Nigerian Christians Claim Their Piece of the Terrorism Pie, Threaten to Bomb Mosques

Fed up with the violence from Muslim terror groups like Boko Haram, Nigerian Christians aren’t exactly turning the other cheek. Their solution: kill Islamic clerics, and bomb mosques.

The latest terrorist threats to come out of Nigeria aren’t being propagated by Boko Haram, the militant Islamist group bent on eradicating Christianity (and other Western influences). Instead, the threats from the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) are being made “in defense of Christianity.”


MEND, a militant group operating out of the country’s oil-rich Niger Delta, says it intends to attack Muslims in order to protect Nigeria’s “hapless Christian population.” The planned attacks, which MEND says will begin on May 31, will include mosque and hajj bombings and assassination attempts against Muslim clerics.

If it seems like just tough talk, look closer. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom noted in a response to the MEND statement that there have been “ongoing attacks and retaliations by Muslims and Christians” in Nigeriah, and that Boko Haram has used “Christian attacks on Muslims to justify its attacks on Christians.”

USCIRF also says Boko Haram has “killed more Muslims than Christians over the past few years.”

[image via Aaron Niequist]

Judge Lets Thieving Pastor Off Easy

In pastor Kyung Soon Kim’s defense, the 10 Commandments don’t get as specific as “Thou Shalt Not Defraud Thine Insurance Company.” From The Reporter:

NORRISTOWN – With a judge ordering him to spend a few days behind bars for his role in a car insurance scam, a Korean pastor from Montgomery Township [Pennsylvania] learned the hard way, “Thou shalt not steal.”

“It’s confounding to this court why he would do this,” Montgomery County Judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy said Monday as she sentenced Kyung Soon Kim to two consecutive weekends in the county jail after Kim pleaded guilty to charges of theft by unlawful taking and conspiracy to commit theft in connection with a 2008 incident involving a Lexus vehicle.


The car belonged to a friend’s son. Kim and the woman conspired to file a false police report and bilked the insurance company out of $42,000.

The judge kept racking her brain over the motive.

Reading from a presentence report, the judge noted Kim’s commitment to his church dates back to 1986 when he was pastor at a Presbyterian church in Seoul, South Korea, and then a Presbyterian pastor upon arriving in the U.S. several years ago.

It’s a bit of a mystery to me why this is the slightest bit relevant to the judicial process. Anyone else smell a double standard?

I’m pretty sure that in the case of a non-clergy defendant, the presumed answer to the question of motive would be, “Because he is a greedy sonovabitch.”

I’m also pretty sure that if you or I stole 42 grand, we’d do some serious time.

The Reverend Kim, however, could count on the judge’s leniency, and received a jail term of only four days. He doesn’t even have to serve that puny sentence as one block of time: instead, he gets to do it in stretches of 48 hours during two consecutive weekends.

[photo by Shawn Wheat via Gwinnett Daily Post]

Extraordinary Claims, Extraordinary Evidence?

The Eclectic Quill‘s got a point.

2U.S. Government Responses to Immortality Claims | The Eclectic Quill

Egyptian Activists: Scrub Religion From ID Cards

Other than for gathering anonymous census data, why would the government ever ask you what religion you are? And if the government issues national ID cards, as it does in many countries, why would your religious affiliation deserve a mandatory mention on that card? What purpose does it serve?

And what would happen if you told nosy bureaucrats to stay out of your business?

That’s the thinking of British-Egyptian journalist and blogger Sarah Carr, who teamed up with a friend, Mohamad Adam, to try to change the official Egyptian conflation of identity and religion. Via the New York Times:

Egyptian activists have begun an online campaign against sectarianism in the wake of a deadly attack on mourners at Egypt’s main Coptic Christian cathedral this month.


To begin the process of disentangling religion and citizenship, the “None of Your Business” campaign, driven by a Facebook group and a YouTube video, urges Egyptian citizens to cover up the section of their national identity cards that states their religion. The group’s Facebook page describes the initiative as “a campaign against interference in citizens’ private lives by the state, and by other citizens. We are for the removal of religion from official documents — the most important of which is the personal ID card — as a small but important step towards ending discrimination on the basis of religion.”

In response, supporters of the campaign have uploaded photographs of their ID cards to social networks with messages along the lines of “my faith is my own business,” obscuring their religions.

