Sadly more such Islamic attacks can be expected here:

Last week a number of teenagers were arrested and detained by police in NSW because they wanted to continue the work of jihad that the 16-year-old Islamist had unleashed on Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel a few weeks ago. Not a lot of media coverage on these arrests has been found in the mainstream media.

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Sky News has been covering the story: “Police in Australia have arrested seven teenagers who posed an ‘unacceptable risk and threat’ to the community in the wake of the stabbing of a bishop in a Sydney church. The teenagers, all aged between 15 and 17, are accused of being part of a network that follows a violent extremist ideology.”

NSW Police deputy commissioner David Hudson said this: “We will allege that these individuals adhered to a religiously motivated, violent extremist ideology.” And in case you are not sure which religious ideology is being referred to here, it begins with “I” and ends with “slam”.

And an American network provided more recent details, including the discussions the youths were having about engaging in further terror attacks:

Four of the boys charged last week — a 15-year-old, a 16-year-old and two 17-year-olds — allegedly used the encrypted messaging app Signal to plan their attack. “I wanna die and I wanna kill … I’m just excited … Is your plan to get caught or die or escape?” a 17-year-old allegedly said on April 20 in a group chat.

 

The 16-year-old allegedly responded, “We’re gonna be planning for a while … we prefer to escape, but whatever happens, it’s the qadr (predetermination) of Allah,” the newspapers reported. The 15-year-old allegedly said on Signal on April 19, “I really want to target the yahood,” meaning Jewish people. The 16-year-old allegedly said of the church attacker, “I know the bloke who done it” and “he’s my mate.” https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/teens-plotted-buy-guns-attack-jewish-people-sydney-bishop-stabbing-rcna149733

If anyone is really shocked about all this, they obviously know little about political Islam, about jihad, and about Islam’s longstanding hatred of Christians and Jews. These have always gone together, and there are plenty of Islamic hate preachers in Sydney and elsewhere routinely delivering messages inciting hatred against the Jews and the infidels.

While many nominal Muslims rightly want nothing to do with violence and bloodshed, the devout Muslim is more than happy to follow in the footsteps of Muhammad and to adhere to the clear teachings of the Koran and the Hadith. I have spoken on this often, but let me cite an authority on Islam, Robert Spencer. In his recent book The Palestinian Delusion he briefly outlines this reality. He discusses “the hatred of the Jews that is embedded in the Islamic holy texts.”

He continues: “There is a strong native strain of anti-Semitism in Islam, rooted in the Qur’an. The Qur’an puts forward a clear, consistent image of the Jews: they are scheming, treacherous liars and the most dangerous enemies of the Muslims.” Muslims are told not to befriend to them:

Muslims should not get close to such people: “O you who have believed, do not take the Jew and the Christian as friends. They are friends of one another. And whoever is a friend to them among you, indeed, he is of them. Indeed, Allah does not guide the wrongdoing people” (5:51). It would hardly be appropriate for Muslims to act peaceably toward the Jews when the Jews, according to the Qur’an, are prone to war—especially against Muslims. Whenever the Jews “kindle the fire of war,” says the Qur’an, “Allah extinguishes it” (5:64).

 

Ultimately, Allah transforms disobedient Jews into apes and pigs (2:63–66, 5:59–60, 7:166). While the Qur’an says that Muslims are the “best of people” (3:110), the unbelievers are “like livestock” (7:179). “Indeed, the worst of living creatures in the sight of Allah are those who have disbelieved, and they will not believe” (8:55)….

 

A pious and knowledgeable Muslim will discover in his Qur’an that the Jews are busy hiding the truth and misleading people (3:78). They staged rebellion against the prophets and rejected their guidance (2:55), and even killed them (2:61). They prefer their own interests to the teachings of Muhammad (2:87). They wish evil for people and try to mislead them (2:109), and even feel pain when others are happy or fortunate (3:120). They’re arrogant about their status as Allah’s beloved people (5:18) while devouring people’s wealth by subterfuge (4:161); slandering the true religion (4:46), and killing the prophets (2:61). They’re merciless and heartless (2:74), unrestrained in committing sins (5:79), cowardly (59:13–14), and miserly (4:53). They are under Allah’s curse (4:46, 9:30).

 

An informed and committed believer will look at the Jews, and in particular at Zionism and the State of Israel, and not see a struggle over land or boundaries that can be solved through negotiations if a sufficient amount of goodwill exists on both sides. Such a believer is much more likely to see the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as an eschatological struggle against the great spiritual enemies of the Muslims, as the Jews are designated in the Qur’an: “You will surely find the most intense of the people in animosity toward the believers to be the Jews…” (5:82)

 

There can be no negotiated settlement, and no peace, with these treacherous, untrustworthy, mendacious enemies….

The Unlucky Country - Zimmermann & Moens

Much more could be shared from this vital book, but you get the point. When this sort of teaching is drummed into the heads of Muslim youth (and other Muslims) over and over again, no wonder we have these sorts of attacks like we saw on Bishop Emmanuel. And we can expect many more to come.

Indeed, just a few days ago in The Australian Henry Ergas had an important piece on what all this is about. The title and subtitle said this:

“Wakeley is merely Islam’s latest attack against Christianity
While Australia is becoming ever more multicultural, Christianity and religious freedom are disappearing from the Islamic world.”

Writes Ergas:

The guilt or innocence of the 16-year-old accused of stabbing Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel and three others at Wakeley’s Assyrian Church of Christ the Good Shepherd last week will ultimately be tested in court, as will that of any accomplices. But what the incident confirms, were further confirmation needed, is the continued vehemence of Islamism’s hostility to Christianity.

