“I answered [the terrorists] immediately, I was born Christian and if that leads me to death, I prefer to die a Christian.”

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…. Khiria Al-Kas Isaac is a 54-year-old Iraqi Christian woman, whose testimony will move you to tears. I am utterly impressed by her bravery.

Islamic Jihadists just invaded her village of Qaraqosh. She expected death, as they demanded she convert to Islam or die. Khiria survived, as she consistently said: “I answered [the terrorists] immediately, I was born Christian and if that leads me to death, I prefer to die a Christian.” Quoting from Matthew 10:33, she said: “Jesus said: ‘Whoever denies me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven’.”

Such bravery. You can read the full interview here.

Khiria is not alone. Like Khiria, another 46 Christian women were separated from their families. None which renounced their faith. They were whipped and further beaten for 10 days as the terrorists sought their ‘conversion’. “All of us were crying but refused to convert,” says Khiria who cannot sleep because of nightmares stemming from her captivity. That’s firmness. That’s faith. That’s strength. Quite a contrast to the style of faith we live, often without persecution, or at least often without this type of persecution.

Testimonies from the refugee camps are also striking. ‘They will kill us or sell us as sex slaves; we are the spoils of war,’ said one of the Christian refugees, who is 5 months pregnant… “What will happen to my son?” She asked anxiously.

The harsh winter is approaching and they are still living in a tent. To make things worse, there is a reported outbreak of typhoid fever and volunteers fear a cholera epidemic.

Damien, this is an extreme situation. We must act.

Please help by calling on the European Union to provide immediate shelter to the persecuted Christians of Iraq. As a community, we cannot look away any longer.

http://www.citizengo.org/en/10475-real-help-persecuted-christians

We request, in addition to signing the petition, please also share it with your friends and family via email and social networks. The situation to Christians in Iraq is startling and appears overwhelming. We need to provide a solution. With your help, we can.

As I said in a previous e-mail, Damien, during the Italian Semester of chairmanship of the European Council, the Italian Government committed itself in defending and promoting religious freedom and in fighting violence and discrimination on religious grounds. As you may recall, it was the airplane of an Italian official that helped Meriam Ibrahim escape Sudan.

We now have the opportunity to lobby European institutions to demand concrete support for Christians in Iraq. Who will deal with the typhoid fever? Will deal with the cholera epidemic? Who will provide real shelter during the harsh winter? Who will step up and work towards providing asylum status, offering them the dignity they deserve?

http://www.citizengo.org/en/10475-real-help-persecuted-christians

My friend, Luca Volonte, the President of Novae Terrae Foundation (Italy) just announced that he will soon meet face to face with the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and leaders within the European Union. Furthermore, as soon this upcoming Monday, Luca is expected to present your petition signatures in Brussels.

In advance, we thank you for joining our efforts to ensure that Iraq Christians receive the dignity they deserve. We cannot look the other way when our brothers and sisters in Iraq are suffering.

Just another quick story. My colleague Luis Losada was recently in Mexico giving a speech about online activism and CitizenGO. He could not help but to talk about the situation in Iraq. Afterwards, a young girl came up to him with an amazing gesture. Obviously, being a young girl, she has very little. She doesn’t have internet, she won’t have a chance to sign this petition. She walked up to Luis and handed him her most precious and valuable item, a coin worth around $700 and said ‘please make sure this goes towards Christians in Iraq.’ Truly an amazing gesture.

She couldn’t join our campaign via online activism — so she gave everything. We are not asking for financial donations, just asking you donate a few minutes of your time to sign our petition and share it online. Send an email to some friend, or simply promote it on Facebook.

http://www.citizengo.org/en/10475-real-help-persecuted-christians

Luca will present your signature to MEP Brok, Chairman of the Foreign Affair Commission of the European Parliament. Currently we have 187,169 signatures. Please help us increase that number by Monday, so we can show strong support.

Warmest regards,

Gregory Mertz and the whole CitizenGO team

“The thousands of foreign jihadists serving with the Islamic State … have made numerous videos warning that we in the West are next”.

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Senator Milne’s apparent solution to ISIS barbarism: Let their victims die

        

I HAVE a question for Greens leader Christine Milne about what she agrees is the “slaughter of innocent people” in Iraq and Syria. 

    

So, Senator, what would you have us do?

I ask politely — no abuse, no anger — because what you said last week struck me as so horrible and heartless that there must be some mistake.

Senator, I must have misunderstood you.

You cannot possibly be so dead to what you say are the “images of barbaric behaviour” we’ve all seen from the Islamic State.

