Tuesday, September 2, 2014

American Journalist Steven Sotloff Beheaded by Islamic State (ISIS)

Steven Joel Sotloff was an American journalist who was captured by jihadists in Syria in 2013. The Islamic State (ISIS) has released a video of his beheading. Meanwhile, politicians and the media continue to protect the ideology that led to Sotloff's death.
(CNN) — The ISIS terror group has published a video titled "A second message to America," showing the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff.

The video also threatens the life of British captive, David Haines.

Sotloff speaks to the camera before he is killed, saying he is "paying the price" for U.S. intervention.

The masked ISIS figure in the video speaks to U.S. President Barack Obama, telling him, "Just as your missiles continue to strike our people, our knife will continue to strike the necks of your people."

Last week, Sotloff's mother Shirley Sotloff released a video pleading with ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi not to kill her son.

"Steven is a journalist who traveled to the Middle East to cover the suffering of Muslims at the hands of tyrants. Steven is a loyal and generous son, brother and grandson," she said. "He is an honorable man and has always tried to help the weak."

Sotloff appeared last month in an ISIS video showing the decapitation of another American journalist, James Foley. The militant in the video warned that Sotloff's fate depended on what President Barack Obama did next in Iraq. (Continue Reading.)
For a brief introduction to Muhammad's teachings about unbelievers, watch this video:

Monday, September 1, 2014

Jimmy Carter Promotes Sharia for the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)

Jimmy Carter, former President of the United States, recently spoke at the national convention of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), where he encouraged his listeners to donate to ISNA and to use the "principles of Allah" to bring justice to oppressed people.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Does Jesus Command His Followers to Kill People in Luke 19:27?

Following the example set by some of their top apologists, many Muslims are trying to deflect attention away from jihad by claiming that Jesus commanded his followers to slaughter his enemies in Luke 19:27. Here's an example from today, along with my response:


Here's the parable Jesus tells, beginning at verse 11 for context:
11 While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once. 12 He said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. 13 So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’

14 “But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’

15 “He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it.

16 “The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’

17 “‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’

18 “The second came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned five more.’

19 “His master answered, ‘You take charge of five cities.’

20 “Then another servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. 21 I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.’

22 “His master replied, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? 23 Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?’

24 “Then he said to those standing by, ‘Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.’

25 “‘Sir,’ they said, ‘he already has ten!’

26 “He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 27 But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me.’”
Of course, this parable obviously has something to do with Jesus. But that simply proves the point. Jesus is about to die and ascend to the Father. Jesus' return will be the final judgment, and Jesus tells us elsewhere that the angels will carry out his commands to execute judgment (see Matthew 13:41-43). So Luke 19:27, in its immediate context, is part of a story that has nothing to do with Jesus' disciples killing anyone. And even when it is interpreted as referring to the final judgment, the passage still has nothing to do with the disciples killing anyone, because "those standing by" are angels sent for judgment.

All deception by Muslim apologists aside, what does Jesus actually commands his followers to do? Here's the answer in Matthew 5:43-48:
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Islam, ISIS, and the Forced Conversion of Yazidis

The Islamic State (ISIS) recently released a video of dozens of Yazidis converting to Islam in order to avoid execution. Our leaders and the media continue to assure us that the actions of ISIS have nothing to do with Islam. Yet when we open the Muslim sources, we find Muhammad commanding his followers to fight people until they convert to Islam. How can obeying Muhammad's commands have nothing to do with Islam?

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Friday, August 29, 2014

France: Two Teenage Muslim Girls Arrested for Planning Suicide Attack on Great Synagogue of Lyon

Young Muslim teenagers are turning to terrorism left and right, yet the only response from our leaders is to keep saying, "This has nothing to do with Islam." If terrorism has nothing to do with Islam, why don't we see similar numbers of Christians, Jews, Buddhists, and Hindus becoming terrorists?
Newsweek—Two teenage girls have been arrested on suspicion of conspiring to blow up a synagogue in Lyon, French news websites have reported.

