Global Persecution of Christians: An International Round Table Discussion

by Jerry Gordon and Mike Bates (June 2014)
with Elisabeth Sabaditsch –Wolff, Rev. Bruce Lieske, Eric Martin and Rabbi Jonathan Hausman


Jay Leno and feminist protesters at Beverly Hills Hotel owned by the Sultan of Brunei who adopted anti-gay, anti-woman Sharia  
Source: Getty Images

Hollywood and perhaps America may finally have gotten the word about what constitutes Sharia, Islamic law. In mid-May liberals, feminists and mainstream media figures were even publicizing this minor epiphany. This may have temporarily silenced accusations of Islamophobia by Muslim advocacy groups like CAIR, Emerge USA, Islamic Society of North America, MPAC and United Voices for America. This was a perfect storm triggered by the conjunction of the Sultan of Brunei (who owns the Beverly Hills Hotel) with Jay Leno, Ellen DeGeneres and mainstream feminists marching in outraged protests against Sharia at the fabled Hollywood Pink Palace. Couple this with the global outrage about 276 largely Christian Nigerian girls abducted by Boko Haram. This amid revelations that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton didn't seize the opportunity to designate the Jihadist group as a terrorist organization when afforded an opportunity to do so. Especially since Boko Haram (“Non-Muslim Teaching Is Forbidden" in English when translated from the Hausa language) had allegedly raised funds here in the US. That was noted on a FoxNews, The Kelly File by host Megyn Kelly with Brooke Goldstein of The Lawfare Project. See the You Tube video of that segment, here and this Fox News report, "Hillary Fought to keep Boko Haram off the Terrorist List." The US finally designated Boko Haram leader Abubakir Shekau a “global terrorist” and placed a $7 million bounty on him in December 2013 under Secretary of State John Kerry.

The protests against the Beverly Hills Hotel were the flashpoint for Hollywood recognition and protests against Sharia. This occurred because the Sultan of Brunei formally adopted Sharia for his Sultanate's criminal code affecting women, gays and all infidels. These protests resulted in the cancellation of 20 events at the Hollywood landmark resulting in a loss of $2 million in revenue. See the WSJ report on the protest at the fabled Hollywood landmark: "Politics Engulf Famed Beverly Hills Hotel."

What Leno and the rally protesters didn’t realize is that Sharia may have already intruded in US state court decisions at both the lower and appellate levels. That is reflected in enactment of remedial legislation in seven US States, most recently, in Florida.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Ayaan Hirsi Ali's brilliant op ed in the WSJ, "Boko Haram and the Kidnapped Schoolgirls," laid bare how moderate Muslims’ silence has abetted the rise of Jihad in places like Mali, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, her homeland of Somalia and even here in the West. Murderous acts committed by Muslim extremists like Abubakir Shekau, extolling the virtues of Islam’s exemplar, the Prophet Muhammed saying it is all about “I enjoy killing anyone that God commands me to kill, the way I enjoy killing chickens and rams." Ali at the conclusion of her piece noted:

I am often told that the average Muslim wholeheartedly rejects the use of violence and terror, does not share the radicals' belief that a degenerate and corrupt Western culture needs to be replaced with an Islamic one, and abhors the denigration of women's most basic rights. Well, it is time for those peace-loving Muslims to do more, much more, to resist those in their midst who engage in this type of proselytizing before they proceed to the phase of holy war.

It is also time for Western liberals to wake up. If they choose to regard Boko Haram as an aberration, they do so at their peril. The kidnapping of these schoolgirls is not an isolated tragedy; their fate reflects a new wave of jihadism that extends far beyond Nigeria and poses a mortal threat to the rights of women and girls. If my pointing this out offends some people more than the odious acts of Boko Haram, then so be it.

