Tag Archives: barbaric ISIS


BLOG 310 July 11, 2016

A poignant example of one of the vast difference in values between the East and West emerged this past week. On one hand, an article appeared in the New York Times, July 3, 2016, describing how ISIS planned violence and killing. With recent terrorist incidences in Paris, Canada, Bangladesh, Turkey, etc., we need to be aware. In contrast, the world mourned the passing of Elie Wiesel, one of the towering figures of the 20th century and a survivor of the Holocaust who passed away at the age of 88. The difference between Elie Wiesel and ISIS is a contrast in life and death.

A Romanian-born American Jewish writer, professor, political activist, and Nobel Laureate, Wiesel was the author of 57 books, including Night, a work based on his experiences as a prisoner in the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps. Wiesel was a professor of humanities at Boston University, and helped establish the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. He campaigned for victims of oppression in places like South Africa and Nicaragua and genocide in Sudan. He publicly condemned the 1915 Armenian genocide and remained a strong defender of human rights. He will always be remembered as person who stood for the sacredness of life and that all living persons of every race are to be valued.

I met Elie Wiesel a number of years ago in Oklahoma City when my friend Rabbi David Packman brought him to the city. A tall, thin man, I remember he had large hands and long fingers. In a quiet voice, he described the importance of human dignity. On several other occasions, we talked by phone about issues that affected people in the Middle East.

Elie Wiesel valued all humanity. ISIS values none.

The New York Times article described the radical Islamist agenda for taking life. ISIS has advised its operatives to kill “anyone and everyone” particularly in countries that oppose their operations in Syria and Iraq, women and children included. They single out religious groups. Suicide bombers are sent into Shiite mosques. Converts to Christianity are their favorite targets. In both Syria and Iraq, they have carried out a campaign of wholesale slaughter conducted in front of cameras.

Many in the Muslim community are quick to point out that the ISIS radicals violate the true principals of Islam and are heretical. However, ISIS justifies every act by verses in the Koran. The situation continues to be a violation of all human rights.

Can anyone escape a comparison of what Elie Wiesel barely survived in Auschwitz and Buchenwald? The radical Muslim terrorists are the 21st century’s version of Nazi intentions. As I prepared this blog, the media blasted the week’s stories of police killings in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Falcon Heights, Minnesota, and Dallas, Texas. When will we ever learn Elie Wiesel’s lesson about the value of all humanity?

The world can not write ISIS off as only a military presence. They are the epitome of evil in our time. Elie Wiesel exposed the meaning of these extremists. In contrast, we must continue to toast and salute “the L’ chaim,” to life, and not allow its precious value to be diminished!

                                 AN ADDITIONAL NEW BLOG STARTS JULY 18!


Each week Robert Wise talks with, interviews, and follows everyday people who have encountered miraculous interventions in their lives. Their amazing stories are described and explored to understand how these encounters occurred. No one theological view or          denominational perspective is involved.


Leave a comment

Filed under Judaism, middle east, Muslims


Blog 266 August 17, 2015

This week Libya called on fellow Arab states for air strikes against the ISIS terrorist branch operating in their country in the costal city of Surt. During the past week, ISIS crushed a Salafist group trying to break their control of that city. Dozens were killed. On Wednesday ISIS troops also struck soldiers loyal to the official government in Benghazi. Nine soldiers were killed, a tank destroyed, and vehicles knocked out. The commercial airport in Benghazi has been closed for a year. It is not clear how Arab states like Saudi Arabia will respond. The point is that these battles paint a picture of ISIS on the move in a nation far away from their center in Syria. A situation to be remembered.

Moving over one country, Egypt continues to struggle in a life and death conflict with the same elements. A Sinai-based Islamist insurgency continues to rage with both Israel and Egypt concerned about this destructive presence. These rebels coming out of the Sinai desert have proven persistent.

The current Egyptian government under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi remains stable and in control but has not yet stopped the same upraising that is now plaguing Libya.

A current assessment indicates that the jihadists will stay cornered in northeastern Sinai, but they are not being permanently defeated. Egypt’s problem is that they need new equipment and particularly drones. As America has repeatedly performed across the entire Middle East under the Obama administration, the United States has been slow to the pont of being negligible in providing arms and assistance to meet these needs. In fact, after the military coup that defeated the Moslem Brotherhood and brought al-Sisi to power, American waited so long to help that Egypt began conversations with Putin to supply these needs.

In January, radical Sunni militants killed 40 Egyptian soldiers. The group called itself Ansar Beit al-Maqdis and declared an affiliation with ISIS. At that time, al-Sisi lambasted radical Islam as being a perversion of “true religion.” He cited the need for a genuine “religious revolution.” How right he was!

