Sunday, November 28, 2010

Oregon Caroler Attempts 'O Tannenbomb,' or, Paradise or Bust!

The president of the Muslim Students Association at Oregon State University, Omar Mohamed, is making the obligatory remarks intended to drive a wedge between Mohamed Mohamud’s hoped-for act of mass murder at an Oregon tree-lighting ceremony, and the religion that inspired him to undertake it. The MSA, as has been documented about four ways from Sunday by now, is the front organization for the Muslim Brotherhood on American college campuses. And the Brotherhood’s motto, if you aren’t familiar with it, includes this:
Jihad is our way/Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.
Mohamed, (the MSA president), told the media that “It doesn't take much thought from a reasonable person to see that his actions and behavior in this instance are not very reflective of Islam.” The MSA president also says Mohamud wasn’t known for being pious. “From what I understand, he wasn't the most religious person. He didn't regularly go to mosque.” That’s as may be. But then it’s not really mosque attendance that the really popular firebrand preachers are pushing as the express route to a hot tub in Paradise splashing with 72 virgins, is it? That’s what jihad is for.

Meanwhile, the Salman Alfarisi Islamic Center in Carvallis, Oregon, the mosque where Mohamud attended and, possibly, was radicalized, released its own statement. In it, the Islamic Center declares that the murderous explosion Mohamud was hoping to set off “does not in any way represent Islam or Muslims, rather it goes against it. In Islam, one finds no justification whatsoever for any form of a violent act against civilians even during wars,” and so on and so on.

The statement concludes with the mandatory statement that “Islam is a religion of peace and these acts are not the legitimate acts of Muslims.”

We can expect over the next few days that the anti-anti-jihadists will surface across the media reinforcing their suggestion that Mohamud was acting all alone, that he represents only a tiny fringe of Muslims, and actually wasn’t representing Muslims at all, because, as the statements from the MSA and the Islamic Center should place beyond all doubt, Islam is a religion of peace, and blah, blah, blah.

When all that gets going, talking heads will point at how the FBI made helpful suggestions to Mohamud through their undercover contacts, even at one point offering Mohamud the opportunity to become “operational,” trying to get folks thinking this plot wasn’t even Mohamud’s idea.

That’s why it’s good to keep this in mind, too. Before the FBI ever became aware of Mohamud he was already deeply devoted to the idea of becoming a jihadist martyr. In statements he freely offered, (which the FBI recorded), he recalled that during Ramadan when he was fifteen “someone told him about the martyrs and the virtues, and MOHAMUD ‘didn’t even have to hear anything else.’” Mohamud now knew what he wanted to do with his life: end it killing his fellow Americans or other suitable infidels in violent jihad.

It’s reasonable to assume that the “someone” who told him “about the martyrs and the virtues,” (or perhaps he was told about “the virgins”) was someone in his mosque, or certainly within his Islamic community. Mohamud repeatedly said that he had been thinking about becoming a jihadist since before he was fifteen. And why? To go to Paradise, he says. Last January, before the FBI ever tried to contact him, Mohamud sent an email to a friend who’d gone to Sauda Arabia to visit Mecca:
“oh, nice, makes lots of prayers for me, make [prayer] that I will be the one to open up Al Quds and make [prayer] that I will be a martyr in the highest chambers of paradise”.
Later on he dismissed all worries about blowing himself up in a suicide attack: “Because if you were going to [Paradise] you wouldn’t have to worry, right?”

In an email Mohamud believed he was sending to a contact in northwest Pakistan, he wrote: “i will contact you when i am able to travel. pray for me that allah will free my passage from the lands of the ploytheists [sic] . . . .”

Before the FBI began their operation against him, Mohamud had already been submitting articles to “Jihad Recollections” magazine, and had submitted one to al Qaeda’s “Inspire” magazine, the online publication the Wall Street Journal says “wants to make news, by inspiring young American Muslims to kill their neighbors.”

