A tireless advocate for gender equality in a region where women's rights often lag far behind those of men, Lamrabet has accumulated a body of work showing how feminism and Islam can co-exist despite centuries of male-centred dogma.
Lamrabet's key message is that gender inequality is less to do with the tenets of Islam and more down to its interpretation within male-dominated societies.
Her latest work, "Faithful and Feminists", examines passages of the Koran and argues that there is nothing in the text itself to enshrine female subordination.
"In all religious traditions, you find a certain stereotypical representation of women," she says. "The problem doesn't come from religious texts but instead from the interpretation of these texts by men."
It is for this reason, argues the Rabat native, who writes award-winning texts in between a career as a pathologist, that "it's absolutely necessary to read the Koran in context.
"When the Koran speaks of reason and justice, they need to be seen as universal concepts. When there are some verses that respond to given historical circumstances," says Lamrabet, "we must keep the spirit, but not take it literally."
Lamrabet is an unalloyed supporter of secular rule, which she says "is the only way of truly protecting individual freedoms while also protecting religion."
She admits that secularism has a bad reputation in Muslim Arab nations, "as it's often associated with atheism."
While Lamrabet finds the idea of female preachers "interesting", she's at pains to point out that having women as messengers changes little if the message itself remains essentially "patriarchal".
"Judicial equality, dignity, liberty and emancipation. These are the keys to feminism."
See also: Women in Islam – a Wider Perspective
‘Don’t open doors to evil’:
Joseph, the Dreamer: Most Beloved Son Of Jacob
"I am the Vine" - Joseph & Jesus
“Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine near a spring, whose branches climb over a wall. With bitterness archers attacked him;
they shot at him with hostility. But his bow remained steady, his strong arms stayed limber, because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel, because of your father’s God, who helps you, because of the Almighty, who blesses you with blessings of the skies above, blessings of the deep springs below, blessings of the breast and womb.
The vine is one of the most vivid symbols in the Bible and is used to express the relationship between God and His people.
In pre-Christian times DIONYSUS symbolized the Vine (the right to dream) and the Spring (element Water, spiritual unity with God)
Dionysus is the (androgyn) god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of fertility, theatre and religious ecstasy in ancient Greek religion and myth.
In Greek mythology, Apollo (Virgo) and Dionysus (Pisces) are both sons of Zeus (Jupiter). Apollo is the god of reason and the rational, while Dionysus is the god of the irrational and chaos. The Greeks did not consider the two gods to be opposites or rivals...
The Lord of Souls & Bearer of the Divine Feminine
|"The Twelfth Sign is commonly referred to as the Sign of the Unconscious. We can learn much from the unconscious. In its most noble manifestation, we will be prompted to be charitable. The Twelfth Sign compels us to seek closure in a spiritual way as an aid to positive growth."|
Shams Tabrizi: My Path to God
Rumi Quotes of Love and Life
Sufism. Dance. Escapism. These are very Piscean/Neptunian realms.
Are OLD, BEARDED men 'real men'?
Prophet Mohammed as a YOUNG man
In the 1990s, Masculinity Studies, a relative newcomer to the field of gender inquiry, began to pose questions about men and their relationship with patriarchal power (something that had hitherto seemed obvious and gone unquestioned).
Do all men have power? Do all men want power? Is masculinity the same in every culture and time period? Is masculinity a word that has a plural, as well as singular, form? Does the performance of masculinity depend on the categories of race, class, and sexuality?
Are OLD, BRAGGARTS 'real men'?
Donald Trump as a YOUNG man
Masculinity Studies (or, as it is also often called, Men’s Studies) is many things, but one thing it is not: a rejoinder to, or repudiation of feminism.
It owes to feminism an enormous intellectual and political debt. In fact, it would not have existed without feminism and its courage to question patriarchal power and privilege.
Men’s Studies scholars do not say, as many expect them to, “Enough of those feminists; let’s say only good things about men from now on!” Instead, they collaborate with feminists and scholars of race, class, and sexuality in asking complex questions about the ways in which society constructs and controls us as sexed and gendered individuals.
donald trump's golden machoworld (grandeur, lots of gold, big cars, big furniture, bombastic)
As Pisces is the ‘ruler of the depths of water’, it is often a dreamy and relaxed sign. Pisceans are therefore well suited to a beach cottage design style. They love to be near water and if they can’t achieve this, should surround themselves with beach or marine-related trinkets and architectural details.
Pisces is a water sign and as such, most Pisceans love the water. They find it very soothing and if possible, they like to live by the ocean, a river or a lake. While not everyone can afford a beach house like this one in Sydney’s Palm Beach, we can all dream – and, as we’ve just learnt, Pisces are great dreamers.
For the rest of us, a beautiful water feature in the garden might do the trick to provide Pisces access to water in their homes. It’s not quite the same as an oceanfront, but the sound of the gurgling water as it bubbles out of a fountain urn like this one here can be very soothing.
Pisces is a very spiritual sign. Pisces should nurture this interest to satisfy their need to know why we are here. Placing altars, statues or symbols around the home will help to feed their inquiring minds, and help to soothe their emotional nature. (Designing with the Stars)
Trump, Barron William, born on 20 March 2006 around 5:30 AM: Sun and Ascendant in PISCES
the pisces world (wide, open, fresh, water, silver & blue, humble)
Strong characteristics: Shyness, Sensitive to others, Love, Worry too much.
Joseph, 'the most beloved son of Jacob', was rejected and betrayed by his own blood brothers because of jealousy and sold as a slave to those who took him to a foreign land.
The concept of the Messiah ben David (Messiah son of David - the 'Lion-' or the 'Warrior-King') was also prominent in the 1st century BCE when in the wake of Roman oppression, the Maccabean and Davidian contenders for the throne were a constant worry to the Roman and Herodian authorities.
When the Essenes escaped into the wilderness in the Hassidic revolt against the temple authority, the disciples Bet Hillel and Menahem the Essenes later joining them in 20 BCE. At that time, the polemics of division within the House of Judah was ripe for a Davidian ruler.
Out of the messianic revival of Yahshua haMaschiach (Jesus the Messiah) in Judea that ended in his death on Pesach 30 CE, the Party of the Nazarenes eventually encompassed the Nazarenes, the Essenes and many of the disciples of Bet Hillel.
The life of Yahshua ben Yosef (Jesus son of Joseph) has been a source of great acrimony between the Jews and the Christians for almost seventeen centuries. His followers in the Roman Christian Church three centuries later have defined Jesus the Nazarene (Jesus of Nazareth) in Hellenistic terms.
Jacques Brel & The Pisces-Kingdom of Love
If we only have love, we can melt all the guns
I will make a kingdom where love shall be king,
In 1956, as the Algerian war of independence from French colonialism was intensifying, Brel wrote “Quand on n’a que l’amour” (see video above), which was released on his second album and testified to the singer’s own opposition to the war. |
Even if this song is still imbued with a Christian idealism, which is evident throughout the entire album, it is nevertheless significant and an indication of songs to come.
Brel tries to show what he sees, not only putting emphasis on what is pleasant or what should be, but on what is. He tries to describe the feelings of powerlessness felt toward war and other social injustices.
Noteworthy on the 1959 album are such songs as “La Colombe,” “La valse à mille temps,” “Les Flamandes,” “Seul,” and Brel’s most famous song “Ne me quitte pas.” |
This artistic masterpiece was translated into more than 15 languages and heard all over the world. In the US alone, more than 270 versions of “Ne me quitte pas” were recorded.
This song (see video above) depicts a lover promising the impossible to prevent his departing companion from leaving when it is already much too late to resolve their problems. He feels abandoned and he knows his pleas will not be heard. But even as he knows it won’t work, he’s trying—he must. As he sings and makes his promises, he begins to cry....
