Vibrant Jewish communities were reborn in Europe after the Holocaust. Is there a future for them in the 21st century?
Find out here.
Vibrant Jewish communities were reborn in Europe after the Holocaust. Is there a future for them in the 21st century?
Find out here.
Turkey is reclaiming its jihadi past, while Europe is simultaneously erasing its own Christian heritage.
While unrest in Turkey continues to capture attention, more subtle and more telling events concerning the Islamification of Turkey — and not just at the hands of Prime Minister Erdogan but majorities of Turks — are quietly transpiring. These include the fact that Turkey’s Hagia Sophia museum is on its way to becoming a mosque. Why does the fate of an old building matter?
Because Hagia Sophia — Greek for “Holy Wisdom” — was for some thousand years Christianity’s greatest cathedral. Built in 537 A.D. in Constantinople, the heart of the Christian empire, it was also a stalwart symbol of defiance against an ever encroaching Islam from the east.
After parrying centuries of jihadi thrusts, Constantinople was finally sacked by Ottoman Turks in 1453. Its crosses desecrated and icons defaced, Hagia Sophia — as well as thousands of other churches — was immediately converted into a mosque, the tall minarets of Islam surrounding it in triumph.
Then, after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, as part of several reforms, secularist Ataturk transformed Hagia Sophia into a “neutral” museum in 1934 — a gesture of goodwill to a then-triumphant West from a then-crestfallen Turkey.
Thus the fate of this ancient building is full of portents. And according to Hurriyet Daily News, “A parliamentary commission is considering an application by citizens to turn the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul into a mosque…. A survey conducted with 401 people was attached to the application, in which more than 97 percent of interviewees requested the transformation of the ancient building into a mosque and afterwards for it to be reopened for Muslim worship.”
Even lesser known is the fact that other historic churches are currently being transformed into mosques, such as a 13thcentury church building — portentously also named Hagia Sophia — in Trabzon. After the Islamic conquest, it was turned into a mosque. But because of its “great historical and cultural significance” for Christians, it too, during Turkey’s secular age, was turned into a museum and its frescoes restored. Yet local authorities recently decreed that its Christian frescoes would again be covered and the church/museum turned into a mosque.
Similarly, the 5th century Studios Monastery, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, is set to become an active mosque. And the existence of the oldest functioning Christian monastery in the world, 5th century Mor Gabriel Monastery, is at risk. Inhabited today by only a few dozen Christians dedicated to learning the monastery’s teachings, the ancient Aramaic language spoken by Jesus, and the Orthodox Syriac tradition, neighboring Muslims filed a lawsuit accusing the monks of practicing “anti-Turkish activities” and of illegally occupying land which belongs to Muslim villagers. The highest appeals court in Ankara ruled in favor of the Muslim villagers, saying the land that had been part of the monastery for 1,600 years is not its property, absurdly claiming that the monastery was built over the ruins of a mosque — even though Muhammad was born 170 years after the monastery was built.
Turkey’s Christian minority, including the Orthodox Patriarch, are naturally protesting this renewed Islamic onslaught against what remains of their cultural heritage — to deaf ears…
And from the conclusion:
Indeed, at a time when Turkey is openly reclaiming its jihadi heritage, Europeans are actively erasing their Christian heritage which for centuries kept the Islamic jihad at bay. Among other capitulations, Europeans are currently betraying church buildings to Muslims to convert to mosques and scrubbing references of the historic Turkish jihads against Europe from classroom textbooks, lest Muslim students be offended.
Meanwhile, here are neighboring Turkey’s Muslims openly praising the same jihadi warlords who brutally conquered a portion of Europe centuries ago, converting thousands of churches into mosques, even as they openly prepare to finish the job — which may not even require force, as Europe actively sells its own soul.
Theology and Society reports:
A Paris museum — subsidized by the French government — opened an exhibition of photos of Palestinian suicide bombers, that the museum calls “freedom fighters,” the France 24 website reports today (June 12, 2013).
