Churches denounce African children as 'witches'

I found out about this tragic story last night.  It’s sad and sickening.  However, I couldn’t help but to point out that those responsible claim that their religion “Christianity” gave them the authority and taught them that it was OK to harm these children.  The irony of the entire thing is that if you replaced the words “Christian” “Bible” and “Churches” and replaced them with “Muslim” “Qur’an” and “Mosque” people would have been all over the net, news, and other media pointing out how this proves once again that Islam is a violent religion and Muslims are evil.  I’m just merely pointing out the obvious that for centuries religion has and can be used as a tool to propagate atrocities and commit horrors amongst people.  Rarely if ever, can one seriously find in these religions authoritative stances to back those actions up, yet they occur nonetheless.  Sadly, in our current political climate, we have allowed ourselves to be blind to these facts and demonize those who believe differently than us to further other agendas and aims. If we would just reason and see that any one person or group can claim to believe in something, yet do things contrary to that teaching, we would be further ahead in our discussions.  Religion can be a double-edged sword, wielded for an array of reasons, the bearer of arms may or not use their sword for the right reasons, maybe it’s time we examine them closer as the sword does not swing itself.  Notice that no one is questioning Christians in general asking them to universally denounce these crimes, protest, etc. etc.  so why if the shoe is on the other foot, it’s so easy to do to the Muslims?  Could it be that it’s much easier to try to get the beam out of others eyes than your own?  Just a thought….

Churches denounce African children as ‘witches’

This Aug. 18, 2009 photo shows accused child witches Jane, left, and Mary, AP – This Aug. 18, 2009 photo shows accused child witches Jane, left, and Mary, right, standing with other …

By KATHARINE HOURELD, Associated Press Writer Katharine Houreld, Associated Press Writer Sat Oct 17, 11:04 am ET

EKET, Nigeria – The nine-year-old boy lay on a bloodstained hospital sheet crawling with ants, staring blindly at the wall.

His family pastor had accused him of being a witch, and his father then tried to force acid down his throat as an exorcism. It spilled as he struggled, burning away his face and eyes. The emaciated boy barely had strength left to whisper the name of the church that had denounced him — Mount Zion Lighthouse.

A month later, he died.

Nwanaokwo Edet was one of an increasing number of children in Africa accused of witchcraft by pastors and then tortured or killed, often by family members. Pastors were involved in half of 200 cases of “witch children” reviewed by the AP, and 13 churches were named in the case files.

Some of the churches involved are renegade local branches of international franchises. Their parishioners take literally the Biblical exhortation, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.”

“It is an outrage what they are allowing to take place in the name of Christianity,” said Gary Foxcroft, head of nonprofit Stepping Stones Nigeria.

For their part, the families are often extremely poor, and sometimes even relieved to have one less mouth to feed. Poverty, conflict and poor education lay the foundation for accusations, which are then triggered by the death of a relative, the loss of a job or the denunciation of a pastor on the make, said Martin Dawes, a spokesman for the United Nations Children’s Fund.

“When communities come under pressure, they look for scapegoats,” he said. “It plays into traditional beliefs that someone is responsible for a negative change … and children are defenseless.”

____

The idea of witchcraft is hardly new, but it has taken on new life recently partly because of a rapid growth in evangelical Christianity. Campaigners against the practice say around 15,000 children have been accused in two of Nigeria’s 36 states over the past decade and around 1,000 have been murdered. In the past month alone, three Nigerian children accused of witchcraft were killed and another three were set on fire.

Nigeria is one of the heartlands of abuse, but hardly the only one: the United Nations Children’s Fund says tens of thousands of children have been targeted throughout Africa.

Church signs sprout around every twist of the road snaking through the jungle between Uyo, the capital of the southern Akwa Ibom state where Nwanaokwo lay, and Eket, home to many more rejected “witch children.” Churches outnumber schools, clinics and banks put together. Many promise to solve parishioner’s material worries as well as spiritual ones — eight out of ten Nigerians struggle by on less than $2 a day.

“Poverty must catch fire,” insists the Born 2 Rule Crusade on one of Uyo’s main streets.

“Where little shots become big shots in a short time,” promises the Winner’s Chapel down the road.

“Pray your way to riches,” advises Embassy of Christ a few blocks away.

It’s hard for churches to carve out a congregation with so much competition. So some pastors establish their credentials by accusing children of witchcraft.

Nwanaokwo said he knew the pastor who accused him only as Pastor King. Mount Zion Lighthouse in Nigeria at first confirmed that a Pastor King worked for them, then denied that they knew any such person.

