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August 31, 2014 / 5 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘persecution’

‘Australia’s Sarah Palin’ Quits Race over Islam Gaffe (Video)

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

Stephanie Banister, 27, a candidate for Australia’s anti-immigration One Nation party, dropped out of the election race on Saturday, after an interview in which she referred to Islam as a country.

“I don’t oppose Islam as a country, but I do feel that their laws should not be welcome here in Australia,” Banister said in a Wednesday interview to the Seven Network. The interview went viral in short order, endowing Banister with the nickname “Australia’s Sarah Palin.”

She went on to tell the riveted—if somewhat horrified—masses that only two percent of Australians follow the “haram” – referring to the Koran – and then voiced her enthusiastic support for kosher food for Jewish people, because “Jews aren’t under haram. They have their own religion which follows Jesus Christ.”

Bet you didn’t know.

On Saturday, Banister withdrew her candidacy for the September 7 election, which she was contesting for anti-immigration zealot Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party in Queensland.

Party leader Jim Savage insisted the resignation came not over IQ issues and her a lack of familiarity with current events, but because of Islamic persecution: “Due to the threats against Stephanie’s family, herself, her children, the abuse she’s copped and the enormous pressure she’s been put under, Stephanie has decided she wants to withdraw from the candidacy for the seat of Rankin,” Savage said.

Fear of persecution appears to be a running theme in One nation. In 1997, founder Pauline Hanson recorded a video which was to be screened to One Nation members and supporters in the event of her assassination.


In Egypt, Pogroms against Christians Have Become Routine

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

On April 7, Islamists threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at mourners attending a funeral at the Cairo cathedral. The funeral was for four young Copts killed in fighting the previous day and to remember victims of a church bombing in 2011. Young Christians ran outside with firecrackers, sticks, and rocks to defend their church. Soon, gunshots erupted outside. The Christians had no guns.

The police stood aside. One man ran into the cathedral and yelled, “The police are firing [teargas] at us….They’re taking the [assailants’] side.” This accusation is confirmed by the article published in al-Ahram, historic flagship newspaper of the old regime but now free (at least temporarily) of government control.

Notice a detail. The newspaper inserted the word “assailants” into the quote. Unless the young man was speaking an expletive, he was probably saying “Muslims.” The Muslim reporter or editor did not change the word to hide the truth—everyone in Egypt knows what was happening—but to avoid inflaming things further and to assert the point that not all Muslims hate and attack Christians.

As noted above, the police didn’t help the Christians. Four Christians were arrested.

As for the government, the Interior Ministry blamed them for the clash, saying that mourners had smashed cars parked by the cathedral leading to fistfights with local residents. But why would mourners randomly vandalize automobiles merely because they were parked in the neighborhood? It isn’t a credible assertion.

As the police stood aside, 29 worshipers were injured. There is not the slightest doubt that the Egyptian government, now as under the previous regime, will never, ever intervene to protect Christians, who constitute about 10 percent of the population. If the police arrest anyone, it will only be Christians; Muslims will not be charged. The courts will never or almost never rule in the favor of any Christians. Indeed, a high-ranking government official accused the Christians themselves of attacking the cathedral!

No Western protests will change this situation; statements of dismay which may appear from time to time are mere window-dressing. The Islamist regime will get big loans and continued U.S. military aid as long as it does not engage in outright massacres.

Some of the worshipers in the cathedral chanted, Down with the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood regime! The bishop urged calm, stressing three principles: justice would come from heaven; Christians would not flee the country; and bloodshed would only strengthen their religious commitment.

But what can the Copts do except resign themselves to continued persecution; Western apologies and help for their persecutors; and a choice between restraint or worse violence?

One idea of some of those in the cathedral was to march to the defense ministry after the funerals in order to demand military protection for the churches. But others pointed out that they could not depend on the army either since it had been involved in past persecutions and deaths.

This is not to say that the Coptic side was necessarily completely innocent in every case. For example, one Muslim was also killed in the clashes that led to the four Christian deaths. Some Muslim, as well as Christian, property was set on fire during the violence around the cathedral.