Says Carr:

“I couldn’t think of a single use for the religion field; the Egyptian state has a well-documented thirst for bureaucracy and collecting information about its citizens, but there is absolutely no need for it to have this information, which serves no purpose other than giving prejudiced state officials, and anyone else who sees the ID card, the opportunity to give [you] a hard time.”

She would ultimately like ID cards to be abolished altogether, calling them “unnecessary and sinister,” but concedes that’s still a ways off.

“Removing the religion field from ID cards is a symbolic first step towards this. If it ever did happen, it would be a message that the state need not and should not have a role in defining, controlling or exploiting religious identity.”

Breaking: Bombs Go Off at Boston Marathon; 3 Killed, 100 or More Injured; Perps Unknown

No known religious connection yet. “There were no credible threats before the race, a state government official said.” But if you were a betting man or woman, what would you bet?

2 killed, dozens injured in Boston Marathon bombing – This Just In - Blogs


Two bombs struck near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, turning a celebration into a bloody scene of destruction. The blasts threw people to the ground, killing two and injuring dozens. The Boston Globe reported that at least 90 people were being treated at area hospital.

They were about 50 to 100 yards apart, officials said. “It felt like a huge cannon,” a witness told CNN about one of the

Photos from the scene showed people being carried away on stretchers. One man in a wheelchair had blood all over his face and legs. The bombs shook buildings, sending people to seek shelter under tables, witnesses said.

The Atlantic has large photos, including one very graphic one of a man with his leg or legs blown of. Proceed at your own risk.

ABC News describes

a terrifying scene of shattered glass, billowing smoke, bloodstained pavement and severed limbs, authorities said. A senior U.S. intelligence official said two other explosive devices were found near the end of the 26.2-mile course. At the White House, President Barack Obama vowed that those responsible will “feel the full weight of justice.”

Also: Westboro Baptist Church has already expressed its glee over the deaths, and is promising to picket the funerals.

[image via CNN blogs]

Hyperbole Watch: ‘Homo-Fascists’ Will Pin ‘Yellow Stars’ on Anti-Gay Christians

Bryan Fischer is the nominally Christian clown ex-pastor who, just weeks ago, compared being gay to robbing banks. While the Westboro Baptist Church is being taking seriously by absolutely no one beyond its few dozen crackpot members, Fischer has adopted a sheen of mass-media respectability by dint of his job as the Director of Issues Analysis for the American Family Association. He also has his own radio show, Focal Point, on American Family Radio.

Over the weekend, on the airwaves, Fischer told his followers that “homo-fascists” were going to take over and force anti-gay Christians to wear badges — just like the Jews during World War II.


Watch the video here. Homo-fascism allegations start at 1:50; yellow-star comparison starts at 9:03.

Partial transcript:

“If you don’t believe in sodomy-based marriage, if you’re not prepared to endorse and sanction sodomy-based marriage, then … Remember when the Jews in Nazi Germany, they had to wear a yellow Star of David on their sleeve? We’re getting to the point now, that’s what they’re going to make us do. We’re getting to the point where these homofascists are going to force us to wear on our sleeves some kind of identifying marker so that the people can know who the racists and the homophobes and the bigots are.”

The tiresome Christian persecution complex is being driven to new nadirs here.

Dear Mr. Fischer: Three out of four Americans are Christians. More than 90 percent of our members of Congress self-identify as followers of Christ. There is a church on just about every other street corner. Are you really going to tell me that you are being “oppressed” — and now, targeted for genocide! — by a small minority (8 to 10 percent of the population) who are gay?

And do you think perhaps your hyperbole might run counter to recent history when you consider that, like Jews, gay people were actually made to wear “identifying markers” — pink triangles — so that the Nazis could more easily arrest, imprison, starve, and murder them by the tens of thousands?


Just as anti-porn feminists can barely conceal their disappointment every time new rumors about the production of a snuff film turn out to be untrue, evangelical Christians secretly desire nothing so much as for their brethren to be persecuted to within an inch of their lives. I think it’s because that way, they can claim some of the suffering for which they admire their Savior, and prove themselves worthy of him.

In other words (those of PsiCop over at Agnostic Library),

A desire to be persecuted for Jesus is part and parcel of their religion, and it has been almost since its inception. This persecutorial delusion is embedded deep in the psychopathology of Christianity. …

It’s one thing to fantasize about being a martyr because one’s religion is founded on a martyr. It’s quite another to invent persecution that’s not even happening, and to accuse others of doing things they haven’t done.

Quite so.