Bishop A.D. Ayakndue, the head of the church in Nigeria, said pastors were encouraged to pray about witchcraft, but not to abuse children.

“We pray over that problem (of witchcraft) very powerfully,” he said. “But we can never hurt a child.”

The Nigerian church is a branch of a Californian church by the same name. But the California church says it lost touch with its Nigerian offshoots several years ago.

“I had no idea,” said church elder Carrie King by phone from Tracy, Calif. “I knew people believed in witchcraft over there but we believe in the power of prayer, not physically harming people.”

The Mount Zion Lighthouse — also named by three other families as the accuser of their children — is part of the powerful Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria. The Fellowship’s president, Ayo Oritsejafor, said the Fellowship was the fastest-growing religious group in Nigeria, with more than 30 million members.

“We have grown so much in the past few years we cannot keep an eye on everybody,” he explained.

But Foxcroft, the head of Stepping Stones, said if the organization was able to collect membership fees, it could also police its members better. He had already written to the organization twice to alert it to the abuse, he said. He suggested the fellowship ask members to sign forms denouncing abuse or hold meetings to educate pastors about the new child rights law in the state of Akwa Ibom, which makes it illegal to denounce children as witches. Similar laws and education were needed in other states, he said.

Sam Itauma of the Children’s Rights and Rehabilitation Network said it is the most vulnerable children — the orphaned, sick, disabled or poor — who are most often denounced. In Nwanaokwo’s case, his poor father and dead mother made him an easy target.

“Even churches who didn’t use to ‘find’ child witches are being forced into it by the competition,” said Itauma. “They are seen as spiritually powerful because they can detect witchcraft and the parents may even pay them money for an exorcism.”

That’s what Margaret Eyekang did when her 8-year-old daughter Abigail was accused by a “prophet” from the Apostolic Church, because the girl liked to sleep outside on hot nights — interpreted as meaning she might be flying off to join a coven. A series of exorcisms cost Eyekang eight months’ wages, or US$270. The payments bankrupted her.

Neighbors also attacked her daughter.

“They beat her with sticks and asked me why I was bringing them a witch child,” she said. A relative offered Eyekang floor space but Abigail was not welcome and had to sleep in the streets.

Members of two other families said pastors from the Apostolic Church had accused their children of witchcraft, but asked not to be named for fear of retaliation.

The Nigeria Apostolic Church refused repeated requests made by phone, e-mail and in person for comment.

___

At first glance, there’s nothing unusual about the laughing, grubby kids playing hopscotch or reading from a tattered Dick and Jane book by the graffiti-scrawled cinderblock house. But this is where children like Abigail end up after being labeled witches by churches and abandoned or tortured by their families.

There’s a scar above Jane’s shy smile: her mother tried to saw off the top of her skull after a pastor denounced her and repeated exorcisms costing a total of $60 didn’t cure her of witchcraft. Mary, 15, is just beginning to think about boys and how they will look at the scar tissue on her face caused when her mother doused her in caustic soda. Twelve-year-old Rachel dreamed of being a banker but instead was chained up by her pastor, starved and beaten with sticks repeatedly; her uncle paid him $60 for the exorcism.

Israel’s cousin tried to bury him alive, Nwaekwa’s father drove a nail through her head, and sweet-tempered Jerry — all knees, elbows and toothy grin — was beaten by his pastor, starved, made to eat cement and then set on fire by his father as his pastor’s wife cheered it on.

The children at the home run by Itauma’s organization have been mutilated as casually as the praying mantises they play with. Home officials asked for the children’s last names not to be used to protect them from retaliation.

The home was founded in 2003 with seven children; it now has 120 to 200 at any given time as children are reconciled with their families and new victims arrive.

Helen Ukpabio is one of the few evangelists publicly linked to the denunciation of child witches. She heads the enormous Liberty Gospel church in Calabar, where Nwanaokwo used to live. Ukpabio makes and distributes popular books and DVDs on witchcraft; in one film, a group of child witches pull out a man’s eyeballs. In another book, she advises that 60 percent of the inability to bear children is caused by witchcraft.

In an interview with the AP, Ukpabio is accompanied by her lawyer, church officials and personal film crew.

“Witchcraft is real,” Ukpabio insisted, before denouncing the physical abuse of children. Ukpabio says she performs non-abusive exorcisms for free and was not aware of or responsible for any misinterpretation of her materials.

“I don’t know about that,” she declared.