Mohamud appears to believe that “residing amongst the [infidels]. . . is a sin,” as he said in what he believed was his farewell video. Living amongst the infidels was looked upon dimly by the Prophet, and this may explain why Mohamud was so determined to get out of America to go to Yemen or Pakistan to do jihad. But, he wants to know from his fellow Muslims, as long as they are are living here, “What has stopped you from fighting in the cause of Allah [and the raising of the banner of ‘no god but Allah’?].”

The lawyers and the legal experts and the media guys will soon be hashing out how good a job the government did in catching Mohamud, or how bad a job they did violating his constitutional rights. At this point I see all that as less important in the big picture than what it was that motivated Mohamud. It’s quite clear that his motivations were purely religious. He was challenged by Islamic teachers to aspire to martyrdom as a good Muslim, and promised Paradise the instant he killed himself attempting “to damage the enemies of Allah as much as possible.”

All this badly contradicts the incessant statements from Islamic leaders, and their useful mouthpieces in the media, that these actions are not motivated by the teachings of Islam, and that we’re not struggling against radical Islamists.

Let them say this is not Islam.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

'I Was a Patdown Officer for the TSA!'

The following true story was originally published in the November edition of “The Orange Alert,” the agency newspaper of the Department of Homeland Security.

I Was a Patdown Officer for the TSA!

HER EYES BORED into mine for the first time in forty years. We both knew this one was going to be personal.

“Hello, Johnny.”

“Hi, Sister Stanislaus.”

“You look well.”

“I ain’t complaining.”

“I’m not complaining.”

Same old battleaxe. Even back at All Saints we all speculated she was past 90. And here she was, looking not a day older, which is not to say, young.

Now I laughed at her trying to correct me. I let the sound of the latex snapping on my wrist tell her that this time she wasn’t the one in charge.

“You could’ve let them scan you, Sister.”

“You think I’d let them do that, Johnny?”

No, not really. One look at the old-style get-up she still wore told me that much. The floor-length habit, the black veil stretched over a tunnel of starched cardboard, the immaculate wimple, the same black high-button shoes. I’d seen the agency bulletins warning that our most powerful scanners were helpless against rigs like these.

That made it my job.

“You want to hold your arms out like this, Sister?”

“You aren’t going to do this, Johnny. You’re a good boy.”

That was rich.

“A good boy?,” I said. “Last time you shared your thoughts on that you told me I was going to hell. Besides, it’s TSA rules. You know what you always taught us about obeying the rules.”

The way I grinned at her would have got my block knocked off in her home room.

“Yes,” she said. She sure didn’t scare easy. “I just don’t see how all this helps you find those wicked Mohamedans. You all need to put on your thinking caps.”

I didn’t tell her that TSA wasn’t budgeted for anything like that.

I reached around for what was hanging from her waist like a sash. None too gently, I yanked it free. She didn’t flinch. “Oh, HO,” I said. “And what have we here?”

“You really don’t recognize it, Johnny? Don’t tell me you’re afraid of a little rosary.”

It wasn’t all that little. It was four feet if it was an inch, with black beads the size of garbonzos and a steel-edged crucifix just right for opening up a daydreamer’s cheekbone from seven paces.

“Ain’t this the same one you used to garrote Benny Majekowski in fifth grade? He still talks like Marge Simpson.”

Her eyes closed for a moment in a gesture of sacrificial patience.

“That should be, ‘isn’t it the same one,’ Johnny. And Benny needed my help remembering the difference between ‘lain’ and ‘laid.’”

Sister Stan, still original gangster. I was still in school when the big changes started and even the hard Orders had to soften up and disarm their sisters, taking away all the heavy-duty yardsticks and the brass knuckles. Even then, Sister Stan was one of that warrior class who weren’t going to just run off and marry renegade priests or take jobs with the welfare office. She’d stayed plenty tough.

But I’d gotten tougher, too. After learning all I could from having a whole card of IHMs work over my chin like a speed bag, I thought I’d see how the soft life felt. Eventually I did six tours of duty with Special Forces. Then some time with Blackwater. Now TSA. I’d seen things.

