My Summer in Nice: 84 people dead, and everyone is concerned about “Burkini rights”.

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By Alison Figueiredo.
We arrived in Nice at the beginning of the summer around June in order to take care of my father who lives here and who suffered a stroke. My four year old son and I alongside my now frail mother faced this enormous challenge head on and with as much courage as we could muster. But without the Catholicism of Nice I perhaps would not have made it through this Summer with so much resting on my shoulders.
I’ve been blessed with this soothing balm. The church bells calling out every day on most streets, the beautiful baroque churches in the old town, the stunning Franciscan monastery in Cimiez where I take refuge after every painful visit with my beloved father, the sung Old Rite masses and daily rosary. Christian Estrosi the Mayor of the Region wished us all a Happy Feast of the Assumption on his FB page. Can we ever imagine a London Mayor doing that?
I feel very at home with Catholicism here. The slow steady rise of French Catholicism has not gone unnoticed in the mainstream either. I love attending Tridentene mass here, full of young families and led by the beautiful Penitents Rouges. Today was particularly special, celebrated by a recently ordained priest. One of 12 ordained in July by Cardinal Burke, 8 of whom were French.
On the 14th July we waited for the traditional fireworks across the road and my son fidgeted with excitement at attending. Then, mercifully as it turns out, he fell asleep. Around 11 I went onto the balcony to clear away plant pots buffeted by the mistral and heard screams I will never forget. The buzzer went repeatedly, I answered but no one responded. My blood ran cold. Something wasn’t right.
After a series of panicked phone calls from family telling us they could see our hallway on Fox News we switched on the TV to see the dark blue entrance of our building filled with screaming people, families and children panicking and clamouring to escape another Islamic terrorist attack. Right on our doorstep. The white lorry used to mow down and kill over 80 people – some of whom were babies still in their pushchairs, came to a stop right outside our building. For a day afterwards we were in lockdown as the army scoped out the underground parking area beneath our building believing a group of terrorists had used it to hide. It was terrifying and for two nights I slept in front of the inside of the front door to block it and protect my mother and child.
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Outside our building: My son watches people lay flowers on the bloodstains.

A month on and Already it’s forgotten by the world. The orphaned children, the many with life changing disabilities, the grief of parents,  the bloodstains which remain across the road and pavement which were never removed, thousands of teddy bears, thousands of Catholic Church candles scattered along the Promenade. The world has already moved on anaesthetised to the violence, Facebook profiles switched back to normal.
The focus at the end of the Summer has turned to the hurt sensibilities of the Muslim community. The anger now directed at Islamophibes. Frankly, realising how close my son and I came to death, having spoken to neighbours traumatised at escaping with their lives and protecting their handicapped daughter, reading the endless lists of global victims after these attacks, I freely admit I’m phobic. Because like Christian Estrosi, I too fear Salafism (an Islamic movement based on a literal reading of the Quran) and have long been familiar with its malign influences on Islam in Europe, it’s insidious grip on Muslim youth and culture. And like many in France, a country battered by a series of attacks, I feel there is next to nothing to convince me that mainstream Islam is anything other than at fault for its very own failure to challenge it. Islam has become more so than ever before a political force waging a cultural war as well as violent jihad. These so called groups challenging Islamophobia are merely Salafism by stealth.
As far back as the 90s the undercurrent of Salafism has reshaped Islam in France. When I undertook a research project on it for my University degree I recall the interviews with Imams conducted in living rooms bereft of furniture, sat cross legged on the floor, dreaming of the Caliphate. I could sense the unease of my Algerian university friend who had abandoned Islam and become an apostate and atheist, expressing endless concern for the religion his parents practised versus that of their increasingly agitated children.
French feminism supported by Muslim women has since mostly swung behind the various veil debates in opposition to the veil, supporting veil bans, in stark contrast to the rest of western feminists. They’ve been rightly vocal about the atrocities committed on women in the suburbs who fail to dress appropriately. They’ve even had the courage to recognise that some women will dress to make a statement of Salafist intent rather than express any element of faith. French Research backs this up.
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Eventually we re-emerged onto the Nice beaches and tried to carry on. The weight of the hospital visits and terrorism meant the beaches and pools were an important break with my son. And that’s when I first noticed the Burqini. A direct flight from Dubai to Nice has increased wealthy Muslim visitors and they bring with them this bizarre woman eviscerating swimsuit. The husbands bear all. Their prepubescent daughters are forced into a similar child’s version which stops at the knees instead of the ankles, while their brothers wear trunks. It is therefore no surprise to me at all to see France challenge this latest cultural drive.
France is hurting after so many grotesque attacks. It is concerned at how to crush the grip of Salafism. It’s politicians broadly represent the views of its citizens rather than working to silence them.
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The imam (of course) who circulated the picture of nuns on the beach has helped create enough confusion that even the vice mayor of Nice wound up ludicrously cornered over the issue of nuns habits and clumsily attempted to bat the issue away. And presumably the Habits of the Penitents Rouges of Nice. But Estrosi, the French Prime Minister and Sarkozy are all crystal clear.

“There is, firstly, political Islam, which exploits a religion that is the fact of a few. The burkini is not a religious sign, it is the affirmation in the public space for political Islamism”  – F. Valls – French Prime Minister.

And the president of the Islamic organisations if France makes clear it is not Islamic dress for modesty.
“I say that the Burkini is not part of the Muslim Faith.” – National President of the Union of Islamic Organisations of France
The burqini is not required religious dress. It is a political uniform. It is an act of communautarism as Estrosi went to lengths to indicate.  It is an obvious middle finger to society around them, anti woman in the message it sends just like the chador and niqab – that it is a woman’s responsibility to manage at all times the apparently unrelenting desires of infidel men.
Unlike nuns who submit their lives to God this is about submitting to the will of your husband who lays claim to your body, or pronouncing your admiration for that concept to the world even while women across the world suffer under Salafist groups who mandate it. When this matter is put to debate in Parliament this issue of habits versus burqini will become clearer. I also expect them to address the rise in the chador here for the same reasons. Put simply. These are the simple but worthy values of France and of the West. Accept them.
As I witnessed, but didn’t photograph and share on Twitter, one wife who dipped her feet in the kids pool without the proscribed attire was pulled rudely from the pool by her husband, beaten and made to go change. Another simply got into the kids pool wearing her trainers, which was incredibly unsanitary.
I also strongly suspect the initial incident and outrage was fabricated. A woman in a burqini sits on the beach stones, alone with no husband, not mat, no towel, no bag and is curiously photographed by long zoom lense? Oh please.
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A Burkini set-up?