According to JSS News and Europe 1, a source from the French security agency the Central Directorate of Homeland Intelligence revealed that two Muslim girls, aged 15 and 17, were arrested in the Tarbes and Venissieux neighbourhoods a week ago, after authorities uncovered a plan to carry out a suicide bombing inside the Great Synagogue of Lyon. They were indicted on August 22nd for conspiracy to commit terrorism.

An unnamed security source also revealed that the two teenagers had never met, but communicated only via social media. “These girls were part of a network of young Islamists who were being monitored by security services,” said the unnamed security source. Security services are becoming increasingly concerned with online radicalisation, particularly following the proliferation of videos created by jihadist groups such as Islamic State. (Continue Reading.)
For a brief introduction to what Islam teaches about unbelievers, watch this:

Malaysian Women Joining ISIS for Sexual Jihad

Muhammad allowed his followers to practice a form of prostitution called "nikah al-mut'ah." Muslim men would agree to be married to a woman for a short period of time in order to have sex with her.

Some Muslim women are now convinced that they can please Allah by passing themselves around to jihadists.
Al-Arabiya—Three Malaysian women, apparently sympathetic to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), have reportedly travelled to the Middle East to offer themselves sexually to militants, an Malaysian intelligence official said in an interview published Wednesday.

“These women are believed to have offered themselves in sexual comfort roles to ISIS fighters,” the intelligence officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The Malaysian Insider.

He added: “This concept may seem controversial but it has arisen as certain Muslim women here are showing sympathy for the ISIS.”

So-called Jihad al-nikah, permitting extramarital sexual relations with multiple partners, is considered by fringe hardline Sunni Muslim Salafists as a legitimate form of holy war.

“Intelligence exchanged with other countries revealed that Sunni Muslim women from Australia and the United Kingdom had also joined up with ISIS,” said the intelligence official. (Continue Reading.)
For a brief discussion of nikah al-mut'ah, watch this:

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Sixteen Percent of French Citizens Support the Islamic State (ISIS)

For years, we've been assured by politicians and the media that only an unimaginably tiny minority of Muslims support violence and terrorism. Yet the number of Muslims in France who support the Islamic State (ISIS) is large enough to produce a 16% favorability rating for the terrorist group among all French citizens.

And yet our leader will continue to assure us that this has nothing to do with Islam.
Newsweek—One in six French citizens sympathises with the Islamist militant group ISIS, also known as Islamic State, a poll released this week found.

The poll of European attitudes towards the group, carried out by ICM for Russian news agency Rossiya Segodnya, revealed that 16% of French citizens have a positive opinion of ISIS. This percentage increases among younger respondents, spiking at 27% for those aged 18-24.

A recent Ifop poll placed French president Francois Hollande’s approval rating at just 18%.

The survey also tested attitudes in Britain and Germany and found that 7% of British citizens responded favourably to ISIS. However, UK polling showed an inverse demographic trend to that of France, with support for ISIS rising with age. 4% of 18-24-year-olds saying they either strongly or somewhat support ISIS, compared to 6% of 24-35-year-olds surveyed and 11% of 35-44-year-olds. Positive attitudes to ISIS in Germany showed less divergence, remaining between 3% and 4% for all age groups.

Newsweek’s France Correspondent, Anne-Elizabeth Moutet, was unsurprised by the news. “This is the ideology of young French Muslims from immigrant backgrounds,” she said, “unemployed to the tune of 40%, who’ve been deluged by satellite TV and internet propaganda.” She pointed to a correlation between support for ISIS and rising anti-Semitism in France, adding that “these are the same people who torch synagogues”. (Continue Reading.)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

1400 Children Sexually Exploited in Rotherham While Police and Social Workers Remained Silent Due to Fears of Being Labeled "Racists"

Police, social workers, and the media ignored pleas for help as more than a thousand young girls were abused by Muslim grooming gangs in Rotherham. Our leaders have been intimidated with labels like "racist" and "Islamophobe," so they turned a blind to the plight of children who were being brutally gang-raped.

Even now, the reports are focusing on the term "Asian" in order to avoid the obvious. These girls were not gang-raped because they were white and their abusers were Asian. They were gang-raped because they were non-Muslims and their abusers were Muslims.
BBC News—At least 1,400 children were subjected to appalling sexual exploitation in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013, a report has found.