"Pisces are extremely empathetic. Sometimes, they place another’s emotions over their own, and this can be chaotic because they are then left to fester in their own ignored emotions. This is also great because if you ever need a shoulder to cry on or genuine advice, a Pisces will selflessly give it." (Ilia Jones, Elite Daily, 12-5-2015)
"And Yosef (Joseph) turned away from them and cried..." (Bereshis 42:23-24)
"And Yosef hastened, for his mercy was stirred toward his brother (Benjamin), and he (Yosef) sought to cry, and he went into the room and cried there." (Ibid. 43:30)
"And he began to cry... and he said, 'I am Yosef; is my father still alive?'" (Ibid. 45:2-3) "And he embraced Benjamin his brother and cried, and Benjamin embraced him and cried as well. And he kissed all of his brothers, embraced them and cried..." (Ibid. 45:14-15)
"And he (Yosef) embraced his father and continued to cry." (Ibid. 46:29) "And he (Yosef) embraced his father and cried upon him and kissed him." (Ibid. 50:1) " ... and Yosef cried as they spoke unto him." (Ibid. 50:17) (source: Arutz Sheva, 13/01/2017 )
"I have taken some criticism recently for saying veteran suicides may be due to some soldiers being not as strong as others who ‘can handle it.’ Last year I also heard a bunch of whining when I questioned the heroism of John McCain by stating that I like guys who weren’t captured. I’m here to say, on the record, that I continue to stand by these comments.
Because America, it’s time we had a serious discussion about what it means to be a ‘hero.’
We live in an entitled country where everyone gets a trophy and it’s time we stop applying the word ‘hero’ to everyone who stubs a toe in a combat zone....
You know who I like? People who DON’T get killed in combat. You know…WINNERS.
Why should we even give awards to people who risk their lives in combat? What if they get multiple draft deferments because they are in school, or because they can convince a doctor to give them a deferment for a foot condition?
Some people might say they are avoiding their civic duty, but you know what I say they are? Smart. Smart enough to earn a Purple Heart the easy way by staying far, far away from any theater of war.
Heroes are people that others admire. Millions and millions of admirers. A huge movement aimed at making big changes and cutting great deals.
So let’s put to rest this nonsense about heroism, and recognize heroism for what it should really be: doing big, huge, wonderful things, beautiful things, and making America great again. (opinion piece by Donald J. Trump)
Donald Trump & his Alter-Ego John F. Kennedy
Most people don't realize themselves that in astrology a person has an
EGO (Sun-Moon-houses 1 & 10) and also an ALTER-EGO or SOULMATE (houses 2, 7 and 11) .
Kennedy's EGO is intellectual (Gemini-Virgo), balanced (Libra),
Father|Motherly and visionair (Saturn, Moon, Neptune house 10): type 'Messiah ben-Joseph'
Trump's EGO is truth-seeking intellectual (Gemini-Sagitarius), optimistisc-warm (Leo),
Agressive, Defensive and Revengeful (Mars Pluto house 1) and looking for earthly, materialistic solutions in life
(Taurus - Eartly Mother- house 10): type 'Messiah ben-David'
Alter-Ego Kennedy: Leo, Scorpio, Aries.
Alter-Ego Trump: Virgo, Gemini, Pisces, Aquarius.
"Our goal is not the victory of might,
but the vindication of right..."
John F. Kennedy (Cuba speech, 22-10-1962)
Donald Trump could be a similar president to John F Kennedy, according to Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.
The billionaire entrepreneur said Trump embraced “innovation” in the same way as JFK, who served as US President for almost three years before being assassinated in 1963.
Mr Gates told CNBC: “A lot of his message has been about ... where he sees things not as good as he'd like.
“But in the same way that President Kennedy talked about the space mission and got the country behind that, I think whether it's education or stopping epidemics ... [or] in this energy space, there can be a very upbeat message that [Mr Trump's] administration [is] going to organise things, get rid of regulatory barriers, and have American leadership through innovation be one of the things that he gets behind.”
Mr Gates confirmed reports he had held a phone conversation with Mr Trump.
He said: “I had the opportunity to talk to him about innovation. Of course, my whole career has been along those lines. And he was interested in listening to that. And I'm sure there will be further conversations.”
Mr Trump has faced criticism for rejecting scientific evidence on a number of issues. Despite strong evidence to the contrary, he has insisted climate change is not real and is instead a hoax invented by the Chinese to damage American interests.
He also claimed vaccines cause autism, said environmentally-friendly light bulbs cause cancer, and suggested fracking “poses zero health risks” but wind farms are “bad for people’s health”.
Scientific American magazine published an editorial the week before the election calling Mr Trump’s views on science “shockingly ignorant” and claiming he showed “a disregard for science that is alarming in a candidate for high office”.
"Laughter is a very special gift. We have to be very careful that it is used appropriately and not at the expense of others. But if you want to give the best "medicine," help others learn to laugh."
As for his appearance on the podium at the start of the inaugural ceremony with three other faith leaders, Cardinal Dolan explained that he was “flattered” to be invited to participate by inauguration planners.
Cardinal Dolan acknowledged that he opened himself up to critics by agreeing to be part of the ceremonies. “I know they are [there] because they’ve written to me,” he said. “And as I tell them, had Mrs [Hillary] Clinton won and invited me, I would have been just as honoured.
“We pastors and religious leaders are in the sacred enterprise of prayer. People ask us to pray with them and for them. That doesn’t mean we’re for them or against them,” he added. “That’s our sacred responsibility.”
Wisdom - Chapter 9:
'God, Lord of mercy, who by your word have made the universe, and in your wisdom have fitted human beings to rule the creatures that you have made, to govern the world in holiness and saving justice and in honesty of soul to dispense fair judgement, grant me Wisdom...
For I am your servant, son of your serving maid, a feeble man, with little time to live, with small understanding of justice and the laws. Indeed, were anyone perfect among the sons of men, if he lacked the Wisdom that comes from you, he would still count for nothing...
Who could ever have known your will, had you not given Wisdom and sent your holy Spirit from above?
Thus have the paths of those on earth been straightened and people have been taught what pleases you, and have been saved, by Wisdom.
Wisdom or sapience is the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight.
Wisdom has been regarded as one of four cardinal virtues; and as a virtue, it is a habit or disposition to perform the action with the highest degree of adequacy under any given circumstance with the limitation of error in any given action.
This implies a possession of knowledge, or the seeking of knowledge to apply to the given circumstance. This involves an understanding of people, objects, events, situations, and the willingness as well as the ability to apply perception, judgement, and action in keeping with the understanding of what is the optimal course of action. (Wikipedia info)
In Mesopotamian religion and mythology, Enki, also known as Ea, was the God of Wisdom. Wisdom was achieved by restoring balance.
The main temple to Enki was called E-abzu, meaning "abzu temple" (also E-en-gur-a, meaning "house of the subterranean waters"), a ziggurat temple surrounded by Euphratean marshlands near the ancient Persian Gulf coastline at Eridu.
It was the first temple known to have been built in Southern Iraq. Four separate excavations at the site of Eridu have demonstrated the existence of a shrine dating back to the earliest Ubaid period, over 6,500 years ago.
The Enki temple had at its entrance a pool of fresh water...
The planet Mercury, associated with Babylonian Nabu (the son of Marduk) was in Sumerian times identified with Enki.
Enki and later Ea were apparently depicted, sometimes, as a man covered with the skin of a fish, and this representation, as likewise the name of his temple E-apsu, "house of the watery deep", points decidedly to his original character as a god of the waters (the planet Neptune)...
Prominent members of the Syrian opposition groups called on Kurdish participation in the anticipated peace talks in Kazakh capital Astana next week.