Nina Shea of the Washington, DC-based Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom obtained 200 signatures from the heads of mainstream and Evangelical Christian groups on a petition Against Persecution of Christians in support of a bi-partisan effort led by US Rep. Frank Wolf of Virginia in the House. See this Fox News report, “American Christians Pledge Solidarity with Persecuted Christians in Egypt, Iraq and Syria." Perhaps Shea was too limited in the scope of the petition on persecution of Christians in the Middle East. News out of Pakistan reported protests of the killing of a lawyer defending a Pakistani Christian. This was the latest outrage following last month's death sentences handed down by a Pakistani court in another trumped up case against a Christian couple. Blasphemy Laws in Pakistan criminalize any alleged criticism of the Prophet Mohammed and Islam. See Voice of America, "Pakistani Lawyers protest Killing of Rashid Rehmin." Many Pakistani Christians falsely accused of blasphemy are murdered by extra-judicial vigilantes.  

Against this background a special round table discussion was convened by Pensacola-based 1330amWEBY “Your Turn” host Mike Bates and Jerry Gordon, Senior Editor of the New English Review and author of The West Speaks. Our guests were Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff of the Citizens’ Movement Pax Europa from Vienna, Rev. Bruce Lieske of the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Orlando, Florida, Eric Martin, co-founder of Americans Against Persecution of Christians in Muslim Countries and Rabbi Jonathan Hausman, spiritual leader of Ahavath Torah Congregation in Stoughton Massachusetts, a noted expert on both Jewish Halacha and Sharia Islamic doctrine. 

Wolff and Lieske discussed the May 16th and 17th weekend events held in Orlando, Florida that included a  panel discussion of the Global Problem of Christian Persecution on Friday evening, May 16, 2014 and  Saturday evening’s torchlight Prayer March Against Persecution of Christians on May 17, 2014. Local organizers for those events were Rev. Lieske and Alan Kornman of the Orlando ACT! For America chapter. Watch this You Tube video of the Orlando Torchlight Prayer March Against Persecution of Christians with an introduction by Rev. Bruce Lieske and interviews by Kornman:

Watch this You Tube video of remarks by Rev. Lieske and Ms. Sabaditsch –Wolff at the Global Problem of Christian Persecution at Orlando Lutheran Prince of Peace Church:

Mr. Eric Martin conveyed information on the Rally to Protest Persecution of Christians in Muslim Lands  held at the Dallas City Hall Plaza at 2PM on Saturday May 17, 2014. Read his account of the Dallas Rally on the Beowulf blog, here.


Dallas Protest Rally Speakers, from left to right, Dr. Mark Christian of Global Faith Institute, Ms. Dorrie O’Brien, Walid Shoebat of Rescue Christians, Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch and Pastor Stephen H. Broden of Fair Park Bible Fellowship Center, May 17, 2014

Rabbi Hausman joined Wolff in the final segment of the Roundtable discussion about elements of Sharia Islamic law and doctrine including the use of taqiyyah and kitman – religiously condoned dissimilitude; i.e., lying for Allah.

Bates:  Good afternoon and welcome to Your Turn. There was a special event in Orlando, May 16th and 17th. We are going to tell you what went on in Orlando. In the studio is Jerry Gordon, Senior Editor of the New English Review and its blog, The Iconoclast. Joining us by telephone from Vienna, Austria is Elisabeth Wolff with Citizens Movement Pax Europa. Elisabeth, welcome

Wolff:  Thank you for having me on the show.

Bates:  And from Orlando, Reverend Bruce Lieske with Prince of Peace Lutheran church where the events occurred.

Lieske:  Glad to be on board.

Gordon:  This weekend was a rather unusual time for America. It follows essentially a series of minor epiphanies that have occurred one of which was y the folks in Hollywood waking up to the fact that Islamic Sharia law is a danger globally and certainly to Christians. In addition to that we have the world waking up to the predicament of 276 largely Christian girls in school in Northern Nigeria who were abducted by Boko Haram. Presumably there will be an increasing interest in the United States about this phenomenon. In Florida, there has been legislation passed and signed by Governor Scott which will be directed at preventing some of these problems. Elisabeth, why don't you give us the background for these events that have occurred through the auspices of Reverend Lieske and his congregation in Orlando.