I let the rosary rattle into the Tupperware like a rockslide. For all the reaction I got her face could have been unpainted plaster.

“You won’t dare touch me, Johnny. Because you know it isn’t right.”

“There’s no right or wrong, here, Sister,” I said. “This is the airport.”

I grabbed her. Hard. She let out a whimper of shock, another of submission, another, probably, of ecstasy.

“Whoo-hoooooooooo!” Off to one side a kid in a knit cap was pointing his camera phone our way. “YouTube!”

I gave her none of the special handling they all expect from their goody-goody podiatrists and their dentists and their morticians. Once I go to work on a passenger, he gets the same level of service as the one before him and the one after. I may not be an angel, but I’m no lousy profiler.

When I finished it wasn’t half a second before she was all pulled back together again. I found my eyes avoiding hers. I focused on de-gloving.

“Do you feel better now, Johnny?”

I had to reach way down for the guts to eyeball her again, but I found some.

“Just a job.”

She was gathering her rosary back from the bin.

“I see,” she said. Her old voice had that skeptical note I’d hear when I used to tell her how a gang of kids mugged me for my homework. “Speaking of jobs,” she said, “do you remember that lovely Jeffy Hugmore from All Saints? I’m sure you’ve heard that he’s a very successful brain doctor now. He’s even operated on Phil Donahue.”

Hugmore was a kiss-up weasel who held the school record for getting the most swirlies in a single day. Sister used to let him clean the chalkboards.

“Good for him,” I said. The line behind her was getting restless. So was I.

“They do say all this makes us safer,” she said. Then her eyes to pin me the way they always could when it was life or death if I couldn’t come up with what 11 x 12 was.

“Johnny, do you think that’s true?”

I had to break the spell. I tapped my badge and said: “They ain’t payin’ us to think, Sister.”

It did the trick. I got her eyes to do the martyr thing again. But this time she didn’t correct my grammar. Probably figured: what’s the use?

“Have a nice flight,” I said. They make us say it. She didn’t let on she heard me, fussing with her veil to make it more uncomfortable.

And then she said: “Have a nice flight, Sister.

Damn! “Have a nice flight, Sister,” I said. After where my mitts had just been, I guess I owed her that.

Two seconds later she was floating off towards Departures.

I turned back to meet the next passenger they were handing up to me. “Hey, Johnny, old pal!” the guy was saying. “Long time, no see!”

Jeffy Hugmore’s terrified eyes stared into mine for the first time in forty years.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Saints Doing the Miracles No Other Saints Will Do

The Detroit Free Press has an article today about the arrival at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church of a relic of St. Toribio Romo Gonzalez, said, (it’s not reported by whom) to be “the patron saint for undocumented immigrants, especially those who have crossed the border from Mexico to the U.S.” (“Holy Redeemer Catholic Church to install relic of Mexican saint”).

Reporter Niraj Warikoo writes:

Many have stories about the saint that circulate throughout the community. They tell of people who cross the border in search of a better life. On their way, they worry about getting caught or finding enough food and water to make the journey. According to some, St. Toribio appears and helps them as they're crossing.

"He is the patron of many of us," Mely Arredondo of Dearborn said. "There are testimonials of people crossing the border. Sometimes, the Border Patrol is coming to get them and suddenly he appears to help. It's only about an inch long, a sliver of bone encased behind glass in a gold-plated vessel.
I think this may be the first time the Church has recognized a patron saint assisting people engaged in unlawful activity, (but DU has been unable to confirm that several east coast bishops have been putting forward Ted Kennedy as patron saint of people avoiding charges of negligent homicide). But the new devotion to St. Toribio has also led to what some theologians are calling a clash amongst intercessors.

It turns out that U.S. Customs and Border Protection falls under the patronage of St. Michael the Archangel, patron saint of law enforcement officers. Lately those Catholic officers who’ve always been able to rely on St. Michael to help them catch illegal crossers have been complaining about an unexplained decline in answered prayers. Several report seeing fleeing suspects, the fat ones whom they used to catch easily, suddenly receive strength to outrun their SUVs, while other undocumented persons vanish in a burst of light, instantly reappearing outside Home Depots all ready to go to work.