Opposition leaders Mustafa Shekha and Mahnoud Afandi who are currently visiting Russia told Rudaw that the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) has been a force on the ground in Syria’s Kurdish regions and should be added to the list of peace negotiators.
“If we’re invited, we will take part and support the peace talks to stop the bloodshed. I really hope all Syrian people are represented in the meeting, since we have all common concerns and wishes,” opposition leader Shekha told Rudaw after the joint press conference in Moscow.
Russia and Turkey have jointly announced that a new round of peace efforts will take place on January 23 in Astana for the first time after the failed Geneva negotiations last year.
Both the US and Russia have in the past shown strong support for the inclusion of the Kurdish factions’ participation in any talks regarding the future of Syria where Kurds constitute around 10 percent of the population and are viewed as a moderate force running the mainly Kurdish inhabited areas north of the country.
Ankara has vehemently refused to invite the PYD and its armed wing of People’s Protection Units (YPG) to the meeting, calling the group an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Once regarded as a pragmatic leader by Ankara, PYD leader Salih Muslim gradually became persona non grata in Turkey where he had previously lived and completed education in Istanbul Technical University.
The Turkish government has said the PYD under Muslim has taken irreversible steps to turn the party into a political and military wing of the PKK with which Ankara has been at decades-long on and off war.
Rebuilding a nation from the ruins of war is no easy task, especially when the nature of the conflict is fratricidal. But if a devastated post-World War II Europe proves anything, it is that where there is unity of purpose all is possible. Even as the Second World War was still being fought, Allied leaders began thinking about Europe's reconstruction.
Now, Syria is in need of a master plan to rebuild, painstakingly, what has been lost during the last six years of turmoil. And besides the restoration of economic and agrarian infrastructure -- the collapse of the latter (due to one of the worst droughts this relatively prosperous Arab country endured between 2006 and 2009) was a major trigger for the rebellion against Bashar al-Assad's regime in 2011 -- Syria's now virtually non-existent healthcare system requires urgent reconstruction too.
After all, the lingering health effects of this bitter conflict may be as far-reaching as the civil war itself in the years to come.
Al-Kindi Hospital - destroyed by rebels
Unfortunately, Syria's medical system has now been decimated completely, with hundreds of thousands battling chronic illnesses and disabilities left untreated.
Aleppo's once-booming pharmaceutical industry has crumbled and patients are forced to buy medicines at inflated rates. With casualties from treatable diseases and combat-related injuries skyrocketing, the time for weighing only short-term, emergency solutions is up.
According to Elise Baker, who is chief Syria researcher at the NGO Physicians for Human Right, follow-up care for wounds, amputations and infections is now seriously inadequate.
A long-term plan capable of addressing future health needs and issues must be formulated urgently, she says. One senior medical professional conversant with the situation on the ground, says there is no reason why the country cannot redevelop a self-sustaining medical infrastructure -- if the leap is made now from crisis-response to strategic planning and recovery.
To that end, outside help will be crucial.
On Wednesday, Russia’s Aerospace Force and Turkey’s Air Force are conducting the first joint air operation against the Islamic State terror group (outlawed in Russia) on the outskirts of the al-Bab town in the Aleppo province, Head of the Main Operations Department of Russia’s General Staff Lieutenant-General Sergei Rudskoi told reporters.
"The air operation, agreed on with the Syrian government, involves nine warplanes of the Russian Aerospace Force, as well as four F-16 and four F-4 fighters of the Turkey’s Air Force. A total of 36 targets are planned to be hit," he said.
According to Rudskoi, all the targets have been previously fixed by the two countries’ General Staff and their air force units command. "In the past two days, a reconnaissance mission involving unmanned aircraft and cosmic reconnaissance equipment was carried out in order to help fix the targets," Rudskoi elaborated. "The joint airstrikes against the ISIS facilities, delivered by Russia and Turkey, have already proven highly effective," he noted.
The Russian military police has helped restore law and order in the Syrian city of Aleppo liberated from terrorists.
"With the assistance of officers of the Russian military police, law-enforcement bodies have been restored in Aleppo districts liberated from terrorists and their work has been organized to ensure the population’s security," Lieutenant-General Sergei Rudskoi said.
Also, specialists of the Russian Armed Forces’ International Mine Action Center have demined more than 200 socially significant facilities, 3,210 buildings on the territory of over 2,000 hectares, 709 kilometers of roads and defused 26,395 explosive items in Aleppo. "This has allowed more than 10,000 residents to return to their homes in the city’s eastern quarters."
Doctors of the Russian Defense Ministry’s hospital have provided medical assistance to more than 5,000 people, including 1,847 children, Rudskoi said. "Russian officers are continuing work aimed at restoring peaceful life in other districts of Syria as well..."
Moscow welcomes the Jaysh al-Islam group’s readiness to join talks with Syria’s government, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday commenting on media reports saying that Mohammed Alloush, one of the group’s leaders, may head the Syrian armed opposition delegation at the Astana talks.
Syrian armed group Ahrar al-Sham said on Wednesday it will not take part in peace talks between the government and ‘opposition’ factions in the Kazakh capital next week. Ahrar al-Sham said however that it was giving its support to other armed groups represented at the Astana talks.
Ahrar al-Sham said the army’s offensive against the gunmen in Wadi Barada, an area 15 kilometres (10 miles) northwest of Damascus that is the capital’s main source of water, was among the reasons it would not attend the talks.
The Syrian army has pressed an assault to retake the area from the terrorists after mains supplies were cut last month, leaving 5.5 million people in Damascus and its suburbs without water.
A member of the National Reconciliation Committee informed on Thursday that final measures have been taken with regard to reconciliation between militants and the Syrian government in the provinces of Damascus and Quneitra and thousands of militants will be granted amnesty soon.
Mas'ab al-Halabi said that the peace committees in Beit Jin farm and the town of Jabata al-Khashab have made breakthroughs and the militants that have requested amnesty will be pardoned soon.
He further added that the number of the militants that have applied for government amnesty has exceeded 1,000, while 140 militants have rejected peace in demand for relocation to Idlib.
Al-Halabi went on to say that reconciliation in the villages of Kafr Hour, Beit Saber and Beit Tima has played a crucial role in the course of the peace process in Damascus countryside.
The Russian Defense Ministry announced earlier today that over 2,200 militants in Wadi al-Bardi region in Western Ghouta have laid down arms and joined the nationwide peace agreement with the Syrian government.
Chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Lt.Gen. Sergei Rudskoy announced that 2,274 militants have handed over their weapons to the Syrian army and joined peace with the government.
He added that the ground has been paved for those militants that have not agreed to join the peace process to leave the region for the militant-held regions in Idlib province along with their families.
Russian Police in Aleppo
In December 2016, the Russian military police arrived in Aleppo to perform tasks and train local police, ahead of the expulsion of radical Islamist groups from the city. Most soldiers are natives of the Chechen Republic. Chechnya is a predominately Muslim region of Russia that has experienced its own wars with radical Islamists. (Al-Masdar News, 19-1-2017)
Go to the ballot box
- Q: In course of the peacemaking process, would you consider your resignation as an option, when you think it’s necessary for reconciliation?
Turkey supported Muslim Brotherhood & Saudi Salafists (2012): "A Coup. We want a Coup!"
- President Assad: The resignation of the President or the continuation of that President in his position is a national issue, it’s related to every Syrian, because in Syria the President would be elected directly by the Syrian people, so this is not the right of the government or the right of the opposition; it’s the right of every Syrian, so the only decision-maker in that regard is the ballot box.
Whoever wants the President to leave, they can go to the ballot box and say “no, we don’t want him.” This is the democracy everywhere in the world.
So, no, it’s not something we discuss either with the opposition or with any other country. This is a Syrian issue, and this is part of the constitution, it’s related to the constitution.
