In the north-eastern Syrian city of Al-Qamishli, nestled on the border with Turkey, Islamic fundamentalists bombed St. Charnel Church, an ancient site of worship for the Assyrian Orthodox Christians.
On July 18, reported ARA News, gunmen detonated explosives inside the church. Activists point the finger of responsibility at ISIS. “We saw a huge fire and security forces arrived and extinguished the fire. But the church was completely destroyed, you can see only ashes here,” remarked one eyewitness to the attack.
The fate of the Middle East’s remaining Christians — often open to abuse and attack at any moment — appears little these days in mainstream media news stories, which presently focus on terrorist outrages in Europe instead. Reporting has likewise been dominated, since 2015, by coverage of the continuing Muslim migration from Africa and Asia into Europe.
Given the recent targeting of churches in several European nations, the omission is unfortunate.
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Theresa May is building on her vow outside Downing Street to be a “one nation” Prime Minister today, we report, by bringing together leaders of the United Kingdom’s devolved administrations to talk about Brexit. She will tell Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Welsh counterpart Carwyn Jones and Northern Ireland’s leader Arlene Foster that the way the UK leaves the EU “will not boil down to a hard choice” and that “no final decisions have been taken” about what form it would take. The Prime Minister will also offer an olive branch to them in the form of a new forum chaired by David Davis and a hotline to the Brexit secretary. This comes after the leaders called for their legislatures to get their own votes on the negotiating position the Government intends to take.”I am determined that as we make a success of our exit from the European Union, we in turn further strengthen our own enduring union,” she said ahead of the talks.
Mrs May doesn’t just have to worry about the devolved assemblies this week in her drive for Brexit, as her Government is set tomorrow to decide on how best to expand Britain’s airport capacity after the referendum. Sir Howard Davies, the man chosen by the Government to review this issue, says in today’s Telegraph that the case for expanding Heathrow has “strengthened in recent months” post the vote for Brexit. “The need for a clear strategic direction is more important since the referendum result,” he writes. “The rhetoric about becoming a European Singapore with a “blue water” trading focus seems empty if we cannot connect to the new markets we wish to serve.”
The decision will be made by the airports cabinet committee and announced in the House of Commons. But the Prime Minister has already moved to curb the potential backlash by giving free reign to her ministers to air their views on the announcement once it has been made. This will be a relief for the likes of Boris Johnson, who has previously voted to lie down in front of the bulldozers if Heathrow goes ahead, although the pressure will be higher on Zac Goldsmith, as he has repeatedly vowed to resign his seat in the Commons if Heathrow gets the green light.
Mrs May has time to wrestle with the big questions post-Brexit as Ukip has turned its fire inwards. Suzanne Evans launched her campaign bid yesterday, and has already reopened her feud with Nigel Farage (and his former aide – now aspiring successor – Raheem Kassam). Tim Stanley wonders whether Evans is the right candidate for the May era, writing in today’s paper that the best option looks to be former deputy leader Paul Nuttall. “Ukip must be agile and move to swallow Labour. Either this will lead to its emergence as an authentic voice of working-class dissent or, more benignly, it might compel Labour to reconnect with ordinary people,” he concludes.
Muslim persecution of Christians is accelerating with ferocious and horrifying tenacity around the world — with a Muslim mob demanding the execution of a Christian teen accused of “insulting Islam” and Muslims threatening riots if Asia Bibi is released from prison being two recent manifestations of this terror.
In response to this Islamic barbarism against Christians, and our government’s and media’s shameful silence about it, the Glazov Gang is running one of its most popular episodes: a program joined by Louis Lionheart, a Christian preacher who engages in open-air debates, dialogues and evangelism on 3rd. Street Promenade in Santa Monica, California.
Louis came on the show to discuss Muslim Woman Attacks Christian Preacher, sharing the incident that occurred with him on 3rd St. when he dared to tell the truth about Mohammed and Aisha. (The video clip of the assault is played at the 4:25 mark of the program).
Don’t miss it!
