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  • IRELAND TO BUILD ONE OF EUROPE’S LARGEST MOSQUES
  • POLITICAL CRACKDOWN ON RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN CUBA INTENSIFIES
  • DECLINE IN BIBLE READING SUGGESTED AS CAUSE OF DECLINING MORALS IN U.S. SOCIETY
  • SURVEY REVEALS CHANGING UNDERSTANDING OF THE FAMILY UNIT
  • MOST BRITS BELIEVE IN THE POWER OF PRAYER
  • DANGEROUS CHAOS LOOMS IN BANGLADESH
  • SOUTH ASIAN VILLAGE COMES TO CHRIST AFTER POSSESSED GIRL IS HEALED
     

IRELAND TO BUILD ONE OF EUROPE’S LARGEST MOSQUES

The Emir of Qatar, who has long cultivated an image as a pro-Western reformist, has vowed to “spare no effort” to spread Wahhabi Islam throughout Europe. Wahhabism which discourages Muslim integration in the West and actively encourages jihad against non-Muslims — threatens to radicalize Muslim immigrants in Ireland. City planners in Dublin, have given the go-ahead for the construction of a mega-mosque complex that will cater to Ireland’s burgeoning Muslim population. The massive $50 million “Islamic Cultural Centre” will be built on a six-acre site in Clongriffin, a new and as yet unfinished suburb at the northern edge of Dublin.

According to the Dublin City Council, which approved the project, the Clongriffin Mosque will consist of: (a) a three-story domed mosque and cultural centre with towering minarets; (b) a two-story conference centre including a reception foyer, conference room, restaurant, banquet hall, kitchens and ancillary accommodation; (c) a three-story 16-classroom primary school and a two-story 12-classroom secondary school; (d) a two-story fitness centre with a gym, sauna, steam room and an Olympic-sized indoor swimming pool; (e) a bookshop, library and mortuary; and (f) three four-story blocks of two-bedroom apartments with ground floor shops.

The Clongriffin Mosque will cater to some of the 30,000 Muslims living in Dublin. It is forecast that there will be 125,000 Muslims living in Ireland by 2030. The mega-mosque will be developed by a local real estate mogul, Gerry Gannon, on land he owns at Clongriffin. The project is a “coup” for Gannon, who hopes to sell thousands of newly built homes to Muslim families using the cultural centre as an attraction. In July 2003, the Dublin City Council granted permission to begin developing a new suburb comprising houses and apartments, as well as schools, retail stores, supermarkets and a multi-screen cinema.

Construction in Clongriffin came to a halt after the Irish property collapse in 2009, and the country needed to be rescued with a $109 billion bailout by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. Before the crash Gannon invested millions of euros on developing Clongriffin, including the construction of a railway linking the suburb to Dublin. With the approval of the mosque Clongriffin has a new lease on life, and so does Gannon. Documents show that Dublin City Council has approved the construction of 3,678 new homes near where the mosque will be built which Gannon hopes will fuel demand for the homes he is eager to sell.

Critics worry that Clongriffin is in danger of becoming a totally Islamic suburb where Muslims will establish a parallel society rather than integrate. An Islamist website recently warned that Gannon’s greed would be Ireland’s undoing: It claimed “If there’s one thing the west yearns, it is money which it has worshiped for as long as they have departed from the worship of the true God. And it is this weakness that will see what they hold precious being wrenched from them. Already vast swathes of the London metropolis are in Muslim hands, Dublin is set to follow as the wealth that Allah has blessed His servants with is used to reclaim the land for His glory.”

The European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR), an Islamist group seeking to have Islamic Sharia law recognized throughout Europe, is already established in Ireland. The ECFR is part of the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE), an umbrella group that unites more than 30 Muslim Brotherhood organizations in Europe, and acts as the main vehicle for propagating Muslim Brotherhood ideology in Europe. The ECFR is chaired by the Egyptian-born, Qatari-based Yusuf al-Qaradawi. Al-Qaradawi — a spiritual advisor for the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas who has defended suicide attacks against Jews as “martyrdom in the name of Allah”.

Al-Qaradawi speaks openly about the goals of Islam: “What remains, then, is to conquer Rome. This means that Islam will come back to Europe for the third time, after it was expelled from it twice. Conquest through Dawa [proselytizing] is what we hope for. We will conquer Europe and America! Not through sword but through Dawa.” According to the US State Department the Muslim Brotherhood is stronger in Ireland than anywhere in the world outside of Qatar. The Muslim Brotherhood, which is heavily influenced by the extremist ideology of Wahhabism, subsidized by Qatar and Saudi Arabia, may be about to tighten its grip over Islam in Ireland even further.

