Saturday, April 22, 2017

Post 52--Free Christian Christian Brick Kiln Workers in Pakistan

The topic today is about bonded brick kiln workers in Pakistan who are the virtual slaves of their compatriots.  Read the whole story below; it is heart breaking.  It is also very surprising, for what I hear from Canadian and American Muslim writers is that Islam is all about justice, freedom, equality, democracy, etc. etc. So, I am surprised that Pakistani Muslims get away with oppressing non-Muslims not only but that the world Muslim Ummah is not climbing all over their fellow Muslims for such oppression not only but, perhaps worse from the Muslim point of view, shaming Islam. Muslims are quick to accuse Christians of oppression etc., but what of themselves?  What of this particular case, not even to speak of innumerable cases throughout the Muslim world?  Muslims: show your stuff!  Stand up for your religion!  Demonstrate its hunger for justice and freedom! I want to believe Muslims when they claim justice as central to their religion, but this and similar situaons make it hard for me.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Post 51--Pakistan and Global Blasphemy Law

This article is originally published by BarnabasAid, an international organization with its headquarters in the UK.  Though I do not always agree with them, I have good reason to be confident about their reporting. They're not a fly-by-night type of organization but have a good reputation with the EU and the UN. The article is clear enough and does not need any further introduction or explanation. Here goes:

In an alarming development, the Pakistan government is seeking to introduce what is in effect a global Islamic blasphemy law that prohibits any internet material critical of Islam.
The government is pursuing a twin track approach to this: it has met with ambassadors of 27 Muslim-majority countries to get international agreement to prosecute anyone who posts online any material deemed to be blasphemous; and it is pressurising internet companies such as Facebook and Twitter to remove immediately such content.
Already, the Pakistan government is claiming that Facebook has agreed to remove such content and over the past few months had blocked 17 such sites and has blocked a further 45 since being pressed further in March.
Disturbingly, the Pakistan government is seeking to prosecute people who post material not only in Pakistan but also across the world. According to Reuters, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan claimed that Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington had already spoken to both the US Justice Department and the FBI, and both agencies “had been receptive”.
The aim is not simply to remove anything posted on the internet deemed offensive to Islam, but to find out who posted it and prosecute them. The Interior Minister has already said that he wants to extradite anyone overseas accused of Islamic blasphemy. In fact, the Pakistan government is asking internet providers to tell them the names of people posting such material, saying:
"Facebook and other service providers should share all information about the people behind this blasphemous content with us."
Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper implied that one of those currently being investigated for Islamic blasphemy on social media was actually based in the USA, quoting the Interior Minister as saying “our embassy in Washington has also taken up the matter [with the US government]”.
The implications of this for Christians are far reaching. Christians accused under Pakistan’s so-called “blasphemy laws” face a mandatory death penalty if found guilty of offensive comments about Muhammad. Even if acquitted, they have to flee the country as Muslim vigilantes seek to kill them. Now, even if they flee to a free and democratic country such as the US , they could still face the Pakistani government trying to extradite them back to Pakistan.
Comments deemed blasphemous could potentially include any denial of the tenets of Islam. Followers of Christianity or and other non-Islamic religions are therefore in a very precarious position as merely affirming certain aspects of their own faith might be construed as blasphemy. It is all too likely that any criticism of Islamic theology, history or practice could also be taken by certain Muslims as not just offensive but also blasphemous.  
This also of course potentially impacts anyone who writes online about the persecution of Christians in the Islamic world. At the very least it is likely that internet companies such as Facebook and Twitter will set their IT systems to remove anything that constitutes Islamic blasphemy. This means material about persecution of Christians in the Islamic world could also be removed, despite having been published in the West. Even something on a church Facebook page could be removed.
The Pakistan government is also seeking to extradite and prosecute people overseas who post material online that they deem offensive to Islam. Of course, countries such as the UK or USA are very unlikely to allow one of their citizens to be extradited for something that is not a criminal offence in their own country. But if someone were to visit one of the other 26 Muslim-majority countries involved with this initiative, they could be arrested and accused of Islamic blasphemy for something they wrote in Australia, New Zealand, the UK or USA. It is even conceivable that it could happen to someone who wrote about persecution of Christians on their church website and then visited one of those countries on holiday.
This is not the first such attempt to create a global Islamic blasphemy law. Since 2005, the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation (OIC) has been sponsoring UN resolutions which attempt to make it a criminal offence to criticise Islam. However, what is particularly disturbing about the Pakistan government’s latest move is that internet companies are already taking action to enforce it.
Make no mistake, this is a serious attempt to introduce a global Islamic blasphemy law, and one that will not only increase the persecution of Christians but also make even reporting the persecution of Christians in the Islamic world much more difficult. It will inevitably lead to self-censorship. Internet companies such as Facebook need to realise that there is a huge problem of anti-Christian hatred and persecution in the world and that their actions in suppressing reporting of this are, for want of a better word, ”Christianophobia”.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Post 50--Is Prime Minister Trudeau Funding Hamas?

