Message to Muslims: Time for Some Serious Questions

muslim-america Things seem to be heating up on the Islamic front. The traitor and murderer Major Nidal Hassan MD, justified his atrocity at Ft Hood in 2009 by describing himself as a jihadist. He welcomes his upcoming execution by hanging so that he can be a martyr who will then enjoy 72 virgins in Paradise for all of eternity.

In the meantime, the United States, under the guidance of our president (who has familial ties to the Muslim Brotherhood), is preparing military action which will benefit those who brought down the Twin Towers on Sept 11, 2001. The question Vladimir Putin asked David Cameron is priceless: Why are you on the side of those who eat their enemy’s livers and post it on YouTube? The barbarism of many of these people is alarming. (Editor’s Note: it appears that the West is rethinking the veracity of the intelligence regarding the mass gassing attack that took place last week in Damascus. Much of it comes from the Israelis.)

Much more can be said. For the moment however, soul-searching is needed. While we here at Monomakhos bear no ill-will to Muslims in general or Islam in particular, we wish instead for a sane immigration policy on the domestic side and a non-interventionist policy on the international side. That would be ideal. If Muslims in their native lands want to impose Sharia law on their own populations, so be it. The lands of Christendom however have no obligation to import these people and their curious folkways into their own heartlands.

Unfortunately, our hostile, non-Christian elites see things differently. I imagine they will come to our way of thinking when things get as bad in Poughkeepsie as they are in parts of Paris. We’ll see. In the meantime, a confident Christian populace should ask our Muslim friends certain pertinent questions, especially if they demand to live among us. What follows is a good beginning.

Source: Facing Islam | Zosimas

In my earlier post of Dr. Mark Durie’s analysis of yesterday’s London jihad attack, we learned how the jihadists’ motivations stem from a “theologically determined logic.” 

This is gravely concerning, and should prompt us to pose the following questions to all Muslims everywhere:

1. Do you subscribe to this same “theologically determined logic” which spawns acts of violence and terrorism by Muslims in every country of the world, and drives an Islamic supremacism which seeks to establish a global caliphate to bring Islam to world dominance? In other words, do you feel in your heart, as a Muslim, that you are at war with non-Muslims?

2. If you say you do not subscribe to this worldview, how do you support your position from Islam’s sacred texts?  Because — as you should know — all Islamic supremacists and jihadists fully support their actions using the Quran and the example of Muhammad and the consistent teaching of Islamic jurisprudence, and they say your religion commands you to support them in the global jihad.

3. In your heart of hearts, when you continue to see such horrific acts being perpetrated in the name of Islam by men and women who claim to be devout Muslims and use your own sacred texts to back up their actions, do you question the validity of your Islamic faith, your Muslim identity? In other words, “Are you finally reaching a crisis point in your faith?”

In short, it’s time to ask Muslims everywhere, “Why do you remain a Muslim?”

It’s time for Muslims to ask themselves, “Why do I remain a Muslim?”

As an Orthodox Christian, I believe we offer the Way, the Truth and the Life through the Orthodox Gospel of Jesus Christ. To all Muslims everywhere I offer this challenge: If you claim to be striving to live in truth and in a way pleasing to God, “come and see” what the Orthodox Christian Faith is all about. You will find a Light and Life you never knew existed.

But there is another aspect to this “crisis of faith” you should by now be going through. 

We believe that the human conscience is a divine gift from God placed in every human heart. If your conscience is nagging at you, telling you that there has to be something terribly wrong with Islam if so many of its most devout adherents are committing murder in the name of God, then you simply must obey your conscience and seek answers. You are obligated to that small voice telling you to “get out.” Your religion places a huge stigma on apostasy, and as you probably know, even prescribes death for those who leave Islam or insult Muhammad. Why is that? That should even further prove its falsity to you.

Do you not know that even according to the Quran, Jesus (Isa) is bestowed with greater honor from God than Muhammad? Jesus worked miracles, raised the dead, and ascended bodily into heaven, whereas Muhammad did none of these things. 

It’s time to leave falsehood and turn to truth. It’s time to learn about Jesus Christ as His Church has always known Him and proclaimed Him, “full of grace and truth.” 

This is the same Church which your religion and forbears have relentlessly persecuted since Islam expanded out of the Arabian peninsula and began waging jihad against the world. Yet this same Church, by the grace of God, stands ready to embrace and receive you as a friend and brother or sister, if you repent of Islam, turn away from it, and turn to Jesus Christ.

It’s time for all you Muslims of good conscience to show real courage, bravery, integrity and repentance, leave your former religion, which you know in your heart is false, and turn to Jesus Christ in the Orthodox Church, who offers you the true Way of Light and Life.


  1. Michael Kinsey says

    A breath of fresh is taken in, when reading this faith inspired, good willed appeal to the sadly deceived descendants of people who were once mostly Christians. Only a god of male lust would offer 72 innocent women as sex toys for all eternity, for a man who would kill himself with many innocents because they were of the people Islam calls enemies.This is criminal insanity, not holy scripture.You have to bury the one talent everyone has been given, a conscience, to believe this Islamic writing is from a Holy God., I see it as the 1st horsemen of the Apocalypse.

    • Monk James says

      In his introduction to this essay, George Michalopulos writes (among other more useful things):

      ‘…the United States, under the guidance of our president (who has familial ties to the Muslim Brotherhood), is preparing military action….’

      This is a low blow and well beneath GM’s dignity, not to mention the dignity of his readership.

      Solid arguments can never be based on such tacky and tenuous implications, and really ought not to include them, even indirectly, since trying to provoke hysteria is not at all helpful to rational discourse.

      Perhaps GM could rewrite this and edit out the nonsense?

      • Will Harrington says

        Monk James. Now you have created a tricky situation as far as debate goes. Yes, George made an assertion that he did not support with documentation. You answered this with an ad hominem calling George’s argument nonsense and George becomes someone trying to whip up hysteria. There is only one way to settle this. Dueling documentation, and….GO!

        • Monk James says

          Will Harrington (August 30, 2013 at 11:59 am) says :
          ‘Monk James. Now you have created a tricky situation as far as debate goes. Yes, George made an assertion that he did not support with documentation. You answered this with an ad hominem calling George’s argument nonsense and George becomes someone trying to whip up hysteria. There is only one way to settle this. Dueling documentation, and….GO!’

          Will Harrington needs to go back to Logic 101 and learn the categories of fallacy.

          By implying a ‘guilty by association’ characteristic to Barack Obama, George Michalopulos used an ad hominem fallacy to bolster his argument. That had less than nothing to do with documentation since — even if it were true that some of BO’s relatives have ‘ties to the Muslim Brotherhood’ — such attestation would still tell us nothing about BO himself or the de/merits of his actions. That’s a classic ad hominem.

          On the other hand, by identifying this flaw in GM’s logic and by postulating a reason for such rhetoric, I fell into no fallacy at all, but merely pointed out that his argument was ill served by this error, and that he’d do well to eliminate it in favor of a more solid position.

          • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

            Monk James. Obama has a Kenyan cousin by the name of Odinga who allied with the country’s Muslims in a “Memorandum of Understanding” that promised Sharia Law and the suppression of Christianity. Obama campaigned for this cousin in Kenya to the point that Kenya kicked him out. His cousin then lost the election but then turned to violence until he was bought off by being appointed Prime Minister.


            And that’s the type of renewed Caliphate foreign policy that Obama brought with him into the Presidency. That’s why his hireling couldn’t keep from letting the internal attitude spill over into a public joke:

            “With people being killed, Christians in particular being targeted, churches being destroyed, what’s the President’s red line in Egypt?” White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest was asked by a journalist at a press conference last week, to which he replied “Well, I didn’t bring my red pen out with me today.”


            The American Center for Law and Justice pointed out that no one in the briefing room reacted to the “red pen” quip and the group accused the administration of making jokes at a very serious time when people and children are dying.

            “The room was silent – not a chuckle from a single journalist in the White House briefing room – dead silence,” the ACLJ observed. “Christian persecution is no joke.”

            Obama couldn’t be hired to be his own SS bodyguard, because he could never pass a federal background check since he was born to radicals, raised as a radical, and has always chosen to surround himself with (and to fund and be funded by) such extermist people.


            There’s absolutely nothing in Obama’s background to suggest he should be some type of moderate that you insist that more informed people prove that he isn’t.

            Any “success” from what should be “our” (Christian, American, or simply Western) point of view will probably be misteps on Obama’s part due to his over eagerness to push Islam without openly declaring his allegiance yet.


            Obama’s entire plan to bring the Muslim Brotherhood to power had laid the seeds of its destruction. The insistence on having Muslim Brotherhood members at the Cairo speech, the demand that Mubarak step down, the urging of rushed elections that benefited the Muslim Brotherhood; the entire process by which Obama helped the Muslim Brotherhood come to power became its indictment.

            The Muslim Brotherhood’s violent past was ugly, but terrorism is not the ultimate offense in the Muslim world. Muslims support terrorism when fighting foreigners or foreign influences. Treason, the willingness to become a foreign influence, is the ultimate crime.

            If the Egyptian legal system, that the Muslim Brotherhood tried and failed to destroy, succeeds in convicting the Muslim Brotherhood of serving foreign interests in the court of public opinion, it will have dealt it a serious blow that the Brotherhood will spend a long time recovering from.

            In Washington, Obama still continues misreading events as a military coup. The protesters parading around Cairo with Islamic photoshops of his face picked up from American conservative sites are a minor irritant to be dismissed with another of his condescending speeches as if they were Tea Party members. The problem is tackled with arbitrary denials of foreign aid, pressure phone calls and a touch of diplomatic isolation.

            And the generals and liberals are laughing to themselves, the way that the Muslim Brotherhood leaders used to at their cleverness in tricking Obama. But the Brothers aren’t laughing anymore since Obama became the weight around their ankles pulling them down. And they can’t even let go of him because they have no other leverage except international pressure.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Monk James, the Pres. has stated his empathy for Islam in writing and in his speeches numerous times.

      • nit picker says

        Monk James,

        Historically, Monastics have been known to be martyrs for the faith. Being tortured, imprisoned, exiled…you however…well, maybe it’s best not to go there.

        God bless google search!! Mr. Harrington, Nothing tricky about it at all, you just type a few key words into the box, press return and choose from among the most relevant results. All in all took me about five minutes – 10 to 15 if you actually want to read the articles and check the citations that they use.

        • Monk James says

          nit picker (August 31, 2013 at 2:29 am) says:

          ‘Historically, Monastics have been known to be martyrs for the faith. Being tortured, imprisoned, exiled…you however…well, maybe it’s best not to go there.’


          Yes, indeed. And many priests, bishops, and laity ‘have been known to be martyrs for the faith. Being tortured, imprisoned, exiled….’

          So? And Nit Picker’s point being?

          Oh, yes — he directed this suggestion of an implication at me: ‘you however…well, maybe it’s best not to go there.’

          Since, like most of the laity, NP appears to be unfamiliar with monastic practice in general (not that such ignorance prevents him and others from fulsomely expressing themselves on the subject), and he is obviously unacquainted with the details of my own life and circumstances, we have to wonder why he’d begin to contrast me with or compare me to ‘martyrs for the faith’.

          If we aspire to be Christians at all, as we sinners repent and grow in God’s love, we’re all martyrs and witnesses to our Lord Jesus Christ as we hold to our faith in Him and share it with others.

          So, yes, NB aptly restrains himself from pursuing his ‘insinuendo’ (as Mayor Richard J. Daley of Chicago was neologistically wont to say) when he writes ‘maybe it’s best not to go there’.

          Definitely, it was prudent of NB to stop short on such a pointless pursuit, especially since there’s no ‘there’ there.

          • My point being Monk James is that are you a child to be offended by someone as insignificant and unimportant as me? What are you worried about? Your honor? Your reputation?Are you serious?

            I didn’t compare you to anyone, let alone a “martyr of the faith.” I said that historically they were. In many cases they still are. The fact that you choose to play the devil’s advocate against a point of view that is easily searchable and verifiable using google search is disturbing.

            If you and I were living in the first thousand years of Christianity and the internet existed as well as this website and George Michalopulos wrote concerning Netorius and his agenda and I were to post links about Nestorius’ relations and how it verifies that he indeed does have ulterior motives and you continued to attack George M. how would I be unreasonable in assuming there is something wrong with the way you perceive the world, your relationship to it’s creator and your place in it?

            Your writing bears witness to you, just as mine bears witness to me.

      • Here, Monk James: Maybe this is not quite so “tacky”:

        Walid Shoebat: Confirmed: Obama’s Brother In Bed With Terrorists (With photos and videos.)


      • ChristineFevronia says

        What I find so curious about this entire spectacle is the sequence of events:

        1. Barack Obama makes a bizarre statement supposedly off-cuff: “You use chemical weapons, and we’re going to talk about military strikes.”
        2. Shortly thereafter, chemical weapons are used in Syria. This is only the FOURTH time since the end of World War I that chemical weapons have been used in the entire world.
        3. The Muslim Brotherhood (others here have touched briefly on Malik Obama’s involvement in IDO and its ties to the MB) blames the Syrian regime, and so does Barack Obama. Although there are valid reasons to doubt US intelligence, it seems to be full speed ahead to show the world that the US is supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and is taking sides with them.

        But what I find more disturbing is the lack of concerted effort on the part of Orthodox Christians in America to come forth and speak of the horrific martrydom of our Orthodox brothers and sisters and to take a stand. Where is the delegation of Orthodox leaders going to the UN and the White House to verbalize the plight of our martyred and persecuted brethren? Where are the bishops in their efforts to organize prayer vigils in their dioceses for the souls of the departed? Where are our hearts, brothers and sisters, that we have failed to organize phone banks within our Church to make certain every single one of our members calls their Congressmen to speak up for the persecuted Church?

        Brothers and sisters, we are on the verge of another war we cannot win. But it’s not too late. Speak up, please. Email your Congressmen and ask to speak with their staff about Orthodox Christianity and how this war has affected the Church. Speak up for those who are no longer alive. Email, call, write! And most of all, we must pray–not just at home, but also on the steps of our state capital buildings.

  2. Keynsian Economics says

    I hope we are not going into uncertain conflict because of Keynsian economics.