However, she then acknowledged that she had seen a pastor from the Apostolic Church break a girl’s jaw during an exorcism. Ukpabio said she prayed over her that night and cast out the demon. She did not respond to questions on whether she took the girl to hospital or complained about the injury to church authorities.

After activists publicly identified Liberty Gospel as denouncing “child witches,” armed police arrived at Itauma’s home accompanied by a church lawyer. Three children were injured in the fracas. Itauma asked that other churches identified by children not be named to protect their victims.

“We cannot afford to make enemies of all the churches around here,” he said. “But we know the vast majority of them are involved in the abuse even if their headquarters aren’t aware.”

Just mentioning the name of a church is enough to frighten a group of bubbly children at the home.

“Please stop the pastors who hurt us,” said Jerry quietly, touching the scars on his face. “I believe in God and God knows I am not a witch.”

___

Associated Press researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York contributed to this report.

Religious games know no limit: Runaway teen Christian convert

Runaway teen Christian convert must return to Ohio, judge rules

(CNN) — A runaway teen who said her father threatened to kill her for converting from Islam to Christianity will be returned to Ohio once her immigration status has been clarified, a Florida judge ruled Tuesday.

Rifqa Bary, 17, says a mosque told her family to "deal with the situation" of her Christian conversion.

Rifqa Bary, 17, says a mosque told her family to “deal with the situation” of her Christian conversion.

The ruling was a victory for parents Mohamed and Aysha Bary, who had requested that their daughter’s custody be transferred to Ohio while other issues in the case are settled. The teen’s attorney, John Stemburger, who leads a Christian advocacy organization, opposed the move.

Seventeen-year-old Rifqa Bary left her family in Columbus, Ohio, in July and took refuge in the home of a minister in Orlando, Florida. The girl was later moved into foster care after she said in an affidavit that her Muslim father had threatened her after finding out about her conversion. Her father has denied the allegation.

In Tuesday’s ruling, Judge Daniel Dawson said it was in Bary’s best interest for her emergency custody continue in Ohio.

The transfer will not happen until the teen’s immigration status is determined, however, the judge said.

Attorneys for the parents, who are from Sri Lanka, said required immigration documents will be submitted to the court within two weeks. A status hearing has been set for October 23 in case the paperwork has not been filed.

The ruling follows months of legal wrangling, including the affidavit from the teenager claiming that her father was pressured by the family’s mosque in Ohio to “deal with the situation,” referring to her conversion. In an earlier court filing, Rifqa Bary alleged that her father said, “If you have this Jesus in your heart, you are dead to me!” The teenager claims her father added, “I will kill you!” Mohamed Bary, 47, has denied the accusations.

An old Marine buddy of mine used to say “there’s something not quite clear about the milk yet” similar to the famous “clear as mud” commentary often stated to explain situations where something just seems a little too good to be true.  That’s exactly how I felt when news of this story started making it’s rounds a month ago or so on the “conservative” and/or “Christian” blogs and message boards.  I said it then on some of these boards and I say it now, it’s a shame that in it’s war against Muslims and Islam that certain elements within the so-called “evangelical”, “conservative”, “Christian”, community would use a child to further their agenda in this way.

I’m convinced we are yet to get to the bottom of this story, but with a critical eye, it appears to me that this teen was lured by these “ministers” online through facebook and then aided/persuaded possibly to runaway from home to their “protection” in Florida.  Now some may ask why couldn’t exactly as reported?  Some may even state that I’m just taking the parents side because they are Muslim.  To those questions I would like to state that if this father did in fact threaten to kill his daughter than I pray that he is indeed locked away and this child protected.  I can in no way condone this behavior as it is unIslamic (contrary to the propaganda out there). My suspicions arise out of the way it was done.  If this had been any other group who lured a teen into running away from home across America to be with strange adults, these “ministers” would have been locked up.  However, once you through in “Christianity” against the “evil” Islam, the rules are bent and of course the Muslims are guilty until proven innocent while no one bats an eye at the actions of these “Christians”.  When have we ever tolerated luring minors away from home in this manner in our legal system?

The whole thing just seems odd to me.  They helped fund this operation to seek this minor away from her home and even had their very own legal team ready upon her arrival.  If this entire thing is legit, why were they at the ready to parade this child through the “Christian” gauntlet ready to use her and her “plight” as much as possible to encourage the “faithful” and rally them to further “expose” the “enemy” Islam?

I know Christians, I have lived with them all my life, I enjoy their company, family ties, and services on occasion.  Those Christians I know and love, if they truly felt they were acting in this teens best interest would have gone to Ohio and set up shop there discretely and to the best of their ability worked within the law and even with the parents as concerned members in the body of Christ.  I couldn’t imagine them parading this girl around as a token example in their “war” on television, radio, and church meetings.  None outside the concerned would even know.

