Amel Shimoun Nona, the Chaldean Catholic archbishop of Mosul, Iraq, who is now living in exile, warned that his diocese is now run by radical Muslims and that “liberal and democratic principles are worth nothing here,” adding that “Islam does not say that all men are equal,” and if Westerners “do not understand this soon enough, you will become the victims of the enemy you have welcomed into your home.”
The Chaldean Catholic Church is an Eastern Rite church, under the authority of Pope Francis. In an interview with Corriere della Sera, Archbishop Amel Nona, now living in exile in Erbil, in Kurdistan Iraq, commented on his diocese in Mosul being overrun by radical Islamists.
“Our sufferings today are the prelude of those that you, Europeans and Western Christians, will also suffer in the near future,” said the archbishop. “I lost my diocese. The physical setting of my apostolate has been occupied by Islamic radicals who want us converted or dead. But my community is still alive.”
“Please, try to understand us,” he said. “Your liberal and democratic principles are worth nothing here. You must consider again our reality in the Middle East, because you are welcoming in your countries an ever growing number of Muslims.”
“Also, you are in danger,” said the archbishop. “You must take strong and courageous decisions, even at the cost of contradicting your principles.”
“You think all men are equal, but that is not true: Islam does not say that all men are equal,” said Archbishop Nona. “Your values are not their values. If you do not understand this soon enough, you will become the victims of the enemy you have welcomed in your home.”
I’m Catholic light: half the religion, half the guilt.
I inevitably end up wondering about the faith of someone when they die. Turns out, Robin Williams:
… was born in Chicago, Illinois and grew up outside of Detroit, Michigan.
Williams’ father was Episcopalian and his mother was a devout Christian Scientist. Though Williams is not very religious today, he considers the possibility that his mother’s faith and its idea of “mind over matter” helped him kick his drug and alcohol addictions.
It’s difficult to know when Williams is being serious about religion or if it’s all part of the act. He now seems to identify Episcopalian–like his father–which he describes as “Catholic light: half the religion, half the guilt.”
But God is often the subject of his jokes…
He died of asphyxia by hanging.
Oscar-winning actor and renowned comedian Robin Williams hanged himself in his California home and died by asphyxia, a coroner said on Tuesday based on preliminary findings.
Williams, 63, was found dead by his personal assistant at midday on Monday, suspended from a belt wedged between a door and a door frame in a seated position just of the ground, Marin County’s assistant chief deputy coroner, Keith Boyd, told a news conference.
“Mr. Williams’ personal assistant became concerned at approximately 11:45 am when he failed to respond to knocks on his bedroom door,” said Boyd.
“His right shoulder area was touching the door with his body perpendicular to the door and slightly suspended. Mr. Williams at that time was cool to the touch with rigor mortis present in his body,” Boyd added.
Officials also found a pocket knife near Williams and cuts with dried blood on his wrist that matched the knife blade.
Williams had been seeking treatment for depression, Boyd said. He would not discuss if had left a suicide note.
Funeral arrangements would be decided by the family…
“A land that the Lord your God cares for. The eyes of the Lord your God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.” (Deuteronomy 11:12)
Over the more than month long Operation Protective Edge conflict between Hamas terrorists and the IDF, a strikingly few number of civilian casualties have been suffered on the Israeli side.
Over 3,356 rockets have been fired at Israel, with that number rising everyday, and only four people have been killed as a result of rocket fire. While Israel’s Iron Dome is a wonder to behold and responsible for maintaining the safety of Israeli civilians from rocket fire, the numbers show that only 578 rockets were destroyed by Iron Dome Interceptions, or roughly 17 percent of all rockets fired at Israel.
Simple statistics show that there is something extraordinary occurring here.
Whether one chooses to believe that providence is behind the overwhelming number of misfired rockets or not, one must admit that the number of casualties should in theory be higher. After all, Hamas is quite experienced when it comes to rocket fire at Israel, having more than 14 years of experience.
Combine the above observation with the somewhat historical and biblical outlook of the Israeli public and military, and one is bound to come away with a viewpoint that at the very least recognizes the possibility of divine protection or intervention, thus setting the stage for the myriad of ‘bonafide’ stories telling of divine intervention sprouting forth like wildfire on social media networks in Israel…
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis in the Telegraph.
I welcome the much needed ceasefire in Gaza and pray that it will lead to a lasting, long-term resolution of a bitter and tragic conflict.
However, the prospect of a lasting cessation of hostilities between a Hamas-controlled Gaza and Israel will only be achieved if root causes of the conflict are fully addressed.
What we have witnessed in Gaza is not a conflict between Israel and the Palestinians but a war between Israel and Hamas – a ruthless terrorist organisation.