Yes the police here are heavily armed at the moment so approaching her in the manner that they did was quite wrong.  Frankly though it’s equally outrageous to me to be forced to explain to my son why heavily armed soldiers in full combats need to patrol the Promenade all day long. People getting ants in their pants about the police being armed can hop it. They’re keeping us safe if that’s alright with you.
Catholics addressing the issue of modesty in the face of raunch culture beware, certainly there’s a discussion to be had about how we tackle raunch culture. But the burquni is not the answer. In fact this region is not the bare all anything goes region it once was. I’m curious that no one ever picked up on the story of the young London woman asked to put her bikini top back on with quite the same fury as they did the burqini.
Finally, No-one is suggesting women cannot dress to feel comfortable for the beach. I’ve never had any issues in dressing so that I feel modest, cool, comfortable and able to swim. I don’t need to make a statement to do it. Especially when that statement is frankly as sexualising as nudity. It screams I’m a sexual being – look at me. Highly immodest.
In France various mayors have defied the lower court order entirely and continue to maintain the bans. Particularly here in Nice where Estrosi could not care less about the latest reaction to his temporarily banning photographing the police. Apparently many of the burqa clad families have moved next door to Italy for some peace and quiet because the Italian mayors are more accommodating, where the same families are also now requesting separate beach shower facilities for Muslim women (Nice matin).
Oh Italy! The salafists are winning this war. They’re successfully hoodwinking many Europeans and have them dancing around on their behalves. Don’t be such utter obsequious fools.

The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church!

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I have found myself really mourning Fr. Hamel. A sweet, kind old priest whom I have never met – yet I still call “Father”.

I have cried real tears today because they killed my gentle old Father.

Father Jacques Hamel was killed in the same manner as his patron, Saint James, on his Feast day. Saint James, one of the twelve Apostles, was martyred by beheading in the year 44.

It is hard to see through the pain of such an event, but today, as I went to the church to pray it started to make sense.

There were a lot of people in the church today. Lots more than usual. And I didn’t recognize them. But they were there to pray. So we all knelt alongside each other, grieving our poor French Father.

I began to wonder how many people all around the world have been moved by his death? How many have visited a church today to pray or light a candle? How many have raised their hearts and minds to God – even just to ask “Why?”. It is still a prayer.

Perhaps the answer to that question lies in the fact that they have begun to talk to God. Perhaps a gentle old priest, beheaded during an ordinary morning Mass is enough to shake people out of their comfort zones and realise that evil is real, God is real, and death comes when we least expect it.

Through his brutal matyrdom, Fr. Hamel continues in death his essential work as a priest – to draw souls to Christ. And this gives his death meaning and purpose, and great glory to God!

Tertullian really was right when he said “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church!”

Rest in peace dear Father. Santo Subito!

Dear LGBT Community, Come to Jesus and know how much you are loved.

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Orlando 2016

Dear LGBT community,

Come to Jesus and know how much you are loved. Every Christian is a sinner. The Church is just made up of a whole bunch of sinners in need of a saviour. So if you are a sinner too, you are gonna fit in just fine! Jesus doesn’t like people who point fingers at other people’s sin. When he saved a young woman from being stoned to death he looked at the crowed of accusers around her and told them:

“When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”” – (John 8:7)

Let me tell you about God…

God loves His children UNCONDITIONALLY. He loves you and me so much that He sent His only son Jesus to die on a cross to pay the price for our sins. He did this because He wants you and me to be with Him for all eternity after we die. He created you unique, special, beautiful, one of a kind.

“Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” – (Luke 12:7)

For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you God, because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” – (Psalm 139)

Come and find out more about this love.

We are all sinners. Jesus wants to forgive us and set us free. He wants us to see ourselves through His eyes, so we can realise how much we are loved. Not once we decide to leave our old lives behind and follow Him, but RIGHT NOW. He loves you RIGHT NOW.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – (Romans 5:8)

Come to Jesus. Come and find out about how much He loves you. Come and find out about His mercy and forgiveness.

The terror attack in Orlando was a hate crime. It was carried out by a man who had learned to hate himself. He believed his religion hated him because he too was experiencing same-sex attraction.

If only he could have known the truth about how much he was loved by Jesus – even in the depths of his hate and despair, he was still loved. He didn’t know how much He was loved.

It is too late now. I commit him, and all those who were killed in the club that night to the mercy of God. They all now stand face to face with their creator. One day, we all will stand face to face with our creator.

You are angry, of course. But please don’t let that anger grow into hate. Instead come and learn about Love as you have never known it before.

God has a plan for your life. He wants you back. Turn to Jesus now and begin the most incredible relationship of your life.

Jesus, I don’t know who you are. Everything I’ve been taught about you doesn’t seem to make sense anymore. How can you love me when I am a sinner? How can you do that? I have turned my back on God many times  in my life Jesus. I want to come to you. Help me come to you and give my heart to you. I want to know who I am through your eyes. I want to know about Your love, Your mercy, Your forgiveness. I want to know how much you love me.

For all those affected by same-sex attraction please visit https://couragerc.org/

 

Christianity is the answer.

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I was watching my 2 year old playing along side a little muslim boy in the soft play center today and for some reason I started thinking “Those two will never be able to marry”. A strange thought considering they are both babies – but I’m right aren’t I? For them to be able to marry, one of them would have to convert to the others religion – or they would both have to renounce their religions. Whichever way it would cause enormous upset to both families. However at this toddler age, they can play together just fine. I smile at his headscarf wearing mother, and she smiles back. But we both know the score.

My 6 year old came home from school recently and told me confused that a muslim child had told her that “Jesus is a slave.” I had to compose myself before answering her. I quietly asked her “Who do we say that Jesus is?” she answered “The Son of God!”  I told her “That’s right!” .  And at 6 years old, that is enough – enough for today at least. There have been other questions about why so-and-so is not baptised and I tell her “Because their parents don’t understand why it is important. But hopefully they will realise for themselves when they are older.” And in the back of my mind I have to take control of the unpleasant thought: ‘I wish so-and-so was not in my daughter’s class.’