    Meanwhile in the news, see

  3. Patrick Henry Reardon says

    You know, George, with respect to the Syrian situation I have been reflecting on a sober thought:

    If we had elected John McCain as President, we would be at war in Syria right now.

    • geo michalopulos says

      I’ve had to come to grips with that myself, Fr. While I believe that McCain is a warmongering neocon, I’m not so sure we would be in the same domestic mess we are at presently. Obama has been a masterful political operator who because of his skills was able to push through two massive bailouts (GM/Chrysler and Stimulus II) as well as Obamacare. These were huge victories for him that place him as one of the most effective presidents of all time.

      I simply don’t see McCain being capable of pulling off massive political wins like that. It’s also possible that the Syrian war might taken different turns. (That’s why I don’t like hypothetical/alternative histories.) Let us consider this possibility: the election of Obama gave enormous oxygen to the Salafist/Muslim Brotherhood movement. We need to remember that Obama’s first foreign trip was to Cairo where he gave a fabulous (in the negative sense of the word) speech at Al-Azhar University, crediting them for igniting the Renaissance in Europe. Since then Islamist groups have found moral and technical support from the US.

      I guess what I’m asking is this: would there have even been a Salafist/MB uprising in Syria had Obama not been president? I think that case could certainly be made.

      Anyway, point taken. McCain continues to act in an unhinged neoconservative manner.

      • Patrick Henry Reardon says

        The United States government and the American press continue to treat the conflict in Syria as a cvil war.

        When I spoke to President Assad two years ago, he insisted that it was no such thing. He has always regarded the war as a conflict initiated and controlled by Saudi Arabia.

        Our government and press have still not figured it out.

        The Israelis know it, however. Check out:

        • to Peter P. and Bp. Tikhon says

          You ask, who is Prince Bandar? Well, he has an extensive Wikipedia article.

          also, the official version at

          A lot of people, including me, have met him when he was in Washington and he has had particularly close ties to the Bush family. The Saudis have held gigantic free meet and greet events at the Washington Convention Centers open to the public and he and other princes and dignitaries had ordinary conversations with ordinary public that showed up. Did I mention the opportunity to taste authentic Saudi cuisine? He is very congenial. Most people are familiar with him from the Michael Moore film I would say that a number of Presidents have had embarrassingly close ties to the man..

          PS. Vladika Tikhon, if you are reading this, I ran across my Farsi text from college today and, sure nuff, as this was still before the revolution, its ENGLISH title is Modern Persian Intermediate Level Vol.I but its Farsi title is Farsi! Department opf Near Eastern Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich, 1979.c. Gernot Ludwig Windfuhr, So there ya have it. When the ruling family has ancient Persian pretensions, they like to hear their language called not as they call it, but as their nostalgia of history dictates.

          • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

            “to Peter P. and Bp Tikhon!!” “Persian is an English word; “farsi” is not. LIkewise, “German” is an English word. “Deutsch” is not.
            I don’t recall asking who a “Prince Bambar” is. Did I? When and where. Or maybe you just wanted to drop his name as an acquaintance of yours, as if such an acquaintance might have some cachet or other?
            You should also be aware that Persians are not the best judges of correct ENGLISH language usage, The association of Persian teachers has asked that the Persian word, “farsi” NOT be used in English.
            Iranian Persian is called “Farsi’ in Persian. Afghan Persian is called “Dari” in Persian. Tajikistan Persian is called “Tajiki” in Persian.

            • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

              I’d like to ;point out the Shah’s decree that Persia (the state) should henceforth be called IRAN. this had no effect or implication for the Persian language which is spoken in Iran, Afghanistan (first of two official languages) and in Tajikistan. In Japan, they speak Japanese, but the Japanese word for Japanese is “nihon-go.”
              I feel that when anyone refers to Persian as “Farsi” in English, this says more about them than they might like to hear.

            • Dear to the Lord Vladika Tikhon says

              Dear to the Lord Vladika Tikhon,

              Sorry my address was unclear. The first part of the message was to Peter P and the PS was to you. I should have delineated more clearly or written two posts. It was Peter who asked the question about the Saudi Prince Bandar. Btw, I didn’t suggest any personal relationship with the Prince but rather to show that he made himself and his culture accessible to the D.C. public including ordinary folk like me. One of my children spent the most time talking to him of all my visiting family and was rewarded with a keen book on fauna of Saudi Arabia.

              I tried to point out to you that I studied Farsi when the Shah was still in power. I think you got that. Some Shah relatives were in my class as the class was to fulfill the language requirement at my college and I was literally the only one in a medium sized class that had never studied the language before when I started it. The textbook was oriented toward Farsi of Iran. I think you have to travel to some specialist place like Indiana U or an Army or State Department language school to study Dari or Tajik languages.

              For the folks on the forum unfamiliar with such things, the following links to these differing but related languages:


              Anticipating corrections or questions on spelling, please see:


              By the way, see the anti-Russian Orthodox content at the following website


              If you want to characterize me one way or another, go ahead. It will help delineate my sinful character. As a sinner, I can appreciate all the help and prayers coming my way.

              • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                Dear “Dear to the Lord Vladika Tikhon”,
                “Persian” is the English word for the language spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan, which IN PERSIAN is called “farsi” (pronounced fawr-SEE) in Iran, ‘dari” (pronounced daw-REE in Afghanistan, and “tajiki ” (pronounced tah-jee-kEE in Tajikstan). Those are three variations of Persian language, not classified by philologists or linguistic scientists as separatee languages, but as variations on one language called Persian in English. Now I am an American: my first language is English; my second language is German; my third language is Russian, and my fourth language is Persian. I do not pose as the authority on the Persian language in any of its varieties; however, I refer you to an organization which IS an authority:
                The Society of Iranian Studies.
                It has issued the following statement:
                “‘The Society for Iranian Studies, which is the professional organization of teachers and students in the field, would like to draw your attention to the correct English term for the language spoken by most Iranians, which is Persian. In recent years some English speakers referring to the Persian language have used the word “Farsi.” This is confusing and has no basis in the history of the English language. The English word is “Persian.” “Farsi” is the Persian word for that language as “Francais” is the French word for the language spoken in France and “Deutsch” is the German word for the language spoken in Germany. We are not sure where this usage of “Farsi” arose, but the Society urges English speakers to use the word “Persian” when referring to the language in question.”
                PS There are no capital letters in Persian.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Father, you admitted this was a civil war; not at the time you were there, but certainly more recently. You are also a Democrat. How can you presume to know what a Republican leader would do?

      The sad reality is that many “Christians” in/from this area do not think or behave the way we do. Please do not forget that MP’s buddies, fellow “Christians,” terrorized my family and violated my home. Why? Because I had the audacity to disagree with MP. Me, a woman of all things, with no standing in the Church. This is the culture we’re dealing with. The person who admitted financing this effort (O.F.F.C., i.e. Old Friend From the Chicago Days), is very well connected in our community. He has a tribal mentality indicative of many who live in Syria. Christians benefited from the Assad family and now find themselves holding the “short end of the stick.” Someone once suggested to me that they are “passion bearers,” as opposed to martyrs. That seems right to me. We need to pray for our bothers and sisters in Christ without romanticizing them. Their decision to back Assad was a pragmatic and a political one: Assad represented stability and protection. . . Not anymore.

      • Patrick Henry Reardon says

        Gail asks,”How can you presume to know what a Republican leader would do?”

        I did not speak of a “Republican leader,” Gail.

        I mentioned only Senator McCain, and Senator McCain has made his policy on Syria very clear on a daily basis.

        There is no presumption on my part.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          I think President (Senator??) McCain would have acted sooner, BEFORE the vacuum was created that succeeded in sucking in every extremist known to man. President Assad admitted that “the economy—chiefly widespread poverty—was at the heart of the problem in Syria.” Too bad he chose to ignore the problem, as he defined it, and instead went on the attack. We need to stop pretending that we have some kind of kismet going on with dictators. They do what they do and we (the West) do not understand it. – I keep thinking about Kent State and how horrified we were that 4 students were killed and 9 others wounded. Can you IMAGINE seeing 50,000 to 100,000 of your countrymen killed at the hands of your president? It’s unfathomable. There is no way we can support this and call ourselves human. I do NOT believe for one second that our brothers and sisters in Christ are OK with this. They are caught up in a political nightmare to which WE contributed by openly supporting Assad. Let’s stop pretending this is a “Muslim” thing and face the fact that it’s is a political war between the “haves” and the “have nots.”

          • Gail,

            You are correct about the Kent State reaction and how the public would react if the dead at that time were even a tiny fraction here as they are in Syria. However, there is a significant difference when violence and the use of weaponry come into play. It is here that your comparison falls apart.

            Dictator (and perhaps even ruthless dictator) though he may be, I tire of hearing about the horror of Assad “killing his own people.” Do we really think the reaction of our own populace to the protesters killed at Kent State would have been the same had the they taken up arms to overthrow the government, attacked governmental personnel, institutions, military facilities, and gotten killed by troops in the process? Again, do we really think our own populace would respond negatively, accusing our president of “killing his own people,” if the radical Muslims (or any other group for that matter) who are U.S. citizens in our own midst took up arms to overthrow the government of the United States?

            Your antipathy for Assad and the tribal mentality that seems to be so prevalent in that part of the world is thoroughly understandable. Your observation about it being about the “haves” and “have-nots” is probably true as well. But your comparison here doesn’t hold water.

            The debate going on as we speak is far less about dictatorships and violations of international law (things we tolerate and even encourage on a regular basis) than it is about U.S. politics and international geopolitical interests. I very much wish I could say that moral concerns, concern for justice and world peace, and the defense of human dignity are driving the debate; but they are not – not here, not in Syria, and not in the halls of power throughout the world.

            • gail sheppard says


              My point was that the situation might have been resolved had Assad addressed the problem, as he defined it, earlier. These “poverty driven demonstrators” (his words, not mine) had nothing but bottles and sticks. He used artillery. Or rather his military did. It’s concerning that he tried to mitigate his own involvement by saying something to the effect that the Defense Ministry “sort of got away from him!”

              Why put parentheses around a major point, as if it is a minor after thought? Assad is A RUTHLESS DICTATOR, as was his father before him. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I have NOTHING good to say about ruthless dictators. I have no use for them under any circumstances. I think it’s appalling that so many people have been killed. You are free to disagree, but nothing like that could happen here because the American people wouldn’t stand for it. Can you imagine Obama firing on demonstrators and then saying the National Guard acted against his will?! Look at the civil rights movement. When 47 people were killed and 2,000 were hurt, we had had enough. We enacted laws to protect them. Look at the Vietnam demonstrations. Was a foreign war worth the death of a handful of students? Hell no. We ended the war. We don’t like indiscriminate bloodshed on our soil. NOTHING is worth mowing down our own people. Any American president would willingly step down to avoid it. May God bless this wonderful country of ours!

              International law is predicated upon cooperation and agreement between nations. It also presumes that we will collectively act when a line is crossed. Sadly, we’re not there yet.

              I wish the U.S. had flexed its muscles sooner to resolve the situation. Not helping to mitigate between the “poverty stricken demonstrators” and Assad, whose own in-law (Rami Makhlouf, the business arm of the Assad regime) purportedly owned 60% of the economy, was a mistake in my opinion. These “demonstrators” became desperate, which created a vacuum that the Muslim Brotherhood and other nefarious factions were all to happy to fill. The situation has become so volatile that we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Gail, you’ll get no quarrel from me regarding the ruthlessness of Assad or his father. They were ruthless in every sense of the word. The problem is that we Americans tend to see things through our Westernized, rule-of-law, Christian eyes. The nations of the Middle East cannot be ruled according to constitutional law or The Federalist Papers. The people are simply too tribal and prone to violence. Hence dictatorship is the only way of keeping the peace.

                • Very true. And, at least, Assad and the nation of Syria under his rule have historically allowed the Christian minorities to coexist (since the 1970 coup that brought the al-Assad family into power). Coexistence is something that even the supposedly more enlightened European nations have trouble allowing; ask the Roma (gypsy) people of Europe about that. The bottom line with this whole Syrian situation boils down to Shi’ite versus Sunni differences within Islam. The ruling party of Syria, the secular Alawite al-Assad family, are Shi’ite; of the warlike Alawite sect of Islam which represents about 12% of the Syrian population with the rest being mostly Sunni. If the truth was known, probably Saudi Arabia with its basically Sunni population is behind the terrorists groups in Syria and supply them with funding and weapons. Of course, the main allies of Saudi Arabia and the terrorist groups against the Syria government are probably the US and Israel.

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  George, you’re absolutely right about me. In fact, I am so deluded in this respect, I actually think “Westernized, rule-of-law” = Christian. Our laws are based on Judeo-Christian principles. 76% of our nation identify as Christians, but for whatever reason, we are not considered a “Christian nation.” In contrast, around 50% (statistics vary widely) of Russians consider themselves Christian and they get the honor. Seems to me we should start making noise about how we identify ourselves.

                  • Michael Bauman says

                    Gail, while I don’t entirely agree with George, I think he has a point. Rule of law as we know it is a relic (unfortunately) of the Roman Republic bequeathed to the Roman Empire in both its pagan and Christian forms. Rule of law requires a great deal of force to maintain as all law comes down to the willingness and the ability of the ruling government to enforce it.

                    In the West, rule of law was, thanks primarily to the British Empire, largely inculcated into the minds of the people and tended to be, more or less, self regulating. That is a learned behavior brought about by sticks as well as carrots.

                    Christianity provides the only faith that allows for true self-government. Where the Christian ethos of self-control, charity and even ascesis does not exist, neither does the rule of law for long.

                    Notice the prevalence of Empire in the history of the rule of law. Not an accident. The American experiment in which there is no central authority centered on a state church to maintain that rule has failed everywhere else it has been tried and is in the process of total collapse here.

                    Our current crop of leaders are not far removed from the war-lords of Somalia. They are just polished up a little bit better.

                    We “Christians” of this land are mostly out for ourselves just like everybody else. The first commandment of our country’s state church has always been “do for yourself first”.

                    The American Revolution was largely about who would control the economy, just as the Civil War was. Now that is being a bit cynical, but the results of our experiment have always tended that direction with our share of government brutality against any who would buck the system.

