Muslims vs. Muslim civil war may change character of region
Christian leaders in Syria are expressing dismay at the large number of members of their faith who are simply fleeing the region, which now is battered by violence as Muslim jihadists likely linked to al-Qaida try to overthrow the regime of Muslim President Bashar al-Assad.
The bishops say that the emigration stories are a rerun of the situation in Iraq a decade ago when a coalition of forces invaded to remove Saddam Hussein from power and will change the character of the region, just as it did in Iraq.
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — As rescuers broke through to flood-ravaged Colorado towns, they issued a stern warning Saturday to anyone thinking of staying behind: Leave now or be prepared to endure weeks without electricity, running water and basic supplies.
National Guard helicopters and truck convoys carried the admonition into paralyzed canyon communities where thousands of stranded residents were eager to escape the Rocky Mountain foothills. But not everybody was willing to go. Dozens of people in the isolated community of Jamestown wanted to stay to watch over their homes.
Authorities made clear that residents who chose not to leave might not get another chance for a while. Rescuers won’t go back for people who insist on staying, Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle said.
Thousands of villagers fled Sunday after a volcano erupted on Indonesia’s Sumatra island spewing rocks and red-hot ash onto surrounding villages, officials said.
AKARTA – Thousands of villagers fled Sunday after a volcano erupted on Indonesia’s Sumatra island spewing rocks and red-hot ash onto surrounding villages, officials said.
Mount Sinabung in Karo district, North Sumatra province, erupted violently before dawn.
“More than 3,000 people have been evacuated from areas within a three-kilometre (two-mile) radius of the volcano, and they are all safe,” Asren Nasution, the head of North Sumatra disaster agency, told AFP.
Killings top months of kidnappings, attacks by Islamic extremist militants
CAIRO, Egypt (Morning Star News) – Christians in two villages in North Sinai, Egypt have fled for their lives after a priest was gunned down and a Christian businessman was abducted and killed, his decapitated body dumped onto a street.
On Thursday (July 11) the body of Christian businessman Magdy Lamei was found in the town of Sheikh Zuwayed. Suspected members of an unidentified Islamic extremist militant group had kidnapped him on July 6, and he was thought to have been killed on the first day of Ramadan, which in Egypt began on Wednesday (July 10).
At first glance, the abduction seemed to be just another of the kidnappings that have unsettled the area. But Yousef Soubhy, a Coptic Orthodox priest formerly in Rafah, said investigations indicated that wasn’t the case. The suspected militants purposely targeted a Christian leader, he said.
“He was a committed Christian, and he used to serve in the church, and he was active in his prayers and his ministry – he used to open his home for prayers,” Soubhy told Morning Star News. “It was obvious they didn’t kill him for the money.”
CAIRO – Thousands of Egypt’s Coptic Christians are fleeing to Europe, the United States and elsewhere rather than face mounting discrimination at home.
Copts, Egypt’s ancient Christian community, are the country’s largest minority, making up nearly 10 percent of its 85 million people.
But clashes between Christians and Muslims have become more frequent since the ouster of longtime authoritarian ruler Hosni Mubarak in the 2011 uprising – some say due to a breakdown of government security. Many Copts feel Egypt’s Islamist-led government is not doing enough to protect them from religious hate crimes and inflammatory rhetoric – so many are leaving.
“My sister in California wanted a better life for her and her two daughters,” explained Marianne Aziz, a 25-year-old pharmacist. “There was a big fight between us and our Muslim neighbors over our parking place … . They cut my brother-in-law’s face with a knife.”
Public celebration creates nuisance for Brazilian city’s Jewish community, sparking complaints of immodest sights and life under curfew. Religious residents go as far as escaping to resort towns
While the Brazilian Carnival draws hundreds of thousands of tourists every year, in recent years it has been driving away some local residents.
Jewish residents of Rio de Janeiro, one of the main centers of celebration, have been leaving their homes and moving to a nearby resort town so as not to expose their children to immodest sights.
The traditional carnival was held in Brazil this past week, and was quite a nuisance for the 7,000 Orthodox Jews living in the city of Rio de Janeiro. Local residents say that passersby on the street were exposed, against their will, to dancers in revealing clothes which a religious person cannot tolerate.
They add that on certain hours they were forced to prevent their children from going outside, causing many families to live under curfew.
Escaping to Teresópolis
The solution they have found is scheduling their annual vacation for the carnival days, as February is one of the summer months in Brazil. As far as they are concerned, this is the only way to protect their children.
The favored destination is the nearby resort town of Teresópolis, where most members of the local Jewish community escape to.
Jewish families don’t let kids out during carnival (Photo: EPA)
Yishai Bonnie, a Bnei Akiva emissary in Rio de Janeiro, says that many families left for the serene resort town last Friday, before the start of the celebrations, and that many others joined them after Shabbat.
“The Rio Carnival is known to be very extreme,” he explains. “There are drunks on the streets, and it’s a real danger – not to mention the modesty issues.”
He adds that the carnival takes place all over Rio and cannot be avoided.
Fleeing. The Bonnies (Photo: Yishai Bonnie)
“Last year we escaped to Sao Paolo,” says Bonnie, “but this time I traveled with my wife and kids to a nearby town for several days.”
In a conversation from Teresópolis, he reports that most members of his community, “Bar Ilan-Moriah,” which includes some 1,000 Jews, traveled there too and that a kosher restaurant from Rio even opened a branch there.
This year the carnival was held at the beginning of the Jewish month of Adar, and as far as the emissary is concerned, this is an opportunity to highlight the differences between the Jewish and Brazilian celebrations.
“The Jewish people celebrate the real joy, the complete joy ahead of the redemption of Passover, a deeper joy inside one’s soul,” he says. “The Purim costumes and the carnival consumes are the exact opposite of each other.
“On Purim, our joy makes us present gifts to the poor and bring fellowmen closer – compared to the joy of the carnival, which is promiscuous and brutish.”