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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Muslim leaders urge DOJ to criminalize criticism of Islam!

Please sign the petition
to protect your state from sharia law

A particularly dangerous and noxious doctrine within sharia law is the prohibition against “blasphemy” or “defamation” of Islam and the prophet Mohammed.

This is a direct affront to our cherished first amendment right of free speech, as it silences any critique or criticism of Islam.

European countries are already prosecuting people for “hate speech” against Islam, in effect implementing the sharia prohibition. ACT! for America chapter leader Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff is one of those people. Canada’s Human Rights Commission went after author Mark Steyn. Could this eventually happen in the U.S.?

Consider the latest. Some Muslim leaders, including the head of ISNA (Islamic Society of North America, a Muslim Brotherhood front organization), recently urged Department of Justice officials to take steps to criminalize criticism of Islam (see article below, highlights added). They are calling criticism of Islam “discrimination” and “racist.”

Couple this with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s apparent recent embrace of the OIC (Organization of the Islamic Conference) push for a UN resolution calling for governments to criminalize defamation of religion.

This is serious folks! Can you see why we are putting so much emphasis on combating sharia law? They’re trying to confiscate our first amendment rights!!

You can help us fight back by signing the pledge of support to stop sharia in your state. If you haven’t yet done so, please do so today! Acting today could well protect your right to act tomorrow.

Muslims tell DOJ to find a way to crimalize criticism of Islam!
Posted on October 24, 2011

And cut back anti-terror funding amongst other things. Neil Munro with a very disturbing piece with absolutely unimaginable consequences when it becomes reality. And it will if we the People do not start protecting our freedoms.

Holder & Perez

Top Justice Department officials convened a meeting Wednesday where invited Islamist advocates lobbied them for cutbacks in anti-terror funding, changes in agents’ training manuals, additional curbs on investigators and a legal declaration that U.S. citizens’ criticism of Islam constitutes racial discrimination.

The department’s “civil rights lawyers are top of the line — I say this with utter honesty — I know they can come up with a way” to redefine criticism as discrimination, said Sahar Aziz, a female, Egyptian-American lawyer.

“I’d be willing to give a shot at it,” said Aziz, who is a fellow at the Michigan-based Muslim advocacy group, the Institute for Social Policy & Understanding.

The audience of Islamist advocates and department officials included Tom Perez, who heads the department’s division of civil rights.

“We must continue to have the open and honest and critical dialogue that you saw in the robust debate,” Perez responded in an enthusiastic closing speech a few minutes after Aziz made her demands at the event.

“I sat here the entire time, taking notes,” Perez said. “I have some very concrete thoughts … in the aftermath of this.”

The meeting at George Washington University showcased the expanding alliance between American progressives and Islamists, said Andrew McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor in New York.

Progressives “are making these Islamist groups into the [political] representatives of Muslims in the United States,” he told The Daily Caller. That elevation of Islamists to a leadership role sidelines the majority of American Muslims who don’t want Islamist leaders, as well as American Muslims who are female or gay, he said.

McCarthy investigated and prosecuted Egyptian-born Imam Omar Abdel-Rahman, dubbed “the blind sheik,” for urging Muslims to kill New Yorkers. Abdel-Rahman was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1996.

Progressives ally with the Islamic lobby because “they think it will be a political voting bloc that will be reliably Democratic,” said Robert Spencer, an author and expert on Islam.

None of the Islamist advocates of civil rights officials in attendance, including Perez, objected to Aziz’s call for free-speech restrictions.

The event did not include Zuhdi Jasser, an Arizona Muslim, former naval officer and a co-founder of a coalition of modernist Muslim groups, the American Islamic Leadership Coalition. “The Islamist groups’ victimology feeds into the left’s propaganda that the right is anti-minority and anti-Muslim, so there’s a mutual political benefit there,” said Jasser, who clashes with Spencer over rival responses to the Islamist groups.

Nor did the conference include any influential critics, such as McCarthy and Spencer, who argue that Islamist terror attacks are partly motivated by Islamic texts. These texts include the Koran’s verse 9:5, which says “when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them.”

Aziz, however, used her invitation to argue that Americans’ fear of Islamists’ bombs has evolved into racism towards dark-skinned men.

The word “Muslim,” she said, “has become racialized. … I don’t accept this formalistic cop-out that this is all about religion.”

Aziz did not offer any evidence for her claim, which she said justifies the use of Title VI anti-discrimination laws against institutions and individuals who argue that Islamic texts spur Islamic violence.

This legal redefinition, she said, would also “take [federal] money away from local police departments and fusion centers who are spying on all of us.”

Aziz also argued against the commonplace police practice of informally talking with people in communities, including Muslim communities. “This has been a real problem with this outreach stuff,” she said. Muslims “are acting in good faith, and then they find their imams, who were going to outreach meetings, were being spied on,” she complained. “Some have been deported. Some have been prosecuted.”

In March, Afghan-born New York Imam Ahmad Wais Afzali was ordered deported after he admitted he lied to the FBI about warning a suspected Muslim terrorist that he was being investigated. That terrorist, Najibullah Zazi, admitted that he was planning to place bombs in the New York City subway. The imam learned about the investigation because he had offered to work with local police to help identify potential terrorists in his congregation.

“People are going in good faith” to talk with police, Aziz said. “They’re being very honest about what their grievances are. They’re telling the government, ‘This what we want you to do … [and] we want you not to spy on our community.’”

Dwight Holton, a Justice Department legal counsel based in Oregon, said the threat of criminal gangs or terror attacks justifies routine police contacts with locals. “When we go to a barber shop to talk to the community, we don’t tell them you can have a lawyer,” he said.

“You should,” Aziz immediately replied.

Aziz’s advocacy was supported by a second Islamist advocate, Islamic Society of North America president Mohamed Magid. He argued that “teaching people that all Muslims are a threat to the country… is against the law and the Constitution.” [Editor’s note: no one we know of, including ACT! for America, is teaching that “all Muslims are a threat to the country.”]