That, of course, is not a very inclusive or politically correct thought to have. What we have all be told by the powers that be is that multiculturalism is a good thing. Diversity is a good thing. And if you say otherwise it means that you are a racist and a bigot and you are basically Hitler – or at least that is what the militant lefties tell you. They probably learned that from this book when they were kids 😉 :

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But i’m afraid that is just not true. I’m not a racist or a bigot. What I am is a realist. It is obvious to me that two cultures of completely opposing beliefs are never going to fully integrate. We can live alongside each other with tolerance and respect, but we are never going to fully integrate. What multiculturalism has done is to set up a community of tension. It also serves to destroy national identity, because to be proud of your country and of your country’s faith heritage would be (according to the secularists) terribly offensive to those of other races or faiths.

Baloney.

This secular apologetic, pathetic attitude, along with the encouraged steady loss of morality and the wanton destruction of everything Christian has been the fertile ground in which the seeds of radical Islam has been firmly planted. And they have surely and steadily grown – and continue to do so. No government has effectively tackled the root cause of the problem. No government has had the balls to do so, because to do so would be to admit that all their efforts at multiculturalism and integration over the last 20 or so years has been at best a catastrophic failure, and at worst a co-ordinated and planned attack on Christian Europe and the UK. The problem is Islam. And still, still no-one in power is brave enough to stand up and say so. Mr. Cameron, Ms. Merkel, Mr Hollande, Mr Obama? Anyone? No.

Ask any vaguely educated Muslim and they will be able to tell you that the big issue within Islam is that there is no central teaching. In very much the same way that Protestantism works, each Imam is able to interpret the Qu’ran as he sees fit. And any man can set himself up as an Imam. This leaves the door wide open for misinterpretation of scripture. In Protestantism the end result of this is groups like Westbro Baptist Church. In Islam you get ISIS.

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Al-Azhar University

And though President Obama and other Western leaders have persistently attempted to divorce the ISIS from the religion of Islam, some influential members of the Muslim community apparently disagree. A report from 2014 notes that Egypt’s oldest Islamic university, Al-Azhar University, refuses to declare ISIS heretical to Islam.

The Al-Monitor’s Ahmed Fouad details the “honorable” Al-Azhar university’s official declarations concerning ISIS, which it refuses to condemn as apostate, or heretical to the teachings of Islam.

Back in Dec of 2014, the university issued a statement refusing to declare ISIS apostates. “No believer can be declared an apostate, regardless of his sins,” read the university’s statement, which was issued shortly after some interpreted an influential Nigerian Muslim authority as having pronounced the group heretical, which the university strongly denied.

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Now let me just make myself perfectly clear on something. I do not have issue with muslim people as such – but with their creed. It is what is written in the Qu’ran that I have the major problem with. People are made by God, for God, and people can change. Ideology cannot change, and what is written in the book can’t change. The fact that several verses in the Quran tell muslims to go kill their enemies does not sit well with me. In Christianity we are told to find ways to love our enemies – not kill them.

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Islam is the problem. Each muslim sect of course claims to be the correct one with the correct interpretation. And in some ways I actually find sympathy with those who are taking the radical path. After all – I am called to be a radical Christian. I understand this desire to give ones all to their faith. I also understand the desire to adhere to what is orthodox. It seems to me that the islamic radicals are simply adhering more closely to what it actually says in the Qu’ran, than the moderate muslims who are more ‘flexible’ in implementing their religious zeal. But is this radicalisation doing more harm to Islam than good?

Angry Muslim Protestors

Islam will reportedly become the world’s largest religion 55 years from now based on recent projections, but could the barbarous practices of the ISIS actually undermine the growth of the world’s Muslim population?

According to a recent Pew Research Center study, Christianity and Islam will be near parity by 2050, with Christians expected to comprise 31.4 percent of the planet’s population against 29.7 percent who follow Islam. The study said Islam will grow more than twice as fast as any other major religion over the next half century because muslims generally have a higher fertility rate than the contraceptive loving Europeans.

However, Muslims frightened by the inhumane acts by the ISIS are now questioning their faith, and presumably considering to leave it. This is backed by testimonies from missionaries working in the Islamic world who noted the large scale of Muslims who have converted to Christianity in the last 14 years since the devastating Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the US. The number of converts in the recent period, they said, is greater than during the entire 14 centuries of Islamic history.

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Brother Rachid

“Many Muslims are saying, ‘If ISIS is Islam, I’m leaving.’ Some are becoming atheists,” said Brother Rachid, who hosts a Christian program reaching Muslims called “Daring Questions” in Arabic language. “There is a huge wave of atheism in the Arab world right now and many are turning to Jesus Christ. Islam was never faced with this crisis before…Islam is going to collapse,” added Brother Rachid, whose father is a Moroccan imam who lived as a secret Christian convert for 15 years.

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Pastor Fouad Rasho

This is also the case in Angered Alliance Church in Sweden. Pastor Fouad Rasho, who has  in the last few years baptized more than a hundred former Muslims, maintained that ISIS causes many Muslims to come to Jesus. But most converts keep their shift in religion a secret, fearing for their lives and for being an outcast. Imram (not his real name), a British college student from a Pakistani immigrant family, said leaving Islam is tough:

“If someone leaves Islam and becomes an apostate, he is thrown out of his family; his family will be the first ones to abandon him,” he said. “(But) Every week I meet one or more persons who come to me and want to know more about Christianity and the Bible because they are very angry about being a Muslim. They don’t want to continue to be Muslim….His friends will reject him and he will be killed or he will be persecuted. A lot of my friends said, ‘This is the last time I’m talking to you because you disrespected the prophet Mohammed, you disrespected Islam.'”

 

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The liberation of women?

