Deadline

The Taleban have granted an 24-hour extension on the lives of the kidnapped Korean missionaries in Afghanistan, set to expire anytime now.

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The terrorists and their captives are surrounded by US and Afghan troops. Continue to pray for their release.

Differentiating Martyrdom

As if it weren’t self-evident by now, the Taleban are once again showing why they must be eradicated and extinguished from the face of the earth. They have kidnapped 23 Korean Christians (including 18 women) and will murder them unless all South Koreans leave Afghanistan.

If you think this is a ploy to get a Coalition country to remove its troops, you’d be wrong. South Korea has no troops in Afghanistan. There are 200 Koreans there, but they are engineers, doctors and medical staff.  They are trying to rebuild the country and keep its people alive. But then the Taleban have never been big on keeping people alive.

The Koreans have been specifically targeted because they are Christians. Even though they were on their way to work in a hospital in Kandahar, they are accused of evangelism, which carries a death sentence under the Taleban – though must be remembered things are not much better under the elected government of the country. Thus, I would not expect a lot of help from President Hamid Karzai in negotiating their release.

Their plight will not come as a surprise to them. Many of the Korean missionaries who go into the Muslim-controlled countries speak of a desire for martyrdom – exhibiting a ferver reminiscent of various Roman persecutions. But in an age where the desire for martyrdom is only ever seen in an Islamic context, the world cannot understand those who give their lives willingly without explosives strapped to themselves and who hope to see the face of the Saviour and not 72 virgins.

Breeding Terrorists

After the complaints that Farfour, the giant mouse character on Pioneers of Tomorrow, the Hamas children’s show on Al Aqsa TV was a clone of Mickey Mouse, he has been replaced with Nahoul the Bee.

Little Green Footballs has a clip of the show where Nahoul is introduced. They post the dialogue from the clip underneath. It was so shocking, I thought it must be a spoof. Then I watch the clip and saw that it was also subtitled.

Nahoul: I want to be in every episode with you on the Pioneers of Tomorrow show, just like Farfour. I want to continue in the path of Farfour – the path of Islam, of heroism, of martyrdom, and of the mujahideen. Me and my friends will follow in the footsteps of Farfour. We will take revenge upon the enemies of Allah, the killer of the prophets and of the innocent children, until we liberate Al-Aqsa from their impurity. We place our trust in Allah.

Nahoul the bee claims to be the cousin of Farfour the mouse.  I’m not sure exactly how that works. The Palestinians have clearly made remarkable advances in the area of genetics.

Russian Civilisation?

If you were thinking that human rights are a reality in post-Communist Russia, you would be very mistaken. The former KGB officer serving president may claim to be a devout believer, but with another KGB agent leading the Holy Synod in which at least another two members were also KGB agents, perhaps its not surprising that things haven’t changed much in Holy Mother Russia.

When a Chechen meat wholesaler named Zaur Talkhigov helped the security services to negotiate the release of hostages in the Moscow theatre siege, he was arrested for terrorism and sent to Siberia. Investigating his case is one of the reasons investigative reporter Anna Politkovskaya was murdered. As reported in The Sunday Times:

Talkhigov is now in a cramped cell with 18 inmates sharing one lavatory in Komi, a remote and forbidding region that became infamous under Stalin for its many forced-labour camps. In winter, temperatures drop to -30C. In summer, the cell is a stifling 30C plus.

He is allowed out of his cell for just an hour a day and permitted to wash once a month. The food consists of buckwheat porridge, rancid fishbone soup and the occasional plate of boiled meat.

His mother Tamara can visit him only once a year, for three days. The return train journey to the prison from her home in Chechnya takes 84 hours.

“Conditions in the prison where I am now are relatively good,” said Talkhigov. “In Moscow I was held in a cell so cramped that we took it in turns to sleep. Tuberculosis was rampant. In another prison, where I was held in solitary confinement, two guards came into my cell shortly after I arrived and beat me all over my body with their truncheons as their way of welcoming me. I’ve been under constant psychological pressure.”

Yet this is a country that wants to be treated as an equal with the G7 nations. Putin has cooled relations with the US over NATO missile defence systems in free nations that have aligned themselves with the West, rather than their previous compulsory alliance with Russian under the Warsaw Pact.

In terms of law and justice, Russia still has a long way to go to be considered a civilised nation. The other question is whether the Church in Russia is going to be an agent of reform or of collusion.

The Good Guys are the Bad Guys

or is it the other way around?

You know things are bad when Hamas are the good guys.

This is an organisation that says every Jew should be killed wherever they are found. With a record of suicide bombing, they have tried to put their words into action. They are recognised as a terrorist organisation by both the US and EU. Nonetheless, they engineered the freedom of BBC reported Alan Johnston from the even more extreme self-styled Army of Islam.

I have no doubt they did not act altruistically. They need the good publicity.

Predictably, senior Hamas leader, Mahmoud Zahar, said, “We didn’t work to receive favours from the British government. We did this because of humanitarian concern.” Somehow, when you blow up people as a matter of policy, no one in the civilised world really takes you seriously when you speak of humanitarian concern.

Having taken over the Palestinian government form the more moderate Fatah, but diplomatically isolated from the US and UK, they need to show they have some semblance of civilised behaviour. Since they won’t back down from their policies, they had to come up with something else.

After Johnston was freed, Foreign Secretary David Miliband was cautiously appreciative of the role of Hamas in securing the release. However, he also made clear that there would be no change in UK policy toward Hamas until Hamas changes its policy toward Israel.

Supporting Persecution

While I’ve never been a peacenik or a dove, I am aware that the “War on Terror” has been especially bad for Christians. With all the focus on Iraq and the murdering of relatively powerless Christians in the midst of the struggle for power, I had lost sight of Afghanistan.

I was reading an article in the Daily Telegraph which mentioned that someone tried to have another person arrested on charges of being a Christian missionary. Afghanistan is still just as much an official Islamic state as it was under the Taliban. Girls may be allowed to go to school (where Taliban fighters or their sympathisers don’t kill them for daring to get an education), but they are not allowed to hear the Gospel.

According to Operation World, 33 Foreign aid workers who were suspected of sharing the Gospel have been killed. There may be a handful of Afghan Christians in Kabul, though there are no churches and Christian expats meet in private locations. As one website puts it, “Persons who convert to Christianity in the countryside do not survive.”

I’m not exactly sure why American and British troops are in Afghanistan. I hate to say it, but I have a hard time with Christian, or post-Christian, nations setting up or even propping up Islamic regimes that actively persecute Christians.  That’s before mentioning the foreign financial aid that’s being sent from the pockets of Christian taxpayers.

I suggest we pull out altogether and say, “Look, you tolerate Christians and stop tolerating those who persecute them, and we’ll come back. Otherwise keep your own regime afloat.”

Three Strikes and You’re Out

The day after two car bombs we found in London, both by providential observers, a blazing car has been driven at the main terminal building of Glasgow Airport.

It appears to me to be a car bomb gone “wrong”. The car was already on fire and one of the occupants was on fire, jumped from the car, but was stopped by members of the public until he was detained by the police.  The other was pulled from the car by police, even as he was trying to fight them off. Both were of South Asian ethnicity.
The car never had the chance to explode and as far as news reports indicate, no one was killed or injured.  So far this week, even when they’ve made an attack, terrorists have been unsuccessful.

The terrorists will have to realise this ain’t Bagdad. We won’t be cowed by their bullying.