You cannot possibly mean what I understood you to say: Let them die.

Let the men be decapitated or crucified.

Let the women be raped and sold into slavery.

Let us not answer the screams for help from Christians, Yazidis, Shi’ites and Sunnis the jihadists deem not sufficiently devout.

Let our soldiers and airmen stay at home, watching on TV the astonishing cruelty they know they could stop if you would let them.

Am I right, Senator Milne? Is that what you really mean?

I ask because your words were not as clear and plain as mine.

So maybe I’m just slow to understand anything not simple. Or maybe — just maybe — you lacked the guts to tell us precisely what you’re urging.

So let me politely repeat what you actually told us last week, to see if I’ve been unfair.

You demanded the Prime Minister “rule out sending troops to Iraq for a third war”.

You said: “We cannot fix the tragedies and conflicts of the Middle East with more and more war. It is madness.”

You had deputy Adam Bandt echo: “I don’t think we should be going to war again.”

To be fair, you didn’t say we should do nothing at all.

“The Greens have said all along that we support humanitarian assistance,” you added.

Well, that’s nice, Senator. But here is what I don’t understand.

What humanitarian assistance do you want sent to the hundreds of men, like US photojournalist James Foley, who have had their heads cut off?

Band aids?

BLOG WITH ANDREW BOLT

What humanitarian assistance do you want sent to the 250 Syrian soldiers who were last week stripped and then shot in their head, or the 670 men in Mosul that UN investigators say were executed in June, or the scores I saw on a video being shot and tossed into a river?

Tents?

What aid should we send the hundreds of Yazidi women the Kurdish Regional Government says the Islamic State is holding in Mosul’s Badush prison, where they are sold off as brides for as little as $25 — or raped if they refuse?

New dresses? Toothpaste?

Senator, exactly how will your “humanitarian aid” stop that savagery?

Let me describe that evil to you in the words of someone for whom you normally have inordinate respect — the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay.

What the Islamic State is doing, Pillay said last week, includes “widespread ethnic and religious cleansing”.

There was “cold-blooded, systematic and intentional killings of civilians” with “women and their children … taken as slaves”, and jihadists “deliberately positioning the boys at the frontline in battle situations, as human shields”. But let’s stop pretending, shall we, Senator? No humanitarian aid of yours will stop any of that.

So I ask again: what is your plan? Indeed, what is the plan of so many of the Left, including even Labor MPs, now sneering at talk of sending in Australian forces?

You must have a plan, and not just because we could — with US and British help — stop the worst of this slaughter.

You see, this is not just about charity. It’s not even just about stopping millions more in Iraq and Syria from becoming refugees and crashing our borders to look for a new home or drown trying.

No, you must have a plan because the horror unfolding over there puts us in danger, too, if left unchecked.

The thousands of foreign jihadists serving with the Islamic State — men from Australia, Britain, France, the US, Austria, Canada, Holland, Norway, Chechnya and more — have made numerous videos warning that we in the West are next.

Australian boxer Mohamed Elomar, seen posing with two severed heads in his hands, even tweeted: “Don’t worry ASIO there is plenty of work for you guys coming up.”

Already one returned jihadist has shot dead four Jews in Brussels.

So I ask you again, Senator Milne: what is your plan to stop the slaughter?

Tell us, or just say it plainly: we should let those people die.

Originally published as What would you do, Senator?

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Taken from: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/opinion/senator-milnes-apparent-solution-to-isis-barbarism-let-their-victims-die/story-fnj45fva-1227042954165

Last drinks in Lakemba: Tim Blair takes a look inside Sydney’s Muslim Land

The Lakemba Hotel in Haldon St, Lakemba / Picture: Adam Taylor

The Lakemba Hotel in Haldon St, Lakemba / Picture: Adam TaylorSource: News Corp Australia

 

 THE Lakemba Hotel is one of the last Anglo holdouts in Sydney’s otherwise Middle-Eastern south-western suburb. Frankly, the old joint — it opened in 1928 — isn’t putting up much resistance. Most nights the bar is closed by 8.30pm or so, because by then what few customers it attracts are insufficient to cover running costs.

Still, it’s friendly and hospitable. Staffer Poppy helpfully showed me to my $50-a-night room, which is the only option in Lakemba for anyone seeking short-term rented accommodation.

There are no other hotels or motels. In fact, there are no other rooms besides number 15 in the hotel’s residential wing. All the others are taken by boarders, one of whom has been here for 20 years.