When Nassim Ben Iman came with his parents to Germany as immigrants from a Muslim nation, he remembers thinking that if Germany is a Christian nation, then Christianity is a dead, sinful religion. “So nakedness on the television is because of the Christian religion. Living together not married is because of the Christian religion.” Nassim recalled thinking. Of course what Nassim was witnessing was not the fault of Christianity, but the wanton destruction of Christian values and morality in general that europe has experienced over the last century. Thankfully Nassim discovered the truth and  has since converted to Christianity. “When the people understand who Jesus is, they will love Him and follow Him more and more. And when the Muslims understand more and more what Mohammed is, what the Koran is, what the history is, then they will go farther and farther away from Islam,”

Surely Europe, with is 80 million muslim migrant influx should be promoting Christianity to those arriving on its shores? But sadly the European militant secularists have seen to it that almost every last shred of Christian heritage has being destroyed, or at least suppressed from the national identity of Europeans. Because of this spiritual and moral void, politically correct Europe has become the perfect fertile ground in which the shoots of radical Islam can flourish. I really truly can understand why young European Muslims feel trapped between secularist atheism and radical Islam. But some are finding hope in Christianity.

Let us not be afraid to confront the twin demons of radical Islam and radical secularism, and offer the solution of Christianity to the poor lost souls who are victims of both.

 

Sources:

http://www.dailywire.com/news/2161/islams-oldest-university-says-isis-are-not-james-barrett

http://www.breakingchristiannews.com/articles/display_art.html?ID=16080

Where’s the Cross Papa?

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This is the end scene from the Pope’s new video where each religious person holds out a symbol of their faith. The Christian is holding a baby Jesus.

Where’s the crucifix?

There is nothing wrong with a statue of the baby Jesus but the crucifix is the defining visual representation of Christianity. It is where our salvation occurred. It is the ultimate expression of love.

What a shame they decided not to include a crucifix. Come to think of it, due to the well positioned sheet of paper and folded hands, there is not one cross visible in the entire 1 min 30 second video. Why is this?

Was it done because of the politically correct fear of offending someone? Yes, this sounds likely. Is it because the death and resurrection of Christ blows all other religions completely out of the water? (Because it does, doesn’t it?!)

You see, the cross is the most incredible, loving, paradoxical event ever to have taken place – so much so that no other religion can even come close.

What I think has happened in this video is that they have watered down Christianity to appease and fit in with the other religions. This is firstly an insult to Christ, secondly an insult to the pursuit of  truth, and thirdly an insult to the pursuit of true tolerance.

The cross is too truthful, too loving, too challenging to be used in a politically correct video. Much better to present Christianity as the post Vat 2 fluffy little baby Jesus that anyone under the age of 50 got served up in primary school and few advanced beyond.

Presenting the different religions as equal is wrong. They are not equal, and they have very different interpretations of what LOVE means. If they really do want to see what brutal, real, honest, tough, agape is, then they need to take a good long hard look at the cross, because the cross IS love.

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From Santa Claus to Islam: An Arian Triumph.

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Sunday 6th Dec is the feast of St Nicholas. For those who don’t know already, the name Santa Claus evolved from St Nick’s Dutch nickname, Sinter Klaas, a shortened form of Sint Nikolaas. So the jolly old man in red with a white beard that we all know as Father Christmas is actually St Nicholas.

St. Nicholas was a Bishop who lived in the fourth century AD in Myra in Asia Minor (now called Turkey). He was a very rich man because his parents died when he was young and left him a lot of money. He was also a very kind man and had a reputation for helping the poor and giving secret gifts to people who needed it.

But the thing he is most famous for is punching Arius’ lights out during the Council of Nicea in 325 AD!

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Arius was the major player in the Arian Controversy. This controversy centered upon the nature of the Son of God, and his precise relationship to God the Father. Arians do not believe in the traditional doctrine of the Trinity. They did not accept that Christ was God, but instead believed him to be simply a human being, and subordinate to God the Father. They had funny ideas about the Holy Spirit too.

Anyway, St Nick got so peed off with Arius’ ramblings that he sparked him out right then and there onto the floor during the council in front of 300 other Bishops! Arianism was declared heresy, and no-one was aloud to practice it anymore.

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However, much of southeastern Europe and central Europe, including many of the Goths and Vandals had embraced Arianism. In the west, organized Arianism survived in North Africa, in Hispania, and parts of Italy until it was finally suppressed in the 6th and 7th centuries.

So what has all this got to do with Islam?

Muhammad was born in Mecca in about the year 570. Muhammad’s father, Abdullah, died almost six months before he was born. According to Islamic tradition, soon after birth he was sent to live with a Bedouin family in the desert, as desert life was considered healthier for infants. Muhammad stayed with his foster-mother, Halimah bint Abi Dhuayb, and her husband until he was two years old.

At the age of six, Muhammad lost his biological mother Amina to illness and became an orphan. For the next two years, he was under the guardianship of his paternal grandfather Abd al-Muttalib until Muhammad was eight years old. He then came under the care of his uncle Abu Talib.

In his teens, Muhammad accompanied his uncle on Syrian trading journeys to gain experience in commercial trade. Islamic tradition states that when Muhammad was either nine or twelve while accompanying the Meccans’ caravan to Syria, he met a Christian monk named Bahira who is said to have foreseen Muhammad’s career as a prophet of God.

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When the caravan was passing by Bahira’s cell, the monk invited the merchants to a feast. They accepted the invitation, leaving the boy to guard the camel. Bahira, however, insisted that everyone in the caravan should come to him. Then a miraculous occurrence indicated to the monk that Muhammad was to become a prophet.

It was a miraculous movement of a cloud that kept shadowing Muhammad regardless of the time of the day. The monk revealed his visions of Muhammad’s future to the boy’s uncle (Abu Talib), warning him to preserve the child from the Jews or from the Byzantines – depending on who’s version of the story you read.

Both versions write that the monk Bahira found the announcement of the coming of Muhammad in the original, unadulterated gospels, which he possessed (the standard Islamic view is that Christians corrupted the gospels, in part by erasing any references to Muhammad.)

The thing is, the Christian monk Bahira was an Arian. And after pronouncing to the teenage orphaned Muhammad that he was going to be this great future prophet, he then no doubt did his best to educate the boy with a load of Arian nonsense.

Muhammad of course was illiterate. And so anything that was learned during his formative years would had to have been memorised. He then had a relatively successful life as a traveling merchant until he had his first vision at around the age of 40 years old.

