OBAMA’S WAR ON RELIGIOUS FREEDOM – There is little doubt that the Obama White House was behind the attempt to defund and shut down the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. The USCIRF is an embarrassment to an Administration which wants to pretend that Sharia law, which permits honor killings, is no different than English Common Law. The bleak reports from the USCIRF on religious persecution in many of the Islamic nations favored by President Obama moved his Administration to shut down the USCIRF using a back door in the budget process. His point man, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), is from Obama’s home state of Illinois. Durbin was Obama’s former colleague in the Senate and is now the Majority Whip, the number two Democrat in the Senate.
The House voted to fund the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom earlier this year. Senator Durbin held the funding hostage in the Senate with a “secret hold” but let everyone know the hold was his. In late December Republicans, with much outside pressure from groups such as the Religious Freedom Coalition, forced through temporary funding; however, Durbin added a last minute amendment that ousted Bush appointees using “term limits” which will allow President Obama to stack the deck with liberals who have no problem with Islamic honor killings. The main sponsor of the funding reauthorization in the House, Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA), called the demand blackmail.
Senator Dick Durbin showed his true colors when tacking on the amendment to the reauthorizing of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. The amendment retroactively limited commissioners to a total of four years of service; thus he rid the commission of some of the most outspoken critics of Islamic extremism such as Nina Shea who has co-authored scholarly works on the subject such as Silenced: How Apostasy and Blasphemy Codes are Choking Freedom Worldwide.
His amendment also limited travel of commissioners to the same standards as the State Department, meaning they are now restricted from traveling to areas where religious freedom is most in jeopardy. For example, State Department staff may not travel to areas of the Sudan or Nigeria where Christians have been slaughtered by Islamists. Indeed, commissioners can no longer travel to East Jerusalem. Durbin’s refusal to fund USCIRF had nothing to do with freeing up money to fund a prison in Illinois as his staff suggested, and had everything to do with shutting down critics of radical Islam.
Back in 2005 while George W. Bush was still in office, Senator Dick Durbin compared American soldiers to Nazis. Today he is the second most powerful man in the United States Senate after Majority Leader Reid and that makes his staff powerful on Capitol Hill. One of Durbin’s key staffers, Reema B. Dodin, is in regular contact with the Council on American- Islamic Relations (CAIR), which is an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism case. Dodin is a Palestinian rights activist who organized anti-Israel rallies at the University of California at Berkeley as a student. Dodin was also a member of the Muslim Students Association, which was founded by the Muslim Brotherhood.
Durbin’s desire to shut down the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom should not come as a surprise to anyone, given his views on Islam and “Islamophobia.”
In March of this year Senator Durbin organized a hearing on “Islamophobia” to counter the hearings on “homegrown terrorism” in America held by Congressman Peter King (R-NY). The Durbin hearings featured such notables as Farhana Khera, the founder of Muslim Advocates, an organization that has sued the Department of Justice to force it to disclose the FBI’s undercover operations to disrupt terrorist activities inside radical mosques.
Senator Dick Durbin is clearly not a friend of religious freedom, unless that freedom involves the construction of a mega mosque at Ground Zero. His views clearly mirror those of President Barack Obama as implemented by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
(The above first appeared in an article I wrote for WorldNetDaily in late December)
WE SPILL BLOOD, CHINA GETS THE OIL – While George W. Bush was in office the left, including then Senator Barack Obama, screamed that “the war was about oil”. The liberal media chanted that we were paying for oil with blood in the Middle East. Maybe we are still paying for oil with the blood of our brave servicemen, but the Chinese are getting the oil. The first contract issued for oil exploration in Afghanistan went to CNPC, the China National Petroleum Corporation which is owned directly by the Chinese government. The Chinese will also build Afghanistan’s first oil refinery within the next three years. The roads to and from the refinery will probably be paid for by American taxpayers.
CNPC also just began production at the Al-Ahdab oil field in Iraq, an area taken by American forces at great cost. The field is expected to produce three million tons of crude oil per year. The China National Petroleum Corporation secured rights to the field under a technical services contract signed with the Iraqi government in November 2008. The Chinese will invest $3 billion under the contract and have development rights for 23 years. Russia’s Lukoil received about 10% of the oil contracts in Iraq. The biggest winner in Iraq was Total, a French company. France refused to help in the war effort to oust Saddam Hussein and was the biggest European critic of the war. Oddly, neither the Bush nor Obama Administrations attempted to steer the oil contracts to American companies to create American jobs.
THE OBAMA HOLIDAY – The attitude of Barack Obama toward Christmas probably can be summed up with the official White House “holiday card” designed by L.A. artist and designer Mark Matuszak. Not a single human being is pictured in the card and there is no Christmas tree in sight either.
The “holiday” card centers on the Obamas’ dog Bo sitting in front of a fireplace. To the Obamas, Christmas is just a tradition and has almost nothing to do with the birth of Jesus Christ. This failure to understand the reality of the Christian faith is the driving force behind liberal ideology. Obama’s Vice President, Joe Biden, often says that he comes from a “Catholic tradition.” There is a huge difference between coming from a “tradition” and believing in the presence and authority of the Lord Jesus Christ.
