Current Events

Muslim Holidays in Germany?

Der Spiegel wrote on March 28:

“Germany is home to some 4 million Muslims. With the long Easter weekend around the corner, a leading member of the country’s Muslim community has called for legal recognition of two Muslim holidays, drawing criticism from among Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling conservatives. In 2010 former German President Christian Wulff made the assertion that, ‘Islam belongs in Germany,’ provoking something of a conservative backlash. Now, Germany’s Central Council of Muslims (ZMD) is bringing the topic back into the public eye — and suggesting the introduction of statutory Muslim holidays throughout Germany… These holidays would not be work-free days for all citizens, specified Mazyek, but rather would serve to give Muslims the legal right not to work on these days. He added that Muslims in public services such as police could stand in for colleagues over Christian holidays like Easter.

“The legal recognition of Islam has been a controversial issue in Germany, home to a population of 4 million Muslims which it has been accused of not doing enough to integrate. Public unease with this growing population came to the fore in 2010 when a book by former German central bank board member Thilo Sarrazin, in which he accused Muslims of sponging off welfare and refusing to integrate, was a huge commercial success.

“Wolfgang Bosbach, a prominent member of Merkel’s traditionally Catholic Christian Democratic Union (CDU), told WAZ that he sees ‘far and wide no need’ for the legal recognition of Muslim holidays, adding that Germany has ‘no Muslim tradition.’ The current public holidays — such as the Easter holidays this Friday and Monday — are part of a Christian-Western heritage, Bosbach told the WAZ… Yet in some German states, devotees of Islam already have the right to take time off for religious holidays. Hamburg, for instance, grants this right to Muslims, and last year the city’s mayor, Olaf Scholz, signed a law giving Muslim holidays the same status as non-statutory church holidays. Both Berlin and Baden-Württemberg followed suit, implementing the right to religious holidays for Muslim employees and students.

“Nevertheless, German conservatives have chafed at the idea. Another CDU lawmaker, Patrick Sensburg, called on the country to focus first on ‘defending and strengthening’ the Christian holidays that are already on the books, asking for more shopping restrictions on Sunday and calling the wild parties that take place in Berlin on Good Friday an ‘absurdity.’ Guntram Schneider, a social minister in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia for the center-left Social Democrats, told WAZ that widening the scope for statutory holidays is “‘not economically affordable’…”

These are interesting developments, pertaining to the future relationship between “Christianity” and Islam in Germany, but also in light of German Church of God members’ struggle to get time off from work and school for God’s religious Holy Days, which are commanded in the Bible, but which orthodox Christianity does not observe.

EU Unites on Police Matters and Moves Away from the UK

The EUObserver wrote on March 28:

“The EU police agency in The Hague, Europol, is to see its powers expand and its performance put under stronger oversight under a European Commission proposal set out on Wednesday (27 March).

“The draft regulation would require member states to feed the agency more data and to enhance their co-operation in cross-border crimes and investigations… Meanwhile, the European Police College, Cepol, will be moved from the UK and merged with the Hague-based agency. The commission says the merger would save an estimated €17.2 million over the 2015-2020 period… The commission now wants to turn Europol into a hub for information-sharing and analysis on serious crimes. The reform should include police training, says the Brussels executive.”

This is another step towards the inevitable final revival of the ancient Roman Empire in Europe.

Germany and France Ignore the UK

The EU Observer wrote on April 2:

“UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s attempt to get other member states to participate in a general review of EU laws has suffered an embarrassing rebuff from Paris and Berlin. France and Germany have refused to take part in Cameron’s much-publicised examination of whether some EU powers should be returned to member states, reports the Financial Times. The paper notes that Paris and Berlin consulted with one another on the issue before concluding that the exercise – known as the ‘balance of competences’ – was more to serve Britain’s domestic political interests. Several other member states are also not taking part in the survey, although Italy and Sweden are among those that have answered London’s questionnaire.

“The snub comes even though London sent letters to each of the 26 other EU capitals explaining the objective of the exercise and British diplomats stressed that its approach would be even-handed. The review is the cornerstone of London’s EU policy, as Cameron attempts to have an objective assessment of what in the UK is an emotive political issue – where to draw the line between national and EU powers…

“He wants to use the results to renegotiate the terms of London’s EU membership, something that would eventually form the basis of a referendum in 2017 on whether to remain in the club. However, most other governments have indicated extreme reluctance to re-open the EU treaties and it is unclear whether Cameron has enough political sympathy among his EU partners to engineer a one-off deal for Britain.”