Attempts by church officials to sponsor “dialogues” between the conflicting constituencies haven’t gone well. Sessions break down when customs officers drink all the coffee, and then insist that St. Michael’s status as an archangel ought to guarantee their requests get priority. On the other side, St. Toribio’s devotees keep disappearing through fire exits, leaving behind empty tuna cans and water jugs.

The solution awaits some kind of comprehensive reform, theologians say. Experts say that for the immediate future Mexican Catholics sneaking into America to make more money or to commit drug executions or home invasions will probably be able to count on St. Toribio’s assistance; and any Catholic border officer who wants to implore St. Michael’s help to catch some of these Catholic Mexicans, or for protection against being shot down by a sadistic hitman whose madre is back in Juarez lighting vigil candles for the success of the cartel is free to do so, but there are no guarantees.

And don’t even ask about who some people have in mind as patron saint for condom users.

'Fair Game'

Detroit News film critic Tom Long reviewed “Fair Game” over the weekend, the cinematic re-telling of the liberal-media version of the Valerie Plame story, a sort of fictionalized version of a fairy tale. I don’t care for Long’s reviews generally, and in this particular review he seemed more interested in restating Valerie Plame’s and Joe Wilson’s talking points than in actually doing his job. I felt the need to send him an e-mail response.

Mr. Long:

You could’t just write a movie review, you had to try educating us on history. Well, I see 280 words and at least twelve easily checked historical myths. Not quite one for every 16 words, but close.

You see, this is exactly the kind of journalism I recall going on during the “Plame affair.” I don’t need to see “Fair Game” to tell me what happened (or didn't): I was there. We all were. I was just one of the few who actually paid attention.

You could have done all of your fact-checking in The Washington Post.

Falsehood number one: The story of “Fair Game” is “too ugly to be true. . . .[but] it is.” But it isn’t. Richard Armitage has no role in the film. That makes it ugly AND untrue.

Falsehood two: The film is “an examination of one of the slimiest moments of George W. Bush's administration.” But if the movie tracks your restatement of what happened, then it’s not an “examination” at all, just another hate-Bush hit piece like the hundreds churned out in the media at the time.

Falsehood Three: Scooter Libby was the “chief bad guy involved.” You forgot to mention that Libby wasn’t convicted of doing anything to Plame, let alone “outing” her. No one was. Libby’s conviction was for a “process” crime of perjury, trapped by Patrick Fitzgerald into contradicting himself after numerous grand-jury cross-examinations about a conversation with Tim Russert thousands of conversations ago. And in 2003 weren’t you all insisting that the “chief bad guy” was Dick Cheney or Karl Rove?

Falsehood Four: Plame “was a CIA agent trying to halt nuclear proliferation.” Regardless of what Plame’s non-covert CIA assignment was in 2003, in this particular episode her self-assigned brief was to get her husband sent to Niger to try to debunk Bush’s basis for deposing Saddam for her own political reasons.

Falsehood Five: “The CIA asked Joe to go to Africa .” See Falsehood Four. I remember that in the earliest version of this fib, Wilson started out claiming that Dick Cheney had asked him to go, until Cheney made him take it back.

Falsehood Six: Wilson made the trip to investigate whether Iraq had been to Niger trying to buy yellowcake uranium but “found nothing.” No, Wilson found that Iraq HAD been to Niger trying to buy yellowcake uranium, and his report to the CIA actually bolstered Bush’s case. Wilson just lied about it later in his New York Times article, and lied about what was in his own report. The WP reported that, “According to the former Niger mining minister, Wilson told his CIA contacts, Iraq tried to buy 400 tons of uranium in 1998.”

Falsehood Seven: “Bush cited that non-existent uranium story while building a case for the invasion.” Really? Still with the 16 words? The truth (still) is that Bush cited British intelligence reports that Saddam had “sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa,” every word of which is accurate: Saddam had sought uranium in Africa , as everyone knew then and knows even better now--us, the British-- even Wilson knows. Why don’t you? Eventually, we found 1.2 million pounds of (nonexistent?) yellowcake in Saddam’s stockpile.

