Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pakistani Christian Men ‘Falsely’ Accused of Blasphemy

ASSIST News Service (ANS) - PO Box 609, Lake Forest, CA 92609-0609 USA
Visit our web site at: -- E-mail:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

By Jawad Mazhar
Special Correspondent for ANS, reporting from Pakistan
RAHWALI, PAKISTAN (ANS) -- Two young Pakistani Christians have been accused of blasphemy, resulting in threats by local Muslims to burn them alive.
The two men, Nasir (aged 20) and Hanif (aged 24) -- known to be best friends in the town of Rahwali, a suburb of Gujranwala -- were implicated in a what is alleged to be a false case of blasphemy under article 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code, according to a report from CLASS (Center for Legal Aid Assistance Settlement) obtained by ANS.
Rev Sharif Allam, a local pastor serving in the Church of Pakistan in Gakhar, about 75 kilometers (an estimated 46 miles) from Lahore, and Mr. Joseph Francis, National Director of CLAAS, told ANS by telephone that both men have been “falsely implicated” in the blasphemy case and have “fled the area in fear of their lives.”
Rev Allam, who helps the Christian community in social, economic, political and legal affairs, said the matter is a “very sensitive issue in the area” and that the Muslim community was “ready to attack local Christians and burn them alive.”
According to Rev. Allam, there are only 30 Christian families living in Rahwali, among more than 300 Muslim residents. Most Christians there, he told ANS, are “poor and illiterate and are used to doing manual labor to meet the needs of their families.”
Nasir is known to have done different kinds of labor, including working with masons and collecting scrap from door-to-door and then selling it to scrap shops. He also worked as hawker, selling different items on the streets.
Hanif, who is also known as Chand, was reported to be a government servant, working for the Pakistan Army as a sweeper at the Rahwali Army Base, which he has been doing for the last eight years.
Nasir's father, William Masih, told CLAAS that the alleged incident of blasphemy took place on October 16, 2010, when Mohammad Baig, a factory night watchman, called Nasir and Hanif late at night and asked them to sell some books to a scrap dealer.
Apparently, Baig told Nasir that he would pay him for selling the books, weighing almost 80 kg. Nasir allegedly asked Hanif to help in taking the books to the scrap shop. In one night, they sold two bags of books to a scrap dealer and one bag to another dealer, and were paid for the books.
In the morning, when one of the scrap dealers saw that the books were actually Islamic Holy books, he came to Nasir, returning the books and demanding his money back. Nasir told him that he had spent money, but he would return it soon. As a result of this conversation, the scrap dealer became angry and started shouting, alleging that Nasir committed blasphemy and had insulted the Islamic/religious Holy books.
Nasir and Hanif then fled from the factory, but the owners and other local Muslims went to the police station to register a blasphemy case against Nasir and Hanif.
When local Muslims learned that Nasir and Hanif had left the area, they become furious and aggressive toward other Christians living in Rahwali.
At about 9:30 p.m. on the evening of October 18, 2010, Mohammad Zahir, a cleric from a local Mosque, along with about 50-60 young Muslims, started shouting at local Christians. Zahir told the Muslims to attack the Christians.

One of the local Christians informed the area police, who were on the scene immediately, and the angry Muslims left the area and did not attack local believers as was threatened.

Local believers were reported to be scared, and unable to sleep that night. Early in the morning of October 19, most of the Christian families fled the area to save the lives of their children and young girls from any harm.
Pastor Allam was informed about the incident and was asked to negotiate with police and the factory owners. He was able to speak to the police, the factory owners and other some influential leaders from the Muslim community, telling them that Nasir and Hanif were innocent and asking them to allow time for police to solve the matter.
The Muslim factory owners demanded that Nasir and Hanif should give an oath in the church about their innocence, and would then forgive them of all charges of blasphemy.
Pastor Sharif Allam immediately called Mr. Joseph Francis of CLASS and informed him about what was going on in the area.
Local Christians, led by Rev. Allam and Mr. Francis, gathered in the church, together with Muslims under the leadership of Mr. Faryad Sethi, who accused Nasir and Hanif of blasphemy. Pastor Allam then instructed all the believers about the oath they were making according to the Old and New Testaments.
ANS learned Mr. Joseph also addressed the public, giving some other examples of incidents of blasphemy, and also educating them about the importance of reconciliation, interfaith peace, love and harmony between the two communities.
Also present were Nasir and Hanif’s parents, who took an oath in the presence of those gathered, stating their sons were illiterate and innocent, had committed the offence unknowingly, and that the two young men were not aware that what they tried to sell were, in fact, some holy books.
Pastor Allam, Mr. Francis, Mr. Sethi and the young men's parents then went to police station to make written statements of compromise through legal procedures.

Jawad Mazhar is a Pakistani journalist specializing in writing about Christian persecution. He was born on November 28, 1976 at Sargodha's village Chak and raised in Sargodha, a city in Pakistan’s Punjab province. He earned his Bachelors Degree from Allama Iqbal Open University majoring in computer sciences and has taught at various educational institutes in his country. He is also involved with “Rays of Development,” an organization working for minority rights in Pakistan. He says, “My aim is to help eradicate Christian persecution through my writing as I bring the plight of these brave people under the spotlight of the whole world.

An evening with the history of Stafford

Last night we attended a buffet reception for the Stafford Coastal Cruising club who were the guests of the deputy mayor in the mayor's parlour, Stafford Civic Centre. We were guests of Katy's sister and brother in law who are yacht owners and club members.

The mayor's sergeant who is his mace bearer and keeper of the regalia showed us round and gave a lecture on the history of Stafford right back to a 8th century hermit. In the year 913 Stafford was fortified by Ethelfleda, Lady of Mercia and daughter of Alfred the Great, becoming the new capital of Mercia . Queen Ethelfleda ruled Mercia from Stafford for five years as Queen of Mercia, after the death of her father and husband. At around this time the county of Staffordshire was formed. King Alfred's son Edward, with the crucial aid of Ethelfleda, finally conquered and Christianised the Vikings who had settled in the east of England.

In 1206, King John granted a Royal Charter which created the Borough of Stafford. The actual charter was on display, a vellum document older than Magna Carta. Two silver maces, originally to protect the civic officers were over 800 years old and had been handled by both our queens, Elizabeth, A magnificent golden mace worth £500,00 was Jacobean dating from the first mayor of the borough. It so impressed James I that he said it should never be laid down and it always stands upright, one of only two royal maces to survive the Commonwealth.

It was though a Commonwealth relic which lead me to regret not having my camera. The metal breastplate Bradshaw, judge at the trial of Charles I is on display. I knew he had an armoured hat but did not know about this armour worn under the judicial robes.

After declaring Charles I guilty as a “Tyrant, Traitor, Murderer, and a public enemy,” Bradshaw did not allow the king any final words. Under English law, a condemned prisoner was no longer alive and therefore did not have the right to speak, and Bradshaw followed this tradition strictly. He was buried with great honours at Westminster Abbey.] On his deathbed Bradshaw said that if called upon to try the King again he would be "the first man in England to do it".