Wolff:  I would be glad to do that because it was in Vienna on the sixtieth anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Charter of Human Rights that an awesome idea was born. Why not use the date of the signing, the tenth of December, to advocate for persecuted Christians around the world to call attention to their plight and to push for action to be taken against oppression, torment and discrimination. Unfortunately not many people seem to be aware that the greatest suffering endured by Christians occurs in Islamic countries. According to the Index of Global Persecution published by Open Doors, of the ten countries in which Christians are intimidated and persecuted most aggressively, nine of them are Islamic by government or culture. The persecution and oppression of Christians is encouraged by Islamic Sharia law which is based on Islamic scripture. It was appropriate to connect the 60th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights with the worst form of its abuse. In Vienna there was a group of Christians, included non-Christians, who wanted to bring the persecution of Christians into public consciousness. The phenomenon of Christian persecutions are generally ignored or suppressed so how did we do this, this group of like-minded people? We decided in Vienna to give voice to the voiceless by holding a press conference with material to hand out to tell the press about what is happening in these Islamic countries, to make personal contact. Making what was done in Orlando into a torch lit walk from the Opera to St. Stephens. In Vienna that culminated with an ecumenical divine service with the participation of the most diverse Christian denominations in Austria. This is a very large group of organizations and it's called the Platform of Solidarity with Persecuted Christians. They work together as a group every year to secure a very well known speaker. Last year we had Sister Hatune who is an Orthodox nun originally from Turkey but now living in Germany. She spoke very eloquently about the plight of Christians in Syria, Egypt, India and other countries. We were blessed to have Sister Hatune on the weekend of May 17th.  She spoke about her recent trip to Syria and what is happening there. Reverend Lieske was at last year’s march in Vienna. He was so impressed that he wanted to export the idea to Florida so I'll now hand it over to you Bruce.


Four speakers at the Orlando Prayer March on May 17, 2014.
From left ro right, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, Julie Dass, Sisters of Faith, Valerie Price, ACT! Canada, 

Sister Hartune Dogan, Orthodox Syriac nun. 
Source: Charles Marteau

Lieske:   I was there in Vienna on December 10th 2013 and was very impressed. We started off at the Opera House and walked down maybe half an hour, half a mile on the Kärntner Strasse which is like 5th Avenue in New York except there are no vehicles that can go on that street. We had very large candles and concluded with an ecumenical service at St. Stephens. The idea arrested me because of its importance and also I thought about what the Jewish community did in late 1970's and early 1980's with freeing the immigrants from the Soviet Union. My understanding is that there were many synagogues that had banners, and demonstrations, because they really cared. They were concerned about the Soviet Jews who wanted to emigrate and perhaps go to Israel or some other place. The former Soviet Union government would not let them. I thought to myself, here we have Christians being murdered. There are an estimated 100,000 Christians killed for their faith every year. 100,000 in mostly Muslim dominated countries but also in North Korea and some in China. Why can't we care? In Christian theology we speak in terms of the body of Messiah. The church consists of many of us. When one part hurts then the other part should hurt too, so we need to do something. My inspiration came from two sources. From what I experienced in Vienna, which Elisabeth invited me to, and the record of what the Jews did during those horrible years of the Soviet Union. So we prayed that God would bless the persecuted Christians. We also prayed for the persecutors as Jesus said.

Bates:  Bruce Lieske, here in the West you could be a Christian all day long and it is protected, at least in the United States by the First Amendment. Most Western democracies are very tolerant of pretty much all religions so most westerners are thinking Christian persecution? Come on, what are you talking about? Can you cite some examples around the world that the western press just frankly isn't covering?

Lieske:  I have a Pakistani Christian friend. She lives here in Florida. She is a naturalized American citizen. She came from a village in Pakistan not too far from Islamabad. About a year ago, it was during perhaps the Pakistani elections, there was a report that someone had insulted the prophet Mohammed. It was a rumor and, of course, as most Americans do not know in a country like Pakistan there is a blasphemy law. If anyone insults or snubs the prophet Mohammed in any way, the penalty is death. There was a rumor that went out in Julie Dass' village that somebody had insulted the prophet so they promptly burned down two hundred houses and two churches. That's just something that happened in Pakistan. Less than a year ago sixty-five churches and schools were burned down in Egypt for whatever reason I don't know. There is an antipathy in Islam towards Christianity. These incidents are not uncommon, we all know about Boko Haram in Nigeria. There are other places like Iraq were hundreds of thousands of Christians have left because of destruction and bombing of churches. This is not unusual although Boko Haram may be more radical than most Islamists.

