Tag Archives: The Wall Street Journal

ISIS

“ISIS is also threatening the obliteration of the Christian population in northern Iraq.” The Wall Street Journal

The Jihadist March in Iraq

Only the U.S. can prevent a humanitarian and strategic disaster.

The Wall Street Journal, editorial, August 8, 2014, p. A 12

isis-iraq-war-crimes.siPerhaps history will mark this as the week that President Obama recognized that evil unimpeded will devour everything before it. We say perhaps because with this President you never know.

President Obama said Thursday night he authorized limited air strikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) to stop the Sunni jihadists from carrying out a genocide in northern Iraq. What he didn’t do, but should, is make a larger U.S. military commitment against ISIS both to avert a humanitarian catastrophe and protect American security interests.

After routing Iraq’s army from Mosul and most of northern Iraq in June, ISIS has grown as a military force. It captured significant war materiel, including armored U.S. Humvees, and has attracted hardened jihadist fighters from Syria and elsewhere. In addition to the sums it looted from Mosul’s banks, the group has the potential to gain access to revenue from oil fields in northern Iraq.

ISIS is also threatening the obliteration of the Christian population in northern Iraq. An assault by ISIS’s forces in northern Nineveh province has emptied towns of their Christian populations. Some 40,000 Yazidis, a minority who have lived in Iraq for millennia, are now isolated with little food or water on Mount Sinjar. ISIS controls all roads out and has proven it will have no compunction to slaughter those who try to flee. Continue reading

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Christian Purge

“Imagine if a fundamentalist Christian sect captured the French City of Lyon and began a systematic pure of Muslims. Their mosques were destroyed, their crescents defaced, the Koran burned and then all Muslims forced to flee or face execution. Such an event would be unthinkable today, and if it did occur Pope Francis and all other Christian leaders would denounce it and support efforts by governments to stop it. Yet that is essentially what is happening in reverse now in Mosul.” Editorial, The Wall Street Journal, July 22, 2014, p. A 10

The Christian Purge From Mosul

The Islamist attacks on non-Muslims are a problem for Islam.

The Wall Street Journal, July 22, 2014, p. A 10

Imagine if a fundamentalist Christian sect captured the French city of Lyon and began a systematic purge of Muslims. Their mosques were destroyed, their crescents defaced, the Koran burned and then all Muslims forced to flee or face execution. Such an event would be unthinkable today, and if it did occur Pope Francis and all other Christian leaders would denounce it and support efforts by governments to stop it.

Yet that is essentially what is happening in reverse now in Mosul, as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham drives all signs of Christianity from the ancient city. Christians have lived in Mosul for nearly 2,000 years, but today they are reliving the Muslim religious wars of the Middle Ages.

They have been given a choice either to convert to Islam or flee. They were warned before a weekend deadline that if they remained and didn’t convert, they would be killed. Thousands—often entire families—have had to leave the city with nothing more than their clothes as militants robbed them of money or jewelry. Crosses have been destroyed across the city.

That such violent bigotry in the name of religion can exist in the 21st century is hard for many in the Christian world to believe, but that is part of the West’s problem. Jews know all too well that anti-Semitism can inspire murderous behavior. But Christians or post-Christian secularists who are content in their modern prosperity often prefer to turn their heads or blame all religions as equally intolerant.

Today’s religious extremism is almost entirely Islamic. While ISIS’s purge may be the most brutal, Islamists in Egypt have driven thousands of Coptic Christians from homes they’ve occupied for centuries. The same is true across the Muslim parts of Africa. This does not mean that all Muslims are extremists, but it does mean that all Muslims have an obligation to denounce and resist the extremists who murder or subjugate in the name of Allah. Too few imams living in the tolerant West will speak up against it.

As for the post-Christian West, most elites may now be nonbelievers. But a culture that fails to protect believers may eventually find that it lacks the self-belief to protect itself.

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In the Beginning…

In the Beginning There Was an Atom

With respect to the big-bang theory, science and faith are not at odds.

Dr. Edwin Hubble examines the photographic plate on which a super nova was found, June 1936. Associated Press

According to a recent Associated Press poll a majority of Americans—51%—do not believe the universe began with the “big bang.”

The skepticism of half the country may seem startling, given how essential the big-bang theory is to modern cosmology, but there is a good reason for it. The big bang is at first hard to swallow. I am a physics writer, and yet I remember how perplexed I was many years ago when I heard MIT cosmologist Alan Guth describe the universe expanding within a fraction of a second from the size of an atom to “as big as a marble.” My initial thought was: How could he possibly know the size of the entire universe when it was less than a second old? Believing in the big bang seemed to require a leap of faith.

And if you feel uncomfortable with big-bang cosmology, you’re in excellent company: The greatest physicist of the 20th century, Albert Einstein, stubbornly refused to believe in it. Ironically, it was a Catholic priest who first came up with the big-bang idea in 1927. The Belgian priest Georges Lemaître, who was also an astronomer and physicist, theoretically deduced the expansion of the universe and proposed that it was launched from a “primeval atom”—the process later known as the big bang.

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