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When I visited the Ahmadiyya Mosque a few weeks ago I was really surprised to find how many similarities there are between Catholicism and Islam. But also the stark differences – namely that they do not recognise Christ as Divine, but simply as a prophet.

I began to wonder about the origins of Islam and what influences shaped it. It seems to me that Bahira was a major influence on Muhammad during a rather impressionable stage in his life. I wonder, I just wonder if I looked deeper into Islam I would find an obvious Arian influence? I don’t know.

But I do know one thing: If the Council of Nicea is anything to go by, Bahria’s time in purgatory is gonna be pretty rough.

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St. Nicholas pray for us!

My visit to the Mosque.

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Yesterday evening I had the privilege of being invited to the annual Peace Symposium at the local Mosque. The Baitul Futuh Mosque in Morden, South West London is the largest Mosque in western Europe. Completed in 2003 at a total cost of approximately £15 million, entirely from donations of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, the mosque covers an area of 5.2 acres (21,000 m2) and the full complex can accommodate up to 10,000 worshippers. It’s massive.

One of the mum’s at school was helping organise the event and invited a few of us to come along. The main theme of the evening was ‘Nurture Today, Protect Tomorrow’ and focused on child rearing. She was interested for me to be able to give the Catholic perspective on this issue over dinner. She knows i’m pretty into this Catholic stuff 🙂 I took my Mum along with me as she was also very interested to come and hear what they had to say.

The Ahmadiyya community is a highly organised Islamic religious movement founded in British India near the end of the 19th century. It originated with the life and teachings of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835–1908). Ahmadiyya Muslims believe that Ahmad appeared as the Messiah,  in the likeness of Jesus, to end religious wars, condemn bloodshed and reinstitute morality, justice, and peace. They believe that upon divine guidance he divested Islam of fanatical and innovative beliefs and practices by championing what is, in their view, Islam’s true and essential teachings as practised by Muhammad and the early Islamic community. Ahmadis view themselves as leading the revival and peaceful propagation of Islam.

Ahmadi beliefs are more aligned with the Sunni tradition, than they are with the Shi’a tradition. They are persecuted by other Islamic sects because of their specific beliefs. For example – contrary to mainstream Islamic belief, Ahmadi Muslims believe that Jesus was crucified and survived the four hours on the cross. He was later revived from a coma in the tomb. (Other Muslim sects believe it was an imposter who died on the cross, some don’t believe it took place at all.) Ahmadis believe that Jesus died in Kashmir of old age whilst seeking the Lost Tribes of Israel. Jesus’ remains are believed to be entombed in Kashmir under the name Yuz Asaf.

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According to Ahmadi Muslim belief, Jihad can be divided into three categories:

Jihad al-Akbar (Greater Jihad) is that against the self and refers to striving against one’s low desires such as anger, lust and hatred.

Jihad al-Kabīr (Great Jihad) refers to the peaceful propagation of Islam, with special emphasis on spreading the true message of Islam by the pen.

Jihad al-Asghar (Smaller Jihad) is only for self-defence under situations of extreme religious persecution whilst not being able to follow one’s fundamental religious beliefs, and even then only under the direct instruction of the Caliph.

Ahmadi Muslims point out that as per Islamic prophecy, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad rendered Jihad in its military form as inapplicable in the present age as Islam, as a religion, is not being attacked militarily but through literature and other media, and therefore the response should be likewise. They believe that the answer of hate should be given by love. Concerning terrorism, the fourth and current Caliph of the Community writes:

“As far as Islam is concerned, it categorically rejects and condemns every form of terrorism. It does not provide any cover or justification for any act of violence, be it committed by an individual, a group or a government.”

I was sad to hear that although there has not been one report of an Ahmadi joining ISIS, they do feel that they have to be vigilant of their children coming under threat from terrorist grooming – just like every other Muslim parent. They condemned the Paris attacks at least 20 times over the course of the evening.

Another specific belief to the Ahmadi’s is that the history of religion is cyclic and is renewed every seven millennia. The present cycle from the time of the Biblical Adam is split into seven epochs or ages, parallel to the seven days of the week. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad appeared as the promised Messiah at the sixth epoch heralding the seventh and final age of mankind.

“A day in the estimation of God is like a thousand years of man’s reckoning.” – Qu’ran 22:47

This really interested me as it reminded me so much of St Augustine’s 6 (or 7 – depending who you ask) Ages of the World written around 400 AD. St Augustine’s theory originated from a passage in II Peter:

“But of this one thing be not ignorant, my beloved, that one day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” – II Peter 3:8

It was just fascinating to see the parallels (of which there were many) with Catholicism,  but also with Judaism and Protestant Christianity. For example, these guys are big into simplicity. Pictures or statues are regarded as idolatry. Also, similar to the Protestant Christians, Islam has no central teaching. Each Calif is essentially his own Pope, and there are plenty of Califs. In this way you get the wildly diverse interpretations of the Qu’ran. The Ahmadi community recognises this as a major problem in Islam. They believe they have the true teachings of Islam. As do all 72 other Islamic sects.

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The persecution of the Ahmadi community is something that I found very sad. They are peaceful people. Last month a large section of their Mosque, that I was now sitting in was arsoned resulting in millions of pounds worth of dammage. I remember seeing the massive plume of black smoke from my back garden and I knew immediately that it could only be the Mosque.

At the time my friend was really upset because they didn’t know weather the arsonists were white racists or another sect of Islam. She told me that some muslim neighbours of hers (from another sect) were jumping and cheering in their front garden when they heard of the arson attack.

Thank God, it seems that the arsonists were a pair of stupid kids who had played a prank that went wrong.

Anyway, on our arrival to the Mosque we had to pass through airport style security including a metal detector archway and a bag xray conveyor belt. Once inside we had a tour of the Mosque. The men pray upstairs, the women pray downstairs. We learned a little about how they have arranged, but not forced marriages. They desire integration within the community – to a degree. They will not marry outside of the community.

Then we came back to the enormous events hall where I estimated 200 women were sitting down to dinner – prepared by the men of the community.  They respect and support each others clearly defined roles within the community as men and women.

