Monday, January 31, 2011

Lee Kuan Yew Urges Muslims to 'Be Less Strict

Lee Kuan Yew Urges Muslims to 'Be Less Strict'

January 24, 2011

Singapore's Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew speaking at the launch of his book titled "Lee Kuan Yew: Hard Truths to keep Singapore going", in Singapore on Friday. Lee urged Singaporeans to preserve racial and religious harmony, saying the city-state was still "a nation in the making" despite its rapid rise to prosperity. (AFP Photo)Singapore. Singapore's founding father Lee Kuan Yew has urged local Muslims to "be less strict on Islamic observances" to aid integration and the city-state's nation-building process.

Singapore has a predominantly Chinese population, with minority races including Muslim Malays and Indians, and Lee has always stressed the importance of racial harmony.

"I would say today, we can integrate all religions and races except Islam," he said in "Lee Kuan Yew: Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going," a new book containing his typically frank views on the city-state and its future.

"I think we were progressing very nicely until the surge of Islam came and if you asked me for my observations, the other communities have easier integration - friends, intermarriages and so on..." he stated.

"I think the Muslims socially do not cause any trouble, but they are distinct and separate," Lee added, calling on the community to "be less strict on Islamic observances.

"During the book's launch on Friday, the self-described "pragmatist" warned Singaporeans against complacency, saying the largely ethnic Chinese republic was still a nation in the making.

Describing Singapore in the book as an "80-storey building on marshy land," Lee said it must contend with hostility from larger Muslim neighbors.

"We've got friendly neighbors? Grow up... There is this drive to put us down because we are interlopers," he said, citing alleged Malaysian and Indonesian efforts to undermine Singapore's crucial port business.

Singapore was ejected from the Malaysian federation in 1965 in large part due to Kuala Lumpur's preferential policies for ethnic Malays, and has since built up Southeast Asia's most modern military to deter foreign aggression.

Turning to local politics, Lee said the ruling People's Action Party, which has been in power since 1959 when Singapore gained political autonomy from colonial ruler Britain, will someday lose its grip on power.

"There will come a time when eventually the public will say, look, let's try the other side, either because the PAP has declined in quality or the opposition has put up a team which is equal to the PAP ... That day will come."

"In the next 10 years to 20 years, I don't think it'll happen. Beyond that, I cannot tell."Lee said that despite a survey showing the contrary, he believed Singaporeans were not yet ready for a non-ethnic-Chinese prime minister.

"A poll says 90 percent of Chinese Singaporeans say they will elect a non-Chinese as PM. Yes, this is the ideal. You believe these polls? Utter rubbish. They say what is politically correct," he stated.

He also defended the policy of promoting marriage between highly-educated Singaporeans, a policy seen by critics as a form of social engineering, and dismissed the notion of love at first sight.

"People get educated, the bright ones rise, they marry equally well-educated spouses. The result is their children are likely to be smarter than the children of those who are gardeners," he said.

"It's a fact of life. You get a good mare, you don't want a dud stallion to breed with your good mare. You get a poor foal."People who are "attracted by physical characteristics" may regret it, he said.

Lee also revealed that he had donated to charity all his earnings of S$13 million ($10 million) since stepping down as prime minister in 1990 after 31 years in power.

Singapore's cabinet ministers are the highest paid in the world as part of a strategy to prevent corruption and attract talent from the private sector.

Lee, who holds the special title Minister Mentor, now serves as an adviser to his son Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who came to power in 2004.Amid all the hard-edged talk, Lee showed his tender side when asked about his late wife Kwa Geok Choo, who died aged 89 in October last year.

"It means more solitude. No one to talk to when the day's work is done," Lee said in the book, the result of exclusive interviews with journalists from the country's leading daily, the Straits Times.
Agence France-Presse

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Top Islamic Scholars Suspend Talks With Vatican

January 20, 2011

Egypt's Al Azhar University, the world's leading center of Sunni Islamic thought, has suspended talks with the Vatican in protest over the "insulting remarks" by Pope Benedict XVI—a reference to the Pope's statement that Egypt should protect Coptic Christians from mob violence.

The Pope's protest against a massacre in Alexandria was "unacceptable interference" in Egypt's affairs, a spokesman for Al Azhar said. At a January 20 meeting, the spokesman said, the scholars of Al Azhar decided to break off all talks with the Vatican "indefinitely."

