17th Sunday of the Year

Dear Friends in Christ,

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, has declared the creation of a new Islamic Caliphate with himself as Caliph Ibrahim — Abraham. When this man first gained wide attention a few weeks ago, it was easy to dismiss him from a safe distance as just another ludicrous lunatic, but he is in deadly earnest up close. Since conquering the Iraqi city of Mosul with frightening ease, al-Baghdadi has

+ expelled all Christians from a city in which they had lived for 1700 years, giving them the choice of converting to Islam, becoming slaves, being executed, or leaving with nothing but the clothes on their backs
+ closed all 30 churches and monasteries (including one founded in the 4th century), removing all crosses from them, and turning them into mosques, starting with the Syriac Orthodox Cathedral
+ ordered all women and girls to undergo the brutal mutilation known as female circumcision and urged all families in the city “to give virgin girls in marriage to jihadists”

As horrible as all of these things are, allow me to suggest something still more horrible: you probably did not know most of this until you read today’s bulletin column because the mainstream media and the governments of Western nations, including our own, are giving little attention to these atrocities out of fear of portraying this conflict as a war of religion. And this same reluctance to call things by their proper names also characterizes reporting in other parts of the world. For example,

+ in Nigeria, the Islamic terror gang called Boko Haram (meaning “Western Education is a Sacrilege”) has been blowing up Christian churches — usually with Christians praying inside — for several years, and most recently they brazenly kidnapped several hundred Christian girls from a school in order to force them to convert to Islam and give them as “virgin brides” to jihadists

+ in Israel, the Islamofascist terror gang called Hamas is waging war by deliberately targeting Israeli civilians, while attempting to conceal its own military assets in homes, schools, hospitals, and mosques, believing that any attempt by Israel to defend itself will thereby cause Palestinian civilian casualties and earn Israel the contempt of the world

If we are to protect ourselves from these hideous crimes, Christian communities and Western nations alike must understand what is happening in the world and why. The West is confronted by a war of religion designed to destroy everything that is not Muslim, and we must understand the agenda and motives of those waging this war if we hope to win it. Conversion, slavery, or death; those are the options offered by our enemies. What will be our response?

Father Newman