This is yet another reason, why the whole thing wreaks of a propaganda game using this child to gain exposure.  It’s disgusting and I pray that the law looks into this angle as well as discussions of this child’s welfare is brought up.  If my soon to be teenage son for some crazy teen reason decided to convert to Christianity, God forbid, I would be blood curdling angry, I may even say a few choice words in my anger (possibly) and if I threatened him I would get what I deserved for not controlling my loose and crazy tongue, however, more likely than not, I would still love him no less and move on as a good parent should when their child makes decisions they don’t like.  However, I would be even angrier if I knew some random group had not only influenced my child’s decision but also orchestrated sneaking my child out of my house across state lines into their “protection”  I would want to see nothing less than this group being put behind bars.  It would be one thing that my child made a decision that I didn’t agree with (as all children will do at some point) but it would be an entirely different matter if I found out that my child was influenced and manipulated by strangers and coerced the entire time and then used as a tool as propaganda not only against me but against my entire faith group!

It’s just sickening when you think of it as a parent.  Imagine if the roles were reversed.  Imagine if your “typical” southern, white, conservative, evangelical, christian had doubts about the religion they  were raised in, met a Muslim group on facebook, decided to convert to Islam in secret, and then was aided by an Imam in said group to runaway from home to another state lets say Illinois 🙂 and “protected” by a local Mosque in Chicago.  Could you imagine the outrage?  Could you imagine not only what would be said or have been rumored to be said?  Oh my God it would be a national crisis!

In the end, I pray for the physical and mental safety of this child.  The game that is being played by these “christians” is saddening at best an affront to human decency.  They can pretend that they are playing the role of the “good Samaritan” however, as their very own scripture will note, the Samaritan was not of those who claim to follow a religious tradition, he was a stranger who wouldn’t indulge in the foolishness in religious communities that would exploit the weak and the helpless or outright ignore them unless there was something to gain, the good Samaritan came to uplift and aid these people because it was the right thing to do.  There should be a lesson in all this for those who would use reason.

Exploitation of children should be a crime regardless of the religious implications and sensibilities.  This child is a minor, yet she has been paraded around by these “christians” for one reason only:  To Bash Islam and Muslims in general.  Stand by and wait for the book, movie deals, and speaking engagements as her “harrowing” story is recounted as she is made to look like a saint for seeking Jesus (as) leaving the “cult” of her family, the “evil” Islam.  They may even compare her to the hemorrhaging woman who touched the hem of Jesus (as) garment!  Watch how these “ministers” and their group are elevated to hero status by supporting her, so that everyone in the flock, supporters, and well wishers can feel a little bit better by looking like religious zealots playing with Christ to gain notoriety and a buck in their string-pulled “war” against a made up enemy.

Disgusting

Pray for this child…she will need it

Who's this guy?

So I had this intense interview about a month ago and it turned up on YouTube!  Go figure 🙂  Seriously, America Abroad Media contacted and wanted to discuss with me many, many, things, chief among them my conversion to Islam, while much of the interview (yes it was longer) was edited out (thank God) I’m happy to see (not my face) but their work being published.  God willing, my story will be added to the multitudes of the faithful as a means and way to explain our faith.

Myth of the Hametic Curse, by Omar Abdul-Malik

HARVARD APPLETON CHAPEL-Morning Prayers/Church Talk-The Consequences of the Myth of the Hametic Curse-Delivered on Saturday, February 28, 2009, 8:45 am by Omar Abdul-Malik-FINAL VERSION

The reading for this morning’s lesson comes from the holy Koran

Surah 114- entitled an-nas or mankind

Qul a-uzzu bi-rabbin-nass

Malikin-naas

Ilaahin-nass

Min-sharril-waswaasil-khan-nass

Allazil yuwas-wisu fil suduurin-naasi

Minal-jinnati wan-naas

1.     Say: I seek refuge with the lord and cherisher of mankind

2.     The ruler of mankind

3.     The judge of mankind

4.     From the mischief of the whisper of evil, who then withdraws after his whisper?

5.     Who whispers into the hearts of mankind?

6.     Among the jinn’s and men

Here ends the lesson

According to Webster a myth is a popular belief or story that has become associated with a person, institution or occurrence, especially one considered to illustrate a cultural ideal or that forms part of an ideology. The philosopher Joseph Campbell penned several books on the power contained in myths.

