Egypt, Jordan Agree On Importance Of Resuming Negotiations For A Palestinian State

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT AND REUTERS NEWS)

Middle East

Egypt, Jordan Agree on Importance of Resuming Negotiations for a Palestinian State

Ayman al-Safadi, Reuters

Cairo- Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shokry and his Jordanian counterpart Ayman al-Safadi met for three hours in Cairo on Thursday to discuss crises and recent challenges facing the Arab region.

“It’s time to clear up the Arab atmosphere and provide a minimum of consensus on resolutions issued by the Amman summit, to deal with all crises, conflict, war and terrorism tearing the region apart,” said Safadi.

He also pointed to the possibility of reaching Arab unanimity, despite existing differences in a desire “to spare the region further devastation threatening security and stability of Arab states.”

The two FMs held a press conference following talks in Cairo to discuss the latest developments in the region, including the Palestinian peace process and Egyptian-Jordanian relations.

Safadi, who arrived in Cairo early Thursday, hoped the upcoming Arab League summit to be held in March in Amman would enhance joint Arab action in a way that improves capability of addressing crises affecting the Arab world.

Safadi replied to a Syria question with “Jordan is taking part in Astana’s Syria peace talks as an observer and supports any effort that aims at reaching a ceasefire across Syria, especially in the southern region closer to Jordan’s northern border.”

The Astana talks are not an alternative to the Geneva efforts that form the main framework of reaching a political solution to the Syrian conflict, the minister highlighted.

He also said that discussions with Shokry addressed the major challenges facing the Arab world and ways to address them, underlining Cairo’s important role in enhancing the regional stability and security.

Jordanian-Egyptian consultation and coordination not only aim at serving bilateral relations, but also seek to serve the interests of the Arab nation and its peoples to enhance joint Arab action and maintain pan-Arab security, Safadi stressed.

The minister also highlighted the significance of increasing the level of coordination among Arab countries to find solutions to regional crises, especially the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, the Syrian war and the developments in the Libyan arena.

For his part, Shokry expressed hope that the Arab summit will boost joint Arab action and serve Arab national security, voicing Cairo’s readiness to help Amman in organizing the summit.

Egypt Pharaoh Statue ‘Not Ramses II But Different Ruler

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

Egypt Pharaoh statue ‘not Ramses II but different ruler’

Denmark's Prince Henrik (left) looks at the statue belonging to King Psamtik I, outside the Egyptian museum in Cairo on 16 March 2017Image copyright REUTERS
Image caption The massive statue – pictured with Denmark’s Prince Henrik, left – was at first thought to be Ramses II, also known as Ramses the Great

An ancient statue which was pulled from the mud in Cairo is not the Pharaoh Ramses II, but could be another king, Egypt’s antiquities minister has said.

Khaled el-Anani told a news conference the statue was almost certainly Psamtek I, who ruled between 664 and 610BC.

Experts had thought the statue was Ramses, who ruled 600 years earlier, because it was close to a temple dedicated to the ruler.

But one of Psamtek’s five names was found engraved on the huge statue.

Even so, the find is still significant, Mr Anani said.

“If it belongs to this king, then it is the largest statue of the Late Period that was ever discovered in Egypt,” Ahram Online reported him as saying.

Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Khaled Al-Anani stands beside the colossus explaining new evidence pointing to it depicting Psamtek I in CairoImage copyright REUTERS
Image caption Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Khaled Al-Anani explains new evidence pointing to it depicting Psamtek I in Cairo
Egyptians look on as a crane lifts parts of a statue for restoration after it was unearthed at Souq al-Khamis district, at al-Matareya area, Cairo, Egypt, 13 March 2017Image copyrightEPA
Image captionPart of the torso was hauled from deep muddy groundwater using a crane on Monday

The discovery was made after they moved the statue – which was nine metres (29ft) tall originally – from a wasteland in between apartment blocks on the site of the ancient capital, Heliopolis, to the Egyptian museum in central Cairo.

It was found by an Egyptian-German archaeological team, and was partially submerged in water, and had split into a number of parts. Its torso alone weighed three tonnes.

The Ministry of Antiquities said it hoped the two parts could be put back together again.

Media caption Egyptian Antiquities Minister Khaled Al-Anani described “the big discovery of a colossus of a king”

A Versatile Plant: What Were the Many Uses of Cannabis in Ancient Egypt?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘ANCIENT ORIGINS’ WEBSITE)

An artist’s imaginary depiction of a pharaoh burning herbs (possibly cannabis or blue lotus) in a ritual.

A Versatile Plant: What Were the Many Uses of Cannabis in Ancient Egypt?

(Read the article on one page)

Cannabis is widely considered to be one of the most widespread options when it comes to medicinal herbs. However, in ancient times the plant’s popularity was far greater, and its use much more common in different aspects of regular life. As things have turned out, modern laws have now prohibited a lot of the cultural and religious practices which had been a part of Egypt’s history and culture for thousands of years. It wasn’t easy to unearth the history and evidence to support these claims, but now that it has been done, let’s take a look at some of the ways in which the ancient Egyptians used cannabis.

