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Archive for November 3rd, 2016

Germany Refugee Centre an ‘Example For Others’ Dealing With Interfaith Conflict

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on November 3, 2016

A week after a new report claimed that life for some Christian refugees in Germany is “still unbearable, a case study has been released as an example for other refugee centres to follow.

The study, which profiles a refugee centre in the central German town of Rotenburg an der Fulda, notes that “much action is needed” and demands there be “no more integration experiments at the expense of Christians”.

A list of recommendations is given, including an increase of non-Muslim staff; training for staff about the history of and potential for inter-religious clashes; and education for asylum seekers about religious freedom.

The centre is praised for its response to incidents in June and July, when what the local press initially reported as a “drunken brawl” between refugees was later discovered to have been religiously motivated.

In July, Christians were evacuated from the centre after a message was written on a wall, saying, “To all Muslims: now is the time to behead the unbelievers”.

Open Doors Germany, author of the case study and co-author of the initial report, praised the decision to evacuate the Christians and the subsequent “firm address” to all Muslim staff, in which it was stressed that “such attacks should not be allowed to happen again”. The next day, the Christians were returned and the centre manager told the staff he would be “keeping his eye on them”. Since then, no incidents have been reported.

Open Doors acknowledged the sensitivity of reporting religiously motivated violence, and the possibility some will “exploit” it to feed right-wing or anti-Islamic agendas, but stressed that “the human right of religious freedom and the protection of victims in a country like Germany – that is a constant admonisher of human rights abuses on an international scale – should not be sacrificed for political objectives or the interests of individual groups.

It is therefore everybody’s duty to take action, so that the protection of the victims can be guaranteed. To remain inactive, to trivialise or to remain silent due to political or other reasons, is to be just as guilty as those who exploit the situation for political reasons”.

Slim Chance Of Help’

The charity said that, in most centres, “Christians have [a] pretty slim chance of getting help” because “the victims of religiously motivated attacks are a minority, and the reasons why Muslims attack Christians and other religious minorities are not well known to facilities’ operators and management.

For this reason, religiously motivated attacks are either not recognised or they are deliberately trivialised as general conflicts between refugees. The families of the predominantly Muslim support staff, i.e. security personnel and interpreters, will tend to side with their fellow believers in religious conflicts or in some cases even become perpetrators themselves, as experience shows.”

Thirty-two of the 49 Christian refugees living in the centre at the time of the study (out of a total of around 700 (70% Muslim, 10% Christian, 20% other) agreed to be interviewed. Open Doors praised their “courage … [in relating] their experiences of religiously motivated attacks”.

Open Doors noted that the tension in the centre had increased around the time of Ramadan, when hunger and thirst among the Muslims led to heightened emotions.

One interviewee said that, during Ramadan, “The Afghans does not want [sic] to use the same washing machine we wash with because to them we are unworthy and impure. From the moment the Afghans knew that we are Christians, they disinfected the bathroom every time we used it. They call us infidels, neciz [impure], won’t shake our hands and are very careful to not have any physical contact with us.

Open Doors added that, “In general, the Muslim refugees avoided any contact with non-Muslims during Ramadan – fearing defilement and becoming impure. They said it would render the validity of their fasting null and void… Muslims avoided touching any common objects (e.g. body contact with toilet seats) so that they had no indirect contact with ‘infidels’. Sanitation became extremely poor. It was unclear who was going to be responsible for cleaning up the faeces, which then led to frequent conflicts within the community.”

The charity said it was particularly important for staff to recognise the challenge of dealing with an influx of refugees from Islamic nations.

If we take a look into the mainly Islamic countries from which many of these refugees come, and consider how they treat religious minorities, it is obvious that their understanding of Islam is most definitely not compatible with the idea of religious freedom and the equality of all people,” the study noted. “Thus, it is justified to speak of systematic attacks, because the cultural and religious influence of a large number of refugees is based on the teachings of the Quran, something which is deeply ingrained.”

Open Doors added that refugee quarters “are much more aligned to the needs of Muslims, which then often has substantial side effects for the other residents”.

The situation in the Rotenburg reception centre is no different from many other, comparable facilities where Muslims has been living long enough to establish their own Islamic parallel society,” noted the study. “Because of their faith, Christians are devalued to become second-class citizens and are branded ‘impure’ and ‘apostates’, while enduring physical assaults whenever they offer resistance. The same mind-set is also expressed by moderate Muslims, due to the fact that, according to Muslim thinking, Islam is the superior religion, which pursues the submission of all people to Allah.”

