Released on July 28, the US State Department’s 2013 International Religious Freedom Report documents the status of religious minorities and religious freedom in Egypt over the course of the year, whether under former president Mohamed Morsi, or under the interim government after his removal.
After leaving the post vacant for nine months, President Obama has finally nominated Rabbi David Saperstein to the post of Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom. If confirmed, Saperstein will head the Office of International Religious Freedom (OIRF) at the State Department.
Mar Behnam (St. Behnam) Syriac Catholic monastery in the Ancient Assyrian town of Nimrod is now occupied by ISIS.(AINA) -- Since taking over Mosul on June 10, ISIS has destroyed, occupied, converted to mosques, converted to ISIS headquarters or shuttered all 45 Christian institutions in Mosul.
By now, all Christians living in the second largest city of Iraq, Mosul, have been removed, their belongings stolen, their houses seized, their churches burned or transformed into Mosques by an army brandishing black flags with Koranic inscriptions on them.
The Arabic “nun” symbol, or N, which stands for Nazarene and refers to Christians, ominously began appearing, stamped in red, on Christian homes in Mosul, Iraq, two weeks ago.
By Salah Laban
“Nobody denies that the Salafi current has the greatest share in initiating the revolution, as it exposed to the people the loyalty of the Arab regimes to the West, their squandering of the resources of the Umma [Islamic Nation], and their failing to preserve its holy sites." This is what a leader of the Jihadi-Salafi current, Muhammad Mustafa, also known as "Abu Shadi", said, stressing that the Salafis never stayed away from politics, but rather applied it in accordance to their understanding of Sharia, and that they also played the role of "enlightening before revolutionizing," recognizing that popular revolts are the greatest means for change. Abu Shadi also confirms that he was one of Tahrir Square’s preachers during the revolution, and that Jihadi Salafism is present in Egypt, and in large numbers, in the millions, according to him.
In Abu Shadi's view, the street [i.e., the average Muslim Egyptian] is in complete agreement with Salafism, and the attack on the Salafis comes from the "enemies of Islam," or, in his opinion, "the forces of infidels and crusaders.” Moreover, he confirms, with confidence, that the Egyptian Islamic movements have the "mechanism to deal with the infidels".. Abu Shadi sees that it was only fear, and perhaps error [of judgment], which led some Salafi preachers to call against going out [to protest] against Mubarak. He pointed out that Mubarak fought Islamists, and harmed Islam, because he helped the crusaders occupy Iraq and Afghanistan, adding that "there is no obedience to whoever does not govern according to Sharia." For him, the conditions to be a ruler of a Muslim state are to be Muslim, masculine, and possess [religious] knowledge—even to the degree of being an exegete.
He called upon the Islamic movements to carefully distinguish between believers and infidels. The leading Salafi explains: "We do not transgress against the Nassara [or “Nazarenes,” the Quranic appellation for Christians], but they must either pay jizya [tribute, and assume inferior status], convert to Islam, or war. He adds: [Samuel] Huntington said the truth even though he was a liar, for the coming struggle is the clash of civilizations, and Islam will be victorious and rule the world with an "Islamic caliphate"... Abu Shady belittles the symbols of secularism in the "lands of Muslims," describing them as few [in number], and points out that there is confusion among the people regarding "the fact that they are infidels.” He threatened that a statement will be shortly published by the Salafis, revealing the truth about them [the secularists], which "will make the masses beat them with shoes, for we must fight them because they are in the trench of infidelity,” according to the Salafi leader.
Al-Qaeda has a sacred status to Abu Shadi, as its members are "the companions after the [Prophet's] Companions” [i.e., the most faithful of Muslims] adding that it gave the Umma an unprecedented boost, by leading it towards a legitimate goal. He said that the masses rose against the Arab rulers thanks to al-Qaeda and what it presented by way of statements and facts, in sound and image. In a tone full of aspirational gladness, he stressed that the idea of jihad is still alive in Egypt, and that "the struggle will continue until the Umma stands up to the two camps, namely, [for] faith and [against] infidelity."
The leading Salafi then goes back in memory to a dark corner, when he published an article entitled "A Vision for Change" in an Islamic blog, which caused his arrest on charges of incitement to revolt against the regime. He says “In prison, electricity was used all over my body.”
For him, Sufi and Shiite thoughts are quite similar, and are both the main reason for the occupation of the lands of Islam. "Sufism is a malignant disease, a dagger in the body of the Umma; we must get rid of it in order for the Umma to recover—and a strong wind will come to wipe out the enemies of Allah."
Translated by CS from :
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Coptic Solidarity 2014 Conference
The Annual Conference was held in Washington, D.C. on June 26-28, 2014.