One of the most widely held and destructive myths of the western world in general and the us in particular was the so-called hametic myth that associated dark skin and other africoid features with the old testament “curse” upon Noah’s youngest son ham and his grandson Canaan who was condemned to be the eternal servant to the rest of mankind represented by Shem and Japheth.

This concept laid the psychological and moral basis for the modern ideology of racism and the legal codes and social norms which evolved from it centuries later.

This being the last day of black history month, I thought that I might

Take a few moments to examine the origin of this unfortunate notion.

We are all aware of how Noah’s wine tasting aboard the ark resulted in his loss of both clothing and consciousness   and how his son ham is said to have laughingly related his father’s state to his brothers. When Noah came to his senses, he cursed ham’s son Canaan to, “be a servant to his brother and their offspring”. Since there was no textual mention of race, ethnicity or any physical markers; how did this legend get attached to black people?

Historians Bernard Lewis and Harold Brackman point to a 6thcentury ad rabbinical commentary on the torah known as the Babylonian Talmud as the primary source of racialized hermeneutics.

The authoritative Babylonian Talmud states that ham not only saw his father naked and inebriated, but raped and castrated the patriarch as well. And that when Noah awoke and realized what had been done to him he stated the following:

1.      Since you have disabled me from doing ugly things in the blackness of night, Canaan’s children shall be born ugly and black!

2.      Moreover, because you twisted your head around to see my nakedness, you grandchildren’s hair will be twisted into kinks, and

3.     Because your lips jested at my misfortune, their lips shall swell;

4.      And because you neglected my nakedness, they shall go naked, and their male members shall be shamefully elongated.

5.     It continues…men of this race are called Negroes; their forefather Canaan commanded them to love theft and fornication, to be banded together in hatred of their masters and to never tell the truth.

The hametic myth not only negatively affected Christian and Jewish exegesis of scripture but Islamic as well.

In American secular society, this fabrication contributed to the loss of millions of black lives and trillions of dollars in potential income over nearly four centuries through slavery, discrimination and diminished fiscal and social capital.

Today, following a protracted  moral, legal  and physical struggle, we Americans live in a time of change where dark skin is a sign of vitality, thick hair is desirable, large lips are appealing and those males  endowed with  ample instruments  of human re-production are considered…..fortunate.

Today, America’s heavily melinated first family is our nation’s universal symbol of intelligence, leadership, civility and hope.

The original intentions of the creators of the hametic myth are unknown, but history and scripture illustrates that truth always triumphs over falsehood and curses often bring forth blessings.

In 1951, the noted author   James Baldwin, referring to U.S. racism,

Predicted that “out of what has been Americas greatest shame…would…come …our great opportunity… for good.

The biblical Joseph echoed this sentiment as he addressed his repentant   brothers declaring, “you meant this for evil, but god meant this for good… in order that a great nation could be saved.”(Gen. 50:20)

Let us pray…Al-Fatiha and the Lord’s Prayer

President Obama Wins the Nobel Peace Prize

Was my text alert from my AP iPhone app this morning.  I had to look again because I didn’t believe it.  Jokingly, I stated, will he turn water into wine next?  That was a great morning chuckle.

What really got me laughing this morning is when I thought to my self “Boy, the we only care about some of America Party, formally known as the Republican Party is going to have a baby today!”  The shear comedy of it all as I speak has the late night writers probably buzzing with new material.

The GOP now famous for only caring about “real America” and their supporters, since the election have been trying to through elephant dung at the President for every little thing from his oratory (from a teleprompter they joke), to his smiling, cool demeanor (aloof they say), to his nomination of Sotamayor to the Supreme Court (he’s a racist), to his policies on the economy and healthcare (he’s a socialist-nazi), to his address to school children (he’s trying to indoctrinate them into the Obama Youth) etc. etc. etc.  I mean at every turn they have been whining, crying, “protesting”, over these outrages.  They have been such staunch advocates of segregation between Americans that recently when the Olympic Committee shot down AMERICA’s bid to host the Olympics in Chicago, they actually hailed America’s loss as a defeat for Obama!

So now that he has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, one can only imagine what colorful commentary will come from “Real America”.  I can almost guess that they will now call the Prize unimpressive, or lacking merit, or something silly like that.  They will mock the President more and try to belittle it as a meaningless achievement.

I mean come on now, what do you expect from a Party who’s only offering to policy and governance these days is to reject anything from a President who doesn’t “represent” (see look like) “Real America”?

The Republican Party, well most likely the “base” as I’m certain their politicians aren’t so stupid (then again there was the “you lie” incident) will embarrass themselves yet again attacking their President and America for something positive.

