic identity while distorting the tenets of the religion, and it is true that extremism, even violent extremism, is not unique to Islam. However, the actions of Hamas and Islamic State are products of the same broad totalitarian ideological movement — Islamism — which draws on elements of Islam and recruits from Muslims around the world. Popular support for militant Islamists often translates into substantive recruitment for Islamist terror groups, targeting civilians to sensationalise their cause.

Recent polls show that Islamic State is more popular overall — not just among Muslims — in some Western states than in most Middle Eastern ones. A poll by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy found just 3 per cent of Egyptians expressed a positive opinion about it, as did 5 per cent of Saudis. In Lebanon, it was less than 1 per cent. Yet in a poll in Aug­ust by ICM Research, 7 per cent of British respondents had a favourable view of the group, as did 16 per cent of French polled — rising to 27 per cent in the 18-24 demographic.

These numbers suggest large percentages of Western Muslims — and some non-Muslims as well — are attracted to the group’s ­violent totalitarian message despite, or because of, all its barbarism, beheadings, terrorism, mass executions, ethnic cleansing and selling women into slavery.

This almost certainly also ­applies to some degree in Australia, as evidenced by the numerous Australians who have travelled to Syria and Iraq to join up, and the positive view of this behaviour ­expressed by some of their peers.
The allure of groups such as Islamic State should be understood as similar to that which drew people to past murderous totalitarian movements and their atrocities — Nazism, fascism, communism, Maoism. All claimed their violence and genocide were a justified self-defence against race, class or external enemies.

It begins with rationalisations that extreme violence is justifiable under the right circumstances, that terrorists are humans and their behaviour is understandable and motivated by injustice.

Once that red line has been crossed, the distance from justification to embracing the violence, and then glorifying it, is short.
There is a way back. We can begin by unblurring the lines, by defining terrorism consistently and ending the corrosive tendency to justifications for it and excuses. Only through a zero-tolerance approach can Western society restore to this growing quagmire the moral clarity it desperately needs."

Ahron Shapiro is a policy analyst at the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council.

“Tolerance becomes a crime when applied to evil.”
              ―Thomas Mann,  The Magic Mountain

23 October 2014

Terrorism: How shall we respond?


We awoke this morning to the news of another apparently terrorist attack in Ottawa, Canada, near the Parliament House and War Memorial. That follows the news from this week of the 17-year-old Bankstown native (pictured) who joined ISIS and is their new poster boy in a unison mob of hostility against all things Western. Forget grease--terrorism is the word.

And it’s a new word in terms of the dictionary, but not in terms of history. Throughout the ages, people have tried to traumatize their enemies and make them cringe at their sight or even the possibility of encounter.

Last night at our OneNewMan gathering in Sydney, we discussed terrorism and how we should respond and how we should live without fear. Or is that possible?

Here were some highlights:
1)   Behind this terrorist attack lurks the one described in the Bible as "the Evil One"—Hasatan, (Satan), the one whose ministry is to steal, kill and destroy. (John 10.10) The devil and the hosts of hell are ultimately behind all terrorist attacks. Paul wrote, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6.12) and "the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God for the tearing down of strongholds...raised up against the knowledge of God." (2 Corinthians 10.4) Therefore we ought to be people of prayer.
2)   Paul the apostle said this:  “in no way alarmed (terrorized) by your opponents — which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God.” (Philippians 1.28) In other words, our not being terrified is a sign of our enemies' destruction or non-salvation.  God's calm in our lives is evidence of our salvation and evidence of their perdition.
3)   King David said in the psalms: “From the end of the earth I call to Thee, when my heart is faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For Thou hast been a refuge for me, a tower of strength against the enemy. Let me dwell in Thy tent forever; let me take refuge in the shelter of Thy wings." (Psalm 61:2-4) So for the believer, when terror comes, our first port-of-call needs to be the shelter of the Almighty and run to Him. Solomon said the same with “The name of the Lord is like a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe.” (Proverbs 19.10) We pray, we hide, we eavesdrop on the plans and words of God. We turn to the Scripture for assurance and life abundant.
4)   “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.” (Psalm 46.1-3). Thus, no matter what troubles there are, in natural circumstances like tsunamis or earthquakes, or whatever the terrorists throw at us, we draw close to God, who is very present and the help in time of all trouble.
5)   Faith is the real and foremost response of a believer. We trust God. That doesn’t mean we will not experience pain or beheading or ebola or other assaults. (‘in time of trouble.’) What it does mean is that no matter what we experience, that God Himself is the One whom we approach and from whom we draw great comfort, no matter what. Mark 11.22 says, “Have faith in God.” Yeshua said, “You believe in God; believe also in me.” (John 14.1) The writer of Hebrews said, “without faith it’s impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11.6)

22 October 2014

Enjoying the moment

I suppose it's a carpe diem thought. It's about living the moment, not capturing it on a video on my phone. I watched this video video and hope you spend 3+ minutes to watch, to listen, to consider, and to be impacted by the movie by Prince Ea, whoever he is.

Then you have to process it, and process how much time, literally you consume or are consumed by what he call (anti-)social networks. I applaud the reality of Facebook and the chance to reconnect in person with real people since I joined back years ago. I found Marva, the lady who prayed with me to receive Yeshua as Lord. I found many members of my high school graduation class and as a result have attended in person the 40th and 45th reunions. I am able to see my kids and grandson and what they (want me to know they)  are doing. And I'm ok with that. It's like a letter but with pictures and comments. And speed.