I once landed in the Sinai and remember humidity of a minus 20 (my immaginary calculation). Never have I experienced such an arid land! One quick glance revealed decades of neglect. The sparse security naturally invited illegal trafficking resulting in a flow of arms, drugs, migrants, and prostitution has been rumored. In the ‘80’s when Israel withdrew and turned the territory back to Egypt, plans were made for development that never came to pass. Because of the failed promises, a growing sense of alienation from Egypt developed what has today produced the Ansar Beit al-Maqdis and any other jihadist’s group. With the fall of Hosni Mubarak, the army concentrated on urban areas, leaving the Sinai alone. Smuggling goods into the Gaza Strip became big business.

Al-Sisis has the restoration of internal security in Egypt and Sinai at the top of his list and has broad popular support for this effort. In addition, Israel stands behind this effort to clean out the jihadists and will support Egypt’s efforts.

That’s a plus for sure.


1 Comment

Filed under Egypt, Israel, middle east


BLOG 264 August 3, 2015

Even though the Christian faith was born in the Middle East, with the rise of ISIS and similar extreme movements, its very survival now hangs in the balance. In a parallel vein, Christian ethics are under assault in Eastern European countries. Seldom has the future of Christianity faced such assault as today.

Since l968, I have traveled across the entire Middle Eastern sector many times. During this period, I visited many churches. Most were of the Orthodox persuasion while a few were Roman Catholic. Some Lutheran and Baptist Churches were around but not many. Since then the Evangelical branch of Christianity has become enamored with Israel and Jewish thought. Nevertheless, all of these groups are taking it on the chin.

When ISIS conquerors an area, non-Muslims are given three options: convert, pay a heavy tax, or be killed. Their target is “the people of the book:” Christians, Jew, or Zoroastrians.  Most are now running for their lives as the Middle East empties of Christians.

Christianity came to Iraq in the first century. The Apostle Thaddeus traveled to  Mesopotamia preaching the gospel. Today Iraqi Christians call themselves Assyrians, Chaldeans or Syriac. Different names for their common heritage in the Mesopotamia kingdoms of long ago. Many of these churches are still divided by doctrinal differences that extend back to the earliest centuries of the Christian era.

Where the Christian faith once made up 14% of the population, it is now down to 4%. In Iran and Turkey, believers are now almost completely gone. In Lebanon, Christians once were 78% of the population, but today they are only 34%. The rest have left the country. Fear continues to drive people out.  While the Assad regime once protected Christians, today over 600,00 fled the country out of fear as groups like the Nustra front, rebels, and now ISIS approach their cities. The so-called Arab Spring only made matters worse. ISIS’s goal of eradicating all memory of Christianity and other religious groups is destroying churches, shrines, and highly important relics from the past. ISIS also seizes young women and holds them for ransom or gives them to their fighters as slave-wives. In turn, these captives are often traded back and forth among their soldiers.

Making matters worse, the current Washington administration refuses to call the religious persecution by its rightful name. The description of Christian persecution always has the name Christian removed. When ISIS executed Egyptian Copts, the Obama administration called them “Egyptian citizens.” The silence about obvious religious persecution doesn’t help the persecuted

While not nearly as brutal, In Europe, countries like Slovakia are experiencing growing secular pressure to denounce centuries old Christian values. The right of individual conscience is under attack. Called “sexuality training” grade school children are exposed to contraception and abortion alternatives. Children ages 12 to 15 learn about prostitution and pornography while taught to be wary of the influence of “religion on decisions regarding sexuality.” While various churches have different positions on these issues, the point is that secular assaults seriously undermine Christian teaching.

Christians are being hit hard. Can you imagine the Middle East without a Christian population? It’s possible.

1 Comment

Filed under America, Christians, middle east


Recently, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations made startling statements about what lies behind much of the terrorism in the Middle East. Ambassador Ron Prosor charged that the aggressive behavior of Hamas was backed and financed by the country of Qatar. Oil-rich Qatar has been spreading its influence by purchasing six American universities, Harrods department store in England, and Paris’ Saint-Germain football team. Prosor said Qatar will buy, bride, or bully its way to whatever it wants, including the 2022 World Cup. Second only to Iran, Qatar is becoming the world’s biggest sponsor of terrorism.

The ambassador’s charges throw light on why terrorism continues to be so deadly in the Middle East. For example, during the war in Gaza, the Palestinians Authority confirmed that Hamas activists shot PA Arab supporters in the legs. Hamas imposed house arrest on the PA supporters (who knows for what reason) and then shot them in the legs or arms for failure to comply. In addition, it was charged Hamas had been planning a coup against the PA in the West Bank.  The IDF (Israeli Defense Force) and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) arrested 90 Hamas activists to stop the attempt.