Charles II was restored to his throne in 1660. On 30 January 1661 – the twelfth anniversary of the regicide – the bodies of Bradshaw, Cromwell and Henry Ireton were exhumed and displayed in chains all day on the gallows at Tyburn. At sunset the bodies were beheaded. The bodies were thrown into a common pit and the heads were displayed on pikes on top of Westminster Hall.

Bradshaw said disobedience to tyrants is obedience to God.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

These I have watched

1. The Last King Of Scotland

Forest Whitaker a wonderful performance as the maniac with charm, Amin. The young doctor is rather far fetched. Fiction is meant to be believable. What mission hospital would recruit a man with his sexual mores? He does seem to confirm that the human male does not have an adequate blood supply to engage brain and penis at the same time. The popularity then the horror of Amin's rule is well conveyed, so well that those who watched with me did not find this to be suitable entertainment.

Lance Armstrong (1971- ) -

The truth is, if you asked me to choose between winning the Tour de France and cancer, I would choose cancer. Odd as it sounds, I would rather have the title of cancer survivor than winner of the Tour, because of what it has done for me as a human being, a man, a husband, a son, and a father. - Lance Armstrong

Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever. That surrender, even the smallest act of giving up, stays with me. So when I feel like quitting, I ask myself, which would I rather live with? - Lance Armstrong (It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life)

Without cancer, I never would have won a single Tour de France. Cancer taught me a plan for more purposeful living, and that in turn taught me how to train and to win more purposefully. It taught me that pain has a reason, and that sometimes the experience of losing things — whether health or a car or an old sense of self — has its own value in the scheme of life. Pain and loss are great enhancers.- ibid, As quoted in Forbes Magazine (3 December 2001)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Karen Armstrong (1944- ) -

I had a number of strong religious beliefs but little faith in God.There is a distinction between *belief* in a set of propositions and a *faith* which enables us to put our trust in them. ~Karen Armstrong

Indeed there is a case for arguing that Homo sapiens is also Homo religiosus.... like any other human activity, religion can be abused but it seems to be something that we have always done. It was not tacked on to a primordially secular nature by manipulative kings and priests but was natural to humanity. Indeed, our current secularism is an entirely new experiment, unprecedented in human history. We have yet to see how it will work. It is also true to say that our Western liberal humanism is not something that comes naturally to us; like an appreciation of art and poetry it has to be cultivated. Humanism is itself a religion without god -not all religions, of course, are theistic. ~Karen Armstrong

Karen Armstrong is an apostate formrd nun with a penchant for looking favourably on things Islamic.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Raul Armesto -

The world isn't interested in the storms you encountered, but whether or not you brought in the ship. - Raul Armesto

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Good news for a change.

News is usually the unusual and bad. It is man bites dog, not dog bites man and certainly not man is dog's best friend. But this week we have had our news dominated by a good news story. 33 miners trapped half a mile from the surface in a Chilean copper mine had at first been given up for dead. After 69 days we saw them brought to the surface one by one. I will not forget the emotion shown in the faces of waiting relatives. But it was a pleasant surprise seeing newly freed men first kneeling to give thanks to God for their rescue.

As miners were being pulled from Chile's San Jose mine last Wednesday, most were wearing tan T-shirts over their overalls. The Chilean government told reporters the green overalls were designed to help absorb the sweat as they ascended to the top. But why the miners were wearing a T-shirt over their overalls and with a logo on the T-shirt's left sleeve, 'Jesus'?

This 'Jesus' was the logo from the film of the life of Jesus. Campus Crusade for Christ International was able to send an MP3 audio version of the Jesus film and an MP3 audio version of the New Testament in Spanish down the mine. The Jesus film explains that the New Testament tells how Jesus is laid in a cave tomb after his crucifixion. Three days later, Jesus rose from the dead. In the Jesus film, women come to the tomb and find the stone that blocked the entrance has been rolled away, the cave empty. It is not clear if the miners saw the resurrection story as a parallel for their hoped-for rescue, but miner Jose Henriquez passed along a letter from inside the mine.

'Thank you for this tremendous blessing for my co-workers and me. It will be good for our spiritual edification. I am fine because Christ lives in me. We have prayer services at 12 noon and 6 pm.'

Henriquez said goodbye with Psalm 95:4, which says, 'In His hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to Him.’ A few days later, Henriquez asked for special T-shirts. The T-shirts were a gift from Campus Crusade for Christ Chile. In the front you can read, 'Gracias Senor' – 'Thank you Lord.’ and on the back, Psalm 95:4.

When the mine collapsed, three of the miners -- including HenrĂ­quez -- were active Christians. Since then, two more of them have made professions of faith. The wife of one of the miners who became a Christian since being trapped in the mine has also accepted Christ.

I first read about the T-shirts on Facebook early Friday morning. The story quickly went viral there and I was left wondering why it had nor been picked up in main stream media coverage, There had been 24 hour news coverage on TV but I had heard nothing. I am told that Sky News had referred to the shirts but I had not seen it while I watched their coverage. BBC Radio 5 had covered it but in the early morning hours. Since then I have heard news of discord down the mine and above ground arguments between wives and mistresses. Back to the usual bad news.

What we get in news coverage is what the journalists think we want to watch, hear or read. This is not 'whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable'. Scandal and gossip are all too often what we prefer. The mind set too is secular. Try looking for the faith or religion section on major internet news sites and you will be hard pressed to find much at all. Western news is secular and very selective. In Britain we are not as insular as the news coverage in the USA but African news can be hard to find. The Mumbai killings were all over our news but many more were killed in the Jos riots around the same time and coverage was minimal. One murder in the UK may make the headlines while hundreds killed in Africa are ignored.

Journalists will tell you they try to be fair and objective. You should remember they are there to give you what they think you want.

Verbal Missiles and Belligerent Behavior Can Produce Hellish Consequences

ASSIST News Service (ANS) - PO Box 609, Lake Forest, CA 92609-0609 USA
Visit our web site at: -- E-mail:

Friday, October 22, 2010 By: Norm Nelson
President of Compassion Radio
Special to ASSIST News Service
BAGHDAD, IRAQ (ANS) -- Canon Andrew White is known as “the Bishop of Baghdad.” I first met him in 1999 when I made my initial trip to Iraq and visited St. George’s Church on Haifa Street in a city that was suffering even then.

Andrew, who grew up in Bexley, in the suburbs of south-east London in Kent, England, has been serving St. George’s in the midst of circumstances that, frankly, would drive most clergy out of ministry altogether.
The church has repeatedly experienced damage from bomb attacks in its neighborhood, a few of which have specifically targeted St. George’s. Andrew has had to wear body armor and a helmet while being transported to and from the church building in an armored vehicle with armed guards during significant periods of his war-time tenure at the church.