The Islamic leader said that his institution is "still waiting for an apology" from the Pontiff for his remarks about the massacre of Copts and for his comments on Islam in his Regensburg address of 2006. He added that in his January 1 message for the World Day of Peace, in which he condemned violence against Christians, the Pope should also have condemned violence against Muslims in Iraq.

The announcement from Cairo apparently caught Vatican officials by surprise. Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, said that the Vatican remained open to dialogue with any willing Islamic partners.

The rebuff from Al Azhar is a serious blow to hopes for Catholic-Muslim dialogue. The Egyptian institution had been one of the few Islamic centers willing to engage in discussions with the Holy See, joining with Vatican officials in annual talks that had produced joint statements condemning religious violence. Last year, upon the death of the head of Al Azhar, Sheik Mohammend Sayyed Tantawi, Pope Benedict remembered the deceased Islamic leader as "a valued partner in the dialogue between Muslims and Catholics."

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

John Paul II Named World Youth Day Patron

Cardinal to Young People: It Is Worthwhile

MADRID, JAN. 17, 2011 ( A standing ovation greeted the news that Pope John Paul II has been named a patron of the next World Youth Day, which will take place Aug. 16-21 in Madrid.

Cardinal Stanis³aw Ry³ko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, the Vatican dicastery in charge of World Youth Days, made this announcement on Friday to a group of over 230 delegates gathered in Madrid for the organization of the forthcoming event.

The announcement came shortly after the Vatican communiqué that John Paul II, who initiated the first youth days during his pontificate, will be beatified on May 1 by Benedict XVI.

The cardinal recalled how Karol Wojtyla regarded himself as a "friend of young people" and said he was very happy "to be able to communicate the news during this meeting of delegates."

The delegates, representing 84 countries and 57 ecclesial realities worldwide, held a four-day organizational meeting that ended Saturday outside Madrid.

Cardinal Ry³ko presided over the meeting along with Archbishop Antonio Maria Rouco Varela of Madrid.

Auxiliary Bishop César Franco of Madrid, general coordinator of the 2011 World Youth Day, explained that John Paul II is added to the list of other patrons for the event: St. Isidore the Worker, St. Francis Xavier, St. John of the Cross, St. John of Avila, St. Rose of Lima and St. Rafael Arnaiz.

Decisive stage

Cardinal Ry³ko, in a press conference about last week's gathering, stated that they are in "a decisive stage in the itinerary of spiritual, organizational and logistical preparation of Madrid's 2011 World Youth Day."

Later, to a group of volunteers, he stated, "It will be very important for many young people coming from all corners of the world to see your capacity for hospitality, your spirit of sacrifice during World Youth Day, at times in hidden tasks, but not because of that less important."

The cardinal added, "Don't say to your friends, 'You must come to World Youth Day,' but 'It is worthwhile!'"

Cardinal Rouco Varela noted the "lively, agile and dynamic" nature of the meeting, where delegates were given "firsthand information on their needs and expectations."

The meeting participants were given information on the various aspects of the event's organization: housing, maintenance, transportation, registration, visas and volunteer work.

They also visited the main venues for the event ceremonies: the Cuatro Vientos airfield, and the surroundings of Cibeles Square.

Barbara Koorbanally, a South African representative, mentioned several initiatives of the young people of her country in preparation for the event. For example, she noted that a replica of the World Youth Day Cross -- which has been going across Spain since September of 2009 -- is being taken throughout South Africa to prepare young people for the event in Madrid.

Tiago Oliveira, a delegate from Brazil, pointed out that young Brazilians "see in Spain a sister country, so they are very excited." Some 20,000 young people from this country are expected to attend the event.

Would you run like others did?

Ask yourself the question

"WOULD YOU RUN?" after you read this!!! Imagine this happening to you...

One Sunday morning during service; a 2000 member congregation was surprised to
see two men enter...both covered from head to toe in black and carrying
sub-machine guns.

One of the men proclaimed,
"Anyone willing to take a bullet for Christ remain where you are"

Immediately the choir fled...

The deacons fled...

And most of the congregation fled...

How about you?

Out of 2000 there only remained 20

Then the man who had spoken took off his hood...
He then looked at the preacher and said :

Okay pastor, I got rid of all the hypocrites...
Now you may begin your service. Have a nice day!
And he turned and walked out.

It's funny how simple it is for people to trash God
And then wonder why the world is in the condition it is today...

Funny how everyone wants to go to heaven..
Provided they do not have to believe, think, say, or do anything the bible says.