Bates:  Those are specific examples, Bruce. However in listening to you I am reminded of what happened in 2006 when Pope Benedict the XVI was quoting the Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaiologos of the 14th Century. He quoted Manuel the II as saying, "show me just what Mohammed brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman such as his command to spread by the sword the faith that he preached." The Muslim response was how the Pope dare say Islam is violent. Death to the Pope! Now obviously I paraphrased that response a little bit, but isn't that an accurate summation?

Lieske:  I think it is an accurate summation. There is a strong element of intimidation within Islam and as Islam reaches out to others its intimidation is very strong. I think people in this country are whether they would admit it or not, afraid of Islam even though they do not understand it very well. However, all of those things are in Sharia which is Islamic law.

Gordon:  Elisabeth.

Wolff:  Sorry to interrupt but may I add something to what Reverend Lieske just said about Islamic law?

Bates:  Please do.

Wolff:  Sharia law, because it's important to note here that unlike Christian law which pertains only to Christians, Islamic law applies to all religions and all people all over the world. This is really important because people might say well, what I care about Sharia law because I'm not a Muslim and therefore it doesn’t apply to me. This is completely false and people should really get used to the notion that Islamic law, Sharia law applies to all of us at every point, at every time. We need to be aware of that and in order to be aware of that we need to start learning about Sharia law. It doesn't entail only the hudud punishments; for example, when you steal your hand will be chopped off. There is much more to Sharia law than these glaring punishments that we listen to and we read about in the media. I would ask the people to start reading about Sharia law, yes it's unpleasant but we must do that.

Gordon:  Elisabeth, you have been in the forefront in Europe through your organization Citizens Movement Pax Europa addressing this. However, a few years ago you were actually prosecuted under Austrian law because you began to give lectures about this. Can you tell our audience about that?

Wolff:  Yes, I was prosecuted in Austria by the Austrian state, by the state prosecutor, for saying a number of things about Islam, Sharia law and the prophet Mohammed. I was taken to court, I was actually found guilty for saying certain things about the prophet Mohammed which I can't say now because I'm still in Austria and if somebody hears me I could be prosecuted again. Once I am in the U.S. I can speak out freely because I'm protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Suffice to say it was actually Sharia law that was implemented even though I am confident that none of the judges knew about Sharia law when they implemented it. Also interesting is the fact that I have been left alone by the Muslims here in Austria. Why? Why was I never attacked or anything else similar to that? Because dutifully the Austrian state did what Sharia law compels them to do. They were trying to silence me and they were successful in silencing me, at least they think they were successful in silencing me, and so the Austrian state adhered to Sharia law.

Bates:  There are so many examples of where the Muslims through just their threats and the intimidation have silenced critics. Unfortunately, many in the west are cowering in the corner and they are afraid of the Islamic reaction. There were art exhibits the, the crucifix in a jar of urine at a public museum. Nobody would ever think of doing that with a Muslim icon. You have the example of the Danish and other newspapers that published the cartoon of Mohammed with a bomb in his turban. Readers around the world, said what do these cartoons look like? The newspapers refused to publish them because they thought they would get attacked and their newspaper publishing headquarters would be blown up. There are theaters in both London and on Broadway producing a musical called The Book of Mormon and it is supposedly hilarious. I haven't seen it but could you imagine if there was a musical that mocked Islam called the Book of Islam? That theater would be blown up. However, they would never do it because of that threat, am I right?