When we have election, or could be early election – it’s not on the table now – but this is the only way to say whether I have to leave or not. Again, I’m not the reason of the problem. As President, I have to help my country during the crisis, not to flee, not to escape, not to say “I have to leave and let the people fend for themselves.”
No, this is not the solution. In the crisis, the President should be at the helm, should take care of the crisis, then after the crisis is finished, he can say maybe he wants to stay or wants to leave, and this is where the Syrian people would tell him “stay” or “no, you have to leave, we don’t want you anymore.”
- Q: Your plan to rebuild this country, how long does it take? Your timetable?
- President Assad: We have started before the end of the crisis, we put the plans and we started with suburbs around Damascus and now we are planning in Aleppo and other cities to reconstruct new suburbs that’s been destroyed, but in a modern way.
So, we haven’t waited, and we are not going to wait till the end of the crisis; we can start right away, as the Syrian people are determined to rebuild their country.
We built Syria, Syria was not built by any foreigners; we built it with our engineers, with our labors, with our own resources, with the help of some friends – financial help, not technical help. So, we have the ability to rebuild Syria.
It takes time because it needs a lot of money. The Syrians, every Syrian is going to build his own house according to his resources even if it is limited, you have expatriates, you have the refugees who left Syria, some of them are in good condition, they want to come back, and with the support of our friends Russia, China, and Iran.
Many other countries started discussing the reconstruction of Syria, and they’re going to help with their financial resources. So, you have so many resources to rebuild Syria. It’s not about time; it will take time. Any reconstruction will take time, but the most important thing is that you have the ability to rebuild your country.
We are not worried about that. What we are worried about is how can we rebuild the minds of the people that have been under the control of ISIS and al-Nusra for many years; that their minds have been polluted because of the instilled ideology in their minds, this, as I said, as I called it, hateful or Wahhabi Ideology. They saw the death and the killing, and some of the children killed with their hands innocent people. How can we rebuild those minds, or rehabilitate those minds? That’s our big concern after the crisis.
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek says Ankara can no longer insist on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s resignation as a precondition for resolving the nearly six-year crisis in the Arab country.
“The facts on the ground [in Syria] have changed dramatically, so Turkey can no longer insist on a settlement without Assad, it's not realistic,” Simsek told a panel on Syria and Iraq at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss city of Davos on Friday; Press TV reported. “We have to be pragmatic, realistic,” he said.
The Turkish government had previously demanded the Syrian president’s resignation, describing his removal from power as the only solution to the conflict which has ravaged Syria since 2011.
Ankara, however, has become less insistent on Assad’s leaving office since its recent rapprochement with Russia, which supports the Syrian president, and ahead of peace talks planned to be held in Kazakhstan’s capital of Astana on January 23. Ankara has stepped up its cooperation with Moscow recently...
Representatives from the Syrian government and foreign-sponsored opposition groups are expected to take part in the Astana negotiations. The negotiations, which exclude the Daesh and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham Takfiri terrorist groups, are mediated by Russia, Turkey, and Iran.
The Syrian president said the upcoming peace talks in Astana would focus on enforcing a cessation of hostilities across the Arab country: "I believe that they will focus, in the beginning, and will prioritize, as we see it, reaching a ceasefire," Assad said.
Mehmet Şimşek (born 1 January 1967) is a Turkish politician and economist of Kurdish origin who currently serves as a Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey since 24 November 2015. He previously served as the Minister of Finance from 2009 to 2015, serving in the cabinets of Prime Ministers of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Ahmet Davutoğlu. As a member of the Justice and Development Party, he was elected as a Member of Parliament for Gaziantep in the 2007 general election and for Batman in the 2011 general election. (Wkipedia info)
Egyptian Engineers delegation discusses
Turkish authorities removed an Assyrian sculpture from a public square on January 8. The sculpture, an Assyrian winged bull known as a Lamassu, was in front of the local council building in Diyarbakir. No explanation has been provided by the Turkish government.
Diyarbakir is home to many Assyrians and is 55 miles north of Mardin and Tur Abdin, the historically Assyrian cities in Turkey.
The sculpture was erected by the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), which has many Assyrian members and a strong presence in Diyarbakir. It was removed after Turkey placed unelected government loyalists in charge of the municipality, under the emergency decree issued after the failed military coup in July 2015, which gave sweeping powers to the government.
Erol Dora, an Assyrian member of the Turkish Parliament from HDP, raised the issue of the sculpture in parliament. He asked the interior minister why the sculpture was removed and what has become of it. No response to his inquiry has been made
Astrology & Religious Art
A lamassu is an Assyrian protective deity, often depicted as having a human's head, a body of an ox or a lion, and bird's wings. In some writings, it is portrayed to represent a female deity. The Lammasu or Lumasi represent the zodiacs, parent-stars or constellations: Human head = AQUARIUS (Air) - Ox = TAURUS (Earth) - Lion = LEO (Fire) - Bird-wings = SCORPIO (Water)
The ancient Jewish people were influenced by the iconography of Assyrian culture. The prophet Ezekiel wrote about a fantastic being made up of aspects of a human being, a lion, an eagle and a bull. The prophet Ezekiel was among the Jews who were exiled to Babylon in the 6th century BC. The creatures in his vision, from which the images of the tetramorph are derived, are reminiscent of ancient Assyria art.
In Christian art the tetramorph is the union of the symbols of the Four Evangelists, derived from the four living creatures in the Book of Ezekiel, into a single figure or, more commonly, a group of four figures. Each of the four Evangelists is associated with one of the living creatures, usually shown with wings.
Zarathustra & The Four Elements
Live & Let Live
Zoroastrianism was the official religion of Persia prior to the Islamic conquest of the Sasanid Empire in the 7th century and is one of the world’s oldest extant religions, founded by the Iranian Prophet Zarathustra.|
Zoroastrianism is a monotheistic religion, from a time when polytheism was the norm, and its god, Ahura Mazda ('the Lord of Wisdom), is considered to encompass two key attributes:
Being (not 'I have', but 'I am') = ‘Ahura‘, and Mind (Intellectualism|Spiritualism) = ‘Mazda‘
The theology includes the duty to protect nature and, in particular, the elements of water, earth and fire and air.
Of the four primordial elements, fire and water are seen as purifying and, consequently, are important elements of ritual, incorporated into the fabric of the places of worship.
Some people think that Zoroastrians worship fire, but this is not the case. Fire is used for its symbolical power in the worship of the god, signifying purity and truth.
Fire is a symbol, a symbol of divinity. It is fed daily by the attendant priests with pieces of sandalwood.
iran: family - iran:temple - kurds:fire ritual
The destruction of Palmyra’s famed Tetrapylon and the facade of the ancient Syrian city’s Roman theatre by the terrorists of Daesh is a war crime, UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova said on Friday, according to the UN News Center. "This destruction is a new war crime and an immense loss for the Syrian people and for humanity," Bokova said.
Bokova called the destruction a "blow against cultural heritage" and underlined that it showed intentions of Daesh to "deprive the Syrian people of its past and its future".
She added that one of the reasons Daesh (Islamic State) had decided to destroy the Tetrapylon was the fact that it "testified to the specificity of Palmyrene identity, as a source of pride and dignity for all Syrians today...."
In December, Daesh recaptured Palmyra. According to various sources, the number of terrorists that took part in the storming of the city reached 5,000 including hundreds of suicide bombers and dozens of armored vehicles.
Mikhail Piotrovsky, the Director General of the Russian Hermitage Museum said the new destructions of monuments in Palmyra come across as acts of the militants' vengeance.