Magid asked Perez to change the federal government’s rules governing terror investigations, for more private meetings with top justice department officials, for the reeducation of FBI agents, and for more people to oppose criticism of Islam, which he labelled “religious bigotry and hate.”


Friday, October 28, 2011

Billy Ray Cyrus and Courtney Dickinson

Courtney Dickinson is a country singer who is worth keeping a watch out for.

'When it Seems Like', sung by Jerzy Przybylski (From his latest CD: 'Faith')

Here is another track from Faith, the latest album release of Jerzy Przybylski and the Jerzy Group Singers which was recently released on the SJM label.

Dr Patrick Sookhdeo responds to critical Guardian article

     On 9 September 2011, The Guardian newspaper in the UK published an article by Mehdi Hasan, senior political editor of the New Statesman, entitled “How fear of criminalisation forces Muslims into silence”. This contained a number of specific and personal criticisms of Barnabas Fund’s International Director, Dr Patrick Sookhdeo.
     This is not the first time in the recent past that this newspaper has published a biased piece highly critical of Dr Sookhdeo’s work (see also this 2009 blog post by Andrew Brown). But on this occasion he has requested and been given the right of reply, and a shorter and significantly edited version of the article below has been published by The Guardian today. Some points we would have liked to make had to be excluded from that piece for reasons of space or editorial policy, so we are now releasing this fuller version to our supporters.
Allegations such as those in the original article imply that highlighting the causes of anti-Christian hostility and speaking out for the freedom of oppressed Christians in Muslim-majority countries (especially converts from Islam to Christianity) amount to hate speech, and so can be used to discredit our advocacy on behalf of the persecuted Church.
     In his recent article, Mehdi Hasan refers to me as a “rightwing ideologue”, a “crude, anti-Islam propagandist” and a “preacher of hate and division”. I want to respond here not only to these specific and personal charges, but also to the social and political claims that he deduces from them.
     At the personal level, Mehdi Hasan does not, in fact, provide much of a case for me to answer. The only evidence he cites to support his allegations are the brief references to me in the manifesto of Anders Breivik, the Norwegian mass killer, and a few short quotes from my books. But given the wide range of sources quoted by Breivik, his references to my writings are hardly definite proof of right-wing extremism. And I am content for those who have taken the trouble to study those writings in any detail to judge whether I deserve the epithets applied to me in the article.
     More needs to be said, however. Mehdi Hasan suggests that Muslims in Britain today are victims of “negative stereotypes” and “demonisation”. Yet he is himself prepared to use equally negative stereotypes to demonise those, including myself, who offer an understanding of contemporary Islam that is different from his own. His strategy is a common one: to defend a weakly supported opinion by accusing his opponents of extremism. But although this may give a spurious respectability to his view, it provides no defence against the serious criticisms that may be brought against that view.
     I yield to no-one in my abhorrence of anti-Muslim prejudice, bigotry and hatred in all its forms, and I am on record as speaking out forcefully against it. I have also worked hard on a number of occasions for the causes of endangered and oppressed Muslim minorities. Sheikh Dr Muhammad Al-Hussaini, Director of Abraham House in the UK, has issued a response (read here) to Mehdi Hasan’s article in which he refers to my campaigning to defend Muslims in the Balkans from slaughter by the Serbs, my defence of Muslims suffering violence in India, and the protection by the church that I then led of a London mosque at a time of anti-Muslim hostility. I count Dr Al-Hussaini, and many other moderate and liberal Muslims, among my close friends.
But there is a crucial difference between anti-Muslim hatred and legitimate criticism of the religion of Islam. Like any other ideology, Islam must be open to being critiqued, and where its political aspects appear to pose a challenge to fundamental Western values, these issues must be discussed openly and responsibly, without the debate being obscured by charges of “Islamophobia”. It must also be possible to comment on the behaviour of individual Muslims where this contravenes our society’s basic norms, without being accused of racism or bigotry.
On YouTube videos Mehdi Hasan appears to refer to non-Muslims and atheists in very derogatory terms: “cattle”, "animals", “people of no intelligence” and even kuffar, a grossly offensive term applied by some Muslims to non-Muslims. (Some of his fellow-Shia Muslims even apply it to Sunni Muslims.) Admittedly, the context of these comments is unclear, but if he expects to enjoy the freedom to use such terms, I wonder on what basis he can argue for the silencing of reasoned and courteous voices that challenge certain aspects of contemporary Islam. I wonder, also, whether The Guardian would have published an article by someone who had seemingly called Muslims “cattle” or “of no intelligence”. Indeed, I wonder if that person would not be reported to the appropriate authorities or even to the police.
     Mehdi Hasan queries the influence given to me by Western governments. The political and military leaders who have found my insights worthy of attention can speak for themselves. My work with the armed forces has been focused on facilitating understanding of and dialogue with Muslims, and it has taken place in the context of peace and community relations. This should perhaps be enough at least to gain my views a fair hearing, from anyone not invincibly prejudiced against them.
     And there is in fact plenty of evidence from both Muslim and secular sources to support those views. Some parts of the Muslim community really are becoming increasingly isolated from other people, creating enclaves where they live largely according to their own rules. Smaller, more radical elements really do advocate – quite openly – a fully Islamic society under the rule of sharia law. As a result, some areas of British society really are being subtly but progressively Islamised. This process is not an invention of a few “anti-Islam propagandists”; it is a well-documented and significant social change that deserves, indeed demands, a fair-minded debate. I suggest that Mehdi Hasan’s unwillingness even to acknowledge its existence raises questions about his own credibility as a commentator.
     I close with a personal note. I am a convert from Islam, and all schools of Islamic law prescribe the death penalty for an adult male Muslim who chooses to leave his faith. Having lived under this death sentence for my entire adult life, I am acutely aware of the plight of apostates from Islam in some Muslim-majority contexts, where they are at real risk of violence or even murder. Even as I write, an Iranian pastor, Youcef Nadarkhani, is on death row in Iran, and may be executed any day. If I had no other reason to speak or write about Islam, then giving these vulnerable people a voice in the West, where their suffering is so often ignored, would be reason enough. My unshakable commitment to liberal Western values requires nothing less.
I am surprised that The Guardian newspaper, which claims to recognise fundamental freedoms and presents itself as a paragon of virtue in this respect, appears to be so little concerned with human rights and freedom of conscience when it comes to Christians far away in non-Western contexts.
Dr Patrick Sookhdeo
27 October 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