                    For instance, I have seen credible published reports that President Wilson had a couple of the suffragettes who marched on Washington rounded up without warrant or legal reason and tortured because they had the temerity to defy him. (can’t remember the citations right now).

                    Don’t kid yourself. Brutality has always been part of governing. St. Irene after all had the eyes of her own son gouged out because he was challenging her rule. Constantine refused to be baptized until he was on his death bed, in part, because he knew he could not rule without clear violations of Christian teaching.

                    In fact, none of us are capable of living the rule of law without some pretty big guns and lots of brutality in the background.

                    So we use even greater brutality, naked, arrogant and ruthless to bring another country under the “rule of law”?

                    Everywhere we have tried that in the last 60 years, it has resulted in the decimation of any Christian populace as well as an even more entrenched and brutal dictatorship. And don’t kid yourself about Israel either. They want the indigenous Christians out of Israel just as badly as they want the Moslems. They just can’t be as open about it yet.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Michael, as for the rule of law, it’s even more fundamental than it being a “relic” of Rome although that is certainly true. Tacitus noticed that among the Northern European tribes the respect for “law” as defined by them was paramount. That’s one reason why these ethnicities could self-organize throughout history, regardless of whether they were pagan or Christian. Part of the reason is because people who live north of the tropics have developed skills and genetic mutations which mandate nuclear families coexisting with other nuclear families (as opposed to patriarchal tribes which resulted in incessant violence as evidenced by the Hebrews in the OT and the various Arab tribes today). Companionate monogamy based on romantic attraction was one phenomenon that developed only in Europe as a requisite for family formation. In the tropical latitudes marriage was more contractural, mostly because of polygamy which devalued the status of women. Harsher climates also made monogamy the only feasible marital relationship.

                    • Tim R. Mortiss says

                      I dunno, George; Zechariah and Elizabeth seemed to be companionate enough, same maybe with Joachim and Anna and others, or maybe that’s just my Northern European “genetic” romanticist mutations coloring everything!

                      Rule of law was in fact of importance to the Romans (I’ll say in passing).

                      As I read this blog over the months, I keep thinking of the image of Jacob Marley’s ghost, of all things. Just the image, not the direct relevance: he comes through the door with an endless chain forged of strongboxes. So it is here– there is a putative subject matter to Monomachos, but so many folks are dragging these chains of strongboxes, each containing pet theories of all kinds, religious, historical, anthropological; irredentist concoctions, ancient grievances, you name it. All opened in their turn and their contents let loose, impossible to prove, impossible to refute.

                      Can’t get the picture out of my mind lately!

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Point taken. However within Judaism, the larger point against romantic companionship still stands. For one thing, polygamy was still accepted during the time you mention and more importantly, the male had the absolute prerogative for divorce. In rabbinic tradition, the Talmud, and others, a man can divorce his wife for something as trivial as “spoiling his toast.” We find the same Semitic male prerogative in Islam where all a man has to do to divorce his wife is say “I divorce thee” three times.

                      There are prosaic reasons why European cultures developed companionate marriage and eroticized it. One of the reasons is that the harsher topography and climatology of Europe made it next to impossible to support more than one wife. Likewise, being confined to close quarters during a longer and colder winter made it necessary that husband and wife love each other. Also a man’s upper body strength was needed to push a plow to plant seeds in an often unforgiving soil. Among sub-Saharan Africans on the other hand, the same amount of calories could be gotten by engaging in light, scratch-the-surface agriculture which could be performed by women. In this case, all a man had to do was lean on his spear and watch his wives eke plant and harvest (and make sure the children don’t wander too far away). Plus it didn’t take too much effort to build a straw hut for each wife and her progeny.

                      Among the Semitic desert tribes who were nomadic pastoralists, one found more or less the same arrangement. His wives would take care of the sheep and goats while the patriarch would range about protecting against marauders. Like the African male, all he had to do was make sure that each wife had her own tent. Again in both instances, building a straw hut or a tent required very little effort or resources. And in either case, there was no need for anything beyond that because winters were far milder than in the more northern climes. (Yes I know that nights are cold in the desert but building a permanent house was not an option for pastoralists who had to be mobile because they had to follow their herds.) Like the Plains Indians, the “houses” of desert nomads were made from the skins of animals.

                      Building a small, permanent cabin however in European climes was a tall order, often requiring the efforts and capital of more than one man. It didn’t matter whether it was wattle-and-daub, adobe, stone, or wood.

                • George, brilliant. Finally someone says it– republican democracy is not a one-size-fits-all model. Monarchs, dictators, and other strong executives are often necessary to civilize, or at least restrain, a people who are violent, backward (in the real sense), tribal, and otherwise barbarous.

                  • Gail Sheppard says

                    The Syrian people are civilized, Issac. They have stores in Damascus that rival Rodeo Drive. It’s the leaders who are uncivilized. Did Metropolitan Philip target me (and others) because we were “violent and backward?” Hardly. He called my parish, verified my address, told the deacon to tell me “back off,” and then had someone vandalize my home, if those who admitted to paying for it are to be believed. Why? Because I told him to reinstate our Bishops and to step down. THIS is barbarian, Issac. He and Assad are cut from the same cloth. It’s all about holding onto power them. Do you know how many threats I received from his supporters? People with influence and money. People who said that months may go by and then when I least expect it, they will act. People telling me they have “seen the back of my head.” Can you imagine the fear I felt every time my young daughter went to school with those men sitting out in front of our house in their cars from morning to night. Her father actually moved his office to the garage to take down license plates. We installed security cameras. We contacted the police. It was horrifying to know that our FATHER IN CHRIST was responsible for orchestrating all this. Why? Because I threaten his power. I am not making this up, my friend. No doubt I will receive even more threats if George publishes this. But every word I say is true.

    • As one who voted for McCain I must agree with Fr. Reardon. I wonder if McCain would be quite so strident if he were actually responsible for the results. Much like candidate Obama, it is all-too-easy to criticize from the sidelines and shoot off one’s mouth about what should be done. Reality seems to set in only when coupled with responsibility, and as a legacy Republican it sickens me to watch what seem always to be the same tired old ignorant faces (McCain and Graham foremost among them) chattering on about how killing yet more people and immersing ourselves in yet another intervention is good for our country and the promotion of peace in the world. (By God, there is shooting going on! We must take a side and join the fight!“)

      There is, sadly. a time for war, and this is not one of those times. When we are too stupid even to identify the enemy it might be just the time to hold our fire and gain some perspective. (But Assad is a dictator and a friend of the Russians. We must fight for democracy!) What idiots all!

      I pray for my brethren in the Middle East and that our own country would finally come to its senses.

      By God’s grace may the vote today in Britain stem the tide of conventional ‘wisdom,’ the president’s supposed “red line” notwithstanding. I remain highly skeptical that such a line has even been crossed – at least by the government of Syria. We can only hope that the international cover for this madness is in the process of being removed.

    • Lola J. Lee Beno says

      You had to reach back to the 1st election to ask this question. A more relevant question would be . . . what if Romney had been elected and Obama denied his second term, during which the conflict with Syria is developing? Because this would obviously be taking place during Romney’s term.

      That said, I agree that McCain would have been a lot more quick to send in the ships and whatnot.

  4. This happened in 2005 and most of the contents of this letter is supported by Snopes.

    Arab mentality
    By Dr. Arieh Eldad an M.D. at Hadassah Hosp Hospital in Israel

    I was instrumental in establishing the “Israeli National Skin Bank”, which is the largest in the world. The National Skin Bank stores skin for every day needs as well as for war time or mass casualty situations.

    This skin bank is hosted at the Hadassah Ein Kerem University hospital in Jerusalem where I was the Chairman of plastic surgery. This is how I was asked to supply skin for an Arab woman from Gaza , who was hospitalized in Soroka Hospital in Beersheva, after her family burned her. Usually, such atrocities happen among Arab families when the women are suspected of having an affair.

    We supplied all the needed Homografts for her treatment. She was successfully treated by my friend and colleague, Prof. Lior Rosenberg and discharged to return to Gaza . She was invited for regular follow-up visits to the outpatient clinic in Beersheva.
    One day she was caught at a border crossing wearing a suicide belt.

    She meant to explode herself in the outpatient clinic of the hospital where they saved her life.

    It seems that her family promised her that if she did that, they would forgive her.

    This is only one example of the war between Jews and Muslims in the Land of Israel . It is not a territorial conflict. This is a civilizational conflict, or rather a war between civilization & barbarism.

    I have never written before asking to please forward onwards, so that as many as possible can understand radical Islam and what awaits the world if it is not stopped.

    Dr Arieh Eldad

  5. Islam in America:

    I don’t agree with these Protestant activists in provoking the Muslims, but the scene displays what may be in our future.

    • Oh dear-there were no arrests? The police did nothing? That’s disturbing. I think I’d take legal action against the police department first, then look individually for each person seen throwing stones caught on camera . . . That’s not just people yelling back and forth they are literally throwing stones!

    • I previously resided in Dearborn, Michigan (Warren and Theisen area) near the Islamic Center. I don’t believe that those with placards were provocateurs We do have free speech and must be protected. The Constituional rights of those Christians were violated. The Police acted the same way before when I resided there in Dearborn.

      If one studies, the history of the Muslim population growth in Dearborn then they would understand how they became a political force which can control they City Government and the Security of Christians in that City.

      I am an Orthodox Christian who resided there and watched and observed behaviors which led up to this behavior and also the Police who gave lame excuses and backed up the Muslim population and this Festival and previous festivals.

      I worry about the Nuns that reside near the Muslim Center on Warren Ave.i.e., if they still do. and if their 24hr. devotions are still being prayed.

      Wake up! America. Look at this film. Yes, they all seemed to be children doing the violence but there were also adults in the crowd. The Muslims were “smart” they got the kids to do the dirty work of the adults and this is how all the maladaptive behaviors are learned and the violence will continue to grow.

      • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

        I know that area, RJ. As a boy I used to take the old Tireman line street car out Oakman Blvd to get near my Grandparents’ (rhe Schumann’s) house on Theissen, with my mother who used to periodically do my grandmother’s washing and ironing. You declare that some people or other carrying placards were not provocateurs….That’s very unusual for placard bearers—-provoking a reaction is what it’s all about.
        Oh, is Dearborn in worse or better shape than Christian Detroit? long as we’re going to get down on that level. Why do you object to the ELECTORATE becoming a political force, controlling the city government and the security of the citizens of that city?
        Those who imagine that Muslims don’t know the Gospel are truly in the dark! There is a Muslim school of thought that believes and teaches that abortions may be done ONLY before the sixth month of pregnancy. They base that on their idea that the soul only enters the fetus in the sixth month, which is “PROVED” by St. John the Baptist leaping in his mother’s womb upon meeting the mother of the Messiah. They claim that is the only Biblical, hence, holy, evidence that there is a soul in the womb, and it is NOT before the sixth month. As we would say, “For it is written…..’

        • Vladyko:

          What in the heck is your point comparing Detroit and Dearborn? I just asked to study the History of Dearborn because of the UTube presentation. Oh! nothing wrong about having political strength but its how you apply it.

          I still invite you to go to your old neighborhood with Klobuk and Panagia without contacting the local Imam or the sort and go to the shops and neighborhood families and talk about Orthodoxy being the one and true fath and Islam is not. I need to see an experienced Orthodox leader in this area how we should handle teaching the Gospel to non-Christians.

          It is easy to remind us how we should behave towards others and remember Christian history, but I really invite you to show action away from your desk and let us see if the Dearborn Police will protect you or arrest you and come up with a lame charge because they were forced by the Islamic community.

          • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

            Is there no Assyrian/Chaldean or Antiochian witness in Dearborn? i thought there was, RJ. I thought Chaldeans were “all over the place” in Detroit. i’m sure they and the Antiochian Orthodox and Melkites as well have a much better understanding of what is Christian WITNESS and what is Christian provocation. Why not set up a soup kitchen or the like yourself. i’m eighty years old and really beyond that sort of thing. it’s my eighty years, ‘RJ”, that keep me at home after a lifetime of service in the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, and The Orthodox Church in America. Dearborn, RJ, is not my old neighborhood, nor did I ever claim it was. I grew up not far from where Eminem grew up, not out in Dearborn out Detroit’s WEST side.
            Actually, i would expect the Dearborn police to protect me from unprovoked violence: it’s their job. But all police hate to have to support smart-alecks and show-offs. Don’t confuse showing off with witnessing to Our Lord!!! Some think it’s poor stewardship of my remaining time on earth to waste it talking to people of ill-will, but I’m not convinced of that yet…

        • Michael Kinsey says

          This experience of seeing a baby leap for joy in a womb is a part of my life. I for one, know, by experience it can happen. It was in a CSB church on Ainsworth, where Br, now Fr. John Tomasi’s wife was giving a teaching standing next to the light of the Father candle. I was sitting next to Br John and saw his baby girl, Lydia, jump for joy in his wife’s womb, I felt it, not just saw it. I knew the child was a girl, and told Br John. He was a frowning a bit, wondering how I knew his wife was pregnant. This happened twice, with another babe. I for certain knew the soul is present in the unborn children, and they were being murdered.If you have ever seen an a child run into the street in front of a car, the desire to save them from harm totally overwhelms you.The pro-life activists I know are still filled with this desire. Of course I also know the report in the Holy scripture is God’s Holy Truth.

  6. George Michalopulos says

    Saunca, the Crusades were a millennium ago and they were not foundational to Christianity. They are however foundational to the fallen state of humanity however, as is persecution, torture, slavery, genocide, etc. Jihad however is foundational to Islam, as is the taking of woman as slave-concubines, slavery, genocide, etc.

    These are profound differences. The teachings of Jesus and their reiteration by the Church Fathers led the West to try over the centuries to eradicate the problems above. They largely succeeded. The emancipation of women happened because of the premium on monogamy (among other things). The scientific method was developed in the Franciscan monasteries because Christ is the Logos and the universe was spoken by Him into existence. Etc.

  7. Carl Kraeff says

    Saunca–What you say is not true when it comes to source documents. The Muslim sacred texts encourage barbarism, while the Christian ones discourage it.