Britain will leave the EU—it is just a matter of time. Note the next article:

Britain’s Grim Milestone

The Daily Mail wrote on April 3:

“Britain’s debt mountain has topped £1.387trillion, and is now the equivalent of 90 per cent of the entire economy. The grim milestone was passed at the end of 2012, new figures from the Office for National Statistics revealed today.

“It lays bare the dire state of the nation’s finances in the wake of the 2007 financial crash, which has seen government debt double in just five years.”

Of course, this sounds still mild compared with the miserable state of the US and the irresponsible rise of its government debt within the last five years.

Cyprus–The Demons in Europe Are Waiting…

Der Spiegel Online wrote on March 25:

“The drama over Cyprus has made clear that the euro-zone crisis is developing into a struggle over German hegemony in Europe. On the surface, Merkel and Schäuble seem to be working to stabilize the economy. In actuality, they’re binding other nations with the shackles of debt. Throughout Cyprus’s financial crisis, German power has been on display… Despite deposit insurance and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s own promises, in the end it’s the common people who suffer? The plan was withdrawn… but the damage is done… Merkel’s idea of European integration is simply that Europe should bend to Germany’s political will… As the Cyprus ordeal intensified, a truth about German politics was revealed: They are characterized by a stubbornness that Germans see as sticking to their principles, but what is in fact nothing more than self-righteousness…

“Under Angela Merkel’s leadership, the Europe of nation states has been revived — a trend against which former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt issued a stark warning. ‘The German Federal Constitutional Court, the Bundesbank and Chancellor Merkel are acting like the center of Europe, to the exasperation of our neighbors,’ he said, and a portion of the public opinion is prone to a ‘national-egotistical view’ of Germany. Schmidt, who lived through all of Nazi Germany and World War II, is not one to use these words lightly…

“Germans haven’t just paid for the crisis, they’ve also profited from it. The savings in interest payments, which Germany have enjoyed since the beginning of the crisis, amounted to €10 billion last year alone. Plus there are the interest payments from debtor nations… As Germans keep cheering on their chancellor, they should mark the words of former Euro Group chief Jean-Claude Juncker: ‘Anyone who believes that the eternal issue of war and peace in Europe has been permanently laid to rest could be making a monumental error. The demons haven’t been banished; they are merely sleeping.’”

Even though Juncker himself  probably does not understand the deep meaning of his own words, the substance is very true: The European demons have not been banished… they are waiting to rise…

Guttenberg: Germany Must Help Israel Against Iran

On April 2, The Wall Street Journal published a co-authored editorial by Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, former German defense minister, now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies:

“As Israel’s new government takes office, chances are that in 2013 the crisis over Iran’s nuclear program will finally come to a head. Tightened international sanctions have crippled Iran’s economy, but Tehran continues to power ahead with its uranium-enrichment efforts….

“Germany bears a special historical and moral responsibility to support Israel against an Iranian threat… Germany is Israel’s closest and most vital ally in Europe. The two countries enjoy exceptionally close defense and intelligence ties. Berlin provided significant funding to help Israel acquire Germany’s advanced ‘Dolphin’ submarines, a critical boost to the Israeli Defense Forces’ deterrence capability. The German government also worked behind the scenes to negotiate the release of former Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit from Hamas captivity.

“What’s missing, however, is a broader debate—both in public and among top German officials—about what Berlin should do if diplomacy fails and Israel is compelled to take military action against the Iranian nuclear threat. Berlin’s opposition to a strike on Iran’s nuclear sites is well-known. In fact, German diplomacy seems careful to avoid creating the impression that Berlin expects or is even preparing for such an outcome. The fear is that this kind of contingency planning might only encourage Israel to pursue a military solution above other options…

“Opinion polls indicate that a majority of Germans view Israel as an ‘aggressive’ country that ‘pursues its interests without consideration for other nations.’ Berlin should… start thinking about how to support Israel in the wake of potential air strikes on Iran. It is better to develop a plan now than to engage in hectic ad-hoc decision making once the crisis has erupted… Berlin shouldn’t underestimate its influence in a region where America’s credibility is strained, to put it mildly…

“Germany risks a further deterioration of public opinion at home even before any crucial decisions have been made. The stakes are high. Germany cannot afford to be on the wrong side of history.”