"It was quite some time ago probably as far back as last May that the IS radio said they would come and stage a new 'concert' in the theater, and now they've done it," he said making a reference to a concert that the Mariinsky Theater symphony orchestra from Russia gave at the site of the Roman theater last May...
Netanyahu & the Chabad message
Chabad message: "Maintaining possession of the lands taken in the Six-Day War is necessary not only to prevent attack, but also to protect against terrorism. The proposition of exchanging land for peace is unheard of in the annals of history. Whenever has a nation that won territory in a defensive war surrendered it to the very nations which attacked it?
Israeli President Binyamin Netanyahu posted on Facebook on Saturday night, "I plan to speak soon with President Trump about how to counter the threat of the Iranian regime which calls for Israel's destruction.|
"But it struck me recently that I've spoken a lot about the Iranian regime and not enough about the Iranian people, or for that matter, to the Iranian people. "So I hope this message reaches every Iranian - young and old, religious and secular, man and woman.
"I know you'd prefer to live without fear. I know you'd want to be able to speak freely, to love who you want without the fear of being tortured or hung from a crane. I know you'd like to surf the web freely and not have to see videos like this one using a virtual private network to circumvent censorship.
"You have a proud history. You have a rich culture. Tragically, you are shackled by a theocratic tyranny.
"In a free Iran you will once again be able to flourish without limit. But today, a cruel regime is trying to keep you down. This ruthless regime continues to deny you your freedom. It prevents thousands of candidates from competing in elections. It steals money from your poor to fund a mass murderer like Assad.
"By calling daily for Israel's destruction, the regime hopes to instill hostility between us. This is wrong. We are your friend...
"The fanatics must not win. Their cruelty must not conquer our compassion..."
"To heal and revive our world and all the people in it, we need to look again at the older religious traditions that sought and followed a concept of a female God, or within God, or aspect of God. The Divine She, the Mother Earth and Queen of Heaven, the She of the underworld, all express a concept that has been swept from the patriarchal thought and tradition." (Alix Pirani, in 'The Absent Mother')
The Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Kirill (secular name: Vladimir Mikhailovich Gundyayev, born 20-11-1946), has delivered a speech in London’s Cathedral of the Dormition of the Mother of God and All Saints in a four-day visit to the UK to mark the 300th anniversary of the Russian Orthodox Church’s presence there:
The Church has a special significance for the spiritual life of people. It brings people together regardless of national, social, material, cultural or political borders.
By its nature the church cannot be together with the right or the left, or with the centrists. It cannot be together with the rich against the poor or together with the poor against the rich. It cannot be together with one nationality against another.
The church is a community open to the whole world. And within this community all human differences are erased.
Even a very rich person stands surrounded by poor people. And even high-ranking people stand side by side with ordinary people. This symbolizes the erasure of those differences within the church.
The very same role has to be played by the church in international relations. The faith, the religion, the church is the mirror of the people’s soul. And at the deepest level the church represents its people outside, in the world.
We, people of the faith, can see things that cannot be seen by those who doubt. We can distance ourselves from the short-term interests and problems and offer a different perspective, including on the current state of Russian-British relations.
And our perspective is vastly different from that of the politicians, because our nations are bound together by historical, religious and even monarchic ties. We know each other and respect each other greatly...
To commemorate this joyous occasion I would like to present you with an icon of Our Blessed Mother of God. It's a centuries-old icon. Praying before it, please pray for our Church and for our country...
And to everyone who is here today I would like to present this image, depicting all the British saints. The United Kingdom has been blessed with many saints... It's these saints that tie us together with bonds stronger that any human ones.
This is our shared heritage. This is our shared history. This is the embodiment of our shared values. And I'm convinced that it will also serve as the foundation for our bright future together.
In December 2003, the Blessed Mother graced the cover of 3 major Protestant magazines with total circulation of more than half a million.
They include The Lutheran – the official publication of the denomination that launched the 16th century Protestant rebellion against the Catholic Church – as well as Christianity Today, the magazine of record for evangelical Protestantism, and Good News, a publication for evangelical Methodists.
The articles in all three magazines agree that Protestants have neglected Mary for too long, and that it is high time for Protestants to re-consider the place of Mary in Protestantism.
Indeed, more and more non-Catholics are beginning to find a place for Mary in their religions.
Numerous books on Mary have been written by Protestant scholars, many with the common exhortation for Protestants to take a closer look at Mary. Stories abound about Buddhists and other non-Catholics visiting the shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, a traditionally-Catholic symbol of Marian devotion.
Muslims, on the other hand, very much revere and respect Mary. In fact, Mary is mentioned more times in the Koran, Islam’s Holy Book, than in the Bible!
Mary is likewise a topic in many ecumenical discussions – scholarly discussions between Catholic theologians, Protestant scholars, Muslims, and other religions with the objective of unearthing more and more “common ground” among the religions.
In June 2001, after returning from an interfaith conference held at Lourdes, Cardinal Francis Arinze, then president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, declared that Mary is a starting point for presenting the Christian message to believers of other religions.
sometimes i feel like a motherless child
BENZION NETANYAHU was not only a very bitter person, he was also a very autocratic family man. The three Netanyahu boys lived in constant awe of Father. They were not allowed to make any noise at home while the Great Man worked in his closed study. They were not allowed to bring other boys home.
Their mother (Cela-Tzila Segal, born 28-8-1912 in Petah Tikva) was completely devoted to her husband and served him in every way, sacrificing her own personality.
1: yonatan+cela 2: benzion+bibi - yonatan+cela 3: yonathan+cela - bibi
In every family, the second child of three is in a difficult position. He is not admired like the eldest, nor indulged like the youngest. For Binyamin this was especially hard, because of the personality of the eldest.
Yonatan Netanyahu (both names mean “God has given”) seems to have been a specially blessed boy. He was good-looking, gifted, much liked, even admired. Between his father, the embittered Great Thinker, and his elder brother, the Legendary Hero, Binyamin grew up as a quiet but very ambitious boy, part Israeli, part American.
Between his obsessive need to be approved by his father and to be found equal to his glorious brother, Netanyahu’s own character was forged.
See also: What it Means to be a Rejected Child
"Mary's life shows that God accomplishes great deeds through those
who are the most humble". Pope Francis
"I think I am much more humble than you would understand"
Donald Trump, 17-7-2016
Donald Trump's parents belonged to the Reformed Church in America, although he was confirmed at one of the Presbyterian Church (USA) congregations himself.
This matter of membership does not play a big role since he attends services of both denominations, other ones that are part of the Reformed tradition, and even some that subscribe to other Protestant branches (like the Episcopal Church (USA), an Anglican denomination).
In 2016, Donald Trump visited Bethesda-by-the-Sea, an Episcopal church for Christmas service.
It is my observation that Anglicans would rather "sing of Mary!" for, within Anglicanism, Marian devotion is often subtle and understated, profoundly biblical and expressed more often in hymns and poems, in sculpture, paintings, icons and stained glass, by chapels and shrines, than in statements and doctrinal treatises.
Though many Episcopalians honor the blessed Virgin Mary in their devotional life, many do not. Thus, much teaching is needed within the Episcopal Church, theologically and devotionally.
Symbols of Mary abound in many churches, and she is honored by many Lady Chapels and shrines such as the splendid Lady Chapel in the Washington National Cathedral. (Picture site)
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Jaber Ansari underlined the necessity for immediate action on the crisis in Syria.
Addressing the Astana round of talks on Syria in Rixos Hotel in Kazakhstan, Jaberi Ansari presented an image of the ongoing crisis in Syria and urged immediate action on bringing stability to the hard-hit country:
As we are sitting here in comfort; men, women and children in Syria are struggling with difficulties, agony and ravages of war, terrorism and displacement within or out of their homeland. In some parts, including Damascus, they are even deprived from drinking water.