Then we listened to some talks given by members of the community and also local councilors and our Local Labour MP Siobhan McDonagh. I cringed through her talk. Me and Siobhan have clashed big time in the past. She calls herself a Catholic who goes to Mass every week, but still managed to vote in favour of Gay Marriage a few years back. She was gushing about how she hopes to be able to be part of the support team to get the first female president of the USA elected next year. *Face palm*

The local councilors were just as bad. They described childrearing in secular leftie scientific terms and basically how they loved the Ahmadi’s so much because they believed in the separation of religion and state – which suits them just fine.

But I was very much impressed by the young lady who sang a few verses of the Qu’ran. Her voice was beautiful. It reminded me of how our priests sometimes sing the Mass – especially the Easter vigil Mass. But as far as I could make out they do not sing as a community. They don’t have hymns or anything like that. They don’t have the Psalms. (“I will raise you up on Eagle’s wings” has never looked so good as it does right now lol!)

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Mirza Ghulam Ahmad – the Ahmadi Messiah.

Over dinner I was able to chat to the lady who had given us a tour of the Mosque. This is what I learned:

They wear headscarves but don’t cover their faces. They don’t believe in the Holy Trinity. The regard Jesus as a Prophet and cannot say his name unless they say “peace be upon Him” afterwards. They have Noah, Abraham, Moses, and many other similarities to the catholic faith. Prayer for them is predominantly reciting passages from the Qu’ran. They regard themselves as Gods slaves/servants. They do not have the Father/child relationship like we do. They hold Mary in very high regard.

Hell is not eternal for them, but a time of purification that ends in Heaven – we would call that purgatory. They do pretty much everything segregated into men’s or women’s groups. I actually am a big fan of this as it gives an immediate sense of community – especially as far as the men are concerned. They are all living the same life at different ages. It is a natural support network where you surrounded by other dads, brothers, sons ect. I think we could do with this in the Catholic church, or at least address the serious lack of support for men that we currently have.

Seriously – it was fascinating. The food was amazing! There were a few tense moments but I managed to avoid putting my foot in my mouth to any large degree! We obviously have some fundamental differences in our beliefs, but considering the Ahmadiyya community have been in the UK for 100 years and I have never really heard of them, I can see no reason why, with tolerance and respect from both sides, we cannot exist perfectly peacefully alongside each other. Unfortunately this does not apply to every Muslim sect.

Nobody brought up the migrant crisis.

 

Giving Everything.

 

Eucharist-resources

Sitting at mass a few days ago I found my mind wandering. This is not unusual. It happens in prayer too – ALL THE TIME. It used to really bother me and so I used to really try to concentrate. Try harder! Pray harder! Block out all unwanted thoughts.

Of course, this was the fool’s way of approaching the situation.

What I was actually trying to do was suppress all thoughts I personally deemed as not holy enough for the situation of praying. Ha!ha! How stupid of me. Do I really think I can hide my thoughts from God?! He knows my thoughts before they enter my head. For goodness sake – He is permitting those thoughts to enter my head, even if they are placed there by Satan. God is in control.

Perhaps I thought If God knew what I was really thinking He wouldn’t like me as much? Perhaps I wouldn’t be good enough for Him? Ahhh… that’s another trick from the Devil.

I have learned since then how to allow my thoughts to manifest themselves during prayer, but without losing my focus on God. Now I am able to allow a thought to remain present, but view it from an objective point of view – from God’s point of view, rather than viewing it subjectively from my own point of view and allowing myself to become distracted by it.

This does require a certain amount of detachment. It also requires a rather large dose of compassion towards oneself and also the humility to accept our imperfectness. You also have to be solid in the reality of God’s unending mercy and love for you as His beautiful child. But once you are secure in those things it is possible to allow our thoughts the freedom to manifest themselves during prayer. We are then able to stand naked (as it were) in front of God – warts and all. And when we do, we can allow God to show us why He is allowing those thoughts to manifest themselves in our heads.

 

For instance – when I was sitting in Mass I suddenly found overwhelming thoughts of sex entering my mind. This is not particularly unusual for me (depending where I am in my cycle) as i’m sure it isn’t for many people.  I used to panic at thoughts like these as they seemed to be the most inappropriate, but now I just take a step back and observe them objectively alongside Christ. He Is my Father, I am His child, and He wants to help me as any good parent does.

I usually tell Him “Oh look! See what has just popped into my head? I  wonder why you have allowed that to arrive in my mind? Let’s look at it together.” 

Jesus holding child

So we sit together and observe the thought in complete honesty. I don’t try to hide it or suppress it, and I remain humble enough not to allow guilt or shame to overwhelm me. Sometimes it becomes apparent that this is something or someone that I need to be praying for. Very often it is simply to be honest in a situation in which I am struggling. But at other times it is because God is trying to teach me or show me something. The Holy Spirit doesn’t usually shout – He whispers, and we have to quieten our minds enough to hear Him.

This particular time a few days ago as thoughts of sex entered my mind, I sat alongside Christ in observing why He had allowed these thoughts to manifest – especially during Mass. I allowed Him to direct my thoughts and I felt a great sense of acknowledgment in regards to what it takes for me to live the Church’s teaching regarding marriage and sex. It’s not easy. It is completely different to contracepted sex. I am called to give everything during sex. A total gift of self. And every time I do it becomes not only a repeat of my wedding vows but also a total act of submission to God’s will. I literally couldn’t give anymore at that moment, physically, emotionally or spiritually. That just doesn’t happen during contracepted sex. But it does take a lot to give like that – God only knows! Because of that total gift of self I/we have brought 3 new lives into the world.

Anyway, during that moment as we observed this thought together He did fill me with this overwhelming sense of acknowledgment for giving myself entirely. Which was nice – because remaining open to life is one of  the hardest thing I have ever had to give.

He then directed my thoughts back up onto the altar. It was the consecration. 🙂 God’s ways are perfect! He had taken me down the path of acknowledgment in all I had to give, so I could enter more deeply into the mystery of all He gave for me.

During that moment of the consecration, Jesus was present there on the altar, at Calvary, giving everything He was: Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity – for me. 🙂

Christianity is a love affair.

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I realised at that moment that all I had to give was simply a response to His eternal declaration of love on the cross. In truth, I never would have reached the point where I was able to remain open to life without the Eucharist.