Wolff:  You are very right and now, in a nutshell, you know why the totalitarian system of Islam has been working for 1,400 years through intimidation. If you intimidate people they are going to be silenced and that's exactly what the prophet Mohammed wanted. He did not allow for any fun in religion and I'm quoting the late Ayatollah Khomeini who said there is no fun in Islam. Yes, and that is very true. There is no fun because as a Muslim, you are supposed to live your religion. You are supposed to be immersed in your religion and there is no fun when you are doing that. So why is the system working? Why is this system working so much better than fifteen years of national socialism? Why is it working so much better than 60 plus years of communism? Well because of the intimidation. It's working so well. The system of Islam is so clever.

Bates:  Well it is very important

Wolff:  I don't see anybody beating it right now.

Bates:  It is very important Elisabeth that we bring this discussion to the public because so many people when you comment on the truth of Islam and Sharia law you are attacked as being Islamophobic and intolerant. All of a sudden the Sultan of Brunei decides he wants to impose Sharia law and all of the leftists which attacked everybody else for criticizing Sharia law are now boycotting the Beverly Hills Hotel. 

Wolff:  Now isn't that funny?

Bates:  Reverend Lieske, what is happening with the Beverly Hills Hotel as it pertains to Sharia law and the Sultan of Brunei?

Lieske:  Apparently the Sultan of Brunei owns the Beverly Hills Hotel. Brunei is part of Borneo and he recently officially adopted Sharia, Islamic law, which requires the stoning of people caught in adultery and the stoning of homosexuals. These things are shocking to Hollywood. Apparently Hollywood has awakened to what Islam really is. At least the Sultan of Brunei has advocated adoption of Sharia, so now they are boycotting the Beverly Hills Hotel.

Bates:  And they are protesting as well. It's just not a matter of not showing up. Aren't there organized protests?

Lieske:  I think there have been. 

Bates:  Well they're a little late but welcome to the party, right?

Lieske:   Exactly.

Bates:  Who were the speakers at the Orlando event that occurred at the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church on May 16th and 17th?

Lieske:  The Torch Light Prayer actually took place in the beautiful Lake Eola park in downtown Orlando. We had permits from the City and we marched around the East and the South end of Lake Eola and up Rosalind Avenue to Trinity Lutheran Church and at Trinity Lutheran Church we had a number of speakers representing different countries. A dear friend of my wife's and mine is Julie Dass who is a Pakistani Christian.  She is a naturalized U.S. Citizen but she has experienced persecution in her home country of Pakistan. Dr. Wasfy Mikhael, a Coptic Christian talked about Egypt. Elisabeth Wolff talked about the restriction of free speech in Europe, particularly in her home of Austria. Our benediction was given local black pastor. As we know Arab Muslims have a special antipathy towards blacks in Africa so there was also a demonstration involving black pastors in Dallas, Texas on the same day. We didn't plan that. We feel the Lord planned that and our Lutheran people are beginning to wake up to what is happening to Christians being persecuted worldwide. I'm very proud of the fact that our denomination is beginning to wake up. The Orlando event was planned by a ministry which I founded called Burning Bush Ministries. Of course my church, where my wife and I are members, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, is totally on board with what went on.

Bates:  Was there an event at Prince of Peace on Friday evening May 16th?

Lieske:  Yes there was. It was a round table discussion. We have a number of experts including Elisabeth Wolff, and Gabriel Aviles who represented Christians United for Israel (CUFI). That is a wonderful pro-Israel organization that is doing something important: educating Christians and lobbying members of Congress. We feel it is very important not just to bring awareness of the persecution of Christians worldwide but to actually do something about it to exert some pressure on our elected representatives.

Gordon:  Elisabeth, can you tell us briefly who were some of the other international representatives who spoke at this event?

Wolff:  I already mentioned Sister Hatune Dogan originally from Turkey but who now is a naturalized German citizen. We had Ann Marchini from England who represented the International Civil Liberties Alliance. We had Hendrik Clausen from Denmark who represented the International Andre Sakharov Committee and finally we had Valerie Price who represented ACT for Canada who also talked about the plight of persecuted Christians worldwide.