  8. Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

    The first crusade began in 1095 — over a thousand years after the appearance of Christianity. Within a hundred years of Mohammad’s death, Islam had amassed an empire from the Indus Valley to the Strait of Gibraltar — all of it by the sword. Enough said.

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      I don’t knock the Crusades, but I would point out that Islam amassing an empire by the sword is not unusual insofar as the use of the sword is concerned, this being the usual way of “amassing an empire”.

      On the other hand, the rise of the Arab empire is remarkable for its incredible speed and extent. We can be grateful that both the Arabs and Islam have been characterized by disunity from the first, actually.

  9. Saunaca, I propose that you read a history of the Crusades before you make shallow comments about them. Yes some people behaved badly, but the reason they went is that other people were behaving worse. Now two wrongs don’t make a right but the original intent of the Crusades were to rescue fellow Christians from the invading Muslims. Some people staked their entire fortunes to cross Europe and go down there. How many of us want to go to Syria or Egypt today, paying all our own expenses, to rescue our fellow Christians?

    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

      Nobody promised untold treasures or offered huge indulgences for every Muslim slain. Nevertheless, the First Crusaders set a very high standard for absolute blood thirstiness and contempt for human life. While the Greek Orthodox and Jewish communities were flourishing in their churches and synagogues under the Muslim conquerors, when the Christians won (as their own memoirs describe it, with relish and pride), the streets ran with blood up to the ankles of the Christians “rescuing” the inhabitants. They treated the Greek Christians EXACTLY as they treated Muslims, slaughtering them on the spot, including pregnant women, while the Jews were allowed to flee into their synagogues where they were allowed to be burnt alive. “Some people behaved badly?” No, that’s not true. Very few behaved well. The Christian Crusaders considered that “Infidel” (a word THEY made up) did not deserve to live. The Muslims learned a lot from the Crusaders indeed, and they still remember it. Yes some naive and ignorant sorts DID make sacrifices, but in the hopes of earthly and heavenly GAIN. It’s true they didn’t imagine attractive girl friends in heaven, though. The Latin clergy didn’t favor that sort of imagery at all, even then. How much more noble the Christians who dreamed of gates of pearl and streets of gold…

      • George Michalopulos says

        Your Grace, to say that the Greek Orthodox “flourished” under Islam before the First Crusade is quite a stretch. It did under the Arab Caliphate but when the Saracens took over it was another matter altogether. After all it was Alexius I Comnenus who set in motion the First Crusade. There’s an excellent book on this subject called The First Crusade: the Call from the East. It exposes much of the politically-correct mythology that we’ve long been subject to. One of the most egregious was that when Baldwin took Jerusalem, the blood-bath against the natives was unprecedented. In reality it wasn’t as universal as has long been portrayed nor as out of the ordinary as what took place anywhere else. By the generally accepted rules of military justice at the time, a city that surrendered was granted clemency whereas a city that resisted invasion could be put to the sword.

        I know the first-person accounts of the Crusaders bragged about rivers of blood but this was mostly propaganda for consumption back home, to gin up more support and recruitment purposes.

        • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

          I believe the Greek Orthodox of Jerusalem were flourishing there before the First Crusade, when they were treated exactly as infidels by the Crusaders. And yes, you’re right, Christianity ‘back home” NEEDED to hear of bloodshed and malice. Yes, Pope Urban did use the propaganda of Alexios Comnenos to wipe up a frenzy of Christian belligerence. Pope Urban definitely embellished with falsehoods the reports of the Greeks. Every Crusade was a Christian Jihad, and today’s westerners, claiming to be Christians, are in total denial that Christian peoples and armies provided the prototype for all the warlike offenses of the Muslims. Christianity was the teacher, if not the mentor, or the militant aspects of Islam. The peoples of Egypt and Syria in particular were familiar with the violence and bloodshed visited upon infidel “heretics”, such as Nestorians and Monophysites, not to mention how the Christians posiively gloried in tearing down pagan temples and monuments and libraries. WE need to heed our Saviour’s admonition about motes and beams in others’ eyes.

          • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

            “Every Crusade was a Christian Jihad, and today’s westerners, claiming to be Christians, are in total denial that Christian peoples and armies provided the prototype for all the warlike offenses of the Muslims. Christianity was the teacher, if not the mentor, or the militant aspects of Islam. ”

            Except that prophet Mo predated the Crusades by centuries. In fact big Mo had amazingly little knowledge of the OT or NT, the references to Jews and Christians and what they believe are so laugh inspiringly wrong. The idea that prophet Mo followed the prototype of the Crusades which hadn’t occured, or distant Byzantine imperial policies and methods of dealing with heretics, is amazingly flawed and biased. The militant aspects of Islam came straight from prophet Mo who added religious zeal to the ethics and practices of a brigand camp.

            • The idea that prophet Mo followed the prototype of the Crusades which hadn’t occured, or distant Byzantine imperial policies and methods of dealing with heretics, is amazingly flawed and biased. {Emphasis added. Ed.}

              Dear “Ladder” to Delusion,

              It appears that the quite exemplary martial festivities during New Rome’s 6th century CE (viz., pre-Islam), alluded to by His genuinely learned Grace, Bishop Tikhon, have somehow evaded the psychic radar array of your own erudition. An odd thing, this — and yet I think it may be explained easily enough. This continent-sized arid zone in your historical awareness can be directly attributed to the dizzying heights attained in the divine ascents coyly intimated by your nom de plume. (One selected to conceal your overly luminous identity, no doubt. You kindly spare us.) So it is merely to be expected that such “on the ground” historical realities and related cause and effect would simply be invisible to you from up there – mundane phenomena very, very far beneath the magical, exalted vistas on view from a noetic aerie as lofty and sublime as yours.

              Earth to Laddie: get a clue. You obviously know next to nothing about the early political history of the Eastern empire, or its emperors’ counter-productive war policies and their typical materialistic, anti-spiritual obsessions, or their often dubious and sometimes, arguably, even blasphemous priorities. Who do you think you’re snowing?
              “Amazingly” enough, given that it’s practically de rigueur in this joint (one would think that some of y’all’s learning curves might steepen just a bit wrt to perceiving this continually demonstrated fact), you’ve just publicly and ridiculously projected your own ignorance onto His Grace. You instruct him that his ideas are “flawed and biased”! What an impudent clown! Am I right to think that you may be the latest of George’s correspondents to dream the impossible dream: that you might succeed in absconding with his evidently much-coveted big red nose, for which he has labored mightily, lo, these many years?
              I’ll gladly cede the floor to Bishop Tikhon’s knowledge, historical insight and wisdom. I’m confident that he can fill you in on a certain profoundly relevant conflict between Rome (republican, old & New) and Parthian/Sassanid Persia that had been going on for, oh, about seven centuries. It laid the groundwork for the scintillating success of the Islamic Blitzkrieg to which you refer, so ignorantly.

              You should all thank God that His Grace, Monk James, Nate, Fr. Washburn, Dr. Stankovich and a few others are humble and charitable enough to post here. Otherwise, . . .

              • George Michalopulos says

                No one is arguing that Byzantine military policies were correct (or incorrect). I myself believe that Byzantine feelings of superiority towards the Egyptians more than anything caused the Monophysite Schism but that’s a story for another day. And anyway, that’s part of our fallen world. Wilsonian demo-crusaderism by the US is part of our fallen order as well and NOT mandated by anything found in Christianity.

                The argument is that there is nothing in the Gospel –nor in the life of Jesus for that matter–which necessitates the bloodthirstiness that is attendant in Islam. The argument that female mutilation, the taking of slaves, polygyny, plunder, etc, come instead from the Bedouin culture that Mohammed was born into rather than revealed to him by God is beside the point. We know from the life of Muhammed that he consummated his last marriage with a nine-year-old girl, that he abrogated the concept of adoption because his adopted son (at the time) possessed a beautiful wife who was desired by Muhammed but because she was the wife of his “son” he could not marry her, that he exterminated three Jewish tribes because they were business rivals of his, and so on.

                I’m not standing in judgment of him, these things were par for the course for tribal sheikhs among the desert tribes throughout history. Muhammed was just giving them a theistic, prophetic gloss. (BTW, Joseph Smith did much the same thing during his leadership of the Mormon Church.)

                • George, you really have a knack for attracting these types who get all high-falutin’ in their attempts to demean you. They know so much, and really they’re awfully humble about it, in their own way.

                  These people tend to speak of “history” as some monolithic, easily accessible and experimentally verifiable science. We have no seer stones to look into the past. Instead we have witness accounts, physical evidence, traditions, and those who collect those and construct the narratives.

                  The way some are describing it, you get the idea that they must have been there themselves.

                • Vanity Pundit, I’m not willing to be sucked into your vortex of irrational hypocrisy and sorcery. No further comment.

                  Solemn counsel: You need professional help.

              • George Michalopulos says

                I too, thank them as well. Keeps things lively.

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          Well, the Orthodox of Jerusalem probably were doing better before the Arab conquest than afterwards.

          Folks always complain about the Crusades and how they still make the Arabs mad, but nobody fusses about the permanent loss of most of the Christian East. At least, they don’t out West…..

  10. Michael Bauman says

    Saunca, as George points out and as anyone can find out with a little research, the Crusades and other such violence are clearly against the teachings of the Church and of Christ Himself. Jesus Christ is God Incarnate and led a spotless life.

    The Koran and Mohammed glorify violence and depraved behavior of all kinds.

    There is no correlation, no comparison between the two faiths.

    Why do you feel the need to defend Islam and defame Christianity?

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      The Crusades were a drop in the bucket, and they harmed the church more than they ever dented Islam.

      • George Michalopulos says

        You’re right. The Crusades didn’t even enter into the Muslim consciousness until the nineteenth century when Europeans brought it up. At most, they were a minor military nuisance, not unlike the Plains Indian Wars of the late nineteenth century. As terrifying as the “Injuns” were to the American consciousness (and Little Big Horn was a devastating loss to American morale), they were never in a position by then to seriously destroy the United States. A hundred years before, that was another story.

    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

      One of the purposes of the Crusades was to force the Eastern Orthodox to submit to the papacy. In ever place they conquered the Crusaders threw out the Orthodox Bishops and put in Latin Bishops in their place. In 1098 the Crusaders conquered Antioch and deposed the Greek Orthodox Patriarch and put a Latin Bishop in his place and tried to force the Orthodox in Antioch to submit to Roman domination. Rome continued to appoint a Latin Patriarch of Antioch until 1953. When they took Jerusalem they did the same thing and created the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, which still exists. In 1204 they took over Constantinople and established a Roman Catholic Latin Empire in which the Orthodox were forced to submit to Rome. I am shocked that any Orthodox Christian could defend the Crusades. The Orthodox of the Middle East were victims of the Crusades.

      • Tim R. Mortiss says

        Maybe because there are many present-day Orthodox who don’t think of themselves as victims, especially of things that happened centuries ago?

        Just a thought, though.

        • Johann Sebastian says

          A thought best reserved for converts who may have a Crusader or two amongst their forebears.

          • Tim R. Mortiss says

            “For a thousand years in thy sight are like yesterday when it is past, or a watch in the night.”

            To some, this is true not only of God!

    • Michael Bauman says

      Saunca, one does not lead people to the truth by leaving them in darkness. Arguably the most successful Christian evangelist to Muslims of our time Fr. Zacharia Boutros says far more harsh things about Islam and Mohammed than anything on this site. He routinely points out on his radio show that Mohammed was a depraved pedophile and not a man of God.

      Fr. Boutros is successful because he is empowered by the Holy Spirit, knows the Koran in Arabic and knows the culture. He says, “I love Moslems but I hate Islam. I want to save Muslims from the delusion of Islam. ”

      He has a multimillion dollar price on his head yet he still reaches millions of Muslims and thousands come to Christ.

      He tells the truth about Islam and about Christianity. He tells the truth about Mohammed and about Jesus Christ. He tells the truth about the sinfulness of man and the only way to be healed of that sin. Those with ears to hear, hear.

      Your approach in which you seek the lowest common denominator (human sinfulness) avails no one, convicts no one, challenges no one and comes from the prevailing modern mind, not the mind of the Church. There is no requirement to defend the sins of Christians but neither is that sin a product of the faith. Unfortunately, in Islam it is.

      Jesus Christ is one of the Holy Trinity. God Incarnate who tramples down death. ONLY by Him can you come to the Father.

      Islam denies all of that and leads its people into bondage. There is no equivalance except the fact that humans are sinful. Christ or death? That is the choice. That is the choice whether we are Christian, Moslem, Jew or unbeliever. Christ or death; Christ or nothing.

      • May God save and have mercy upon Fr. Zacharia, and lead him to the Orthodox Church of the Seven Ecumenical Councils. Amen.

        • Michael Bauman says

          Isaac, yes, Father Boutros is a Copt and unfortunately we are not in communion with Copts but I believe this: “By their fruits you shall know them”.

          • Trudge at SmartVote says


            Indeed, Father Botros is a living example of an Apostle of Christ and our priests and bishops in the US could learn much from him, and the Copts in general, demonstrating many of the apostolic virtues, including courage, ingenuity and straight talk.

            Interview with Father Zakaria Botros:

            Father Zakaria’s site:

            I would highly recommend our US Orthodox deacons, priests and bishops make pilgrimages to the monasteries of Egypt that grew out of the work of St Anthony the Great.

            I also put forward that there is much to learn from the recently reposed Pope Shenouda in revitalizing the Egyptian monasteries so that they are intimately connected with parish life.

            I would also recommend observing the Coptic youth in Egypt to see what Christian youth should look like.

            • They are so close to us, and often become our most fervent members and apologists once they find the truth. I don’t want to open the monophysitism can, but you should with all haste look up the conversion story of Minas Monir, who joined the Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church after having been raised a Copt. He explained that much of what Copts said in the academic conferences was baloney, that they were publishing stuff in Arabic about how the Orthodox were admitting that Chalcedon was wrong, etc. Their hours of prayer always invoke Dioscorus, the patriarch who participated in the death of St. Flavian and who refused to respond to the Council’s summons. They praise him as having preserved them from error and driven away the heretics (by which they mean US).

              Nevertheless, their piety is quite admirable. “How many sheep without! How many wolves within!” as St. Augustine said.