Source: Gatestone Institute

 

POLITICAL CRACKDOWN ON RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN CUBA INTENSIFIES

Events in the first quarter of 2013 point to an ongoing trend of a broader political crackdown on religious freedom in Cuba, while reported violations tripled in 2012, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide’s (CSW’s) latest report on religious freedom in Cuba. Religious freedom violations reported to CSW in 2012, many involving dozens of people at a time, rose to 120 compared to 40 in 2011. These numbers do not include the hundreds of devout Catholics who were arrested, sometimes with force, and arbitrarily imprisoned during the week of the Pope’s visit, in order to prevent them from attending any of the scheduled Masses or other events.

After a period where it appeared the government was moving towards more subtle and refined pressure on church leaders, 2012 saw a return to the use of more brutal and public tactics. For the first time in years, CSW received multiple reports of violent beatings of Protestant pastors in different parts of the country. In one particularly case, a Pastor of the Shalom Christian Centre, a Pentecostal church, was left with permanent brain damage following a violent attack as he travelled from his home to the provincial capital to file a legal complaint against local Communist Party officials who had illegally confiscated a vehicle owned by and licensed to the church.

The government has in general moved away from issuing lengthy prison sentences to political dissidents, and now employs a strategy of frequent, temporary arbitrary detention without charge; a tactic increasingly used against religious leaders and Christians who are explicitly prevented from attending Sunday morning services. There were also increased reports of threats of forced closure and demolition of church buildings, as well as confiscation of property, often ordered by the Office of Religious Affairs (ORA), an arm of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party (CCP) and which has authority over all religious groups and associations.

Discrimination against Christians continues to be a problem; children are particularly vulnerable. Earlier this month a primary school-aged girl who attends a Baptist church in Ciego de Avila province was barred from school and threatened with expulsion for refusing to proclaim that “Comandante Hugo Chávez was more important than Jesus Christ” during compulsory memorial activities organised in the wake of President Chávez’ death. CSW has also received reports that children of church leaders, particularly outside Havana, are frequently singled out for harassment and ridicule because of their faith by teachers and school administrators.

CSW’s Advocacy Director Andrew Johnston said, “Recent developments led many to hope for a more positive era for religious freedom in Cuba. However, the reality on the ground for church leaders representing the full spectrum of denominations suggests that the reforms and privileges accorded to a few religious groups have been mostly cosmetic. The government’s stance towards religious groups, epitomised by the actions of the ORA, suggests that religious organisations, and in particular their leaders, are still considered potentially dangerous and there are concerted efforts to exert as much control as possible over their activities.”

Source: Christian Solidarity Worldwide

 

DECLINE IN BIBLE READING SUGGESTED AS CAUSE OF DECLINING MORALS IN U.S. SOCIETY

A new report recently released finds that 77% of Americans believe morals and values are declining in the U.S. The most cited cause for the decline is a lack of Bible reading. The findings are reported in the recently released American Bible Society’s annual State of the Bible survey. The report details Americans’ beliefs about the Bible, its role in society, its presence in U.S. homes and more. As in previous years, the survey found that the Bible remains a highly valued, influential force in America. But beliefs about the Bible and its role in society are becoming increasingly polarized—particularly when the data is examined by age group.

The research also uncovered a significant disconnect in belief versus behaviour. While 66% of those surveyed agreed that the Bible contains everything a person needs to know in order to live a meaningful life, 58% say they do not personally want wisdom and advice from the Bible, and about the same number (57%) read it fewer than five times per year. The State of the Bible 2013 survey, conducted by Barna Group on behalf of American Bible Society, found that:

* The Bible continues to dominate both mind space and book retail space as America’s undisputed best-seller with one in six people reportedly buying a copy of the Bible in the last year. 80% of Americans identify the Bible as sacred.

* Americans have plenty of copies at their fingertips—an average of 4.4 Bibles per household. 56% of adults believe the Bible should have a greater role in U.S. society however actual Bible reading and perceptions about the Bible have become increasingly polarized, with 6 million new Bible antagonists in the last year alone.

* More than half (57%) of those ages 18-28 report reading the Bible less than three times a year or never. While those ages 18-28 are the least likely age group to read the Bible, they are the most interested in receiving input and wisdom from it on a number of topics.

Americans overwhelmingly recognize the decline of morality in our nation,” said Doug Birdsall, president of American Bible Society. “The good news is the Bible is the ultimate instruction guide on how to live a moral life. Unfortunately, more than half of Americans rarely, if ever, read it.” The disconnect between belief and action when it comes to Bible reading is troubling, says Birdsall. “If we had a cure for cancer, wouldn’t everyone with cancer take it? Americans are telling us that the cure for declining morality is sitting on our bookshelves,” says Birdsall. “But more than half of Americans are simply letting the cure gather dust.”