Funny how someone can say :"I believe in God",
but still follow Satan (who, by the way, also "believes" in God)

Funny how can you sen a thousand 'funny joke' through email and they spread like
But when you start sending the message regarding to Lord, you think twice about

Funny how the lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene pass freely through cyberspace..
But the public discussion of Jesus is suppresses in the school and work place.

Funny, isn't it?

Funny how someone can be so fired up for Christ on sabbath / Sunday...
But be an invisible christian the rest of the week.

Funny how when you go to forward this message, you will not send to many on your
address list because you're not sure what they believe...
Or what they will think of you by sending it

Funny how I can be more worried about what other people think of me... than what
God thinks of me.

will you share this?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Indonesia: Christian Churches Under Attack

UN Official Condemns Rising Religious Fanaticism

JAKARTA, Indonesia, JAN. 13, 2011 ( Christian communities in Indonesia are reporting multiple attacks on churches and places of worship in 2010, while U.N. officials are calling for the cessation of sectarian violence and discriminatory laws that lead to interreligious conflict.

Theophilus Bela, secretary general of the Indonesian Committee on Religion and Peace and president of Jakarta Christian Communication Forum, was part of a delegation last month to the United States to raise awareness of the anti-Christian persecution in his country.

The delegation met with religious leaders, government leaders in the White House, National Security Council, and State Department, and U.N. officials.

Bela noted that Navanethem Pillay, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, stated that attacks on religious minorities in places like Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan and Indonesia should serve as a wake-up call to authorities everywhere to combat rising fanaticism. She underlined the duty of all countries to protect the freedom of religion by eradicating sectarian violence and rooting out discriminatory laws that can lead to conflict.


Among the attacks on Christian places of worship, Bela reported that the Catholic chapel of Christ the King in Desa Blimbing was hit by a homemade bomb on Dec. 7.

A homemade bomb was also found at a Marian shrine in Prambanan at the end of November.

The Catholic chapel of St. Joseph in Pare was set on fire on Oct. 12.

On Sept. 11, a group attacked the Catholic parish church "Alleluya" in Tanah Grogot and broke the windows.

Similarly, the windows were broken at St. Bellarminus Catholic School in Jatibening by a mob of radical Muslims on May 7. The next day, the mob returned, but police were able to avert another assault.

The Catholic hospital "Brayat Minula" in Banjarsari was hit with stones, and a window was broken on the same day that Cardinal Julius Darmaatmadja, former archbishop of Jakarta, was due to visit for the inauguration of a new building for the institution.

A Catholic chapel in Capar was threatened on Feb. 18 by members of the Muslim Reform Movement.

The Catholic church of St. John the Baptist in Parung was prohibited from celebrating Mass on the feast of the Ascension due to a radical cleric from the local Muslim Ulama Council who often speaks out against the church.

Another radical Muslim cleric closed access to the building site of the Catholic church of St. Mary Immaculate in Kali Deras, halting progress on the construction.

Local authorities closed a place of Catholic pilgrimage in honor of Mary in Desa Jati Mulya due to protests by local Muslims.

Other radical Muslim organizations pressured local authorities to prohibit the celebration of Mass at the Catholic retreat center "Wisma Semadi Klender" in Jakarta, though the decision was later reversed through the intercession of Bela.

Radical Muslims also protested at the rectory of the Catholic parish of St. Mary the Immaculate Heart in Cicurug, and the pastor was forced to sign a letter promising that the house would be only be used as his residence and not for worship.

The Catholic chapel of Rancaekek of the parish of St. Odilia in Cicadas was closed down by local authorities.

Local authorities halted the building of St. Mary Catholic church in Purwakarta due to fear of the local radical Muslim groups.

Protestant churches

Bela's report also included attacks on various Protestant Christian churches over the past year.

This included violence against the Huria Kristen Batak Protestant congregation in Pondok Timur, which was forced to begin celebrating services outdoors on an empty lot after authorities closed and sealed the church in July. The congregation suffered various assaults during their Sunday services, and on Sept. 12, a group of aggressors on motorcycles stabbed a 50-year-old man and beat the pastor over the head.

Bela reported that five Protestant Christian churches were burnt down and demolished, including in some cases the homes of the pastors and workers. Some ten other churches suffered mob attacks with stones, guns or threats by radical Muslim groups. Another 14 churches were closed by local authorities.

The report concluded by stating that there have been more anti-Christian attacks, but without sufficient data on details.


Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Christianity Under Siege in the Muslim World

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