Falsehood Eight: “ Wilson wrote an op-ed piece debunking Bush's ‘facts.’” He didn’t debunk anything, except the honesty of his own reports to the CIA, which, according to the Washington Post, actually “added to the evidence that Iraq may have tried to buy uranium in Niger .”

Falsehood Nine: “The administration leaked the fact that Plame was a CIA agent.” No the administration didn’t. It was Clintonite Richard Armitage, and it wasn’t a leak, it was gossip. An alternative source for that information was identified by The Washington Post back in 2006, when they recognized “that the person most responsible for the end of Ms. Plame's CIA career is Mr. Wilson.” How? Because Wilson’s (and Plame’s) decision to go public with their outlandish charges inevitably had to lead back to exposure of her role in sending Wilson on that trip. Armitage told Bob Woodward Wilson had been “calling everybody” about the trip his CIA wife had sent him on. "Everyone knows."

Falsehood Ten: Plame’s exposure put her, “and many of her contacts, as well as her operations, in danger.” Is THAT why she had to go to ground on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine? Retired CIA veteran R.E. Pound was charged with assessing damage to Plame’s career and operations, and stated publicly that it “was ludicrous for her to claim that the exposure forced an end to her career in intelligence.” As to damage he found: “There was none.”

Falsehood Eleven: Plame and Wilson were “demonized as traitors” in the media. Phooey. They were criticized by the conservative press, and by a few honest journalists at The Washington Post, but largely they were lionized as heroes by the mainstream media, just as they’re being lionized now in movie reviews of this picture. Like yours.

Falsehood Twelve: The Plame-Wilson’s lives were ruined “because a political schoolyard bully took affront when someone dared to speak the truth.” You may want to recycle that line if anyone ever makes a movie about Juan Williams. It's closer to reality that this couple brought this on themselves by their own lies and eagerness to use government positions to hinder an administration that offended their politics. The Washington Post editorialized back in 2006 that Wilson “diverted responsibility from himself and his false charges by claiming that President Bush's closest aides had engaged in an illegal conspiracy. It's unfortunate that so many people took him seriously.”

And it's unfortunate that they still do.

TR Clancy

Sharp as a Pistol

And once you dance with me,
You'll fall in love, you see.
Bristol Stomp will make you,
Mine all mine.

Even a dance show can illustrate the way of things. Since Sarah Palin’s national debut at the Republican Convention in September 2008, the unreasoned invective that swelled overnight into a torrent, (“I hate her because she’s stupid” is not reasoned criticism) has never weakened to this day. All of the anger isn’t partisan, either, though most of it is. A certain segment of the population are going to hate beautiful, likeable women out of sheer jealousy. Kathleen Parker, for example, and, Peggy Noonan, and others I won’t mention.

The flood grew quickly, and quickly widened to include Palin’s family, like her son, Trig, then her husband, Todd, and their daughters Willow and Bristol. I can’t help but recall that portent in Revelation of the mother and child who are hated so much by the dragon that he pours “water like a river out of his mouth” to sweep her and her offspring away, except that “the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river which the dragon had poured from his mouth.” (Rev. 12.16).

Now I’m well aware that the Woman in the Bible, whoever she is, is not Sarah Palin. But keep in mind that once the dragon in that story was thwarted he went off, angry as ever, enraged as ever, “to make war on the rest of her offspring,” and I definitely consider Sarah to be one of the Woman’s offspring. As for the dragon, I just figure he’s the identical fiend he always is. That’s why I don’t want to be on his side.

Now Bristol Palin threatens to win the trophy on Dancing With the Stars. This potentiality has a lot of people upset, convinced it’s unfair when Bristol’s clearly not the best dancer. Bristol returns week after week in spite of her low scores by virtue of a landslide of votes from viewers. If she were to win now the show might be reduced to a mere popularity contest, instead of just a popularity contest combined with a dance competition, which is exactly what DWTS is.