The exhibition of 68 photos — entitled “Death” by Ahlam Shibli — opened on May 28 at the Jeu de Paume Museum of Contemporary Art in Paris.
The museum’s website describes suicide bombers as “those who lost their lives fighting against the (Israeli) occupation,” and the exhibition as being about “the efforts of Palestinian society to preserve their presence.”
According to CRIF (Representative Council of the Jewish Institutions in France) — the umbrella body of French Jewish communities – the people commemorated in the photos are “mostly from the [Fatah-affiliated] al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades [of Hamas], and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.” All three are designated by the European Union as terrorist groups.
France… another soon to be Islamic state… What else should we expect?
Over at First Things:
A recently released report by the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians (a nonprofit group based in Austria) supplements and confirms Paul Coleman’s article in our June/July issue about discrimination against Christians in Europe.
The report documents numerous restrictions on religious freedom—related to conscientious objection, hate speech and anti-discrimination laws, education, and more—and incidents of anti-Christian vandalism and discrimination in more than thirty European countries last year.
Collectively these demonstrate (to quote Mark Movsesian’s post from this morning) how “governments [in the West] seem willing to require traditional Christians to give up their religious convictions as the price for entering the marketplace, or even doing charitable work.”
The organization’s director Dr. Gudrun Kugler answered a common objection to that claim in an address she delivered to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe:
Sometimes I get asked, how can a majority be discriminated against? Well, it is not the nominal Christian who is fully aligned to society’s mainstream, who suffers discrimination. It is those who strive to live according to the high ethical demands of Christianity, who experience a clash. Those are not the majority.
In other words, one can certainly call oneself a Christian without facing any kind of difficulty. It is not Christian identity but the freedom to preach and live out traditional Christian beliefs that is imperiled in Europe.
The full report is available here as a PDF.
The Commission of the European Union has demanded that Slovenia remove the halos from its new Euro coin commemorating the 1,150th anniversary of the arrival of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Moravia. A spokeswoman for the Bank of Slovenia explained their decision to comply with the European Comissions demands:
‘The European Commission and some member states have asked Slovakia to remove some symbols from the draft coin to comply with the principle of religious neutrality. We believe the final coin will be a dignified combination of a symbol of state and a symbol of Christianity,”
The European Commission defended its insistence that Slovenia remove the halos from Cyril and Methodius:
“Under EU rules, when designing the national side of a euro coin, Member States are required to take into account that the coins will circulate throughout the whole eurozone, and in that context, proposed designs are shared in advance with other Member States so that they can provide any comments they deem appropriate.
The Commission acknowledged that some members states objected to the coin, adding that Slovakia submitted a slightly amended design, “which has now been approved by the [EU] Council of Ministers.”
Protect the Pope comment: The European Commission’s demand that Slovenia remove the Christian symbol of sanctity that has been included on coins throughout Europe for thousands of years is yet another attack on our common Christian heritage. In the censored coin St. Cyril and St. Methodius have been reduced to the stature of mundane historical figures, their eternal significance and role as intercessors and exemplars of sanctity removed from the public arena. The secular reformation of Europe continues to impose its intolerant ideology under the guise of ‘religious neutrality’.
Lest an offence is caused. Christmas cancelled in Brussels.
Here’s a little something from Friends of Hungary.
THE END OF CHRISTIANITY IN BRUSSELS – NO CHRISTMAS THIS YEAR
According to Brussels city government’s representative Bianca Debaets Brussels will not place a Christmas tree on its historical Grand Place square, because the tree, as a symbol of Christianity, could harm the feelings of people of other faiths. The electronic timber that has been granted and already placed is called “winter tree”. The “Christmas market” thus receives a new name, from which the word “Christmas” is missing. (The muslim community reached 25% of Brussel’s total population. According to most analysts the size and influence of the muslim community in Belgium was a key factor in making the decision.)
“The second reason for my hope lies in the fact that the Gospel of Jesus Christ, faith in Jesus Christ is quite simply true and the truth never ages.” — Pope Benedict XVI, Interview, October 15, 2012.
Read on here.
