Why does the Quran direct Muslims to Bible?

November 26, 2015 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-miscellaneous

quran and bibleThis is a question for the muslim posters mainly but others may join in. I have noticed that a lot of muslims posters seem to be of the opinion that the bible (hebrew and greek scriptures) are not to be viewed as the Word of God…that the text is compromised and untrustworthy.

However, i’d like to ask what the opinion is on these verses from the Quran which encourages the use of the bible?

Āl ‘Imrān [3]:3, 4, NJD: “He has revealed to you the Book with the truth, confirming the scriptures which preceded it; for He has already revealed the Torah and the Gospel [Injīl in Arabic] for the guidance of men.”

Al-Mā’idah [5]:46, 47: And in their footsteps, We sent ‘Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), confirming the Taurat (Torah) that had come before him, and We gave him the Injeel (Gospel), in which was guidance and light and confirmation of the Taurat (Torah) that had come before it, a guidance and an admonition for Al-Muttaqun (the pious)

Yūnus [10]:94.“If thou wert in doubt as to what We have revealed unto thee, then ask those who have been reading the Book from before thee.”

quran and bibleIt seems to me that the Quran is endorsing the use of the holy bible rather then trying to correct its teachings. I’d like to know where this idea that the bible needed correcting comes from?

And if the bible was falsified ‘later’ as muslims claim, then when is ‘later’?

It must have been before Mohammads time, otherwise he would not have come and declared that it had been changed… but then if it was before Mohammad, why would the Quran (which was written AFTER Mohammads time) direct people to the bible?

This all seems very contradictory to me.

- fb post

Freedom of faith & reasonable restrictions

November 26, 2015 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-india

Religious freedomHaryana, November 25, 2015: Recently, a District Collector in Haryana passed an order prohibiting processions under Sec. 144 Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.PC), which resulted in a small local Church, being prevented from meeting. The High Court of Haryana in response to a Writ Petition upheld the right of the worshipers to congregate there and directed the police to provide them protection during their Sunday morning worship service. In another case, a District Collector in Tamil Nadu refused permission to continue worship services at a church premises on the grounds of purported communal disharmony and ill-will among people in the area. This action has been challenged and is presently pending adjudication in the appropriate Court of law.

Both these cases raise very important questions of law, on the reasonable restrictions that can be placed on the Fundamental Rights of every citizen recognized under Part III of the Constitution of India. No person can be divested of his Fundamental Rights. They are incapable of being taken away or abridged. The Constitutional protection available to the citizens of India for exercising their Fundamental Rights has great significance. Article 13 is indicative of the significance the framers of the Constitution intended to attach to the Fundamental Rights of the citizens. Article 13(2) emphatically states: The State shall not make any law which takes away or abridges the rights conferred by this Part and any law made in contravention of this clause shall, to the extent of the contravention, be void.

One should never lose sight of the fact, however, that there can be no unfettered personal right or liberty guaranteed to an individual without compromising the interests of the general public. There is a need to balance an individual’s liberties on one hand and the interests of the larger community on the other.

Hence, a person can claim Fundamental Rights against the State subject to the State imposing some permissible restrictions in the interest of social order. The term social order has a very wide ambit and includes “law and order”, “public order” as well as “security of the State”. The State can by exercise of its legislative power regulate these rights by imposition of reasonable restrictions on them.

A citizen can move the Supreme Court of India under Article 32 of the Constitution to enforce his Fundamental Rights. Every High Court is also conferred with the power to enforce Fundamental Rights by Article 226 of the Indian Constitution. The question that often requires the decision of the Courts in such matters is whether on the facts and circumstances of a particular case, the restrictions imposed on the Fundamental Rights by or under the authority of law actually lie in the sphere of “reasonableness” and whether their imposition was unavoidable for the greater common good.

The reasonableness of the restrictions are tested against the parameters provided for this purpose in Part III itself. For instance, the reasonable restrictions on the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed in Article 19(1)(a) are permitted by Article 19(2) only on the following grounds:
– In the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with Foreign States, public order, decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence.