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THE AUSTRALIAN: PEACE UNDER ISLAM REQUIRES SUBMISSION

Haldon St, Lakemba / Picture: Adam Taylor

Haldon St, Lakemba / Picture: Adam TaylorSource: News Corp Australia

It isn’t exactly luxurious. The room has a sink, which is nice, but nothing else by way of amenities. There isn’t even a Gideon’s Bible. Instead, reflecting certain demographic changes in the area, there is a Ramadan eating schedule.

Lakemba may be only 30 minutes from the centre of Sydney, yet it is remarkably distinct from the rest of the city. You can walk the length of crowded Haldon St and not hear a single phrase in English. On this main shopping strip the ethnic mix seems similar to what you’d find in any Arabic city. Australia may be multicultural, but Haldon St is a monoculture.

This does have its advantages. If you’re ever in need of groceries at 3am, head to Lakemba, where shopkeepers keep unusual hours, particularly during Ramadan.

The food is delicious, of course. I recommend La Roche and Al Aseel, but all restaurants in Haldon St are good. If you’re unfamiliar with Lebanese food, just go for anything with the word “mixed”.

A book on display in the window of a Lakemba bookstore / Picture: Adam Taylor

A book on display in the window of a Lakemba bookstore / Picture: Adam TaylorSource: Supplied

A store dummy crudely ‘Islamified’ / Picture: Adam Taylor

A store dummy crudely ‘Islamified’ / Picture: Adam TaylorSource: News Corp Australia

And then there are the downsides.

A few weeks ago a large crowd of mostly young men assembled outside the Lakemba Hotel. Waving black flags, the men chanted: “Palestine is Muslim land. The solution is jihad.”

I asked a non-Islamic local about that night. “You should see them when they really go off,” she said. “That was nothing.” Another non-Islamic woman said young men sometimes shouted “sharmuta” at her from their cars. She looked up the word online and discovered it was an Arabic term for prostitute.

Across the road from the hotel is the Islamic Bookstore, which bills itself as “your superstore of Islamic knowledge”. Three books caught my eye. Here’s an extract from Muhammad bin Jamil Zino’s “What a Muslim Should Believe”, a handy Q & A guide to the Koran’s instructions:

“Question 43: Is it allowed to support and love disbelievers? “Answer: No, it is not allowed.”

The Islamic Bookstore in Haldon Street, Lakemba / Picture: Adam Taylor

The Islamic Bookstore in Haldon Street, Lakemba / Picture: Adam TaylorSource: News Corp Australia

Well, that might explain a few things. “The History of the Jews” seems a bland enough title, but the back cover quotes lines from Martin Luther that were used by the Nazis: “The sun never did shine on a more bloodthirsty and revengeful people as they.”

The book offers this view, on page 16: “No one can deny the fact that the Jews are the worst kind of barbarian killers the world has ever known!!! The decent great Adolf Hitler of Germany never killed in the manner of the Jews!!! Surely only mad people or those who love killing infants, pregnant women and the infirm will think differently.”

A shopfront sign in Haldon St Lakemba showing Islamic clothing for women / Picture: Adam

A shopfront sign in Haldon St Lakemba showing Islamic clothing. Picture: Adam TaylorSource: Supplied

A sign in Haldon St, Lakemba / Picture: Adam Taylor

A sign in Haldon St, Lakemba / Picture: Adam TaylorSource: News Corp Australia

It goes on and on. Another extract: “Humor and jokes are strictly forbidden by the Jewish religion.” This will come as a surprise to just about every Jew on earth.

Another must-read is Mansoor Abdul Hakim’s charming 2009 text, “Women Who Deserve to go to Hell.” Turns out there are quite a lot of them.

“Some people keep asking about the denizens of Hell and the reason why women will go to hell in large numbers,” writes Hakim in the book’s foreword before listing various types of hell-bound females, including the grumbler, the quarrelsome woman, women with tattoos and women who refuse to have sex during menstruation.

Haldon St, Lakemba / Picture: Adam Taylor

Haldon St, Lakemba / Picture: Adam TaylorSource: News Corp Australia

“Men’s perfection is because of various reasons: intelligence, religion, etc,” Hakim explains. “At most, four women have this perfection.”

Mix this level of ignorance and loathing with the Islamic community’s high rate of unemployment, and conflict is inevitable. The Islamic riots of 2012 ended up in central Sydney but began here in Lakemba and surrounding suburbs, where seething young Muslims formed their plans, including printing signs reading “Behead all those who insult the prophet”.

Haldon St, Lakemba / Picture: Adam Taylor

Haldon St, Lakemba / Picture: Adam TaylorSource: News Corp Australia

One of the men arrested in those riots was Ahmed Elomar, who was subsequently convicted for bashing a police officer with a flagpole.