              There are in fact many Copt conversion stories. Plus, since the time of Chalcedon there has been a large Armenian Church in communion with Orthodoxy, but persecuted by the schismatics in Armenia. Its numbers are now small because after WWI many of them relocated to Greece (and were reckoned as “Greeks” since they were under the Ecumenical Patriarchate.). Look them up.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      I understand EXACTLY what you meant, Saunca, and for whatever it’s worth, I believe others do, too. This is just a difficult subject to negotiate. I agree with George. I am very concerned about the Islamic “agenda.” I don’t think any of us truly knows the degree to which it is, and will continue to be, a threat. Some minimize our differences, but I would disagree. Muslims do NOT believe our Lord is “holy.” They do not believe in our Lord AT ALL because they do not believe in a Triune God! They do not believe in the divinity of Christ. Though they pay a lot of of lip service to the “Virgin Mary,” they deny who she is by saying she was born miraculously by the will of God, without a father. What’s the point of “right teaching” if we minimize our differences to the point where we deny the very nature of God and the origin of the Theotokos? That IS our Faith. Are there good, law abiding Muslims? Of course. I have known many. Does that mitigate the danger? No. No one knows how many Muslims there are in this country, but some have proposed a conservative number of around 2 million. There has actually been LESS disagreement on the percentage of the population who mean us harm. 10% is a stable number, i.e. 200,000 +. This number is staggering when you think about the implications.

  11. Hmmm . . . now refresh my memory, where did the Christian suicide bombers originate? Which Christian men promised their women forgiveness for suicide, for killing others? Nonsense. I liked Christopher Hitchens but thought he had a screw loose regarding religion per se.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Duly noted Saunca. However where have the other Christian suicide bombs happen. They didn’t. The incident you describe is an outlier. Suicide bombing and jihad is not in the mental repertoire of Christendom or Western Civilization. And no, the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae did not commit suicide, nor did the 250 men at the Alamo.

    • The phrase, in addition to “Deus Volt!”, “God wills it!”; was “Denique Coelum!”, “Heaven at last!”.

      No doubt some number of crusaders believed they would go straight to heaven if they fell in battle, their sins being pardoned by virtue of their sacrifice for Christ as indulged by some Catholic hierarch. However, they did not believe they would go to heaven for killing themselves in battle in order to kill the enemy, but for falling in battle (i.e., being killed by the enemy) striving to kill the enemy. Big difference. In Islam, suicide bombing in itself is controversial. Some authorities say it is forbidden for the same reason suicide itself is forbidden. Some say it is permitted because it is permissible for a Muslim to kill another Muslim in order to kill an infidel (such as in a hostage situation).

      Also sometimes Christians go on “suicide missions”, missions from which they do not expect to come back alive, their being killed in the endeavor a near certainty. Samson had had his hair cut and lost his strength and subsequently had been blinded (and thus robbed of his ability to be a useful warrior) and would not have had the power to bring down the structure unless God restored it to him. In effect, God granted him the grace to kill many enemies, sacrificing his own life which he had already otherwise wasted because of his sin.

      These situations are very odd and to be distinguished from turning oneself into a bomb, ones own death being an integral and rewarding part of the endeavor.

    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

      Yes it is true, the Roman Catholic Church calls it an indulgence. The pope offered an indulgence to anyone who died during the Crusades. The Catholic Church believes that when we sin, to be forgiven we must do acts of penance to earn forgiveness or suffer in purgatory for our sins. Since Orthodox do not believe in purgatory, we do no have indulgences. I would have to sped some time looking it up, but there was a Byzantine Emperor who asked an Ecumenical Patriarch to guarantee that all Byzantine soldiers who died in battle against the Muslims would be saved. His All Holiness refused to compromise the teachings of our Church in that way.

  12. Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

    George, why don’t you send these questions to Muslim acquaintances instead of to us?
    Islam is not our enemy and neither the Middle East nor Indonesia nor Western Europe nor the United States of America is the battlefield. The enemy is the evil in men’s hearts.
    Muslims may find appalling texts in the Bible of the Christians. Some Christians, amazingl,y believe that they have refuted reference to such texts by saying: “we follow only the Holy Gospel.” I believe this makes us look stupid to Muslims or Buddhists or Taoists. In the time of Christ and also the time of the great missionary St. Paul, who said, “Search ye the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye find eternal life.” By “Scriptures”, he and the whole early Church used “Scriptures” to mean the Old Testament. Let’s not l try to ignore such an obvious historical fact. When Christ and His followers refer to Holy Scripture they are referring to the Old Testament, and it is foolhardy to imagine Muslims don’t know that. Further it makes them wonder why they’re supposed to swallow our characterization of their Scriptures being somehow more violent than ours! Do we not remember the almost worldwide response to the events of 9/11? It was to sing these words from the Battle hymn of the Republic: “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord He hath trampled out the vintage where the grapes of WRATH are stored; He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible Swift sword; His truth is marching on, Glory, Hallelujah, etc.” That is the Christian “Jihadist hymn” par excellence! Does any literate person posting here think that the sword played no part in the conversion of Europe to Christianity? Does anyone here think that Arian northern Europe was converted to Orthodox Catholicism without the use of the sword? Does any literate person writing here imagined that the only crusades launched by the Christian church were those launched against Muslims? What an idea!
    After considering our jihadist hymn, the Battle hymn of the Republic, I call to mind a verse of the Psalm composed by St. David: “Blessed is he that taketh thy little ones and dasheth them against the stone.” This is said to the enemy, Babylon. Apologists for this verse say the language is symbolic and that by the little ones is meant our sins! (I’ve nev er been sure how our sins are dashed against stones—I know about forgiving them, but not this violent approach). We sing that violent verse during the period of the Lenten Triodion. Anyone thinking that Islam is violent compared to Christianity has not heard truly Calvinist sermons.
    I’m not at all sure why we are being subjected to these questions of “Zosimas.” I’d like to ask “Zosimas” how many Muslims he has put his questions to. I’d like to ask George how many Muslims he has put those questions to. When we know the answer to my questions then we can respond better to this rant against Islam and Muslims. Perhaps the Muslim counterpart of Zosimas might ask his Muslim friends why they have not asked Christians about the Holocaust in Europe launched by non-Muslims. It seems to me many want to judge Islam by the actions of the worst Muslims and judge Christianity without any reference to bad Christians at all
    I think it’s rather disingenuous to think that the immense success of the spread of Islam in the first century of its existence was due solely to the sword! Does anyone reading these lines not know of the violence and mayhem and destruction visited upon pagans and their temples but also heretics and their temples by the Christian empire whose capitals were Rome and Constantinople? Does anyone not see that for many Christians especially in Egypt and Syria Islamic governance was a relief? Has anyone not heard of the monastic mobs of fourth century Christianity? What was the fate of Hypatia, the great female mathematician and philosopher of Alexandria when confronted by the power politics of Cyril of Alexandria?
    How many of you know that the Orthodox Church of Russia opened up a dialogue with the Islamic establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran? This dialogue was opened by patriarch Aleksei the second, and it continues under patriarch Kirill. The joint commission of Islamic and Russian Orthodox clergyman takes place alternately in Moscow and in Teheran. The last meeting of the commission was last year I believe, in Teheran. Perhaps Zosimas or George should pack up these questions and send them off to Moscow in case they’re not smart enough to have thought them up?

    • George Michalopulos says

      As usual, a lot to chew on. First of all, I am glad that Russia and Iran co-host annual seminars on Christianity and Islam. Given your knowledge and vocation, it’s a shame that you’re not a standing member of this colloquium. I really mean that.

      As for Iran, I’ve said on more than one occasion that we should NOT go to war with them under any circumstances. As far as their culture is concerned, I am in awe of it. Why? If I understand history correctly, they are the oldest, continuous nation-state in existence.

    • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

      “Does any literate person posting here think that the sword played no part in the conversion of Europe to Christianity? Does anyone here think that Arian northern Europe was converted to Orthodox Catholicism without the use of the sword? Does any literate person writing here imagined that the only crusades launched by the Christian church were those launched against Muslims? What an idea!”

      Orthodoxy converted peacefully so much of the population of the empire that we couldn’t be successfully persecuted anymore without us reacting by taking over the government in the person of St. Constantine. Since we could and did peacefully take the soul of the empire, peaceful conversion of any rude pagan barbarians in Europe was just matter of time (any use of sword probably only delayed this conclusion).

      Arianism was adopted by the leaders of the invading pagan tribes because paganism was obviously false and morally inferior compared to it, yet they wanted to remain distinct from the Orthodox populations they ruled. In fact Arianism (in all its versions) was always the heresy of the would be academic elites of the day and Orthodoxy was the faith of the masses. Arianism quickly and easily rolled over and died because it couldn’t even find unity within itself about who exactly the person of Christ was.

      And what do you mean by “Arian northern Europe”? Because, I don’t think northern Italy where the last Arian king in Europe lost power in 671 counts. (In fact the Bavarian dynasty was Orthodox since 653 – 662, it was ousted by an Arian married to the king’s Orthodox sister until 671, when Perctarit resumed the throne from which he had being deposed by the Arian brother in law). No great crusades or persecutions evident, merely some dynastic intrigue.

      “Anyone thinking that Islam is violent compared to Christianity has not heard truly Calvinist sermons.”

      Should be easy for you to provide then. (And no, Calvinist preachers waxing long on the sufferings of the damned in Hell doesn’t count). *Not that it matters much to begin with, since Calvinism is Heterodoxy, and Orthodoxy alone is Christianity.

      • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

        “Ladder of Divine Descent,” you seem like a magazine or popular digest -type person, so I’ll refer you to the Wikipedia entry on Ulfilas, or Wulfilas, the converter of the Goths, (baptized by Eusebius of Nicomedia, who also baptized Constantine), creator of the Gothic alphabet and translator of the Scriptures into Gothic.
        By the way, my child of secret identity and undetermined gender, :”we”, or Christians, or Christianity did not take over the Empire: Constantine, unbaptized, took over the CHURCH and made obedience to it (and him) the only way to get ahead in The World (also called the Ecumene). True, the Roman Popes did try to take over the empire, but only succeeded with the illegitimate offspring of Eastern Empire, the Empire of Heinrich Hohenstaufen, but “we” (unless by “we” you mean venal and semi-learned politicians) didn’t take over anything. “Taking over” things was never blessed by Our Lord and was never the aim of the Christian religion. “Teach and baptize” is about as close as you can get.

    • Forgive me, this is ridiculous. This argument that the Koran and the Old Testament are equally violent is right out of the Dawa-ists playbook. The truth is that limited campaigns against the wicked tribes of Canaan in Deuteronomy and Numbers– the Hittite, Girgashite, Amorite, Canaanite, Perizzite, Hivite, and Jebusite– were Israel’s divinely ordered acting out of the judgment of God. Never again did God order such a thing, although He Himself, for salvation and in His goodness, executed judgment, even upon children, as He did in the Flood and the slaying of the firstborn of Egypt. It has never happened again in history, and instead we have the teaching of limited, defensive warfare.

      Vladyka, the psalmist’s “infants” from Babylon are the wicked thoughts that will carry us into the captivity of the passions if we let them grow. Rather we must dash them against the Rock of the unceasing invocation of the Name of Jesus Christ. I thought this exegesis was common in the patristic inheritance, and furthermore that it was commonly known. We have no evidence that the Israelites performed such a task. It was the Holy Spirit who gave this verse to the Church, wasn’t it?

      Please compare the limited nature of the calls to violence with the injunctions of Mohammed’s alter ego in the Quran: “Slay the unbelievers wherever you find them.” 9:5, the so-called “verse of the Sword.”

      Have the Orthodox bishops used the Old Testament war commands to call for a universal attack on the heretics? Mightn’t it be so that one (the Pentateuch) is limited in scope and specific in target, and the other unlimited and a general commandment of the religion (Quran)?

  13. Vladyko:

    Thank you for your history lesson about the sinfulness of mankind.

    However, I believe that you yourself should go to Dearborn, Michigan and preach the Gospel to the Muslims about Jesus. Show us the way and I’ll be at your side when and if you can make it home.

    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

      Actually, RJ, I think the Muslims of Dearborn know much more about the Gospel and Jesus Christ than many Christians imagine. Muslims usually know their Qor’an, often better than Christians know their Bibles!!!!! They are taught that Christ is divinely created and born of the Holy Virgin Mary. They believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, and that He will return on the clouds at the end of the days with the “Mahdi.” While they do not believe that any God can be begotten, especially of a human being, before there were any human beings, they certainly believe that our Lord is holy. Why, the head of St. John the Baptist is maintained even today and venerated in the Umayyad Mosque of Damascus. Where we use the Greek version of Joshua, namely, Jesus, the Arabs and Persians just refer to him as Messiah. No, the Gospel has been pretty well preached to the Muslims, but, like so many Americans, they don’t accept a lot of It. I’ve known several Muslims over my eighty years. in general I’d say they are genuine human beings, in the sense that Alexander Solzhenitsyn defined them. He said you learned to identity the True Human Being (nasto’ashchii chelovek) only in the Gulag. The Mulims I’ve known were people I’d be happy to have as cellmates in any Gulag. Now, RJ, if someone asked me if Orthodox Bishops were such True Human Beings, i’d have to ask, first, “Just WHICH Orthodox Bishops?”
      This is not high school intramural sports! Christianity is not “the home team” and Islam ‘the visitors!”
      I COULD visit Dearborn and ask the Muslim and Christian Arabs there if they know of ANY Muslim country which has adopted Shariah as the national law. If they ask me why Christians imagine Muslims all want Shariah law here in America to be the law of the land, i confess I’d be at a total loss. Tell me, RJ, where is shariah the law of the land?

      • Vladyko

        Yes, we know all about what you expressed in the aforementioned, Nothing new, but it is not all true. There are lots of Christians that understand the Holy Bible then you think. Your message is just words blowing in the air or internet. I had not referred to them as not genuine human beings. There beliefs are ALL wrong denying Chris,t as to He is, is Denying the Holy Trinity. They Deny the One True Faith and the Church established on Pentecost.

        You state, in your presentation in the aforementioned that Jesus and the Virgin Mary indicate are holy however, in a nutshell their teachings are all wrong about God and the Theotokos.