Children as young as 11 were raped by multiple perpetrators, abducted, trafficked to other cities in England, beaten and intimidated, it said.

The report, commissioned by Rotherham Borough Council, revealed there had been three previous inquiries.

Council leader Roger Stone said he would step down with immediate effect.

Mr Stone, who has been the leader since 2003, said: "I believe it is only right that as leader I take responsibility for the historic failings described so clearly."

The inquiry team noted fears among council staff of being labelled "racist" if they focused on victims' descriptions of the majority of abusers as "Asian" men.

'Doused in petrol'

Professor Alexis Jay, who wrote the latest report, said there had been "blatant" collective failures by the council's leadership, senior managers had "underplayed" the scale of the problem and South Yorkshire Police had failed to prioritise the issue.

Prof Jay said: "No-one knows the true scale of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham over the years. Our conservative estimate is that approximately 1,400 children were sexually exploited over the full inquiry period, from 1997 to 2013."

Revealing details of the inquiry's findings, Prof Jay said: "It is hard to describe the appalling nature of the abuse that child victims suffered."

The inquiry team found examples of "children who had been doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight, threatened with guns, made to witness brutally violent rapes and threatened they would be next if they told anyone".

Five men from the town were jailed for sexual offences against girls in 2010, but the report said police "regarded many child victims with contempt".

District Commander for Rotherham, Ch Supt Jason Harwin said: "Firstly I'd like to start by offering an unreserved apology to the victims of child sexual exploitation who did not receive the level of service they should be able to expect from their local police force.

"We fully acknowledge our previous failings."

Ch Supt Harwin said the force had "overhauled" the way it dealt with such cases and had successfully prosecuted a number of abusers.

But he admitted: "I accept that our recent successes... will not heal the pain of those victims who have been let down."

'Racism' fear

The report found: "Several staff described their nervousness about identifying the ethnic origins of perpetrators for fear of being thought as racist; others remembered clear direction from their managers not to do so."

Failures by those charged with protecting children happened despite three reports between 2002 and 2006 which both the council and police were aware of, and "which could not have been clearer in the description of the situation in Rotherham".

Prof Jay said the first of these reports was "effectively suppressed" because senior officers did not believe the data. The other two were ignored, she said.

The inquiry team found that in the early-2000s when a group of professionals attempted to monitor a number of children believed to be at risk, "managers gave little help or support to their efforts".

The report revealed some people at a senior level in the police and children's social care thought the extent of the problem was being "exaggerated".

Prof Jay said: "The authorities involved have a great deal to answer for." (Continue Reading.)
To understand the Islamic rape wave in Great Britain, watch this:

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Obama's Escape from Planet Reality

Just minutes after defending Islam in a speech about the beheading of James Foley by the Islamic State (ISIS), President Barack Obama was back on the golf course. There's something quite significant and symbolic about the President rushing to the golf course to avoid the horrors of a beheading. It's analogous to the mental running our leaders have to do in order to avoid the truth about Islam.

American Convert Douglas McCain Dies Fighting for ISIS in Syria

Douglas McCain was raised as a Christian, but no one was concerned when he converted to Islam. He recently traveled to Syria to wage jihad in the name of Allah, as the Qur'an commands (see 9:29, 9:73, 9:111, 9:123, etc.). How many more converts need to die waging jihad before politicians and the media will start telling people the truth about Islam?
Douglas McCain
(CNN) — An American named Douglas McCain was killed last weekend in Syria, where he was fighting for ISIS, two U.S. officials told CNN.

The man's uncle, Ken McCain, said that his nephew had gone to fight as a jihadi and that the U.S. State Department told the family Monday about the death.

He died in a battle between rival extremist groups in the suburbs of Aleppo, Syria's once-bustling commercial capital and largest city, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based group that monitors the conflict.

Like the U.S. officials, the group described McCain as an ISIS fighter and said he was killed in a battle with the al-Nusra Front, an al Qaeda-linked organization that the U.S. government has blacklisted as a foreign terror organization.

According to his uncle, Douglas McCain's journey to Syria began sometime after he converted several years ago from Christianity to Islam.