Another interviewee reported: “Every day the same group of Muslims from different countries walks through the quarters and forms a Sharia council, consulting on what they should do with us and according to which laws they are planning to sentence us. The council consists of Sheiks und Mullahs.”

Source

Fury as German primary school ‘forces’ children to chant ‘Allahu Akbar’ in Muslim prayer

Germans leaving ‘in droves’ amid fallout from Angela Merkel’s open door migrant policy

Putin:A Society That Cannot Defend Its Children Has No Future.

In a European country, a child is raped by a migrant, and the court releases him.

It doesn’t fit into my head what on earth they’re thinking over there.

I can’t even explain the rationale – is it a sense of guilt before the migrants? What’s going on? It’s not clear.”

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Clinton Sycophants Blinded By The Light

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on November 3, 2016

blindedAfter all these many pre-election months of watching news programs; panel discussions; and Sunday news shows on NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, and Fox News, as well as talk radio, the burning question is, as more and more is revealed about the Clintons unscrupulous ways of being by WikiLeaks, Project Veritas, and the FBI, why do the people around the Clintons stay? With each passing day, the breadth and depth of their duplicity, their venality is made provably clearer, and yet the same people show up day after day, night after night defending them: Bill Burton, Julie Roginsky, Lanny Davis, Robert Zimmerman, Dana Bash, Gloria Borger, James Carville, Andrea Mitchell, Jessica Tarlov, Don Lemon, Coco Soodek, Donna Brazile, Maryanne Walsh, Richard Fowler, Geraldo Rivera, Austan Goolsbee, and others. The list is long and mystifying. It is not possible that all these people are as shamelessly corrupt as the Clintons are, and yet they go on national television and support them.

How do all these people continue to maintain their allegiance to and defend Hillary Clinton and the criminal enterprise that is the Clinton Foundation? The Clintons have violated so many laws, state and federal, and yet they continue to assume they are above the law because they have gotten away with breaking it for over thirty years. As proof of the lying, the cheating, the selling of the State Department, and all the underhanded dirty tricks seeps out, how do their on-screen acolytes rationalize supporting a woman who is so obviously morally and ethically challenged?

Since the narcissist suffers from a severe deficit of conscience, their morals and ethics are mobile and adaptive; their rules for living are based strictly on the end game, the bottom line. The question is not whether they will cross the legal, ethical, or moral line but when.” –Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.

It is said of toxic narcissists that they manipulate two kinds of people: those who do not see the abuse and those who purposefully ignore the abuse. Who among all those telegenic defenders cannot see the truth of who these people are? Podesta’s emails are a virtual road map, as Thomas Frank wrote in an already famous Guardian article that lays out how this country is being run by a small cadre of wealthy, inter-connected elites whose mission in life is only to preserve their own power and wealth. This crowd helps each other, each other’s kids and families. They cover for each other, lie for each other, defend each other when legal problems arise because so many of them are lawyers.

What is stunning in the Podesta emails is that there is absolutely nothing in any of them that mentions any concern about the country, its citizens, its productivity, economy, or culture. The emails are only about winning, by any means necessary. They discuss “dumping emails” an hour after the news of Hillary’s private server broke. They speak about how to get more money out of donors, how to deceive and manipulate the media, and which of them is in their pocket, and how to take out their opposition. The videos show them planning violence against Trump supporters in order to blame them for it. The people represented in those email chains are pretty much as vile as the Clintons themselves, self-serving narcissists all. So how do we explain their TV proponents’ commitment to the lawless Clintons? They are not officially part of the Clinton campaign team, but still they prostrate themselves on the altar of Clintonism, no matter how much evidence proves that it is deeply corrupt.

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Aleppo Churches Open Doors To Displaced Muslim Families

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on November 3, 2016

For the first time in history, Muslims are coming to us. The only thing we have to do is tell them the good news; they are waiting for it

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Life hasn’t been easy for 28-year-old Syrian mother Kristina, a Christian of Armenian descent, who lived with her husband in Aleppo long before the civil war started in 2011.

It was in that besieged city that Kristina gave birth to her firstborn daughter, 18 months ago. She’s brought the little girl to the house where a World Watch Monitor contact meets her. While her mother talks, the toddler explores the room.

Please close the door, I’d like to keep an eye on her,” Kristina asks, not letting her child out of her sight.

With the pain still visible in her eyes, Kristina recalls her first days of being a mother in the spring of 2015 – the war raging outside, electricity, gas and water cut off most of the time and her family unable to visit and help her.