Within the last month alone, Hamas has fired over 3,000 missiles at population centres in Israel. In its deep-rooted desire to murder and cause maximum damage, Hamas does not distinguish between Jew, Muslim and Christian, so hell-bent is it on killing Israelis…
Today a new and advanced version of Hitler is risen and his name is Abu Bakir Albagdadhi, he is carrying out the second Holocaust in our world, by targeting the Christians in Mesopotamia, and Humiliating, Killing, and displacing them, and marking them with a sign (N) which refers to Nasara, as a humiliation to the Christians.
You have three choices:
- Convert to Islam.
- Remain as a (Themi: a weak and undermined status of citizen) and pay an unknown amount of weakly tax
- Leave Mosul OR: The Sword is between us.
This is what ISIS (The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) leaders told Christian (Chaldean Assyrian Syriac) people of Nineveh to do.
The Christian heritage and history in Nineveh goes back to more than 5000 years. Their ancestors built this city, made it one of the wonders of the ancient world, a beautiful example of Assyrian Chaldean history.
Today, and for the first time since 3000 BC Chaldean Assyrian Syriac people, and since 2000 years as Christians of Mosul, Nineveh is empty of its indigenous people.
More than one thousand and one hundred Christian families have fled Mousil to Kurdistan Region. Now the territories of Nineveh plain are protected by the Peshmarga and Asayesh (Kurdistan Army and Security forces) for the first time since the fall of Baath regime in 2003.
Those displaced families lost their jobs, their homes, and whatever property and belongings they had collected in decades got lost at a glance by a word of the new extremist Khalipha Albagdadi!
This systematic and ongoing ethnic cleansing and demographic changing against the Christians people started in 2004 when several churches in the middle and south of Iraq were targeted and blown up.
As a result, 11 Christians were killed and dozens injured. In the same year, more than 196 Christians were kidnapped and 322 were killed according to the report published Hamurabi Human Rights Organazation.
The series of attacks on Christians continued.
Several clergymen, bishops and priests were kidnapped and killed.
The campaign reached its peak when the bishop of Chaldean Catholic Church (Mar Polis Faraj Rahoo) was kidnapped and killed together with three of his companions in Mousil in 2008. In 2010, more than 46 Christians were killed. The extremists attacked and blew Saydat Alnajat church up in Baghdad. Two Syriac Catholic Priests were killed in the same attack.
Not only the Christian churches were destroyed, the individual Christians were attacked and persecuted too.
The Christian students were forced to wear Islamic clothes in universities in Mousil and Baghdad. And in 2010, the buses carrying the Christians students were attacked by Al-Qaida terrorists, two students and another person were killed. In addition, more than 23 others were seriously injured.
According to “Alsharq Alawsat”, a well-known newspaper, 52 Christian churches were attacked between 2004-2010 and more than 900 Christians were killed and more than one million Christians have fled Iraq.
Most of the Christians, who were unwilling to leave their homes and their town, had no choice but to move to Kurdistan.
Many of them fled also to Ankawa, a town located in the north of Erbil. It was a town of 8000 Christians inhabitants before 2003. Now there are more than 55000 Christians that are living peacefully under the good care of the Kurdistan Regional Government. Others fled to Duhok , Zakho , and Sulamania provinces.
Historically, the Christians have been living in peace and harmony with the Kurdish Muslim majority.
The President of Kurdistan, Mr. Masoud Barzani, last week said to the Christian clergy representatives: “In Kurdistan either we all die, or live together in freedom and dignity.” And this manifests the true nature of the Kurdish Government and people towards Christians of this region and towards the Christian refugees.
The same day, Neqademos Dawod Maty Sharaf , the Bishop of Syriac Orthdox Church said on the radio < Russia Today’ “Without the protection of Kurdistan, the Christians would have been slaughtered by the ISIS.”
Today and after 11 years of the American intervention in Iraq, the Christian existence is in serious danger. More than 25 Christian families are fleeing Iraq every week according to local travel agencies and the number is increasing!
So, what is the best solution to protect the Christians in Iraq?
There are several proposals argued between the different Christian and Chaldean Assyrian parties:
Firstly, the autonomy for Christians : this proposal was made by the Christian politician Sarges Aga Gan Mamando, the former Minister of Finance and the Deputy Prime Minister of Kurdistan Regional Government. The draft of the right of getting autonomy within Kurdistan Region was submitted to voting in the Parliament in 2009.
This proposal is widely supported by the Christian political parties such as (Chaldean Syriac Assyrian popular council, Chaldean national congress, Bith Nahrin Democratic Party, Assyrian National party, Chaldean Democratic Platform, Bith Nahrin National Union, and Syriac Independent Movement).