At one point, all eleven of St. George’s Iraqi church staff were murdered, and only a handful of men were left as part of the congregation because most of them had been driven out of Baghdad (and, in some cases, out of Iraq) by threats made against them.
Andrew, himself, suffers from Multiple Sclerosis, a condition that is apparent at times in his slightly slurred speech. However, never has his speech contained words of hatred, or self-pity, or expressions of a desire for revenge, or bitterness regarding the almost unimaginable circumstances under which he serves. Everyone in the community calls him “abouna,” Arabic for “father.” It is not just an ecclesiastical title. It is a way of addressing him with the love that people feel for him.
What has happened at St. George’s during a near decade of war is that a congregation of 2,000 has gathered out of need and a desire to serve others. Clinics providing various kinds of medical assistance, outreaches providing food for those unable to obtain it for themselves and their families in the violent city, educational programs for children, trauma counseling, a host of other life-sustaining services and, most of all, glorious worship of God are constant characteristics of life in this parish.
At Compassion Radio, we love this church and its pastor deeply. We have repeatedly provided financial aid and prayer support for it. It’s very satisfying to give to a ministry that so clearly reflects the heart and spirit of the living Christ and the good news that He calls His disciples to live out.

But the costs of discipleship in Baghdad are escalating seriously. In the past few days, the British Embassy in Baghdad and Iraqi Intelligence have contacted Canon White and informed him that they have uncovered specific plots to target St. George’s and destroy it. The threats obviously include targeting Andrew as well.
Threats against St. George’s and against Andrew are, of course, not new. But these threats are rooted, at least in part, in the announcement by a Gainesville, Florida pastor some weeks ago that he intended to burn copies of the Koran.
As Andrew puts it in a recent communiquĂ©, “An army Colonel came to see me to announce that this is still linked to the threat of the Florida pastor to burn the Koran. The fact that it did not happen means nothing to the extremists here.”
There is something that we Americans acknowledge from time to time known as “the law of unintended consequences.” Clearly, that law is operating right now in relation to St. George’s. Actually, it’s been in operation in Baghdad and throughout Iraq for a long time. Its horrific effects stem from words and actions thoughtlessly and ignorantly expressed by people who ought to know better . . . people like the Gainesville, Florida pastor who announced his Koran-burning plan.
Did that pastor harbor a desire to trigger an attack on a courageous congregation in Baghdad? I doubt it. I’m not prepared to call him a bad man. I don’t think he is. But he is an unwise man, a foolish man. And his foolishness made public has produced dire unintended consequences for vulnerable brothers and sisters half-way around the globe. I must admit. That makes me angry and breaks my heart.
The Florida pastor is not alone in his foolishness. There is an attitude growing in our country, the United States, infecting even some evangelical Christians, that combines a dangerous mix of hubris and aggressiveness which incites unwarranted violence against innocent people. Though they’re reluctant to speak out publically, these victims quietly wish that we would (to put it bluntly) stifle our rhetoric and restrain our thoughtless behavior. They don’t need us to make their already difficult lives even tougher.

Tough talk sells in America . . . at least with a sizable segment of our population. Tough talk gets attention. It’s often regarded as a sign of courage. It’s even considered patriotic. But, however well the incendiary language may “play” to an American audience, it can be lethal overseas. I recall a prominent American Christian leader who used volatile language to describe Islam a few years ago. He was praised here at home for “telling it like it is.” His domestic popularity quotient soared. But I was in Afghanistan at the time, and his comments sent at-risk Afghan believers into hiding. Their perplexed response to his words was, “Doesn’t he realize that we’re going to pay a price for his remark?”
I truly doubt that he did realize it. But being clueless can bring the hammer down on those in already hazardous situations.
At this moment, thousands of Iraqi believers have been driven from their homes in one of the cradles of Christianity and are subsisting in places like Damascus and Amman. They are refugees because political expediency in the wake of 9-11 trumped a careful consideration of what a war of revenge would do to followers of Jesus in their ancient churches along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. American military leaders promised a campaign of “shock and awe!” Their words voiced an unwise sense of American invincibility. Some might call it arrogance.
That’s how the Iraqi Christian refugees we interviewed in Damascus heard it. The secular government maintained by the brutal Saddam Hussein was far from ideal, but it at least allowed these followers of Jesus to practice their faith securely in their homes and freely in their places of worship. There were no churches targeted for bombings back then.
Quiet conversions to Christ happened. I know. I recorded conversion testimonies for Compassion Radio listeners to hear. I remember a poster in the gift shop at St. Benham’s monastery near Mosul that read, “Iraq for Christ.” I photographed it and praised God for the evangelical spirit that was openly alive in that place. Bibles used to sell briskly at the Baghdad Book Fair. Not anymore.
Today, there is a real possibility that Christianity will be silenced and driven out of what is now officially called, since the war “The Islamic Republic of Iraq.” That’s a hard possibility to consider since Iraq is a place where there are physical remnants of a church building dating back to the second century, and from which, in the eighth century, the first Christian missionaries were sent to China.
Really, now . . . if advancing the gospel and seriously honoring our Christian heritage matter to us, what kind of “victory” have we achieved in Iraq at the cost of closed churches, a muzzled witness and disenfranchised disciples now on the run in foreign capitals? Not much, I would say.
I am not timid about suggesting that we American evangelicals, who for the most part have supported policies that have increased the risks faced by a now much-reduced Christian population in Iraq and complicated the lives of those scattered outside their homeland, owe something to these brothers and sisters in Iraq.
We might begin paying our debt to them by acknowledging that they exist. That seems fundamental, but it is rare in American churches. Then we might pray for them in some systematic way. Interceding for them during the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church on November 14, 2010, would be a good time to start. Then we might seek out information about the dispersion of Iraqi Christian refugees, some of whom have relocated on our own doorsteps.
Compassion Radio has information about them, as do other organizations such as Open Doors USA and Voice of the Martyrs. A further step might be to provide some financial support for them. Again, Compassion Radio can help answer inquiries.
But this is not a pitch for Compassion Radio. It is a plea for an amplified awareness of the Body of Christ, and an active acknowledgement that the Lord of the Church has organically joined us to distant members in Iraq and other global locations. Just as we would speak and act carefully and sensitively concerning anything that affects our own precious children, siblings, spouses and other family members, so we should carefully consider that our words and deeds that have consequences for our spiritual family around the world.
What will happen to Andrew White and St. George’s Church in Baghdad? I don’t know. We do know that, ultimately, the gates of hell will not prevail against Christ’s church. In the meantime, our verbal missiles and belligerent behavior can produce hellish consequences for Iraqi believers. That’s something they do not need. I’m confident that “abouna” White and his amazing congregation would agree.
Norm Nelson is President and host of Compassion Radio, a unique faith-based, boots-on-the-ground activist media ministry based in Lake Forest, California. The program is heard daily across the United States, and in Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East to involve listeners in responsible servant outreach to the neediest people in the toughest places on earth.

Compassion Radio has mobilized its partners to launch and support dozens of Compassion projects, including: restoring schools in Afghanistan; providing shelter and care for abandoned infants in South Africa; supporting “safe houses” for North Korean refugees; funding blindness-curing eye clinics in Ghana; and delivering emergency food and medical provisions in Iraq, Iran, Gaza, the West Bank, Sudan and Sierra Leone.

Grace Personified!

"The glory of His grace." Ephesians 1:6

The glory of grace is its freeness! Grace . . .
fixes upon objects that are most unworthy;
bestows upon them the richest blessings;
raises them to the highest honor;
promises them the greatest happiness;
and all for its own glory.
Nothing can be freer than grace!

The glory of grace is its power! Grace . . .
conquers the stubbornest sinners;
subdues the hardest hearts;
tames the wildest wills;
enlightens the darkest understandings;
breaks off the strongest fetters;
and invariably conquers its objects.
Grace is omnipotent!