We should take note of these words by the former German defense minister who many feel might celebrate a political comeback in Germany in the not-too-distant future.

Bill O’Reilly on Same-Sex Marriages

CNN wrote on March 27:

“Bill O’Reilly, the conservative Fox News host, believes same-sex marriage advocates have a more convincing argument than opponents, who do nothing but rehash scripture to make their point. ‘The compelling argument is on the side of homosexuals,’ O’Reilly said Tuesday on Fox. ‘That’s where the compelling argument is. “We’re Americans. We just want to be treated like everybody else.” That’s a compelling argument, and to deny that, you have got to have a very strong argument on the other side. The argument on the other side hasn’t been able to do anything but thump the Bible.’

“O’Reilly has previously stated he takes a libertarian view on the issue, and repeated Tuesday night that it’s a decision that should be left up to the states. ‘I support civil unions. I always have. The gay marriage thing, I don’t feel that strongly about it one way or another.’”

Even though Bill O’Reilly’s unbiblical stance may surprise some, it really should not. As a Catholic and Fox moderator, we should realize that Fox employs several openly gay and lesbian moderators, and the Catholic Church has had their own history of homosexual priests. Bill O’Reilly is a show man—as are other moderators on CNN, MSNBC etc.,–who tries to capitalize on public opinion. The Bible is not being consulted, let alone quoted with approval.

On the other hand, note this interesting report from Newsmax, dated March 20:

“Mike Huckabee warns that Republicans risk losing the vote from evangelical Christians if they back away from their opposition to gay marriage. Last week, Ohio Sen. Bob Portman announced he has reversed his position and now supports gay marriage… [Huckabee said:] ‘And it’s not because there’s an anti-homosexual mood, and nobody’s homophobic that I know of, but many of us, and I consider myself included, base our standards not on the latest Washington Post poll, but on an objective standard, not a subjective standard.’”

President Obama’s Visit in the Middle East

Israel National News reported on March 24:

“Arabs in Bethlehem started demonstrating early against the President, on Monday, two days before his arrival. They threw shoes and garbage at an American ‘advance’ team that had entered Bethlehem to prepare sites and confirm security. Demonstrators defaced and destroyed Obama posters. Over 1,000 journalists came to Israel to cover the visit. The President’s entourage brought another 600. Still on Wednesday, the official Palestinian Authority news outlet published an editorial blaming America for the 9/11 attacks on New York’s World Trade Center.

“Jewish residents of Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter complained bitterly that security arrangements for President Obama were putting them into a ‘siege’ situation. Food, which is delivered daily, would now be hard to find. Residents were told that there would be no deliveries into the Quarter for any items for the rest of the week, Wednesday through Friday. Passover preparations were going to be severely disrupted. Shabbat preparations would be nearly impossible to complete. Residents were not amused.

“Former POW captive Gilad Shalit wrote a publicized letter to President Obama calling for the release of Jonathan Pollard, whose stay in a US prison was approaching 10,000 days. Wednesday was the big day–the President landed at Ben Gurion Airport—and got stuck. The limousine brought to transport him would not start. Someone had filled the gas tank with the wrong fuel, putting diesel in instead of gas (or the other way around; reports weren’t clear). When Mr Obama shook hands with Israeli officials upon his arrival, two Members of Knesset spoke to him, asking that he free Jonathan Pollard. He was reported to have replied to one of them saying, ‘nice to meet you.’

“That afternoon, a community in Judea announced that a neighbourhood would be named after Jonathan Pollard. The women of the Rachel’s Tomb Foundation wrote a letter to Mr Obama asking him to release Jonathan Pollard. As the President’s motorcade entered Jerusalem, signs captioned, ‘Welcome Mr President. Please Free Jonathan Pollard’ lined a portion of his route.’ Israel President Shimon Peres asked President Obama to pardon Jonathan Pollard. On Thursday, prominent Rabbis marched in Jerusalem with the intent to ask President Obama to pardon Jonathan Pollard in time for Passover.