In a pluralistic society like India, the Freedom of Conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion is vital and is guaranteed by Article 25 of the Constitution. However, this freedom is tempered by the following qualifiers – “Subject to public order, morality and health and to the other provisions of this Part”.

It is evident, therefore, that unreasonable and arbitrary restrictions imposed by the State will not stand up under judicial scrutiny. They are not valid unless they are unavoidable in a given situation and can never exceed the extent and duration essential to ensure public interest.

- adf india team

Former IAS officer moots pressure group of Indian Muslims

November 26, 2015 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-india

Muslims PrayingHyderabad, November 25, 2015: A group of educated Muslims is planning to float a pressure group which will subsequently lead to a pan-India political party to take care of the community’s interests in a country where it constitutes 14 percent of the 1.2 billion population.

A retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer has sought opinion from members of the community, including NRIs, on the proposed group.

Mohammad Shafiquzzaman, who retired as special chief secretary in the undivided Andhra Pradesh in 2013, has mooted the idea of the group to take care of the interests of Muslims in particular and to have a complete agenda of welfare governance in general.

In a letter seeking opinion from the community, he said the problems of Muslims cannot be solved without political empowerment.

“As proved by recent Bihar elections, the battle cannot be won alone and requires the support of all liberal and sensible sections of society to make India a livable place for all,” he wrote.

The proposed group will work on the basis of “right, not charity”. Its policy will be “non-confrontational but it will not shy away from fighting against any injustice or discrimination, through all legal means available to the citizens of this country”.

The need for a separate group was felt as existing parties are limited to small geographic areas catering to localised emotional/administrative needs. “These parties either do not have or have not been able to spell out their vision to resolve larger Muslim issues, not even policies to address issues of general governance.”

He believes security and identity and educational and economic backwardness are the primary problems of the community.

Stating that Muslim youth were being targeted on false charges of terrorism, he added that the fact that things were no better under Congress or the so-called secular governments indicates that the problem of security is primarily because of bureaucracy and not politicians.

The group will influence, agitate and take legal recourse to ensure that the bureaucracy is de-communalised, both through training and punishment.

It will initiate a debate on the definition and causes of terrorism so that the disease is addressed and not the symptoms.

The group proposes to supplement governmental efforts by community efforts to remove educational backwardness.

He feels the need to make efforts at the level of primary, secondary and intermediate education rather in the field of opening commercial higher educational institutions.

He believed that an educated work force will be able to make its own place in the job market. The group will strive to supplement it by securing job reservations for Muslims in different states and at the Centre.

The civil bureaucracy also needs to be trained as to the true meaning and spirit of secularism and made to understand that secularism means the state maintaining either equal distance from all religions or equal proximity to all religions.

The group is of the view that the best government is the one that governs least. It feels that threshold level bar on “offences” must be upped particularly in those fields where violations are rampant so that the harassing potential of lower level bureaucracy is reduced.

It also feels the need for large-scale reforms in curtailing the discretionary powers of bureaucracy.

A 1977-batch IAS officer, Shafiquzzaman had a clean image as a bureaucrat. He fought many legal battles against the government over service issues.

In one such case filed by him, the Hyderabad High Court last week issued a contempt notice to a former chief secretary for his alleged role in according unlawful promotions to certain IAS officers.

- tcn


Hindu Sena protests outside Aamir Khan’s residence

November 26, 2015 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-india

Hindu Sena protests outside Aamir Khan's residenceMumbai, November 24, 2015: Hundreds of activists of the Hindu Sena on Tuesday staged a vociferous demonstration outside the home of Bollywood megastar Aaamir Khan protesting against his statements on intolerance.

The activists shouted slogans like “Aamir Khan murdabad”, “Aamir Khan chale jao”, and attempted to force their way inside the actor’s home in Bandra but were prevented by a substantial police presence there.

Later, around a dozen activists were detained and taken to the Bandra police station.