 

Islamist attacks on churches are scarcely isolated incidents. In France alone there were more than 600 attacks on Christian places of worship in 2020, culminating in the murder of three parishioners at Nice’s Basilica of Notre Dame by an Islamist carrying a Koran. Meanwhile, violence against Christians remains endemic in the Arab Middle East, where the share of Christians in the population has, over the course of the past century, collapsed from around 14 per cent to barely 3 per cent.

 

Seen in the longer term, the eradication of Christianity from its regions of birth appears even more starkly. In AD732, when Islam consolidated its hegemony over what later became the Arab lands, Christians were by far the majority of the population in the Oriental patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem, as well as in North Africa. Now, after centuries of persecution, those ancient churches are becoming an insignificant presence, with their Middle Eastern congregations accounting for less than 1 per cent of Christians worldwide.

He too looks at some Islamic references to this, and then says: “And according to a tradition authoritatively reported by Malik ibn Anas (711-795), the Prophet’s last words were ‘May God fight the Jews and the Christians! Two religions will not remain in the land of the Arabs’.”

He goes on to look at the history of Islamic warfare against Christians:

The construction of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, with the explicit denunciation of Christian belief in its magnificent gold leaf inscriptions, merely heightened their fears, which were confirmed when sweeping restrictions on Christian worship, along with deliberately humiliating rules of conduct and punitive taxes, were formalised in the mid-9th century.

 

Where those impositions were strictly enforced, as they were against the Copts in Egypt (the largest and most enduring Christian congregation in the Arab lands), the consequences were devastating – and they became even more severe as successive fiscal crises led to ever higher taxes being imposed on a shrinking population. After an endless series of massacres that decimated the Coptic dioceses, it was only in the 19th century that the modernisation of the Ottoman Empire, and the reforms enacted by Muhammad Ali Pasha’s dynasty in Egypt, brought significant relief.

 

But liberalisation did not prove durable anywhere in the Middle East. To begin with, the growing prosperity of the relatively well-educated Christian communities provoked resentments that were fanned by Muslim clerics, triggering a wave of violence that began with the Damascus riots of 1860.

 

At the same time, as Muslim rule tottered in the face of Western challenge, Muslim rulers increasingly relied on Islam to define national identity and galvanise popular opposition to Western pressures, effectively excluding non-Muslims from the emerging nations. And just as Islam became central to legitimating governance, Islam itself became ever more intrans­igent, reinvigorating Koranic theology’s most intolerant aspects and demolishing the hopes of reformers – such as the brilliant mid-19th century Young Ottomans – who sought to reconcile Islam with constitutional liberalism.

 

The consequences of those 19th-century developments ran through the 20th century like a blood-soaked thread. In the Ottoman Empire, they underpinned the Hamidian massacres of the Taurus Mountains’ Christian minorities in 1894-96, the genocide of the Chaldean-Assyrian Christians in 1914-15 and the Armenian genocide of 1915-16.

 

Even after the collapse of the empire, the formation of the Turkish republic and the Greco-Turkish population exchange of 1923 (which reduced the non-Muslim share of Turkey’s population from 20 per cent to 2.5 per cent), they continued to reverberate in the murderous riots of 1934, the discriminatory Wealth Tax of 1942 (that expropriated the remaining Armenian, Greek Orthodox and Jewish communities) and the explosion of violence against minorities in 1955.

He concludes with these words:

No doubt, some attacks on Christians are the work of extremists; but many are not. All too often they are sustained by the rhetoric of highly regarded clerics who demonise reformers (such as Egyptian Farag Foda, who was assassinated after being denounced by Islamic scholars linked to al-Azhar) and condone, or refuse to firmly condemn, religious violence. As Turkish intellectual Mustafa Akyol recently argued, “Islam’s problem is not just the Islamists; it’s the mainstream.”

 

Bernard Lewis famously stated some years ago that “for Christians and Muslims alike, tolerance is a new virtue and intolerance a new crime”. The great historian was only half right: Christianity has changed, but tolerance has scarcely made its mark in the Islamic world, and when it has, it has invariably struggled. With religious and ethnic diversity – and hence genuine religious freedom – vanishing in the Muslim countries, while Australia’s diversity inexorably rises, our much vaunted multiculturalism cannot be an excuse for tolerating a fanaticism that, still today, so readily morphs into murder.

Again, when your holy books enjoin violence and jihad against Jews and Christians, the devout Muslim will listen and obey. We can be thankful that the NSW police caught these other Muslim teens before they could carry out their diabolical attacks.

But more will be coming. We need to be careful and watchful. And we need to be sober minded about what political Islam actually teaches.

Update on Bishop Emmanuel

As some of you may have heard, the Bishop returned to his pulpit the other day, with an eye patch. And he continues to extend Christian forgiveness to his Muslim attacker. He said: “I will always pray for you, I will always wish you nothing but the best.” And again: “This young man who did this act almost two weeks ago, I say to you my dear, ‘You are my son and you will always be my son’.”

He also strongly rejected the attempt by the Prime Minister to have the video of his attack banned; “For us to say because of this freedom of speech, it is causing dramas and dilemmas therefore everything should be censored, where is democracy, where is humanity, where is integrity?”

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Bill Muehlenberg teaches ethics, apologetics and theology at several Melbourne Bible Colleges. His independent blog, Culture Watch, has over 5,000 articles commenting on the major cultural, social and political issues of the day.

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