Cannabis as Medicine in Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egyptians had uncovered and used the medicinal properties of cannabis even beyond what modern medical science has been able to do so far. The Ebers Papyrus was written roughly around 1550 BC and is one of the oldest finished medical textbooks to have been found so far. It mentions a number of formulas which make use of hemp to alleviate pain and inflammation caused by various diseases and injuries. Apparently, women in particular used marijuana as a way to waive off depression and other psychological problems in the early days of Egypt.

Ebers Papyrus from National Library of Medicine, Found in Egypt in the 1870s. This prescription for an asthma remedy is to be prepared as a mixture of herbs heated on a brick so that the sufferer could inhale their fumes.

Ebers Papyrus from National Library of Medicine, Found in Egypt in the 1870s. This prescription for an asthma remedy is to be prepared as a mixture of herbs heated on a brick so that the sufferer could inhale their fumes. (Public Domain)

The oldest medicinal use of the herb in the region may date back even further, to 2000 BC, when it might have been used to treat glaucoma, cataracts, hemorrhoids, vaginal bleeding, and even cancer. It can be estimated that cannabis was probably not a cure, but an alleviation of the symptoms in most cases. Modern medical science on the other hand, is only beginning to establish the fact that cannabis has some truly remarkable pain-relieving properties, along with being a very potent calming agent for the imbalanced nervous systems of patients suffering from Parkinson’s Disease.

Cannabis in Egyptian Religion and Culture

When the mummy of Pharaoh Ramesses II was uncovered and examined back in 1881, traces of cannabis in the remains was the last thing anyone was expecting, but it was there. Since then, a lot of the uncovered mummies have shown similar traces of the herb in their systems, confirming the suspicion that cannabis was indeed a part of the regular culture in ancient Egypt.

In ancient Egypt, cannabis was used for medicinal, religious, and cultural purposes.

In ancient Egypt, cannabis was used for medicinal, religious, and cultural purposes. (Mundo Cannábico/CC)

Seshat, the goddess of wisdom, was often depicted with a leaf of the cannabis plant above her head in paintings from thousands of years ago. Bastet, the feline goddess of war, was also related to the use of cannabis in the region, but more in terms of witchcraft. Evidence also suggests that worshippers may have consumed marijuana in one form or the other during certain religious festivities and rituals.

Seshat, the ancient Egyptian goddess of record-keeping and measurement with a colorful cannabis leaf over her head.

Seshat, the ancient Egyptian goddess of record-keeping and measurement with a colorful cannabis leaf over her head. (History with a Twist)

Practical Uses of Cannabis

Although it may sound strange if you have not heard about it before, cannabis was actually used in the production of ropes, sails, and fabric in particular. In fact, research suggests that ancient workers used a meticulous technique with the cannabis fiber to break down larger rocks before transporting them to constructions sites. The technique generally involved hammering down the dry cannabis fiber into the cracks of the larger rocks, before soaking them thoroughly in water. As the fabric began to expand it was strong enough to fracture the giant rocks.

Original knots which were joining the main pieces of the Khufu Boat. The cedar timbers of the boat’s curved hull were lashed together with hemp rope in a technique used until recent times by traditional shipbuilders on the shores of the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, and the Indian Ocean

Original knots which were joining the main pieces of the Khufu Boat. The cedar timbers of the boat’s curved hull were lashed together with hemp rope in a technique used until recent times by traditional shipbuilders on the shores of the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, and the Indian Ocean. (kairoinfo4u/CC BY NC SA 2.0)

The herb was so popular in the old days of Egypt that the famous Roman Emperor Aurelian practically imposed a tax on it! If these facts have got you interested, then you can find some information about cannabis in modern Egypt here.

Top Image: An artist’s imaginary depiction of a pharaoh burning herbs (possibly cannabis or blue lotus) in a ritual. (Core Spirit)

By Robert Brusco

References

BAHAR YEŞILNUR (2014). An ancient treatment from the pages of the Ebers Papyrus. Daily Sabah. Available from: https://www.dailysabah.com/feature/2014/12/31/an-ancient-treatment-from-the-pages-of-the-ebers-papyrus

Claire Rankin (2016). Marijuana use in ancient Egypt. Newstarget. Available from: http://www.newstarget.com/2016-02-26-marijuana-use-in-ancient-egypt.html

Royal Queen Seeds. Cannabis in Egypt. Available from: https://www.royalqueenseeds.com/blog-cannabis-in-egypt-n162

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Trying To Restore Religious Harmony In The Islamic World

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

Opinion

Restoring the Religious Discourse

Muftis, religious authorities, scholars, professors and politicians from China to the Americas all met in al-Azhar in Cairo, Egypt, to discuss the international crisis facing Muslims and Islam as a religion. They all agreed that extremism and fundamentalism are dangerous threats that must be tackled.

At the conference of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Saudi deputy Minister for Islamic Affairs, Endowment, Dawa and Guidance Tawfiq al-Sudairi made the best and most direct speech. He called for restoring the religious discourse from the extremists and so-called educated people, who as he described had “harmed the religion’s tolerant teachings and who have been manipulated by opportunists.”

Sudairi called for “unifying efforts on the political, intellectual, security and religious fronts to confront deviant ideologies.”

It is unanimous that everyone is agreed against terrorism. This may also no longer need reiteration and reminders, because by far the most important matter which requires consensus and a plan of action is fighting the widespread extremism and fundamentalism.

