Evangelicals Condemn Burning of Qurans by Fla. Pastor Terry Jones

Evangelical leaders strongly condemned the burning of Qurans by Florida Pastor Terry Jones on Saturday in protest of Iran‘s continued imprisonment of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani.

Jones burned copies of the Quran and an image depicting Muhammad on Saturday evening in front of his church Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla., where about 20 people gathered to witness the event, OCALA.com reported. Gainesville police were stationed near the church and patrolled the area.

The event was streamed live over the Internet.

Gainesville Fire Rescue issued the church a citation for violating the city’s fire ordinances. Fire Chief Gene Prince was quoted as saying that Jones had approval for a burn but did not have the required authorization to burn books, which can harm environment. The fine is $271, which includes court costs.


Clashes in Bahrain as Police Block Protest March

(Reuters) – Protesters trying to march to the heart of Bahrain’s capital clashed with riot police on Friday, witnesses said, hours after a massive show of force by the mainstream Shi’ite Muslim opposition.

They said dozens of youths threw stones at police who used teargas and stun grenades to block the planned march to the Pearl roundabout, the centre of an uprising last year which the government suppressed with the help of troops from neighbors, including Saudi Arabia.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

Bahrain, where the Sunni Muslim Al Khalifa family rules over a majority Shi’ite Muslim population, has been in turmoil since an uprising erupted last year demanding reforms after successful revolts in Egypt and Tunisia.

The protests escalated ahead of last week’s Formula One Grand Prix, drawing criticism of Bahrain from some governments, rights groups and media watchdogs who say police use excessive force and the government should find a political solution.


Bible translator criticized over word substitution in editions for Muslim countries

One of the largest Bible translators in the world is undergoing an independent review after critics claimed language in some of their translations intended for Muslim countries misses the essential Christian idea of Trinity: the father, son and the holy spirit or ghost.

Critics argue that using words like “Messiah” instead of “Son” and “Lord” instead of “Father” badly distorts the doctrine, in which God is said to be one being in three persons.

“If you remove `son,’ you have to remove `father,’ and if you remove those, the whole thread of the scriptures from Genesis to Revelation is unraveled,” said the Rev. Georges Houssney, the president of Horizons International, a Christian organization that works extensively with Muslims and himself a translator of the Bible into Arabic.


Hundreds Attend Anti-Islam Rally in Waukesha, Wisconsin

With the big-name draw of Walid Shoebat, more than 200 people gathered at the Waukesha Expo Center Saturday night to hear the message that Islam is a growing threat to law and peace in the United States.

The rally was an especially strong draw for Brookfield residents who oppose a mosque proposed for the city by the Islamic Society of Milwaukee.

Shoebat, who says he is an ex-terrorist, has been confronted about his past by media outlets like CNN, who reported they could find no evidence to support his background story. But he stood by his case Saturday, saying the media were the real frauds.

“Heck, sometimes even FOX News doesn’t even like what I have to say, because I say Islam is not a peace-loving religion,” Shoebat told the crowd.

Brookfield residents Chuck and Sharon Bloom left the rally Saturday with a plastic bag full of books sold by VCY America, a Christian radio station that sponsored the event. The couple was hoping to learn more about Islam and to build a case against the proposed mosque.


Will Muslim-Christian relations improve with a new president in Egypt?

The religious freedom for Christians in Egypt (Copts) and other religious minorities hangs in the balance as Egyptian voters prepare to select a new president on the weekend of May 23-24.

This is the first open presidential elections in a generation. If voters favor a hard-line Islamist as president, existing religious freedoms are at greater risk. At least one moderate candidate favors less state involvement in religion.

Right now, the two major contenders for the presidency are Amr Moussa, belonging to the old guard around former President Mubarak, and Abdel-Moneim Abol Fotoh, an Islamist with roots in the Muslim Brotherhood.

Until mid-2011, Moussa was Secretary-General of the Arab League and is widely recognized as an establishment figure. His hard-line criticism of Israel has proven to be popular in Egypt.

Abol Fotoh, a political moderate, quit the Muslim Brotherhood in 2011 after decades of involvement in order to run for president. In the late 1990s, Abol Fotoh spent five years in prison for his political activism.

In the past week, popular resentment in Egypt exploded when the Election Commission disqualified 10 candidates, including three well-known and controversial figures: Khairat al-Shater (Freedom Justice Party, Muslim Brotherhood); Omar Suleiman (former vice president and spy chief under Mubarak); and, Hazem Abu-Ismail (an ultra-conservative Salafist). This week, Shater alleged that the commission’s move was an attempt the rig the election.


In Breivik, troubling echoes of West’s view of Islam

Editor’s note: Timothy Stanley is a historian at Oxford University and blogs for Britain’s Daily Telegraph. He is the author of the new book “The Crusader: The Life and Times of Pat Buchanan.

(CNN) — The trial of mass murderer Anders Breivik has confirmed one thing so far: He seems quite mad. Looking plump and dumb, with a slightly receding hairline, the Norwegian gave a right-wing salute as he entered the courtroom and smirked his way through CCTV footage of his handiwork.