An official said police have deployed in adequate numbers to prevent any untoward incident.

On the issue of beefing up security, the official said that would be decided by a separate department depending on the requirement.

Meanwhile, while on a visit to Solapur, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis declined to comment on Aamir Khan’s comment.

“I have better things to do than react to all such statements. There are more pressing issues of the state than talking about these things,” Fadnavis told media persons.

In Pune, state Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam termed Aamir Khan’s comments as “treason” and said the actor was welcome to go to Pakistan if he felt so insecure in India.

“In India, we gave you so much love — Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan. We looked at your art and not your religion. Does it mean we have been feeding milk to a snake?” Kadam said.

In Satara, Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar on Tuesday declined to react to Aamir Khan’s remarks while offering condolences to the family of Col. Santosh Mahadik of the Indian Army who died fighting militants in Jammu and Kashmir.

- tcn

International Commission of Jurists report slams Pakistan’s blasphemy laws

November 26, 2015 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-asia

blasphemy lawsPakistan, November 19, 2015: According to the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) 187 Christians have been accused under Pakistan’s various  “blasphemy” laws since 1987. The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has vigorously condemned these cruel laws, trials and punishments in a 60-page report published in early November.

“Blasphemy” laws

The report calls on the Pakistan government to “repeal all blasphemy laws … or amend them substantially so that they are consistent with international standards on freedom of expression; freedom of thought, conscience or religion; and equal protection of the law”.

This table put together by the ICJ includes all of the offences related to religion in the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), popularly known as the “blasphemy” laws.

Abusing the blasphemy laws to falsely accuse

The “blasphemy laws” have frequently been misused to abuse the country’s Christians, who are often falsely accused of blasphemy by enemies who use it as a way of settling a personal grudge or to grab property. In a high-profile trial, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa said on 27 October that, “It is an unfortunate fact which cannot be disputed that in many cases registered in respect of the offence of blasphemy, false allegations are levelled for extraneous purposes.”

The NCJP reports that, as well as nearly 200 Christians, 633 Muslims, 494 Ahmadis and 21 Hindus have also been accused of ”blasphemy” offences since 1987. Given that the religious minorities account for an extremely small percentage of the Muslim-majority population, the number of Christians and members of other minority religions accused is massively disproportionate to the number of Muslims accused, although the number of accused Muslims is higher.

Death penalty

The ICJ vehemently urges the abolition of the mandatory death penalty that is included in Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code for “defiling the name” of Muhammad. Although the Code itself dictates two possible punishments for this offence (namely, life imprisonment or death), the Federal Shariat Court (FSC) in 1990 ruled that the government should remove the option for life imprisonment from 295-C. The government did not do so and the “life imprisonment” option remained in ink on the statute book. However, the influence and status of FSC rulings in Pakistan is such that this option ceased to be legally valid and since then everyone found guilty under Section 295-C has been sentenced to death. On the other hand, no one has actually been executed for this crime but are normally left languishing in prison as they await an appeal; their conviction is eventually overturned or their sentence commuted. So a kind of legal limbo has existed, in which the FSC’s 1990 ruling is followed in practice but not added to the statute books.

No deliberate intent to blaspheme necessary for a conviction

Another recommendation listed in the ICJ report is that the government “expressly include the requirement of proof of deliberate and malicious intent in all offences related to religion … particularly 295-C”.

Section 295-C excludes the need for mens rea (literally, “guilty mind”). This means that someone can commit an offence without any intention and without realising what they are doing.

The ICJ reviewed 25 cases of high court appeals for Section 295-C and discovered that in the majority of these cases (60%), the appellants were acquitted after the courts ruled that the accusations made against them had been “either fabricated, or made maliciously for personal or political reasons”.

Even after the acquittal of the accused, the ICJ discovered that no charges were made against those who made the false allegations, despite the fact that there are laws to criminalise perjury.

Extrajudicial murders common

A simple accusation is enough to make anyone accused of “blasphemy” vulnerable to extrajudicial murder as zealous Muslims take the law into their own hands: 53 people have been subject to such unlawful killings since 1986.