“On Thursday, Arabs in Gaza fired rockets into Israel. Arabs in Ramallah protested Obama’s arrival there to meet with Mahmoud Abbas. The demonstrations were kept several blocks from the meeting place. The Palestinian Authority announced that it would impose a ‘curfew’ in Ramallah for the President’s visit. Also Thursday, Arab lawyers announced that they would file a request with the Palestinian Authority prosecutor-general demanding that the US President be arrested during his stay in Ramallah because of the US army’s responsibility for the death of a Palestinian journalist in Iraq, in 2003, some five years before Mr Obama became US President.

“An Arab speaker told a crowd of protesters gathered in Ramallah that, ‘the US and Obama were the number one enemy of Islam and Muslims.’ In Gaza, protesters set fire to US and Israeli flags. Signs at the protest called Obama the ‘Hitler of the 21st Century’. In Iran, the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei chose this day to announce that the Islamic Republic of Iran would destroy Tel Aviv and Haifa if Israel attacked it.

“…On Thursday’s speeches in Ramallah and Jerusalem, Obama said that Jewish settlements in Judea-Samaria were an obstacle to peace; the only way Israel can thrive as a Jewish democracy was to recognize ‘the state of Palestine’; Palestine deserves to be a state; peace is possible; Israel can negotiate with people who are dedicated to its destruction; Mahmoud Abbas is a partner for peace…

“On Friday, Mr Obama went to Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Memorial. There, he said that Israel exists to make sure the Holocaust does not happen again. He was then scheduled to fly by US helicopter to Bethlehem while others in his entourage would motorcade through the ‘sterile’ Highway 60. But an intense sandstorm had arrived and had blotted out heaven and earth. The Presidential helicopter was grounded… Friday’s plan to hold a departing ceremony at Ben Gurion Airport was also cancelled: the sandstorm was too strong. Then the media tent at the Airport collapsed from high winds.

“In Bethlehem, just meters away from the Church that Mr Obama was scheduled to visit, a Muslim cleric declared that ‘the US is Satan and Obama is its head.’ Crowd control just before Obama arrived began to ‘get ugly’… So it is that, as a Biblical-like sandstorm blotted out reality, US President Barack Obama left Israel Friday afternoon. Now, we turn to our Jewish Passover, which begins in a few hours. Perhaps, as we celebrate our First Redemption and think about the ten plagues of ancient Egypt, we can also discuss the question, was Friday’s blinding sand-storm a Divine message–or reaction–to Mr. Obama?”

The last sentence poses an interesting question.

US Now Less Popular in Middle East Than Under Bush

USA Today added on March 20:

“U.S is now less popular in the region than at the end of the George W. Bush administration… The Arab Spring, which once raised hopes of freedom and dignity, has diverged onto the dark path of Islamist authoritarian rule. In Syria, tens of thousands of people have died in a bitter civil war that might have recently seen its first use of chemical weapons. And Iran continues its march toward nuclear weapons capability, heedless of international condemnation. Obama’s effort to seek peace between Palestinians and Israelis is in tatters.

“According to the latest survey by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project, confidence in Obama in Muslim countries dropped from 33% to 24% in his first term. Approval of Obama’s policies declined even further, from 34% to 15%. And support for the United States in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Pakistan is lower today than it was in 2008 in the closing year of George W. Bush’s administration… A poll released last week showed he had a scant 10% approval rating in Israel, with an additional 32% saying they respect but don’t like him… If Israelis don’t like Obama, Palestinians are even less favorable…”

Peace in the Middle East? Too Late for That!

The Telegraph wrote in March 21:

“If Barack Obama was under any illusions about the massive challenge he faces trying to re-engage in the Middle East, he had a rude awakening the moment he arrived in Israel on his first visit to the Jewish state as US president… as he conceded at the start of his current visit, he ‘screwed up’. Far from persuading the Muslim world to adopt a more friendly approach towards America, all that has happened since the Cairo speech in June 2009 is that anti-American hostility in the Muslim world has deepened…After four years of neglect, Mr Obama may find his attempt to reconnect with the region is a case of too little, too late.’”