Bates:  Now from Dallas, Texas we are joined by Eric Martin. He is one of the co-founders of Americans Against the Persecution of Christians in Muslim Countries. Eric, Reverend Lieske had mentioned the event that occurred in Dallas on May 17th. What happened?

Martin:  We have a coalition of concerned Christians and Jews and we decided that it was time to protest the horrendous persecution against Christians in Muslim countries. We formed a committee, Americans Against the Persecution of Christians in Muslim Countries, and we held a rally in Dallas on Saturday, May 17th at Dallas City Hall Plaza.

Gordon:  Eric, who were the prime movers behind this protest rally and who spoke there?

Martin:  The prime move movers were Pastor Stephen H. Broden of the Fair Park Bible Fellowship Center and me. I was extremely impressed by Pastor Broden's very brave stance against this persecution. I heard him at an ACT for America rally last November and I met with him afterwards.  I told the Pastor, that I shared his views. We are not going to get anywhere unless we take our protest to the streets because the American Government isn't doing anything about this persecution. The mainstream church is doing nothing. The media is silent and therefore we have to do what Martin Luther King did. Take it to the street. He agreed wholeheartedly with me and that is what got it started. He has persuaded his good friend Reverend William Owens who is the head of the Coalition of Afro American Pastors. There are over 3,000 members in that coalition. He was one of the main speakers. We had his son William Owens Jr., Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch, very well known for his blog and also his outspoken criticism of Islamic atrocities. We had Walid Shoebat of Rescue Christians. Bishop John Iker, the Anglican Bishop of Fort Worth fully supported what we are doing. In fact he delegated Father Kingsley Jon-Ubabuco, a Nigerian Priest, who spoke at the rally. We also had an Egyptian Pastor Dr. Mark Christian of Global Faith Institute of Omaha, Nebraska and Sam Ghobeiti of Iran Alive Ministries. My good friend Jeffrey Epstein of America’s Truth Forum also spoke.

Bates:  I have a question for you that doesn't relate just to the rally in Dallas but really your whole agenda. The title of your organization is Americans Against the Persecution of Christians in Muslim Countries.

Martin:  Yes.

Bates:  Well, how egalitarian of you. How tolerant of you. You clearly don't seem to agree with the Qur’an which says you can't tolerate Christians in Muslim countries. If you are a Muslim, a Christian is an infidel and you basically have three options. You kill them, you convert them or you enslave them. The prophet Mohammed, may peace be upon him, which I say mockingly never, said tolerate them. He never said don’t persecute them so is persecution of Christians, Jews, any so-called infidel an inherent flaw in the Qur’an?

Martin:  Of course it is. I very often say to certain Muslims, with whom I've debated this matter, who say that Islam is a religion of peace; “I'd rather debate with Osama bin Laden or with Ayman al Zawahiri of Al Qaeda because they will openly state that Islam is not a religion of peace.” Rather, Islam's aim is to subdue and force all mankind to adopt the Islamic faith. I very strongly disagree with the admonitions of Mohammed on this issue.

Gordon:  You have a rather unique experience in your own personal background as a motivating factor when you were, many years ago, an activist student at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

Martin:  Yes.

Gordon:  Why don't you describe that experience for the listener audience and the significance relative to these news reports about Boko Haram?