As an Iranian, I can feel their misery. It was not long ago when Iran fell victim of an imposed war that left hundreds of thousands of martyrs, wounded and displaced people and led to destruction of vast areas of the country. Everybody in my accompanying delegation have lived those days.
In the human world, the divergence of beliefs and interests are natural, but war is the ugliest manifestation of such disagreement.
The utmost goal of our joint efforts to end the Syrian conflict must be an irreversible cessation of hostilities that enables the people of Syria to get back to the normal life they deserve, like any other nation. Syrians shall enjoy a sovereign state in an integrated territory within safe borders.
All nations shall enjoy the inherent right of self-determination and no external powers should or can interfere with the right of people. Syrian nation is no exception and shall exercise this right of theirs, free from any external pressure.
Those who seek the prolongation of the Syrian crisis for their own interests hinder the fulfillment of people’s rights.
Today, we have assembled in Astana to re-orient our endeavor towards peace and to remedy the shortcomings of past processes, in order to help a dialog between the Syrian government and the Syrian armed opposition groups.
To this end, we need to have a clear road map. Specifically, all participating parties to these talks need to denounce acts of violence and respect not only the ceasefire, but cessation of all kind of hostilities.
We shall welcome the adherence of non-participating groups to this process, once they abide by principle of non-violence.
The international community should join efforts to curb the illegal transfer of arms, financial aids and fighters into Syria.. An effective mechanism of ceasefire should be in place, ensured by the Astana tripartite initiative to guarantee the irreversibility of ceasefire and cessation of hostilities.
At the same time, all friends of Syria should join hands to remove sanctions and blockage, to help the reconstruction, to facilitate the free return of the displaced population in urgent response to the dire human situation in Syria.
Changes begin in people’s minds. The vicious cycle of violence and terrorism can be stopped only if extremist ideologies that justify barbarism, more than often in the false name of religion, are denounced and renounced.
This may begin with introducing the true merciful and blessing face of divine religions and an intercultural dialog among regional neighbors and in the world at large.
Head of the Syrian Arab Republic delegation to the Astana meeting Bashar al-Jaafari said that Syria hopes that the meeting will fix the cessation of hostilities for a specified period of time in a way that would separate the terrorist groups that have agreed to the cessation and that desire to national reconciliation on the one side from ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra and other groups affiliated to them on the other side, adding that Syria hopes that all efforts will unite in fighting terrorism to meet the demands of the Syrian people, and this necessitates closing the Syrian-Turkish borders and drying up the sources of terrorism.
Al-Jaafari said that the Syrian national political powers – including the government and oppositions groups – along with the UN Security Council’s resolutions and the consultative meetings have all unanimously agreed on respecting Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and its people’s unity, not relinquishing any part of its land, and rejecting all forms of direct or indirect foreign interference in Syria’s internal affairs, in way that ensures that only the Syrians will decide the future of their country through democratic means and ballot boxes.
“Syria which we love is the homeland of diversity in all its forms, a homeland where the Syrians believe in the basis and principles of their independent democratic secular state based upon political pluralism, the rule of law, independence of the judiciary system, equality among citizens in rights and duties, guaranteeing cultural and social variety among all spectrum of the Syrian people, as well as maintaining the continuation of the work of the state institutions,” he said.
The Syrian opposition hopes that military activities in the country will end due to Russia’s role in settling the conflict, head of the opposition delegation Mohammed Alloush told reporters on Tuesday.
According to him, the meeting held in Kazakhstan’s capital of Astana marks the beginning of a process aimed at ensuring the ceasefire and implementing humanitarian provisions of the UN Security Council Resolution.
"We would like Russia to continue playing a positive role in establishing peace and in supporting a truly fair political process aimed at settling the situation in Syria," Alloush said.
He pointed to Russia’s growing role in establishing peace in the country.
"We welcome Russia’s willingness to shift from being a participant in hostilities to being a guarantor capable of influencing Iran and Syria. For us, this is a positive step on the way to finding a solution," the head of the opposition delegation stressed.
President Donald Trump wants to speak with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about recent plans to build in Judea and Samaria [occupied West Bank] when they meet next month.
“He wants to have a meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu and we’ll discuss that,” Sean Spicer, the White House spokesman, said Tuesday at the daily briefing for reporters when asked about the announcements.
Netanyahu and Trump spoke over the weekend, and Trump invited Netanyahu to the White House next month.
Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) this week said they had given the go-ahead to plans for 2,500 housing units in the Judea and Samaria. Additionally, a Jerusalem municipal committee this week approved 566 housing units in Jewish and Arab neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem.
Spicer indicated that Trump, not yet a week in office and still without a secretary of state, is scrambling to set policy on sensitive issues, but is determined to move past the tensions that characterized the Netanyahu government’s relationship with the Obama administration.
The Obama administration opposed Jewish population of Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem, and in its final month for the first time allowed through a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel for its Jewish housing expansion. The departure of Obama has heartened advocates in Israel of Jewish expansion.
On Trump's campaign pledge to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, Spicer said Monday that the new president had not yet decided when to make the move.
I became Israel's ambassador to the United Nations in 1984.
Shortly afterwards, I had a visitor in my office in New York. He came in and there was this strapping chassid, with a beard and payos [side locks]. I said to him, "Do I know you?"
"Bibi, you don't know me? It's Shmarya!" I hadn't seen him in a few years. He said, "Well, you see, I have become a Lubavitcher, and the Rebbe wants to see you..."
I saw two old bearded Jews dancing in a circle of light with a Torah.
I felt the strength of generations, the power of our traditions, our faith and our people. Suddenly a door opened.. You saw the sea parting, like the Red Sea. The Rebbe came up and went to the book and he started to read with his back to the crowd. At that point, Shmarya said to me, "Now... ! Go to the Rebbe now."
I came to the Rebbe. I tapped him on the shoulder I said in English, "Rebbe, I came to see you." We started talking. After forty minutes he stopped. He said what he wanted to say.
The Rabbi said many things to me that night. But he said one big thing. He said, "You will go into a house of lies," that's how he referred to a particular institution.
He said, "Remember that in a hall of perfect darkness, if you light one small candle, its precious light will be seen from afar, by everyone. Your mission is to light a candle for truth and for the Jewish people." That is what I have tried to do ever since. This is what we are all asked to do.
The Rebbe about the Jews:
" They are going to leave from their own good will.
And later, they will be sorry for every day
that they did not do it earlier."
So then, what is Chabad’s goal? What do they want? They nobly want us to do mitzvot or mitzvos (fulfill Jewish commandments). And why do they want us to do mitzvos?
Because of messianism. That is to say, doing mitzvos – “changing the world one mitzvah at a time” – helps to bring about the messiah. Messianism is the belief that there is a messiah (the mashiach) and that he is coming (they are sure it’s a “he”)...
Messianism has been at the heart of the mission of Chabad for at least the past hundred years, and they believe that it is their job is to hasten the coming of the messiah by encouraging mitzvos, specific ritual acts.
Chabad has their own version of a top ten list of mitzvos, and the performance of those mitzvos has cosmic significance, potentially tipping the spiritual balance toward the messiah’s arrival.
In other words, putting on tefillin in the street, eating a kosher meal, or spending a Shabbat at a Chabad house just one time and never doing it again is an act that has the power to tip the celestial scales. Therefore, the role of the shluchim is to encourage mitzvos in order to accelerate the coming of the messiah.
Over the past 50 years, Chabad has taken this message and skillfully packaged it into media and slogans – slogans that are particularly catchy in America, such as, “We want mashiach now!”
Wanting something and wanting it now, after all, is about as American as apple pie. However, what is fascinating about this religious ideology is that it doesn’t take much to motivate the mashiach and get him here now....