His lawyer claimed that Elomar was “overcome with the occasion”. The occasion continues. Lately, Elomar’s brother Mohamed has posed with severed heads in Iraq, where he is fighting alongside fundamentalist Islamic State extremists.

Boxer Ahmed Elomar.

Boxer Ahmed Elomar.Source: News Corp Australia

Mohamed Elomar with a severed head / Picture: Supplied

Mohamed Elomar with a severed head / Picture: SuppliedSource: DailyTelegraph

Back at the pub, a staffer mentions rare moments of cultural overlap. “Sometimes the young blokes will come in here to buy Scotch,” she says. “They try to hide themselves under hoodies.”

But when the staffer sees them later in the street, they don’t return her greeting. The hotel is haram — sinful and forbidden. Those early closing hours will eventually become permanent.

Books for sale along Haldon St, Lakemba / Picture: Adam Taylor

Books for sale along Haldon St, Lakemba / Picture: Adam Taylor

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Taken from: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/last-drinks-in-lakemba-tim-blair-takes-a-look-inside

Pope sending envoy to Iraq to show solidarity with fleeing Christians, urges prayers in tweets

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Pope Francis kisses a child at the end of his weekly general audience in the Paul VI hall, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)The Associated Press

Details of his trip are still being worked out. Filoni acknowledged in an interview with Vatican Radio that the region is difficult to reach.

Amid new incursions by Islamic militants in Christian villages of northern Iraq, Francis beefed up his call for the international community to take measures to protect Christians from violence. On Friday he tweeted: “Please take a moment to pray for all those who have been forced from their homes in Iraq.”

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Taken from: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/08/08/pope-sending-envoy-to-iraq-to-show-solidarity-with-fleeing-christians-urges/

Pope Francis: Isis violence against minorities in Iraq must be stopped

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Vatican says world must halt attacks against Christians and others, as Francis sends emissary to Iraq
Pope Francis at the Vatican

Pope Francis prays at St Peter’s Square, Vatican City, on 10 August. Photograph: Alessandro Di Meo/EPA

Pope Francis used unusually strong language to condemn the actions of Islamists in their continuing campaign against minorities in Iraq on Sunday and called for an end to violence in the name of God. A high-ranking special Vatican envoy is due to leave for northern Iraq on Monday.

In his traditional Sunday blessing, Francis said the news from the country had left him “in dismay and disbelief”. Without referring by name to the Islamic State (Isis), whose jihadists are largely responsible for the persecution, the pope deplored reports of “thousands of people, including many Christians, driven from their homes in a brutal manner; children dying of thirst and hunger in their flight; women kidnapped; people massacred; [and] violence of every kind.”

He added: “All this gravely offends God and humanity. Hatred is not to be carried in the name of God. War is not to be waged in the name of God.”

Iraqi authorities have reported that Isis has kidnapped hundreds of women and girls from the Yazidi religious minority after seizing the north-western town of Sinjar. Up to 100,000 Christians are thought to have fled for their lives towards Iraqi Kurdistan.

In an apparent reference to the US-led air campaign to deliver relief to the civilians fleeing Isis, Francis said: “I thank those who, with courage, are bringing succour to these brothers and sisters, and I am confident that an effective political solution on both the international and the local levels may be found to stop these crimes and re-establish [the rule of] law.”

On Friday, the pope named Cardinal Fernando Filoni as his personal envoy to Iraq. Plans are also being made for a meeting in Rome, probably in September, of all the Vatican’s diplomatic representatives in the region. The aim is to organise support for those who have been forced to flee the jihadists.

The 68-year-old Filoni is a Vatican heavyweight who was considered a candidate for the papacy in the runup to the election last year at which Francis was chosen.

At an earlier stage in his career, he served for six years as the Holy See’s ambassador to Jordan and Iraq during the final stages of Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Filoni was among the few foreign diplomats to remain in Baghdad during the bombing of the city by US-led forces in 2003.

The pope’s spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, said the cardinal would travel to Iraqi Kurdistan, where the majority of Christian refugees are sheltering.

In an interview published in Avvenire, the daily of the Italian bishops’ conference, Filoni appeared to blame the deterioration of the situation in Iraq on the US-led invasion 11 years ago. “Since 2003, the situation has never improved,” he was quoted as saying.

“I believe [Pope] John Paul II was right when he warned the political leaders at that time to rediscover the paths of a peace that was not [found] and for [the lack of which] we are suffering these consequences today.”

