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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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He came from Algeria seeking a better life, anticipating an escape from poverty, oppression, and hopelessness. In Paris, he found a low-skill job and had children and grandchildren. As French citizens, they had the right to an education and health care. But they grew up in the ghettos that ring France’s major cities, surrounded by families like theirs, literally on the margins of society. Unable to integrate fully, they had few opportunities for economic advancement. Paradise was never gained.
This story has been repeated millions of times in the countries of Western Europe, with immigrants and their families ending up poor and excluded. In the worst-case scenario, they are recruited by extremist groups that seem to offer what they are missing: a sense of belonging, identity, and purpose. After a lifetime of marginalization, participation in a larger cause can seem worth the lies, self-destruction, and even death that inclusion demands.
In the wake of the attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris and the thwarting of another attack in Belgium, Europe needs to take a good look at itself.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Violence * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Politics in General Terrorism * International News & Commentary Africa Algeria Europe France Spain * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Islam * Theology Eschatology Ethics / Moral Theology
The assassination of a French tourist by militants in Algeria has raised the fear of new terrorist attacks in the country. Hervé Gourdel, 55, was beheaded on September 24 by a radical Islamist group, ‘Soldiers of the Caliphate’ linked to Islamic State in Iraq, in the north-eastern region of Kabylie.
Gourdel, who was an experienced hiker, was kidnapped on September 21, along with 5 Algerians, but his companions were released 14 hours later.
His murder has sparked a wave of indignation and anger, notably via social media. It reminds Algeria and the world of the civil war of the 1990s, also known as ‘‘The Black Decade’’ when more than 150,000 people died violently, while thousands of others went missing. This followed the annulment of an election won by an Islamist group, after which the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) sought to gain power, opposed by the Algerian military.
Now, members of the Christian community in Bejaia, one of the main cities in Kabylie, are particularly concerned over the threats posed by militants. "If we consider the fate reserved by IS fighters for Iraqi Christians, there is genuine reason to express concerns over the church in Algeria. That is why we must be vigilant,’’ said Omar, 31, member of a Protestant church in Bejaia.
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Algeria coach Vahid Halilhodzic refused to divulge which of his Muslim players are observing Ramadan ahead of Monday's World Cup last-16 meeting with Germany.
The 30-day dawn-to-dusk fast began on Sunday and Halilhodzic, 61, bristled at a routine question about the subject in his pre-match news conference.
"This is a private matter and when you ask this you lack respect and ethics," said the Bosnian.
"The players will do as they wish and I would like to stop this controversy."
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A Christian family in Algeria has been refused permission to bury their son in the local public cemetery because he was not a Muslim.
“The leaders of the mosque demanded that I would have to follow Islamic burial rites if I was to bury my son in the cemetery,” said the father of 24-year-old Lahlou Naraoui, a University student.
Naraoui’s family, who live in Chemini in the Kabylie region of northern Algeria, said they could not follow the Muslim leaders’ demands and instead chose to bury their son on private land.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General City Government * International News & Commentary Africa Algeria * Religion News & Commentary Inter-Faith Relations Other Faiths Islam Muslim-Christian relations * Theology
Christian de Chergé was a Trappist monk who, with six of his monastic brothers, was killed in Algeria in 1996. The exact circumstances of their deaths remain disputed. They were abducted by a band of radical Islamists, in the midst of a horrendously violent period of civil-religious strife. Only their severed heads were subsequently recovered. To what degree did the Algerian army play a role in their deaths, and with what assistance from French security advisers, wittingly or unwittingly?
Rather, de Chergé gave his life as a reconciling gift thrown into the midst of the hostility and violence associated with antagonistic diversities. His was a witness made quintessentially within our late modern culture of fragmented “globalized” hopelessness....
Christian Salenson’s Christian de Chergé: A Theology of Hope (a translation of the 2009 French original) follows in step with the temper of the times, and takes up the [interest in the] Christian-Muslim... [angle of his thought]. Although this approach has its limitations, the volume, in all of its austere precision and accessibility, is of the highest quality, and deserves to be read as a necessary introduction to de Chergé’s thought. SRead it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Books * International News & Commentary Africa Algeria Europe France * Religion News & Commentary Inter-Faith Relations Other Churches Roman Catholic Other Faiths Islam Muslim-Christian relations * Theology Eschatology
Senior U.S. officials are pressing to mark for the killing or capture of the self-proclaimed mastermind of last month's attack on an Algerian natural-gas facility that claimed the lives of 37 foreign hostages, including three Americans.
Adding the Algerian militant Mokhtar Belmokhtar to a U.S. targeted-killing list would represent a significant U.S. expansion into northwestern Africa, extending the reach of the U.S. program of drone strikes and other lethal counterterrorism operations, which have concentrated on Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan.
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Prime Minister David Cameron has said the international community should use "everything at its disposal" to fight terrorism, on a visit to Algeria.
The recent hostage crisis, in which some 37 foreigners died, was "a reminder that what happens in other countries affects us at home", he said.
He also defended Western intervention in the conflict in neighbouring Mali.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Violence * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Foreign Relations Politics in General Terrorism * International News & Commentary Africa Algeria England / UK
A week of violence in Algeria and Mali has transformed al-Qaeda’s North Africa branch into a cause celebre for militant Islamists around the globe, boosting recruitment and fundraising for the jihadists and spurring fears of further terrorist attacks in the region and beyond.
Even after suffering tactical defeats in both countries in recent days, the movement known as al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb is being lionized in Internet chat rooms and in official statements by extremist groups, some of which are urging reprisal campaigns against Western interests....
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My Lords, I am very grateful for the opportunity to ask a question in this particular context because the plight of Congo is well known, I think, to everyone in this House. The issue of regional cooperation has already been flagged indirectly in what has been said, and one of the questions I should like to ask is to do with what Her Majesty’s Government is doing to foster a broader regional engagement in this – a strategic engagement, involving more than simply the governments of Rwanda and Congo.
And as part of that regional question, I am very concerned about one particular issue - which is a cross-border one in the region - and that is the plight of the indigenous peoples, the indigenous minorities such as the Batwa.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Rowan Williams * Culture-Watch Globalization Poverty Religion & Culture Violence * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary Africa Algeria Republic of Congo England / UK
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