Secondly, the self-governing province for Christians: this proposal was mentioned in the Iraqi constitution in 2005 and was supported by the Christian politician Younadam Yousif Kanna, the Member of the Iraqi Parliament and the former Minister of Industry in the Kurdistan Regional Government. This proposal was supported by Kannas (Assyrian Democratic Movement) as well.
Today the Christians people of Mesopotamia are at a crossroads, either to act fast and defend and preserve their existence in their ancestral historical land, or to face a similar destiny as the Jews in Iraq between 1948-1963. As we know, the Jews were targeted and killed for their religious identity. As a result, the whole Jewish population fled Iraq to Palestine.
In today’s synagogue service, Jews throughout the world will read the opening chapters of the book of Deuteronomy (1:1-3.22). Verses 1:41-44 recount the Jews’ response to the admonishment of Moses:
Then you [the Jews] answered and said to me [Moses], we have sinned against G-d; we will go up and fight, as the Lord our G-d commanded us. And when you donned your armour, you made light of going up into the hill country.
And G-d said to me: say to them. Neither go up, nor fight, lest you be struck down by your enemies; because I am not in your midst.
So I spoke to you; but you would not listen, rebelling against the commandment of G-d, presumptuously going up into the hill country.
And the Emorites, which dwelt in that hill country, came out against you, and chased you, as bees do, and destroyed you from Seir, as far as Chormah.
His Grace was sent this exposition yesterday (by a Jewish communicant [before the onset of the Sabbath]):
The early mediæval Rabbinic commentator, Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki, universally known by the acronym “Rashi”, explains that just as bees die immediately after stinging, so did the Emorites die following their attacks on the Jews. Rabbi Yitzchok Zev Soloveitchik (1886-1959) asks the question: “Why does the Bible inform us (indirectly) what happened to the Emorites, when the principal purpose of the verses would seem to be to inform the Jews of the dire consequences of disobeying G-d’s word?” He answers that it is to tell us of the level of hatred the Emorites bore us, and that we should be under no illusions that the enemies of the Jews will never willingly decease from their attacks, irrespective of the consequences.
In similar vein, the verses in Psalm 118:10-12 read: “The nations surround me; in the name of G-d they will be struck down. They surround me, they also surround me. In the name of G-d they will be struck down. They surround me like bees. They will be consumed as a fire burns thorns. In the name of G-d they will be struck down.”
The commentators explain that initially the anti-Semites besiege us. If the initial siege looks as if it will be breached, they re-double their efforts by re-encircling the previous siege lines. If this too fails, they attack us with reckless disregard for their own safety. Our only protection is a recognition of the power of G-d; but with that, they can be destroyed as comprehensively as a fire destroys a dry thorn bush.
The symbolism of the thorn bush is perhaps that it appears impregnable, with devastatingly sharp thorns; it is unbelievably hardy with an ability to survive with minimal water (which itself represents Torah because of its life-giving properties as a channel between G-d and man). It also bears no useful fruit. However, when attacked through the appropriate medium, it consumes itself speedily and with ferocity, precisely because it contains so little water/Torah.
This is meaty stuff for the Christian, too. In Deuteronomy, Moses is not simply explaining the laws of God: he is earnestly enjoining them upon the consciences of his people, and urging them to pursue a holy life under the Covenant. Israel’s greatest peril is idolatry, which is to be resisted and suppressed with uncompromising severity. Faithfulness to the Covenant will be rewarded by material benefits; violation and disregard of the Covenant will be punished by material disaster and, ultimately, exile.
The overriding lesson which pervades the whole of the Old Testament is that a nation that turns its back on the Lord will be judged. And God will use the enemies of that nation to mete out that judgment. You might think this absurd, but the work of the Holy Spirit in bringing judgment is ongoing:
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
Of sin, because they believe not on me;
Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged (Jn 16:7-11).
God, sin, righteousness and judgment are real and present: they determine the meaning of the life that we are given to live in this age. But this age repudiates God, mocks sin, scorns righteousness and laughs in the face of judgment. It is no wonder that the thorn bush is being consumed.
The ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh, once the most powerful capital of the ancient world, has special importance for anyone familiar with the Bible. It was the setting for the book of Jonah, a place to which God sent the prophet to warn its inhabitants of impending destruction unless they repented of their evil ways.
Today it is known as Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq. And last week, almost unnoticed amid the horrific stream of news about violence in the Mideast, a fresh casualty of Islamic extremism was the towering structure that contained the tomb of Jonah. Militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham who blew up the prophet’s tomb either didn’t know or didn’t care that it was Muhammad himself who, in the Quran, described Jonah as “a righteous preacher of the message of God.”