Tuesday, March 1, 2016


SEE: below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:
Classes were cancelled recently at Riverheads High School in Staunton, Virginia, near Charlottesville, after school officials received a multitude of complaints about a controversial piece of curriculum being taught to ninth-graders learning calligraphy.
According to the U.K.’s Daily Mail, students taking the calligraphy class were instructed to write out a portion of Arabic text that, translated into English, stated, “There is no God but Allah,” a common creed of Islam that declares one’s allegiance to the religion.
Citing forced indoctrination and departure from separation of church and state, parents began calling school administrators to complain about the class, which they say subjected their children to offensive material that never should have been allowed at the school.
The class was reportedly a world geography class taught by Cheryl LaPorte, meant to introduce students to a variety of subject matter from different countries, cultures and religions. But had the calligraphy class instructed students to write out, say, “Jesus Christ is Lord” on paper instead, it would most assuredly have been scrapped by the district as offensive.
The statement “There is no God but Allah” isn’t just a harmless part of religious text – it’s a fundamental part of the Muslim statement of faith. And instructing students to write it represents forced religious conversion, say some; hence the uproar.
These same students were also shown copies of the Koran, which is Islam’s highest holy text, and female students were instructed to try on scarfs, a.k.a. a hijab, which they were told would give them a better understanding of Islam’s version of “modest dress.”
“Recitation of the shahada in public is the first formal step in conversion to Islam,” explains the Daily Mail, referring to the formal name of the controversial text in question. “However, according to school officials, the ninth-graders were not asked to translate the statement or read it aloud.”
Rather than apologize to parents and trying to explain whatever the school’s reasoning had been for introducing the curriculum, Augusta County School Board President Eric Bond instead turned the issue around and tried to vilify the parents.
According to the Daily Mail, Bond made the decision to close all schools within the district for a full day, “out of an abundance of caution,” insinuating that the messages he was receiving from parents were somehow threatening.
With support from local sheriff Randal Fisher, Bond told reporters that due to the “significantly increased” volume of communications he was receiving, as well as the “tone and content” of those communications, he had decided to simply close all schools.
This move, which admittedly was not due to any specific threat, was merely a power play to try to make concerned parents look like possible terrorists rather than outraged guardians of their own children.
Bond did say, however, that the curriculum would be changed from here on out, and that students would instead be instructed to write “non-religious” Arabic calligraphy, which should have been the case all along.
“When I saw the language, the Arabic language, immediately I had a bad feeling come over me,” a parent named Kimberly Herndon, a devout Christian, said to a local NBC news outlet. “She [LaPorte] gave up the Lord’s time. She gave it up and gave it to Mohammed.”
At a follow-up meeting attended by more than 100 people, former English teacher Debbie Ballow told attendees that had she instructed her students to copy a passage of the Bible in this manner, she would have been fired.
“I will not have my children sit under a woman who indoctrinates them with the Islam religion when I am a Christian, and I’m going to stand behind Christ,” Herndon added.




SEE: below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:

AS THE FBI and Apple fight a media war over whether the federal government can force the computer company to hack an iPhone, in California a new privacy law is raising questions over how deeply government should be allowed to peer into a convicted criminal’s digital life.
That new law, the California Electronic Communications Privacy Act(CalECPA), requires law enforcement to obtain a warrant before searching a person’s cellphone, laptop, or any digital storage device. At issue is whether the law covers people on probation, parole, and other forms of supervised release who’ve agreed to what’s known as a “Fourth waiver,” a condition that allows law enforcement to search their person and property at any time.
CalECPA took effect on January 1, 2016. Three days later, San Diego County prosecutors and Superior Court judges began asking defendants who were eligible for probation to sign a form giving “specific consent” to county probation officers “and/or a law enforcement government entity” to collect information that would be otherwise protected under CalECPA.
The consent form described everything that could be searched and seized:
Call logs, text and voicemail messages, photographs, emails, and social media account contents contained on any device or cloud or internet connected storage owned, operated, or controlled by the defendant, including but not limited to mobile phones, computers, computer hard drives, laptops, gaming consoles, mobile devices, tablets, storage media devices, thumb drives, Micro SD cards, external hard drives, or any other electronic storage devices, by probation and/or a law enforcement entity seeking the information.
The defendant shall also disclose any and all passwords, passcodes, password patterns, fingerprints, or other information required to gain access into any of the aforementioned devices or social media accounts.
Defense attorneys immediately protested, arguing that the form had been drawn up without input from the defense bar and that the language was vague and overly broad.
“Folks on parole, probation, even supervised release, they have a reduced expectation of privacy while they’re under supervision,” said Margaret Dooley-Sammuli, criminal justice and drug policy director for the ACLU of California, “but that’s not the same as no right to privacy online or offline.”
Dooley-Sammuli said she was surprised by the expansiveness of the consent waiver. “Anything, anytime, from the beginning of time until after your death is what it suggests in that language.”
In January, I attended dozens of probation and sentencing hearings in San Diego’s main courthouse. The majority of defendants were told that there would be broad monitoring of their online lives, despite objections from defense attorneys. In one case, a judge told a pair of young co-defendants — a boyfriend and girlfriend who pleaded guilty to robbery — that their emails, cellphones, and social media accounts would be monitored to make sure they weren’t in contact with each other during their five years’ probation. A young woman convicted of felony DUI was told that her probation officer would be checking her email and social media to make sure she wasn’t drinking. As the judge told the DUI defendant, “Law enforcement needs to monitor your physical as well as electronic world.”
Issues with digital privacy aside, probation conditions are supposed to be narrowly tailored to address a person’s crime and what will “reasonably” prevent future criminal acts, said Jeff Thoma, outgoing president of California Attorneys for Criminal Justice. “The whole idea of probation and sentencing is to individualize something,” Thoma said. “When you don’t do that and are just trying to put all these restrictions, it becomes, ‘Oh we might catch this person doing something.’”
In late January, the San Diego County public defender’s office filed a petition with a state appeals court, arguing that the consent form hadn’t gone through the proper vetting process. Shortly after the appeal was filed, judges who had been using the form stopped requiring probationers to sign it, and the district attorney’s office stopped including it in plea deals offering probation.
Getting rid of the form didn’t solve the problem, said Randy Mize, chief deputy public defender in San Diego County. Some judges are now assuming that any probationer who agrees to a Fourth waiver in court is also agreeing to make available to law enforcement all the digital information that had been included in the consent form. Mize said his office plans to appeal a number of these cases. “All we want is the judge to articulate on the record what makes it a constitutional probation condition,” he said.