Personally, I hope Bristol doesn’t win. She’s already proved herself. And if she wins now it will just turn into Bush v Gore all over again, and I’d rather not go through that a second time. I’d rather not hear Shirley Jackson Lee’s and Keith Olbermann’s ingenious explanations of how Jennifer Grey was denied the trophy because of race.

The issue isn’t Bristol’s dancing, but her popularity. And because of who Bristol is, that means the issue is the popularity of her mother. The unexpectedly large number of people voting for Bristol contradicts the going mood of the gallery of bubble-wrapped Palin-haters who really believed that Palin was being booed that night in the audience at DWTS, and that all of America was booing her, too. Like the old story of Pauline Kael, flabbergasted by Nixon’s landslide in 1972 when she didn’t know a single person who voted for him, the average Palin-hater has existed until now in safe ignorance there’s anyone around who can stand her.

There are certain kinds of collective hate that only feel good when it’s unanimous. Once have a gainsayer in the crowd and you start feeling shameful and small, and next thing you know you’re questioning the rightness of loathing someone just for saying, “refudiate,” while still driving around with that “Mean People Suck” bumper sticker on your Subaru.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

'But Grand Imam, What Big Eyes You Have!'

Not everything about the recent Vatican Synod of Bishops for the Middle East was discouraging. According to the Catholic News Service:

Two Syrian Catholic bishops living in Lebanon told the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East that the blossoming number of Catholic-Muslim dialogue projects has not and may never lead to real understanding. . . .

Their statements differed significantly from most of the other synod members' speeches on dialogue with Muslims in the Middle East; the majority of synod members -- and the two Muslims Pope Benedict XVI invited to address the assembly -- focused instead on progress in understanding and cooperation.

In his written submission, Archbishop Raboula Beylouni, who works in the Syrian Catholic curia in Lebanon, wrote that formal Catholic-Muslim dialogues are "difficult and often ineffective," partially because the Quran tells Muslims they belong to "the only true and complete religion."

Muslims, he said, come "to dialogue with a sense of superiority and with the certitude of being victorious."

In addition, the archbishop said, "The Quran allows the Muslim to hide the truth from the Christian and to speak and act contrary to how he thinks and believes."

Islam does not recognize the equality of men and women and does not recognize the right of religious freedom, he also wrote.
(“Two bishops at synod question effectiveness of dialogue with Muslims”).
If we had more Christian leaders like Archbishop Beylouni, there’d be a lot less dialogue -- and a lot more understanding. Dialogue is overrated, anyway. Not all dialogues turn out well, as Little Red Riding Hood discovered at grandma’s house when the topic turned to the size of grandma’s teeth.

Nor is understanding all that comes out -- if it ever really does -- of Muslim-Christian dialogues -- especially when one side is lying. Other harmful byproducts have included the spread of disinformation, a false sense of security, and fatal delays in identifying an enemy who means us harm.

The problems we’re having with Islamic jihad aren’t caused by a lack of understanding. They’re caused by our refusal to face what we already know.

Caroline Glick calls this the “Age of Dissimulation.” Dhimmi leaders, she writes, daren’t speak out loud what they know about their Islamic masters for fear of punishment and even annihilation. “But what can explain the West’s embrace of lies about Islam?”

Rather than discuss the nature and threat of Islamic supremacism, the Western media, Western political leaders and academics deny it.

Years from now, when historians seek an overarching concept to define our times, they could do worse than refer to it as the Age of Dissimulation. Today our leading minds devote their energies and cognitive powers to figuring out new ways to hide reality from themselves and the general public.

Take US President Barack Obama’s senior counterterrorism advisor for example. On Sunday, John Brennan spoke on Fox News about the latest attempted Islamic terrorist attack on American soil.

Since the Obama administration has barred US officials from referring to terrorists as terrorists and effectively barred US officials from acknowledging that Islamic terrorists are Muslims, Brennan simply referred to the Islamic terrorists in Yemen who tried to send bombs to synagogues in Chicago as “individuals.”

