Tag Archives: Egyptians

DONALD TRUMP AND ISLAM

donald-trump (1)

Donald Trump’s statement that “Islam hates us” has been roundly condemned by other presidential candidates and by the media.

But, what if he’s right?  What if Islam does hate the West?

Islam and the West have a long history of conflict.   The predominant thinking in the West is that it’s all in the past, that religion itself is no longer important.

But is that the view from the Islamic world?

Let’s consider the facts —-

  1. Christians are being driven out of the Middle East. And not just by ISIS.  Even the supposedly pro-western, moderate Egyptian government continues to discriminate against its Coptic Christian population, down from 25% of Egyptians forty years ago, to 10% now.   Recent articles show that it’s become almost impossible for new churches to be built.
  2. Whereas millions of Muslims have moved into the West in recent decades, there is no traffic the other way.   Christians are still not allowed to move into Muslim countries, except as temporary skilled workers.   Citizenship for non-Muslims is out of the question.
  3. Islam means “submission,” surrendering your own will to the will of Allah.  The West is built on freedom of the individual, the exact opposite.
  4. The goal of Islam is to take over the world.   Everybody must submit to the will of Allah.   “I was ordered to fight all men until they say:   “There is no god but Allah.”   So said the prophet Muhammed in his final address to his followers in March 632. 1400 years of violence has followed.   At least three times in history Islamic forces have tried to conquer Europe.   Could the present migrant invasion of Europe be yet another attempt?
  5. Voices in the Islamic world are frequently raised against the “crusader states,” meaning the United States and its coalition partners.   The term “crusaders” goes back almost one thousand years to when the western Europeans launched a series of crusades against Islam, establishing the “Christian” Kingdom of Jerusalem in the Holy Land.   It took two centuries for the Muslims to oust the Christians.   Many, and perhaps most, see Israel as a new crusader state that must be ousted; they also see US and other western troops as “crusaders” intent on forcing Christianity on the region.
  6. Warnings from former Muslims.   Author Salman Rushdie in a lecture on C-Span warned that “when a Muslim from the Middle East moves to Detroit, he is not looking to take advantage of America’s way of life to better himself.   Rather, he sees himself as part of the advance guard who will spread Islam to America.”        Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somalian, suffered female genital mutilation as a young girl.   She fled to the Netherlands, where she eventually became a Member of the Dutch parliament.   She helped Theo van Gogh make a short documentary titled “Submission,” highlighting the suffering of women at the hands of their Muslim husbands.   Mr. van Gogh was decapitated on the streets of Amsterdam for making the film.   Ms. Ali now lives in the United States.   She is frequently on television warning the West on the dangers of Islam.
  7. Where are the so-called “moderate” Muslims?   When the irreverent Bill Maher (who frequently lampoons Christians), discussed the issue of Islam with PBS’ Charlie Rose, he responded to a comment from Mr. Rose about “moderate Muslims,” with “what moderate Muslims?   Show me one.   Bring one to your program and I will return to discuss the issue with him.”   This was said over a year ago.   To date, Mr. Maher has not returned.

The late Professor Samuel Huntington predicted in his book “The Clash of Civilizations and The Remaking of World Order” that “the population explosion in Muslim countries and the economic rise of East Asia are changing global politics.   These developments challenge Western dominance, promote opposition to supposedly “universal” Western ideas, and intensify intercivilization conflict….” (inside cover of book).

He first wrote on this subject in 1993.   We are now in the thick of the crisis he foretold.

Birth rates have certainly played a major role in these developments.   While western countries have practiced birth control, including the murder of innocent babies through abortion, many nations, including Muslim ones, have continued to have large families, exporting their surplus to the West.

Additionally, Bible prophecy suggests a coming clash of civilizations. Although the term is not specifically used, Daniel, chapter 11, foretells of a coming clash between “the king of the south” and the “king of the north,” two powers to the south and to the north of Jerusalem.   These are likely to be an Islamic alliance to the south and a European super-state to the north, as prophesied in Revelation chapters 13 & 17.

Not for the first time, Mr. Trump has raised an issue that needed to be raised. He warns of Islam threatening the United States.   Some voices in Europe are raising similar fears, following the Paris attacks and the migrant crisis.   Calls for restrictions on immigration are greeted with voluble cries of “racist.”   Both President Obama and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton have said it’s “un-American” for the country to discriminate against Islamic immigrants.   They clearly do not know much history – before 1965 the US openly discriminated.

One final question needs to be considered:   The United States and western Europe have not had a 1930’s style Depression in the fifty years of mass immigration.   When another one comes, which it surely will, will the multicultural paradise envisioned by Mr. Obama, the Clintons, the Kennedys and others, hold, or will we see friction between the various ethnic groups, the kind of conflict that has led to so much upheaval in other parts of the world?

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RUSSIA’S INTERVENTION IN SYRIA

Putin Syria

A generation after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia is back in the Middle East.   It cannot be good for America!