The first two weeks after my daughter was born were the hardest in my life,” Kristina says. “It was so cold that we put our mattresses on the living room floor, the warmest room in the house. There we lived for two weeks on the ground, wrapped in blankets.”

As soon as it was safe, Kristina, her husband and her baby daughter travelled to neighbouring Lebanon to safety. At first it was intended to be a short trip, but when the violence increased and also the Christian part of Aleppo was being bombed, the young family decided to wait for the end of the war before returning to Syria.

I can’t let my baby girl grow up amidst all those dangers,” Kristina says.

With the violence continuing and worsening, gradually more Christians left Aleppo. In Kristina’s church, now only 10 per cent of the regular church-goers are left, she hears from friends.

But you know what’s surprising? The church is still full; displaced people take their place. Especially Muslims are coming to the church now,” she says.

In Syria, the Christian children’s activities draw the most attention, Kristina says. A lot of Syrians from other parts of Aleppo – the fighting is heaviest in Muslim areas – have fled to the Christian areas to seek refuge. For many Muslims, it is the first time they have mixed with Christians.

Kristina also says the Muslim women were surprised to see that churches offered support and programmes for all Syrians, not just for Christians.

Their mosques don’t do that,” Kristina says. “Many are re-thinking the faith they grew up in and have dropped their hostility towards Christians.

Many Muslims were genuinely surprised when they met Christian women in our churches willing to serve them. Their image was that all Christian women spend most of their days dancing in night clubs and drinking alcohol! Meeting each other was a shock, both for them and for us.

A growing number of Muslim children have been attending the children’s activities, where the Bible is opened daily.

The mothers are okay with that,” says Kristina. “They see it as positive if their children learn about God. It’s the husbands who are stricter, usually.”

But, gradually, also the mothers and, in some cases, whole Muslim families have found their way to the church activities, including the services.

That absolutely did not happen before the war,” Kristina says. “Still the Muslims are afraid – especially when entering and leaving the building – but they are there. The children have opened the church’s doors, then the women followed, and finally the men.”

Kristina says Muslim women “feel liberated when they notice the church doesn’t see them as merely machines only fit for cleaning, giving birth to children, and raising them, like many Muslim men do”.

In Islam, many women don’t have any rights. When they feel how Christians really care for them, it feels like heaven for those women. They see it’s possible to live as independent women, to dream,” Kristina says.

Despite the war, Kristina speaks of a “golden age” for the Church in the Middle East.

For the first time in history, Muslims are coming to us. The only thing we have to do is tell them the good news; they are waiting for it,” she says. “They realise that, when living in a Christian environment, the [Christian message] will be shared. They may even see it as a sign of weakness if it isn’t.”

Source

A New Home and a New Religion in Germany

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Among the Iranian refugees filling European church pews

When I first met Mattias in July at a refugee shelter just north of Berlin, he went by the name Mohammed. He had arrived in Germany from Iran the previous fall, along with thousands of other asylum-seekers—sometimes up to 10,000 arrived in a single day. After the German government assigned him to this shelter, he converted to Christianity. “I wouldn’t say I was a Muslim” before, he told me. “I didn’t go to a mosque for an entire year. Now I am going to church every week.” He expects it will take about three weeks to get off his church’s waiting list to be baptized. Perhaps once he’s more settled in Germany, he’ll be able to change his name legally to Mattias, his chosen Christian name.

We sat together in a sparse dormitory room at the shelter with three other Iranians who had converted from Islam to Christianity. They attend a Protestant church together, but asked that I not provide the exact location nor give their full names. Two of them said they became Christian while living in Iran. Another, like Mattias, had converted after arriving in Germany as an asylum-seeker.

Throughout Germany, the pews of churches like theirs are filled increasingly by asylum-seekers. Though two umbrella church organizations told me that they couldn’t provide exact statistics or comment on the nationality of the asylum-seekers attending church, Christoph Heil, a spokesman for the Protestant Church of Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Upper Lusatia—which includes 1,300 parishes—confirmed the pattern. “Normally we don’t count the number of asylum-seekers who are baptized because we don’t differentiate between who is an asylum-seeker and who isn’t, but [asylum-seekers asking to be baptized] appears to be a new trend,” he said.