I felt suddenly incredibly special to Him – which of course I am. I wanted to throw my arms around Him. But He wants more than that. Through the Eucharist He wishes to actually dwell within me, just as I do in Him. I remained in that wonderful, beautiful moment for the rest of Mass, and for sometime afterwards.

Later that evening my thoughts were turned to the atrocities in Paris, and the fact that our western secular society, weakened by several generations of cultural marxism, is not strong enough to withstand a 60 million influx of muslim immigrants. I cried bitter tears as I came to terms with the fact that I was not willing to die for a society that honours gay marriage and kills millions of its own children through abortion.

I thought of the warnings and promises of Fatima, and stupidly viewed all these things subjectively  – which promptly became too much and overwhelmed me.

In the morning I was able to sit alongside Christ, objectively viewing these thoughts, and I became aware of my attachments to things I never considered I was attached to: my country, my national identity, my freedom, my safety etc. And then Christ directed my thoughts back 24 hours to the wonderful experience I had at Mass and I realised that He was asking me to respond to our current situation in exactly the same way. He was helping me understand that I was going to, or should I say am going to, be called to possibly give EVERYTHING in His name.

Lamb

The only possible solution to the crisis we are facing as a society is Christianity. Now, God’s ways are perfect, and I am just wondering in a bizzar mathematical kinda way if Islam + Cultural marxism = the elimination of the problem of the lukewarm Christian – or perhaps a better way of saying it is: the rise of the solid faithful Christian on fire with the Holy Spirit.

One thing is certain – in the end Our Lady’s immaculate heart will triumph and we will enter the era of peace. But before that we will have to pass through the great tribulation. And we will all be called to give everything. I pray that this will lead all of us into a deeper understanding and appreciation of Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist, and open our hearts to the indescribable joy that there is in this Sacrament. Because that is the one thing that will sustain us.

Would you die to protect Western values? I wouldn’t.

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I keep wondering when Facebook is going to offer the Russian, Egyptian, Lebanon and Iraqi and Kenyan flags as overlays for people’s profile pictures along with the French flag. All these other countries have also been recent victims of ISIS terrorist attacks, some with much higher death tolls. Why is it that Facebook – a universal social media platform – would only offer the French one?

Are the French more worthy of our grief than the rest of the world? Are they more human?

I remember in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks almost every political leader in the known universe turned up to have a march and stand defiant against the ISIS thugs. I don’t remember that happening after the 7/7 bombings in London or any other terrorist attack for that matter? What was it about the staff at Charlie Hebdo that warranted such a massive reaction from political leaders, and such an atmosphere of bonding together in defiance and grief?

From left : European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, European Union President Donald Tusk, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, and other heads of state take part in a Unity rally "Marche Republicaine" on January 11, 2015 in Paris in tribute to the 17 victims of the three-day killing spree. The killings began on January 7 with an assault on the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in Paris that saw two brothers massacre 12 people including some of the country's best-known cartoonists and the storming of a Kosher supermarket on the eastern fringes of the capital which killed 4 local residents. AFP PHOTO / ERIC FEFERBERG (Photo credit should read ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)

In all honesty I would be mighty surprised if you, me or any of the political leaders even knew the names of the Charlie Hebdo staff, or anyone killed or injured in last weeks Paris attacks. What we are grieving isn’t the people lost in the attacks, but our society as a whole.

When attacks happen in Africa of the Middle East then they are sufficiently far enough away not to flag up on our comfort radars. Attacks in these countries are sometimes not even newsworthy we are so used to them. But people have still died. Are they any less human than the people who died in France? I don’t see any “Je Suis Egypt” signs.

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We are grieving our comfort, our freedom, our own safety and that of our loved ones because the war has finally been brought to our doorstep – in our modern western society – where we can no longer ignore it or pretend it doesn’t exist. Our pride is hurt because many of these young men who blew themselves up were born, raised and educated here, and yet still – they reject and want to destroy our tolerant, equal and diverse society that we have worked so hard to forge. They believed in their cause so completely that they were willing to die for it. And that sort of commitment and sacrifice scares the crap out of us.

I do not agree with ISIS vision of a pure Islamic state. I do not like the idea of becoming a second class citizen because I am a woman. I don’t want to have to convert to Islam or otherwise be killed. I don’t want to be forced to wear the Hijab. I like eating bacon and drinking beer. I do not like the idea of male or female genital mutilation. I do not want Sharia Law. I don’t like the idea of being gang raped and then accused of adultery. I do not like the idea of beheading ‘infidels’.

I am willing to die fighting against ISIS in as much as they are willing to die fighting me. But what is it exactly that I am trying to defend?

Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner named "Woman of the year".

Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner named “Woman of the year”.

Can I really say that I am willing to give my life defending a society that has just legalised Gay marriage? Would I be willing to die for a society that advocates the murder of millions of unborn children – especially if they are disabled? What about a society that allows a small cake business to be fined hundreds of thousands of dollars because they refuse to make a cake for someone because it conflicts with their Christian beliefs? I’ve already lost my own cake business to this society for the very same reason – would I also be willing to lose my life to defend it?

The answer to all of the above questions is no.

You see, there is a second enemy, a silent and sneaky enemy who also desires to completely destroy our society – but this time from within. It has a name. It is called Cultural Marxism.

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Cultural Marxism is the main ideological driver behind political correctness. It is the destructive criticism and undermining of all institutions of western civilisation and the traditional values underpinning it.

Brace yourselves for a short history lesson:

Ever since communism was first established in Russia, its admirers, fellow-travellers and ‘useful idiots’ have devoted their lives to achieving socialist control on a global scale. Countries within military striking distance of Russia were physically taken over after World War II, and those further afield subjected to a massive process of subversion by the Agitation and Propaganda Department of the Communist International (Comintern).

The Marxist revolutionaries realised that the workers of the advanced capitalist West were too affluent and comfortable to be used as agents of change in their longed-for revolution, so they decided to import foreign-born revolutionary pawns whilst simultaneously joining the lower rungs of all the important state institutions from where they could begin their long march toward destroying our countries from within.

One of the greatest achievements of this societal destruction is the fact that westerners are contracepting and aborting themselves out of existence.