The glory of grace is its benevolence! Grace . . .
has delivered, supplied, conducted, supported, and glorified thousands;
brings the inexhaustible fullness of God--to supply the creature's needs;
opens the treasury of heaven--to enrich poor, miserable, and wretched creatures on earth.
gives away all it has--reserving nothing for itself!

Jesus is grace personified! In Him grace is displayed in all its beauty, excellency, and loveliness. "Full of grace." John 1:14

O Jesus! glorify Your free powerful, and benevolent grace in me! -
(James Smith, "The Pastor's Morning Visit")

The grace of God is what distinguishes the truth of Christianity. It is the story of God;s gracious saving initiatives to unworthy rebels.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Hadley Arkes -

The modern liberal will strike a militant posture in defense of rights, but he can no longer explain why that biped who conjugates verbs should be the bearer of rights.- Hadley Arkes, Natural Rights and the Right to Choose - political scientist. In 2010 Arkes, born and raised a Jew, converted to Catholicism, which he described as a fulfillment of his Jewish faith

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Muslims or Mohammedans?

The former is the established present usage. The latter is an old one deemed insulting as Muslims do not worship their prophet.

But why is it that they react more strongly to perceived disrespect for their prophet than their Allah? When we lived in Nigeria, Allah's name was constantly take in vain.

How much?
Ten Naira.
i.e Is it so? Yes it is.

They would not dream of substituting Moh's name.
Why is a mere man so revered?
I think it is because Allah is so transcendent, so remote and other that no personal relationship is possible. Th Sufis do try. But for most Muslims, obeying God is doing what Mohammed did. You look to the Hadith to find what is the tradition - which shoe to but on first, how to clean your teeth etc.

Christians have WWJD but what Jesus did is not necessarily normative. He came to die not to give a comprehensive template for living. So we’re not to ask, “What did Jesus do?” so we could copy what he did. But we’re to ask, “What has Jesus done?” because he has done all for our salvation. The gospel is Christ’s life, suffering, death, resurrection, ascension and session at God’s right hand. There’s nothing in that gospel that we could do.–

But for the Muslim, their prophet's life is the great template. Isult him and they are insulted too.

Of course it has its limits. I do not see Muslims riding to the mosque on a camel. It is a bit like those Christians who reckon they have a Regulative Principle of Worship. The early church had no buildings but they do.

But Muslims really are followers of Mohammed and may be so named I believe. I won't do it because I want to be friendly. I respect them, not their false prophet.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Aristotle (384-322 BC -

A democracy is a government in the hands of men of low birth, no property, and vulgar employments. - Aristotle, Rhetoric, Independency

All men by nature desire to know.-Aristotle

Happiness belongs to the self-sufficient -- Aristotle

How many a dispute could have been deflated into a single paragraph if the disputants had dared to define their terms. -Aristotle (384-322 BC)

Humor is the only test of gravity, and gravity of humor; for a subject which will not bear raillery is suspicious, and a jest which will not bear serious examination is false wit.- Aristotle

If things do not turn out as we wish, we should wish for them as they turn out.-Aristotle

It is easy to fly into a passion--anybody can do that--but to be angry with the right person to the right extent and at the right time with the right object and in the right way--that is not easy, and it is not everyone who can do it. - Aristotle

Man is by nature a political animal.- Aristotle

The bad man is continually at war with, and in opposition to, himself. - Aristotle

The best political community is formed by citizens of the middleclass. -Aristotle

The proof that you know something is that you are able to teach it.-Aristotle (384-322 BC)(Quoted in Jean Guitton's _A Student's Guide to Intellectual Work_ [1951]

The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.-Aristotle

Thinking is sometimes injurious to health. - Aristotle

We can do noble acts without ruling the earth and sea. - Aristotle

We cannot learn without pain. - Aristotle

Wicked men obey from fear, good men, from love.- Aristotle

Wit is educated insolence. Aristotle (284-322 B.C.)

The greatest thing by far is to be a master of metaphor. It is the one thing that cannot be learned from others; and it is also a sign of genius, since a good metaphor implies an intuitive perception of the similarity in dissimilars. -Aristotle, _Poetics_, 22, 1459a 5-7

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A protest too much.

Christian voice protests, about 'SECRET HALAL MEAT SALE'.

'Britain 's biggest supermarket chains are selling halal lamb and chicken without telling unsuspecting shoppers, reported the Mail on Sunday.

The paper had to force an admission out of Sainsbury's, Tesco, Waitrose, and M&S, none of whom tell shoppers whether their lamb is ritually slaughtered, even when a Muslim slaughterman is intoning 'Bismillah Allah-hu-Akbar' (meaning 'In the name of Allah, who is the greatest') over each animal killed.

No beef sold is halal, it seems. But 5% of chicken sold in Tesco is halal as is 35% of the store's UK lamb. None of it is labelled as such. The Co-op is the same. We believe that only Asda and Morrisons clearly label their ritually-slaughtered meat but we were waiting for confirmation as we went to press.

The scandal applies mostly to lamb. 70% of New Zealand lamb sold by British supermarkets is slaughtered according to Muslim law. The reason is that New Zealand supplies a growing Muslim consumer base in the Middle and Far East . It was the New Zealanders who developed the 'pre-stun' method of slaughter, rendering the animal unconscious by electric shock, rather than by a captive-bolt pistol, which is very 'haram' (forbidden).

But none of the New Zealand halal lamb is labelled as such, so consumers do not know that they are buying and eating ritually-slaughtered meat. A growing proportion of meat slaughtered in British abattoirs is also halal, using the same method, and that does not appear to be labelled 'halal' in many stores either.

In their statements, the supermarkets were determined to present the issue as solely one of animal welfare. They appeared oblivious to the religious implications of the Islamic blessing pronounced over each animal killed. But even that could not explain the procrastination, ignorance and/or inability to explain the facts to consumers that the supermarkets displayed.....

There are three issues here, we believe. Firstly, there is the matter of humane killing. A spokesman for one of the supermarkets assured us their over-riding concern was animal welfare. They have gone out of their way to assure the animal rights lobby on that point, although the RSPCA are not yet satisfied.

Secondly is the subject of the Islamic declaration, the shahada, being said by the slaughterman. If the shahada is pronounced, even with pre-stunning, the meat is halal enough to offend those of other faiths.

Thirdly, even if people are not bothered in the slightest by what is said as their Sunday roast faces the butcher's knife, there is the growing problem of Islamic creep. Why are the supermarkets demanding,, or at the very least accepting, that halal lamb in particular be foisted on their customers, 95% of whom are non-Muslim, instead of providing specialist authentic halal products clearly labelled as such in areas where there is a demand? How long will it take at this rate before every slaughterman in the land is a Muslim?

The story illustrates the point made by Stephen Green on BBC1's Sunday Morning programme on 26th September that too many concessions are made to Muslims - and this at a time when Christians face crackdowns and discrimination.'

If God's law to Israel favour slaughter by throat cutting I do not see why Christians should protest.The Apostle said we should raise no questions over meat sold in the market. An idol is nothing as are all false gods. Multiculuralism does favour other religions over the Established one but this IMO is a worthless protest.I am more concerned at the shortage now of butchers selling pork on the London street.