I mean give me a break, Democrats gave George Bush hell for sure, the lowest thing was insinuating that he wasn’t intelligent, but they never called him an un-American, socialist, Nazi!  They never questioned whether he was a “real American”, and I never recall black Democrats universally rejecting him because he was white.  Just saying….  Maybe it’s time that the Democrats hire Karl Rove and craft a strategy that will call all these “Republicans” unpatriotic psuedo citizens, or something.

Either way, it’s worthy of a good laugh today.

Congratulations President Obama for highlighting the great things about America and Americans and bringing even more pride and honor to the office.  Those who care about all Americans and all of America regardless of race, religion, sexuality, and party lift our heads a little higher today.

Related articles:

GOP chairman scoffs at Obama winning Peace prize

WASHINGTON (AP) — The chairman of the Republican Party is contending that President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize as result of his “star power” rather than meaningful accomplishments.

Michael Steele issued a statement Friday saying, “The real question Americans are asking is, What has President Obama actually accomplished?”

Steele, who took over the reigns of the party earlier this year, said he thought it was “unfortunate that the president’s star power has outshined tireless advocates who have made real achievements working towards peace and human rights.” He said he doesn’t think Obama will be “receiving any awards from Americans for job creation, fiscal responsibility, or backing up rhetoric with concrete action.”

President Barack Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize

By KARL RITTER and MATT MOORE
Associated Press Writers

AP Photo
AP Photo/Richard Drew

President Barack Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize

efforts are at far earlier stages than past winners’. The Nobel committee acknowledged that they may not bear fruit at all.

“He got the prize because he has been able to change the international climate,” Nobel Committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland said. “Some people say, and I understand it, isn’t it premature? Too early? Well, I’d say then that it could be too late to respond three years from now. It is now that we have the opportunity to respond – all of us.”

The selection to some extent reflects a trans-Atlantic divergence on Obama. In Europe and much of the world he is lionized for bringing the United States closer to mainstream global thinking on issues like climate change and multilateralism. At home, the picture is more complicated. As president, Obama is often criticized as he attempts to carry out his agenda – drawing fire over a host of issues from government spending to health care to the conduct of the war in Afghanistan.

U.S. Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele contended that Obama won the prize as a result of his “star power” rather than meaningful accomplishments.

“The real question Americans are asking is, What has President Obama actually accomplished?” Steele said.

Obama’s election and foreign policy moves caused a dramatic improvement in the image of the U.S. around the world. A 25-nation poll of 27,000 people released in July by the Pew Global Attitudes Project found double-digit boosts to the percentage of people viewing the U.S. favorably in countries around the world. That indicator had plunged across the world under President George W. Bush.

“Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future,” Jagland said.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who has made no secret of his admiration for Obama, called the decision the embodiment of the “return of America into the hearts of the people of the world.”

But Obama’s work is far from done, on numerous fronts.

He said he would end the Iraq war but has been slow to bring the troops home and the real end of the U.S. military presence there won’t come until at least 2012.

He’s running a second war in the Muslim world, in Afghanistan – and is seriously considering ramping the number of U.S. troops on the ground and asking for help from others, too.

“I don’t think Obama deserves this. I don’t know who’s making all these decisions. The prize should go to someone who has done something for peace and humanity,” said Ahmad Shabir, 18-year-old student in Kabul. “Since he is the president, I don’t see any change in U.S. strategy in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Obama has said that battling climate change is a priority. But the U.S. seems likely to head into crucial international negotiations set for Copenhagen in December with Obama-backed legislation still stalled in Congress.

Lech Walesa, who won the prize in 1983, questioned whether Obama deserved it now.

“So soon? Too early. He has no contribution so far. He is still at an early stage. He is only beginning to act,” said former Polish President Lech Walesa, a 1983 Nobel Peace laureate.

“This is probably an encouragement for him to act. Let’s see if he perseveres. Let’s give him time to act,” Walesa said.

Unlike the other Nobel Prizes, which are awarded by Swedish institutions, the peace prize is given out by a five-member committee elected by the Norwegian Parliament. Like the Parliament, the committee has a leftist slant, with three members elected by left-of-center parties. Jagland said the decision to honor Obama was unanimous.

The award appeared to be at least partly a slap at Bush from a committee that harshly criticized Obama’s predecessor for his largely unilateral military action in the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. The Nobel committee praised Obama’s creation of “a new climate in international politics” and said he had returned multilateral diplomacy and institutions like the U.N. to the center of the world stage.

