Tag Archives: ISIS beheadings


Blog 346 April 18, 2017

            Before we start, I need to inform you of a change. Cancel the internet radio show! I had too much trouble in getting an acceptable quality of sound – among other things. So, I am shutting down that operation. Moreover, this summer I am beginning a new website that will fascinate you to no end. The time required for these efforts makes the radio broadcast marginal. Stay tuned for future information on the new website.

Since this is Easter weekend, I am taking a break from the ominous events boiling in North Korea and Syria for a closer look at the Christian experience. Sorry to say that being a Christian in the Middle East is dangerous business. If you follow the regular media, you read of the attack on Coptic Christians in Egypt. Making up only 10% of the population, (about 9 million) they are highly vulnerable to attacks by the Muslim majority. I have known some of these Coptis and found them to be fine, sensitive Christians. I have a deep concern for the price they pay for their faith.

Coptis date their origins to St. Mark working in Alexandria during the reign of Roman Emperor Claudius around the year 42 CE. (only 9 years after the Resurrection). They are arguably the oldest Christian community in the world.

ISIS has called Middle Eastern Christians their “favorite prey.” In December, twenty Egyptian Copts (mostly women and children) were massacred in their church by ISIS. Many more were wounded. Such horrendous incidents are not only an ongoing struggle of Christians for their faith, but they also offer a measure of insight into how Arab governments respond to persecution and hate crimes – particularly against Christians and similar minorities.

Recently, ISIS produced a “hit list” of Christians it intends to murder. So far seven have been murdered with one beheading. One person was burned alive. A father and son were dumped on the side of the road after the father was shot and the boy burned alive. These acts reflect a Muslim symbol, saying that the victims do not even deserve human burial, but should be left to be eaten by animals. ISIS sees all Christians in this light.

And how is Egyptian President al-Sisi responding? Hardly a blip in the media. Since the Copts aren’t considered by him to be in the mainstream, they get little attention. Because the Copts have no presence in the West, there is no one to take up their cry for protection. Copts are Orthodox Christians and not connected to Roman Catholic and Protestants groups. Strangely enough, the only people who seriously take up their cause are Jews in Israel. Israelis know that if such atrocities go unnoticed, they could well be next. Israelis know that only moderate regimes can keep the region stable. Protecting Christians is protecting Israel and the region.

A necessary if unhappy message for this year’s Easter.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christians, Egypt, middle east


BLOG 244 March 16, 2015

Never has the future of the Middle East been so uncertain. Disintegration exists from the deserts to the mountains to the Mediterranean Sea. Syria, Libya, Yemen, and Iraq are failed states. The jihadist’s terrorist challenges in the Sinai along with a failing economy put Egypt in jeopardy. The United States and its Western Allies continue to attempt to hammer out a nuclear disarmaments deal with Iran that everyone from Israel’s Prime Minister to the Republicans in Congress are already denouncing. Where is it all going? Quo Vadis, indeed!

The promise of spring won’t be arriving in Gaza. Tens of thousands remain homeless and in poverty as a result of the last conflict between Israel and Hamas.

The United Nations reported this winter that children were dying because of the cold. The report went unheard as the media moved on to cover the latest conflict somewhere else. Israel continues a siege that amounts to economic warfare. On the other hand, Hamas sustains the conflict with Israel and is brutalizing their own people while their economic resources are squandered. Egypt keeps the tunnels into Gaza closed and consequently the entire Gaza strip is trapped in the pincers between Egypt and Israel. The result is a time bomb ticking away until the Gaza strip explodes again. The citizens no longer have anything left to lose – another war waits in the wings.

In Iraq, the native army has made significant gains in pushing ISIS back. Certainly, this is true in Tikrit. In the Diyala Province, Shiite militia fighters defeated the ISIS militants. At this point, it appears ISIS is in retreat from their boastful claims made earlier. Their beheadings, brutal killings, and cultural genocide have done much to turn fellow Muslims against them. However, their next turn in the road raises a new prospect of Shiites and Sunnis battling each other. The centuries old ancient differences that separate them still stirs the pot. The specter is now raised that the defeat of ISIS will result in a continuation of the fighting between these two Muslim groups.

The new Iraqi government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi promised inclusively rule. However, they are now under pressure to distance themselves from retaliatory fighting against Sunnis by both Shiite and Kurdish fighters. The Badr Organization, a relatively new militia led by Hadi al-Ameri, have proven to be the most effective fighters against ISIS.  They are ready to strike in other provinces. All of which raises the question who they will support and who they will attack. Each sun rise seems to produce a radical shift in the direction the war is going. Like a chess game where each moves changes the strategy, the war continues to be a crumbling mess.

And we haven’t even touched where the negotiations with Iran are going. Obama haters predict disaster. Obama supporters proclaim a new day. What’s your guess? Informed observers are playing it close to the vest as the pieces of the puzzle are still up in the air. However, it’s another sign of confusion.

Where is the Middle East going? By the time you read this blog the election in Israel will probably be over. Will Prime Minister Netanyahu win? He can certainly lose. Any clarity there? Will he win? Sorry. No clear indications out yet. If you are a believer in prayer, this would be a good time to put the entire region on your list.

1 Comment

Filed under America, Arabs, middle east


BLOG 223 October 27, 2014

Westerners have a hard time accepting fighting and killing for religious reasons. The concept is completely foreign to our way of life. You can think that the Jehovah Witnesses are a cult and the Book of Mormon a bizarre fabrication, but you wouldn’t go around shooting their adherents. Pluralism means you live and let live without any group being shown social preference.

Sorry. In the Middle East, they kill each other.

In Iraq, IS (or the Islamic State earlier called ISIS) announced in every mosque that Christians must convert to Islam or pay an exorbitant fine. Failure to do either leaves them “nothing but the sword.” Towns like Mosul and the surrounding Plain have been the Christian heartland for 2,000 years. Today, these Christians are running for their lives.  In Baghdad, Monsignor Pios Cacha predicted that Christians would be facing the same eradication that the Jewish community experienced half a century earlier. Once a city with a Jewish population of  150,000, only 10 Jews remain in Iraq today.

The establishment of the Christian community preceded the birth of Muhammad by 600 years. In the first century, the preaching of Saints Thomas and Thaddeus established a church that flourished in Assyria. Today, the massacres by IS are wiping out this heritage.

The religious group called the Yazidis experienced the same threat.  The Yazidis fled to the barren Sinjar mountains to escape IS.  As Is closed in on them,  their plight with no food and water was one of the reasons that finally pushed Obama into approving airstrikes.

The rationale for this killing spree had been postulated to be revenge because they consider Christians and Yazidis to be apostates who will not join the caliphate the IS is pushing. Fear has sent 2 millenniums of inhabitants running for their lives.

The Sunday, October 26, edition of the New York Times ran a front page story on the horrors facing the IS hostages that were recently beheaded. Following interrogations, beatings, and isolation in Syria, the hostages were starved and pushed to the psychological limits of sanity. When the final executions came, the world watched in horror as throats were slashed and men beheaded.

In the year of our Lord two thousand and fourteen, how can we accept these totally unacceptable acts? We cannot.

We are now in a phase where the United States has finally responded (after a far too long delay) to these murderers. American and Allied airplanes are taking a toll on the IS troops and pushing back. The world appears to be waking up to the fact that religious wars produce the worst and most barbaric assaults in history.

Civilization itself remains on trial.

Leave a comment

Filed under America, middle east, Violence, War