Britain dominated the Middle East between the two world wars. After World War II, that domination continued for about a decade. Then, in 1956, the Egyptians seized the British and French owned Suez Canal. The two countries, together with Israel, invaded Egypt in an attempt to reclaim the Canal, but they were stopped by US President Dwight D. Eisenhower.     In hindsight, it marked the end of the British Empire. It also resulted in greater US involvement in the region.

The Book of Daniel is a prophetic book in the Old Testament, written during the sixth century before Christ.  It’s a remarkable book because the writer, Daniel, who served two kings of Babylon while Babylon was the greatest power in the world, then served two kings of Persia when it was the Persian turn to attain the status of super power.

His writings predicted the eventual replacement of Persia by Greece and then, in turn, Rome.   These were four of the greatest empires of the ancient world.   Each rose to greatness and each descended into oblivion.   Only their ruins remain.

Daniel put it well when he wrote the following:

“And He (God) changes the times and the seasons;
He removes kings and raises up kings;
He gives wisdom to the wise
And knowledge to those who have understanding.” (Daniel 2:21)

God is behind the rise and fall of nations.   He also reveals His prophetic outline “to those who have understanding.”

Just as Great Britain’s period of pre-eminence came to an end, so will America’s.   But, as with Britain, the change took a while to be fully realized.

Russia’s intervention in the Middle East fundamentally changes the balance of power in the region.   Russia, in the form of the Soviet Union, was heavily involved in the area following the British withdrawal.   While the US supported Israel, Jordan and the other conservative monarchies, including the Shah of Iran, Moscow supported Egypt and Syria.   That changed with the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty of 1979.   Moscow has not had much clout since.

But now that’s changed.   Moscow is not only involved in Syria, propping up President Bashar al-Assad against ISIS and other groups, it is also involved in Iran and Iraq.   In effect, Russia is backing the Shi’ite arc that starts in Lebanon (Hezbollah) and swings through Syria, Iraq and Iran.   Bible students will remember that this is basically the territory of the old King of the North of Daniel, chapter 11, the Seleucid dynasty that had its origins in the conquests of Alexander the Great.   The rivalry with the Ptolemaic dynasty labeled the King of the South in the scriptures continued for two centuries and constantly threatened the Jews who were in the middle. The terms “King of the North” and “King of the South” refer to their geographical location in relation to Jerusalem and the threat they posed to the ancient capital of the Jews.

The same chapter prophesies that these two powers will be revived in different form prior to Christ’s return and will once again threaten the Jewish nation of Israel.

So it’s interesting to see Russia getting involved.

Vladimir Putin had this to say at the United Nations just a few days ago:

“An aggressive foreign interference has resulted in a brazen destruction of national institutions and the lifestyle itself.   Instead of the triumph of democracy and progress, we got violence, poverty, and social disaster.   Nobody cares a bit about human rights, including the right to life.   I cannot help asking those who have caused the situation, do you realize now what you have done?”

President Putin was talking about the United States and the consequences of American intervention in the Middle East.

Discussing this speech on PBS’ McLaughlin Group, conservative columnist Pat Buchanan had this to say:

“We are responsible for the disaster in the Middle East by our interventions.”

The mess the US and its allies created in the Middle East is affecting peoples around the world.   The Lansing State Journal carried the following front-page headline today:   “Eager for Syrians to arrive”, referring to Lansing, Michigan, welcoming Syrian refugees in the coming days and weeks.   Europe has been invaded by hundreds of thousands of people, some of whom are refugees, over the last few weeks. Australians are also seeing Syrian refugees arrive in their country.   This could pose a serious security threat to western nations.

President Obama said the following at the UN:   “The strongmen of today become the spark of revolution tomorrow.   You can jail your opponents, but you cannot imprison ideas.   You can control access to information, but you cannot turn a lie into truth.”

What the US president was saying was intended as a warning to President Putin and the Arab dictator he intends to keep in power, President Assad of Syria. The latter is a ruthless dictator (the former is simply a dictator who can be ruthless; there’s a difference). The US position on Syria is that Assad must go. That now seems highly unlikely.   When Mr Obama refers to “ideas” that cannot be suppressed, he is referring to democracy and the “moderate” resistance to Assad. However, recent history shows that democracy is not the winner when dictators in the Middle East are overthrown. Rather, Islamic extremism or chaos, and usually both, result.

Putin, unfettered by ideological constraints, instinctively knows that.

Russia is in Syria to stay.

This could pose a problem for Israel now that the Russian bear is on its border.

It could also weaken the Russians.   Mr. Putin must remember that it was Soviet intervention in Afghanistan in 1979 that brought down the Soviet Union, which he has described as the greatest disaster of the twentieth century.

What it will mean for Russia is not clear at this time.   However, it is clear what it means for the United States.   Just as an American president’s decision in 1956 precipitated the fall of the British Empire, so an American president’s inaction over Syria and cozying up to Iran, with the resultant weakening of ties with traditional allies in the region, has directly led to America’s decline in the Middle East.