Arutz Sheva reports:
Europe’s Churches Becoming Mosques
Islam has risen, and is swallowing up Europe at an alarming rate Europe’s churches are being bought up and turned into mosques at the rate of up to 2 churches a week, reports Giulio Meotti, an Italian journalist, who wrote an article: Expose`: Europe Turns Churches into Mosques and appeared on Arutz Sheva’s Tamar Yonah Show.
“What we are seeing is the de-Christianization of Europe, and then the Islamification of it.” Meotti stated.
Rich Arab countries are investing in Europe and buying it up church by church, city by city, country by country. Meotti speaks about money from Arab oil-rich countries buying up Christian community centers, and turning them in to Muslim community centers. This trend has picked up speed and cannot be hidden anymore by European liberal leaders. Meotti breaks and exposes the silence that cannot be ignored. A must listen!
Also, ‘Dan, the Guy Who Works With Leftists’ joins Tamar and talks about the hypocrisy of the liberal left that stand for women’s & minority rights, yet supports unbridled Islamic growth, influence and power.
Listen to the audio here.
Time to wake up yet?
A church in the central French town of Vierzon may be converted to a mosque, as Muslims across Europe are converting empty churches to fit their faith – but some locals are worried about the threat of radicalism
Vierzon has six churches, and in order to balance the books, the diocese is selling one of them off. A Moroccan organization is in talks to convert the church of St. Eloi into a mosque, although a final decision has yet to be reached.
With a nave of 26 meters, it can accommodate 200 people and is up for sale for €170,000.
Alain Krauth, the pastor of Notre Dame de Vierzon, explained to weekly newsmagazine Le Nouvel Observateur, “We must keep the buildings; Vierzon has experienced a population decline in recent years, the Christian community is not as important as it used o be in the past.”
“The church is modern and easy to re-arrange – it will be easy to sell,” he added.
Father Krauth explained that questionnaires have been distributed to the community about the proposed sale. “Some of the faithful rejoice that the place will be bought by members of the Muslim community – by believers in moderate Islam – but others were offended and fear radical Islam,” the priest reflected.
With about six per cent of EU citizens today identifying as Muslim, and that number set to grow, more and more churches are set to become mosques.
Nearly 150 new mosques are currently under construction to house France’s nearly five million Muslims, who make up about 7.5 per cent of the country’s population. France is home to the EU’s largest national Muslim community.
Attempts by European governments to unite the diverse cultures and religious groups living side by side in the continent’s cities have not always been successful, with tensions remaining between the Muslim and Christian populations in many countries.
Alcala de Henares, Spain — Cash-strapped officials in Europe are looking for a way to ease their financial burden by upending centuries of tradition and seeking to tap one of the last untouched sources of wealth: the Catholic Church.
Thousands of public officials who have seen the financial crisis hit their budgets are chipping away at the various tax breaks and privileges the church has enjoyed for centuries.
But the church is facing its own money troubles. Offerings from parishioners have nosedived, and it has been accused of using shady bank accounts and hiding suspect transactions.
Now, along come officials like Ricardo Rubio.
Rubio, a city council member in Alcala, is leading an effort to impose a tax on all church property used for non-religious purposes. The financial impact on the Catholic Church could be devastating. As one of the largest landowners in Spain — with holdings that include schools, homes, parks, sports fields and restaurants — the church could owe up to 3 billion euros in taxes each year.
“We want to make a statement that the costs of the crisis should be borne equally by every person and institution,” said Rubio, a 36-year-old former accountant in his first term in office.
Similar efforts that target church coffers or powers are underway in neighboring countries. In Italy, Prime Minister Mario Monti has called for a tax on church properties or on those portions of properties that have a commercial purpose. In Ireland, the minister of education is fighting to end church control of many of the country’s primary schools, and the government has slashed in half the grants it gives poor families for first Communions. More than half the city councils in Britain have eliminated state subsidies for transportation to faith-based schools, leading to a precipitous drop in enrollment…
Read more from what is a generally negative article in The Washington Post here. All doom and gloom…