The family wasn't alarmed by his conversion, but they became aware of Facebook posts sympathetic to ISIS, an Islamist terror group, when he traveled to what they believed to be Turkey.

U.S. counterterrorism investigators had been looking into Douglas McCain's activities for some time before his death, one U.S. official said.

He was among a list of Americans who are believed to have joined militant groups and who would be stopped and subjected to additional scrutiny if he traveled, according to the official. (Continue Reading.)
For a brief introduction to jihad, watch this:

Monday, August 25, 2014

Hollywood Condemns Muhammad

Nearly 200 people from the entertainment industry (including Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and many others) have signed a statement condemning the seventh article of the charter of Hamas as an "ideology of hatred and genocide." The statement reads:
We, the undersigned, are saddened by the devastating loss of life endured by Israelis and Palestinians in Gaza. We are pained by the suffering on both sides of the conflict and hope for a solution that brings peace to the region.

While we stand firm in our commitment to peace and justice, we must also stand firm against ideologies of hatred and genocide which are reflected in Hamas’ charter, Article 7 of which reads, “There is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!” The son of a Hamas founder has also commented about the true nature of Hamas.

Hamas cannot be allowed to rain rockets on Israeli cities, nor can it be allowed to hold its own people hostage. Hospitals are for healing, not for hiding weapons. Schools are for learning, not for launching missiles. Children are our hope, not our human shields.

We join together in support of the democratic values we all cherish and in the hope that the healing and transformative power of the arts can be used to build bridges of peace.
Interestingly, the quotation from article seven was taken directly from Muhammad himself. Hence, all of these entertainers have condemned Muhammad, Islam, and the Quran. For a complete list of signers, click here.

Here are my thoughts on the issue:


And here are the sources cited in the video:
Qur’an 4:34—Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High, Exalted, Great.

Qur’an 4:24—Also (prohibited are) women already married, except those whom your right hands possess . . . (See also 23:1-6; 33:50; 70:22-30.)
This verse isn't entirely clear, until we examine the historical background:
Sunan Abu Dawud 2150—The Apostle of Allah sent a military expedition to Awtas on the occasion of the battle of Hunain. They met their enemy and fought with them. They defeated them and took them captives. Some of the Companions of the Apostle of Allah were reluctant to have intercourse with the female captives in the presence of their husbands who were unbelievers. So Allah, the Exalted, sent down the Qur’anic verse: “And all married women (are forbidden) unto you save those (captives) whom your right hands possess.” That is to say, they are lawful for them when they complete their waiting period.

Qur’an 98:6—Verily, those who disbelieve (in the religion of Islam, the Qur'an and Prophet Muhammad) from among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) and Al-Mushrikun will abide in the Fire of Hell. They are the worst of creatures.

Sahih Muslim 6985—Allah’s Messenger said: The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews.
For more on Hollywood's condemnation of Hamas (and Muhammad), see the following articles:
"Stallone, Schwarzenegger Lead Hollywood Assault on Hamas"
"More Than 190 Hollywood Notables Sign Pro-Israel Statement Criticizing Hamas"

Friday, August 22, 2014

Islamic State Using Dolls to Train Children How to Behead Infidels

This is what the Islamic State (ISIS) calls "entertainment." Children are practicing beheadings on dolls. But let's keep telling ourselves that this has nothing to do with Islam.


There seem to be plenty of children being trained.

Luke 17:1-3—Jesus said to his disciples: "Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble. So watch yourselves."

Hamas Executes 18 Palestinians Suspected of Spying for Israel

Notice the chain of events. Hamas started the most recent conflict by kidnapping three Jewish teens. This led to back-and-forth rocket attacks resulting in more than 2,000 Palestinian deaths. Many Palestinians are fed up with Hamas, and they just want to live in peace. Some are even collaborating with Israel. Hamas is now hunting and executing those who oppose its desire for endless bloodshed.
FoxNews—Hamas carried out a deadly purge of suspected informants in Gaza, killing as many as 18 people suspected of providing information to the Israel Defense Forces as fighting flared anew following the collapse of Egyptian-brokered cease-fire talks.