        I too have known many Muslims in my short sixty seven years. So whats the point except yes they are human Created by God, Love their Children etc. etc… The main thing is we cannot mix apples in oranges about the True Teachings from the Holy Bible.

        Again preaching (Teaching) is still needed. We just don’t give up on children when they perform in negative behaviors but we continue to Teach the Correct Way until they decide we are right.

        They must in their own hearts decide that the True Faith is the Orthodox Teachings and we must not give up in proclaiming the same without political correctness but Teach with a firm mind, heart and soul.

        So yes let’s go to Dearborn and have a Martini extra dry..

    • You said However,

      I believe that you yourself should go to Dearborn, Michigan and preach the Gospel to the Muslims about Jesus. Show us the way and I’ll be at your side when and if you can make it home.

      i think you should go to Dearborn instead of Vladika and begin your affirmation of Orthodoxy there, by simple public prayer and chanting. Why ever would you expect a bishop to do your personal bidding, btw?

      Formerly in Detroit myself for a good while, I think you will find the people there a blessed field of friendship. May you convert some of these new friends through your good works, that they may glorify your Father who is in heaven!

      • If you have read my posts, I have lived there in Dearborn on the East side with the Muslims and they or some know me

        To answer why send the Bishop there to do my personal bidding.

        One it is not my personal bidding, Wherever the Bishop is there is the Church.

        Yes, I also live in Detroit big deal I guess you just missed the point on all the posts so go back and reread.

        • Back atcha, RJ says

          Rather than suggesting a retired bishop get up out of his rocking chair and do your bidding in Detroit instead of lending his wisdom, why not the standing bishops of Detroit? Archbishop Nathaniel of the OCA comes immediately to mind, and he has a lot of experience in his rather extensive Diocese which also includes the Romanian churches in the US.

          Then there’s the Greek bishop of Detroit. Nicholas Pissare, bishop there since 1999. So, he has a baker’s dozen of years of experience. I’m not aware of another jurisdiction bishop of Detroit, maybe you know them?

          Lobby your bishop and start your own effort instead of picking on Bishop Tikhon…

          Seems like some of Detroit’s finest are letting children act like hoodlums. Pretty sad commentary on our Christian love of God’s handiwork.

  14. geo michalopulos says

    As usual Your Grace, the breadth of your knowledge takes me somewhat aback. There’s certainly a lot to think about here. I certainly agree with your assessment of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” as it sounds very jihadist to those of us who wanted Southron independence and were foiled by the criminality of Sherman.

    Getting back to the point, I don’t know if by instructing us to “first, search ye the Scriptures” Jesus was condoning the use of violence when necessary since the Book of Joshua (a blood-soaked book if there ever was one) is certainly part of the Scriptures. Perhaps.

    In the final analysis though we cannot ignore Samuel Huntington’s famous observation that whatever else its merits, Islam certainly has “violent borders.” The plain fact remains that wherever Muslims go and swell in appreciable numbers, violence ensues. This may because of customary Semitic all-or-nothingness, the inherent violence of tribal societies, augmented as they are by a premium on first-cousin marriage.

    More will be said on this I’m sure.

    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

      George, please be reminded that there are millions and millions of Muslims who are not Semites or Semitic when you for some reason make an unproved assertion about “semitic all-or-nthingness.” There’s hardly a Semite in all Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, or Indonesia, let alone IRAN, whose people are Indo-Europeans in language and history, while the violent peoples of Egypt are notably Hamitic.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Of course, the Iranians are Indo-European as are the Kurds. Being Greek myself, I found it very easy for me to strike up friendships with Iranian students at college because of the stunning similarities between my culture and theirs’. As for the people of Egypt, the Copts are Hamites but the majority self-identify as Arabs. My point however is that the Arabs (like the Greeks and the Romans and later the Spaniards and Anglo-Saxons) impressed their culture on Islamic civilization. For want of a better word, they provided the nomenklatura to Islam. Essentially imprinting a desert-Bedouin tribal culture on the various Caliphates.

      • Master, Bless.

        I would beg to differ about Afghanistan, I saw a PBS documentary a few years back that made a rather compelling case that various of the Hebrews relocated by ancient empires of the time are the ancestors of some of the major tribes of Afghanistan. If I recall correctly the Pashtun and Pathan are in fact descendants in large part of Napthtali, Ephraim, and maybe Asher. Many if not understand themselves to be related to the Shepardic Jews. Southern Afghanistan/Northern Persia is where three or four of the Hebrew tribes were relocated. Their descendants didn’t die out…or forget…not entirely. There was also a Benjaminite community nearly extinct found in India, which I think has since relocated to Israel, and some far flung descendants of Manasses in South East Asia. Most had become Christian in recent times but there are active Jewish efforts to reconvert them to Judaism.

        • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

          Please provide us more documentation than “I saw a PBS documentary a few years back.” A link to the documentary or a link to ANY bibliographic or printed proof of Pashtun and Pathan descent from any ancient Hebrew tribes. Sephardic (from Sephardia, the Hebrew word for Spain) Jews are Jews expelled from Spain after the Christians were victorious over the Islamic and tolerant government there. Unless a Jew would flee to the tolerant arms of the Ottoman Sultan, the only way he and his family could remain at home in Spain was to be baptized. The Ottoman Sultan as always liked to have Christian and Jewish subjects who were so important to the prosperity of the Muslim Empire. I know some Pashtun Afghans, and they, Muslims all would be horrified to be described as of Jewish descent. Do you KNOW Pashtun speaking Afghans that “understand themselves to be related to Sephardic Jews?” Afghans mainly speak either Pashtun or Persian (in Afghan Persian the language is called “Dari”, court language. While language does not determine ethnicity (although many Germans of yore liked to think so) Afghan Persian speakers and Tajikistan Persian speakers, are speaking an Indo European language. It would be a truly outstanding stretch to allege that the millions and millions of Muslims outside the Middle East are semitic!

          • Master Bless,

            It is hardly a stretch, while it is true not all Pathan and Pashto are dubious of the Hebrew linkage, that is not true of a great many, if not most of them who identify their tribe’s origin as belonging to the “beni Israil”. As for shephardic use, while the term was originally applied only to Jews from Spain, current usage includes all middle eastern Jews and those who use the Shephardic liturgy….which is a little redundant since shephardic Jews are primarily the descendants of Jews from the times of the Roman Diaspora as are those who remained in the middle east. It is the Ashkenazi who have the least percentage of actual semitic genealogical ancestry. As for proof…It has been so many years that I no longer remember the title of the documentary, but that is not a big problem. You tube has a great many offerings of Pashto and Pathan peoples testifying to their common blood heritage with Jews. That doesn’t mean they like Israel necessarily, but they do not deny the blood relation. Here are a couple of youtube clips you can watch for yourself, and through them find as many others as you think profitable: forgive me but rain has moved in and my wireless connection has gotten erratic, I will have to post a link or two later…but you don’t need me, there are dozens of them.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Seraphim, you are correct. The Pathans and Pashto have long self-identified as Jews and from what I know of DNA sequencing done on them there is a high correlation of inter-relatedness between them and the Mizrahim (North African Jews).

              • Tim R. Mortiss says

                The idea that the Pathans/Pashtuns descend from one or more of the Lost Tribes of Israel (not the Jews, who were mostly the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Levi and who maintained their identity throughout the Exile) is part of extensive 19th-century mythmaking pseudo-anthropology about the Lost Tribes, which spawned a vast literature.

                Lost Tribes of Israel is an old genre in which one could get really lost. Among its many offshoots was British Israelism, which in the mid-20th century gave rise, among other things, to the preaching of Herbert W. Armstrong, he of the Radio Church of God, and later the Worldwide Church of God, which had a fair run in its time.

                Among the major difficulties is that the Pathans speak an Indo-Iranian language and do not have the genetics, as modern studies show. One of the ironies is that the Lost Tribe legends that did arise among some Pathans were themselves a product of 19th-century British influence.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  You’re right. The Jews are mostly descended from the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi. The Pathans/Pushto however claim Judaic (i.e. Jewish) descent, not descent from one of the so-called Lost Tribes. In this sense, they are much like the other cryptic Jews who converted to either Islam or Christianity. Examples would include the Marranos of Iberia and the Donmeh of Turkey.

                  • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                    Actually a lot of modern Jews are descendents of the Khazars a Turkish tribe that converted to Judaism in the 8th century.

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      No, Archpriest, not “actually” at all. It’s theoretically, according to, first of all, the great Communist writer, Artur Koestler (author of “Darkness at Noon”), the case that SOME of European Jewry, Ashkenazim, are descendants of ancient converts from the Jewish Kingdom of Khazaria on the Black Sea. The exact identity of the Khazars is not established, not enough to make a case for or against dna similarity. Even today, what we call the Caspian Sea is called in Persian the Khazar Sea. I’m not sure what source on which you base your statement that they were Turkish. And it definitely has not been established that the entire tribe of Khazars, as opposed to the king and court of the Khazar Kingdom, adopted Judaism.

                  • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                    WHIICH “Pathans/Pashto claim Judaic descent,” George? When might they have lost their Hebrew language! The Jews of Babylon, Iran, Spain, etc., etc., etc., did not lose it! You shouldn’t swallow that stuff. Next, some regressive German racist/wannabe philologist is going to inform us that Gypsies come from eGYPt!!!!!

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Actually Your Grace, the Jews did lose the Hebrew language after the Babylonian Captivity and took up Aramaic as their everyday language. The Jews of the West took up Attic Greek, hence the need for a translation of the Tanakh into that language. One of the signal contributions of the Zionists has been the revivification of Hebrew, previously a dead language.

                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                      yeah, I mean its just the Septuagint no biggy.


                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      The Jews did not lose the Hebrew language, although the Jews that did return to Palestine did use Aramaic in daily life as the Jews in Europe used Yiddish, They never lost their language, but maintained Hebrew schools. And they maintained their Hebrew Torahs and read from them in their synagogues. What language was the Babylon Talmud written in? I suppose, though, that non-believing Jews could be found in Afghanistan and almost anywhere, but to claim that Pashtun were “originally” of descendants of Jews is the sort of thing that animated the likes of Joseph Smith. Hebrew has never been a dead language, George, but always survived as a liturgical language. Even today in the islamic Republic of Iran, the dozen or so synagogues of Tehran still have their Hebrew Schools, although Persian is their main language in society and business. I hardly think “the Jews of the West’ EVER took up Attic Greek. After all most Greekspeakers never took up Attic Greek, defiinitely a minority dialect, even though “Atttic” Greek has survived as a affectation from Byzantium’s academic crowd until now. Yes Zionists have restored Hebrew as the Jewish social language. The language of the Jews in Jesus’s time was the execrable “koine” or “pidjin” of the Roman conquerors. The Greek of the N.T. is about as far from “Attic” as you can get!!!

                    • . . . The language of the Jews in Jesus’s time was the execrable “koine” or “pidjin” of the Roman conquerors. The Greek of the N.T. is about as far from “Attic” as you can get!!!

                      A couple of problems here, your Grace, with respect. κοινή in Judea, Samaria and the Galilee was mainly Alexander’s legacy, not so much that of “the Roman conquerors.” And I’m interested in hearing why you regard this early lingua franca as “execrable.” That opinion strikes me as a bit over the top. Even inappropriate, all things considered. Again, with respect.

                      Some of the NT writings aren’t at all bad Greek: The Gospel of John, Hebrews, James, Luke and Acts, 1 Peter are examples that I think compare quite favorably enough with better Hellenistic literature of this period. Paul’s Greek is sometimes stunning, superb. And anyway, it may not be entirely just to indict the NT’s human authors for having fallen short of the literary refinement of Sophocles, say. I think it unlikely that that was one of their aspirations. Maybe you’d agree.

                      Sometimes a merely apparent “barbaric” form clothes incomparable grandeur and sublimity. I’ve had days when I’ve been literally floored by the Apocalypse, a book that uninspired, arrogant satyrs and cynics should probably steer well clear of — such types certainly ought to avoid commenting upon it. D.H. Lawrence is particularly notorious and “exemplary” here. Der Fall Nietzsche is perhaps even more ominous, though in a different mode. A word to the ‘wise,’ one possibly related to a pithy, ancient Truth: “The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.”

                      And Attic Greek is the core of κοινή. It’s true of course that the relatively much-simplified linguistic style and form of our beloved NT writings do not rise to those linguistic spheres wherein the polished, elegant and sometimes sublime Plato and Thucydides, Aristophanes and Aristotle, et al., waft about, nor often achieve quite the laconic density of pregnant meanings that Homer’s Epic redactors did. But the respective syntaxes differed not only in the degree of formal complexity. Their goals differed, too. And I say that the NT’s substance more than compensates for a humbler form. The finale being world literature’s most awe-inspiring, lapidary case in point. IMHO.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      I find myself in complete agreement with you Mr Myers on this issue. The Lucan language of Luke/Acts rivals anything found in Classical Attic. The Pauline corpus likewise stands on its own. I suppose a case could be made that the Gospel of Mark is the least refined Greek-language wise. One linguist whose name I can’t remember called it “barroom Greek.” Still, the ferocious, leonine power of Marcan language from it’s first verse is evident. Despite his limitations, Mark made excellent use of Koine.

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      No one denies the power of the language of the New Testament, even in its corrupt koine vesture, just as no one denies the power of Constantine Cavafy’s (and others’) demotic poetry. But to call the Greek spoken all over the Roman Empire, the corrupt, mongrelized, and PIDGIN Greek of the Hellenistic (not Hellenic) Empire of the Macedonian Alexander’s army “Attic” is a huge stretch. “Attic”Greek gained a certain cachet in Byzantium, even among the Cappadocian Fathers who were among those who lamented its SCARCITY.. No one SPOKE it, but many tried valiantly, sometimes successfully, to write it. Koine Greek is not Attic Greek. Meanwhile most Greeks in Christ’s time did not live in mainland European Greece, but all over Asia Minor, especially along the shores of the Black Sea, where Pontic Greeks spoke their Pontic Greek for centuries, even up the time of the Catastrophe of their being uprooted from their ancient homelands in our time and being deported to a land where none of their ancestors had ever lived. Historically if one had to speak of “Real Greek”, one would mean Ionian, not Attic Greek. Even today in most Near Eastern languages the word for Greek and Greeks is “Ionian.” Ionia is a long way from Attica.