One Summer's Day : Recollections of a small boy

     There is an air of great excitement about the day, an excitement that every small child would feel in a similar situation, for today would be the start of the family's annual holiday in Bournemouth. To be honest, it was not always in Bournemouth itself, because we often stayed in Boscombe, which is right next door. I think that I actually preferred Boscombe with its very own pier, although the pier was never as elegant as the neighbouring one. Much later in life, when I had grown up and entered the life working world, I went to live in Boscombe in a flat on the Christchurch Road, but that belongs to another story.
       Anyway, here I was, getting out of bed early without the need to be cajoled or threatened into doing so, with a thousand thoughts and questions going round in my head. I was remembering other years and other holidays, savouring the memories as if they had occurred only yesterday. I recalled friends that I had made in previous years and wondered, as I always did, whether I would meet any of them again. Alas, seaside friendships are a little like holiday romances, simply a convenient means of making the time more enjoyable, only to be discarded once normal home life resumed, and of course I never did meet up with anyone from previous years. Not a problem, because there were new friendships to be made, and I just knew that there would be someone waiting to be my inseparable friend already at our destination.
     We lived in a large house, and downstairs was already a hive of activity as the early breakfast was being organised, only to be eaten as quickly as possible in case it delayed the start of the big adventure. In reality of course, there was a timetable to adhere to, and so rushing through breakfast made no difference at all. Once the table was cleared away and the utensils washed, dried and carefully tidied away, the last bits and pieces of packing were completed before the suitcases finally got carried down the stairs to await the arrival of the car with Mr Buckle, resplendent in his chauffeur's hat and dark suit.
     Once the car arrived the luggage was loaded into the boot first of all, and then we children were ushered into the back under the watchful eyes of my father. I should say, "under the watchful eye of my father", because he only had one good eye having been blinded in his right eye during the war years. Mind you, the one good eye never missed anything! Once we were all in and settled down as much as possible under the circumstances, my mother was established in the front seat next to Mt Buckle from where she could keep an eye on the speedometer. If she felt that we were travelling too fast then she would say quietly but firmly, "Slow down please, remember there are children on board." The real reason of course, was that she was afraid to go over fifty miles an hour, and preferred to be slower than that if possible. 
     It was about ninety miles to our destination, and the journey would take about four hours, allowing for stops on the way to deal with children who were sick or who wanted to go to the toilet. It was a somewhat fraught time for all in many ways. As children, all we wanted to do was arrive and get onto the beach as quickly as possible, feeling the warm sand between our toes. We tried to make the journey go by a little quicker by involving ourselves in childhood --- and often childish --- games, playing 'I-Spy' until we were fed up with it, and dropped out one-by-one. We also, to my father's annoyance, used to sing a song about cows, dreaming up cows of every colour and shape, repeating it over and over until finally ordered to be quiet. Looking back on those journeys I realise how long-suffering Mr Buckle must have been!
      After what seemed to be more hours than the day had to offer, we duly arrived at the hotel which we would call 'home' for the following two weeks, all of us piling out of the car and glad to have the opportunity to stretch our limbs and breathe in the first hints of seaside air with it's slight salty and seaweedy tang. Well, at least I thought that it was like that. Almost immediately, we children began to beg to be allowed to go to the beach, as though we were only to be there for a few precious hours and didn't want to waste a minute. Not that it did anything more than further annoy the parents, already stressed by the long journey. The suitcases were duly unloaded from the boot and carried in to the hotel and Mr Buckle waved off, not to be encountered until our fortnight by the sea was at an end.
     We were quickly booked in and shown to our rooms, and my parents began to concentrate on unpacking the cases whilst the rest of us milled around begging to be allowed to go and explore this new territory. Eventually, with my older sister tasked with keeping a watchful eye on us, I and my other sister were allowed to go off to explore, my mother's warnings not to go too far soon to be forgotten in the excitement. 
     The holiday had now begun in earnest! After a cursory glance around the hotel gardens off we went, crossing the road and trotting off down Sea Road to the greatest prize of all --- the beach! So, some thirty minutes or so after our arrival at Boscombe, there we were on the golden sand. It was as exotic a location as it was possible to be, far removed from the countryside that we were used to using as our playground, and we were determined to make the most of it. We would stay on the beach too long and be told off once we arrived back in the hotel, but that seemed of little consequence in comparison to the joy of wiggling toes in the fine, warm sand. I remember that one year in particular we stayed on the beach so long that by the time we returned to the hotel we were sunburned to the extent that we looked more like freshly boiled lobsters than children, and we had to have liberal amounts of calamine lotion smeared over our red limbs. The worst thing was going to bed at night because lying down was even more painful. 
     So began the great adventure that was our annual holiday, when the days seemed to last twice as long and it was always a tired child who finally sank into a dreaming slumber at the end of them. After the first week had drawn to a close it seemed for a while that we had lived there for ever, but as the second week progressed the days seemed to get shorter, rushing by with undue haste until the Saturday arrived and we were all packed up, waiting in the hotel lounge for the arrival of Mr Buckle and the long journey home. It was a much quieter journey than before, all of us sad to to leave the holiday behind, and certainly some dreaming already of the next year when it would happen all over again. In the meantime there would be much to do once we arrived back home in more familiar territory, although we would have the memories of the experience with us for ever. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Joanne Lowe's Meditations : 'Are You Weary?'