Masked gunmen killed seven suspected informants for Israel near a Gaza City mosque as worshippers were ending midday prayers on Friday, according to a witness and Hamas media. Earlier in the day, Hamas killed 11 men by firing squad in Gaza City's police headquarters, according to the Hamas-run Al Rai website.

Two of those killed were women, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, which called for an immediate halt to what it said were "extra-judicial executions."

Hamas media portrayed the killings as the beginning of a new crackdown, under the rallying cry of "choking the necks of the collaborators." The killings, which took place near the al-Omari Mosque in downtown Gaza, occurred a day after Israel killed three top Hamas military commanders in an airstrike on a house in southern Gaza.

A witness says masked gunmen lined up the seven men in a side street and opened fire on them. He spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing for his own safety. (Continue Reading.)

Shia Muslims Kill at Least 65 Sunni Muslims in Mosque Attack During Friday Prayers

According to Aljazeera, the Sunnis were killed by Shia militants.

Of course, if this had been an attack on a mosque by Israel or the United States, we would see rioting in the streets of Paris and London. But since it's Muslims killing Muslims, Muslims don't seem to have much of a problem with it.
(CNN) — Gunmen shot and killed 65 people and injured 17 others in a Sunni Muslim mosque during Friday prayers in Iraq's Diyala province northeast of Baghdad, police officials in the province said.

The unidentified attackers used automatic machine guns in the Musab bin Omar mosque in the village of Bani Weis, police said.

Bani Weis is about 75 kilometers northeast of the provincial capital, Baquba.

It wasn't immediately clear who was behind the attack. Both Sunni militants and Shiite Muslim militias have been active in the province. (Continue Reading.)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

British Muslims Would Rather Join ISIS Than the British Armed Forces

Despite years of being assured by politicians and the media that Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance, British Muslims show that they aren't buying it.
Three British Muslims fighting for the Islamic State
Newsweek—There are now more than twice as many British Muslims fighting for Islamic State than there are serving in the British armed forces, according to a British Member of Parliament (MP).

Khalid Mahmood, the MP for Perry Barr in Birmingham, estimates that at least 1,500 young British Muslims have been recruited by extremists fighting in Iraq and Syria in the last three years.

Mahmood told Newsweek that this figure had been building since the start of the Syrian conflict: "If you look across the whole of the country, and the various communities involved, 500 going over each year would be a conservative estimate.”

According to the Ministry of Defence, there are only around 600 British Muslims currently serving in the Armed Forces, making up approximately around 0.4% of total personnel. 4.3% of the British population are Muslim.

The UK Foreign Office said that they believe over 400 individuals have travelled to Syria since the uprising began, but said that they could not give exact numbers.

However Mahmood described such low estimates as “nonsense” and said that the British government was failing to deal with the problem of home-grown extremists. “We’ve not concentrated on the prevention work, we haven’t invested enough in de-radicalisation. It’s tragic, somebody’s got to wake up to it.”

The role of British jihadists fighting in the Middle East has been brought into sharp focus after Islamic State released a video showing the apparent beheading of US journalist James Foley by a masked jihadist who spoke with a British accent. (Continue Reading.)
To see what Islam teaches about fighting unbelievers, watch this:

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Muslims on Twitter Defending Execution of James Wright Foley

Of course, there are plenty of Westernized Muslims who condemn the beheading of James Wright Foley. Unfortunately, Islam isn't defined by Westernized Muslims.











For a brief introduction to Muhammad's teachings about unbelievers, watch this:

American Journalist James Wright Foley Beheaded by Islamic State (ISIS)

The Qur'an commands Muslims to punish those who "make mischief" in a Muslim land:
Qur'an 5:33—The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His apostle and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement.
Sadly, the crime of "making mischief" is so vague that Muslims can use this verse as justification for killing nearly anyone, including reporters like James Wright Foley.

Of course, simply by paying taxes to the U.S. government, Foley would be guilty of funding the enemy's military, which is also a death penalty.

Journalists need to be careful around jihadist groups that know the Qur'an.

NBC News—The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) claims to have beheaded an American photojournalist and has threatened the life of another American if President Obama doesn't stop airstrikes in Iraq.