Source: Charisma News

 

SURVEY REVEALS CHANGING UNDERSTANDING OF THE FAMILY UNIT

The family norm used to be a married couple with two children but a new survey shows an increasingly flexible definition of what a family is today. When asked what constitutes a family, almost all agreed that a married couple with children fitted this definition.  However, most agree that other set-ups can also be defined as family.  Nearly nine in 10 said an unmarried couple with children counted as a family, followed by a lone parent with at least one child (87%).  72% said they would consider a married couple without children as a family, as well as siblings living together (71%) whilst 70% said same-sex couples in civil partnerships with children were a family.

The survey found a sizable group of people who are happy to apply the term ‘family’ to people who have strong emotional bonds or live together. More than half (52%) of people consider an unmarried couple without children to be a family, while 47% of people consider a same-sex couple in a civil partnership with no children to be a family. Over a third (39%) of people consider any two or more people who care for each other to be a family. Views differed little between religious people and the general population, with 67% of Anglicans, 66% of Catholics and 72% of Jewish people regarding a same-sex couple in a civil partnership with children as a family.

The survey suggests most people still prefer a father and a mother for children. When asked whether more single women having children without a male partner is good or bad, 30% said neither but 58% said it was bad. Views were more mixed when it came to more homosexual and lesbian couples raising children, with 24% saying this was good, 31% saying bad, and 39% saying neither. The survey also found that although most think churches are welcoming of married and single people, only 45% said they were welcoming to divorced people, and just 21% said they were welcoming to gay, lesbian and bisexual people.  The survey asked the views of over 4,000 U.K. adults.

Source: Christian Today

 

MOST BRITS BELIEVE IN THE POWER OF PRAYER

Britain’s churches may be struggling to make converts but a new survey has found no shortage of people believing in prayer. The new survey offers insight into the issues that are on the hearts of British people and which age groups are praying more than others. It found that 80% of British adults still believe in the power of prayer. When asked what they would pray for, nearly a third (31%) said world peace, followed by an end to poverty (27%).  One in five (22%) said they would pray for healing for another person. Fourteen per cent said they would never pray.  Not surprisingly, the over-65s made up the largest proportion of people praying (89%).

This was followed by young people between the ages of 18 and 24 (85%). Less likely to pray were those between the ages of 35 and 40 (75%). The survey was commissioned by the Church of England and asked the views of more than 2,000 people in England, Wales and Scotland. The Bishop of St Albans, the Right Reverend Dr Alan Smith, said he had seen an increase in the number of people asking about prayer in light of the difficult economic climate. “Prayer is one of the most natural and instinctive of human responses, so I am not surprised to see these findings,” he said. “I come across people on an almost daily basis who want to talk about prayer and how to do it.”

Source: Christian Today

 

DANGEROUS CHAOS LOOMS IN BANGLADESH

Clashes between pro-secular and pro-Islamist forces have erupted in Bangladesh with the situation increasingly out of control. Some 100 people have already died. War crime trials have provoked the protests. Opposition figures are being sentenced to death for crimes allegedly committed in the 1971 War of Independence. Many analysts, fear the trials are politically motivated. Islamists claim the pro-secularist protesters are ‘anti-Islamic’. Islamist websites contain threats to eliminate all ‘infidels’. Human rights monitors confirm that minorities, are being specifically targeted. Christians are exceedingly vulnerable at only 0.6% of the population.

Please pray specifically that the Lord will:

* raise up peacemakers and agents of reconciliation, empowering their voices and blessing their efforts, so that the rioting will end and the rage subside, giving wisdom a chance to be heard and reason a space to take root.

* send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness to shield and protect his vulnerable Church and provide all their needs for shelter, sustenance and security.

Source: Religious Liberty Monitoring

 

SOUTH ASIAN VILLAGE COMES TO CHRIST AFTER POSSESSED GIRL IS HEALED

For 9 months, a teenage girl in South Asia suffered from demon possession. When a JESUS Film Project team found out about the girl, they went to the girl’s home and began to pray. Over the next week, they saw small improvements until, on the seventh day, the girl was completely healed. Her parents immediately burned their idols, and the whole family turned to Christ.  The villagers knew about the troubles the girl had been having and when they saw evidence that she had been healed, every one of them turned to Christ. 32 adults in the village were baptised, and the village has now formed its own 65- person church.

Source: Intercessors Network