Martin:  It all started at the end of 1967 when I was a student at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. I was approached by three Nigerian Igbo students. They were from the Eastern part of what is now Nigeria and they were all Christian. They told me that Harold Wilson, the then Prime Minister of Britain had cut off all aid to students from Biafra. I didn't know very much about this at the time. I learned that Biafra was a new state formed by the mainly Christian Igbo people who had been thrown out of Northern Nigeria and other parts of Nigeria by the Muslims. As I got deeper involved, I learned of horrific persecutions being carried out against the Igbo Christians of Biafra. They had formed a breakaway state called Biafra. I will never forget the column of 40,000 Igbo's who were fleeing from the north back to their Igbo homeland. It was covered by Winston Churchill’s grandson. Winston Churchill Jr., from the air for the London Times newspaper. When he began that coverage there were an estimated 40,000 Igbo people in that column. By the time it ended hardly a hundred made it back to their ancestral Igbo land. There were countless atrocities like this. The only Western leader, who stood up for the Christian people of Biafra, was President Charles De Gaulle of France. Unfortunately De Gaulle was unseated in the election of May 1968. That brought an end to support of the French Foreign Legion in the Biafran War against the Muslim North. Until that time the Biafrans were doing quite well in the war. However, when the Foreign Legion left the Biafrans couldn't possibly oppose the Nigerian Army which was heavily supported by the Soviets and the British. That opened my eyes as to the agenda of the world powers, not the least the then Soviet Union to make political alliances with Islamic countries. They willingly sacrificed the Christian Igbo people of Nigeria for oil. I will never forget a Conservative member of Parliament who told me at Edinburgh University when it was all over; “Eric, don't you realize that the Muslim Nigerians outnumber the Biafrans six to one. Now who's side do you think we are going to support if we want their oil?”

Bates:  Eric, how much of this conflict is over land, oil and political power versus how much of this conflict is religious in nature?

Martin:  It is predominantly a religious conflict between the Muslim Nigerians versus the Christian and Animist populations of Nigeria. Politically of course, you know the parties in Nigeria follow along religious lines. With regards to geography the predominant Muslim power wants it all. Thus, it is all related to religion. This Boko Haram atrocity against the mainly Christian girls is simply a continuation of what went on in the Biafra war.

Bates:  Yes, the girls may or may not still be Christian. There was actually a Reuters news story that claimed that Boko Haram converted most if not all of these girls to Islam. Now that doesn't necessarily mean they meant it. They may have just said it to stay alive but now it turns out in that same Reuters report that Boko Haram is offering to release the girls but only if the Nigerian government releases other terrorists currently held in prison. From the Reuters story I quote the spokesperson from Boko Haram saying, “All I am saying is that if you want us to release the girls that we have kidnapped, those who have not accepted Islam will be treated as the prophet Mohammed, may peace be upon him, treated infidels and they will stay with us." In other words they will be their slaves because the prophet Mohammed, may peace be upon him commanded that.

Martin:  Yes. This is par for the course.

Gordon:  In addition to that there was a Breitbart Report by Dr. Phyllis Chesler who indicated that based on her knowledge and research that these unfortunate girls have probably already been gang raped, brutalized and will live in massive suffering.

Martin:  Yes. That is only to be expected because we are dealing here with Islamic barbarians.

Bates:  Very much so. We appreciate you joining us. Eric Martin, is there a website for Americans Against the Persecution of Christians in Muslim Countries?

Martin:  Persecution of Christians on Facebook and it's also a website.

Bates:  And what is the website?

Martin:  Persecution of Christians.com

Bates:  Joining us by telephone is Rabbi Jonathan Hausman.  He is with Ahavath Torah Congregation in Stoughton, Massachusetts and he is also an expert on Islam having studied the Quran in Cairo, Egypt.  Welcome to the program Rabbi Hausman.

Hausman:  Thank you.

Bates:  Let me ask you this question. How much of a threat is Islam to the world? Is it exaggerated by those who claim that there is a problem? What do you think?

Hausman:  My interests in Islam are the same as my interests in Judaism, to know what motivates people to act upon doctrine. The entire corpus of Jewish tradition is defined, delineated and delimited by the rabbis throughout history. All I can say is when I take a look around in terms of Jewish tradition; I don't see many Jewish suicide bombers today. I see the opposite in terms of how people act and behave through their studies of Islam and what Islam sanctions vis-a-vis the non-Muslim world.

Bates:  Rabbi, you are implying by that that there are suicide bombers coming from the Muslim world but we've been told that?

Hausman:  No, I'm not implying.

Bates:  We've been told that Islam is a religion of peace. Why our presidents have said that, Islam is a religion of peace, so you are obviously just a hatemonger.

Hausman:  First of all Mike I'm not implying anything I'm stating it outright.

Bates:  Well, then you must be a hatemonger.