Yet it is unlikely that Copts, with a long tradition of survival through passivity and submission (forced by the “dhimmi” status imposed on them), badly outnumbered, and facing powerful forces backed by the authorities are the aggressor or that both sides are equally at fault.

The Brotherhood is running the government; the Salafists are running in the streets. Moderate Muslim Egyptians, like those who run al-Ahram for the time being (as a state newspaper it will soon come under Brotherhood control) are unhappy with the persecution but can do nothing.

Things can only get worse. The world is indifferent; the Western mass media is usually determined to be “even-handed” or to ignore the extent of the situation, preferring to seek alleged oppressors in other, near-by countries.

Meanwhile, a change of regime is approaching in Syria, where the Christian population is proportionately larger than in Egypt. In Egypt, Christians were very active in opposing the old regime; but in Syria they have looked to that same doomed regime for protection. In Iraq, most of the Christians have been driven out; in the Gaza Strip reportedly they have all had to leave.

Happy Thanksgiving – 2012

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

Well… once again it was turkey day. It had been a while since I regularly had a big Thanksgiving dinner. But back in the good old days when our children were young – one of our extended family members would host such a meal every year which we would all attend. I guess now that all of our kids have grown, that custom sort fell by the wayside.

But that doesn’t mean that I no longer support the idea of a Thanksgiving Day meal. I do. My Rebbe R’ Aharon used to have Thanksgiving Day turkey dinners with his family. One of my favorite stories is told about the Rav. He had scheduled his Shiur in YU early one Thanksgiving day in order to be on time at his family’s Thanksgiving dinner.

As I say every time there is a national holiday in this country, we ought to participate and show our appreciation for the privilege of living in America.

Some historians propose that the holiday of Thanksgiving was originally based on Sukkos. According to these historians the pilgrims lived together with Sephardic Jews in Holland for 10 years prior to coming here. Holland was considered a safe haven from religious persecution. Understanding that Sukkos represented deliverance from religious persecution in Egypt, they used that as a paradigm for their own celebration of deliverance from religious persecution.

Being “Old” Testament oriented, it seems natural for them to embrace this time of year for that celebration. There was also a desire to thank God after the Autumn harvest. This too is based on Sukkos which is called the Chag HaAsif – the ‘holiday of gathering’ when the fall crops would be harvested. (Israel was then much more of an agrarian society.)

It was George Washington who by proclamation in October of 1789 finally established Thanksgiving as a national holiday to be celebrated in November. The fourth Thursday in November was established by federal legislation in 1941 – for people of all religions to give thanks for what we have.

I see nothing wrong with our participating with all American citizens in observing Thanksgiving. And apparently neither did my Rebbe nor his illustrious brother, the Rav.

But there are some Poskim who do not like the idea at all and are opposed to it in spirit if not in strict Halacha. Rav Moshe Feinstein said that it is permissible to celebrate Thanksgiving by having a big dinner since it was not established as a religious holiday. But he felt it was not a proper custom.

I can’t say for sure, but my guess is he didn’t like the custom because by participating with non Jews in a national meal of thanksgiving – it was too close to being involved with them in a religious way. But that is just speculation on my part.

In any case I agree with his Psak that it is permissible but disagree with his view that it is best not to do so.

Unfortunate are the lengths his approach has been taken to by the right. Celebrating Thanksgiving is frowned upon and virtually ignored as anything more than a day off from work.

But I agree with my Rebbe. Thanksgiving is yet another way to express our Hakoras HaTov to this great nation of ours. And yes – to thank God for it. So, Happy Thanksgiving. For those of you who are going to have a big festive meal with family and friends – enjoy. And eat your Turkey guilt free. (Religiously speaking only.)

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah.

Ethnic Cleansing of Christians in the Sinai

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

In events being ignored not only by the Egyptian authorities, but also by the mainstream media and human rights organizations in the West, Muslim terrorists have in recent weeks attacked Christian families and forced them out of their homes and businesses in the Sinai town of Rafah. The terrorists have threatened to pursue their jihad against Christians until all of them leave the Sinai.

According to reports from the Sinai, all the Christians who used to live in Rafah have already fled their homes after being targeted by Muslim terrorists.