No one can claim that terrorism can exist without extremism embracing and encouraging it.

It is impossible for a terrorist to grow up in and emerge from a moderate environment.

Even terrorists who have come out of liberal or tolerant societies are always victims of extremist ideologies in their societies in the virtual world, like chat rooms and social networks.

Tens of thousands have joined terrorist groups and all of them without exception are products of extremist rhetoric.

The truth is that terrorists, despite the threat they pose to the world, are less harmful than extremists.

The damage caused by extremists is far more harmful on Muslim societies and other communities. What extremists and fanatics do is worse than the deeds of organizations like ISIS and al-Nusra Front whose members are few among a sea of extremists.

Terrorism is the final step in the ladder of extremism. We cannot neutralize terrorism without fighting extremism. This is a truth that should always be in the mind of those involved in the matter.

Extremism must not be confused with extremist tendencies of some individual Muslims.

Muslim conservatives have the right to their beliefs and to practice their rituals as they deem appropriate. This is their right, as it is the case in all religions. However, this turns into extremism when they try to impose their views on everyone.

The most dangerous form of extremism is the mobile kind. It is usually based on exploiting religious activities that initially had no political purpose in the past, such as education, media, charity and collecting funds, and expanding operations to include students, women and foreigners.

These organized operations travelled to poor and regions and developed countries all over the world where they exploit wars, famine and injustice against some Muslims to plant seeds of extremism. Those seeds remain for a long time and eventually become a local culture.

If you can imagine this, then you can understand how extremism began and how terrorism emerged. You will also realize that combatting extremism is more important than fighting terrorism.

Sudairi’s statement at the conference in Cairo and his calls for the reestablishment of the religious discourse are at the core of this crisis. His suggestions should be the conference’s plan of action and agenda that require collective efforts to be achieved.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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This Is A Great Article About Czech WW-2 History Filled With Excellent Information

 

(THIS ARTICLE IS ONE THAT I FOUND AT ‘RADIO PRAHA’ (PRAGUE)

MINES, SAND AND HEAT – CZECHS DEFENDING TOBRUK

This week the world war veteran and former Radio Prague chief editor Bedřich Utitz died. In the fight against Hitlerdeutschland was Utitz among other things in Tobruk deployed. The defense of this desert fortress in western Libya against the Afrikakorps of Erwin Rommel plays an important role in Czech historiography. There, an infantry brigade with soldiers from Czechoslovakia was deployed for the first time in World War II. In the following more about these soladts and the battle for Tobruk.

Jindřich Marek (Photo: Prokop Havel, Archives of Czech Rundfunk)spring 1941. The Italians and Germans are always trying to take Tobruk. It is the Italians themselves, who built the fortress with several defenses.Almost eight months, the Allies successfully defy the attacks. But why is this Tobruk so important in the Second World War? Jindřich Marek is a journalist and historian:

“It was important because the Germans wanted to penetrate to the Suez Canal and then to the oil in Iraq, Azerbaijan and other places. Erwin Rommel, the commander of the German and Italian armed forces in North Africa, quickly reached Suez, but the division in Tobruk was stuck in his throat. The port was important for the supply of the troops. That the Allies could defend the fortress caused him great problems. And so it became an important battlefield from a neighboring site. “

Tobruk (Photo: Public Domain) Tobruk (Photo: Public Domain)Tobruk is at this time the only deep sea port between Tripoli and Alexandria. As a colonial power, Italy built a protective belt around the city before the war. It is long, 50 km long, with shelters, trenches and machine-gun positions. In September 1940, Italy began an attack on Egypt under British protection. But the ending for the troops of Mussolini ends with a disaster. The Allies can drive the Italians far back to Libya and occupy, among others, Tobruk. Then the British army got into a dilemma at the beginning of 1941, because it wants to help the Greeks fight the Italians.

“There were two variants: either to continue the offensive in North Africa or to withdraw some of the Australian and New Zealand troops to Greece. It was then probably a mistake that the forces in North Africa were weakened. For the British had no success in Greece, and not in North Africa, “ says historian Marek.

Erwin Rommel (Photo: Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-785-0287-08 / CC-BY-SA 3.0)It is Erwin Rommel, who makes a kind of Blitzkrieg in the desert. The German propaganda celebrates the advance, but Tobruk simply does not want to fall. As this fortress becomes more and more important, the British form volunteers from other countries. Thus also Hitler’s opponents from the German-occupied “Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia” as well as Slovakia.

From icy Russia to the desert

The Czechs and Slovaks arrive on Haifa in today’s Israel, where the unity is to come. Jan Perl, as a 16-year-old youth, fled to Poland and fought there against the Wehrmacht, but was then captured by the Red Army. At the time, there is the German-Soviet non-aggression pact. Perl is lucky that he does not come to a camp in Siberia. Instead, in 1941 he was given the opportunity to join the Czechoslovakian brigade in the Middle East. The journey takes the train to the Black Sea port of Odessa. Then by ship to Istanbul and to the south of Turkey. A few years ago, Jan Perl described his story in the Czech Republic’s domestic broadcasts:

Jan Perl (Photo: Archivpost bellum)“I remember that we waited in the port of Mersin for other Czechs and Slovaks from Russia. But I do not know how many we were ultimately when we were shipped to Haifa. There we joined the eighth British army of Marshal Montgomery and received uniforms. It was unbelievably hot, because the desert wind Chamsin drove temperatures to 50 degrees. When we started off in Russia, the thermometer showed minus 30 degrees. It was exactly May 1, 1941. A few days later, we were sent to the army of Colonel Klapálek to Alexandria in Egypt. There we were to guard a British camp with German war prisoners. “

The Czechoslovakian brigade is colorful. The core is formed by soldiers who want to fight in France. Added to this are other refugees from the Protectorate, including many Jews whose goal is Palestine. And to the end, as Jan Perl, the participants of the unsuccessful struggle in Poland, which are freed from the Soviet internment, are. Most of them need an educated military training. They get it in Alexandria. Stanislav Hnělička, who died in November, also remembered his commitment to North Africa some time ago:

Stanislav Hnělička (Photo: Barbora Němcová) Stanislav Hnělička (Photo: Barbora Němcová)“The training period was very hard. We were given every second night to guard Italian and German war prisoners. So one day so training, the second we had free. But from the evening we had to push guard. We did not get out of the camp at all. “

Parts of the Czechoslovakian Brigade are then deployed for the first time in Syria and Lebanon. In October 1941 the allies of Hitler were defeated there. And so Klapálek’s troops are shipped from Alexandria to Tobruk. Historian Jindřich Marek:

“On October 21, the bulk of the brigade was brought to Tobruk on two torpedobots.There were 634 men who went ashore at night. “

On gum ishes through the minefields

Tobruk is surrounded by four Italian divisions and a German one. The Czechs and Slovaks are grouped together with a Polish unit. In the siege situation, security is first and foremost pushed. In the night, they always fail to the enemy line. One of them is Ladislav Snídal, then 26 years old. He died already in 2001, but an interview with him is in the archive of the Rundfunks:

Czech troop at Tobruk (Photo: Public Domain) Czech troops at Tobruk (Photo: Public Domain) “Five or six soldiers were selected and specially equipped for exploring. They got shoes with rubber soles and a jute cover for the helmet. The equipment had to be lashed, so that no sound could be heard. As weapons, one had a Tommy Gun, the forerunner of the machine gun, and grenades. The commander also had a pistol. So we sneaked away. We had to go through several mining fields. And then we simply overheard the enemy to get our information. “

The German propaganda designates the defenders of Tobruk contemptuously as “Desert Rats”, that is, Wüstenratten. They turn the tables and make their mark. In contrast to the actual wizards, however, they suffer from the permanent lack of water. This is rationed to one liter per day and man:

Tobruk (Photo: Public Domain) Tobruk (Photo: Public Domain) “Many soldiers had skin diseases because they could not wash. We got scurvy because we did not have enough fresh to eat. And there were also mental illnesses. Some had problems to be separated from the family as long as they had not seen their home. And there was the burden of staying in the bunkers or on the front line, where you could enter a mine at any moment. “

For the Czechs and the Slovaks, the situation is still a burden for another reason: their states are not official war soldiers.

“It was clear to us that in the event of a defeat there would not have been a war for us. This was different for the Poles in unit. We also had fear about our relatives. We swore, therefore, that we should never be taken prisoner. We did not know how we had managed this in an emergency. But that was the decision “ , says Stanislav Hnělička.

Tobruk is finally free

Karel Klapálek (Photo: ČT24) Karel Klapálek (Photo: ČT24) But fortunately it does not happen. On November 21, 1941, it was possible to break the siege ring for the first time. A few days later, a corridor to the British troops was built in Egypt. At the beginning of December Rommel withdrew his troops, and Tobruk is free – after 230 days of siege. The 11th Czechoslovak infantry brigade is still on the ground until April 1942 and is attacked several times. But the war has not yet come to an end. The Klápalek brigade is trained for air defense and again in Tobruk in 1943.

In May of the year, Rommel’s troops surrender, and the Czechoslovakian unit is shipped to Great Britain. There, Klapálek and his people are honored with high military orders, but the brigade is dissolved. As a result, the soldiers are fighting against Hitler at different warships.

After the war they were also honored in the liberated Czechoslovakia. But when the Communists took over the power, the propaganda of the heroes quickly made alleged collaborators with the class enemy. Many of them go to jail. The full rehabilitation takes place only after the political turn of 1989.

Colossal 3,000-year-old statue unearthed from Cairo pit

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Colossal 3,000-year-old statue unearthed from Cairo pit

(CNN)A team of archaeologists has discovered a giant 3,000-year-old statue thought to depict Ramses II, in what the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities is describing as “one of [its] most important archaeological discoveries.”