Rabbi Shemtov is well known in the halls of Congress, and Sue Fishkoff, author of The Rebbe’s Army: Inside the World of Chabad-Lubavitch, writes: “It’s not enough that Chabad’s man in D.C. knows the name and phone number of just about every congressman, senator and foreign ambassador in the nation’s capital — he also knows their legislative assistants, their secretaries and the people who clean their offices. ... He lunches with prime ministers and navigates political jungles with firm good humor.”
Officials and staff members from all walks of life affirm that Rabbi Shemtov is exceptionally well liked and that he has amazing rapport with a wide range of political leaders. Because Rabbi Shemtov has such a vast network, his finger is on the pulse of the state of Jewish power today... (Voice of Orthodox Community, 6-3-2011)
Chabad’s presence is prominent at the Kotel in Jerusalem, in the cyber world of the Internet and even at the White House in Washington.
Furthermore, their marketing products such as publications and magazines, as well as collective distribution are the envy of many in the Jewish organizational world.
Soon-to-be First Daughter Ivanka Trump and her family will be joining The SHUL of the Nation's Capital, a synagogue run by international Jewish community organization Chabad; among the Shul's congregants are former senator Joe Lieberman and Secretary of Treasury Jack Lew.
Businesswoman Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner have purchased a home in Washington DC. As a practicing Jewish couple, their impending move also necessitated joining a local synagogue. They Chose The SHUL, a small synagogue run by the Chabad Jewish community and outreach organization.
It was reported that the Trump-Kushners chose to join TheSHUL for its more intimate atmosphere.
Another factor to possibly influence their decision was that the capitol's Orthodox synagogue is home to many Democratic Party members, which might have created a less welcoming tone for the young couple.
Following her relationship with her now-husband, Jewish businessman Jared Kushner, Ivanka converted to Judaism and eventually married. She has since then identified as Jewish Orthodox...
The United Nations has decried Israel’s approval of the construction of 2,500 new settler units in the West Bank, stressing that such "unilateral actions" are hindering peace.
On Tuesday, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said, "For the secretary general there is no plan B for the two states solution."
The Palestine Liberation Organization also reacted to the move with Secretary General Saeb Erekat saying that "the international community must hold Israel accountable immediately."
He added that Tel Aviv seems to have become emboldened by "what they consider encouragement by American President Donald Trump."
A spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas denounced the construction plans as a new blow to attempts aimed at bringing peace to the region.
The EU also slammed the move, stating that it “seriously undermines the prospects for peace with the Palestinians."
“It is regrettable that Israel is proceeding with this policy, despite the continuous serious international concern and objections, which have been constantly raised at all levels," said a statement released by the European Union External Action Service.
Earlier in the day, the Israeli ministry of military affairs announced that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the minister of military affairs, Avigdor Lieberman, had endorsed the settlement plans.
More than 230 illegal settlements have been constructed since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. The unauthorized structures have hampered attempts to establish peace in the Middle East.
In December 2016, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2334 that denounced the Israeli settlements as a “flagrant violation of international law.”
Flashback 2008: "There is no chosen people on this earth"
Hillary Clinton traveled to Libya in a secret visit on 18 October 2011 to celebrate the fall of Muammar Gadaffi
Libya's unrest since the 2011 ousting of Moamer Kadhafi allowed extremist organisations including the Islamic State group to gain a foothold in the country. For nearly three years Benghazi has been the scene of bloody attacks and fighting between these groups and forces loyal to Haftar.
The country has fallen into chaos, with the UN-backed Government of National Accord based in Tripoli failing to assert its authority over the country.
The [UN-US-imposed] GNA is opposed by a [democratically elected] rival administration that is based in Libya's far east and backed by Khalifa Haftar.
Haftar has managed to retake a large part of the eastern coastal city from jihadists since Benghazi came under their control in 2014.
But jihadists still control the central Benghazi districts of Al-Saberi and Souq al-Hout, according to the LNA. These jihadist groups include the Revolutionary Shura Council of Benghazi, an alliance of Islamist militias that includes the Al-Qaeda-linked Ansar Al-Sharia.
Education is necessary for young people to thrive in our global community.
An Iraq War veteran and member of the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees, Gabbard is known for her sharp criticism of former US President Barack Obama’s interventionist policy in the Middle East.
Knowledge is a natural right of every human being
Bibi Meets Mary Trump and Frank Patterson
Frank Patterson sings |
Bring Flowers Of The Rarest
O Mary! we crown thee with blossoms today, Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May, O Mary! we crown thee with blossoms today, Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May.
Donald is filming in HollywoodBibi Baskin travelled to the Trump Taj Mahal Hotel in Atlantic City where she met with Mary Trump, mother of Donald Trump
. The interview took place in a luxury suite on the 51st floor of the Trump Taj Mahal Hotel, where Mrs Trump had just had lunch with Irish singer Frank Patterson who also spoke to Bibi.
Mary Trump had long been a fan of Frank Patterson. "We have all his tapes, all his cassettes..."
She recalls meeting Frank for the first time at Booth Memorial Hospital in New York, where he was performing and Mary was a patient in recovery after being mugged.
She plans to go to Frank’s concert later that day, and again at Carnegie Hall the following week.
Frank Patterson, who also lives in New York, says that Mary’s love for Irish music stems from her Scottish heritage. Since their first meeting Mary and Frank have remained friends and have worked on various charity events together.
Speaking about the Trump family Mary explains that Donald couldn’t be there to meet Bibi as he is filming with Steven Spielberg in Hollywood. (This episode of ‘It’s Bibi’ was broadcast on 16 March 1994)
Residents of the Wadi Barada River valley, a region, which supplies water to Syria’s Damascus province are finally returning to normal civilian life.
The majority of settlements in the region have joined the reconciliation process. More than 2,600 gunmen that were active there have laid down their arms. Those who refused to return to a ‘normal’ life have been evacuated by the authorities to the Idlib province with their families, Colonel Alexander Blinkov, Spokesman for the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Warring Parties in Syria, told reporters.
"Steps are currently being taken as part of the first stage of a comprehensive reconciliation plan in this area. Hardcore opposition members who refused to surrender weapons are leaving for the Idlib province with their families with the assistance of the Syrian authorities."
The militants who are filing to adjust their legal status have joined self-defense units.
"Recently, a great number of militants have come to realize the need to return to a peaceful routine and live a normal life like all the rest under our flag," said Osama al-Almari, the head of administration of the village of Ain El-Fijeh.
Some of the gunmen who have legalized their status have joined the ranks of pro-government forces. One of them is Adek Agil, a former commander of a militant group who is now in command of a local self-defense unit. "I fought against the government troops. Eventually, I realized that this is wrong. They deceived us," he said. "That was a mistake, and I regret it. That is why I sided with the government forces to live as before."
People in the valley hope that the conflict will be resolved soon, the militants will leave the area and it will be possible to return to civilian life and live in a peaceful atmosphere. They also hope that tourists will return to the area, said Mahmoud Haydar, head of the administration of the Deir Qanoun populated locality.
Wadi Barada is a strategically important area providing cities in the Damascus province with water. In February 2012, it was seized by Free Syrian Army gunmen. In January 2017, the militants lost some important heights and then pressed for a truce.
Russia plays a crucial role in resolving the Syrian conflict, King Abdullah II of Jordan said at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday.
"We recognize Russia’s crucial role in resolving this (Syrian) and many other regional issues," he said.
"We do fully support the settlement process launched in Astana and appreciate Russia’s role and its involvement in this process," the king added. He expressed the hope that "the Syrians will have a common inclusive future," while the corresponding negotiations will continue in a variety of formats, including in the Geneva one.
"Today I am glad to be here again, to visit Moscow and reaffirm that we are bound by serious and strong friendship with you. We also have a common vision, which will contribute to stability and the normalization of the situation in the region."