Specific Consent and the Fourth Amendment

The new digital privacy law doesn’t directly address how to handle Fourth waivers. Rather, it says that absent a warrant, a government agency must obtain an individual’s “specific consent” to search an electronic device. The law defines “specific consent” as “consent provided directly to the government entity seeking information.” The question, then, is whether a defendant who agrees in court to waive his Fourth Amendment rights has given the “specific consent” the law requires.
“Had the legislature wanted to include a Fourth waiver in the definition of ‘specific consent,’ they could have specifically said so,” said Robert Phillips, a retired deputy district attorney and author of the website California Legal Update. “The legislature could have merely referred to the need for ‘consent’ without adding the word ‘specific.’ In interpreting a statute, the courts attempt to give every word meaning. To argue that ‘specific consent’ means no more than just a general consent in effect eliminates the need for the word ‘specific.’”
As for individuals on parole, a Fourth waiver is a mandatory condition, not something a parolee consents to. This has led a number of law enforcement groups to advise obtaining a warrant before searching a parolee’s electronic devices. So even though a parolee’s home, car, and person are open to search, law enforcement now needs a warrant to examine his cellphone or laptop.
“With all its good intentions, I think the ECPA was written in a very one-sided way without necessarily balancing the interests of all of the parties,” said Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorney Satish Jallepalli.
Sean Hoffman, legislative director for the California District Attorneys Association, said other counties are “grappling with how and when to effectuate searches of probationers’ electronic devices,” but so far San Diego is the only county that’s tried to address it through the court. At least three other counties — Contra Costa, Santa Clara, and Sacramento — have discussed implementing a consent waiver similar to San Diego’s.
Confusion over how to interpret CalECPA is happening against the backdrop of two significant recent court decisions. In 2014, in Riley v. California, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held that searching a person’s cellphone during arrest is unconstitutional. The Fourth Amendment allows police to conduct unwarranted searches if they’re part of “a lawful arrest,” but Chief Justice John Roberts rejected the government’s argument that searching a cellphone is no different than searching a wallet, purse, or pack of cigarettes.
“Modern cellphones are not just another technological convenience,” he wrote. “With all they contain and all they may reveal, they hold for many Americans ‘the privacies of life.’ The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought.”
In a recent case, In re: J.B., California’s 1st District Court of Appeals sided with a juvenile probationer who argued it was unconstitutional to require him to give law enforcement access to his cellphone and social media passwords. The court ruled that the probation condition had no relation to his crime — petty theft — nor did it serve any rehabilitative purpose.
The J.B. case is only one of several recent cases in which the appeals court sided with a juvenile probationer over digital privacy issues. Expect to see more of these cases throughout the state, said Arthur Bowie, deputy public defender of Sacramento County.
“These things are going to be challenged until some court decides what they can and cannot do,” he said. “The edges are going to be tested.”


BY MIKE GENDRON, EX CATHOLIC below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:
Pausing Before an Image in Mexico Was Pope's Most Intimate Wish

Pope Francis said his "most intimate wish" was to pause in silence before the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. He said, "it has been studied and studied and there aren't human explanations, this is a thing of God." Laying a bouquet of yellow roses in front of the image, the pope sat down in prayerful silence for 20 minutes. 

Built in 1976, the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is located near the site of Mary's apparitions to St. Juan Diego in 1531. With some 12 million people visiting each year, it is Catholicism's most popular Marian shrine. The pope said, "Christians are called to be Mary's ambassadors and console those who are overwhelmed by trials and sufferings."  

Juan Diego was told by an apparition of Mary to go to the top of a hill and he found roses growing, even though it was winter. He collected them in his tulpa, a traditional cloth garment, and when he arrived at the bishop's residence, he opened the cloak revealing that the roses had left an imprint on the garment. It's that 500-year-old cloth that Pope Francis venerated on Sunday
It is a mystery of how the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe came to be imprinted on the cloth. The name "Guadalupe" comes from the indigenous word "Coatlaxoepuh," which means "the one who defeated the serpent," as the image in the cloth portrays.