“And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing.”
Ezekiel 34:26 (King James Version)
      There are times when we grow weary and we need to be revived.  Evangelist Daniel Webster Whittle wrote a beautiful hymn about Jesus refreshing us “There Shall Be Showers of Blessing”.  I love this hymn.  It is one of my favorite hymns and it always brings happiness and joy to my heart.
      “There shall be showers of blessing: This is the promise of love; There shall be seasons refreshing, Sent from the Savior above.”  What a precious promise!  Jesus knows how we feel when we need to be refreshed.  When He was here on earth, He too grew weary and needed to rest and be refreshed. 
      “Now Jacob’s well was there.  Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.  There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink” (John 4:6,7).  If Jesus needed to rest and be refreshed, we too need to rest and be refreshed.
      Are you weary?  Run into the arms of Jesus and let Him refresh you.  He will not only refresh you; He will also comfort and encourage you and dry your tears with tender compassionate kisses.  He loves you so much.  You are very precious to Him.  What a tender loving Saviour we have!
      Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us so much that You sent Jesus to die for our sins.  Jesus, thank You for loving us and for dying for us and for refreshing us when we grow weary.  Jesus, I appreciate You and I love You with all of my heart.  Amen.
 Joanne Lowe
October 26, 2011

Hotel cancels anti-sharia event

Please contact the hotel to express 
your disapproval!
The Hutton Hotel in Nashville has abruptly canceled an event scheduled for November 11th hosted by the Sharia Awareness Action Network and the Tennessee Freedom Coalition. One of the scheduled speakers for the event is an ACT! for America chapter leader who will be addressing issues such as grassroots organizing.

According to a news article:

A Nashville hotel has canceled its contract with an anti-Shariah
conference out of fear the event could attract protests and disrupt business.
     This is the second hotel to take such outrageous action in the past week. It’s clear they are knuckling under to complaints and threats from organizations such as CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations. What’s more, the hotels are in effect capitulating to sharia law provisions that suppress free speech.
     We cannot allow this unacceptable and outrageous action to go unchallenged. We urge you to contact the hotel, and respectfully but firmly, voice your disapproval. Let the hotel know you will never stay there unless it reverses this decision, and that you will pass the word to friends and family encouraging them to do the same.
      We recommend you contact the hotel by phone. The reason is that it’s easier for them to ignore you if you email. A deluge of phone calls will make it abundantly clear to them that the decision they made will be costly to them.
     Please phone the hotel at 615.340.9333 and ask to speak to Steven Andre, the hotel manager or, if that person is unavailable, ask to speak to someone who handles public relations. If the phone is busy, try again later.
     If you absolutely can’t place a call, send a firm, but respectful, email Mr. Andre at
     And if you haven’t yet signed the pledge of support to protect your state from sharia law, please add your name today! 

'Once A Year', sung by Jerzy Przybylski (From his latest CD: 'Faith')

Once A Year is one of the songs featured on the CD 'Faith', released on the SJM label by Jerzy Przybylski and the Jerzy Group Singers. You can download it on CD Baby, iTunes and Amazon.

Monday, October 24, 2011

'Forever Friend' sung by Darren Mullan on the Sheer Joy Music Label

Lots of great comments have been emailed to me about Darren Mullan's CD release of my Country song Forever Friend following the video which was posted on Youtube a few days ago.

We are trying to share the song with as many folk as possible, and so I would appreciate you following this Youtube link to check it out for yourself.

With a combination of Greg Sheer's music, my lyrics and Darren's voice, this song is a great one to download onto your iPlayer. Just get it from iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon, or most of the main digital download sites. It's also available to order as a hard copy CD from the online shop of Sheer Joy Music by following this link.

I hope you enjoy it and share it with your friends on email or on social networking sites like Facebook. Thanks you for helping to get this song the success it deserves!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Number of terrorist websites has exploded (pun intended)

You can help stop sharia law in your state. Please click here to
read and sign the support petition! Join the over 13,000 who
have already signed. 
     The Politico story below shows that the number of Islamic terrorist websites has grown from 12 in 1998 to nearly 7,000 in 2009, and that number is likely higher today.  This reflects the explosion in internet usage since 1998. But it also reveals something else—how Islamists are aggressively using the internet to drive the ideology of jihad.

W.H. online counterterrorism woes

The Internet 'offers terrorists a variety of mediums to disseminate messages,' a DHS study found. | AP Photo Close
By CHARLES HOSKINSON | 10/19/11 10:31 PM EDT
     Al Qaeda lost one of its best propagandists last month with the death in Yemen of U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who had engineered much of its online recruitment and messaging.
     But al-Awlaki’s death in a U.S. drone strike, along with that of fellow propagandist Samir Khan, hasn’t ended the years-long problem of Islamist militant recruitment.
By the numbers:

     The Obama administration has made a point of trying to fight radicalization through the Internet as part of its counterterrorism strategy. But the diverse and broad network of websites and social media has proved hard to crack, and civil liberties concerns have tempered efforts to spy on communications.
     “The struggle against Al Qaeda will remain, in part, a battle of ideas,” Rand Corp. analyst Seth Jones wrote in a Sept. 30 commentary for the BBC. “Al Qaeda and individuals like Awlaki may represent a fringe group of extremists, but their message must be more effectively countered. That is something drone strikes cannot do.”
     Social media have been a particular problem, because users have adapted new forms of communication to fit the new formats. Many Arabic speakers on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and other sites use what’s known as Arabizi, a form of colloquial Arabic written in the Latin alphabet and numbers instead of the traditional Arabic alphabet, allowing them to use a standard English-language keyboard to type their messages. But there’s no standard version of Arabizi. It varies from country to country, even among groups within countries and is affected by differences in dialect.
     Officials know that buried in the vast network of online communications are messages from Al Qaeda and other militant groups seeking recruits to launch terrorist attacks.
     “The Internet has become an important resource for disseminating terrorist propaganda and instructions to young persons [who] might not otherwise have direct contact with group recruiters or supporters,” a 2009 study for the Homeland Security Department found. “The Internet is accessible, cheap and anonymous. It offers terrorists a variety of mediums to disseminate messages and provides connections to recruiters and recruits that might not otherwise be possible.”
     “In recent years,” the study concluded, “there have been reports of a growing trend by which young persons have the potential to self-radicalize through the use of the Internet.”
      The study recommended that officials get a better handle on the tools, techniques and methods terrorists are using. But for years, the efforts to combat this radicalization have lagged behind the militants’ ability to broaden the scope of their communications.