The pope also discussed the fighting in Gaza, which he described as “a war that cuts down innocent victims and does nothing but worsen the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians”.

He also mentioned the battle against Ebola, which has killed close to 1,000 people in west Africa, calling on his followers to “pray for the victims of the Ebola virus and for those who are fighting to stop it”.

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Taken from: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/10/pope-francis-iraq-isis-islamic-state-religious-minorities-violence

“Brothers and sisters, never war, never war!” Pope Francis.

Pope Francis in emotional peace plea

Pope spoke of first world war centenary and said his thoughts were on the Middle East, Iraq and Ukraine in particular
Pope Francis

Pope Francis made his comments at the end of his weekly Angelus address in St Peter’s Square. Photograph: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images

Pope Francis made an emotional plea for peace on Sunday in an impromptu addition to his weekly Angelus address in St Peter’s Square.

Wrapping up his regular address to the faithful, the Argentinian-born pontiff spoke of the centenary of the outbreak of the first world war and said his thoughts were on the Middle East, Iraq and Ukraine in particular.

His voice appearing to crack with emotion as he broke off from his scripted remarks to make a direct appeal for fighting to end, he said: “Please stop, I ask you with all my heart, it’s time to stop. Stop, please.”

The pope made no direct reference to the situation in Gaza, but his comments came after a humanitarian truce broke down on Sunday and fighting resumed. More than 1,000 people, mostly civilians and including dozens of children, have been killed since the outbreak of the current conflict.

“Brothers and sisters, never war, never war! I am thinking above all of children, who are deprived of the hope of a worthwhile life, of a future,” he said. “Dead children, injured children, mutilated children, orphaned children, children whose toys are things left over from war, children who can’t smile any more.”

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Taken from: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/27/pope-francis-emotional-plea

Sudanese woman spared death for apostasy meets Pope Francis

Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim at the Vatican

Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim at the Vatican. Photograph: AP

Meriam Ibrahim was sentenced to death for apostasy in May, sparking an international campaign to save her life

and in Rome

Meriam Ibrahim, a Christian Sudanese woman spared a death sentence for apostasy after an international outcry, has met Pope Francis after arriving in Italy.

The 27-year-old and her family were received at the pontiff’s guesthouse for just under 30 minutes in an atmosphere “of serenity and tenderness”, the Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said in a statement.

“The pope thanked Meriam and her family for their courageous demonstration of constancy of faith. Meriam gave thanks for the great support and comfort which she received from the prayers of the pope and of many other people who believe and are of good will.”

Francis, 77, also wanted the meeting to have a symbolic aspect, Lombardi said. “With this gesture the pope wished also to show his closeness, attention and prayer for all those who suffer because of their faith and in particular Christians who suffer persecution or restriction to their freedom of religion.”

Earlier on Thursday, Italian television showed Ibrahim leaving the aircraft at Ciampino airport in Rome accompanied by her husband, two children and Italy’s vice-minister for foreign affairs, Lapo Pistelli.

Ibrahim was sentenced to 100 lashes for adultery and to death for apostasy in May, sparking an international campaign to lift the death sentence. More than a million people backed an Amnesty International campaign to get her released, with David Cameron, the British prime minister, and the US civil rights activist Jesse Jackson among world leaders who clamoured for her release.

While on death row, Ibrahim, a graduate of Sudan University’s school of medicine, gave birth in shackles in May. It was a difficult birth as her legs were in chains and Ibrahim is worried that the girl may need support to walk.

Ibrahim was told that her death sentence would be deferred for two years to allow her to nurse the baby.

Under the Sudanese penal code, Muslims are forbidden from changing faith, and Muslim women are not permitted to marry Christian men.

During her trial in Khartoum, she told the court that she had been brought up as a Christian, and refused to renounce her faith. She and Daniel Wani – an American citizen – married in 2011. The court ruled that the union was invalid and that Ibrahim was guilty of adultery.

Her convictions, sentences and detention in Omdurman women’s prison while heavily pregnant and with her toddler son incarcerated alongside her caused international outrage. After an appeal court overturned the death sentence, Ibrahim, Wani, and their two children tried to leave last month, but were turned back. The Sudanese government accused her of trying to leave the country with false papers, preventing her departure for the US.

Her lawyer, Mohaned Mostafa, said he had not been told of her departure on Thursday.

“I don’t know anything about such news but so far the complaint that was filed against Meriam and which prevents her from travelling from Sudan has not been cancelled,” Mostafa told Reuters.

Ibrahim and her family had been staying at the US embassy in Khartoum.

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Taken from: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/24/sudan-woman