When Pope Francis met with the bishops of Mexico, he highlighted the intercessory power of Our Lady of Guadalupe. He said, "I know that by looking into the eyes of the Blessed Virgin, I am able to follow the gaze of her sons and daughters who, in her, have learned to express themselves." He underscored the profound impact of Our Lady of Guadalupe, saying "no other voice can speak so powerfully to me of the Mexican heart... she guards its highest aspirations and the most hidden hopes." 

Mike's Comment: The depths of the supernatural blindness that keeps the pope in spiritual darkness is beyond comprehension. Tragically, religious indoctrination is one of the most powerful tools the devil uses to blind people from the light of the Gospel and the glory of Christ (2 Cor. 4:4). We know that Satan will use lying signs and wonders to deceive the world (Mat. 24:24). For the pope to attribute apparitions of Mary and miraculous paintings on cloth to "a thing of God' is pure blasphemy! Furthermore, Christians are never called to be ambassadors for Mary, but the pope rarely speaks from the authority of Scripture. Born again Christians are ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor. 5:20). Many Catholics still believe Mary is "the one who defeated the serpent." This is because the first Catholic Bible, that was translated into English, used the feminine pronoun "she" as the one who would bruise the serpent's head (Genesis 3:15). 

Pope Praises Abortionist as a "Forgotten Great"

Pope Francis praised Italy's leading proponent of abortion, Emma Bonino, as one of the nation's "forgotten greats. At 27, Bonino had an illegal abortion and then worked with the Information Centre on Sterilization and Abortion which boasted over 10,000 abortions. There are famous photos of Bonino performing illegal abortions using a homemade device operated by a bicycle pump. Responding to the Pope's praise of Bonino, pro-life leaders in Italy expressed disbelief. Read more.
Mike's Comment: Where is the outrage from Roman Catholics? When are Catholics going to say enough is enough? How many more lies and ungodly comments are they going to tolerate from this "infallible" false prophet? It seems like every week the pope comes out with another bombshell that goes against Catholic teaching and the inspired, authoritative Word of God.

Pope Seeks to Ban Death Penalty

Pope Francis has called on Catholic leaders to seek a ban on the death penalty exclaiming that 'Thou shall not kill applies to the guilty as well as the innocent'. The Pontiff asked politicians around the world to make 'a courageous and exemplary gesture' during the Church's current Holy Year. He said: 'I appeal to the consciences of those who govern to reach an international consensus to abolish the death penalty. He said: 'All Christians and men of good will are called on to work not only for the abolition of the death penalty, but also to improve prison conditions so that they respect the human dignity of people who have been deprived of their freedom.' In the past, the pope also denounced life imprisonment, calling it 'a hidden death penalty' and saying that more should be done to try to rehabilitate even the most hardened of criminals. Read more.
Mike's Comment: Once again, the pope shows either his ignorance of God's Word or his unwillingness to submit to its authority. Before the law was given, God established and ordered capital punishment upon any man who took another man's life unlawfully. His infallible Word declares: "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image" (Gen. 9:6). By divine authority, the government has the right and responsibility to inflict capital punishment (Rom. 13:1-4; Acts 25:11).


Lighthouse Trails Publishing to Make Contact with Over 100 Christian Leaders to Warn About "Jesus Calling"
SEE: below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Isaiah 119:105)
For nearly 14 years, Lighthouse Trails has been trying to warn Christian leaders and the body of Christ of the spiritual deception that has entered the church. While thousands of Christians have responded favorably to the work we do, and we believe our material and the material of our authors has influenced, either directly or indirectly, tens of thousands of believers, the sad reality is tens of millions (if not hundreds of millions) of proclaiming Christians throughout the world are following leaders who will not warn them about spiritual deception, even when it is warned about in the Bible. In an ongoing effort to warn the church, Lighthouse Trails has put together a spreadsheet with the names of over 100 Christian leaders. We have now collected mailing addresses to all these names. While we have given away thousands of copies of books, booklets, and DVDs to leaders, professors, missionaries, pastors, and church members since 2002, we have never had a list with names and addresses so that we could send materials to a large number of leaders all at once. Now that we have this database, we are going to begin sending these 100+ leaders booklets on a regular basis with the hope of stirring them to discerning action.
While we realize our efforts in this mailing project to leaders may end up being futile, we are motivated by a sense of desperation as we witness the snowballing effect taking place in the church with regard to Christians becoming seriously deceived and deluded.
Because most Christian leaders are not even talking about Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling, the first booklet we are sending out to these leaders is Warren B. Smith’s new booklet, 10 Scriptural Reasons Why Jesus Calling is a Dangerous Book.
The following is a cover letter we will be including with the booklet. Below that, we have listed the 100+ leaders who will be getting this booklet and subsequent ones. As the Lord provides and leads, we will send out a new booklet to these men and women every two or three months. Please take a look at the names we have listed below, and if you know of a leader whom we have not listed and feel we should, please e-mail us at, and we will take your suggestion into serious consideration. Please include that person’s organization name and mailing address so we can include him or her on the list. Keep in mind, the names we have chosen are primarily considered influential leaders of the evangelical church.
We hope our efforts will encourage you to continue the good fight for the contending of the faith. For those who may be feeling dismayed at the struggle in their own efforts to contend for the faith, please read “The Unacknowledged War and the Wearing Down of the Saints” by Cedric Fisher.
Dear Christian Leader:
Sarah Young’s perennial best-selling book, Jesus Calling, has sold over 15 million copies since it was first published in 2004. It continues to be enthusiastically read around the world and is available in over 20 different editions in English alone. With the book more popular than ever, there are entire Sarah Young’ sections in Christian bookstores that feature Jesus Calling and other related products. Sadly, most Christian leaders are either unaware of the book’s serious problems or are just choosing to stay away from the growing controversy surrounding Jesus Calling. Whatever the case, few, if any, warnings are being issued by those in Christian leadership.
In case you happened to be unaware of the problems involving Jesus Calling, we have enclosed our recently published Lighthouse Trails booklet titled 10 Scriptural Reasons Why Jesus Calling is a Dangerous Book. Hopefully, it will help you to understand why Sarah Young’s book is such a threat to the spiritual well-being of today’s church.
Sincerely in Christ,
The Editors at Lighthouse Trails Publishing
The List of Leaders We Are Reaching Out To
(Not all of the names below are those in deception. 
This list has a variety of persuasions within the evangelical camp. We are compelled to send each of these people specific information on various important issues that are basically not being addressed in the church today.)