Pen-pals and the Internet ... On making new friends

     One of the great things about the Internet is that it enables you to link up with folk around the world as quickly as if they lived in the same street as you, and also to make friends with many of them. Many years ago, when I was a young boy in my early school-days, it was a common practise to make friends via the Pen-pal schemes, and children wrote letters off to names on a list of children in other countries and then eagerly awaited a reply. Sure enough, after a week or two a response would come in the form of a letter with an exotic foreign stamp on the front, and a fledgling friendship was born. In many cases the letter-writing, particularly in the case of boys, would often gradually dwindle down to no more than a Christmas card perhaps containing a brief note, but more often than not the blossoming friendship ran its course in a relatively short time.
      However, in some cases --- and it has to be admitted that it was more often involving a pen-pal relationship between girls --- the friendships developed into much more than an exchange of letters and the odd photograph, and many deep and lasting friendships evolved as a result. Many of these lasted a lifetime, and many pen-pals ended up visiting each other on exchange visits or later, as adults, by taking their family on holiday visits. In this fashion the world became a slightly smaller and far more exciting place.
Writing to penpals     I wonder whether the Pen-pal schemes still exist, in these days of e-mails and Internet connections such as Skype which enable you to speak face-to-face with people, albeit in virtual space. I decided to check it out and discovered that there are many such schemes in existence today, a typical one being that run by Double Joy Children's Farm, which is a home and school for children who have been orphaned by Aids in Kenya. You can learn more about it by clicking on the link. On their website, Double Joy comment: "Our children love getting letters from overseas. These letters make them feel valued and go some way toward making up for their losses. They are also of educational value providing a window into a very different culture, and improving their ability to read and write in English." What a blessing it is to all concerned to participate in a scheme which enriches their lives in such a meaningful and yet simple way. 
     In fact there are many schemes running today by which the lives of both children and adults can be enriched simply by communicating with each other. Why not check a few of them out by simply entering 'Pen-pal/Pen-friend schemes' into your search bar.
     I do a lot of my work on the Internet, and as a result I have made many good friends over the last few years, chatting to them either by 'phone or via Skype, and sharing general news about each other's lives. The world, vast as it is in reality, has become much more compact as a result. Although many of the friendships have been new ones, in some cases they have been renewed ones, linking up to people whom I have known in the past and where either I or they have located each other via the worldwide web. In all cases it has been rewarding.
     This week I have made contact with a friend of a friend, and the roots of friendship are just beginning to take hold in the ground. Jon Sheppard is a brilliant photographer, based in Colorado, and he and I 'met up' following comments passed by a mutual Zimbabwe-based friend. I now have the pleasure of getting emails with some great photos attached, and the possibility of meeting up some time in the future on one of my trips to the USA. Check out some of Jon's work for yourself by paying a visit to his website via this link. You can see an example of his work in the photo at the top of this post, and the following photograph whic is of his home area on a winter's night, a picture that I love for it's moodiness.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Egg Whites form a Healing Miracle for Burns

     A young man sprinkling his lawn and bushes with pesticides wanted to check the contents of the barrel to see how much pesticide remained in it. He raised the cover and lit his lighter, whereupon the vapours ignited and engulfed him. On hearing his screams his neighbour came out of her house with a dozen eggs, yelling: "bring me some eggs!" She broke them, separating the whites from the yolks. Another neighbour helped her to apply the egg-whites onto the young man's face. When the ambulance arrived and when the EMTs saw the young man, they asked who had done this. Everyone pointed to the lady in charge. They congratulated her and said: "You've saved his face."
     By the end of the summer, the young man brought the lady a bouquet of roses to thank her. His face was like a baby's skin.
Healing Miracle for burns:
     Keep in mind this treatment of burns which is included in teaching beginner fireman this method. First aid consists to spraying cold water on the affected area until the heat is reduced and stops burning the layers of skin. Then, spread egg whites on the affected area.
     One woman burned a large part of her hand with boiling water. In spite of the pain, she ran cold faucet water on her hand, separated 2 egg white from the yolks, beat them slightly and dipped her hand in the solution. The whites then dried and formed a protective layer.
     She later learned that the egg white is a natural collagen and continued during at least one hour to apply layer upon layer of beaten egg white. By afternoon she no longer felt any pain and the next day there was hardly a trace of the burn. 10 days later, no trace was left at all and her skin had regained its normal colour. The burned area was totally regenerated thanks to the collagen in the egg whites, a placenta full of vitamins.
     This information could be helpful to everyone: Please share it with those you meet.

Joanne Lowe's Meditations

“For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”
1 Corinthians 2:2 (King James Version)
      Pastor Floyd W. Hawkins wrote a beautiful and inspiring hymn that I sing many times to Jesus when I praise and worship Him:
“I’ve Discovered The Way of Gladness”.
“I’ve discovered the fount of blessings,
I’ve discovered the 'Living Word'
‘Twas the greatest of all discoveries,
When I found Jesus my Lord.”
      We study the Bible and we memorize Scripture verses.  We teach Sunday School and sing in the choir but do we really know Jesus?  The bridge to happiness is to know Jesus.  People have discovered gold but the greatest discovery of all is when we are saved and know Jesus our Lord.  Do you know Him?
      When we meet someone new, we have to spend time with that person to get to know him or her.  The same is true with Jesus.  We must spend time with Jesus so we can know Him.  Do you know His favourite colour?  When is the last time you stayed up all night talking to Him and laughing with Him?
      There are times when I don’t want to go to bed at night because Jesus and I are having such a good time.  Something funny happened and I mentioned it to Him and we laughed about it.  He is such a dear, loyal friend.  He kisses the tears from my eyes and heart when someone hurts me.  He is so precious to me.
      If you are sad, get on the bridge to happiness by spending time with Jesus and laughing with Him.  He really loves you and it breaks His heart when you are sad and hurting.  Just as we need Him to tell us that He loves us, so He needs us to tell Him that we love Him.  Did you tell Him that you love Him today?
Joanne Lowe
October 20, 2011