Archaeologists from Egypt and Germany began removing the quartzite statue — estimated to stand 30 feet tall — from the ground in Matariya, greater Cairo, in front of state representatives and media crews Thursday.
The find comes at the end of a dig that began in 2012, says Dietrich Raue from the University of Leipzig, who heads the German team of archaeologists involved in the excavation.
“It was in an area that was almost completely investigated,” he explains. The team had found basalt bases in the dilapidated courtyard, but nothing more substantial. “We thought [the pit] would be empty without any features… so that was a great surprise.”
Minister of Antiquities Khaled al-Anani, who was on site for the unveiling, said the figure is most likely Pharaoh Ramses II, otherwise known as Ozymandias.
No inscriptions on the statue identify it as Ramses II, said Mahmoud Afifi, head of Ancient Egyptian antiquities at the ministry, but its discovery near the gate of a temple dedicated to Ramses II temple makes him the most likely subject. But Raue says although the statue was certainly placed there by Ramses II, the jury is still out on who it depicts.
Much of the temple complex of ancient Heliopolis, where the statue was found, was destroyed in the Greco-Roman period, and antiquities were plundered and sent to Alexandria or Europe. Other building materials were recycled as Cairo reinvented itself in later eras.

A worker stands with part of the quartzite head, removed Thursday.

Ramses II, a colossus known as the “Great Ancestor” to his descendants, ruled for 66 years from 1279 to 1213 BC as part of Ancient Egypt’s 19th dynasty. He conquered swathes of Nubia in modern-day Sudan and Syria.
His exploits have echoed down the ages, inspiring British poet Percy Bysshe Shelley to pen sonnet “Ozymandias” three millennia later in 1818:
“Round the decay / Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare / The lone and level sands stretch far away,” Shelley wrote, imagining a Ramses II statue in ruins. But rather than endless desert and the Valley of the Kings, this Ozymandias was retrieved from a pit swamped with groundwater.

Achaeologists drain the groundwater seeping in to the dig in Matariya, Cairo.

The ministry has come under fire on social media and from some news outlets for using a forklift truck to extract part of the statue from the site.
Afifi responded by saying the sheer weight of the head was a factor, with Raue confirming the statue had not been damaged in the process.
Archaeologists are still working out how to remove the even larger torso portion of the statue, the ministry adds.
The dig has also uncovered a 31-inch section of a life-sized limestone statue of Ramses II’s grandson Seti II. The dig is continuing, and experts hope to uncover more of the Ozymandias statue for restoration.
“I’m rather sure that [the hips and legs] will be there,” Raue says, “but the problem is we’re in the middle of the city, and the bottom part may be very close to the houses. It would be dangerous to excavate closer to the houses, so probably we will not get the bottom part.”
Raue told CNN he doubts a full reconstruction of the face will be possible, though he said fragments of the eyes, crown and lips have been retrieved.
The head and torso will be moved to the Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza, which is due to open in 2018.

On 3-3-17 I Reblogged An Article With Serious Misquotes Of Bishop Angaelos Of The Coptic Orthodox Church Of The U.K.

 

Earlier today I received an email letting me know that one of the articles that I reblogged from one of my readers was filled with mistakes.  I always try to only print articles that are totally the truth and in the four plus years that I have been managing this website this is the first time that I have been informed that something that I reblogged for someone was needed to be deleted because it was filled with errors. I appreciate it very much that a lady from the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom informed me of the errors. Per her request I have permanently deleted that article from this site and I ask that anyone who may have reblogged the article to go into your files and do the same. The correct quote from Bishop Angaelos from a speech of his from this past February 28th of 2017 I am copy pasting below. The young lady from the Bishop’s office was kind enough to email it to me. If you would, please take a moment to read the correct article below.

 

Comment by His Grace Bishop Angaelos,
General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom,
on the recent spate of attacks against Coptic Christians in Egypt,
including the recent attacks in Al-Arish, Sinai

28 February 2017

I have now drafted and redrafted this statement numerous times over the past weeks, wanting to say something about the deadly attacks experienced by Coptic Christians in Egypt on a daily basis, yet every time I do, there seems to be a new and often more horrifying attack that needs to be addressed. In the past three months alone forty Coptic Christians have been murdered in targeted attacks in Egypt. From the terrorist bombing on St Peter’s Coptic Church in Cairo that claimed the lives of twenty nine mainly women and children, to the murders of individuals across the country since, the one common denominator is that these innocent children, women and men have had their lives brutally and tragically ended for no other reason except that they are Christians.

Incitement by terrorist groups that calls for the killing of Christians in Egypt has spiralled over the past weeks to the extent that lists of churches and individuals have now been released as desirable targets.

While persecution is nothing new for the Coptic community, this escalation of attacks over the past months, culminating in the most recent murders of seven Christians in Al-Arish, has resulted in the displacement of hundreds forced to leave their generations-old homes in North Sinai.

These horrific attacks have gone largely unnoticed by the international community, but Copts continue to suffer tragic violations daily. The attacks against them are anti-Christian and religiously-motivated, demonstrated in many cases by the circulation of flyers within villages urging Christians to ‘leave or die’. Similar events have tragically occurred far too often over the past years, and there is unfortunately little deterrent to prevent them from reoccurring.

In our fast moving world that is filled with so much news of tragedy, war and death, it is all too easy for atrocities to become ‘incidents’, and for individuals suffering them to become mere statistics, very quickly pushed aside by the next item of news. In the eyes of the perpetrators they are a viable target, and in the eyes of the world they become a regrettable phenomenon; yet what is actually left behind is traumatised individuals, families and communities that have lost loved ones, living the reality of themselves being targeted.