Putin expressed his gratitude to King Abdullah II of Jordan for supporting the negotiation process on Syria in Astana.
The two leaders highlighted the need to prepare for rebuilding the war-torn country, sustain peace and stability, and help refugees return to their country. They also outlined the situation in Iraq and means of supporting Baghdad to reach national reconciliation, in addition to discussing regional developments and the Libyan issue. The King said that it is not possible to deal with the Syrian conflict away from ensuring the stability of Iraq.
UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson says Britain has changed its stance and now believes Syrian President Bashar Assad could potentially be allowed to run for president if there was a peaceful settlement of the conflict.
“It is our view that Bashar al-Assad should go, it’s been our longstanding position. But we are open-minded about how that happens and the timescale on which that happens,” Johnson told the Lords International Relations Committee on Thursday, according to The Guardian.
There is a need to be “realistic about the way the landscape has changed” and to take a fresh look at the situation, Johnson said. “We are getting to the stage where some sort of democratic resolution has got to be introduced,” he added.
“I would hope it would be possible to have a plebiscite or an election which is properly supervised by the UN and in which all the 11 million displaced persons, including the 4 million who are outside Syria now, are fully entitled to vote," he said.
Johnson stressed that cooperation with Russia would most certainly mean cooperation with Iran, Syria’s ally, which is likely to be “a good thing.”
“We think that trying to improve relations with Iran through this deal, and it’s a pretty cautious thing, is on the whole a good thing and we regard that as one of the achievements of the (former US President Barack) Obama administration.”
On the other hand, the foreign minister said that they “do not want to see a further extension of Iranian policy and influence in the region.”
Theresa May (UK Prime Minister) has told US Republicans the UK and America cannot return to "failed" military interventions "to remake the world in our own image". Suggesting a UK foreign policy shift, she said those days were over but added that the US and UK should not "stand idly by when the threat is real".
In her speech, Mrs May said: "It is in our interests - those of Britain and America together - to stand strong together to defend our values, our interests and the very ideas in which we believe.
"This cannot mean a return to the failed policies of the past. The days of Britain and America intervening in sovereign countries in an attempt to remake the world in our own image are over.
"But nor can we afford to stand idly by when the threat is real and when it is in our own interests to intervene. We must be strong, smart and hard-headed. And we must demonstrate the resolve necessary to stand up for our interests.
Mrs May's US speech comes ahead of talks with President Donald Trump. She will be the first world leader to meet the new president. Theresa May will present Donald Trump, whose mother was born in the Outer Hebrides, with an engraved quaich, a Scottish artefact symbolising friendship.
Opposition leader, Labour's Jeremy Corbyn, said: "Theresa May must stand up for our country's values when she meets Donald Trump...
by: Andrew Johnston
(born 23 September 1994, Dumfries, Scotland)
God’s Lamb, who lifted the world’s sins,
grant them peace, everlasting peace
British Values & The Church of England
The Church of England is the Anglican Christian state church of England: both Catholic and Reformed. Headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury (currently Justin Welby) and primarily governed from London with the monarch as the supreme governor, the Church of England is also the mother church of the international Anglican Communion.
"The story of Coventry (bombed in 1940) says so much that is true about Britain at its best... About our courage, our standing up to tyranny, how we stand alongside the suffering and defeated. How we stand for human dignity and hope.
An Egyptian cleric has earned the ire of the country’s Christian community by claiming that the Prophet Mohammed would marry Mary, the mother of Jesus, in heaven. Dr. Salem Abdel Galil, a scholar at the prestigious Al-Azhar University in Cairo, made the remarks on his TV show, “Muslims are asking.”
“The Prophet himself pointed to the high position of Maryam. And can I belittle her position, saying it only refers to a specific time and place? No! She was chosen among the wives of both worlds... And she will be the wife of our favorite Mohammed in heaven, and she will be the first to enter heaven together with the greatest prophets. And not just with the prophets, but with the greatest prophets!”
Galil’s comments drew anger from members of Egypt’s Christian minority: “We Christians don’t recognize any aspect of the Virgin Mary except her sanctity, her purity and her virginity.,” Nader Soubhi, of the Christian Youth Movement for Orthodox Copts, said.
The Virgin Mary and the prophet Muhammad have a lot in common.
The similarities I have in mind first occurred to me when I was teaching the Qur’an’s Sura 97 (al-Qadr, “Destiny”).
This is the Sura that extolls the holiest night of the Muslim calendar, the Laylat al-Qadr (Night of Destiny) when Muhammad received the first revelation of the Qur’an.
The connection I see between Mary and Muhammad centers on the significance of the Word of God in Christianity, Islam and Judaism.
Basic to all three religious traditions is the understanding that God, impelled by compassion, reveals to humans the way to salvation.
The traditions use different theological terminology (redemption, salvation, eternal life, etc.), but in essence, God’s revelation gives humans the knowledge and means to overcome the sorrow, pain and death that constitute the human condition. All three traditions describe this revelation as the Word of God.
A Spiritual MarriageSpiritual marriage comes from the original divine law that marriage should be the union between soulmates who are attracted to each other by divine magnetism and not by the animal magnetism of sexual activity. Sometimes it is narrowed down to "love without sex"—a practice in which a man and a woman live intimately without engaging in any sexual activities. It has been known throughout many cultures as the bond of a man and a woman for reasons of spiritual and emotional intimacy and connection where partners help each other reach spiritual realization of God.
One evening, as the Prophet lay in bed, in that intuitive state midway between wakefulness and sleep, the angel Gabriel came to him. Gabriel opened Muhammad’s chest, cleansed his heart with sacred water, and filled it with Wisdom and Faith that he had brought on a golden tray.
Archangel Gabriel (the Messenger of God) helps us to be a good eloquent. Gabriel blesses us with extremely good communication skills so that we would be able to deliver our speech with the utmost clarity and make the audience understand the exact meaning of our words. Gabriel also helps us to discontinue our previous way of speaking and develop a new better way so that our words would create an atmosphere of inspiration, motivation and happiness. (Source)
For Christians, Jesus is the “Word” that became flesh, or, to use another Christian term, Jesus is the “incarnation” (the “enfleshment”) of God.
In a very real sense, then, both Mary and Muhammad are the mediators, the “middle person” (“middleman” doesn’t work here) between God and humanity.
Both are the bearers of a message from God that cannot be delivered to humans on earth without the agency of a human body.
Mary literally bears the Word of God in her womb and—to use the archaic sense of the word—Mary is “delivered” of the Word of God when she gives birth to Jesus.
Similarly, the earthly human capacity for hearing and speech allows Muhammad to bear and deliver the Word of God to the people of Mecca and Medina.
Because Mary and Muhammad in their roles as mediators by definition experienced a direct encounter with the divine, both faiths came to believe that they must have enjoyed an exceptional degree of purity.
Mary’s purity is her virginity, a physical state, which Christians, under the influence of Greco-Roman thought, associated with spiritual perfection and sinlessness.
As for Muhammad, his purity had nothing to do with sexuality; after all, he married a number of wives, including even some widows.
Muhammad’s exceptional purity has to do with knowledge, which initially may seem to be a peculiar form of purity. It is an article of faith in Islam that the words of the Qur’an are God’s, not Muhammad’s. Muhammad could not read or write; he was, so to speak, a virgin from the point of view of education.
No human father contributed to the incarnation of Jesus, and no human artistry had any role in the creation of the Qur’an.
Mary Joan Winn Leith is chair of the department of religious studies at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts. At Stonehill, she teaches courses on the Bible and the religion, history and culture of the Ancient Near East and Greece. Leith is a regular Biblical Views columnist for Biblical Archaeology Review.