KarmaTube: Amazing Grace, by Wintley Phipps

Video from KarmaTube

At Carnegie Hall, gospel singer Wintley Phipps delivers perhaps the most powerful rendition of Amazing Grace ever recorded. He says, "A lot of people don't realize that just about all Negro spirituals are written on the black notes of the piano. Probably the most famous on this slave scale was written by John Newton, who used to be the captain of a slave ship, and many believe he heard this melody that sounds very much like a West African sorrow chant. And it has a haunting, haunting plaintive quality to it that reaches past your arrogance, past your pride, and it speaks to that part of you that's in bondage. And we feel it. We feel it. It's just one of the most amazing melodies in all of human history." After sharing the noteworthy history of the song, Mr. Phipps delivers a stirring performance that brings the audience to its feet!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Grace Bawden sings 'Dust in the Wind'

Once again the amazing vocal talents of Australian songstress Grace Bawden are demonstrated with her rendition of this song. I just love everything that this rising star sings! She has such a prodigious talent and is destined to go a long, long way in the future.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Darren Mullan sings 'Forever Friend' : (Music video)

     Forever Friend was written by the hit song-writing duo Colin Gordon-Farleigh and Greg Scheer, the same folk who wrote the smash hit If Only I Had Wings which reached #2 in the NCM Charts last year.
     If you are interested in recording this song for your next album please contact the publishers, Sheer Joy Music

Iran and the drug cartels

The foiled Iranian-backed terrorism plot exposed what many watchmen have been warning about for years — Islamic terrorists exploiting America's southern border and working with Mexican drug cartels.

Iranian Plot Sparks Measure to Bolster Counter-terrorism Efforts in Western Hemisphere
By Jennifer Scholtes, CQ Staff

Pleas for the Obama administration to focus counterterrorism efforts in the Western Hemisphere have begun resonating on Capitol Hill this week following news that the Iranian government allegedly wanted Mexican drug cartels to carry out an assassination.

South Carolina Republican Rep. Jeff Duncan is rounding up cosponsors for legislation he introduced Oct. 11 after hearing the announcement that U.S. officials disrupted a plot by those within the Iranian government to kill the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States. The resolution (H Res 429) specifically sites the alleged foiled plot as one of the reasons the administration should include the Western Hemisphere as an area of focus in its 2012 National Strategy for Counter-terrorism, to focus on the threat posed by “Iran’s growing presence and activity” in the region.

The fact that there is a relationship between Iran’s militant group Hezbollah and the cartels prevalent in Mexico is not a new discovery, Duncan said. He pointed to reports of the capture of Hezbollah agents along the U.S.-Mexican border as proof of that link.

“We have been trying to raise the awareness for months,” Duncan said during a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “I don’t believe anyone who has been following this has been caught off guard, but I think America as a whole was caught off guard. And I think it’s time for us to wake up in this country that this is a real threat to the Western Hemisphere.”

Duncan has gotten New York Democrat Brian Higgins to sign on as a cosponsor of the legislation, which states there is significant cause for concern and further investigation into the threat of Iran’s influence. The resolution also calls on the White House to use an existing counterterrorism taskforce to look at Iran and its affiliates’ activities in the United States and the rest of the Western world as well as submit a report to Congress on a comprehensive counterterrorism strategy to defend against Iranian interests.

California Rep. Howard L. Berman, the ranking Democrat on the panel, said that while security-related issues in the region deserve close attention, it’s a mistake to view the Western Hemisphere as “a constellation of threats, rather than a series of opportunities.”

“It is critical that our policy toward the region be based on solid facts,” Berman said. “Yet we sometimes seem to be chasing ghosts or creating caricatures of security threats.”

Officials have confirmed that those allegedly working to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador were in contact with a U.S. agent posing as a Mexican cartel leader, rather than with those actually running the narcotics rings. But lawmakers have continued to use accusations that the Iranian government aspired to link with the cartels as an argument for adding the groups to the list of state-sponsored terrorist organizations.

“We must stop looking at the drug cartels today solely from a law enforcement perspective and consider designating these narco-trafficking networks as foreign terrorist organizations and their leaders as specially designated nationals . . . ” said House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla. “This week’s foiled plot contributes to the growing evidence of the potential links between these groups and the drug cartels. As we know, such a linkage was not made because those were our guys posing as members of the drug cartel. But it seems that our sworn enemy Iran sees a potential kindred spirit in the drug cartels in Mexico.”

The division between entities notorious for drug trafficking in the West and terrorist organizations in the East is not as clear as it once was, Ros-Lehtinen suggested. The chairwoman noted reports that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia has expanded into West Africa and could be linked to Hezbollah and al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb, that Iran and other countries in the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America inaugurated a military academy in Bolivia this summer to educate and train their forces, and that Cuban intelligence officers are embedded throughout the Venezuelan government to work against U.S. national security interests.