 

HOLLYWOOD IS NOT IN THE BUSINESS OF TEACHING HISTORY

Patriot

Hollywood is adding to US foreign policy woes at an incredible rate. No less than four current movies are causing upsets in various parts of the world.

“The Interview” has received a lot of attention.   I have not seen it and would have had no interest in seeing it, if North Korea’s paranoid regime hadn’t flipped out over the movie, blaming the US president personally for its showing. (When you’ve grown up in a country where the “Dear Leader” decides everything, it’s not surprising that people think the US president plays the same role in America!)

The movie revolves around a comedic attempt to assassinate the leader of North Korea. Along the way it makes fun of the more comical aspects of the regime.

As the US has never had good relations with North Korea anyway, Pyongyang’s anger can largely be ignored. But other movies are also a problem.

“American Sniper” has been labeled racist by Muslims who see the conflict with ISIS as a continuation of the clash of civilizations between the “Christian” West and the Islamic world. The movie tells the true story of the US military’s greatest sniper, who killed over 200 people during the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. As all his victims were Muslims, he, therefore, must be a racist. Don’t look for logic – it’s not a strong point with people who grew up in the Middle East.

“Unbroken” is also a problem, this time with the Japanese. Conservatives in the country are upset over the way Japan’s troops are portrayed in the film, which again is a true story, telling the story of Olympic athlete Louis Zamperini’s experience in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp in WWII.   It’s not the first movie to depict the horrors of life in a Japanese POW camp.   They had no respect for prisoners as their own military culture taught that fighting to the death was preferable to surrender.

The truth is the truth. No apologies need be made for “American Sniper” or “Unbroken”, assuming they stuck to the truth.

Even “Exodus” has been quite controversial, thousands of years after the event. My wife and I didn’t like it. Nor did the Egyptians who said it was “inaccurate,” that Jewish slaves did not build the pyramids and that the depiction of ancient Egyptians was not accurate. Although the depiction of the plagues was interesting and imaginative, and Christian Bale played a convincing Moses, the parting of the Red Sea and receiving of the Ten Commandments were much better in the 1956 version, when special effects were more primitive.   Perhaps the downplaying of the commandments reflects changing societal attitudes in the interim decades.

In Egypt, ‘Censors objected to the “intentional gross historical fallacies that offend Egypt and its pharaonic ancient history in yet another attempt to Judaize Egyptian civilization, which confirms the international Zionist fingerprints all over the film,” the statement said.

The ministry said the movie inaccurately depicts ancient Egyptians as “savages” who kill and hang Jews, arguing that hanging did not exist in ancient Egypt. It said the film also presents a “racist” depiction of Jews as a people who mounted an armed rebellion. The ministry said religious scriptures present Jews as weak and oppressed.

The statement also objected to the depiction of God as a child, which also drew criticism in the West.’  (Seattle Times, December 28th)

Hollywood has always had a problem with religion, rarely depicting biblical events with any degree of accuracy. “The Ten Commandments” (1956) was one of the better biblical movies, with considerable input from Josephus.

But Hollywood has also had a serious problem with history. I cannot think of any historical movie made in Hollywood that was 100% accurate. “Braveheart” has been labeled the most historically inaccurate movie ever made, with 87 historical inaccuracies, according to one website. Another Mel Gibson movie, “The Patriot” got the prize for the fourth most inaccurate movie in history. Amongst other things, the movie depicted British soldiers burning down a church with people in it. The film was set during the Revolutionary War.   British soldiers have never burned down a church full of worshippers, never at any time in history. If they did, they would be court-martialed and severely punished. But it made for great entertainment!

Mel Gibson defended these movies by saying, “We are not in the business of teaching history. We are in the business of providing entertainment to make money.” (The quote is a paraphrase heard on NPR many years ago.)

At least he was honest. Perhaps his anti-semitic rantings owe their origin to the same ignorance of history!

Hollywood has always had a problem with history.

Exactly a century ago next month, what is considered the most influential movie in American history, premiered. “The Birth of a Nation” was an anti-black, pro-KKK movie that led to riots in cities across America. The film was set during the Civil War and Reconstruction and blamed African-Americans for the problems that plagued the US during this period. The NAACP tried to get the film banned. The movie was the first motion picture screened at the White House, then occupied by President Woodrow Wilson.

In an age when few people read anything in depth, preferring to spend their time with electronic gadgets, including TV and DVD’s, movies are perceived as fact.   But they rarely are. If you want to know the facts, you have to read and do the research.

The 1960 John Wayne movie “The Alamo” was made with two historical advisers during production. One of them walked off the set saying, “there isn’t one minute of historical accuracy in this film” but it hasn’t stopped people watching it in the last 55 years.

Hollywood has a responsibility to strive for accuracy. It can be done. Good movies can be made while maintaining accuracy. “To Kill a King” is a prime example. This is a British movie about the English Civil War, the execution of the King and the subsequent Republic under Oliver Cromwell. The film was lauded by historians as the most accurate historical movie ever made.

Sadly, it’s hard to track down. Perhaps, after all, people are not interested in facts – they just want to be entertained!