Today, practically, the only individuals willing to speak honestly about who Islamic supremacists are and what they want are the Islamic supremacists themselves.
The CNS also confirms some of her observations, and those of Robert Spencer, that statements coming out of the Synod reflect the fact of Christian leaders in the Middle East being “so terrified of Islamic aggression” against their communities, whose only protection is their dhimmi status, which is no protection at all:
[Monsignor Robert Stern, secretary general of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association] also acknowledged that fear for the safety of Christians in some Muslim countries may have prompted the synod fathers to moderate their comments. This was, he said, a “prudential judgment,” since Christians throughout the region can suffer consequences of their leaders' remarks.

“Most of these bishops come from ... places where they're a very small minority, they're bishops of a very small community, and they feel a lot of social pressure living in an Islamic world,” he observed. “A lot of them are in politically very uncertain circumstances-- where they're at risk, and their people are at risk. So, they don't have quite so open and expansive of a way of talking about the situation.”

“Just the experience for them to come to Rome, and talk to one another, and experience a kind of free ambiance where anything can be said ... was a very powerful experience for them-- to have solidarity, to be gathered around the Pope, and to be able to reflect.”
It’s a pathetic admission, evasively phrased, (“a lot of social pressure living in an Islamic world . . . politically very uncertain circumstances”), but it tells the truth nonetheless. Christians in the Muslim Middle East fear for their safety. The shepherds can’t protect their flocks from the wolves.

Maybe that lungful of free air, and proximity to Pope Benedict, who told some truth himself on Islam at Regensburg, liberated Archbishop Beylouni enough so he could utter aloud that a spade is a spade is a spade.

Baghdad Massacre

A Front Page Magazine article by Robert Spencer on October 28, (“A Tale of Two Bishops”), reported on the curious shift in the opinions of two Eastern Catholic bishops attending the Vatican Synod on Christians in the Middle East.

In contradiction to their own critical statements about Islam and the treatment of Christians in Iraq by Muslims of only a few years before, both men, Archbishop Cyril Salim Bustros, Eparch of Newton for the Melkite Greek Catholics in the United States, and Emmanuel III Delly, the Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, head of the Chaldean Catholic Church, were now stating opinions based upon Islamic talking points. Archbishop Bustros blames Israel for everything, repeating the heresy that Christ “nullified” Yahweh’s covenant with Israel, leaving Jews “no longer a chosen people.”

Archbishop Delly also pretended, after years of ugly evidence to the contrary, that the few Iraqi Christians who haven’t fled persecution in that country in the past few years are getting along great with Iraq’s Muslim majority. “Christians are good with their fellow Muslims and in Iraq there is mutual respect among them.”

Three days after Spencer’s article was published, Muslims attacked Baghdad’s Our Lady of Deliverance Church, murdering the priest as he said mass and taking 120 Christians hostage. By the time it ended at least 52 persons had lost their lives, and scores were seriously maimed and wounded.

In 2006 Archbishop Bustros said, “the doctrines of Islam dictate war against unbelievers.” He also said that “the concept of nonviolence is absent from Muslim doctrine and practice.” And that “peace in Islam is based on the surrender of all people to Islam and to God’s power based on Islamic law. They have to defend this peace of God even by force.”

In 2007 Emmanuel III Delly described the dire situation of Christians in Iraq this way: “Christians are killed, chased out of their homes before the very eyes of those who are supposed to be responsible for their safety.” In 2008, he said: “The situation in some parts of Iraq, is disastrous and tragic. Life is a Calvary: there is no peace or security… Everyone is afraid of kidnapping.”

Spencer believes that Christians in the Middle East, and their leaders, as exemplified by these two prelates, “dissemble” to protect their people from even worse violence from their persecutors were they to speak out. “Their odd statements of late were almost certainly made in an attempt to protect their communities. The situation of Christians in the Middle East is bad enough, and they may fear they will make it even worse by speaking more honestly about Islamic supremacism and jihad.”