Aristophanes (448BC - 385BC) -

By words the mind is winged. - Aristophanes (448BC - 385BC)Greek dramatist

You cannot teach a crab to walk straight.- Aristophanes

The wise learn many things from their enemies. -Aristophanes, 450-385 BC, Birds, 414 BC

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ludovico Ariosto -

Nature made him, and then broke the mold.-Ludovico Ariosto (1474-1533)_Orlando Furioso_ [1532], Canto X, Stanza 84- Italian poet.

From which comes,

God broke the mould of solid gold which once held Barry John.- Max Boyce

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pietro Aretino (1492-1556) -

Dogma has been the fundamental principle of my religion. . . . Religion, as mere sentiment, is to me a mockery. - Pietro Aretino (1492-1556) _Letter to Agostino Ricchi_ [May 10, 1537] Italian author

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Victory for Pro-Life Protesters as Prosecution Dropped

Two pro-life protesters are celebrating today after hearing that they will not be facing a criminal prosecution for a silent vigil outside an abortion clinic.

The two Christian protesters, Andy Stephenson, 35, and Katherine Sloane, 19, were arrested twice by police in Brighton this summer for standing outside the BPAS clinic in silent protest with a banner showing an early aborted child. The police asked them to take down their banner but on both occasions they were arrested after they refused. Mr Stephenson tried to explain to the police that they had a lawful right to protest. On the second occasion they were held for fourteen hours at Brighton police station and questioned under caution. Today they heard that the threatened criminal prosecution against them had been dropped.

Mr. Stephenson said: “We are very pleased that the right decision has been made. We have to ask why we were held in a police station for fourteen hours and why our banners were confiscated. We will continue to campaign to highlight the dangers of abortion and the killings that happen at these clinics.”

Andrea Minichiello Williams, director of the Christian Legal Centre, said: "We are really pleased that common sense has prevailed after pressure was brought to bear. Thank you to all of you who supported and prayed for us. It is not appropriate to silence and to censor those who speak out against abortion. The freedom to engage and provoke public debate on this matter of life and death must continue to be safeguarded."

Both Mr Stephenson and Miss Sloane are supported by the Christian Legal Centre.

Friday, October 15, 2010

CLC seeks to intervene as Islamic Fundamentalists granted Judicial Review of Home Secretary's Decision to Stop Hate Preacher entering the UK

Islamic fundamentalists have gone to the High Court in an attempt to over-turn the Home Secretary's decision to ban 'hate preacher' Dr Zakir Naik from entering the UK. The case has been fast tracked and Dr Naik’s two day hearing starts on 20 October 2010.

The case, which so far has been kept out of the public spotlight, has been revealed after a Christian minister, Reverend Mahboob Masih, made a legal application to the court to support the Government's position. Rev. Masih was sacked from his job as a radio host in 2008 for allegedly offending Muslims after allowing a Christian apologist to defend Christianity during a radio discussion on Dr Naik’s preaching.

Revd Masih's papers, lodged with the Court, state that "In my view and in the light of my experience of work in the Asian community in Britain, he should be completely barred from all western capitals until he has moderated his uncivilised behaviour, his distorted views on Western life and cultural values and ended his inflammatory oratory style."

Dr Naik decided to seek this judicial review after the Government's decision last summer to ban him from entering the UK days before he was due to arrive here on a preaching tour. Home Secretary Theresa May banned him on the grounds that his presence "would not be conducive to the public good" after Dr Naik claimed that "every Muslim should be a terrorist" and, regarding Osama bin Laden, "if he is fighting the enemies of Islam, I am for him".

Andrea Minichiello Williams, Director of the Christian Legal Centre, which has been advising Revd Masih, warned: "Dr Naik’s views are extreme and inflammatory, and we do not think they should go unchecked. Being allowed into this country is a privilege and we should not allow extremism to be encouraged in the UK. We fully support the actions of Revd Masih."

Revd Masih's case is being brought by the Christian Legal Centre, who have hired the religious and human rights barrister Paul Diamond.

We value your prayer support at this time.

Andrea Minichiello Williams
020 7935 1488
Christian Legal Centre

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) -

The chief reason warfare is still with us is neither a secret death-wish of the human species, nor an irrepressible instinct of aggression, nor, finally and more plausibly, the serious economic and social dangers inherent in disarmament, but the simple fact that no substitute for this final arbiter in international affairs has yet appeared on the political scene. -Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) _Crises of the Republic_ [1972], "On Violence" German Jewish political theorist

The hypocrite's crime is that he bears false witness against himself. Hannah Arendt On Revolution [1963]

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Thoughtless for the day

Giles Fraser holds high office in the C of E but his words on Radio 4 this morning were sub-Christian. Topically at Man Booker time he was talking about how difficult it is to write about sex or God. Both are too mysterious.

But God has revealed himself in the person of Jesus Christ and we have four gospel accounts of him. What more revelation do we need except the Spirit to open the word to us. That work seems lacking in Fraser.

Martin C. D'Arcy (1888-1976)

Leave Him [God] out of our explanations, and the life of thought is decapitated... Without God, everything dries up.- Martin C. D'Arcy (1888-1976)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Lessons in British diplomacy: From Nigeria to Sierra Leone

Lessons in British diplomacy: From Nigeria to Sierra Leone
When I lived in Nigeria it was said there were three classes of expatriates. First class was diplomats. In 12 years the only one I met was the American consul in Kaduna who came to me for Hausa lessons. In the my last two years in Jos, with my colleague Garba Adamu, I taught Hausa to expatriates and a few odd southerners who wanted to be at home in the North.

Second class among expatriates were those in commerce. I met the odd tin miner on the Plateau, but I was expatriate third class, a missionary, and we had little social contact with expatriates outside of our church communities.

Reading Craig Murray’s book, The Catholic Orangemen of Togo and other Conflicts I Have Known, one is transported to the world of expatriate first class, the diplomat. It is a fascinating story from of a British diplomat who worked in Nigeria from 1986 for four years. Then in 1998 he became Deputy Head of Africa Department, (Equatorial) for the British Foreign and Commonwealth office when Robin Cook was Foreign Secretary. His story starts with his part in the Arms to Africa affair, a major incident in the Blair government as they sought to stop civil was in Sierra Leone. He exposed the unethical nature of the British supposed ethical foreign policy. The word of a former Guards officer engaged in private security was preferred to his by a parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee enquiry. The government refused to prosecute a mercenary and a diplomat for breaking an arms embargo though they had all the necessary evidence. The author was transferred to become Deputy British High Commissioner in Ghana.

He contrasts the safety of Accra with Lagos where he says he could not stroll round bars and restaurants at night. He is critical of the records of both countries since independence. In Nigeria ‘The entire government machinery can be simply envisaged as a pump, with the flow or resources only going northwards…. Import licensing has overwhelmingly favoured Northerners,.. the Dangotes and the Dantatas .. . those pulling the levers of power have been Northerners, the effect of this has been the funnelling Northwards of many hundreds of billions of dollars of Nigeria’s looted oil wealth.’ He says French intelligence services bribed Abacha, (who he sees as the worst ever Nigerian head of state, to maintain his banning of British Airways after Nigeria was expelled from the Commonwealth. Shell he says bribed Babangida and police and military commanders suppressing dissent on the Niger Delta. In Ghana Murray was to get into trouble for saying that British firms were involved in corruption. He thinks it extends to the top level of New Labour itself.