Christians said that before the Egyptian “revolution,” they enjoyed good relations with their Muslim neighbors and felt safer. But under Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi, the Christians in the Sinai were being left alone to confront Muslim gangs by themselves.

Egyptian security forces finally began operating against the terrorists only after 16 border guards were killed several weeks ago, apparently by Muslim jihadis in Sinai. But these forces have not been able to protect the Christian families in Sinai, whose lives been turned into hell ever since the ‘Arab Spring’ arrived in Egypt.

The Egyptian newspaper Al-Yom Al-Sabe (The Seventh Day) revealed that the Christian families were forced to leave Rafah after Muslim terrorists torched the local church. It wrote that the terrorists sprayed graffiti on the walls of the destroyed church calling on Christians to leave Rafah immediately.

The attack on the church was the latest in a series of assaults against Christian-owned homes and businesses.

Ehab Lewis, one of the Christians who fled Rafah, said that not a single Christian has remained in the town. Lewis, a former school teacher, said: “I was in Rafah with my family and we left out of fear for our lives. They threatened to torch my house. They attacked my neighbor’s shop and destroyed everything inside. He too was forced to run away.”

Lewis said that all the Christians in Rafah had received death threats before fleeing. “We were afraid to send our children to school,” he recounted. He and other Christians accused the Egyptian authorities of turning a blind eye to their plight. Instead of confronting the Muslim terrorists, the Egyptian authorities advised the Christian families to move to the town of Al-Arish in Sinai.

“This is not a solution,” said Father Kuzman, a local leader of the Christian community. “Why are we being asked to leave our holy land? The solution is for the authorities to impose law and order and protect their citizens. The government should not leave the border open to armed groups.”

Father Michael George said that the ethnic cleansing of Christians Sinai was taking place as the Egyptian authorities did nothing.

Christian families living in Sinai say they miss the good old days before the “Arab Spring,” when they were able to lead lives that were relatively normal.

Originally published by the Gatestone Institute.

Who Will Save the Christians in the Gaza Strip?

Friday, July 20th, 2012

Are Palestinian Christians living in the Gaza Strip being kidnapped by Muslims who force them to convert to Islam? This is a story that is considered taboo among many Palestinians, who prefer to lay all the blame only on Israel.

According to the Greek Orthodox Church in the Gaza Strip, at least five Christians have been kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam in recent weeks.

If anyone has good reason to fear for his life it is Archbishop Alexios, head of the Greek Church in the Gaza Strip, who is spearheading the protests against persecution of Christians and forced conversions.

In the past few days the archbishop has come under sharp criticism from many Palestinians and the Hamas government for daring to speak out about the plight of his community.

Islamic groups and human rights activists in the Gaza Strip claimed that the Christians converted to Islam of their own free will.

They even released a videotape of a young Christian man, Ramez al-Amash, 24, in which he declared that he had voluntarily abandoned his faith in favor of Islam.

The church blamed an unidentified terror group of being behind the forced conversions and called on the international community to intervene to save the Christians.

Church leaders also accused a prominent Hamas man of being behind the kidnapping and forced conversion of a Christian woman, Huda Abu Daoud, and her three daughters. Shortly after she disappeared, the woman sent a message to her husband’s mobile phone informing him that she and her daughters had converted to Islam.

In a rare public protest, leaders and members of the 2,000-strong Christian community in the Gaza Strip staged a sit-in strike in the Gaza Strip this week to condemn the abductions and forced conversions in particular, and persecution at the hands of radical Muslims in general.

The protest has further aggravated tensions between Muslims and Christians in the Gaza Strip, which has been under the control of Hamas since 2007.

Leaders and members of the Christian community now fear reprisal attacks by Muslim extremists. Some have appealed to the Vatican and Christian groups and churches in the US, Canada and Europe for help.

But according to Christian families, the world does not seem to care about their plight. “We only hear voices telling us to stay where we are and to stop making too much noise,” said a Christian man living in Gaza City. “If they continue to turn a blind eye to our tragedy, in a few months there will be no Christians left in Palestine. Today it’s happening in the Gaza Strip, tomorrow it will take place in Bethlehem.”