Joanne Lowe's Meditations

“Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings,”
Psalm 17:8 (King James Version)
      Pastor William Orcutt Cushing wrote one of my favorite hymns “Under His Wings”.  “Under His wings, what a refuge in sorrow!  How the heart yearningly turns to His rest!  Often when earth has no balm for my healing, There I find comfort, and there I am blessed.” 
      There are times when our loved ones can’t comfort us as much as they want to because we are grieving and hurting so much.  It is then that we can find rest and the comfort that we need under our Saviour’s wings.  I’ve lost track of the number of times I have fled to the comfort of His wings.
      Has there been a time when you were going through a crisis that you didn’t feel comfortable sharing with anybody?  Only Jesus can see into our heart.  He sees the things that we hide from our loved ones. If you will listen with your heart, you will hear Him whisper softly “I love you and  I understand how you feel.”
      There is no one who loves us as much as Jesus loves us and no one understands how we feel like Jesus understands.  When He was here on earth, He endured criticism, ridicule and rejection so He knows how we feel when we are criticized, ridiculed and rejected.  Jesus is a loving, tender and precious Saviour.
      If you are hurting today and you don’t feel comfortable sharing your burden with your loved ones, flee to the refuge and comfort of our Saviour’s wings.  He will not only comfort you, He will also encourage you and dry the tears from your eyes and your heart with tender kisses.  Thank You, Jesus, for loving us.
      Joanne Lowe
October 18, 2011

Sunday, October 16, 2011

'Faith': new album release by Sheer Joy Music

Sheer Joy Music release Jerzy Przybylski's latest CD tomorrow, 17th October. Faith is a great mix of songs, some of which have appeared on earlier releases and some of which are new, but all of which are given great treatment by the Jerzy Group singers. With a definite Country Gospel flavour, this is a CD which will hold an appeal to many people. From tomorrow it will be available to download either as an album or by individual tracks from CD Baby, Amazon and iTunes. Alternatively, if you wish to buy a hard copy, you can purchase the CD from the online shop at  

Friday, October 14, 2011

Funny Prayer About Getting Old

The scriptures indicate that our elders are to be treasured and valued for their insight and wisdom. This sweet older woman, Mary Maxwell, gives the opening prayer at senior care convention and it is absolutely hysterical!

Honour the elders in your life, grant them patience and take time to listen to the wisdom they have to impart on our lives. In the meantime, enjoy a good chuckle about the humour in getting older.

Sharia, dhimmitude, and the Copts

Diana West’s concise, compelling column below brings recent events in Egypt into clear perspective.

Most people have little knowledge of the 13 century history of Islamic conquests, and how these conquests resulted in the deaths of hundreds of millions of people and the enslavement of tens of millions.  Nor do most Americans understand the sharia-based subjugation of Christians and Jews as “dhimmis,” who became third-class citizens in their own lands after they were conquered by the Muslim empire.

We are nearing the completion of an 18 month analysis of how Islam is presented in 38 middle and high school textbooks. One of the most egregious errors we have found, repeated over and over again, is how “tolerant” the Muslim conquerors were of those they conquered, with some textbooks going so far as to outrageously claim that the Muslim conquerors allowed Jews and Christians “full religious freedom.”  This rewrite of history must be exposed if Americans are to ever understand not only what happened 1,000 years ago, but to understand why the persecutions of Christians and Jews in Muslim lands continues to this day—and why the threat posed by the supremacist ideology of radical Islam is one we must take seriously.

Destruction of Copts Is Islamically Correct
Written by:Diana West 10/14/2011 7:28:00 AM

Coptic funeral, Muslim generals
This week's syndicated column:

I am looking at a reproduction of an old engraving of Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulcher. It is in Bat Ye'or's book "The Dhimmi," which collects primary documents from history to chronicle the impact of Islamic law on non-Muslims through the centuries.

What is notable about the image, which is based on an 1856 photograph, is that the church, said to be at the site of Jesus Christ's crucifixion and burial, has no cross and no belfry. Stripped of its Christian symbols, the church stood in compliance with the Islamic law and traditions of the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire, which ruled Jerusalem at the time.

I went back to the book to find this image for a reason. It had to do with last weekend's massacre of two dozen Coptic Christians in Cairo by Egyptian military and street mobs, which also left hundreds wounded. The unarmed Copts were protesting the destruction of yet another church in Egypt, St. George's, which on Sept. 30 was set upon by thousands of Muslim men following Friday prayers. Why? The trigger was repair work on the building – work that the local council and governor had approved.

Does that explanation make any sense? Not to anyone ignorant of Islamic law. Unfortunately, that criterion includes virtually all media reporting the story.

Raymond Ibrahim, an Islam specialist, Arabic speaker and author of "The Al Qaeda Reader" (Broadway, 2007), catalogs the key sequence of events that turned a church renovation project into terror and flames. With repair work in progress, he writes online at Hudson New York, "It was not long before local Muslims began complaining, making various demands, including that the church be devoid of crosses and bells – even though the permit approved them – citing that 'the cross irritates Muslims and their children.'"

Those details drove me to re-examine the de-Christianized 19th-century image of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher – no cross, no bells. It becomes a revealing illustration of Islamic history repeating itself in this "Shariah Autumn," the deadly but natural harvest of the grotesquely branded "Arab Spring."

Given our see-no-Shariah media (and government), we have no context in which to place such events. That context is Shariah society, advanced (but by no means initiated) by "Arab Spring," where non-Muslims – "dhimmi" – occupy a place defined for them by Islamic law and tradition. Theologian, author and Anglican pastor Mark Durie elaborates at "Dhimmi are permitted to live in an Islamic state under terms of surrender as laid out in the 'dhimma' pact." Such terms, Durie writes, "are a well-established part of Islamic law and can be found laid out in countless legal text books." When non-Muslims violate these terms, they become subject to attack.

To place the dhimmi pact in comparable Western terms is to say the West has its Magna Carta, Islam has its Pact of Umar. Among other things, this seminal pact governing Muslim and non-Muslims relations stipulates, Durie notes, the condition that Christians "will neither erect in our areas a monastery, church or sanctuary for a monk, nor restore any place of worship that needs restoration."