Murray’s father had been in business in Ghana and Murray shows a real love for the country. He was instrumental in ensuring that Rawlings agreed to stand down when constitutionally obliged to and that elections were free and fair. He exposed the corruption of Rawling’s regime and his wife’s profiting from fraudulent business deals at the expense of British taxpayer. Negotiating a peace deal for Sierra Leone from a hotel in Togo he describes a meeting with rebel leaders where he realises he was the only person present who had not murdered anyone. He also had encounters with lethal green mambas. By contrast I never came across a live poisonous snake in 12 years in Nigeria.

There is an amusing account of the Queen’s state visit to Ghana and the discomfort of the High Commissioner when he did not receive the customary knighthood. Murray always turned down offered honours. We also get insight into the character of Robin Cook and he does not emerge smelling of roses. Murray is very critical of the Blair and Bush administrations. He was subsequently removed form his post as ambassador to Uzbekistan and left the diplomatic service. He is a maverick but a good writer, full of humour. No other sort of author would choose such a non-commercial and eccentric book title. He does explain it. He comes across as a man of professional integrity and ability, honest about his own failings, especially in marital infidelity. Read and enjoy an expose of the misdeeds of New Labour and of African regimes.

Thomas Aquinas (1225 - 1274) -

Abuse does not rule out use. --attributed to Aquinas

Man cannot live without joy; therefore when he is deprived of true spiritual joys it is necessary that he become addicted to carnal pleasures.- Thomas Aquinas

Sorrow can be alleviated by good sleep, a bath and a glass of wine. --Thomas Aquinas

The most hopeful people in the world are the young and the drunk. The first because they have little experience of failure, and the second because they have succeeded in drowning theirs. Thomas Aquinas

Better to illuminate than merely to shine, to deliver to others contemplated truths than merely to contemplate. -Thomas Aquinas

By nature all men are equal in liberty, but not in other endowments. - Thomas Aquinas

Faith has to do with things that are not seen and hope with things that are not at hand. -Thomas Aquinas

If forgers and malefactors are put to death by the secular power, there is much more reason for excommunicating and even putting to death one convicted of heresy.-Thomas Aquinas

Monday, October 11, 2010

Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. 121-180 A. D. -

All is ephemeral,--fame and the famous as well. Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. 121-180 A. D.

How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it. - Marcus Aurelius Antonius (121-180)

Our life is what our thoughts make it.-- Marcus Aurelius (121-180 A.D.)

Remember this,--that there is a proper dignity and proportion to be observed in the performance of every act of life.
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. 121-180 A. D.

Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away.. Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, (121-180), Roman Emperor

Shame on the soul, to falter on the road of life while the body still endures.-- Marcus Aurelius, _Meditations_, 2ndC A. D.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Marie Antoinette -

Courage! I have shown it for years; think you I shall lose it the moment when my sufferings are to end?
Marie Antoinette Queen Consort of France, wife of Louis XVI. 1755-1793 on the way to the guillotine 16 Oct 1793 "Women of Beauty and Heroism"Frank B. Goodric

It is quite certain that in seeing the people who treat us so well despite their own misfortune, we are more obliged than ever to work hard for their happiness. The king seems to understand this truth; as for myself, I know that in my whole life (even if I live for a hundred years) I shall never forget the day of the coronation.-Quoted in Antonia Fraser, Marie Antoinette (2001) [New York: Anchor Books, 2006, ISBN 0307277747], p. 135

I was a queen, and you took away my crown; a wife, and you killed my husband; a mother, and you deprived me of my children. My blood alone remains: take it, but do not make me suffer long. - Marie Antoinette

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Victory for conscientious objection to abortion in Europe

On Thursday 7 October an attack on the right of conscientious objection to abortion was defeated in the Council of Europe. Pro-abortion members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe had submitted a report recommending a crack-down on health workers who refused to be complicit in the provision of abortion.

However, the report was successfully resisted by pro-life members of the assembly and amended so that it became a defence of conscientious objection, affirming the right of doctors to refuse to carry out abortions. Irish Senator Ronan Mullin pointed out that:
the United Nations' Convention on the Rights of the Child recognises the rights of unborn children; and there is no human right to abortion, whereas conscientious objection is a basic principle of human rights.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Thought for the day.

I have previously blogged on the gross imbalance between the religious diversity of this country and the diversity of BBC speakers each morning. Faiths other than Christianity are grossly over represented. The one faith still not represented is the secular, not that it bothers me. But my other beef is with the Christians who do speak. I would change them all except Anne Atkins. I expect no better from the likes of Tom Butler but when one successive mornings I hear two supposed evangelicals give pieces which could have come from any faith or none I am angry. The Bishop of Liverpool and Joel Edwards should be better than this. Talk abut what is distinctively Christian. GRACE is what marks out our one true God. Let's hear it or give us people who can proclaim the gospel.

Antisthenes -

Pay attention to your enemies, for they are the first to discover your mistakes.- Antisthenes (c. 445-c. 365 BC) Greek philosopher, pupil of Socrates.

Thursday, October 07, 2010


Christian Voice E-Alert - 7th October

The Council of Europe is debating today the right of medical staff not to participate in abortions on grounds of conscience.

UK delegate Christine McCafferty (was Calder Valley, Lab) is moving a motion on 'Women's access to lawful medical care: the problem of unregulated use of conscientious objection'.

She is asking member states to 'develop comprehensive and clear regulations that define and regulate conscientious objection with regard to health and medical services, including reproductive health services...' She also wants a complaint mechanism.

You might say the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is just a pompous talking shop with no powers, and you might be right. But it is also a serious part of the 'One-World' movement. It predates the European Union in its present incarnation and as well as supporting the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg it aims 'to create a common democratic and legal area throughout the whole of the continent'. Wow!

The practical effects are that a motion successfully moved would alter the parameters of debate across Europe.

Look how deceitful this fanatical pro-abortionist is. McCafferty talks about 'lawful medical care' instead of abortion. She decides conscience is 'a problem.' She hides the ugly truth behind euphonic words.

PRAY: That McCafferty will have minimal support in the CoE. The resolution that states should provide legal abortion was passed on 16th April 2008 by 102 to 69. To remove the right of conscience would be an even bigger step. A vote is expected at 7pm tonight. Even if you receive this after 7pm, still pray into this subject; the Lord knows you will be praying and as He is outside time I believe He is able to act prior to receiving your prayer!

But how come the CoE UK delegation has 8 Labour, 2 LibDems and only 6 Conservatives and is chaired by John Prescott five months after the General Election in May this year? How come Christine McCafferty is still a member of CoE despite being rejected by the voters of Calder Valley?

WRITE: To your MP. Ask that question. Ask when the UK delegation will be replaced by one representative of the UK Parliament.

Expert barber

I tried a new local barber today. Once again a Greek Cypriot. When it came to the final brandishing of the mrror to show me the back of the neck I said that this was the worst moment. 'Why?' he asked. I said I did not like to see the thinning top. 'Can you see it?' he replied. I could not. He told me the first thing his father taught him was never to show the customer the balding spot. I said his father was a wise man. I am not vain but I do not like the bald spot.