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The societal destruction we see all around us is not an unfortunate and unplanned side effect of socialist politics, because the destruction is all too deliberate. Karl Marx wrote of the anarchy necessary as a precursor to outright revolution, in which he would “stand astride the wreckage a colossus”.

Hungarian Georg Lukacs, an agent of the Comintern, whose reputation in the revolutionary world was on a par with that of Marx himself, said:

“I saw the revolutionary destruction of society as the one and only solution. A worldwide overturning of values cannot take place without the annihilation of the old values and the creation of new ones by the revolutionaries.” – Georg Lukacs

In 1923 Lukacs set up the Institution for Marxism at Frankfurt University, later renamed the Institute for Social Research which finally became known simply as the Frankfurt School. In 1930 Lukacs was joined by two other Marxists, Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno (below), but the rise of Hitler made it impossible for such Jewish Marxists to stay in Germany, so they decamped to New York City, where they set up an American version of the Frankfurt School, which became the birthplace of Critical Theory.

Theodor Adorno

Critical Theory is characterised by the destructive criticism of Western culture, including Christianity, capitalism, authority, the family, patriarchy, morality, tradition, sexual restraint, loyalty, patriotism, nationalism, heredity, ethnocentrism and conservatism. Critical Theory repeats the basic tenets of Western evil over and over again – racism, sexism, colonialism, nationalism, homophobia, fascism, xenophobia and imperialism.

In the 1950s the Frankfurt School attracted a new recruit, Herbert Marcuse, a communist who had also been forced to flee Hitler’s Germany. Marcuse wrote a book called Eros and Civilisation, which promoted free love and the pleasure principle, and was to transform American and Western society.

 

But Marcuse was an evil man. He genuinely wanted to overthrow the traditional West, and when asked who would play the part of the Russian proletariat in the Western revolution, he replied it would be all the marginalised groups, including black militants, feminists, homosexual militants, the asocial, the alienated, and Third World revolutionaries represented by student pin-up boy and civilian mass-murderer, Che Guevara.

The destructive policies of the Frankfurt school were known collectively as ‘cultural terrorism’. Today, they are known simply as political correctness, an ideology people are aware of, although very few know of its anti-Western, destructive, revolutionary roots. Anyone doubting this should ask themselves why the politically correct lobby, when critiquing our history and culture, directs its attacks exclusively at white, Christian, capitalist, heterosexual men.

And the simple answer is because such people and the qualities of such people laid the foundations, erected the props, and over many centuries built the various layers of intertwined ideology and substance that formed what we now know as Western civilisation. If their memory can be destroyed, the ideology destroyed and the race of people who currently represent that ideology destroyed, then Western civilisation can be destroyed and then be rebuilt in an atheistic communist based utopia.

History lesson over.

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So you see, the post Christian society we are now living in is in what I believe to be the final stages of self destruction. Once they succeed in destroying the family there is very little left to hold it together. And we are left with a weak society of  self loathing individuals who are told ridiculous things like it is their fault that the terrorists attack them because they haven’t been inclusive enough with multiculturalism. And they are buying it.

I’ve already seen these sort of apologetic, self-flagellating articles in the left wing media. They have no idea that their principles and ideology of inclusion and diversity is simply designed to destroy their culture from within. They don’t understand that the destruction of the family and the isolation of the individual are goals of this great evil. But ISIS do, and they are taking full advantage of the weakness we have created.

Modern western society is weak and sickly. I cannot say that I would die to defend this society because the principles it is based on are just plain evil. Would you give your life to defend the right of homosexual couples to adopt children? No, and the vast majority of ordinary people wouldn’t either. And with the influx of 60 million refugees into Europe – mostly Muslim, it is looking like the Cultural Marxists objectives of dilution of national identity and total internal societal destruction are very close indeed to being fulfilled.

When we grieve for France, we are subconsciously pre-empting the much larger grief that we know we will soon be facing as a whole society. The death of the post modern, post Christian West. And for someone who does not have faith in God’s ultimate plan, this might seem like a very depressing thought.

However there is still time to re-discover the strong Judean- Christian roots that the West was founded on. And for the faithful Catholic there is the (as well as other Marian apparitions) Fatima prophecy of the Era of peace that will be ushered in after the great trial. There is also this:

“Whole nations will come back to the Church and the face of the earth will be renewed. Russia, China and England will come into the Church.” – Blessed Anna Maria Tiagi (19th century)

But I have to admit, if there was a cage fight between Cultural Terrorism and Radical Islamic Terrorism, I’m not sure who would win. It kinds reminds me of that scene out of Jurassic Park where the Velociraptors suddenly turn on the T-Rex, and you get to just quietly walk off to safety without either of them noticing.

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Sources:

http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/after-paris/17631#.Vk8NpXbhDIX

http://libertygb.org.uk/v1/index.php/news-libertygb/383-the-anti-western-revolutionaries

 

Ok Jesus, so how exactly am I supposed to love ISIS?

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Jesus’ most radical commandment was to tell us to love our enemies. But how is it possible to love radical Muslims if they are trying to kill you?

Well, I think it is entirely possible.

First of all we must recognise the humanity in each ISIS member. They too were made in the image and likeness of God. And this completely contradicts their own teaching that non-Muslims are infidels and sub human.

Secondly, Jesus didn’t say that to love someone you have to like them. He didn’t say that these people would suddenly not be your enemies anymore just because you have decided to love them. And He certainly didn’t say your enemies are allowed to walk all over you.

If you think Christian love equates to some fluffy hearts and flowers feeling where everyone gets along just fine, and we all live happily ever after then you are wrong. Whoever taught you that was lying to you. Love is not easy. It challenges us to our very core. Do you think it was easy and fluffy and feel-good for Jesus on the cross? No. Of course it wasn’t. And that is the most perfect example of love that humanity has ever had.

There is a fight to be had. Radical Islam is not going to go away quietly. And I for one want my children to be free to practice Christianity in the country they are growing up in. But as I said, it is important to respect that we are fighting human beings, not monsters.

I’m not sure how to love ISIS to be honest, but I think it starts with respecting that each member is a person that needs our help spiritually on the prayer and fasting level, to obtain the graces needed for them to recognise the great evil they have subscribed to and then reject it.