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Majid Hussain didn’t know who would turn up on his doorstep first: Colonel Gaddafi’s foot soldiers following orders to purge Libya of its migrant workforce, or vengeful rebels wielding Kalashnikovs and the conviction that everyone with black skin deserved to be lynched.
For months the Nigerian teenager had watched on television in Tripoli as rebels not much older than himself stormed through the desert in their cheap sunglasses and mismatching camouflage, and it had seemed inconceivable that this shabby army of the disaffected could pose a threat to Muammar Gaddafi’s calm and ordered capital. He had heard rumours that all Africans from south of the Sahara were at risk of attack from rebels seeking mass punishment for the few who had colluded with the regime – but surely these were just rumours? Every day Majid still went to work and returned home every evening to his reliable air-conditioning and his satellite TV. The rebellion had remained remote from his life, and he wanted it to stay that way.
This war is none of my business, he thought. I have already seen my own country torn apart by old hatreds – I don’t need to see that again.
Majid and his housemate Ali had laughed off reports on CNN and the BBC about fighting on the outskirts of Tripoli, and they didn’t want to believe the news that Gaddafi was bombing civilians in Benghazi. It was all Western propaganda, the two Nigerians convinced each other. Even when a spokesman for Gaddafi warned on public radio that they would flood Europe with migrants if there was any Western military action, the young men remained unconcerned.
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On a list of the most important historical episodes of the 20th century, the Suez Crisis of 1956 wouldn’t make the top 10, or even the top 20. Insofar as it was a war, it was a fizzle: Israel invaded Egypt with a small force, conquered some of the Sinai desert, and then gave it back a few months later. As a diplomatic incident, Suez was more significant, altering the balance of power between Britain, France, and the United States. But it hardly compares to a major Cold War confrontation like the Cuban Missile Crisis of a few years later, which threatened the survival of the world.
Yet the appearance of two new books on the subject of Suez—Ike’s Gamble by Michael Doran and Blood and Sand by Alex von Tunzelmann—suggests that the events of October 1956 continue to have a symbolic significance out of proportion to their actual scale. That is because Suez serves as a convenient marker for the twilight of European colonialism and the rise of American empire. At the same time, it encapsulates a number of the themes of America’s experience in the Middle East, down to the present day: the difficulty of identifying allies and enemies, the uncertainty about how deeply to get involved, and the dangerous law of unintended consequences.
Von Tunzelmann, a British popular historian and journalist, and Doran, an American Middle East specialist and occasional White House adviser, have produced very different books covering some of the same ground. Blood and Sand focuses on the two weeks of the crisis itself, from Oct. 22 to Nov. 8, with hour-by-hour updates on the action as it unfolds across several continents. (Sections are introduced by the kind of datelines familiar from Jason Bourne movies: “1500 Washington DC//2000 London//2100 Paris.”) And Von Tunzelmann interweaves the Suez affair with scenes from another crisis that, coincidentally, broke out at exactly the same time—the rebellion against Soviet rule in Hungary. The effect is a cinematic, you-are-there style of history-writing, which plunges the reader into the chaos of events, but does little to explain their deep background or ultimate consequences.
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The French city of Nice has lifted a controversial ban on Muslim burkinis after a court ruled such prohibitions illegal. Bans on the full-body swimsuits have also been annulled in Cannes, Fréjus, Roquebrune and Villeneuve-Loubet, but they remain in place in at least 25 other French coastal towns.
The row over burkinis — a neologism blending burka and bikini — has reignited a long-running debate over Islamic dress codes in France and other secular European states (see Appendix below).
On August 26, the Council of State, France’s highest administrative court, ruled that municipal authorities in Villeneuve-Loubet, a seaside town on the French Riviera, did not have the right to ban burkinis. The court found that the ban — which was issued after the jihadist attack in Nice on July 14, in which 86 people were killed — was “a serious and manifestly illegal attack on fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of movement and the freedom of conscience.” The judges ruled that local authorities could only restrict individual liberties if there was a “demonstrated risk” to public order. There was, they said, no evidence of such a risk.
Although the ruling applied only to the ban in Villeneuve-Loubet, observers said the ruling would set a legal precedent for the 30 other cities and towns which have also implemented bans on burkinis.
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