A Christian couple, Shehzad Masih and his pregnant wife Shama Bibi, were beaten and burned alive in a brick kiln by a Muslim mob in November 2014 after Shama was accused of burning pages of the Quran and throwing them in a rubbish bin. However, local reports said that Shama was illiterate and had no way of knowing what she was burning.

The ICJ noted that in many cases, those accused of “blasphemy” were attacked while being held, some of them killed. In some instances, it was the police themselves who were responsible for the attacks.

Fair trial

The report published by the ICJ condemns the lack of fair trial offered to those accused of “blasphemy”. It urges Pakistani authorities to allow anyone accused of a blasphemy offence to be able to apply for bail pending a trial. It also asks that the offences be made non-cognisable, meaning that instead of having free reign to arrest and investigate, police would need a warrant to arrest someone suspected of offending against the laws and that court permission would be required for an investigation.

The ICJ found that judges often show “demonstrable bias and prejudice against defendants”. According to the prevailing Pakistan Code of Criminal Procedure, “only a Muslim Presiding judge shall hear cases registered under Section 295-C of the Penal Code in the court of first instance”.

It also found that judges and lawyers acting in blasphemy cases face intimidation and harassment, hindering the process of fair trial for the accused.

Criticising the “blasphemy laws”

In a landmark statement for freedom of religion in Pakistan, the Pakistan Supreme Court said on Monday (5 October) that criticising the country’s notoriously harsh blasphemy laws is not blasphemy. Political figures in Pakistan’s recent history who opposed or attempted to amend the blasphemy laws have been violently pressured into backtracking, and several have been killed.

- barnabas team

West has ‘betrayed the Christians of the East’, says Syrian Patriarch

November 26, 2015 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-world

christians in syriaSyria, November 19, 2015: The head of the Syrian Catholic Church, Mar Ignace Youssif III Youan, has said the West has betrayed Syrians and caused an endless conflict in the country.

Speaking to Le Messenger, an Egpytian Catholic magazine, Youan spoke passionately about the “chaos” that Western governments have caused by ignoring the advice of Syrians, assuming that Assad’s regime could be destroyed in a few months, and now having faith in airstrikes as the answer when ISIS has thoroughly infiltrated Iraq, Syria and beyond.

“We Christians are not able to live in this chaos,” the Syrian Patriarch said. “The West has betrayed us.”

The patriarch accused Western governments of wanting to “perpetuate the endless conflict in Syria” and of having “betrayed the Christians of the East. We explained from the beginning that our situation was different from that of other nations in the region, they were not listened to. And now we mourn deaths over the past five years. ”

He described the current situation in Syria as “dramatic, and all the Syrian people are living in pain” as they are trapped under the regime of ISIS and other terrorist groups “who use Islam as an excuse to ‘purify’ areas under their control in the name of religion, and Muslim scholars who tell us that Islam is alien to these facts.

“It’s a shame that the West has abandoned Christians to this situation,” he said.

The patriarch said that terrorist groups, with financing from Saudi Arabia and other countries in the area, have thoroughly infiltrated Iraq and Syria, and there are now terrorists moving into Europe posing as refugees.

ISIS “have already infiltrated in European populations. For years they have received money, weapons and religious indoctrination from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries, with the supervision of the West. To claim that the solution is to carry out air strikes [in Syria and Iraq] is a lie”, he said.

This is futile, he said, “because their supporters have infiltraded the population, they are financed and have access to weapons and religious indoctrination.”

- christian today

Over 200 consecrated hosts stolen, desecrated in Spain art exhibit

November 26, 2015 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-lead

stealing communion hostSpain, November 23, 2015: Critics of Pamplona’s city council say it deliberately attacked Catholics and broke Spanish law by using city property to display a sacrilegious art exhibit with more than 240 stolen consecrated Hosts.