“You have to remember that the world has been in a pretty dangerous phase,” Jagland said. “And anybody who can contribute to getting the world out of this situation deserves a Nobel Peace Prize.”

Until seconds before the award, speculation had focused on a wide variety of candidates besides Obama: Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, a Colombian senator, a Chinese dissident and an Afghan woman’s rights activist, among others. The Nobel committee received a record 205 nominations for this year’s prize, though it was not immediately apparent who nominated Obama.

“The exciting and important thing about this prize is that it’s given to someone … who has the power to contribute to peace,” Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, who won the prize in 1984, said Obama’s award shows great things are expected from him in coming years.

“It’s an award coming near the beginning of the first term of office of a relatively young president that anticipates an even greater contribution towards making our world a safer place for all,” Tutu said. “It is an award that speaks to the promise of President Obama’s message of hope.”

Obama is the third sitting U.S. president to win the award: President Theodore Roosevelt won in 1906 and President Woodrow Wilson was awarded the prize in 1919.

Wilson received the prize for his role in founding the League of Nations, the hopeful but ultimately failed precursor to the contemporary United Nations.

The Nobel committee chairman said after awarding the 2002 prize to former Democratic President Jimmy Carter, for his mediation in international conflicts, that it should be seen as a “kick in the leg” to the Bush administration’s hard line in the buildup to the Iraq war.

Five years later, the committee honored Bush’s adversary in the 2000 presidential election, Al Gore, for his campaign to raise awareness about global warming.

In July talks in Moscow, Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev agreed that their negotiators would work out a new limit on delivery vehicles for nuclear warheads of between 500 and 1,100. They also agreed that warhead limits would be reduced from the current range of 1,700-2,200 to as low as 1,500. The United States now has about 2,200 such warheads, compared to about 2,800 for the Russians.

But there has been no word on whether either side has started to act on the reductions.

Former Peace Prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, said Obama has already provided outstanding leadership in the effort to prevent nuclear proliferation.

“In less than a year in office, he has transformed the way we look at ourselves and the world we live in and rekindled hope for a world at peace with itself,” ElBaradei said. “He has shown an unshakable commitment to diplomacy, mutual respect and dialogue as the best means of resolving conflicts.”

Obama also has attempted to restart stalled talks between the Israelis and Palestinians, but just a day after Obama hosted the Israeli and Palestinian leaders in New York, Israeli officials boasted that they had fended off U.S. pressure to halt settlement construction. Moderate Palestinians said they felt undermined by Obama’s failure to back up his demand for a freeze.

Obama was to meet with his top advisers on the Afghan war on Friday to consider a request by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, to send as many as 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan as the U.S war there enters its ninth year.

Obama ordered 21,000 additional troops to Afghanistan earlier this year and has continued the use of unmanned drones for attacks on militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan, a strategy devised by the Bush administration. The attacks often kill or injure civilians living in the area.

Nominators for the prize include former laureates; current and former members of the committee and their staff; members of national governments and legislatures; university professors of law, theology, social sciences, history and philosophy; leaders of peace research and foreign affairs institutes; and members of international courts of law.

In his 1895 will, Alfred Nobel stipulated that the peace prize should go “to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations and the abolition or reduction of standing armies and the formation and spreading of peace congresses.”

The committee has taken a wide interpretation of Nobel’s guidelines, expanding the prize beyond peace mediation to include efforts to combat poverty, disease and climate change.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee decided not to inform Obama before the announcement because it didn’t want to wake him up, committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland said.

“Waking up a president in the middle of the night, this isn’t really something you do,” Jagland said.

Associated Press writers Ian MacDougall in Oslo, Celean Jacobson in Johannesburg, George Jahn in Vienna, Monika Scislowska in Warsaw, Poland and Jennifer Loven in Washington contributed to this report.

On the Net:

http://www.nobelpeaceprize.org

Why do you not like Jesus?

i would like to know why you left the christian faith? what you have against Jesus?

why do you not like jesus?

The above were two comments posted to my about page last month.  I haven’t approved them, because I just didn’t know the appropriate response (I don’t approve all comments, you wouldn’t believe some of them).  However, I saved them in my pending comments box for a day like today when I could get a chance to appropriately respond.

Normally, when I get comments like this I take them as a joke and post or delete them outright as some people over the years send me things trying to rile me up, but on this occasion I didn’t so much question the intent of the poster, but moreso felt like there was an underlying question behind the post that I shouldn’t ignore.