Did you watch the video yet? Click video

But I understand what the rapper is saying in the video. I am often distracted from real life by having a virtual one. I often say, "If you have a real life, you don't need a virtual one." Apparently I forget that too often and am very grateful for this reminder. And thanks to Laura Barron, my Canadian friend, who posted this on FB so I could be reminded. And so I could write this. And so I could get back to the office or the book I'm reading (too slowly) and make a couple phone calls and ready for the meeting tonight. Real life awaits.

I'm sure my thoughts will continue to swirl on this matter.

Hopefully yours are as well.

Did you watch the video yet? Click video

06 October 2014

Bible Quiz ANSWERS Quiz 2


Bible Quiz #2
By Bob Mendelsohn
October 2014

1)   What is the name of the Egyptian leader in the Bible?  Pharaoh
2)   In the NT, God told Paul that he was to “Take courage; for as you have solemnly witnessed to My cause at ___Jerusalem_____, so you must witness at __Rome_____ also.”
3)   What was Moses’ mother’s name? Yocheved
4)   Name four of the 7 churches in Revelation.  Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea
5)   Which Gospel includes women in the genealogy of Yeshua?  Matthew
6)   What was Amos’ profession before he was a prophet?  Shepherd
7)   What is ‘good medicine’ (Proverbs 17)? Merry (cheerful) heart
8)   Rather than Nineveh as he was told, where did Jonah (try to)go? Tarshish
9)   Who was the father of Gershon, Kohath and Merari?  Levi
10)                  How many priests went into the Holy of Holies each year on Yom Kippur? 1 (Leviticus 16)
11)                  During the seven-year cycle, which is the ‘year of the tithe?’  3rd  (Deut. 26.12)
12)                  In what city was Saul confirmed as king?  Gilgal
13)                  How many kings ruled over undivided Israel?   3 (Saul, David, Solomon)
14)                  Name Saul’s most famous grandson.   Mephibosheth
15)                  Which prophet was Jesus quoting when he spoke of a ‘mother in law being against daughter-in-law’ and a ‘man’s enemies being of his own household?’ For son treats father contemptuously, Daughter rises up against her mother, Daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; A man’s enemies are the men of his own household. (Mic. 7.6)
16)                  What casts out fear? Perfect love  (1 John 4.18)
17)                  How old was Aaron was he began as Israel’s first high priest? 83
18)                  The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but three things in the Holy Spirit…what are they? Righteousness, peace, joy (Romans 14.17)
19)                  Name the two sons of Lot with his daughters.  Ammon, Moab
20)                  What body part is ‘lovely’ of those who bring good news to others?  Feet (Isaiah 52.7)
21)                  Which leader said, “What is truth?” Pontius Pilate (John 18.38)
22)                  How many ‘nations’ were in the land of Canaan when the Jewish people exited Egypt and were told to go in and possess it? 7 “When the LORD your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations--the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, seven nations larger and stronger than you.” (Deut. 7.1)
23)                  Some boast in chariots and some in horses, but we will remember what? The name of the Lord our God (Psalm 20.7)
24)                  Who is known as the Counselor in the NT?  Either God ( Romans 11.34  ) or the Holy Spirit “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper (Counselor), that He may be with you forever.” (John 14.16-17)
25)                   Which king of the Philistines saw Isaac with his wife Rebekah? Abimelech (Genesis 26.8)

04 October 2014

Bible Quiz 2 (October 2014)

Such good response to my last quiz, I thought I'd write a new one, so here you go. See how you do. Remember 4 points each.


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Bible Quiz #2
By Bob Mendelsohn
October 2014

1)   What is the name of the Egyptian leader in the Bible?
2)   In the NT, God told Paul that he was to “Take courage; for as you have solemnly witnessed to My cause at ________, so you must witness at _______ also.”
3)   What was Moses’ mother’s name?
4)   Name four of the 7 churches in Revelation.
5)   Which Gospel includes women in the genealogy of Yeshua?
6)   What was Amos’ profession before he was a prophet?
7)   What is ‘good medicine’ (Proverbs 17)?
8)   Rather than Nineveh as he was told, where did Jonah (try to)go?
9)   Who was the father of Gershon, Kohath and Merari?
10)                  How many priests went into the Holy of Holies each year on Yom Kippur?
11)                  During the seven-year cycle, which is the ‘year of the tithe?’
12)                  In what city was Saul confirmed as king?
13)                  How many kings ruled over undivided Israel?
14)                  Name Saul’s most famous grandson.
15)                  Which prophet was Jesus quoting when he spoke of a ‘mother in law being against daughter-in-law’ and a ‘man’s enemies being of his own household?’
16)                  What casts out fear?
17)                  How old was Aaron was he began as Israel’s first high priest?
18)                  The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but three things in the Holy Spirit…what are they?
19)                  Name the two sons of Lot with his daughters.
20)                  What body part is ‘lovely’ of those who bring good news to others?
21)                  Which leader said, “What is truth?”
22)                  How many ‘nations’ were in the land of Canaan when the Jewish people exited Egypt and were told to go in and possess it?
23)                  Some boast in chariots and some in horses, but we will remember what?
24)                  Who is known as the Counselor in the NT?
25)                  Which king of the Philistines saw Isaac with his wife Rebekah?