I may have reminded you of this before, but do you remember that during the last Federal election the Conservative Party of Canada kept repeating that Trudeau was not ready for being Canada's Prime Minister?  I full agreed with that, for I had seen no sign whatsoever that he was ready. Too young and too inexperienced in politics. Just cute and belonging to a famous political family.  
Well, since his election he has undone so many measures that the Conservatives put in place for the security of both Canada and the world. Don't get me wrong. I am often aghast at what Conservatives say or do as well.  Too many Canadian politicians of whatever party are just that: politicians, not stateswomen or men. Trudeau has shown himself just one of that crowd and, because of his high position, he stands out as just another politician. Apart from his initial composition of the Cabinet--gender equality and wide racial representation--I have seen little positive from him. Oh, he looks cute when he poses in the midst of young people and all that, but when it comes to serious decisions, he seems to have no standard of any kind. 
So, I am sharing with you a news item from The Rebel, an alternative news source that mainline journalists despise.  Though I enjoy reading the Vancouver Sun, I am aware it is mainline and often ignores events that do not pass their test for "responsible news."  I have noticed for years, for example, that they never report on the annual MissionsFest, a large Christian event held in the very heart of Vancouver that draws some 30-35,000 people every time, including high school students who do not drink or do drugs. Now that's a miracle of its own that the press ignores. Recently there was a large Christian gathering in Vancouver that was totally ignored also, except that they made a lot of noise about Franklin Graham.  So, I am fully aware of the selective nature of mainline media.  
Here then The Rebel:
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Hamas is the Palestinian version of ISIS. 

Besides being Islamic extremists, and calling for death to all Jews in their charter, Hamas routinely launches rockets into Israel, firing them from hospitals and schools, using Palestinian citizens as human shields.

This practice clearly violates international law.

But Hamas doesn't break international law all on its own. They work with a UN organization called UNRWA to hide these rockets.

UNRWA runs the schools and hospitals that Hamas attacks from. They have also provided textbooks to children that promote the murder of Israelis.

Because of such horrific actions, Prime Minister Stephen Harper decided to stop providing funding for UNRWA — they were simply too closely tied to Hamas.

(The Harper Conservatives still helped fund other Palestinian relief agencies, just not UNRWA.)

But Justin Trudeau has decided to start helping Hamas again and reinstate UNRWA funding.

Now, thanks to documents obtained by The Rebel, we have proof that the Liberals knew their decision to reinstate UNRWA funding with Canadian tax dollars could be diverted to terrorism.

Watch my video, or click here to see the documents we've obtained. 
UNRWA may have been a good cause when it started back in the 1940s, but it has become corrupted.

If you agree that Justin Trudeau should not fund UNRWA with Canadian tax dollars, then please go to www.StopHelpingHamas.com and sign our petition.

And remember, I'm on your side,

Brian Lilley
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I am not much of a techy and do not know whether all the links in the above will work. If they don't, please find The Rebel online yourself and see what you can see or hear.  

Saturday, March 18, 2017


Post 49--Iranian Artist


A friend of mine sent me the info that constitutes the main body of this post.  It is a story of an Iranian female Muslim artist who had to flee her country because she became a Christian. Now she and her family live in Metro Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada--where I live as well.

The beginning of this post was to feature a painting of her, but I did not know how to move it from an email to this blog.  So, you'll have to use your imagination. And since I do not feel free to reveal her identity, I am changing her name to Juma'a, a woman's name in the West African Hausa language, meaning that she was born on a Friday. Of course, I have no idea on what day she was born; it is a purely arbitrary choice. And, again in order to protect her, I am not even revealing the name of this painting.  Sorry about all the mystery and protection stuff, but the situation in Iran demands it from me; it's not my doing and certainly not my preference. 

Let me merely say that this hidden painting radiates for her the joy of God's grace.  

Here's her story:  


Juma'a taught art in Iran, the country of her birth, for several years. She had collective and one-woman shows of her art (landscapes and figures of women in acrylics and watercolours) in various galleries.... She recounts hearing the testimony of a taxi driver and being given a New Testament in Farsi. Juma'a read the New Testament and began attending church. Then her husband joined her. They were questioned by government authorities and asked to renounce their faith in Christ. When she refused, she was fired from her position.... She and her husband and son fled to Turkey and eventually immigrated to Canada in 2013, sponsored by the Ladner Christian Reformed Church, and in 2015 her second child was born here.


In 2016, Juma'a took up painting again as an expression of her devotion to God and gratitude for her salvation. She knows the peace of God deeply and can testify to his faithfulness through many difficult and dangerous circumstances.