Hausman:  I'm just telling you what my interest in all this is. My interest is in how doctrine undergirds and underscores behavior. That is what I'm into. In terms of Islam being the religion of peace, I will tell you that the term Islam does not mean peace. Arabic like any Semitic language is based on a root letter system. If you can determine what the root letters mean then you can make an educated guess as to what the word means. Islam is a particular verbal form in Arabic and it means submission. The question is, to what or to whom are you submitting? It has nothing to do with peace. You are submitting to the will of Allah. That is what Islam means.

Gordon:  Rabbi, there are certain aspects of Islamic doctrine that allow them to get away with this notion of expressing it as a religion of peace. They are known in Arabic as the concepts of Taqiyya and Kitman.

Hausman:  Right.

Gordon:  What are they?

Hausman:  They are both forms of religiously sanctioned dissimulation. To the listeners that means religiously sanctioned lying but they come at this issue of are Muslims permitted to lie from two different angles. Taqiyya basically means that in Islam one is allowed to lie to an unbeliever under certain circumstances. Taqiyya means saying something that isn't true. Kitman is something a little different. It means lying by omission. For example, you remember when President Obama made his speech at Al-Azhar University in Cairo in  June 2009 he quoted a verse from the Qur’an that I'm paraphrasing, he said, “does not the holy Qur’an teach that one who saves a life has saved a world entire?” That statement by Obama came from the second Sura in the Qur’an. However, you need to finish off the verse and go to the next ayah, the next verse, because the Qur’an tells you what is considered to be a life worth saving. I hate to tell the listeners but it's not the Saturday people or the Sunday people.

Bates:  It is only a fellow Muslim?

Hausman:   Yes, and even then there are restrictions that are placed on it. For example if you take a look at the Qur’an, if you take the 16th Sura, verse 106 for example, the Qur’an establishes that there are circumstances that can compel a Muslim to tell a lie. Then there are the Muslim commentators like Bukhari who take this concept and expand upon it. Bukhari states that one who makes peace between the people by inventing good information or saying good things is not a liar. So in other words the ends justify the means.

Bates:  Rabbi, you're speaking the truth about Islam. However, I have a question for you and I mean no offense at this.

Hausman:  I don't know if I'm speaking the truth. I'm speaking about what their written doctrine states.

Bates:  I have a question about Judaism. Obviously generalizations are generally true. They are not entirely true. You are not a liberal. I have plenty of Jewish friends who are not liberal. However, generally American Jews are quite liberal. Why? I've never understood. Why are most Jews liberal?

Hausman:  There are many theories to that. I'll just give you a couple of explanations. There seems to be this reflexive Jewish reaction when people mention FDR. It goes back to our parents, our grandparents, our great grandparents depending upon how old you are and there is that kind of view that he helped save the country. I think that there is something more fundamental going on as well. It seems that the more attenuated the connection Jews have to the corpus of our traditions, rabbinic learning, the more apt somebody who was Jewish is likely to replace that learning with this false sense that liberal politics is the same as Jewish tradition. If you study Jewish tradition, the corpus of Jewish tradition, that it is not predisposed towards liberal politics. Jerry, you may want to jump in on this as well.

Gordon:  There is a famous conservative commentator, Norman Podhoretz who wrote a book about this.

Hausman:  Yes, Why Are Jews Liberal is the title.

Gordon:  That is correct. He also said when I interviewed him that many Jews “pray at the Torah of liberalism.” Elizabeth, were your expectations realized by these events the weekend of May 17th?

Wolff:  Well my expectations were high. It doesn't really matter whether or not this was a success. What matters is that we raised our voices, that we showed support that we prayed for these persecuted Christians. They are being slaughtered. When we read about those abducted girls in Nigeria being forcefully converted to Islam we need to talk about this again and again. My dream would be more marches all over Canada, the United States, and Europe. More marches to highlight this tragedy, not only the persecuted Christians but also the Jews who are being persecuted verbally at the United Nations. This is unacceptable in the 21st Century.

 

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Also see Jerry Gordon's collection of interviews, The West Speaks.

 

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