[top image via; bottom image via]

False-Identity Judge Kicked Off Rabbi Court

Breaking news, via JTA:

Rabbi Michael Broyde, a prominent Orthodox rabbi who admitted to creating a fake alternate identity, was suspended from the Beth Din of America.

Broyde, who admitted last week that he had used a false name to gain access to a rabbinic email list and to write letters to various journals, was placed on “an indefinite leave of absence” from the rabbinical court, Tablet magazine reported.


“Rabbi Broyde has admitted to behavior that the Rabbinical Council finds extremely disturbing,” said Rabbi Shmuel Goldin, the president of the Rabbinical Council of America, the court’s parent body. “We have determined and announced by the Beth Din of America, our affiliated rabbinical court, that he has ceased to serve as a dayan [judge] immediately and indefinitely.”

A law professor at Emory University and a senior fellow at the Atlanta school’s Center for Law and Religion, Broyde is considered one of the Orthodox world’s leading judicial authorities and an expert on the intersection of religious and secular law.

See here for more on how Broyde got into hot water.

[image via]

Pianist’s Sentence Is the Latest Example of Turkey’s Slide Towards an Islamic Theocracy

Today, Fazil Say, 43, a famous Turkish pianist who has played with the New York Philharmonic and other world-renowned orchestras, got a 10-month suspended prison term. A Turkish court handed down the verdict after it found that Say had mocked Islam on Twitter. If he reoffends in the next five years, he’ll be put behind bars.


And what awful, shocking, impermissible things he wrote. See for yourself:

In one tweet, Say joked about a call to prayer that he said lasted only 22 seconds. Say tweeted: “Why such haste? Have you got a mistress waiting or a raki on the table?”

Raki, popular in Turkey when I visited a few decades ago, is akin to what the French call Pastis — an alcoholic drink with a sweet aniseed flavor. Alcohol is forbidden under Islam.

Another of Say’s tweets noted that Muslims are promised wine and virgins if they go to paradise (extra-marital fornication is also an Islamic no-no), and Say asked, prickly but not unreasonably, whether that meant that heaven is closer to a tavern or a brothel.

So some Islamist jackass sued.

Emre Bukagili, a citizen who filed the initial complaint against Say, said in an emailed statement that the musician had used “a disrespectful, offensive and impertinent tone toward religious concepts such as heaven and the call to prayer.”

And this harms you how, Sir? Why not tweet a witty retort, or a Qur’anic verse if you prefer, and call it a draw? You know, like they do in grownup countries?

What angers me most about this affair is that the Turkish government pretends to be pained by the whole thing — and claims to have nothing to do with it.

“I would not wish anyone to be put on trial for words that have been expressed. This is especially true of artists and cultural figures,” Culture and Tourism Minister Omer Celik said. “But… this is a judicial decision.”

This would be encouraging if it wasn’t so patently disingenuous. Turkey, though often considered to be westernized and modern, has a nasty habit of harassing and prosecuting domestic critics.

Two years ago, it convicted the only Nobel Prize winner it ever produced, the novelist Orhan Pamuk, for mentioning the Armenian genocide in an interview with a Swiss magazine. Pamuk was first put on trial for “offending Turkishness” and “offending the Armed Forces,” charges that were later lessened to violations against individual Turks’ “honor.”

Elif Shafak, perhaps the only other contemporary writer to enjoy literary fame beyond Turkey’s borders, was prosecuted for similar reasons.

There can be no doubt that this is condoned, if not encouraged, at the highest level.

Consider that making fun of Islamic prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is especially hazardous. The British collage artist Michael Dickinson, an Istanbul resident, spent three days in jail and was then made to endure a four-year legal ordeal after he portrayed Erdogan as George W. Bush’s lapdog.


A Turkish court ordered him not to insult the Dear Leader again or pay a $3,000 fine. (This was an improvement over the 14 months in jail that the judge had initially imposed on the satirist.)

I could give many such examples, but the Wall Street Journal already published a jaw-dropping roundup here, noting that Erdogan is “suing perhaps hundreds of private individuals for insulting him.”

It’s loopy enough for a 21st-century head of state to be mortally insulted by cartoons and art works and songs that are insufficiently reverential toward him; but the offense-taking is especially chilling when, subsequently, all of religion is de facto declared off-limits.