A FULL TIME CONGRESS THAT PASSES PART TIME LAWS – The House and the Senate adjourned just before Christmas Day after extending a cut in the Social Security Trust Fund tax for two months. Both the Democrats and the Republicans refer publically to reducing the “payroll tax” because they do not want to alert Americans to the fact that they are raiding Social Security to buy votes. Last year’s 3% tax cut took $116 billion from the Social Security Trust Fund and now this time around President Obama wants a total 4% reduction to “stimulate” the economy.
The Senate has not passed a single budget bill since the Democrats took over and Harry Reid became Majority Leader. All of the government’s spending has been authorized by short term extensions and emergency “Omnibus” bills. The cost of the failure to pass tax bills for more than a few months at a time is astronomical to business. As an example, business payroll systems that were set to take effect on January 1st had to be changed in the past week with huge amounts of overtime and consultant fees, and all for just a two month system. Worse, Democrats want the reduction in payments to the Social Security Trust Fund to become a major election issue and will try for only another six month extension, to cause more debate just before the election.
Not even a small business can be operated without a budget. Large corporations are sitting on trillions of dollars and not investing because their boards do not have tax laws to rely on for the long term. For many businessmen even a higher tax that is stable would be better than the total lack of consistency and short term fixes from the Obama Administration and Congress.
NEW WAR BETWEEN EGYPT AND ISRAEL? –Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood will not recognize Israel “under any circumstance,” the party’s deputy leader Dr. Rashad Bayoumi told Arabic daily al-Hayat in an interview published on New Year’s Day. Egypt’s two leading Islamist parties won two-thirds of the votes in the elections celebrated by President Barck Obama as part of the “Arab Spring.” The Islamists will control the parliament and draft a new Constitution. During the interview Bayoumi was asked if Egypt would recognize Israel as a state. Bayoumi responded by saying, “This is not an option at all, whatever the circumstances, we do not recognize Israel at all. Its [Israel] an occupying criminal enemy.”
CRY FOR NIGERIA – At least 43 people were killed in the Christmas Day bombing of St. Theresa Catholic Church near the Nigerian capital, Abuja, said the Very Reverend Isaac Achi, the leader of the congregation. There were still some missing in the rubble on New Year’s Day. “I was able to identify 20 parishioners that died in the explosions,” Achi said in an e-mailed statement today. “Yesterday, they brought in a list of 23 others confirmed to have died in the blast.” There were 73 other Christians wounded who are being treated in 12 hospitals in Abuja. This was only one of five churches attacked on Christmas Day.
The first explosion struck St. Theresa Catholic Church just after 8 A.M. In Jos, a second explosion struck the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Church. Although no one was killed in that attack many were wounded and gunmen fired on police guarding the area, killing one officer.
At noon on Christmas Day, Muslim bombers hit a church in Damaturu, the capital of Yobe state. In all there were church bombings in the cities of Madalla, Jos, Kano, Damaturu, and Gadaka There was also an attack on security forces in Yobe state which killed three officers. In the days before Christmas the Islamic Boko Haram had already killed 61 Christians in Yobe.
The northern half of Nigeria is now almost entirely Muslim because Christians have been forced over the past two decades to flee, leaving behind their properties. Sharia law is now strictly enforced. Polygamy is allowed in the Muslim states of Nigeria and girls as young as 12 are forced into Islamic marriages. The Boko Haram (Western education is forbidden) is on a terror campaign to bring forced Sharia law to the rest of Nigeria.
NO CHRISTMAS FOR ASIA BIBI – Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of five sentenced to death on charges of “blasphemy” against Islam, spent Christmas Day without her family. Reports are that Asia has been mostly in isolation, recovering from severe injuries suffered when beaten by a prison guard. Later reports also indicated that no Christians held in Pakistani jails were allowed family visits on Christmas Day. Remember that the United States gives Pakistan billions of dollars in aid each year, most of it from Christian taxpayers.
HORRIFIC ACID ATTACK IN CHURCH BLINDS PASTOR- In Kampala, Uganda, a pastor preparing for the Christmas Eve service at the Gospel Life Church was splashed with acid in a surprise attack . Bishop Umar Mulinde, 37, a sheikh (Islamic teacher) before his conversion to Christianity, was attacked outside the Gospel Life Church International building in Namasuba, just six miles from the capital of Kampala.
The Bishop told Compass News, “I heard him say in a loud voice, ‘Pastor, pastor,’ and as I made a turn and looked at him, he poured the liquid onto my face as others poured more liquid on my back and then fled away shouting, ‘Allahu akbar [God is greater].’” The Bishop’s face, neck and arms bore deep black scars from the acid, and his lips were swollen. Doctors said the acid burns had taken the sight in his right eye.
MORE CHRISTMAS PERSECUTION – In Iran authorities in the town of Ahwaz raided an Assemblies of God-affiliated church and took the entire congregation away in buses. Church members were “interrogated, threatened and eventually released,” and the church’s senior pastor, identified only as Farhad, remained in detention, along with his wife and some church leaders according to the Christian Post.
Persecution of Christians at Christmas and Easter has become a pastime for Muslims even in nations where they are not the outright majority, such as Malaysia. In Gaza the Christians have been warned not to celebrate publicly, and in past years churches have been bombed in Pakistan and Iraq at Christmas. We must continue to pray for and support our Christian brothers and sisters in nations where they face persecution.
Please assist with the work of the Religious Freedom Coalition. Donate today.
William J. Murray, Chairman
Religious Freedom Coalition, 601 Pennsylvania Ave, NW #900 , Washington, DC 20004 * (202) 742-8990