                    • At first, George, I wanted to have my post burned after hearing you were “in complete agreement.” I went back to it in terror. But I found only a couple of spots here and there that I’d revise and/or qualify.

                      You and I agree on Mark. I think your description is apt.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Hope springs eternal, Mike.

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      Ole Missus married Will the Weaver
      William was a gay deceiver!
      Look away!

      I’ll admit that’s a happier song. But as for Sherman, I do believe he was a great man. But Sherman and the Crusades in one thread– too much! So I’ll stop there…..

  15. Will Harrington says

    George, you did not want Southron independence nor were you foiled by Sherman’s campaign. You weren’t alive. This is like me talking about what a bad guy Oliver Cromwell IS and how my hopes for the success of the Jacobite restoration were foiled by the Sassanach. Neither of us were alive for those movements and rehashing them is only suitable after indulging in a bit too much Guinness.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Smithwick’s is now my ale of choice although I still enjoy a Guinness every now and then. But your right: such musings come from me and my pals after a little libation.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        George–There are so many great alternatives now in the United States that even a relatively small Southern town like Columbia, SC now has two outstanding boutique breweries. I would challenge any lover of European beer to find any beer there that substantially is better than those we can now find in the States.

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      Boy, Will, I’ll drink to that too!

  16. Archpriest John W. Morris says

    As an Orthodox Christian I resent being blamed for the Crusades. The Crusaders were Roman Catholics who tried to force Orthodox Christians to submit to papal domination. Read about the 4th Crusade and what they did to the Orthodox Christians of Constantinople. Today if you want to see the glory of the Byzantine Empire, you have to go to Venice or other Western European cities, because the Western Crusaders took everything they could steal from the Orthodox. Even one of the most frequently seen Christian symbols in the Philippines, the icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, now in a shrine in Manila was stolen by the Crusaders from a Greek island.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Hear hear Father!

    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

      John W. Morris, an Archpriest, wrote that as an Orthodox Christian he resents being blamed for the Crusades. Now, if a Shiite member of Hezbullah were to say he resents being lumped together with the Sunni Saudis who made up the team which did away with our World Trade Center and its inhabitants, he’d be ignored and resented, by most people who post here on Monomakhos who see Islam and their perception of Muhammad to be an absolutely monolithic and invariable sine qua non of Islam. It’s interesting that an Orthodox Christian would resent being blamed for the Crusades which were occasioned by the appeal of the Constantinopolitan Emperor. You can’t in one breath defend “Christianity” without qualification and in the next say that you should not be confused with the rest of Christianity….heretics and deviants. The Crusades were Christianity’s Jihads. The Fourth Crusade was no worse than the First: both were manned by soldiers of the Cross. I find it appalling that anyone would indicate that the sack of Constantinople compared unfavorably to the conquest and sack of Jerusalem . Greek Orthodox believers were slaughtered in Jerusalem and their churches confiscated, while the Jews wr burnt allive in their synagogues by THE ARMIES OF CHRISTIANITY..

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      At least folks took their faith seriously in those days! And they didn’t think that being killed was the worst possible thing.

      Even though I descend from Englishmen, and probably thus from Catholics aways back, perish the thought, I accept none of the blame for the Crusades, because they happened many, many centuries ago! Also, the Presbyterians were not involved, I am assured.

      A pope also once put a hit contract out on Good Queen Bess, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like some recent popes.

  17. America on the high ground of morality is a joke.

    The title of this sub-forum is : “Message to Muslims: Time For Some Serious Questions”. Seems to me that it is time for another forum, “Message to the West: Time For Some Serious Questions”.

    The current agenda for the US who seems to speak most of the time for the Western World refuses to look at its own atrocities committed against the defenseless people of the “Other World”. How can the US seriously consider the evil of the “possible” gas attack in Syria as an excuse to launch military action against the Assad government. First question there is, which US drug lab did the gas come from; was the sarin supplied to the Assad government from the, at this point, unknown source or to the America-supported terrorists?

    How can this nation complain at the use of gas by anyone when its own hands are blood red, dripping with the life fluids of innocents around the world. Add up the number of civilians killed by US drone attacks in recent years.

    NYU student Josh Begley is tweeting every reported U.S. drone strike since 2002, and the feed highlights a disturbing tactic employed by the U.S. that is widely considered a war crime. Known as the “double tap,” the tactic involves bombing a target multiple times in relatively quick succession, meaning that the second strike often hits first responders. Check: for a listing of all of the drone attacks under Bush and Obama.

    Then there is the use of napalm and phosphorus bombs by the US. “The US used chemical weapons in Iraq – and then lied about it”/ is an article found at: Looks like the US used chemical weapons in Iraq, no doubt about it and the question about the use of WP in Afghanistan was answered by an AP article that stated “The Associated Press reported that an 8-year-old Afghan girl, Razia, was injured when a white phosphorus shell ripped through her home in the Tagab Valley of Kapisa province in June 2009.

    When she reached the operating room, white powder covered her skin, the oxygen mask on her face started to melt, and flames appeared when doctors attempted to scrape away the dead tissue. White phosphorus munitions cause particularly severe injuries, including chemical burns down to the bone. Wounds contaminated by white phosphorus can reignite days later when bandages are removed, produce poisoning that leads to organ failure and death, and lead to lifetime health problems.”, an obviously biased web presence (against the US) rightfully asks the question in an article, “Hypocrisy and Legacy of Death Linger as US Claims Moral Authority in Syria” at: I ask the same questions.

    We have Secretary of State, Kerry, condemning the Assad government for the use of gas with little or no proof that is was the government itself or an action of the American supported terrorists (our enemies on other occasions) themselves because as, reportedly, they were attempting to use them against the government and through their own inexperience, caused the incident to occur.

    The list goes on by getting into the use of depleted uranium ammunition which is condemned by most of the world. See: and Contamination from Depleted Uranium (DU) munitions and other military-related pollution is suspected of causing a sharp rises in congenital birth defects, cancer cases, and other illnesses throughout much of Iraq.

    America is not on the moral High Ground regarding Syria and the gas deaths.

  18. America on the high ground of morality authority is a joke.

    The title of this sub-forum is : “Message to Muslims: Time For Some Serious Questions”. Seems to me that it is time for another forum, “Message to the West: Time For Some Serious Questions”.

    The current agenda for the US, who tries to speak most of the time for the Western World, refuses to look at its own atrocities committed against the defenseless people of the “Other World”. How can the US seriously consider the evil of the “possible” gas attack in Syria as an excuse to launch military action against the Assad government. First consideration is, which US drug lab did the gas come from (if it did, I don’t know who makes sarin); then consider whether the sarin supplied to the Assad government from unknown source or to the America-supported terrorists?

    How can this nation complain at the use of gas by anyone when its own hands are blood red, dripping with the life fluids of innocents around the world. Add up the number of civilians killed by US drone attacks in recent years.

    NYU student Josh Begley is tweeting every reported U.S. drone strike since 2002, and the feed highlights a disturbing tactic employed by the U.S. that is widely considered a war crime. Known as the “double tap,” the tactic involves bombing a target multiple times in relatively quick succession, meaning that the second strike often hits first responders to the first strike. Check: for a listing of all of the drone attacks under Bush and Obama.

    Then there is the past use of napalm (2003 in Iraq) and the current use of white phosphorus bombs (Willie Pete – WP) by the US. “The US used chemical weapons in Iraq – and then lied about it”/ is an article found at: Looks like the US used chemical weapons in Iraq, no doubt about it and the question about the use of WP in Afghanistan was answered by an AP article that stated “The Associated Press reported that an 8-year-old Afghan girl, Razia, was injured when a white phosphorus shell ripped through her home in the Tagab Valley of Kapisa province in June 2009.

    When she reached the operating room, white powder covered her skin, the oxygen mask on her face started to melt, and flames appeared when doctors attempted to scrape away the dead tissue. White phosphorus munitions cause particularly severe injuries, including chemical burns down to the bone. Wounds contaminated by white phosphorus can reignite days later when bandages are removed, produce poisoning that leads to organ failure and death, and lead to lifetime health problems.”, an obviously biased web presence (against the US) rightfully asks the question in an article, “Hypocrisy and Legacy of Death Linger as US Claims Moral Authority in Syria” at: I ask the same questions.

    We have Secretary of State, Kerry, condemning the Assad government for the use of gas with little or no proof that it was the government itself or an action of the American supported terrorists (our enemies on other occasions and in otherr places) who are trying to replace the legal Syrian government with a radical muslim government and sharia law. Reportedly, the terrorists were attempting to use the gas weapons against the government troops and through their own ignorance and inexperience, caused the incident to occur.

    The list of American atrocities as the world sees it by getting into the use of depleted uranium ammunition; this is type of ammo is condemned by most of the world. See: and Contamination from Depleted Uranium (DU) munitions and other military-related pollution is suspected of causing a sharp rises in congenital birth defects, cancer cases, and other illnesses throughout much of Iraq.

    All of the above ignores Kosovo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, agent orange, napalm, etc. The list goes on and on. Someone from Europe many years ago said that the reason that America is great is because America is good; that statement is definitely out of date. America is definitely not on the moral High Ground regarding Syria and the gas deaths.

  19. I am the author of the original essay, “Message to Muslims: Time For Some Serious Questions,” which George reposted here, and I am glad to see such heartfelt discussion on this subject. I would like to mention a couple of things.

    For context, my post was written very soon after the murder and beheading in broad daylight, on a London street, of British soldier Lee Rigby. The killer, with blood-drenched hands, still holding the meat cleaver and knife with which he committed this horrific crime, waited for police to arrive, and gave a defense of his actions, video of which was recorded by someone with a smartphone. In this he can clearly be heard citing verses from the Quran. The link in my essay points to an article by Mark Durie in which he discusses this.

    More recently, we have seen the Ft Hood shooter Major Nidal Hasan likewise justify his mass murder using passages from the Quran. Indeed, he pre-justified himself, based on his Powerpoint presentations given while he was still stationed at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington. If you would like to read my post concerning why I oppose the death penalty for him, you may find it here.

    One of my main points in the “Time for Some Serious Questions” article is that jihadists, or extremist Muslims, or Islamists, always cite the Quran to support their actions. Suicide jihadists have often left videos behind where they make their confession of Islam and tell why they are going to perform an attack which will kill innocent people. Although there are peaceful Muslims who oppose this aspect of Islam (see The Clarion Project for profiles on and articles by such ‘moderate’ Muslims), it seems that the jihadists have Islamic scripture, tradition and teaching on their side. Jihad is mandated in the Quran, and Muhammad himself practiced and commanded jihad. Muhammad’s life and example is both a personal guide for Muslims (he is called “the most beautiful pattern of conduct” in the Quran), as well as the key to understanding the Quran and Islamic doctrine.

    Muslims believe the Quran to be the literal words of Allah, which pre-existed in heaven before all time in what Muslims call ‘the Mother of the Book’. Allah sent the Quran via the intermediary of the archangel Gabriel to Muhammad during the course of the last thirty years or so of Muhammad’s life. Because many of the verses in the Quran are contradicted by other verses, Muslim jurists (the ‘ulema’) apply the principle of ‘abrogation’ to determine which of the verses are to be followed. The verses from later in Muhammad’s career abrogate, or replace, earlier verses with which they are in contradiction. This principle itself is enshrined in Quran 2.106: “Whatever a Verse (revelation) do We [Allah] abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring a better one or similar to it. Know you not that Allah is able to do all things?”

    Thus Muslim jurists look at not only the Quran, but at the Hadiths (sayings by and about Muhammad) and the Sira (the Life of Muhammad by Ibn Ishaq, written in the eighth century), in order to understand when in Muhammad’s life a verse was given, and therefore how it should be applied. So in Islam there are these divine words and commands which can never be altered, because they are the direct, literal words from Allah, yet they are understood and filtered through the example of Muhammad, who, after his flight to Medina with only a small number of followers, soon became a powerful warlord, transforming Islam into a religion spread by the sword, not by preaching.

    After one early victory, Muhammad personally beheaded over seven-hundred Jews till their blood ran in the streets, as this passage from the Sira illustrates:

    Then they [the Jewish tribe of Qurayza] surrendered, and the apostle confined them in Medina in the quarter of d. al-Harith, a woman of Bani al-Najjar. Then the apostle went out to the market of Medina and dug trenches in it. Then he sent for them and struck off their heads in those trenches as they were brought out to him in batches. Among them was the enemy of Allah Huyayy bin Akhtab and Ka’b bin Asad their chief. There were 600 or 700 in all, though some put the figure as high as 800 or 900. As they were being taken out in batches to the Apostle they asked Ka’b what he thought would be done with them. He replied, ‘Will you never understand? Don’t you see that the summoner never stops and those who are taken away do not return? By Allah it is death!’ This went on until the Apostle made an end of them. (Ibn Ishaq, The Life of Muhammad, trans. by A. Guillaume, New York, 1980, pp 463-464.) [Keep in mind this is an Islamic source text.]

    Following his hijra (flight, migration) from Mecca to Medina, and his initial victory at the Battle of Badr, Muhammad waged relentless war—complete with raping and pillaging—against dissenting Arab and Jewish tribes until he came to a position of power in Medina, eventually returning with an army of ten-thousand Muslims to conquer Mecca itself some ten years later. Before the end of his life, Muhammad sent letters to the rulers of all the Middle Eastern kingdoms commanding them to submit to his rule (and the rule of Allah), thus affirming the practice of offensive jihad, and setting in motion the endless Islamic quest to force the whole world to submit to Allah.

    The Koran itself commands Muslims to fight against and terrorize the unbelievers till they embrace Islam or “feel themselves subdued” as is seen in these verses:

    “Fight against those who believe not in Allah, nor in the Last Day, nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth [i.e. Islam] among the people of the Book [Jews and Christians], until they pay the jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” (Sura 9:29)

    “Kill the mushrikun [unbelievers] wherever you find them, and capture them and besiege them, and prepare for them each and every ambush.” (Sura 9:5)

    “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who have disbelieved, so strike them over the necks, and smite over all their fingers and toes.” (Sura 8:12)

    “Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into the enemies of Allah and your enemies.” (Sura 8:60)

    “So, when you meet those who disbelieve, smite at their necks till when you have killed and wounded many of them, then bind a bond firmly on them… Thus you are ordered by Allah to continue in carrying out jihad against the disbelievers till they embrace Islam.” (Sura 47:4)

    These verses abrogate over one hundred earlier, peaceful verses from Muhammad’s Meccan period. These are but a few examples of the violent, offensive jihad verses.