First NameLast NameOrganization
RandyAlcornEternal Perspective Ministries
JohnAnkerbergJohn Ankerberg   Ministries
KayArthurPrecept Ministries International
TedBaehrMovie Guide
MarkBaileyDallas Theological Seminary
JimBakkerMorningside Church
GaryBauerAmerican Values
AlistairBeggTruth for Life
SteveBergerGrace Chapel
John and LisaBevereMessenger International
PatBooneActor and Activist
BrianBroedersenCalvary Chapel Costa Mesa
KirkCameronc/o Liberty University
Pastor TomCarterDinuba First Baptist Church
MattChandlerThe Village Church
BryanChappellGrace Presbyterian Church
RobertaCombsChristian Coalition of America
RayComfortLiving Waters
JimDalyFocus on the Family
MartDeHaanOur Daily Bread
Dr. JamesDobsonFamily Talk
JoniEareckson-TadaJoni and Friends
JackEggarAwana CEO President
Dr. TonyEvansOak Cliff Bible Fellowship
Pastor JonathanFalwellThomas Road Baptist Church
JerryFalwellLiberty University
JosephFarahWorld News Daily
Dr. RonnieFloydSouthern Baptist President Crosschurch
JimGarlowSkyline Church (La Mesa, CA)
NormanGeislerSummit Ministries
LouieGiglioPassion City Church
FranklinGrahamSamaritan’s Purse
Dr. JackGrahamPrestonwood Baptist Church
AnneGraham-LotzAnGel Ministries
DavidGreenHobby Lobby Stores Inc
Pastor JohnHageeCornerstone Church
KenHamAnswers in Genesis
HankHanegraaffBible Answer Man
JackHayfordThe Church on the Way
Pastor SkipHeitzigThe Connection
HughHewittThe Hugh Hewitt Show
Pastor JackHibbsReal Life With Jack Hibbs
Pastor DaveHockingHope for Today
Dr. MichaelHortonWestminster Seminary
Pastor BillHybelsWillow Creek Community Church
Pastor RobertJeffressFirst Baptist Church
Pastor DavidJeremiahShadow Mountain Community Church
BillJohnsonBethel Church
Pastor TimothyKellerRedeemer Presbyterian Church
Pastor R TKendallR T Kendall Ministries
TheKendrick BrothersFilm makers
DanKimballVintage Faith Church
BenKinchlow700 Club
Dr TimLaHayeSouthern California Seminary
Dr. RichardLandPresident-Southern Evangelical Seminary
WilliamLane CraigBiola University
Pastor GregLaurieHarvest America
NancyLeigh DeMossRevive Our Hearts
MikeLeMayStand up for the Truth
HalLindseyHal Lindsey Ministries
Pastor MaxLucadoUpWords
Pastor FredLuterFranklin Avenue Baptist Church
Dr. ErwinLutzerMoody Church
Pastor JohnMacArthurGrace Community Church
MikeMacintoshHorizon Christian Fellowship (Calvary Chapel)
JamesMcDonaldWalk in the Word
JoshMcDowellJosh McDowell Ministry
JanetMefferdJanet Mefferd Today
CEO Santiago “Jimmy”MelladoCompassion International
EricMetaxasThe Eric Metaxas Show
JoyceMeyerJoyce Meyer Ministries
ChuckMisslerKoinonia House
AlbertMohlerSouthern Baptist Theological Seminary
BethMooreLiving Proof Ministries
ElisaMorganWomen of Faith
Dr JoelMullinexRejoice in the Lord
Pastor JoelOsteenLakewood Church
LuisPalauLuis Palau Association
TonyPerkinsFamily Research Counsel
JohnPiperBethlehem Baptist Church
DennisPollockSpirit of Grace Ministries
ThomRainerLifeWay Resources
DaveRamseyThe Lampo Group
DaveReaganLamb and Lion Ministries
RonRhodesRon Rhodes Ministries
Pastor RaulRiesCalvary Chapel Golden Springs
PatRobertson700 Club Christian Broadcasting Network
James & BettyRobisonLIFE Outreach International: LIFE TODAY
Rev. SamuelRodriguesNew Season Christian Worship Church
JoelRosenbergTrident Media Group
DennisRydbergYoung Life Service Center
PhilipRykenWheaton College
Pastor TimSavageCamelback Bible Church
MarkSchoenwaldHarperCollins Christian Publishing
BobbySchullerCrystal Cathedral Church
JaySekulowAmerican Center for Law and Justice
GarySmalleySmalley Relationship Center
LarrySpargiminoSouthwest Radio Church Ministries
Dr CharlesStanleyFirst Baptist Church
BradStineChristian Comedian
CameronStrangRelevant Media Group
SteveStrangCharisma Magazine
JimmySwaggartJimmy Swaggart Ministries
LeonardSweetSpiritVenture Ministries
ChuckSwindollInsight for Living Ministries
TimTebowTim Tebow Foundation
Jack and RexellaVan ImpeJack Van Impe Ministries International
Pastor JoeVan KoeveringGateway Christian Center
Pastor RickWarrenSaddleback Church
David A.R.WhiteFounder Pure Flix Movies
Dr GeorgeWoodAssemblies of God president
Dr RickYohnMen of the Word
Dr EdYoungThe Winning Walk
Pastor MichaelYoussefLeading the Way
RaviZachariusInternational Ministries
Board of DirectorBible Study Fellowship
 Aviel Schneider Israel Today
Kimm CarrCommunity Bible Study
MichaelFarrisHome School Legal Defense Association
MarvinOlaskyWorld Magazine
Dr. JeffMeyersSummit Ministries