Breivik claims that he killed 77 people as an act of self-defense against the Islamification of Norway, that he is a member of the Knights Templar and part of an “anticommunist” resistance to multiculturalism. Reading his insane manifesto, it is tempting to dismiss him as a nut with a gun.

Nevertheless, there’s no denying the political context to what Breivik did. Since 9/11, fringe and mainstream politicians in Europe and America have spoken of Islam as incompatible with Western values. Breivik quoted many of them in his manifesto. This is not to say that he took direct inspiration from those public figures, or that they bear personal responsibility for his crimes. But Breivik’s paranoia does conform to a popular — wholly negative — view of the twin problems of Islam and multiculturalism. Tragically, it is a view that few mainstream politicians have been willing to challenge.


Nigeria: Kaduna – How Easter Bombing United Christians, Muslims

The Easter Sunday Bombing in Kaduna State has come and gone, leaving the relatives and families of those who either died or sustained injuries in the blast in pains and agony.

The explosion has no doubt created vacuums in some families that can never be filled. MIDAT JOSEPH and ISAIAH BENJAMIN periscope how this bombing that claimed the lives of many and injured scores, brought about unity between Christians and Muslims in the state.

Sunday, April 8, 2012 will no doubt remain indelible in the minds of many residents of Kaduna metropolis. This is because; the day marked yet another historic day in the state, though on the negative, as many who woke up to enjoy free day, were left with pains, and agony over the death of their loved ones. No thanks to whoever must have perpetrated such a dastardly act.

Like every other festive period, the Easter period is a period in which the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is being celebrated by the Christian faithful all over the world, but that of Kaduna residents was cut short as the entire state was thrown into confusion at the news of the bomb blast that claimed lives of persons whose authentic figure is yet to be ascertained.

Some of the affected persons woke up to commence their daily activities with others rushing to their places of worship, when they met their untimely death, Muslims and Christians alike.

Although the bomb blast was painful, it however, brought out a positive side of the situation as both Muslims and Christians were united against the act as they all moved to assist victims of the blast regardless of their religious differences.

Not only that, a day after the explosion, a group of Muslim and Christian youths hurriedly condemned the blast, saying “no good Christian or Muslim would want to kill people unjustly”, as the Muslim youths hosted their Christian counterparts to a feast to commemorate this year’s Easter celebration.


Coming Closer Through Faith: A Call to Undo Historical Tragedies

By Idris Tawfiq – The Egyptian Gazette 
Saturday, April 14, 2012 09:25:57 AM

Muslims believe that Islam is the religion of peace. The two fought one another for centuries over Jerusalem, the city of Peace. Much life was lost and many terrible things were done in the Holy Land, and after much fighting and bloodshed not much had really changed in the region when the dust finally settled. In fact, for all they achieved, the Crusades need never really have been fought at all!
It is worth remembering that Christians and Muslims have lived together in this region for fourteen hundred years. It is true, though, that there are hands at work trying to cause division between these groups. It is only natural that those who do not want Egypt and other Arab countries to be strong should do their best to weaken them. What better way of doing this than to stir up religious strife.
There are even some Arabs who travel abroad and appear on Western TV channels talking of religious oppression, and even religious persecution. It is time that these voices stopped their mischief, since the only ones to gain by it are people with no faith at all.  Let us return to the Easter festival. According to tradition, Saint Helena, the mother of the Emperor Constantine, is alleged to have discovered, in the early fourth century, many sites associated with the life of Jesus Christ, including what was claimed to be the True Cross on which he died.

The emperor ordered churches to be built on many of these sites. A church was built in Bethlehem over the spot alleged to be the place where Jesus was born, and another in Jerusalem over the spot where he is said, according to Christian tradition, to have died.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is said to stand on the very place where the Hill of Calvary stood. It is, of course, on Calvary that Christians believe Jesus was crucified.

The church was actually built as three separate churches, to mark three separate events.

One was for the hill of Calvary. Another was for the place where Jesus was buried, and the third was where he was said to have risen from the dead. When Constantine ordered that the churches be built, the spot was little more than a mound of rubble.


Will the Tragedy in Toulouse Unite France? Putting it into Perspective

Geneva, Switzerland – The assassination of French Muslim and Christian military personnel and French Jewish civilians two weeks ago in Toulouse and Montauban has rocked France. Yet beyond the fears that this act has stirred among both French Jews and their Muslim compatriots, the desire for co-existence prevails.

Many of us European Jews, confronted with the horror of children being murdered at a Jewish school, were above all rendered speechless. Images of World War II came to mind – images of soldiers pointing their guns at women carrying their children.

However, this is something else. It appears the primary motivation of Mohammed Merah, the Frenchman who claimed responsibility for the attacks, was not anti-Semitism, given that his first victims were French soldiers, Muslims and Christians. And the reason Merah gave for the murder of these French Jewish children – the suffering of Palestinian children – may only hide a deeper reasoning for this barbaric act.