The Spanish artist Abel Azcona stole more than 240 consecrated Hosts by pretending to receive Holy Communion at Mass. He then placed the hosts on the ground to form the word “Pederasty” in Spanish.

Photos of the theft of the Hosts and their placement on the ground are shown in a public art gallery in Pamplona. The city council there is governed by a Basque separatist coalition called Bildu.

The Christian Lawyers Association has filed a lawsuit against Azcona for violating Spanish law. It has said the city council must pull the display by Thursday or face legal action itself.

Maider Beloki, a councilwoman from the city’s Department for Culture, presented the exhibit, which is titled “Buried.” The Hosts were laid out on display until a private citizen removed them from the art exhibit.

Polonia Catellanos, spokesperson for the Christian Lawyers Association, told CNA that the association has filed a lawsuit against the author of the display for “an offense against religious sentiments and desecration.” The offenses are illegal under Articles 524 and 525 of the Spanish Penal Code.

“We’ve also given the Pamplona City Council until Thursday to close down the art exhibit. If they don’t do it, we’ll expand the lawsuit to include charges of complicity and necessary cooperation,” Castellanos stated.

The Christian lawyers’ group spokesman emphasized the group’s surprise that the city council would collaborate with this desecration.

“I don’t know why a city council, no matter of what political stripe, would allow something which is clearly a crime,” Castellanos said.

“In principle, public authorities such as the city council should be ensuring that crimes like these are not committed, not help commit them. The penal code is for everyone and if they don’t pull the exhibit before Thursday they’re going to have to answer for it,” he added.

If Abel Ascona has a criminal record, he could face a jail time in addition to a fine.

The Maslibres.org organization has planned a Nov. 23 demonstration at 7 p.m. in front of the Pamplona city council to protest the use of city property to host the exhibit.

“Making available space on city property that all the citizens of the provincial capital pay to maintain with their taxes makes the city government an accomplice in what can be considered the biggest attack on Catholics in recent years,” said Miguel Vidal, a Maslibres.org spokesman.

MasLibres.org called photographic exhibit “a flagrant attack against our freedoms and a spectacle reflecting the moral and creative poverty of the supposed artist.”

As of Monday evening, over 75,000 people have signed a Change.org petition asking the city council to immediately and totally remove the exhibit.

- cna

Christians fined, their Bibles seized and destroyed, in Uzbekistan

November 25, 2015 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-world

Bible stampedUzbekistan, November 24, 2015: Ten Christians have been fined by a criminal court in Uzbekistan for meeting together without state permission. The court ordered that their confiscated Bibles and church songbooks be destroyed. In a separate incident, a believer in capital city Tashkent was bullied by police for carrying a Bible in his bag, and fined by a court.

On 25 September, the Karshi Criminal Court in Uzbekistan’s south-eastern Kashkadarya Region fined three Christians 50 times the minimum monthly wage and seven more 30 times the minimum monthly wage, for violating the Religion Law and illegally storing religious literature, according to news agency Forum18.

The same court also ordered that the believers’ personal Bibles, Easter greetings cards, and church songbooks, all of which had been seized by Uzbek authorities, be destroyed.

The Christians had been meeting together without the required state registration when authorities raided their meeting on 26 April. They recorded the names of the believers, questioned them, and filmed the worship service, said Forum18.

Children were also present at the meeting. The authorities filmed a man who said he was speaking on behalf of the Karshi City Education Department. The Church “poisons the minds of the children and deprives them of their bright future,” he said. The head of the Karshi Education Department later confirmed to Forum18 that this man was unknown to them.

Authorities again raided a meeting on 2 August, asking why the Christians were continuing to meet. They promised court action would soon be taken.

Christian man detained and bullied by police in capital city

In a separate incident, Timur Akhmedov, an Uzbek Christian, was stopped by police at a Metro Station in the Mirabad District of the country’s capital city, Tashkent, on 21 September. He was searched, and when the officers discovered his Bible, Christian literature and discs, they confiscated them.

Two weeks later, he was summoned by police and questioned. “Mirabad Police bullied Akhmedov, pushing and pulling him, hitting him a couple of times,” said local Christians. “Officers questioned him about where he received the literature.”

The Tashkent Mirabad District Criminal Court fined Akhmedov five times the monthly minimum wage for illegally storing religious literature, and ordered that it be destroyed.

The publication and distribution of religious literature is subject to intense state control in Uzbekistan and all Christian activity is illegal for members of unregistered churches. Uzbekistan has long been recognised as one of the most repressive regimes in Central Asia with respect to religious freedom.

- barnabas team

The guest

November 25, 2015 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-miscellaneous

A few months before I was born, my dad met a stranger who was new to our small Tennessee town.

From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family.
The stranger was quickly accepted and was around to welcome me into the world a few months later.

As I grew up, I never questioned his place in our family. Mom taught me to love the Word of God. Dad taught me to obey it.
But the stranger was our storyteller. He could weave the most fascinating tales. Adventures, mysteries and comedies were daily conversations.
He could hold our whole family spellbound for hours each evening.

Family Spellbound

He was like a friend to the whole family. He took Dad, Bill and me to our first major league baseball game.
He was always encouraging us to see the movies, and he even made arrangements to introduce us to several movie stars. The stranger was an incessant talker.

Dad didn’t seem to mind but sometimes Mom would quietly get up – while the rest of us were enthralled with one of his stories of faraway places – and go to her room and read her Bible and pray. I wonder now if she ever prayed that the stranger would leave. My Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions. But this stranger never felt an obligation to honor them.

Profanity was not allowed in our house – not from us, our friends, or adults.
Our longtime visitor, however, used occasional four-letter words that burned my ears and made Dad squirm.

To my knowledge, the stranger was never confronted. Dad didn’t permit alcohol in his home.
But the stranger enlightened us to other ways of life. He often offered us beer and other alcoholic beverages.

He made cigarettes look tasty, cigars manly, and pipes distinguished.
He talked freely about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing.


I know now that my early concepts of the man/woman relationship were influenced by the stranger.

I believe it was only by the grace of God the stranger did not influence us even more.
Time after time he opposed my parents’ values. Yet he was seldom rebuked and never asked to leave.

More than thirty years have passed since the stranger moved in with the young family on Morningside Drive.
But if I were to walk into my parents’ home today, I would still see him sitting over in a corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures.

His name? We always called him TV.


- fwd: samuel machado

Hindu radicals storm prayer meeting in India and beat Christians

November 25, 2015 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-india

Hindu MahasabhaTelangana, November 24, 2015: A mob of around 60 Hindu radicals stormed a Christian prayer meeting in India, beating the believers who had met together. A pregnant Christian woman was among those beaten, and lost her baby as a result of the attack.

Around 40 Christians had met together to pray in the home of another Christian in the Mahabubnagar District of India’s Telangana state on 12 October, according to International Christian Concern. At around 7.30 pm, a mob of Hindu radicals, led by the previous village surpanch (council president), broke into the house shouting insults at the Christians.

They beat the Christians harshly, including the women and the children. One of the believers in the group, 25-year-old Swapna, was four months pregnant at the time and begged the attackers to leave her alone because of her pregnant condition. They beat her anyway and she was later discovered to have lost her baby.

The authorities arrested seven people in connection with the attack after the believers registered the incident with local police. However, they were released on bail later the same day.

A similar incident of violence against Christians meeting together to pray in the private home of a believer took place recently about 35 km (22 miles) outside Delhi. The Christians were beaten and dragged to a police station where they were told, “This is a Hindu nation. Your kind of prayers are not allowed,” according to a report published by Christian Today on 13 November.

Christians in India are frequently the victims of violent attacks, and these have increased dramatically since Hindu-nationalist President Narendra Modi came to power in May 2014. Prayer meetings are often raided and Christians beaten; many rural Christians have been expelled from their villages and refused access to the village well and pastureland; and others have been forced to convert to Hinduism, often with violence.

- barnabas

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