Get it right please!

I am told that grammar is no longer taught. Sloppy English abounds. Here are some pet peeves.

1. Jealous where envy is in view. I am jealous of my reputation. I do not envy yours. Jeolousy guards. Envy covets. God is a jealous God. He never envies. That is Satan's work.

2. Fewer mistakes. Less sloppy English. Fewer is for 10 items only in the basket. Fewer things can be counted. Less can be measured. Fewer bottles with less in some.

3. Full. That's it. It is a superlative. A fuller report will not follow. A more detailed one may be expected. Fuller is a cloth worker only.

4. At the end of the day, meaningless cliches are irritating. In fact all the time. Know what I mean? Like glo'al stops. Estuary English abounds. Am I bovvered? Yes I am.

5. Herforsher. The BBC knows where this is. I only know Hertfordshire.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Conservatives are not the family party

The BBC says,'The government plans to introduce a tax break for married couples before the 2015 election.

The news comes after criticism of the chancellor's plan to axe child benefit for higher rate taxpayers from 2013.

The Tories pledged an annual £150 tax break for basic-rate taxpayers before the election but it had been thought shelved in the coalition agreement.

Treasury sources denied any changes on tax breaks had been made in reaction to the backlash to the child benefit cuts.

Chancellor George Osborne announced on Monday that from 2013 child benefit would be removed from families with at least one parent earning more than about £44,000 a year.

But critics said it would be unfair, because families with two earners, each paid just under the threshold, would still be eligible while those where only one parent works would be hit. '

It was Nigel Lawson who abolished joint taxation of married couples. No more families taxed, only individuals. More forms to fill in and a denial that marriage makes two become one. Now you are better off unmarried and there is no incentive for a wife to stay at home and care for the family.

Stable marriage = stable families = stable society = taxes paid not benefits claimed.
We have secularist politicians who refuse Christian standards. We have endless human rights and few duties. We have inefficiently administered statism. When will someone get a grip?

Monday, October 04, 2010

Books read in October 2010

1. The World Turned Upside Down by Melanie Phillips

The author describes herself as an agnostic Jew. But her thesis is that Western culture is the product of Judaeo-Christian belief which gave rise to its richness, rationality and science. Now our culture has lost its moorings and is departing into the irrational. She questions the science behind environmentalism and shows how dissent from global warming orthodoxy is not tolerated. She sees irrationality in the scientific triumphalism of Dawkins et al whose views are the philosophy of materialism and naturalism not science, Depart from Darwinian orthodoxy and support intelligent design and you are ostracised. Enlightenment rationality unravelled via romanticism into the irrationality and nihilism of post-modernism. She sees a secularised culture has rejected its Christian foundations and the Protestant church has become compromised with this spirit. So a culture has lost its way in a multicultural morass and opened the door to Islam's assault on our freedoms.
She is concerned that there is widespread hatred of Israel and increasing anti-Semitism. She sees the Left and Islam as haters of the Jews and Israel. Hers is an uncompromisng Zionism with no place for any Arab Palestine.

2, The Catholic Orangemen of Togo and other Conflicts I Have Known by Craig Murray

Reading Craig Murray’s book one is transported to the world of expatriate first class, the diplomat. It is a fascinating story from of a British diplomat who worked in Nigeria from 1986 for four years. Then in 1998 he became Deputy Head of Africa Department, (Equatorial) for the British Foreign and Commonwealth office when Robin Cook was Foreign Secretary. His story starts with his part in the Arms to Africa affair, a major incident in the Blair government as they sought to stop civil was in Sierra Leone. He exposed the unethical nature of the British supposed ethical foreign policy. The word of a former Guards officer engaged in private security was preferred to his by a parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee enquiry. The government refused to prosecute a mercenary and a diplomat for breaking an arms embargo though they had all the necessary evidence. The author was transferred to become Deputy British High Commissioner in Ghana.

Murray’s father had been in business in Ghana and Murray shows a real love for the country. He was instrumental in ensuring that Rawlings agreed to stand down when constitutionally obliged to and that elections were free and fair. He exposed the corruption of Rawling’s regime and his wife’s profiting from fraudulent business deals at the expense of British taxpayer. Negotiating a peace deal for Sierra Leone from a hotel in Togo he describes a meeting with rebel leaders where he realises he was the only person present who had not murdered anyone. He also had encounters with lethal green mambas.

There is an amusing account of the Queen’s state visit to Ghana and the discomfort of the High Commissioner when he did not receive the customary knighthood. Murray always turned down offered honours. We also get insight into the character of Robin Cook and he does not emerge smelling of roses. Murray is very critical of the Blair and Bush administrations. He was subsequently removed form his post as ambassador to Uzbekistan and left the diplomatic service. He is a maverick but a good writer, full of humour. No other sort of author would choose such an non-commercial and eccentric book title. He does explain it. He comes across as a man of professional integrity and ability, honest about his own failings, especially in marital infidelity. Read and enjoy an expose of the misdeeds of New Labour and of African regimes

3. Remaking a Broken World by Christopher Ash

This is an excellent survey of redemption history suitable for Christians young and old. Scattering and gathering are the themes but what makes it refreshingly unusual is the church centered perspective so needed in an individualistic age. Ash is easy to read with a gift for good illustrations. Highly recommended.

4. Nomad: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Her Infidel was a cry and laugh sort of a book from Somalia, Saudi, Ethiopia, Kenya and The Netherlands. Now she is in America telling us of her dysfunctional family and love for freedom. The family chapters are very moving showing family love can transcend physical and religious separation. There is the pain of separation caused by her apostasy but also the struggle that Somalis have to adapt to another culture. She has some interesting insights as to why they fail. The failure to handle finances is a tragedy told with humour.

The necessity of immigrants to change and adapt is a core theme. She is an erudite critic of multiculturalism unafraid to say that cultures are not all equal. The West is superior for it is free and is not a culture of violence and oppression like the Somali one she has rejected. She sees Islam which demands submission to an unbending law as a closing of the mind. She believes an Enlightenment education can open Muslim minds as it did hers but she also realises more is needed. For an atheist applauded by the unholy trinity of Dawkins, Hitches and Harris, she makes an astonishing call for Christians to engage in mission to Muslims, believing the Christian ethic of loving service can be an agent of change. She must be unique. an atheist who wants Christians to be missionaries to Muslims.

A moving an though provoking book. At last someone who has not only gives a diagnosis of the problems Islam brings to the West but also some prescriptions to be utilised.

5.We Are a Muslim, Please by Zaiba Malik

The author is a journalist born in Leeds in 1969. She was she says,' born with British citizenship, Pakistani values and a Muslim soul'. She was brought up in Bradford, now as she says, Bradistan. But the book opens with her imprisoned in Bangladesh accused of filming illegally, suspected of being a spy for India. She fearfully but bravely protest that she is not a spy but a Muslim woman and that her torturer interrogators are not good Muslims. Being a good Muslim is really the theme of her book for it ends with a letter to one of the dead 7/7 London bombers, also Yorkshire born, who had a similar upbringing to hers. She protests to him that he will be burning in hell for his evil deed. Islam means peace and suicide is a sin.