World Net Daily added on April 1:

“The ‘American empire’ will fall this year, the head of Iran’s Basij forces claimed Sunday, a message that was approved by the Islamic regime’s supreme leader. ‘America should not think that with some diplomatic dialogue it can solve its dossier (problem) with the nation of Iran,’ Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naghdi said. ‘The path of this land is directed by the martyrs…’… Naghdi called President Obama’s actions deceitful…”

Jordan’s Temple Mount Role…

The Jerusalem Post wrote on April 2:

“Amid Palestinian Authority- Jordanian cooperation and reports that PA President Mahmoud Abbas and King Abdullah have considered establishing a Palestinian-Jordanian confederation, the two leaders signed an agreement Sunday to defend Jerusalem and its holy sites.

“The agreement, signed in Amman, reaffirms Jordan’s historic role as custodian of the holy sites in Jerusalem.

“Abbas told reporters that the agreement had nothing to do either with efforts to restart Palestinian-Israeli negotiations or US President Barack Obama’s recent visit to the region.

“Obama went to Jordan after visiting Israel, and US Secretary of State John Kerry, who accompanied Obama on his trip, returned to Israel after meetings there for four hours of meetings with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and top Israeli officials.

“The PA and Jordan said that the agreement was aimed at foiling Israeli attempts to ‘Judaize’ Jerusalem and its holy sites, particularly Al-Aksa Mosque. The agreement states that King Abdullah enjoys the ‘full right to exert all legal efforts to safeguard and preserve Jerusalem’s holy sites.’

“It also ‘reaffirms the historic principles upon which Jordan and Palestine are in agreement as regards Jerusalem and their common goal of defending Jerusalem together, especially at such a critical time, when the city is facing dramatic challenges and daily illegal changes to its authenticity and original identity.’

“As the custodian of the Jerusalem holy sites, the agreement says, King Abdullah will affirm that all Muslims may travel to and from the Islamic holy sites and worship there. He will also oversee and manage the institution of the Wakf in Jerusalem and its properties in accordance with the laws of Jordan.

“PA Minister of Wakf and Religious Affairs Mahmoud Habbash said that the agreement stresses the historical role played by Jordan in protecting the holy sites in Jerusalem and Palestinian sovereignty over the city…

“According to the 1994 Israel-Jordan peace treaty, ‘Israel respects the present special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Muslim holy shrines in Jerusalem. When negotiations on the permanent status will take place, Israel will give high priority to the Jordanian historic role in these shrines.’”

For more information about the coming explosive future of the Middle East and surrounding nations, please read our free booklet, “Middle Eastern and African Nations in Bible Prophecy.”

North Korea Threatens USA with Nuclear Strike

Bloomberg reported on April 4:

“North Korea stepped up threats against the U.S., authorizing its military to conduct a potential ‘smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear strike’ while again restricting South Korean access to a joint industrial zone… The North recently transported a missile to its eastern coast… The missile movement and the statement by the North Korean army today marked a further escalation over the regime’s nuclear weapons program and United Nations sanctions against it. The U.S. and South Korea say the rhetoric hasn’t been accompanied by actions consistent with preparations for war.”

AFP added on April 4:

“North Korea dramatically escalated its warlike rhetoric on Thursday, warning that it had authorised plans for nuclear strikes on targets in the United States… Pyongyang’s latest pronouncement came as Washington scrambled to reinforce its Pacific missile defences, preparing to send ground-based interceptors to Guam and dispatching two Aegis class destroyers to the region… Last month, North Korea threatened a ‘pre-emptive’ nuclear strike against the United States, and last week its supreme army command ordered strategic rocket units to combat status.

“But, while Pyongyang has successfully carried out test nuclear detonations, most experts think it is not yet capable of mounting a device on a ballistic missile capable of striking US bases or territory. Mounting tension in the region could however trigger incidents on the tense and heavily militarised border between North and South Korea…

“US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel earlier said Pyongyang represented a ‘real and clear danger’ to the United States and to its allies South Korea and Japan. ‘They have nuclear capacity now, they have missile delivery capacity now,’ Hagel said after a strategy speech at the National Defense University. ‘We take those threats seriously, we have to take those threats seriously…’”

“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars…” (Matthew 24:6).

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