First ever Catholic speaker at IHOP-KC Onething conference was asked to speak on wisdom of Teresa of Avila, contemplative prayer

“I recently had the extraordinary privilege of being the first ever Catholic speaker at a very large Evangelical conference. [IHOP-KC Onething 2015] You might be surprised to know that they asked me to speak on the wisdom of St. Teresa of Avila regarding the progress of prayer from those just beginning to pray to those who know the sublime reality of contemplative prayer.” [1] –Dan Burke, President of the Avila Foundation
The “sublime reality of contemplative prayer”?
Mike Bickle, Director of International House of Prayer has been practicing and promoting contemplative prayer for a long time. This is the primary reason IHOP-KC is defying the Bible about Catholicism. Theology has been altered and addled via the sweet deceptions of this practice.
As Lighthouse Trails noted, “As we have often reported, when someone begins to practice contemplative prayer, their spiritual propensities begin to change, and they become more interspiritual and ecumenical. In 2011, we reported “Mike Bickle of IHOP-KC instructs followers on contemplative prayer.” Now in 2016, we can see how Bickle (and IHOP) has well entered his interspiritual, ecumenical downfall.” click here to read and/or watch video
Source Notes: 1. Dan Burke Teresa of Avila Society email campaign 2/23/2016


Pope Francis wants “dialogue” with Muslim leader who broke off ties after Benedict XVI condemned jihad mass murder attack