Erdogan is on record as saying that he will “raise a pious generation,” and he’s been very diligent in that regard. Notes Ankara-based journalist Sibel Utku Bila:

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has almost daily tirades to deliver. His anger has boiled over … over a sculpture not to his liking, a rock festival that offered beer to university students, and a soap opera chronicling lustful intrigues in an Ottoman harem. The premier’s outbursts are not without consequences: The “freakish” sculpture has been demolished, the rock festival has gone dry, and the fictional sultan’s household has started praying.

Religion-based censorship, Bila adds, comes in many forms in Turkey, and “often needs no law to thrive on.”

Like several years ago, when public broadcaster TRT chose not to include “Winnie the Pooh” in a major purchase of Disney cartoons because one of its main heroes, Piglet, was an animal deemed unclean in Islam. Or more recently, when a TRT presenter narrating the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics omitted John Lennon’s appeal for “no religion” when he translated the lyrics of “Imagine,” one of the songs featured in the show.

Up and down the chain of command, judges and bureaucrats are getting the message.

Take, for instance, the $30,000 fine for “insulting religious values” that Turkey’s broadcasting watchdog meted out to a private TV channel in December. The broadcaster had dared show an episode of The Simpsons in which God was shown taking orders from the devil.

I suppose you don’t have to be a religious nanny to not find that funny, but it helps.

[portrait of Fazil Say via]

Saudi Busybody Buzzkill Told To Buzz Off

A report in Gulf News says that a member of the Saudi religious police was forcibly removed from a concert. (Job description when you’re a religious cop: being a holier-than-thou douche by telling other people what is and isn’t suitably Islamic.)

The man was filmed being led away by uniformed members of the Saudi National Guard.

An employee of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, the [Saudi] religious police, was removed from the UAE pavilion at Riyadh’s annual Janadriya cultural festival after he tried to stop a folkloric show performed by young Emiratis, claiming that it was “un-Islamic”.

A short video clip circulated on the internet showed servicemen from the National Guard escorting the man out of the stand while excited spectators could be heard cheering.

The appreciative cheers and jeers are a positive sign. Maybe the Saudi people have had enough of these busybody bluestockings, and are no longer afraid to show it.

Orthodox U.S. Bishop Out in Harassment Scandal

Surprisingly few details are available about the nature of Bishop Matthias’ wrongdoings. The case involves harassing emails and text messages he sent to a female follower, but the church has managed to keep it all under wraps. Apparently, though, the bishop’s misconduct was grave enough that Church authorities forced his ouster.

Unable to overcome the disgrace of a sexual misconduct accusation, Bishop Matthias, head of the local diocese for the Orthodox Church of America, has announced he will step down Monday, leaving a vacancy in Chicago just weeks before Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter on May 5.

On a leave of absence since allegations of inappropriate communication with a woman surfaced in August, Matthias, 64, would have celebrated his two-year anniversary as leader of the church in Chicago and the Midwest this week. In a letter to parishioners Sunday, the bishop asked for forgiveness. ….


When he was placed on administrative leave last year, Matthias said he had been accused of “unwelcome written and spoken comments to a woman that she regarded as an inappropriate crossing of personal boundaries.”

A national church investigation did conclude that Bishop Matthias had committed sexual harassment.

The accusation also generated an outcry from a number of clergy’s wives in the diocese. About 30 women signed a letter to the Holy Synod expressing concern about the bishop’s behavior.

[image via]

Halal Meat: Muslim Sex Tourists in India Buy and Marry Girls, Fuck Them, Get Built-In Divorce After Four Weeks. 100% Approved By Allah!

What if you’re a Muslim and you want some nookie with someone other than your wife? You can’t go to a prostitute — Allah hates that.

India’s rent-a-wife industry to the rescue! Tourist-friendly! Allah-approved! Perfectly halal!

You see, in India’s Hyderabad and environs, it’s not hard to find marriageable girls who can be talked into one month of wedlock for a couple of thousand dollars.

According to the Telegraph,

[W]ealthy foreigners, local agents and ‘Qazis’ — government-appointed Muslim priests — are exploiting poverty among the city’s Muslim families.

We learn how the scheme works from one of the quasi-wives — an underage girl not keen on being bedded by a “husband” older than her father — who came forward to tell her story.

She escaped from her home last month after her parents pressured her to consummate a forced marriage to a middle aged Sudanese man who had paid around £1,200 for her to be his ‘wife’ for four weeks.