While Coptic Christians have been particularly targeted they have always remained peaceful and opted for non-retaliation. Exceeding this already admirable stance, they have even proceeded to forgive their perpetrators. After the destruction of over 100 places of Christian ministry and worship in August of 2013, the bombing of various churches across the country in the last decade, and the targeted killing of clergy, families, women and children, purely for their Faith, the community and individuals within it remain non-violent and resilient. Despite their being condemnation of these attacks by national government and authorities, there is yet to be a consistent robust and fair implementation of these same sentiments more regionally and locally.

In communicating over the past weeks with various brothers and sisters in Egypt, what becomes immediately apparent is that this community that continues to witness its Faith with integrity and strength despite the hurdles it faces, desires to live with dignity in its indigenous homeland.

It must also be mentioned that Coptic Christians are not alone in facing these attacks, as scores of Egyptian civilians, soldiers and police officers have lost their lives as a result of this wave of terrorist activity.

We pray for those suffering terrorism and violence, for God to grant them peace and reassurance that they are not forgotten by Him or by all those who not only witness their plight but strive to advocate for them. We also pray for those in positions of authority and influence that they may be advocates for all those entrusted into their care. Finally, and not of least importance we pray for those who perpetrate these crimes, that they once again become conscious of the true value of every life that appears to be dispensable in their eyes.

Ends

 

View this comment and other statements/releases via www.CopticMediaUK.com

 

Follow HG Bishop Angaelos on Twitter @BishopAngaelos

 

ARAB NATIONS FACE STARK CHOICE: ISRAEL OR IRAN

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NEWSWEEK)

ARAB NATIONS FACE STARK CHOICE: ISRAEL OR IRAN

This article first appeared on the Atlantic Council site.

Two very different dialogue proposals are on the table for the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, one from a historic enemy, Israel, proposed in conjunction with a crucial partner, the United States. The other is from a historic rival, Iran, which shares the same neighborhood and faith.

The choice the Arab countries ultimately make could determine the future peace and prosperity of the region.

On February 15, President Donald Trump met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House and during a press conference, both leaders hinted at an approaching Arab-Israeli cooperation.

A few days later, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reiterated Iran’s previously proposed regional platform for dialogue between the Islamic Republic and its Persian Gulf neighbors during a speech at the Munich Security Conference.

The U.S.-Israel proposal encompasses almost all Arab States, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, as well as Egypt, Jordan and possibly Lebanon and Tunisia.

This proposal’s principal objective is a wider Arab-Israeli peace agreement and an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However, the key selling point behind this initiative is mutual concerns regarding Iran, and the proposal has a goal to present a unified front against the Islamic Republic.

Netanyahu stated during the press conference that “for the first time in my lifetime, and for the first time in the life of my country, Arab countries in the region do not see Israel as an enemy, but, increasingly, as an ally.” He further stated that “the great opportunity for peace comes from a regional approach involving our newfound Arab partners in the pursuit of a broader peace with the Palestinians.”

Related: Michael Dorf: Trump’s Deal-Making Skills Won’t Help Israel

While there has been no official confirmation of back channel talks between Israel and the UAE, Saudi Arabia and other Arab states, Trump and Netanyahu’s statements indicate that previous reports alleging secret direct interactions between high-level Israeli and GCC officials have indeed taken place in the past six years if not longer.

The perception left by the Barack Obama administration, that the United States is leaving the region and that an increasingly emboldened Iran is exerting power across the Middle East after the implementation of the 2015 nuclear agreement, has revived longstanding hostilities between Arabs and Persians, and presented an opening to realize mutual interests and foster cooperation between Arabs and Israelis.

Israel has long seen Iran as its major adversary because of Iran’s support for Hamas and Hezbollah as well as Iran’s ballistic missile program and nuclear advances.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia along with its GCC partners were alarmed when Iran took advantage of the US invasion of Iraq to become influential in Baghdad. The GCC states also grew intolerant of Iran’s perceived links to the uprisings in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province as well as Iran’s support for the regime of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad and for the Houthis in Yemen.

03_03_Iran_Israel_01Deputy Crown Prince, Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Muhammad bin Salman Al Saud of Saudi arrive at the Hangzhou Exhibition Center to participate in the G20 Summit on September 4, 2016, in Hangzhou, China. Mehran Haghirian writes that if the United States goes forward with plans to move the U.S. Embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, or gives a carte blanche for further Israeli settlements in the West Bank, while abandoning the goal of a two-state solution, there will be no domestic support for Arab rapprochement with Israel.ETIENNE OLIVEAU/GETTY

At the Munich conference, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman quoted without naming him an old remark by U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis that “in the Middle East we are facing three challenges: Iran, Iran and Iran…and I can only repeat and confirm this approach.” Lieberman reiterated that Israel would continue efforts to hinder the Islamic Republic’s reintegration into the international community in the aftermath of the nuclear agreement.

Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir also reaffirmed his country’s objections to Iranian actions across the region. “The Iranians do not believe in the principle of good neighborliness or non-interference in the affairs of others,” Jubeir told the Munich conference. “This is manifested in their interference in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan.”

While the prospect for Iran-Saudi détente looks dim at present, it is crucial to remember that the future of Palestine is an issue that not only unites Iran and the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, but all people in the Muslim world. The outlook for the US-Israeli proposal to solve the Palestinian issue is unclear and most likely not possible to be implemented.