“el-Tayeb has been imam of the al-Azhar Mosque since his 2010 election. He was elected rector of the university in 2003. He is considered a moderate Sunni who has worked to prevent Islamic radicalization.” This moderate Sunni blames the unrest in the Middle East on “world Zionism” andrefuses to denounce the Islamic State as un-Islamic.
“Among the many reasons this Feb. 16 meeting is noteworthy: al-Azhar had broken relations with the Vatican in 2011. On Jan. 1 of that year, a major bombing took place in Alexandria. The attack on Coptic Christians killed 23 people. In an immediate reaction, Benedict XVI labeled the attacks as ‘terrorism’ that ‘brutally affected worshippers.’ He characterized the attacks as part of a ‘strategy of violence’ against Christians. He reiterated his concerns in his New Year’s speech to the corps of diplomats accredited to the Holy See. He asked protection for religious minorities. el-Tayeb reacted negatively to these two statements. He blamed Benedict for ‘interference’ in Egyptian internal affairs, which might result in a ‘negative political reaction’ in the East and in Egypt. Ever since, the Vatican and al-Azhar had no official ties for dialogue.”
So Tayeb broke off ties with the Vatican because Pope Benedict XVI condemned a jihad mass murder of Christians, and called on Egypt to protect religious minorities. And now Francis wants to restore “dialogue” with that same man.
How many Christians has the “dialogue” saved from Muslim persecution? How many churches has it saved from destruction?
“Pope Francis wants more dialogue with Islam. Is Egypt the key?,” by Andrea Gagliarducci,Catholic News Agency, February 25, 2016:
Vatican City, Feb 25, 2016 / 12:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- For Pope Francis, dialogue with Islam is a core issue. He recently voiced hopes to meet a major Sunni leader: the Grand Imam of al-Azhar Mosque, Ahmed el-Tayeb.
“I want to meet him. I know that he would like it,” the Pope said during his Feb. 18 in-flight press conference.
The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, headed by Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, is reaching out to al-Azhar Mosque
“We are looking for the way, always through Cardinal Tauran because it is the path, but we will achieve it,” Pope Francis said on his flight from Mexico to Italy.
The al-Azhar Mosque and its companion university are the most prominent institutions of Sunni Islam. Both institutions were founded in the 10th century. In 1961, the university added non-religious curricula.
el-Tayeb has been imam of the al-Azhar Mosque since his 2010 election. He was elected rector of the university in 2003. He is considered a moderate Sunni who has worked to prevent Islamic radicalization.
Father Miguel Ayuso Guixot, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, visited al-Azhar on Feb. 16 and met with the mosque’s deputy imam, Abbas Shuman. The Holy See Press Office said the two had a “cordial meeting.”
At this meeting, the priest invited the Grand Imam to meet with the Pope at the Vatican.
Among the many reasons this Feb. 16 meeting is noteworthy: al-Azhar had broken relations with the Vatican in 2011.
On Jan. 1 of that year, a major bombing took place in Alexandria. The attack on Coptic Christians killed 23 people.
In an immediate reaction, Benedict XVI labeled the attacks as “terrorism” that “brutally affected worshippers.” He characterized the attacks as part of a “strategy of violence” against Christians. He reiterated his concerns in his New Year’s speech to the corps of diplomats accredited to the Holy See. He asked protection for religious minorities.
el-Tayeb reacted negatively to these two statements. He blamed Benedict for “interference” in Egyptian internal affairs, which might result in a “negative political reaction” in the East and in Egypt.
Ever since, the Vatican and al-Azhar had no official ties for dialogue. However, Mahmoud Azab, a representative of the Grand Imam, took part in the Vatican launch of the Global Freedom Network, an initiative to counter human trafficking.
Recently, el-Tayeb has launched a multilingual satellite television broadcast. He has begun to revise education curricula in order to advance interreligious dialogue.
The dialogue with Islam is so important to Pope Francis that he elevated Fr. Ayuso to the rank of bishop. The appointment was announced Jan. 29. The bishop-designate is an expert in Islam and served as a professor in Cairo. After his ordination, his new rank will give him a major impact in his work to strengthen connections with the Islamic world, a commitment crucial to the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.
Cardinal Tauran and Fr. Ayuso had a private audience with Pope Francis Feb. 20. At this meeting they reported on the cardinal’s trip to Doha, the Qatari capital.
While Fr. Ayuso was in Cairo, Cardinal Tauran traveled to Qatar. There, he gave a speech at a two-day conference on the topic “Spiritual and Intellectual Security in Light of Religious Doctrines.” The conference was sponsored by the Doha International Center for Interfaith Dialogue.
In his remarks, Cardinal Tauran stressed that dialogue among religions is needed “now more than ever.” He asked his audience to pay greater attention towards “the message they convey to the youth.” He encouraged them to be “objective and respectful of legitimate differences” in ethnicity, religion, language, culture, and other categories.
As some work to secure the visit of al-Azhar’s Grand Imam to the Vatican, Pope Francis is also working to improve dialogue with Islam in Italy. He has accepted an invitation to visit the Mosque of Rome. The visit will likely take place April 10, according to a source involved in an Islamic association in Italy.
The Holy See is not ignoring dialogue with Shia Islam. Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani visited the Vatican Jan. 26. Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, gave a lecture in Qom, Iran on Feb. 6. The cardinal said that the social teaching of the Church is the key to fostering interreligious dialogue….

Saeed Khan

Muslim scholar tells Vatican conference that mercy is “the core of Islam”

SEE: below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:

For those in the audience who might have thought this claim risible in light of current events — although there may not have been any skeptics at all, since the room was full of Catholic theologians — Khan did say: that although mercy is “the core of Islam,” “Islam as an ideal and Islam as it is applied and as it is practiced by people” are not the same thing. Did he explain why Muslims in such large numbers not only fall short of Islam’s ideal of mercy, but actively reject the idea that it applies to unbelievers? Did he explain the implications of the Qur’an verse that explicitly rejects the extension of mercy to non-Muslims: “Muhammad is the apostle of Allah. Those who follow him are merciful to one another, ruthless to unbelievers” (48:29)? There is no indication from this report that he did so. And that raises the question of why not, and what his overall intentions were in giving this talk.
More below.
“Is a Catholic concept of mercy at the heart of true Islam?,” by Elise Harris, Catholic News Agency, February 27, 2016:
Vatican City, Feb 27, 2016 / 09:23 am (CNA).- Professor Saeed Khan, an expert in Islam, has said that mercy is central to the Muslim faith – a mercy with roots in Catholicism and which is opposed to the misguided, fundamentalist interpretations of some extremist groups.
Mercy is “the core of Islam,” Saeed Khan told CNA in a Feb. 25 interview, adding that the Muslim concept of mercy “is actually an expansion of Catholic notions of mercy.”…
Khan doesn’t seem to have explained how it came to be that Islam took this concept of mercy from Catholicism while rejecting core Catholic ideas such as the crucifixion of Christ (Qur’an 4:157), the divinity of Christ (Qur’an 5:17, 5:72), and the Trinity (Qur’an 4:171, 5:116), and saying that those who believe Jesus to be the Son of God are under Allah’s curse (Qur’an 9:30). More’s the pity: an honest discussion of Islam’s view of Christianity, encompassing a discussion of both how Christianity influenced Islam and why Islam ultimately rejected aspects of Christianity might have been genuinely illuminating, or at least more illuminating than what Khan appears to have offered: a staking-out of common ground that is only established by ignoring the aspects of Islam that contradict the picture being painted.
Khan is a lecturer for Detroit-based Wayne State University’s Department of Near East and Asian Studies. He teaches courses on Islamic and Middle East History, Islamic Civilizations and the History of Islamic Political Thought.
He was present in Rome as a speaker for a Feb. 25-26 conference organized by the Pontifical Council Cor Unum in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the publication of retired pontiff Benedict XVI’s first encyclical, “Deus Caritas Est,” meaning “God is love.”
The document was published Dec. 25, 2005, just eight months after his election as Bishop of Rome.
Conference participants came from all over the world to discuss the encyclical from theological and charitable perspectives, as well as the perspective of other religions such as Judaism and Islam.
Khan himself spoke on the first day of the conference, offering participants his perspective on the Muslim understanding of mercy.
In his comments to CNA, Khan said the Islamic concept of God’s closeness to humanity is that he “is closer to you than your own jugular vein.”
This shows that a very intimate relationship that exists which can only be infused by love, he said. “So when Pope Benedict XVI mentioned in his encyclical that the primacy of love and how God then manifests that love then to his creation that is also an Islamic concept.”
Khan said mercy is also closely linked to the concept of charity. In Islam, charity is “a devise of mercy” that goes beyond providing material needs such as food and clothing, but reaches the spiritual level, he said.
As an example, he pointed to a famous saying of the Prophet Mohamed that “even a smile is a form of charity” since it forms a human connection. This is especially true, he said, at a time when humanity is becoming increasingly more impersonal, despite advancements in technology and communications.
“Abu Dharr narrated that the Messenger of Allah said: ‘Your smiling in the face of your brother is charity, commanding good and forbidding evil is charity, your giving directions to a man lost in the land is charity for you. Your seeing for a man with bad sight is a charity for you, your removal of a rock, a thorn or a bone from the road is charity for you. Your pouring what remains from your bucket into the bucket of your brother is charity for you.'” (Jami at-Tirmidhi 4.1.1956) Notice that Khan left out the “in the face of your brother” part, which suggests that only smiling at fellow Muslims, not non-Muslims, is charity.
However, while mercy is “the core of Islam,” there is tragically a difference between “Islam as an ideal and Islam as it is applied and as it is practiced by people,” Khan said, noting that the same can be said of any religion.
“Unfortunately there are people who will invoke the name of Islam to all kinds of unspeakable and egregious things,” he said.
“Those may claim to be believers who act out in such vengeful and violent ways, but again, it is such an anomaly and such an aberration from the divine message that it’s very difficult to be able to say with a certain straight face that this is really what God intended.”
Here again, it would have been refreshing if Khan had discussed some of these Qur’an verses and explained how they’re consistent with a message of mercy and not with being vengeful or violent:
2:191-193: “And slay them wherever you come upon them, and expel them from where they expelled you; persecution is more grievous than slaying. But fight them not by the Holy Mosque until they should fight you there; then, if they fight you, slay them — such is the recompense of unbelievers, but if they give over, surely Allah is All-forgiving, All-compassionate. Fight them, till there is no persecution and the religion is Allah’s; then if they give over, there shall be no enmity save for evildoers.”
4:34: “Men are the managers of the affairs of women for that Allah has preferred in bounty one of them over another, and for that they have expended of their property. Righteous women are therefore obedient, guarding the secret for Allah’s guarding. And those you fear may be rebellious admonish; banish them to their couches, and beat them. If they then obey you, look not for any way against them; Allah is All-high, All-great.”
4:89: “They wish that you should disbelieve as they disbelieve, and then you would be equal; therefore take not to yourselves friends of them, until they emigrate in the way of Allah; then, if they turn their backs, take them, and slay them wherever you find them; take not to yourselves any one of them as friend or helper.”
5:33: “This is the recompense of those who fight against Allah and His Messenger, and hasten about the earth, to do corruption there: they shall be slaughtered, or crucified, or their hands and feet shall alternately be struck off; or they shall be banished from the land. That is a degradation for them in this world; and in the world to come awaits them a mighty chastisement.”