I found this book such total contrast to Ayaan Hirsi Ali's books. The Somali author portrays a religion not of peace but of inherent violence and abuse of women. Malik has no such views. Ali is an apostate. Malik appears not to be the pious Muslim her parents were. She does not seem to be an observant practicing believer but she has no criticism of Islam, only of the Islamist whose creed is violent. Hers is not critique of Islam per se bit of jihadist Islamism with its disregard for life in the pursuit of a restored caliphate. I believe hers is the majority view of British Muslims but the frightening thing in the book is the way she shows that those closest to a suicide bomber had no idea he was so radicalised.

One thing she shares with Ali is a passionate love for her family. She describes the tension of being a good Muslim girl, obedient to parents while entering secondary education, where she being the only Pakistani, wanted to fit in. She gives an entertaining portrayal of the family she loved but felt the need to explore the majority culture.

6. Nothing to Envy: Real Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick

The most closed and repressive country is distinguished for uniquely having no Internet access and showing up as a dark patch on night satellite pictures. The electricity is more off than on. This is not a third world country. Is is much worse. Where else does a government so brainwash from birth in an emperor cult crossed with Marxism? They sing they have nothing to envy not merely from indoctrination but because they have no news of the outside world. American and South Koreans are murdering aggressors as the history of the Korean war is rewritten to obliterate their own initial aggression. Here is a country with more informants than the old East Germany. You conform or die of starvation in a prison camp. Here is no egalitarianism. If you blood is tainted with the non-conformity of past generations you will not advance in society. If you are disabled you will not live in the show piece capital, the only place foreigners can visit. This is the society of the big lie, and never bigger than denying its people were starving to death in the nineties; millions of them.

The story starts with the stories of ordinary people in the total big brother society. It is depressing. But then it gets worse with famine and death. Workers are not paid. There is no work anyway. They forage for food. When later someone escapes to China they find that dogs there get rice, the staple diet not seen for years in North Korea. But in the midst of darkness the light of the human spirit can shine unquenchable.

The book follows the lives of ordinary people from conformity to starvation then hidden dissent and defection. The author has visited this hell hole country but the book is pieced together from defectors' testimonies. Any day you feel sorry for yourself, read this book and count your blessings.

Most defectors are women. They are welcomed in China as illegal brides for Chinese males who thanks to the one child policy, outnumber local females. If they can get to S Korea they are after interrogation, welcomed as citizens and give settlement money beyond the dreams of anyone in the North where incomes may be as little as a fiftieth of the South. I was interested to see the major helpers of defectors in China are Korean Christians. The author tells us how her defectors fared in the free South.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Bombs in Abuja

I was shocked and saddened to hear that Nigeria’s 50th Independence Day celebrations had been marred by the fatal bombings in Abuja.

I pray for those who mourn and are injured and trust this horror will not lead to undue anxiety among ordinary people.

As I look back over recent history I see the threat of bombs has grown. In my own family the first I read of bombs is in my grandfather’s diaries. He was a young farm worker in rural Northumberland during the First World War. I was surprised at the number of references to bombing by Zeppelins, the German airships. Grandfather was nowhere near the bombed cities. His concern must have been because this was the first time civilians were being attacked.

By the time of the next war, the family was in North Yorkshire where the flat land of the Vale of Mowbray was well suited to the development of airfields from which our bombers attacked Germany. The first time my parents saw the house in which I was to grow up, there was a Halifax bomber crashed on the green in front of the house. It had returned from Germany damaged by anti-aircraft fire and crashed in the middle of the village. The Royal Canadian Airforce war memorial now marks the spot.

But my first personal experience of bombs was 1974 in Northern Ireland. I was visiting as a missionary in Nigeria taking meetings among Christians there. In Belfast one regularly heard explosions. One night I was preparing to speak in Strabane when someone came into the mission hall and told us not to expect many at the meeting as there was a bomb down the road in a bar.

IRA bombing came to England too. On 3 August 2001 the Real IRA detonated a car bomb containing 45kg of explosives in Ealing Broadway, two miles from where we live. It was one of the last mainland attacks.

More deadly was the 7 July 2005 London bombings, a series of coordinated suicide attacks on London's public transport system during the morning rush hour. I fortunately commute by car.

In 2006 we visited Kabul. Security was even more intense than in Northern Ireland. When we dined out at a restaurant there was a guard with an automatic rifle at the door.

But fear of bombs did not put me off enjoying our holiday with our friends who work in Afghanistan. Nor has it stopped me travelling on the Tube in London.

I believe with the late American President Roosevelt, that there is nothing to fear but fear. Terrorists want us to be afraid. The antidote to fear is a firm belief in the providence of God. He is the one in control of all events. ‘The almighty and everywhere present power of God; whereby, as it were by his hand, he upholds and governs heaven, earth, and all creatures; so that herbs and grass, rain and drought, fruitful and barren years, meat and drink, health and sickness, riches and poverty, yea, and all things come, not by chance, but by his fatherly hand.
’ So says the Heidelberg Catechism. The theologian B B Warfield said, ‘A firm faith in the universal providence of God is the solution of all earthly problems.

God is in control so I am not afraid of bombs when I travel. Instead I worry about little things like missing my flight or losing my luggage.

So my message after the Abuja bombs is, put your faith in the Heavenly Father. Despite the evils of sinful men, He still watches over and keeps His children safe. God bless Nigeria.

Susan B. Anthony -

Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about reform. Those who are really in earnest must be willing to be anything or nothing in the world's estimation, and publicly and privately, in season and out, avow their sympathy with despised and persecuted ideas and their advocates, and bear the consequences.- Susan B. Anthony(1820 - 1906)American civil rights leader

Robert Anthony -

The opposite of bravery is not cowardice, but conformity.-- Robert Anthony

Courage is simply the willingness to be afraid and act anyway. - Robert Anthony

Live as though it were your last day on earth. Some day you will be right. - Robert Anthony

When it becomes more difficult to suffer than to change... you will change. - Robert Anthony

When you blame others, you give up your power to change. -Robert Anthony

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Joseph Anstice -

O Lord! how happy should we be,
If we could leave our cares to Thee,
If we from self could rest;
And feel at heart that One above,
In perfect wisdom, perfect love,
Is working for the best.

For when we kneel and cast our care
Upon our God in humble prayer,
With strengthened souls we rise,
Sure that our Father Who is nigh,
To hear the ravens when they cry,
Will hear His children's cries.

O may these anxious hearts of ours
The lesson learn from birds and flowers,
And learn from self to cease,
Leave all things to our Father's will,
And in His mercy trusting still,
Find in each trial peace!
Joseph Anstice (1808-1836) professor of classical literature in King's College London.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Anselm (1033-1109) -

Credo ut intelligam -Anselm.

0 Lord our God, grant us grace to desire Thee with our whole heart; that, so desiring, we may seek, and seeking find Thee; and so finding Thee may love Thee; and loving Thee, may hate those sins from which Thou hast redeemed us. Anselm (1033-1109)

Archbishop of Canterbury from 1093 to 1109. Called the founder of scholasticism, he is famous as the originator of the ontological argument for the existence of God.