The bottom line is that Hamas will use their own people as human shields, kill indiscriminately, use schools and hospitals to launch rockets while applying the millions they receive from Qatar to built rockets and tunnels for sneak attacks on Israel. Terrorism is a specter of hate, violence, and murder now being financed by the nation of Qatar.

Among the victims of this line of thinking are the Christians in Iraq. For 2,000 years Christianity has maintained a heartland in the Iraqi town of Mosul. The apostles Thomas and Thaddeus are believed to have worked and preached in Iraq that was then known as Assyria. Their ministry preceded the birth of Muhammad by 600 years. As ISIS swept in, the Sunni terrorist group expelled Christians from towns in the surrounding area. Terrorist marked their homes with the Arabic letters nun meaning Nazarene or Christian. Then, the invaders declared the residences “Property of the Islamic State.” In 2013, Baghdad’s Monsignor Pios Cacha predicted religious cleansing would affect the Christians as it had the Jewish community a half century earlier. Iraq had been the homeland of 150,000 Jews. Today, less that ten Jews are in the country.

Westerners find it difficult to grasp how religious faith could be at the heart of a Middle Eastern war. Diversity has been a cornerstone of American society from the beginning where today even bizarre sects are tolerated. Not so in the world of deadly battles between Sunnis and Shi’ites continuing daily. The West must wake up to the fact that countries like Qatar spend their billions to underwrite the conflicts. Whether we like it or not, want to avoid the conflicts like a plague, or are forced to see what we don’t want to recognize, countries like Qatar have pulled us into the struggle. Saudi Arabi and Iran each finance different sides in the conflict. The war goes on.

It’s time to pay attention.

1 Comment

Filed under America, Israel, middle east, Muslims

A Deeper Look at ISIS

BLOG 217 – September 8, 2014

Like it or not, the American public must take a second and more penetrating look at the crisis that has evolved in Iraq. While it is true President Obama ran on the promise to get America out of Middle Eastern wars and Iraq in particular, he has been dilatory in his slow response to this new crisis. The hastiness of the Bush-Cheney era has caused Obama to be overly cautious in reacting to severe changes in the Syrian crisis. Probably one of his biggest errors was drawing a line in the sand over the use of chemical weapons in Syria’s civil war, retreating, and then calling on Putin to pull him out. Now, Putin’s aggression in the Ukraine is a sign of his reading Obama as a paper tiger.

The West can’t allow such indecision with ISIS.

ISIS is a lineal descendant of al Qaeda and its efforts in Iraq. When Sadaam fell, a vacuum was left and the remaining government proved to be prejudiced and inept. Jordanian Abu Musab al Zarqawi moved in and set up shop in Iraq.  Instead of listening to guidance from  al Qaeda, he exploited the growing sectarian grievance with the Prime Minister Nouri Malaki. Zarqaui was betting Iraq could be overturned in a civil war that would give Sunnis more power in the country. By creating a radical Islamist country, Zarqawi looked toward a superstate that would be able to create the unity that existed in the early days of Islam. Consequently, the current barbaric killings and assassinations reflect his thinking.

An air strike in 2006 killed Zarqawi, but he was close to achieving his goal. However, his vision survived and moved men and equipment to Syria to fight against Assad and the Alawite sect. During the civil war, the army grew as they robbed banks and stole loot on both sides of the Syrian-Iraqi border. American did nothing.

As time progressed, the original al Qaeda organization distanced itself from this movement because of its violence. What worried Ayman al Zawahiri (Ben Ladin’s successor) was the violence of this group toward other Muslims. There was no middle ground or allowance for a variation of opinion. Their motto was “join, fall on your face, or die!” They proved to be particularly strong in working the “dying” angle.

Out of this cauldron of intolerance and pain came the ISIS movement that swept across Iraq and immediately captured Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq. Of course, the ISIS movement has a visceral hatred for America and Israel –their ultimate objectives for attack. Should they be able to attack an American target, they would recruit a new army of extremist overnight. One of the greatest dangers of this organization at this point is their persistent ability to sweep through Iraq and appear invincible. The ISIS organization knows well how to make propaganda out of such an endeavor. The two recent be-headings were aimed for recruiting purposes.

Unfortunately for ISIS, their barbarism has back-fired as recent American missile strikes have demonstrated. Rather than creating fear, they have raised the ire of Western nations that are now coming for them. The time is long passed getting serious. If America doesn’t stop them today, the US will face a more terrible threat tomorrow.

1 Comment

Filed under America, middle east, Russia