5:38: “And the thief, male and female: cut off the hands of both, as a recompense for what they have earned, and a punishment exemplary from Allah; Allah is All-mighty, All-wise.”
8:12: “When thy Lord was revealing to the angels, ‘I am with you; so confirm the believers. I shall cast into the unbelievers’ hearts terror; so smite above the necks, and smite every finger of them!”
8:39: “Fight them, till there is no persecution and the religion is Allah’s entirely; then if they give over, surely Allah sees the things they do.”
8:60: “Make ready for them whatever force and strings of horses you can, to terrify thereby the enemy of Allah and your enemy, and others besides them that you know not; Allah knows them. And whatsoever you expend in the way of Allah shall be repaid you in full; you will not be wronged.”
9:5: “Then, when the sacred months are drawn away, slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them, and confine them, and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they repent, and perform the prayer, and pay the alms, then let them go their way; Allah is All-forgiving, All-compassionate.”
9:29: “Fight those who do not believe in Allah or the Last Day, and do not forbid what has been forbidden by Allah and his Apostle, and do not acknowledge the religion of Truth, even if they are of the People of the Book, until they pay the jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” (Qur’an 9:29)
9:111: “Allah has bought from the believers their selves and their possessions against the gift of Paradise; they fight in the way of Allah; they kill, and are killed; that is a promise binding upon Allah in the Torah, and the Gospel, and the Koran; and who fulfils his covenant truer than Allah? So rejoice in the bargain you have made with Him; that is the mighty triumph.”
9:123: “O believers, fight the unbelievers who are near to you; and let them find in you a harshness; and know that Allah is with the godfearing.”
47:4: “When you meet the unbelievers, smite their necks, then, when you have made wide slaughter among them, tie fast the bonds; then set them free, either by grace or ransom, till the war lays down its loads. So it shall be; and if Allah had willed, He would have avenged Himself upon them; but that He may try some of you by means of others. And those who are slain in the way of Allah, He will not send their works astray.”
The professor said that instead, to get to the heart of true Islam one has to go back to the sources of [sic] in order to see the real divine message and understand what God is really mandating.
Mercy, Khan said, “is so embedded in Islam that in several places within the Quran it says ‘and establish regular prayer and charity.’”
Regular prayer (salat) and charity (zakat) are two of the five pillars of Islam. Muslims are obligated to perform them. Zakat, however, is restricted to Muslims only. Khan doesn’t seem to have touched on the crucial question: does Islam extend mercy to unbelievers? Did he mention that sura 9, the chapter of the Qur’an containing the exhortation to wage war against and subjugate the People of the Book, is the only one of the Qur’an’s 114 chapters that does not begin with Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim — “In the name of Allah, the compassionate, the merciful”? The Islamic scholar Al-Hakim says that Muhammad not only didn’t recite the Bismillah himself when reciting this chapter, but commanded that it not be recited. Why not? The Tafsir al-Jalalayn explains Muhammad’s command by saying that the Bismillah “is security, and [sura 9] was sent down when security was removed by the sword. One of Muhammad’s earliest followers, Ali ibn Abi Talib, agrees, saying that the Bismillah “conveys security while this sura was sent down with the sword. That is why it does not begin with security.” The Tafsir al-Jalalayn adds that “Hudhayfa reports that they called it the Sura of Repentance, while it is, in fact, the Sura of Punishment.” Punishment, that is, of the unbelievers.
He noted how two of the 99 attributes Muslims recognize in God are “all-merciful” and “ever-merciful.” These phrases, he added, are invoked at least 17 different times during the five daily prayers Muslims recite throughout the day.
Yes, because they’re in the Fatihah, the Qur’an’s first chapter, which pious Muslims will recite 17 times during the five daily prayers. The final two verses of the Fatihah ask Allah: “Guide us to the straight path, the path of those upon whom you have bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked anger or of those who are astray.” The traditional Islamic understanding of this is that the “straight path” is Islam — cf. Islamic apologist John Esposito’s book Islam: The Straight Path — while the path “of those who have evoked Allah’s anger” are the Jews, and those who have gone “astray” are the Christians. The classic Qur’anic commentator Ibn Kathir explains that “the two paths He described here are both misguided,” and that those “two paths are the paths of the Christians and Jews, a fact that the believer should beware of so that he avoids them. The path of the believers is knowledge of the truth and abiding by it. In comparison, the Jews abandoned practicing the religion, while the Christians lost the true knowledge. This is why ‘anger’ descended upon the Jews, while being described as ‘led astray’ is more appropriate of the Christians.” This is the view of Tabari, Zamakhshari, the Tafsir al-Jalalayn, the Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn Abbas, and Ibn Arabi, as well as Ibn Kathir. Did Khan discuss this? Why not?
The terms are also invoked by Muslims before they embark on “any act or deed,” so therefore the concept of an all-merciful God also exists in Islam, the professor explained.
When it comes to verses in the Quran supporting vengeance and violence such as death by the sword, Khan said that Islam is “a totalistic religion” which also provides instructions on what to do in a time of war, persecution or when one’s life is threatened.
He acknowledged that there are sanctions for war and for committing physical violence in the Quran, but said they are “a last resort,” and are heavily regulated to societies that would otherwise be “very unregulated, very anarchic, even more brutal than they already are.”
It is a shame that none of the assembled Catholic theologians asked him at that point if he thought that the Islamic State was misusing these sanctions for war, and if so, in exactly what way.
But of course none of them did. “Catholic-Muslim dialogue,” you see, is not really about genuine discussion or trying to come to new understandings. It’s just a feelgood session for the Catholics, who go away congratulating themselves on how ecumenical and open-minded they are, and a sly dawah session for the Muslims. And this goes on right in the Vatican, where there ought to be at least someone who knows better, but clearly there isn’t.