I rarely write or speak on this topic, because it’s one of the most sensitive to speak about and I really don’t like to offend and/or alienate those who think differently than me, however being semi provoked, I figured what the heck? 🙂

First of all, let me be clear not only do I like Jesus (as) I love Jesus (as).  In fact, contrary to the propaganda these days masquerading as belief, no Muslim could believe the opposite.  The Qur’an is replete with verses speaking of the high status that Jesus (as) and his mother Mary (ra) have in Islam.  I will not reproduce those scriptures today in the interest of time, as there are a multitude of references on the net on this very topic “Jesus in Islam”.  Suffice to say that not only do I personally Love Jesus (as) I’m also obligated in Islam to do so.

The mistake many make concerning converts from Christianity to Islam, is that they tend to think that there was something we felt negative towards Jesus (as) or something told to us that was negative that made us leave, this is far from reality.  Many converts like myself, evaluated, and re-evaluated, our positions and beliefs about Jesus (as) more times than you know before me made the life-changing decision and accept Islam.  Which is why it’s actually more of an insult than anything else to suggest that our decision was fickle and with little thought.

Let’s make one thing crystal shall we?  Muslims believe in Jesus (as) just not in the same way “some” Christians do.  That should be a fair statement to make between people of reason, but we all know that our modern politic doesn’t allow for such discourse.  I used “some” because if one were to look at a comparison of what Muslims believe about Jesus (as) versus what Christians believe about Jesus (as), one would find that in those issues where there is a difference, other Christians may very well hold those views as well and they are in fact not unique to Muslims.

For instance, Muslims believe:

  • That Jesus (as) was foretold by the Angel Gabriel to Mary (as)
  • That Mary (as) conceived and delivered Jesus (as) as a virgin
  • That Jesus (as) is the Messiah
  • That Jesus (as) is a Prophet of God
  • That Jesus (as) came to the Children of Israel and gave clear guidance and warnings for the path of salvation
  • That Jesus (as) performed miracles and gave revelations

….among other things….

Very few Christians (well I haven’t met any) disagree with those beliefs

Where Muslims and Christians differ:

  • Muslims do not believe Jesus (as) was God in the flesh.  Muslims believe that Jesus  (as) was a flesh and blood man and couldn’t do anything of his own will and served God
  • Muslims do not believe that Jesus (as) died on the cross* depending on what Muslim you ask, you may get varying accounts, however the universal Islamic belief is that Jesus (as) was saved from the cross

That’s pretty much it outside of a lengthy discourse in theology, which I’m willing to do at a later date, but would prefer we take that discussion to the radio or messageboard.

As you can see, while the two dissenting points while major to some Christians isn’t necessarily new to Christianity today or in the past.  These views have been and are held by other Christians, yet they are never accused of not liking Jesus (as) are they?

Muslims believe that we honor Jesus (as) by accepting him as he was and not limiting God by trapping him within the confines of mortality.  Simply put as a recent bumper sticker I read stated “Worship the Creator not the creation”.  Muslims believe the “controversial” belief, that God is above any and all things that He creates and that includes Jesus (as) who was a creation born of a woman.  Now some may say that Jesus (as) being born of a virgin is proof…well the Qur’an counters with Adam (as) had neither a mother or a father, yet we don’t equate him with God, which is a greater feat?

In short without an Islam 101 lecture, I do not dislike Jesus (as) and why I left Christianity is an oft talked about, written about topic, that horse is out to pasture, feel free to search the archive or go listen to past shows.

Thank you for your question whoever you are. 🙂

*** (as) is an abbreviation of the Arabic:

Alayhis Salam (عليه السلام)
“Peace be upon him” This expression normally follows after naming a prophet (other than Muhammad), or one of the noble Angels (i.e. Jibreel[Gabriel], Mikaeel[Michael], etc.)

***(ra) is an abbreviation of the Arabic:

Radiyallahu anha, Radiyallahu anhu, Radiyallahu anhuma, Radiyallahu anhum

“May Allah be pleased with her, him, them (feminine), or them” respectively.  This expression normally follows    after naming a servant of God other than a prophet.

Author Comment In Response To
Author Comment In Response To
renee
lslkgl4@yahoo.com
76.85.137.168

why do you not like jesus?

renee
lslkgl4@yahoo.com
76.85.137.168

i would like to know why you left the christian faith? what you have against Jesus?

Author Comment In Response To
Author Comment In Response To
renee
lslkgl4@yahoo.com
76.85.137.168

why do you not like jesus?

renee
lslkgl4@yahoo.com
76.85.137.168

i would like to know why you left the christian faith? what you have against Jesus?