Her own statement: As an artist whose life has been changed by the grace of Christ, I believe every aspect of my life is under the influence of His love. Now, too, my goal is to glorify the Lord even through my art, which belongs to Him. In my paintings I have tried to depict the song of my salvation in and through the image and figure of a woman. Each of these is a reflection of my own experiences in my walk of faith. The crown of thorns that Jesus wore has been exchanged for a wreath of joy on my head. His suffering has brought me healing. His death has brought me life – full, free, forever. God’s will is salvation for all the nations, to turn from darkness to the light.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Post 48--Interpretation of Sharia

Post 36
Many people, if not most, have a completely wrong idea about sharia.  Those many or most include both Christians and Muslims. Christians can possibly forgiven for not understanding it correctly, since Muslims have given us a wrong impression and thus led us astray. We tend to think of it as a set of strict rules that are the same everywhere in every period and every culture.
The following article shows how wrong this is. It is pliant, fluid, depending on the when and where.  So, enjoy this read from "Reasoning with God: Reclaiming Shari'ah in the Modern Age" – by Khaled Abou El Fadl.
t was sent to me by the people who operate and circulate the Friday Nasiha at www.fridaynasiha.com. I love their weekly circulars. They breathe an air of rationality and generosity, the complete opposite from that presented by the fundamentalists and militants.
So, here goes:
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The ultimate point of Shariah is to serve the well-being or achieve the welfare of people (tahqiq masalih al-ibad). The word Shariah, which many have very often erroneously equated with Islamic law, means the "way of God" and the pathway of goodness, and the objective of Shariah is not necessarily the compliance with the commands of God for their own sake. Such compliance is a means to an end—the serving of the physical and spiritual welfare and well-being of people. Muslim jurists reasoned that if law will be made to serve the well-being of people while at the same time avoiding the pitfalls of the tyranny of human whim or unfettered reason, divine guidance or direction is necessary and indispensable. Significantly, in Islamic legal theory, God communicates God's way (the Shariah) through what is known as the dalil (pl. adilla). The dalil means the indicator, mark, guide, or evidence, and in Islamic legal theory, it is a fundamental building block of the search for the divine will and guidance. As a sign of God's mercy and compassion, God created or enunciated numerous indicators serving as guidance to human goodness, well-being (al-hasan wa al-maruf), and ultimately, the divine will. Moreover, God ordained that human beings exert a persistent effort in investigating the divine indicators, or the evidence of God's Will (badhl al-juhd fi talab al-dalil), so that the objectives of Shariah may be fulfilled.
Not surprisingly, the nature of the dalil became one of the formidable and formative debates of early Islamic jurisprudence. The most obvious type of indicator is an authoritative text (sing. nass Sharii or pl. al-nusus al-Shariyya), such as the Quran, but Muslim jurists also recognized that God's wisdom is manifested through a vast matrix of indicators found in God's physical and metaphysical creation. Hence, other than texts, God's signs or indicators could manifest themselves through reason and rationality (aql and raiy), intuitions (fitra), and human custom and practice (urf and ada).

In Islamic jurisprudence, the diversity and complexity of the divine indicators are considered part of the functionality and suitability of Islamic law for all times and places. The fact that the indicators are not typically precise, deterministic, or unidimensional allows jurists to read the indicators in light of the demands of time and place. So, for example, it is often noted that one of the founding fathers of Islamic jurisprudence, al-Shafi (d. 204/ 820) had one set of legal opinions that he thought properly applied in Iraq but changed his positions and rulings when he moved to Egypt to account for the changed circumstances and social differences between the two regions. The same idea is embodied by the Islamic legal maxim: “It may not be denied that laws will change with the change of circumstances” (la yunkar taghayyur al-ahkam bi taghayyur al-zaman wa al-ahwal).


One of the most important aspects of the epistemological paradigm on which Islamic jurisprudence was built was the presumption that on most matters the divine will is unattainable, and even if attainable, no person or institution has the authority to claim certitude in realizing this Will. This is why the classical jurists rarely spoke in terms of legal certainties (yaqin and qat). Rather, as is apparent in the linguistic practices of the classical juristic culture, Muslim jurists for the most part spoke in terms of probabilities or in terms of the preponderance of evidence and belief (ghalabat al-zann). As the influential classical jurist al-Juwayni (d. 478/ 1085) stated: "If we were charged with finding [the truth] we would not have been forgiven for failing to find it." Muslim jurists emphasized that only God possesses perfect knowledge— human knowledge in legal matters is tentative or even speculative; it must rely on the weighing of competing factors and the assertion of judgment based on an assessment of the balance of evidence on any given matter. Nevertheless, this philosophy did not mean that Muslim jurists accepted legal relativism or even indeterminism in Shariah. Shariah was considered to be the immutable, unchangeable, and objectively perfect divine truth. Human understanding of Shariah, however, was subjective, partial, and subject to error and change.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Post 47--Muslim Reactions to US Election