If the United States goes forward with plans to move the US Embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, or gives a carte blanche for further Israeli settlements in the West Bank, while abandoning the goal of a two-state solution, there will be no domestic support for Arab rapprochement with Israel.

Countering the US-Israeli proposal, Zarif reiterated the Islamic Republic’s proposition for creation of a regional platform for dialogue between Iran and its Persian Gulf neighbors, or as he called them “brothers.”

“Countries in the Persian Gulf region need to surmount the current state of division and tension and instead move in the direction erecting realistic regional arrangements,” Zarif told the Munich conference. To implement this proposal, he said it must start with a regional dialogue forum that encompasses the littoral neighbors of the Persian Gulf, and under the framework of shared principles and objectives.

The primary goal of Iran’s proposal is to decrease tensions and increase cooperation between neighbors.

“The forum can promote understanding under a broad spectrum of issues, including confidence and security building measures, and combating terrorism, extremism, and sectarianism,” Zarif said. “It could also encourage practical cooperation in areas ranging from the protection of the environment to join investments and tourism. Such a forum could eventually develop into a more formal non-aggression and security cooperation arrangements.”

This proposal is not new. Zarif put it forward shortly after finalizing the nuclear deal in an article on Al-Monitor titled “Choose your neighbors before your house,” and traveledto Qatar and Kuwait shortly afterward.

More recently, on January 24, the foreign minister of Kuwait met with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani to deliver a letter on behalf of the GCC. While the details of the letter have not been made public, Rouhani followed with state visits to Oman and Kuwait on February 15, coincidentally the same day Trump and Netanyahu held talks.

Oman and Kuwait, which historically have had less troubled relations with Iran than other GCC members, have indicated a desire to take part in the dialogue forum with Iran, and have repeatedly attempted to mediate tensions between the Islamic Republic and Saudi Arabia.

The disagreements between rival powers should not preclude comprehensive and inclusive arrangements that address mutual concerns, and that benefit all participating countries. The Iranian proposal will ensure a sustainable relationship between neighboring states based on mutual respect, and eventually, the cooperation could facilitate an end to the civil wars in Yemen and Syria.

The Israeli proposal might lead to a wider peace agreement between Arab states and Israel. However, it will most definitely exacerbate tensions with Iran and increase the chances of a wider military conflict.

There has been no substantial conflict between the Arab States of the Persian Gulf and Israel in the past decade or more, and while a wider Arab-Israeli peace would undoubtedly have a positive impact in the region, it is contingent on a Palestinian-Israeli agreement.

Meanwhile, the rise in contention between some GCC states and Iran in the past decade has arguably had more dire consequences for the region than the absence of Israeli-Palestinian peace.

Agreeing to sit at the same table with Iran for dialogue based on a mutually acceptable and beneficial outlook will lead to greater peace in the region and beyond. It is crucial for the Arab states of the Persian Gulf to weigh the rewards and consequences of each proposal before going forward with either approach.

Mehran Haghirian is an Iranian Graduate Student at American University’s School of International Service in Washington D.C., and he is currently a Project Assistant at Atlantic Council’s Future of Iran Initiative.

Egypt: ISIS Terrorizes Coptic Christians In Sinai

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI ARABIAN NEWSPAPER ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

Middle East

Egypt: ISIS Terrorizes Coptic Christians in Sinai

ISIS

Cairo- Ismailia Militants taking part in the Egypt-based offshoot of ISIS, located in the Sinai Peninsula, have taken their brutality to the streets of civilian neighborhoods in the city of al Arish, eye witnesses told Asharq Al-Awsat.

ISIS hardliners destroyed monitoring cameras and carried out vandalism against commercial shops, handing down leaflets reading that a local minority of Christian Coptic people will be facing exile soon.

Christian families fled most of Arish areas as violence attacks increasingly targeted the Coptic minority. Neighboring city of Ismailia, west of Arish, welcomed escapees fleeing ISIS brutality.

Over the course of three weeks at least eight Christians were killed in Egyptian city with their homes burnet to the ground, an act that forced dozens to flee the area.

Reuters reporter saw 25 families gathered with their belongings in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia’s Evangelical Church and church officials said 100 families, out of around 160 in North Sinai, were fleeing. More than 200 students studying in Arish, the province’s capital, have also left.

Seven Christians have been killed in Arish between Jan. 30 and Thursday. ISIS, which is waging an insurgency there, claimed responsibility for the killings, five of which were shootings. One man was beheaded and another set on fire.

Sectarian attacks occur often in Egypt but are usually confined to home burning, crop razing, attacks on churches, and forced displacement.

Arish residents said militants circulated death lists online and on the streets, warning Christians to leave or die.

The Coptic Orthodox Church denounced “the recurring terrorist incidents in North Sinai targeting Christian citizens” in a statement on Friday.