The public protest by the Christians in the Gaza Strip is a first step in the right direction. This is a move that could finally draw the attention of the international community, including Church leaders across the US, to the real problems and dangers facing Palestinian Christians.

Radical Islam, and not checkpoints or a security fence, remains the main threat to defenseless Christians not only in the Palestinians territories, but in the entire Middle East as well.

Originally published by the Gatestone Institute http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org

Holocaust Heroines: Hilda Pistiner

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

When I first saw Hilda Pistiner I believed she was a German tourist. Later, when I met her personally and found out she was an Israeli born in Bukovina, I labored under a second mistaken assumption: I believed she had been a pioneer in pre-State Israel, her fresh youthful blond looks untouched by the Holocaust. How wrong have I been!

Not only is she a Holocaust survivor, but a bona fide Holocaust heroine.

Hilda Schauman was born on January 12, 1933 in Moldova Solice, Romania. In describing her childhood, Hilda admits to having been a pampered (“spoiled”) child of wealthy parents. She had the prettiest dresses, expensive toys, pets, and fun vacations in the countryside. Her indulgent parents provided everything she wanted.

At the beginning of the hostilities in Romania, and the persecution of Jews by Romanian authorities in 1938, the beautiful pampered girl was only seven-years-old. Her father was abruptly taken away, their business destroyed, their home ripped apart, and they themselves, mother Yetty and little Hilda, deported to a ghetto in the nearby city.

Under the impact of starvation, at the mercy of the bitter winter elements, and the attendant disease epidemic, Mother Yetty became ill, and eventually lost her ability to care for herself and her daughter, resigning her autonomy.

Amazingly, little Hilda stepped into the gap, overnight turning into a young woman with the determination to help both of them survive. Ignoring her fears, she left the ghetto in search of food and other essentials. Her cunning and physical stamina grew throughout the years, and eventually she started helping others with food and lodging.

The excruciating torment in a series of hellholes, from Bukovina to the Ukraine, during the years of 1941 to 1944, matured eight-year-old Hilda into an eleven-year-old heroine. Her valiant struggle helped her mother and a number of other Jewish victims of persecution to survive.

After WWII ended and Holocaust survivors were striving for a milieu of normalcy, Hilda joined a Zionist youth group, and trained for life in Israel. In 1948, months before the establishment of the State of Israel, Hilda followed the urgings of her Zionist heart, boarded an overloaded illegal ship called “The Pan York,” and sailed for Eretz Yisrael, leaving her beloved mother behind.

Yetty and Hilda had earlier discovered that in 1942, on his thirty sixth birthday, her father, Shmuel with his parents and seventeen-year-old sister Suzy had been by Romanian Nazis on the bank of the River Bug.

The distraught young widow married a man similarly bereft. His young son, Jackie Pistiner, preceded Hilda in his aliyah to the Land of Israel. A year later the two, Hilda Schauman and the nine years her senior, Jackie/now Yaakov/ Pistiner, were married. By then Yaakov had taken part in the War of Independence and held a job working for the Israel Electric Co. Hilda had completed a nursing course and was working in the medical field.

When, some time later their parents arrived in Israel, the young couple managed to help them obtain proper housing while they themselves lived in wooden barracks. In 1952, Hilda and Yaakov became parents to first-born son, Aryeh, followed by the birth in 1952 of their second son, Alon, and nine years later, to their third, Yoav. In the meantime Hilda had added social work to her nursing skills and undertook extensive field work among problematic youth. She also devoted her time and energy to volunteering among these groups, primarily immigrants from the former Soviet Union, and later Ethiopia, earning honorary distinctions from various governmental authorities.

Hilda Schauman Pistiner, the pre-teen Holocaust heroine, now mother and grandmother, still continues her life-saving activities on a large scale.

(About her latest social achievements to benefit fellow Jews – will talk about those in a future column).

London Hasidim Rally against Israel

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Hundreds of Satmar hasidim rallied Monday in front of Israel’s embassy in London, protesting “persecution of religion” in the Jewish state. The lead speaker was Rabbi Ephraim Shtern, member of the Eida Haredit directorate.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/london-hasidim-rally-against-israel/2012/02/14/

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