Post 47  Muslim Reaction to US Presidential Election*        Posted   Nov 10  2016
Today, I welcome a special guest for the occasion.  Many Christians have problems with the secular establishment of both Canada and the USA, even though that establishment includes many Christians, including both our Canadian Prime Minister and the American President.  In my opinion, though I appreciate some of their decisions, I am dumbstruck at some others. In both countries the secular establishment is slowly putting the screws on religious liberty. However, no time today to deal with that in detail.
Many Muslims are having similar problems. So, today I welcome Abdul Malik Mujahid, who sends out emails under the name Sound Vision. This is what he circulated today:
Assalamu Alaikum (Peace to you)

Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, whom we love so much, would get all sorts of questions. One day, while sitting in the wilderness, someone asked him about trust in God: “Should I trust in God and not tie my camel?” 

The camel was the primary mode of transportation at the time in Arabia. If you lost your camel, you’d lost one of your key assets. And if you were traveling far in the desert, losing your camel could mean death.  

The Prophet’s answer: Tie your camel, then put your trust in God.

That principle does many things for us. 

As Muslims, we have been become political footballs, first in Europe, then in Canada, and now in America. We are the number one victims of ISIS, as well as war and terror. Yet, we are blamed for causing terrorism. 

We had two choices in this election: Someone who hit us where it hurt us the most. Then there was the other presidential candidate who swung right back, defending Muslims and the diversity of this country. 

For many of us Muslims, who spent millions of dollars and votes supporting Hillary Clinton, we tied the camel - I guess. 

Now is the time to trust God. He controls the world. We do not. He sees the whole picture and truly knows the best for everyone. We love Him, we trust Him. He is the Creator of us all. He created you and I, as well as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. He strategizes and He is the best strategizer (Quran 8:30).

Houston Rockets NBA star Hakeem Olajuwon illustrated this beautifully. He had always been a good basketball player, and was always a Muslim. However, when he truly embraced his faith in a mosque in Houston in the 1990s, he transformed. 

He would still lose games, but he ultimately led the Rockets to victory. And this is what he told me about trusting God (Tawakkul). 

"Before I started practicing my faith, I used to completely rely on myself,” he said. “When I had done my best, I would be extremely frustrated if I didn't win. It would irritate and anger me. And that was causing me to be bad to others by fighting and swearing.

"But when I started practicing my faith, I learned that results are not my property. I started doing my best but then I left success and failure to my Creator. Now I was not irritated by failure and was not overinflated by success. That caused me to calm down and improve my behavior towards others on my team and we became a team."

So trust God. Don’t despair (Quran 39:53), and don’t give up. That is not Sabr (patience). Sabr is to do your utmost and endure whatever it takes to achieve that goal. 

I have a personal goal. And I would like you to be my partner in achieving that goal. To liberate America from fear, hate, and anger, which were there before Trump, and may not end with this election cycle. 

We must engage with America to end the cycle of war, terror, and hate, which has caused us to lose trillions, kill millions, and dehumanize each other, despite all of us being God’s creation, Who created us from the same man and woman (49:13).

Seek help with Sabr (patience) and Salat (prayer). That increases trust in God. Open your hearts and minds for your neighbor, white, blacks, and all shades in between. 

And pray that God opens the hearts of our neighbors toward us. 

It is time for reflection as well. It will take many Sajdas (prostrations to God) and many Duas to achieve balanced, thoughtful conclusions. But for now, I will say this: American Muslims are achievers. They achieve what they set their mind to. We wanted to build mosques and we have doubled the number of mosques since 9/11; we wanted to build Muslim schools and we have tripled the number of Muslim schools since 9/11; following the beautiful example of the Prophet, we have responded to disasters in America and abroad by rushing to help, thus multiplying our relief organizations. 

But what we have not done is devote resources to take America forward. We have not invested even one percent or .01 percent in what we have invested in mosques, schools, and relief organizations. 

So for now, I would just say, let’s do a personal audit: An audit of our personal time and money. What percentage are you committing to your empowerment to take this country forward? That is the camel that still needs to be tied before we expect God to do miracles for us. 

Peace

Comment by Boer: Though there are significant core differences between our two religions, we also have many similarities that we need to capitalize on. Much of what Abdul writes today resonates with me. I similarly feel that Christians spend way too much time, money and effort on “religious” matters when they should instead be religiously engaged in society by contributing to its welfare, to the common good. But religiously, not secularly. With the Spirit of God in their hearts not only but also in their minds, in how they create images of a just society according to the insights of their religion.

So, thank you Abdul. Perhaps we ought to sit down together and see how far we can work on this together.