She told police she had been taken by her aunt to a hotel where she and three other teenager girls were introduced to a Sudanese oil company executive. The ‘groom’, Usama Ibrahim Mohammed, 44 and married with two children in Khartoum, later arrived at her home where a Qazi performed a wedding ceremony.


According to Inspector Vijay Kumar, he [Mohammed] had paid 100,000 Rupees (around £1,200) to the girl’s aunt Mumtaz Begum, who in turn paid 70,000 Rupees to her parents, 5,000 Rupees to the Qazi, 5,000 Rupees to an Urdu translator, and kept 20,000 Rupees herself. The wedding certificate came with a ‘Talaknama,’ which fixed the terms of the divorce at the end of the groom’s holiday.

Local cops explain that

visitors want to marry because they believe prostitution is forbidden under Islam. Poor families agree to contract marriages because they have many daughters and cannot afford to pay for all their weddings. Instead, they have a series of one-month contract ‘marriages’ to fund their own genuine wedding.

Shiraz Amina Khan, of Hyderabad’s Women and Child Welfare Society, said there were up to 15 ‘contract marriages’ in the city every month and that the number is rising.

The practice, known as Nikah al-Mut’ah, is widely accepted especially among Shia Muslims. Quoth Wikipedia:

Nikāḥ al-Mutʿah (pleasure marriage) is a fixed-term or short-term marriage in Shia Islam, where the duration and compensation are both agreed upon in advance. It is a private and verbal marriage contract between a man and an unmarried woman and there must be declaration and acceptance as in the case of nikah. The length of the contract and the amount of consideration must be specified. There is no minimum or maximum duration for the contract, so it can be as short as a few minutes.

[image via]

Church Hires Dick-Biting Priest Who is a Known Ex-Con: Shocked When He Does It Again

For a non-believer, it’s hard to see evidence of God’s hand in anything from angel-shaped clouds to eyeball-eating parasites.

But it’s easy to believe in the magic that the Catholic Church habitually produces when it slaps a priest’s white collar on a convicted sex offender. In such a case, in a manner of seconds, a scum-of-the-earth child molester is transformed into a divinely inspired authority on right and wrong. It truly is miraculous to behold.

Via the Los Angeles Times:

When the Rev. John Anthony Salazar arrived in Tulia, Texas, in 1991, he was warmly welcomed by the Roman Catholic community tucked in the Texas Panhandle. What his new parishioners didn’t know was he’d been hired out of a treatment program for pedophile priests — and that he’d been convicted for child molestation and banned from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for life.

The priest turned out to be your typical recidivist.

Over the next 11 years, Salazar would be accused of abusing four more children and young men in Texas, including an 18-year-old parishioner who suffered teeth marks on his genitals.


None of it should have been surprising. In 1987, Salazar had pleaded guilty to one count of oral copulation and one count of lewd or lascivious acts with a child for molesting two altar boys, ages 13 and 14.

He served three years of a six-year prison term before being sent in 1990 to a residential program in New Mexico that treated pedophile priests. He was also required to register as a sex offender.

One year later, the Diocese of Amarillo hired Salazar and assigned him to a vast, rural parish in the Panhandle while he was still on parole.

The bishop of the Catholic diocese, Leroy Matthiesen of Amarillo, seemed mildly offended when L.A. Cardinal Roger Mahony warned him in writing about the pedophile priest.

“You must think I don’t screen applicants well. I assure you I do, and that I have rejected a number of them,” Matthiesen wrote Mahony in a Jan. 28, 1992, letter contained in Salazar’s archdiocese file. “The Diocese of Amarillo has 38 parish priests and 38,000 registered Catholics. … I am able to keep careful tabs on all our priests.”

The self-regard is staggering. Four fresh Texas victims would soon experience how scrupulous Matthiesen was in “keeping tabs” on Father Salazar.

Matthiesen died in 2010, but in an autobiography he defended his decision to hire molesting priests from the aftercare program, saying they had “repented, paid the price, were rehabilitated, stayed within the boundaries laid out for them.” … “These are the types of priests I accepted into the diocese,” he wrote. “I have no regrets for having done so.”

Although the good bishop was thoroughly informed of Salazar’s background, neither he nor any of his colleagues ever bothered to tell the priest’s parishioners who they were dealing with.

The Church, as has so often been the case, considered itself exempt from the reporting requirements regarding sex offenders, and claims the privilege of dealing with all manner of crimes internally.

No secular justice system can compel it; no accountability is in evidence; and no future victim’s mental and bodily integrity is important enough to change any of it.