A graphic video obtained by NBC News purportedly shows James Wright Foley, a freelance reporter for the U.S.-based news service GlobalPost who was kidnapped while reporting from Syria two years ago, reciting threats against America before he is executed by an ISIS militant.

Foley was kidnapped at gunpoint near the town of Taftanaz in northern Syria on Thanksgiving Day in 2012. He had not been heard from during his time in captivity. "We’ve heard nothing. Nothing. We last knew that he was abducted on Thanksgiving Day in the Idlib province, but we don’t know who took him or why," Foley's father, John, said on TODAY last year. (Continue Reading.)
To learn about jihad, watch this:

Syrian Christian Asks, "Why Aren’t Moderate Muslims Doing More to Stop Extremists in Their Midst?"

Moderate Muslims are a confusing group. When Hamas attacks Israel, moderate Muslims around the world take to the streets in protest against Israel. Moderate Muslims came out in droves against Mubarak and Assad. Yet when jihadists start massacring and raping Christians, the moderate Muslims are nowhere to be found.
Syrian Christian Reading the Bible
ALEPPO, Syria — Walking through the largely Christian neighborhoods of Aleppo city — Azizieh, Siryan, Sulaimaniyah and Midan — you can still see the posters of the two bishops kidnapped by Islamist militants last year hanging on shop windows, walls and even cars. The people here haven’t forgotten them; the event is still as painful and fresh as if it had happened just yesterday. The bishops’ kidnapping was a symbolic event, indicative of the larger collapse of interfaith communal relations in a country under the strain of a sectarian civil war, and marked the end of a long era of relative peace and safety for the Christians of Syria.

The streets themselves portray a deceptive and surreal kind of war “normalcy,” the kind where pockmarked buildings, mortar holes on the roads, shredded cars, even bloodstained sidewalks are the usual and expected sights as people go about their daily lives without a second glance. This is life now, this is reality here. What it was like before the war is no longer relevant, the memories of those distant and beautiful bygone days do not matter or factor in any more.

Fear is palpable in this city; it hangs heavy in the air everywhere you go, like a potent and nauseous perfume. You can see it in people's eyes, in the deep lines on their faces; you can hear it in the way they talk; it’s in their conversations, it’s all they ever talk about.

But fear of a new kind permeates this ancient and deeply rooted community. Genocide and ethnic cleansing are very real threats that haunt the collective conscience of Syria’s Christians. The terrible fate that befell their co-religionists across the border in Mosul has driven these points home in a rather blunt and frightening way. The genocidal, nihilistic death cult of the Islamic State (IS) is hell-bent on destroying everything that is not exactly it, and has been on an unstoppable rampage which has left a trail of decapitated bodies and mass graves in its wake, usually those of ethnic and religious minorities. The militants make no secret of their genocidal campaigns of mass murder and medieval violence; on the contrary, they openly celebrate with glee and revel in them. It is not a means to an end; for them, it is the end itself.

Yousef is a shopkeeper in the predominantly Christian neighborhood of Sulaimaniyah, which has seen almost constant rebel shelling since the civil war divided Aleppo in July 2012. His brother serves in the Syrian army in Damascus. In conversation, he conveyed to me some of the predominant questions and anxieties going through his community.

“Why aren’t the moderate Muslims doing more to stop the extremists in their midst?” he asked bitterly. “Do they agree with their ideology and extremism? We saw hundreds of thousands of protesters on the streets against the abuses of the regime, so why are we not now seeing those thousands of protesters against what IS is doing? Worse, we are now seeing many people and rebel groups joining them. There are so many hundreds of these Islamic rebel groups, but they are all the same, they all have this extremist ideology against us. My conclusion is that these groups and IS are fully supported and backed in what they are doing by the anti-government forces."

The Christians of Syria had for the most part tried to stay out of the country’s raging civil conflict, but had often found themselves embroiled in its messy and bloody events. On more than one occasion, the Christians became the focal point of action, as in Maaloula, Yabrud and Kassab, as well as high- profile kidnappings of nuns and clerics. (Continue Reading.)
For a brief introduction to jihad, watch this: