Christian Zionist Org Quotemines Martin Luther King

Hardline Christian Zionist outfit “Jerusalem Connection Intrnational” quotemines Martin Luther King to suggest he supported Israel during the Suez Crisis. From an essay by Shelly Neese published last month, entitled “Defining moments in American Black-Jewish relations“:

1956 (Suez Crisis)
During Israel’s 1956 war with Egypt, Martin Luther King Jr. offers his support to Israel.   He delivers a sermon in New York comparing the experience of the Israelites in Egypt to that of Blacks in America.  King says “there is something in the very nature of the universe which is on the side of Israel in its struggle with every Egypt.”

The quote is currently doing the rounds on various websites as evidence that King preached unconditional support for the State of Israel for religious reasons. In fact, though, it has been taken completely out of context. It’s from a sermon entitled “The Death of Evil Upon the Seashore”, which was delivered in May 1956 – months before Israel’s attack on Egypt, and the text makes it perfectly clear that King’s purpose was to develop a universal theme from the Biblical story of the drowning of Pharoah’s soldiers in the Red Sea during the Exodus. Here’s the point King was actually making:

This story symbolizes something basic about the universe. It symbolizes something much deeper than the drowning of a few men, for no one can rejoice at the death or the defeat of a human person. This story, at bottom, symbolizes the death of evil. It was the death of inhuman oppression and ungodly exploitation.

The death of the Egyptians upon the seashore is a glaring symbol of the ultimate doom of evil in its struggle with good. There is something in the very nature of the universe which is on the side of Israel in its struggle with every Egypt. There is something in the very nature of the universe which ultimately comes to the aid of goodness in its perennial struggle with evil.

…Gradually we have seen the forces of freedom and justice emerge victoriously out of some Red Sea, only to look back and see the forces of oppression and colonialism dead upon the seashore. There are approximately 2,400,000,000 people in the world today. The vast majority of these people are found in Africa and Asia. More than 1,400,000,000 of the peoples of the world are found on these two continents. Fifty years ago most of these people were dominated politically, exploited economically, segregated and humiliated by some foreign power…What we are seeing now in this struggle is the gradual victory of the forces of freedom and justice. The Red Sea has opened, and today most of these exploited masses have won their freedom from the Egypt of colonialism and are now free to move toward the promised land of economic security and cultural development. As they look back, they clearly see the evils of colonialism and imperialism dead upon the seashore.

No-one can honestly read this as a statement on modern Israel’s relations with Nasser’s Egyptian Republic.

Here are King’s actual views on Suez, as expressed in 1957 sermon entitled “The Birth of a New Nation” and published in The Papers of Martin Luther King, Volume 4 (p. 165):

…[O]ut of all his knowledge of the Middle East, [Anthony Eden] decided to rise up and march his armies with the forces of Israel and France into Egypt. And there they confronted their doom, because they were revolting against world opinion. Egypt, a little country. Egypt, a country with no military power. They could have easily defeated Egypt. But they did not realize that they were fighting more than Egypt. They were attackng world opinion, they were fighting the whole Asian-African bloc, which is the bloc that now thinks and moves and determines the course of the history of the world.

I suppose we should be grateful that the Jerusalem Connection at least managed to avoid citing the hoax “Letter to an Anti-Zionist Friend“.

UPDATE: It seems that the decontextualised use of the King quote dates back to this 1998 article by Rabbi Marc Schneier, and it was reused by him recently here.

Walid Shoebat Denounced by Former Co-Author

Back in July I wrote a blog entry entitled “Walid Shoebat: The Simon Altaf Connection“, in which I explored Shoebat’s erstwhile British co-author from several years ago, Simon Altaf (also known as Muhammad Altaf). Shoebat and Altaf wrote an apocalyptic book together, This is Our Eden, This is Our End, and they co-founded a website called Abrahamic Faith, which promoted a form of Messianic Judaism (i.e. Christianity with Jewish practices) and which used to carry pieces attacking Roman Catholicism and mainline Evangelicals such as Billy Graham. However, I noted that the two men fell out after a few years, apparently when Altaf decided to come out as a polygamist (since then, the Abrahamic Faith website has been updated to reflect this belief). By a remarkable concidence, just a few weeks after my blog entry Shoebat made a public statement denouncing Altaf – I blogged on this here.

Altaf has now responded in kind, with an attack on Shoebat and on Shoebat’s associates Joel Richardson (whom I blogged here) and Keith Davies (whom I blogged here). Altaf tells us that Shoebat’s real name is “Walid Salameh” – Shoebat himself has been inconsistent on this point, sometimes claiming that Shoebat is a pseudonym for personal safety, and at other times asserting that he is indeed from the Shuyabat clan. Altaf also alleges that Keith Davies, Shoebat’s “handler”, is also known as “Qalman”, and he tells us:

No ex-terrorist worth an ounce would put down his own family and this is a fact.  When we first found out about Keith Davies, a few years ago we recommended a Christian who came out of the ranks of the German Reich to hire Keith as a manager to tell the world about what the Nazis did and how they convinced the sixty million German population to turn against the Jewish people and many good Christians and Catholics too.  However, this Christian gentleman soon left Keith Davies…

The German Christian is not named, but is obviously Hilmar Von Campe (whom I blogged here).

For details challenging Shoebat’s supposed “PLO terrorist” past, Altaf quotes Eileen Fleming – whom Davies threatened to sue on the novel grounds that being accused of being a fake ex-terrorist is worse than being a real ex-terrorist – and the widely-discussed Jerusalem Post article. He adds:

This man may be a convert but is not a convert from terrorism or an ex-terrorist background. It is clear he embellished his testimony because he knew he was going to make money out of it. His actions speak louder than words. He was converted by his American Christian mother who told him about the saviour while she lived in Israel with the family. It was through her actions that Walid was converted but he would never admit that to you unless he repents of his past actions first.

His late Muslim father who married a Christian woman the poor man died in a nursing home in California not so long ago. If he was so anti-Christian and anti-West then what was he doing marrying a Christian? Why did he go and live in the USA if he hated the West? Walid claims that he was brainwashed from childhood. Only foolish people can believe that a respectable Muslim family will allow their eight year old to be trained for jihad, this is pure fantasy and simply not true.Respectable Muslim parents want to make their children doctors and Engineers not terrorists.   If you want truth then look at me I am an Engineer why not a terrorist like he claims?  My respectable Muslim family did exactly what I stated.  We have many engineers in our family but if you believe Walid they are all terrorists!!!

We would say Walid’s parents the Muslim father and the Christian mother did a fairly good job because he became a programmer for a big sugar company in California.

Walid was never brainwashed by his parents.  He made up a nice tale.  Once I asked Walid why didn’t you put more Bible prophecy in your book “Why I left Jihad” and less about yourself then he remarked “Ah people like to hear a sob story”.

Altaf also makes claims about a disputed family inheritance, and that Shoebat has a Jewish ex-wife. There are other allegations of a personal nature which I won’t repeat here; apologies for the lack of direct link, too. I have absolutely no idea whether Altaf’s supposed revelations are true, and no endorsement should be inferred from the above. However, given Shoebat’s current prominence and the controversy over his views concerning Muslims and Palestinian society, the spat is clearly in the public interest.

shoebat-altaf-book

(Hat tip to a reader)

The Bishop and the Beauty Queen

Few things bring as much joy to a British tabloid headline-writer than a scandalous tale involving a bishop, and the  previously-obscure Bishop Richard Williamson has returned to the UK to massive media interest: “Nazi lie bishop hits Britain” was the Sun‘s take. Despite his extreme and uncompromising patriarchal views, it was a woman who rescued Williamson from the scrum of photographers and hacks at Heathrow airport [UPDATE: Actually, not quite; the Times reports that he “hurtled through Heathrow so fast last Wednesday that he didn’t speak to the mysterious blonde…[H]e made a beeline for members of his religious order…who bundled him into a Land Rover”.]

The Guardian reports:

Williamson did have one supporter at Heathrow; Michele Renouf, a socialite turned documentary-maker, said she wanted to represent and support him in getting his views across to the public.

She blamed Germany – which has a Holocaust-denial law – for causing the “scrum of Jewish protests” and said it was a “disgrace” that there could be no debate on the issue. Renouf, who came to Heathrow with her legal team, has become increasingly known in recent years for associating with those who deny the Holocaust. She supported the historian. David Irving, during his trial in Vienna for Holocaust denial. Last year, she helped put together a legal team for an Australian academic, Frederick Toben, after he was arrested at Heathrow airport.

Williamson’s links with Irving are discussed by Ruth Gledhill here; the bishop attended an party organised by Irving last year (the photos show Irving to be a grim-faced host), and Irving wrote to him with some advice about the need to admit some Nazi war crimes while maintaining a general revisionist position.

Michele Renouf, meanwhile, has featured on this blog before; in early 2007 I noted a Searchlight report concerning the Iranian Holocaust-denial conference:

During the course of her rambling and rather dull anti-Semitic speech Rabbi Moishe Freidman, head of the Orthodox Neturei Karta sect in Austria, got up to leave the hall only to be told by Renouf, “I’m sorry for those who feel thay have to leave the room in order not to hear de-conditioning!” Amid peels [sic] of laughter the pliant rabbi politely returned to his seat.

Renouf was also present at the October 2006 Right Now! conference held at Mark Mason’s Hall in Central London – I’ve also blogged on this event before. Searchlight reported that she wasn’t much of a hit among other attendees:

True to form she asked whether “International Zionism” was to blame for…well everything by the sound of it. “Utter nonsense” came the reply. There was a brief silence…Unperturbed by the rebuff Renouf set out a number of volumes of David Irving’s works on the stall at the side of the room…Inadvertently she put them on the free literature side of the table, with the result that delegates took a number of books and CDs in the mistaken belief that they were free.

****
(Renouf is often mis-spelled as “Michelle Renouf”)

Glen Jenvey-Sourced Story Leads to High Court Writ

7 January 2009, front page of the Sun:

sun-sugar-jenvey

24 February, from the Guardian:

The Apprentice star Sir Alan Sugar has begun legal action over a Sun front page story that alleged he was named on a “terror hit list”.

…The businessman and TV star is understood to have been angry at the story, which he felt risked his personal security.

In the Sun’s January story, which was headlined “Terror Target Sugar”, it was alleged that Islamic extremists were targeting leading British Jews including Sugar in revenge for Israel’s invasion of Gaza.

But the Sun doesn’t need to worry unduly – it has an impeccable source for its story, a self-styled “anti-terrorism expert” named Glen Jenvey, who will doubtless be giving evidence. Jenvey – who appeared as a pundit on the controversial Obsession DVD – has recently rebutted allegations that he fabricated the story by explaining that the Press Complaints Commission is in league with al-Qaeda and guilty of “hate crimes” (revelations which he has disseminated via anonymous postings to Wikipedia), and he has confounded critics by telling us that Guardian ran a report about the PCC’s investigation because the paper’s editor is conspiring to protect a Muslim who used to be a columnist for the paper’s website. What could go wrong?

Kinsolving Nails His Faeces to WorldNetDaily

Ed Brayton has a bit of easy fun with WorldNetDaily’s Les Kinsolving and his latest column, “Today’s Martin Luthers“, on Catholic revulsion against the Pope’s decision to revoke a decree of excommunication against the Society of St. Pius X. Says Kinsolving:

It has been more than 491 years since a Roman Catholic priest and doctor of theology, the Rev. Martin Luther of Germany, nailed his 95 theses to the schlosckirche (or castle church) door in Wittenberg…Benedict XVI’s recent decision to revoke his predecessor Pope John Paul II’s excommunication of four schismatic bishops of the ultra-conservative society of St. Pius X has evoked an uproar among Germany’s Catholic prelates – that is well nigh Lutheran…In view of all of these very serious protests by German Catholic clergy leaders, why on earth doesn’t Pope Benedict revoke his own revocation of Pope John Paul’s thoroughly well-justified excommunication of these extremist and illegally consecrated deniers of the Holocaust?

As Ed points out, bringing in Luther to oppose anti-Semitism isn’t very bright. Here’s a brief taste of Luther’s own thoughts on Jews:

First to set fire to their synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them. This is to be done in honor of our Lord and of Christendom, so that God might see that we are Christians, and do not condone or knowingly tolerate such public lying, cursing, and blaspheming of his Son and of his Christians. For whatever we tolerated in the past unknowingly and I myself was unaware of it will be pardoned by God. But if we, now that we are informed, were to protect and shield such a house for the Jews, existing right before our very nose, in which they lie about, blaspheme, curse, vilify, and defame Christ and us (as was heard above), it would be the same as if we were doing all this and even worse ourselves, as we very well know.

Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed. For they pursue in them the same aims as in their synagogues. Instead they might be lodged under a roof or in a barn, like the gypsies. This will bring home to them that they are not masters in our country, as they boast, but that they are living in exile and in captivity, as they incessantly wail and lament about us before God.

Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them…Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb…

Threats Real and Bogus

No-one can sensibly deny that those who offend Islamic extremists can find themselves on the receiving end of threats and murderous violence, even if they live outside the Islamic world. Most famous, of course, was the religious judgement against Salman Rushdie passed 20 years ago; as the Economist recalls:

Rarely had a book stirred up such intense feelings. Hitoshi Igarashi, its Japanese translator, was stabbed to death. Ettore Capriolo, the Italian translator and William Nygaard, the book’s Norwegian publisher, were stabbed and shot respectively, although both survived. Bookshops were bombed and the tome was burned in public across the world. Mr Rushdie, fearing for his life, was forced into hiding.

More recently, in 2004 we saw the murder of Theo van Gogh at the hands of an extremist offended by his Submission film, and his scriptwriter, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, remains under threat. The UK Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, has received death threats and is under police protection, and of course we all remember the sanguinary banners at the Danish cartoon protests. All this is, needless to say, an appalling state of affairs.

However, that does not mean that we should suspend critical faculties every time someone cries out that they are the victim of unwelcome Jihadi attentions. Here are a few contrived cases that deserve a more sceptical reception:

1. Patrick Sookhdeo and the Barnabas Fund. As I blogged just a few days ago, Sookhdeo has spoken of his “great hurt and distress” after his book Global Jihad got a bad review from Ben White, and the Barnabas Fund has told supporters that “we are very concerned for Patrick’s safety and that of his family” because a Muslim blogger who knows White concurred. In fact, though, Sookhdeo has provided no evidence of any threat, and his anti-Islam views have been public knowledge for a long time – this is more about Sookhdeo’s desire to take revenge on White, even at the cost of damaging the reputation of the Barnabas Fund.

2. Glen Jenvey. Jenvey is currently under investigation by the Press Complaints Commission over claims that he made pseudonymous postings to a Muslim discussion forum as a certain “abuislam” and then presented those postings to the Sun as evidence of extremism. The story was reported in the Guardian here. Jenvey alleges that the PCC is thus guilty of “hate crimes” against him and that it is protecting Al-Qaeda. Jenvey also alleges that the Guardian covered the story because the editor wished to protect a Muslim who wrote some columns for the paper some time ago, and who may be the real “abuislam”. While Jenvey has been swift to expound this bizarre conspiracy theory, he has not yet explained why “abuislam” shared the same identifying details as a certain “Richard Tims”, who posted to the same forum several months ago to promote a website owned by Jenvey.

3. Joseph Farah. In 2008 WorldNetDaily published a book about ex-Muslims called Why We Left Islam. Farah gleefully predicted riots across the Muslim world, but instead all that happened was that CAIR issued a statement pointing out that Farah was known for anti-Islam views and that the book should be ignored. Farah then laughably claimed it was unfair to suggest he was anti-Islam, and that CAIR had lied by suggesting he had run a column which suggested dropping pigs’ blood over Afghanistan. In fact, Farah has always been perfectly open with his anti-Islam views, and he had run a post-9/11 column which suggested (jokingly) putting pigs’ blood in Kabul’s water supply. Farah whined that CAIR’s “Hooper put a target on my back”, and he threatened to sue for libel. Obviously, this was a shameless attempt to concoct a death threat where none existed.

There are other cases where death threats have been asserted, but curiously no police investigation appears to have followed.

Presumably these characters think that no-one will dare to challenge them lest they be accused of supporting Islamic extremism. It seems to me, though, that crying “wolf” like this when people have been killed or had their lives blighted by real Islamic extremists is particularly distasteful and reprehensible.

Five Years of Blogging

old-barthsnotes

Exactly five years ago, I decided to start a blog (the above was the earliest I could dredge out of Wayback). I was a regular reader of various religious newssites, and I thought there was stuff there which ought be more widely known and discussed. Also, I often found myself chasing up background to news stories out of personal interest, and I figured that I may as well make my findings known. Plus, like everyone else, I liked the idea of a forum where I could sound off about commentary I found wrong-headed.

Little did I expect then what a great learning experience running a blog would be – I’ve become interested now in a whole list of topics I had no idea even existed back in February 2004: these include too many Christian right and Christian Zionist figures to mention; a “UFO summoner“; bogus anti-Muslim pseudo-experts; Islamist attacks on the polio vaccine in Nigeria; child witches; a slew of crackpot commentary on WorldNetDaily; Rev. Moon’s attempts to gain credibility through the Universal Peace Federation and through former Roman Catholic Cardinal Emmanuel Milingo; the neo-Pentecostal grouping now known as “Every Nation“; the pseudo-libertarian “Tory loony right” of the 1980s; Holocaust denial in Iran; Byzantine conspiracies in the Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem; and, of course, issues of free speech in a country where libel law is used by the rich and well-connected to bully and silence those who investigate issues of public interest.

I’ve also greatly appreciated the comaradie  and support of other bloggers over the years. So – time for a few “shout outs”; apologies if I’ve missed anyone. When I started, I was part of the Salon blogging community, and my first regular contacts were made there: in particular, Vincent of the now-defunct and deleted Religion Related Injuries and Dave Rattigan of The Grace Pages. Soon I was also welcomed by SZ of World O’Crap, who liked my take on the absurd Florida pastor Doug Giles and who brought me into contact with the lads at Sadly No! and with the wonderful Pete M. of the much-missed Dark Window. Pete and I had a nice act for a while – he would dig out strange wingnuts and make fun of them, and I would fill in with some background details. An obscure and ancient wingnut named Wilson C. Lucom became a particular obsession for us both (or maybe just me and he was being polite). Other early contacts of this time included Ted Olsen of the Christianity Today Weblog (also sadly no longer running), Lilith Saintcrow, Ed Brayton, PZ Myers, and two great writers at The Revealer who have been hugely supportive: Jeff Sharlet and Kathryn Joyce. Somewhere along the line I was also brought to the attention of Gen. J.C. Christian (Patriot), and I recall that my very first comment was from Miss Poppy Dixon. John Gorenfeld was also nice get comments from – his famous Rev. Moon “coronation” story still sets the standard.

After a while, Bruce Wilson and Frederick Clarkson got in contact and brought me on board Talk to Action, and I’ve helped bring a couple of things to the attention of Terry Krepel at Conwebwatch and to Bill Weinberg at World War 4 Report (Back in 2006 I also showed Bill around Osaka, where I was living). Over the last couple of years, I’ve moved more into the orbit of the Brit Blogosphere, and it’s been nice forging links with Sunny Hundal and Rumbold at Pickled Politics and with Tim Ireland of Bloggerheads. I particularly would like to thank those who spoke out when I was under threat: David at MediaWatchWatch, Alex the Yorkshire Ranter, Bene Diction, and Modemac of the Church of Subgenius’s Bulldada Newsblog. The late Rev. Tom Allen of Big Bulky Anglican and Simon Barrow of Ekklesia were also supportive at that time. It’s nice to have such a diverse list of readers and linkers; cheers to everyone.

barthsnotes-not-so-old

Sookhdeo vs White Update

Since writing yesterday’s blog entry, a couple more details about the Sookhdeo-White spat have come to my attention. As I noted yesterday, White recently wrote a critical review of Sookhdeo’s book Global Jihad for Fulcrum, which he brought to the attention of an apparently harmless Muslim blogger who made a mocking pun on Sookhdeo’s surname (“Sookhdevil”). Sookhdeo is now claiming – baselessly and shamelessly – that this has endangered him and his family, and his Barnabas Fund has distributed an email alleging a sinister plot by certain evangelicals to use Islamic extremists against missionaries and “non-white” converts from Islam to Christianity.

I also now see that two of Sookhdeo’s supporters, David Zeidan and Tawfik Hamid, have published a reasonable reponse to the review on Fulcrum, to which White in turn replies here. However, White also notes that there a far more inflammatory version of the same piece being distributed by the Barnabas Fund – the longer text is on the Barnabas Fund website here (a version somewhere between the two was sent out by email and is reproduced on White’s blog). This version attacks White in the most extraordinary and intemperate manner as someone who

seems to accept the racist Islamist view that anything said or written by Jews or Israelis, no matter how scholarly, cannot be credible simply because of who they inherently are

and who

glorif[ies] Bin Laden and…present[s] him in a heroic light as a political freedom fighter and leader of a liberation movement with no religious motivation whatsoever.

In fact, White, following some scholars, simply put Bin Laden into political context. So, the Barnabas Fund describes White as a anti-Semite who celebrates mass murder, yet a joke about Sookhdeo’s surname from a Muslim blogger is beyond the pale. It seems that Sookhdeo and his outfit can dish it out but can’t take even a fraction of it.

Inevitably, the Nazis also get dragged in:

White and his like remind one of those in Britain in the 1930s that were sympathetic to Hitler and the Nazi party, claiming they were merely reclaiming the lost German honour and rebuilding German confidence after the humiliation of the Versailles Treaty. They totally ignored Mein Kampf and all other clear Nazi racist and anti-Semitic statements and actions, or else applauded them. Hatred of America, of Israel, and of Evangelical “fundamentalists” seems to blind White’s eyes to any possible defects in Islam.

Well, two can play the hackneyed historical parallel game: Sookhdeo “and his like remind one” of a certain US Senator who identified a real threat, but who then undermined the fight against it by using the danger to whip up hysteria for self-aggrandizement and to smear anyone whom he disliked or who dared to criticise him. Patrick Sookhdeo: have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?

(Hat tip: Andrew Brown’s Blog)

Muslim Blogger Endorses Critical Review of Patrick Sookhdeo’s Book: Barnabas Fund Whips Up Hysteria

Recently, Ben White wrote a reasonable critique of Patrick Sookhdeo’s book Global Jihad: The Future in the Face of Militant Islam. White pointed out many shortcomings regarding Sookhdeo’s use of sources and theoretical assumptions, but he kept his deconstruction businesslike and avoided ad hominem attacks. I’ve haven’t read the book myself, but White’s review rings true – I wrote an in-depth blog entry in 2007 about how Sookhdeo had wilfully quote-mined and misrepresented an obscure 1980 book called Muslim Communities in Non-Muslim States in order to whip up an anti-Muslim conspiracy theory that is now being touted in the USA by the likes of Charles Colson (and in the UK by the BNP).

Now, however, a link to the review has appeared on a Muslim blog called Indigo Jo Blogs; the author, who mocks Sookhdeo as “Sookhdevil”, states that Ben White personally drew his attention to it. Cue a remarkable display of histrionic and hysterical whining from Sookhdeo and his supporters: why would White, a Christian, make a Muslim aware of his review? Is he not putting Sookhdeo’s life in danger and undermining Sookhdeo’s efforts to protect persecuted Christians in Muslim countries? And is not White racist? An article by an anonymous missionary on Virtue Online explains:

 Ben White’s review of “Global Jihad” soon appeared on the Church Mission Society, and also on the website of Richard Sudworth, one of their missionaries, who urged people to read the review and see what really underpins the ministry of Barnabas Fund.,Barnabas Fund, headed up by Patrick Sookhdeo, is an aid agency sending practical help to persecuted Christians. If Sudworth’s comment damages its work, he will have reduced the support available for faithful Christians living courageously in hostile contexts. But of course, they are mostly non-white and many of them are converts, so their wellbeing is perhaps of little interest to him…What on earth is going on in the evangelical camp right now? Not only have they turned on each other, but they have even enlisted the aid of a radical Muslim in their attempts to destroy one of their own…I am writing this because of my concern about what I see happening, in particular the attacks on and betrayal of Christian converts from Islam and other non-white Christians by white Western Christians.

We’re also told that the author of Indigo Jo Blogs – a convert to Islam – is an Islamist:

A self-confessed truck driver with a degree in politics who lives with his parents in Surrey, Matthew Smith has become not just a Muslim but an Islamist. This he makes clear on his website where he describes himself as pro-madhhab Le. pro-sharia.

Smith does indeed state that he is a truck driver, although it doesn’t appear to be a “confession”. Here’s how he defines himself religiously:

I’m strictly Sunni, that is to say, pro-madhhab (Maliki in my case) and anti “salafi”, although I can get on with “salafis” over a curry in Tooting.

Sooner him than me, but hardly sinister.

Sookhdeo’s Barnabas Fund has now decided to distribute the article by email, which adds details about Sookhdeo’s “great hurt and distress” over the fact that a Christian contacted a Muslim who then made fun of his name; the email is available on various sites, including that of armageddonist Joel Richardson (blogged by me here), who is quick to point out that this is just another sign that the End is Nigh. According to the email:

The criticism of Patrick Sookhdeo which appeared on Indigo Jo’s website – and the epithet he coined “Sookhdevil” – have now appeared on a number of other Muslim websites, some of which appear to be radical. One of them calls for Muslims to go and fight in Gaza. So we are very concerned for Patrick’s safety and that of his family… he feels especially acutely this betrayal and plotting by fellow Christians, as well as the malicious stories being circulated about him.

This is an insult to the intelligence: Sookhdeo’s anti-Islam views have been a matter of public knowledge for a long time; there is nothing in Smith’s blog post or White’s review which would rachet up any deplorable threat he might be under from Islamic extremists.

Weirdly, some material from the Virtue Online article appears to have been deleted, but it is retained in the email. It alleges a wider conspiracy against Muslim converts to Christianity:

More recently, and back in the UK, consider the case of CRIB (Christian Responses to Islam in Britain), a body which appears to be administered by the umbrella mission organisation, Global Connections. An invitation-only meeting was called by Bryan Knell of Global Connections, on behalf of a group which included Tim Green, Howard Jones, Steve Bell and Colin Chapman. The 22 participants, who met at All Nations Christian College 21-22 July 2008 and included someone from the college, were sworn to secrecy. At the meeting a document was drafted called “Gracious Christian Responses to Muslims in Britain Today”. It is embargoed until the CRIB conference this summer in London, but various prominent Christians in the UK are being approached privately to sign up to it.

So what was this secret meeting for? What is this secret document about? Believe it or not, a main aim of both was to discredit two British Christian leaders who are converts from Islam (one being Patrick Sookhdeo) and a British Christian ministry not connected to either of them…Ben White, whose foolish, ignorant and spiteful review of “Global Jihad” was prominent on the Fulcrum website for some time, claims to have lectured at All Nations Christian College.

Commentary from the Barnabas Fund claims that Sam Solomon (who gives anti-Muslim presentations to the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship, as I blogged here) and a ministry called “Maranatha” are the other supposed targets. The author then suggests that the “habit of treachery” may be turned back against them, and warns – in one of the most bizarre suggestions I’ve come across in all my years of blogging – that rival groups of evangelicals may end up setting Islamic extremists on each other:

Sudworth was at one time a missionary in Tunisia, who naturally wanted to keep his own material secret. What if he now seeks to return there, and his activities are reported to radical Muslims in the region? Steve Bell, involved in calling the CRIB meeting at All Nations, heads up Interserve, which also sends white missionaries to the Muslim world. The venue itself, All Nations Christian College, exists to train missionaries to share the Gospel with Muslims amongst others. Global Connections, the home of CRIB, exists to link missionary agencies together. Elaine Storkey, chair of Fulcrum, is also president of Tearfund, a vast relief and development agency which sends Christian workers to many.different countries, some of them extremely sensitive. What if they were denounced to local Muslims, followed and killed? The tentacles of treachery can spread far. Canon Graham Kings, the theological secretary of Fulcrum and also vicar of Islington, north London, who seems to have a personal vendetta against Patrick Sookhdeo, might find that missionaries from his church were betrayed as they served God overseas. He himself might be threatened, or his family.

Or if not, perhaps Muslim bloggers could be prompted to come up with whole lists of mocking fake evangelical surnames!

UPDATE (22 Feb): More today.

Also, I see the CMS has responded to the claims against it:

CMS has no intention whatever to undermine the work of the Barnabas Fund. CMS has consistently affirmed the work of the Barnabas Fund on behalf of persecuted Christians and has occasionally worked collaboratively with it.

CMS affirms the ministry and integrity of Richard Sudworth who having lived and served in the Muslim world knows the realities Christian minorities face and is now engaged in sensitive and courageous work here in Britain.

CMS regrets that this episode has sown disunity among evangelical Christians whose common aim is to share Jesus.

John Martin
CMS Head of Communications

A statement on Interserve concurs:

There have recently been various public statements linking Global Connections and CRIB to an alleged campaign against the ministry of Patrick Sookhdeo, the Barnabas Fund and others.

Global Connections and CRIB wish to make it clear that they are not part of any such campaign nor are they involved in any personal attack on Patrick Sookhdeo. Furthermore they have not sought to undermine the important work of the Barnabas Fund.

Global Connections facilitated a meeting at All Nations Christian College in July 2008 about the training Christians receive on Islam. It was not a secret or clandestine meeting but a meeting by invitation and was attended by twenty-two Christian leaders. No individual or organisation was targeted at the meeting. We believe that as Christians we should reach out with love and compassion to Muslims and not allow fear to stifle that approach.

Those involved have been working on a statement entitled ‘Gracious Christian Responses to Muslims in Britain Today’. It is hoped the statement will be finalised and published in the near future. The aim is to help UK Christians when they encounter Muslims and not to discredit anyone.

No one in Global Connections, CRIB or at the meeting in July 2008 knew anything about the review of Patrick Sookhdeo’s book by Ben White until it appeared on the Fulcrum website. No one in Global Connections or CRIB knows Indigo Jo or anything about him.

We hope that this statement will allay concerns on these matters.

Martin Lee

Director, Global Connections

Rev. Moon Obamaballs

kim-obama

From the website True Parents:

While in Korea after the US presidential election, [Unification Church Bishop] Ki Hoon Kim felt strongly that America and Barack Obama immediately needed True Parents’ blessing. Thus, when he met with True Parents [i.e. Rev and Mrs Moon] in November 2008, he received True Father’s signature on a picture of Barack Obama at the 2003 True Family Values Awards’ Banquet.

(Thanks to a reader)