Thus, this anti-Coptic violence, which for the moment has caught world attention, is Islamically correct. This is the piece of the puzzle Westerners fail to grasp. But Durie takes us through the theological steps: "For some pious Muslims in Egypt today, the act of repairing a church is a flagrant provocation, a breach of the peace, which amounts to a deliberate revocation of one's right to exist in the land." As such, it "becomes a legitimate topic for sermons in the mosque (where) the faithful are urged ... to uphold the honor of Islam." In Islamic terms, then, the destruction of the church is no injustice, as Durie writes. It is "even a duty to destroy the church and even the lives of Christians who have the temerity to repair their churches." That's because dhimmi who take to the streets to protest the Islamically just destruction of the church "are also rebels who have forfeited their rights (under the pact) to 'safety and protection.'" As violators of the "dhimmi" pact, they become fair game.

It's quite simple, but the theology eludes us. Why? I think the answer is that to expose the facts about Shariah in the Western milieu is to invite their criticism. Such criticism is forbidden under Shariah. So, we remain silent – which is what good "dhimmi" do.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Persecution in the Muslim world

Whenever there is an attempted or successful Islamic terrorist attack in the U.S., leaders of groups like CAIR and ISNA, and their enablers and apologists, immediately wring their hands about a potential “backlash” against Muslims.

While such a backlash is always hard to find, as illustrated by the declining number of hate crimes against Muslims over the past few years, a real story of persecution is ignored by most of our media, government, and academia; most of our churches; and, of course, CAIR, ISNA, and their enablers. (It is refreshing to see that the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom is demanding an investigation of recent events in Cairo).

It is a 1,400 year old story of jihad, of the persecution of Christians, Jews, Hindus, and those of other faiths, at the hands of militant Muslims. A story that is being played out now right before our eyes, and reported on below (highlights added).

The forgotten Christians of the East
By Caroline B. Glick

It is unclear what either Western governments or Western churches think they are achieving by turning a blind eye to the persecution of Christians in the Muslim world | On Sunday night, Egyptian Copts staged what was supposed to be a peaceful vigil at Egypt's state television headquarters in Cairo. The 1,000 Christians represented the ancient Christian community of some 8 million whose presence in Egypt predates the establishment of Islam by several centuries. They gathered in Cairo to protest the recent burning of two churches by Islamic mobs and the rapid escalation of state-supported violent attacks on Christians by Muslim groups since the overthrow of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in February.

According to Coptic sources, the protesters Sunday night were beset by Islamic attackers who were rapidly backed up by military forces. Between 19 and 40 Copts were killed by soldiers and Muslim attackers. They were run over by military vehicles, beaten, shot and dragged through the streets of Cairo.

State television Sunday night reported only that three soldiers had been killed. According to al-Ahram Online, the military attacked the studios of al-Hurra television on Sunday night to block its broadcast of information on the military assault on the Copts.

Apparently the attempt to control information about what happened worked. Monday's news reports about the violence gave little indication of the identity of the dead or wounded. They certainly left untold the story of what actually happened in Cairo on Sunday night.

In a not unrelated event, Lebanon's Maronite Catholic Patriarch Bechara Rai caused a storm two weeks ago. During an official visit to Paris, Rai warned French President Nicolas Sarkozy that the fall of the Assad regime in Syria could be a disaster for Christians in Syria and throughout the region. Today the Western-backed Syrian opposition is dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood. Rai cautioned that the overthrow of President Bashar Assad could lead to civil war and the establishment of an Islamic regime.

In Iraq, the Iranian and Syrian-sponsored insurgency that followed the US-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein's Baathist regime in 2003 fomented a bloody jihad against Iraq's Christian population. This month marks the anniversary of last year's massacre of 58 Christian worshippers in a Catholic church in Baghdad. A decade ago there were 800,000 Christians in Iraq. Today there are 150,000.

Under the Shah of Iran, Iran's Christians were more or less free to practice their religion.

Today, they are subject to the whims of Islamic overlords who know no law other than Islamic supremacism.

Take the plight of Yousef Nadarkhani, an evangelical Protestant preacher who was arrested two years ago, tried and sentenced to death for apostasy and refusal to disavow his Christian faith. There is no law against apostasy in Iran, but no matter. Ayatollah Khomeini opposed apostasy. And so does Islamic law.

Once Nadarkhani's story was publicized in the West the Iranians changed their course.

Now they have reportedly abandoned the apostasy charge and are sentencing Nadarkhani to death for rape. The fact that he was never charged or convicted of rape is neither here nor there.

Palestinian Christians have similarly suffered under their popularly elected governments.

When the Palestinian Authority was established in 1994, Christians made up 80 percent of Bethlehem's population. Today they comprise less than 20% of the population.

Since Hamas "liberated" Gaza in 2007, the area's ancient Christian minority has been under constant attack. With only 3,000 members, Gaza's Christian community has seen its churches, convents, book stores and libraries burned by Hamas members and their allies. Its members have been killed and assaulted. While Hamas has pledged to protect the Christians of Gaza, no one has been arrested for anti-Christian violence.

JUST AS the Jews of the Islamic world were forcibly removed from their ancient communities by the Arab rulers with the establishment of Israel in 1948, so Christians have been persecuted and driven out of their homes.
Populist Islamic and Arab regimes have used Islamic religious supremacism and Arab racial chauvinism against Christians as rallying cries to their subjects. These calls have in turn led to the decimation of the Christian populations of the Arab and Islamic world.

For instance, at the time of Lebanese independence from France in 1946 the majority of Lebanese were Christians. Today less than 30% of Lebanese are Christians. [Editor’s note: This is the history Lebanese-born Brigitte Gabriel knows from personal experience.] In Turkey, the Christian population has dwindled from 2 million at the end of World War I to less than 100,000 today. In Syria, at the time of independence Christians made up nearly half of the population. Today 4% of Syrians are Christian. In Jordan half a century ago 18% of the population was Christian. Today 2% of Jordanians are Christian.

Christians are prohibited from practicing Christianity in Saudi Arabia. In Pakistan, the Christian population is being systematically destroyed by regime-supported Islamic groups. Church burnings, forced conversions, rape, murder, kidnap and legal persecution of Pakistani Christians has become a daily occurrence.