    The word Islam means “submission,” and Islam exists to bring about the world’s submission to Allah and his Prophet, as is seen in this foundational hadith:

    “Allah’s Messenger said: ‘I have been ordered [by Allah] to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah… so if they perform all that, then they save their lives and property from me.” (Sahih Bukhari, 1:2:25, also Sahih Muslim, 1:10:29-35.)

    The resurgence in the 20th century of what we might call “pure” Islam, as seen in the Salafi, Wahhabi, and to a lesser extent in the Muslim Brotherhood movements, has overwhelmed moderate, Westernized, secular Islam, which finally lost its attractiveness in 1979 with the fall of the Shah of Iran and the rise of the ayatollahs. Simple clues like culture and clothing bear this out. Fifty years ago, you couldn’t find a Muslim woman wearing a hijab in Cairo; now it’s completely the reverse. With a return to traditional Muslim attire and culture comes a return to the foundational principles of Islam such as jihad and the humiliating treatment of non-Muslims, primarily Christians and Jews, through the dhimma contract and the payment of the crippling jizya tax.

    Whether ancient or modern, the timeless, relentless doctrine of jihad is mandatory for Muslims, which means the struggle to make Islam dominant throughout the world. Though it may begin peacefully, if the unbelievers resist submission to Islam, the umma (the Muslim community) are then enjoined to wage war to spread the religion of Muhammad, for “the earth belongs to Allah and his Apostle” (Sahih Muslim, Book of Jihad, 3:17:4363; also Bukhari, Book of al-Jizya, 4:58:3167). This assertion of Allah’s ownership of the world is a key component of the doctrine of jihad, and concerns issues of both national sovereignty and personal property; because Islam sees the entire world as belonging to Allah, the unbelievers have no innate, natural claim to the land or resources they may possess.

    The doctrine of jihad is clearly presented in this key passage from Reliance of the Traveller, published by Al Azhar University in Cairo, which is the foremost handbook of Islamic doctrine for orthodox Sunni Islam, published by the most revered school of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence. This is from a modern edition of a revered traditional text, readily available through mosques, Islamic bookstores, and Amazon:

    Jihad means to war against non-Muslims, and is etymologically derived from the word mujahada signifying warfare to establish the religion.

    The scriptural basis for jihad, prior to scholarly consensus (def: b7) is such Koranic verses as:

    “Fighting is prescribed for you” (Koran 2:216); “Slay them wherever you find them” (Koran 4:89); “Fight the idolators utterly” (Koran 9:36);

    and such hadiths as the one related by Bukhari and Muslim that the Prophet said:

    “I have been commanded to fight people until they testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and perform the prayer, and pay zakat. If they say it, they have saved their blood and possessions from me, except for the rights of Islam over them. And their final reckoning is with Allah”;

    and the hadith reported by Muslim,

    “To go forth in the morning or evening to fight in the path of Allah is better than the whole world and everything in it.”

    Jihad is a communal obligation. (o9.1)

    The caliph makes war upon Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians… until
    they become Muslim or else pay the non-Muslim poll tax. (o9.8)

    The caliph fights all other peoples until they become Muslim. (o9.9)138

    The call for Muslims to wage jihad is universal, though not all Muslims wage offensive jihad. Yet if they cannot do so, they are still enjoined to support jihad through other means, such as financial, material, or in their heart and through their prayers (the lesser jihad). This is openly taught in mosques. In fact, four separate studies over the last ten years have consistently shown that approximately 80% of all mosques in the United States preach/teach jihad, promote reading materials which urge violent jihad, and/or advocate the overthrow of the US Constitution and installation of Sharia Law.

    It should be quite clear that there is nothing comparable in either the Old or New Testament, in Christian tradition or teaching, nor even in Christian history to the mandatory doctrine of jihad in Islam. Yes, there have been atrocities committed by Christians, even in the name of Christ, but these are not in accordance with the Scriptures, the example of Jesus, or His teachings. You can even find “Christian” writers today who are advocating for a literal “nuke and pave” strategy towards the Muslim world. But this is not the Orthodox Way.

    I think we would say that in each person, including in each Muslim, remains the image of God, and we appeal to that divine spark, holding out hope to the last that even the most vile jihadist murderer can still repent and turn to Christ. Remember the Wise Thief whom we sing so movingly about every Holy Week, and recall every time we receive the Holy Eucharist.

    This is along the lines of what Archimandrite Daniel Byantoro, convert from Islam and founder of the Indonesian Orthodox Mission teaches:

    I think it is very important for Christians to wake up and return to their roots, to be serious about their faith, and to try to share that faith with Moslems. This is the greatest defense against Islam.

    My original essay which George re-posted was written as an invitation to those Muslims who are waking up to what their own religion teaches and what their violent co-religionists are calling them likewise to do. My essay and part of my mission for my little blog, Facing Islam, is a call to Muslims of good conscience, who consider themselves peaceful seekers after the True God, to “Come and see,” to encounter Jesus Christ within the Orthodox Church.

    In this I am simply trying to follow — however inadequately — in the footsteps of New Martyr Father Daniil Sysoev of Moscow (†2009), about whom his friend and co-laborer Deacon Georgi Maximov has written:

    Among those who call themselves Orthodox, I have met such strange people who say that Fr. Daniil should not preach to Muslims, that one must respect their religion, and that there is no benefit from his preaching. But Fr. Daniil thought, as did the Lord, the Apostles, and all the saints, that one must respect mistaken people but not their mistakes. Truth is one, that which contradicts and negates truth is a lie, and respect for a lie is contempt for the truth. [Source]

    Father Daniil converted some 80 Muslims to Jesus Christ, including some hard-core Wahhabis. He is our example and teacher, both in boldly refuting Islam as a false religion, and in holding out the Gospel of Life to Muslims. It is up to us to be abiding in Christ, acquiring the Holy Spirit, so that we are prepared to greet with love and thanksgiving whatever or whomever the Lord allows us to encounter. I had the good fortune to play a small part directing a Muslim seeker to Fr Justin Patterson at St Athanasius Church (OCA) in Lexington KY a year ago. Muslims are hearing about Jesus, sometimes from the Lord Himself! Their stories are quite inspiring, and there are many examples on the Journey to Orthodoxy site.

    Forgive me if I have caused any offense to anyone. Please pray for me a sinner.

    — zosimas

    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

      You are right about Islam. But why does the Obama Administration support the radical Muslims who are killing Christians, desecrating our Churches and Monasteries in Syria? Just this week, the rebels who have been given arms and other support by our government attacked the ancient Orthodox Monastery of St. Thekla. They have kidnapped the Orthodox Metropolitan of Aleppo, attempted to assassinate the Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch by firing on St. Mary’s Cathedral in Damascus while the clergy were distributing food to the needy, killed Orthodox priests, driven the Christians from Homs and are trying to establish an Islamic state in Syria. Why does Obama want the US to send missiles to attack Assad’s forces to support a group allied with Al Quida as we prepare to remember 9/11? Obama’s pro-Islamic policies are either stupid or treason.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      I think you did an excellent job, Zosimas. You made people think.

    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

      Zosimas. Do you not realize that “Allah” is not a proper name? it is the Arabic word for “God” and it should be used, lest the Muslim teaching be distorted unfairly. Arabic-speaking Christians use the word “Allah” when they pray in Arabic, just as not Arabs use God. The Muslim creed is that there is no God except God, and Allah is a prophet of His. Perhaps you hope this will not become widely known, though…they have no “persons” in God, no begettings by Him, no hypostases but One. In other words, they are the very most radical of monotheists. And please don’t ignore how the Muslim rulers for centuries have protected Christians that were Orthodox or heretical, without distinction, and that they allowed Christians (and Jews) to occupy high positions in government and finance that remained closed to the illiterate Muslim nomad. Explain St. Catherine’s Monastery on Mount Sinai, explain the flourishing of the Ecumenical Patriarchate under the Ottomans. Explain how the Jews survived in Jerusalem and Palestine under the Muslims, but were massacred by the Christian Crusaders. Explain the dozen or so synagogues in Tehran, with their attached Hebrew schools, their elected representative in the parliament (majlis) of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The devil, Zosimas, can quote the Qor’an as well as he quotes our Holy Scriptures, and he can mislead Christians into violating Christian teaching as easily as he can do the same with Muslims. You and many others with you may boast of the triumphs of Christ in Church, but outside it you act and speak as if His Church is a fragile hothouse flower in danger of destruction by the invincible forces of Islamic fanatics!

  20. cynthia curran says

    No one is arguing that Byzantine military policies were correct (or incorrect). I myself believe that Byzantine feelings of superiority towards the Egyptians more than anything caused the Monophysite Schism but that’s a story for another day. And anyway, that’s part of our fallen world. Wilsonian demo-crusaderism by the US is part of our fallen order as well and NOT mandated by anything found in Christianity.
    They were Romans, remember in 473 I believe the western half was gone and of course the Romans in Constantinople wanted to hold on to Egypt and Syria from the Persians.Roman policy didn’t always work with foreign people but usually people thought of themselves as part of an Empire but in the 5th century the Empire was coming more apart, Theodosius was the last ruler of a unified empire and divided between it between his sons Honorius and Acardius weak rulers, so it was going down hill but managed to hold on in the east. So, people in the east felt they could be independent of the New Rome as well since the Old Rome fell.
    As for the crusades if Justinian’s reconquest of Italy in the 6th century held longer the Byzantines lost about half of it within 3 years of his death and Rome was lost to the Byzantines around 700 and parts of Southern Italy until 1044 I believe, then the Popes would not have gotten involved with the Franks.

  21. From Father Viktor says

    Dear Brothers & Sisters,

    Good advice from the Pope – pray and fasting for peace in the Middle East:

    Last Sunday we incorporated special prayers for peace into both Liturgies and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

    May God help the World to avoid this conflagration !

    In XC,

    Fr. Victor

  22. cynthia curran says

    Well, the Jews were kick out under Hadrian hence the changed of the name from Judea to Palestine but a century or so later the Jews came back to Palestine. Procopius writes in his day that there were thousands of them in Palestine since he came from Caesara and they were farmers. Archaeology of the 6th century, shows lots of synagogues and churches in fact one of the lamps in the 6th century is shaped like a church that archaelogists found near a 6th century wine press. In Procopius’s day there were even a lot of Samaritans but today they are under 1,000 in modern Israel. I mention this because this was the pre-Islamic populations in Palestine, so both the Jews and Christians lived there prior to Islam..

    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

      Yes, the name was changed BACK to Philistia (Palestine) after Hadrian and remains today. Or one could consider that both Israel and Judea, etc., were located in Philistia (Palestine)

  23. Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

    The Apocalypse of St. John was the last book to be received into the Eastern Canon: even so, no readings from it were every authorized during Orthodox services in any Typikon. It seems that, on the other hand, the Epistle of James was not widely accepted in the West. Somehow a compromise was reached in that the West accepted the Epistle of James while the East accepted the Apocalypse (but not for teaching or reading in Church).’
    You’d have a hard time arriving at a patristic view of the Apocalypse, because the Holy Fathers mostly ignored it in their homiies, of course.
    Today, though, many (such as Archbishop Benjamin) have developed a kind of penchant for sermonizing on the Apocalypse. Father George Gray in the Northwest also rather specializes in it. Why not? It’s virgin territory! And for some, especially those who were brought up Protestants or had to go to Protestant services where there was no Orthodox parish nearby, references to “The Book of Revelations” is like a nostalgia trip back to “the old days” and those old fiery sermons so loved in the South. Even today, Hollywood and the games industry remain absolutely besotted with such figures as the Four Horsemen, and the Seven Churches. I was never clear where the mines were from which the streets of gold were paved, nor have I been able to learn where the oysters were from which produced the pearls for the Heavenly Gates! Were they ocean oysters or river oysters, one wonders?

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      They were heavenly oysters, of course!

      Which puts me in mind of Rupert Brooke’s wonderful poem “Heaven”, told from the water creatures’ point of view:

      “Fish (fly-replete, in depth of June,
      Dawdling away their wat’ry noon)
      Ponder deep wisdom, dark or clear,
      Each secret fishy hope or fear.
      Fish say, they have their Stream and Pond;
      But is there anything Beyond?
      This life cannot be All, they swear,
      For how unpleasant, if it were!
      One may not doubt that, somehow, Good
      Shall come of Water and of Mud;
      And, sure, the reverent eye must see
      A Purpose in Liquidity.
      We darkly know, by Faith we cry,
      The future is not Wholly Dry.
      Mud unto mud!–Death eddies near–
      Not here the appointed End, not here!
      But somewhere, beyond Space and Time,
      Is wetter water, slimier slime!
      And there (they trust) there swimmeth One
      Who swam ere rivers were begun,
      Immense, of fishy form and mind,
      Squamous, omnipotent, and kind;
      And under that Almighty Fin,
      The littlest fish may enter in.
      Oh! never fly conceals a hook,
      Fish say, in the Eternal Brook,
      But more than mundane weeds are there,
      And mud, celestially fair;
      Fat caterpillars drift around,
      And Paradisal grubs are found;
      Unfading moths, immortal flies,
      And the worm that never dies.
      And in that Heaven of all their wish,
      There shall be no more land, say fish.”

  24. . . . But to call the Greek spoken all over the Roman Empire, the corrupt, mongrelized, and PIDGIN Greek of the Hellenistic (not Hellenic) Empire of the Macedonian Alexander’s army “Attic” is a huge stretch.

    Of course, yes. That was George’s assertion: “. . . The Jews of the West took up Attic Greek.”

    I no longer bother choosing among George’s zillions of baselessnesses for refutation. Life is short. It’s almost always lost on him anyway evidently. He’s incorrigible. It’s enough to point out with a few deft strokes how he and others here incessantly discredit themselves.