Muslim converts to Christianity that I spoke to in Germany cited the redemptive power of Jesus’s story, and disillusionment with Islam. It’s also worth noting the more earthly forces potentially at work: Germany does not grant refugee status to Iranians as easily as it does Syrians and Iraqis. Around 27,000 Iranians applied for asylum in the EU in 2015, with Germany hosting the overwhelming majority; according to Germany’s Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, 60 percent of Iranian requests for asylum received positive answers that year. Iranians seeking refugee status must prove that if they are sent home, they stand the risk of being persecuted for their beliefs. In Iran, that often means Christian converts.

During conversations with newly converted Iranian asylum-seekers, it struck me that being born again after arriving in Europe was not only an act of faith, but a practical matter: Europe is largely Christian, after all. Some converts, like Mattias, weren’t particularly devout Muslims to begin with anyway. “There are asylum-seekers looking to get baptized who have converted in their home countries and others are getting in touch with Christianity now after seeing a certain way of life in Germany,” Heil said. “They ask themselves, what is the root of this way of living, [of] freedom and democracy.”

At his shelter, Mattias and three of his friends, who all appeared to be in their 30s and 40s, pulled a metal folding table into the middle of the dorm room to prepare for lunch. One of them told me he hoped Donald Trump would become president of the United States, since he’d heard he was a Christian. Before we ate, another of Mattias’s friends prayed as we bowed our heads, giving thanks for the food. “In Jesus’s name, Amen,” he said. “Amen,” the others echoed. Then we dug into rice pilaf from a frying pan.

The man who led the prayer said he had converted to Christianity in Iran after getting hold of a smuggled Farsi-language Bible. “Before it was just theoretical to me, but now I can see it and feel it by my pastor’s kindness,” he said. Another said he converted in Iran because of an old neighbor who had been born Christian. Christians, he said, “were kind people. In Islam, the person who does the killing and the person who dies yells Allahu Akbar,” he said. “In Iran,” he noted, referring to the Arab occupation of Persia that began in the seventh century, “we became Muslim by force.”

A week after that meal, I visited Trinity Lutheran Church, which also hosts a large Iranian congregation. A pale, yellow, sterile-looking structure set just off a residential street in Berlin’s southwestern Steglitz neighborhood, it appears modest compared to the grand churches of Europe. On the lawn out front, some of the Iranian congregants greeted each other with smiles and overzealous, welcoming handshakes. Others shuffled inside, their eyes averted. Notices written in Farsi were posted all over the church.

The pastor at Trinity is Gottfried Martens, 53, an affable man with a salt-and-pepper widow’s peak and kind smile. He explained that Trinity’s sister congregation in the adjacent district of Zehlendorf had been helping new migrants adjust to life in Germany since the 1990s, adopting a welcoming stance that eventually turned his church into a destination for Iranian Christians seeking help. Once a few Farsi speakers began attending, more arrived. In 2013, Trinity began its service focusing on “refugee work,” in Martens’s words, providing translations in Farsi and English during services and other church activities.

Before the service began that day, I talked with Saeed, another Iranian asylum-seeker. Up the stairs and past the Iranian ushers, we poked our heads into the nave. There were few seats available, so we crowded into the choir loft along with the other stragglers. There appeared to be around 300 people in attendance, mostly Iranians, but my translator pointed out that a line of men seated behind us included Hazaras from Afghanistan—also current or former Shia Muslims—like the Iranians. Only a dozen or so in attendance appeared to be German. A woman in the front pews still wore a hijab.

During the service, much of which was translated into Farsi, the Iranians and Afghans tried to follow along in the church bulletin, concluding each section with a hearty, accented “Ah-meeen” (familiar to the Iranians and Afghans from Muslim prayers) that filled the sanctuary.

Do you want to go take communion?” Saeed asked when people began lining up in the center aisle after the sermon. I told him I would stay seated, since I didn’t know how to cross myself, which, naturally, confused him: earlier, I had told him that I was a Christian. He was a new believer, steadfast and eager about the outward signs of devotion like partaking in the sacraments, crossing himself at the appropriate times, and eating pork. The outward trappings of Christianity I grew up with in a non-denominational church in rural Maryland, by contrast—using euphemisms rather than cursing (darn rather than damn), voting Republican, eating Chick-Fil-A, and doing nothing remotely Catholic—were difficult to explain.

After the service ended, the Iranians and Afghans gathered downstairs for a meal of rice, lentils, and cabbage salad. Asylum-seekers had often complained to me about the German food at their shelters, which they found bland. But the church’s lunch menu seemed tailored to their tastes. During the meal, one Iranian man was filling out a baptism questionnaire that asked for his personal history. It soon turned into a group activity. “How do you write ‘engineer’ in German?” he asked the crowd that had surrounded him.

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