Revelation Chapter #11

 

Chapter 11 deals with the time period concerning the closing of the great Tribulation Period. This chapter has a total of 19 verses, the first 14 are speaking to us of the period between the 6th and the 7th Trumpets. The last 5 verses are concerning the sounding of the 7th Trumpet of God. In chapter 10 the Scriptures mentioned 3 Personalities yet to this point in time only one has been spoken of and that was the Angel who held the ‘Little Book’ and stood upon the Earth and the Sea. This Angel was claiming all of creation for the Creator of all things as it is only He (God) who has the right to do so. In these first 14 verses we will discover the other two Personalities spoken of in chapter 10. These other two are the ‘two Witnesses’ that will testify for God and against humans sins here on Earth after they come down from Heaven to Jerusalem. There is a TV program called ‘Sleepy Hollow’ that my wife and I like to watch that is ‘very loosely’ concerning the ‘end of days’ where the two lead actors are the ‘two Witnesses’. I like the show but I do worry a bit that some folks may think the program is actually Scripture based concerning God’s two Witnesses and reality is that the program and the Scriptures have nothing to do with each other.

 

Please bare with me now as we go through these 19 verses, this is a very informative chapter that I believe will help people to understand the truth behind what is going to happen.

“And there was given to me (the Apostle John) a reed like unto a rod: And the Angel (the mighty Angel from chapter 10) stood, saying, rise, and measure the Temple of God and the Altar and them that worship therein.”

“But the Court that is outside the Temple leave out and do not do not measure it. For it is given unto the Gentiles (non-Jews): They (Gentiles) shall tread under foot the Holy City (the New Jerusalem which will come down to Earth from Heaven) for forty-two months.”

“And I (God) will give power to My two Witnesses and they shall prophesy (preach) one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in Sackcloth.”

“These (Witnesses) are the two Olive Trees and the two Candlesticks standing before the God of the Earth.”

“And if any man will hurt them, fire will come forth out of their mouth and devour their enemies. If any man will try to hurt them, he will in this manner be killed.”

“These (2 men) will have the power to shut heaven so that it will not rain in the days of their prophecy. And they will have power over the waters to turn them to blood and to smite the Earth with all plagues, as often as they wish.”

“And when they have finished their testimony, the Beast (Devil) that ascends out of the Bottomless Pit (Hell) shall make war against them (the 2 Witnesses) and shall overcome them and kill them.”

“And their dead bodies shall lay in the street of the great city (Jerusalem), which is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.”

“And the people of all the kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and a half and shall not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves.”

“And they that dwell upon the Earth shall rejoice over them (their dead bodies), and make merry and shall send gifts one to another; because these two Prophets had tormented them that dwell on the Earth.”

“And after three and a half days the Spirit of life from God shall enter into them and they shall stand upon their feet and great fear shall fall upon them that see them.”

“And they shall hear a great voice from Heaven saying unto them (the two Witnesses), come up hither. And they shall ascend up to Heaven in a cloud and their enemies shall see them.”

“And in the same hour there shall be a great earthquake and a tenth part of the city (Jerusalem) shall fall. And in the earthquake seven thousand men shall be slain. And the rest shall be frightened and they shall give glory to the God of Heaven.”

“The second woe is past and behold the third woe shall come quickly.”

“And the seventh Angel sounded (his trumpet) and there were great Voices in Heaven, saying, the Kingdoms of the world have become the Kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever.”

“And the four and twenty Elders which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces and worshiped God.”

“Saying, we give thee thanks, O Lord God almighty, which is and was and are to come. Because You have taken to Thee Thy great power and has reigned.”

“And the Nations were angry and Thy (God’s) wrath is come. And the time of the dead that they should be judged. And that You (God) will give reward unto Your servants the Prophets and to the Saints and to them that fear Thy Name, small and great. And You (God) will destroy them which destroy the Earth.”

“And the Temple of God was opened in Heaven and there shall be seen in His Temple the Ark of His Testament. And there were lightnings and voices and thunderings and an earthquake and great hail.”

 

The Protestant Bible that most of us know as the King James Bible was authorized by King James of England in 1611. There were many books that were considered to be canonized (included) in the Bible that were turned down. Different ‘Christian’ religions like the Catholic Church added some of these other books in what we refer to as the Apocrypha. It is not just the Catholic Church that has chosen to add some ‘uncanonized’ books to their Bibles. This is true of the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Cryptic Christians of Egypt and several others.

 

There are two of these books that I would like to bring to your attention for a moment. These two are called the Book of Enoch (seventh in lineage from Adam) which even Jesus (Yeshua) quoted, and the Book of Nicodemus. These two Books do give us information in regards to these two Witnesses of God. I want you to think about something for a moment please. Jesus Himself was murdered, all of the Apostles except John were murdered, but he did die, just about all of the Old Testament Prophets were murdered, but they all did die. Everyone in human history has died, except for two men. These two men were ‘called up to Heaven’ while they were still alive. These two men were Enoch and then Elijah. I have found no Scripture that says the two Witnesses are these two men so this is only my belief but if I was a betting man (which I am not) I would bet a cold six pack of Pepsi that it is these two men. Think about it for a moment, both of these Witnesses that came down to Earth from Heaven will end up being murdered also, thus completing the cycle of life and death. It is possible that my thoughts on this are incorrect, but I believe there is a huge chance that I am correct. Does it really matter if I am right on this issue? No, not really, it is just input for you to consider if you so choose to.

 

Well friends, that is all for tonight concerning the 11th chapter of Revelation, I hope you enjoyed your read. If you have any questions please leave me a comment and I will get back with you, usually within 24 hours. I hope you are having a good week, stay safe, God’s blessings to you and all of your loved ones, shalom.

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