Tuesday, January 27, 2015

What useful purpose does the State of the Union address really serve?



Every January after the new Congressional session has begun, we are treated, or subjected, to a formal statement by the President of the United States in the State of the Union address (SOTU).

It is the only time when all three branches of government gather in a common place, in the House of Representatives chamber, where senators, representatives, Supreme Court justices and cabinet secretaries jointly participate in an event.

Each year, one cabinet secretary is appointed to be at a physically distant, secure, and undisclosed location during the SOTU so that if there was an attack on the Capital during the address killing the president and many of the top officials, someone in the line of succession to the president would survive.

The reason there is a SOTU address is constitutional. Article II, Section 3, Clause 1, states that the President “shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient” in an “Annual Message.”

According to house.gov, through the years the presidential address has gone through a series of changes, both in name and in content. For the first century and a half it was called the “Annual Message,” but in 1947 it became known officially as the State of the Union message/address. Notably, from Thomas Jefferson’s presidency up to Woodrow Wilson’s, the state of the union was a written communication.

In prior incarnations the event “included agency budget requests and general reports on the health of the economy. During the 20th century, Congress required more-specialized reports on these two aspects, separate from the Annual Message.”

Other changes occurred, and with the advent of radio, which first broadcast the SOTU in 1923, then television, which first televised the address in 1965, house.gov tells us that these technologies helped “the State of the Union [evolve] into a forum for the President to speak directly to the American people.”

The new technologies allowed the SOTU to be transformed from a vehicle to inform the Congress of the condition of the nation into something very different. What we have today is a grand spectacle staged for the primary benefit of the person who is the President of the United States and the political party to which he belongs. A theatrical coup of proportions only dreamed of by PR folks that is covered on radio, television and the Internet, the State of the Union Show has devolved into a grandiose occasion for advancing the president’s political ideas; essentially a highly over-promoted campaign speech.

In this forum the president can say whatever he or (someday) she wants to without opposition. There’s no truth-detector, as former President Bill Clinton once complained about talk radio.

After the speech is over, we are treated to the predictable fawning by the president’s fans and carping by his political opponents for days, accompanied by pro and con analysis from pundits, dutifully covered by the national media, ad nauseam.

Now, it is true that since 1966 the opposition party has been given the opportunity to respond, but that is for only several minutes to counter the president’s hour-long speech. This year, the opposition response lasted less than 10 minutes. But if the SOTU message really were a non-political assessment of the state of the union, there would be no need for an opposition response.

The fact that there has been an opposition response for nearly 50 years further underscores the heavily political nature of the address, and the pointlessness of it as a vehicle that imparts important information. It is now merely a political event glorifying the sitting president, who in this setting more resembles a monarch than an elected public servant.

The Heritage Foundation’s James Carafano, writing for The Daily Signal, commented on the content of this year’s SOTU address, and defended the event as a still useful feature of our country’s government. “The State of the Union address shows not just Americans, but the entire world, that America is still an exceptional nation—one that believes in the rule ‘by the people for the people.’”

That is one perspective. A different perspective is that the many hours, security costs and other assets that are utilized to stage this once-important event would be better spent on some productive endeavor.

It is impossible to completely remove political components and policy disagreements from the SOTU, as at least some of what a president says will necessarily have political implications and will not be agreeable to the opposition party. However, there seems lately to have been little if any effort to provide a politically neutral analysis of the national status, but instead the presidents have focused on scoring political points against an effectively disarmed opponent.

Since the usefulness of the SOTU in the functioning of our government has been reduced to nearly nothing, should it be done away with? Perhaps it can again become relevant and useful if we return to having the president communicate to Congress through a written message. Or at the very least, stop broadcasting it, and restore decorum to the event.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Death on Demand: A Physician's role in Assisted Suicide


Death on Demand: a physician’s role in assisted suicide

 

Maryland Board of Physicians recent revocation of a physician’s license for assisting in the suicides of his patients was the correct decision. Physicians are neither trained nor licensed to take life. Death on demand is not the physician’s role in society. Euthanasia has been a controversial subject for decades. Government officials have not had the backbone to generate a regulatory structure to terminate the lives of those suffering extreme illnesses. I watched my own mother die a horrible death from a cancer that literally engulfed her body from inside out in the 1970s. No one brought up the subject of euthanizing her because we all knew it was morally and professionally wrong. Yet the debate on pulling the plug continues from that time forward without a resolution in sight. Self-appointed Kevorkians empower themselves, utilizing creative methodologies, to bring a life to a finite point.  Dr. Lawrence Egbert’s empathetic actions, may have been well intentioned, though inconsistent with his licensed authority and his moral obligation to his patients. Many across the gamut of the health professions have the knowledge to take life but few have acted in any perverse manner in this direction. Regulating authorities are not without compassion for those who have a brief period left on Earth. In Maryland and across the nation euthanasia has been debated to the nth degree moving no closer to a solution than our considerations 40 years ago. http://www.wjla.com/articles/2014/12/maryland-doctor-lawrence-egbert-accused-of-assisting-suicide-loses-license-110188.html

 

The question who lives and who dies received a slight lift from the legislative effort called the Affordable Care Act. Stories emanating from various sources indicate those facing catastrophic illnesses starting in their mid-seventies will not have access to cutting edge therapies. Why? Government entities are refusing to pay for them. A patient with metastatic cancer was recently told by a major university hospital in the region that chemotherapy costs would not be reimbursed because of his age. Death panels no, but cost panels yes. Is the government in a sense directing physicians to withhold therapies making them responsible for the outcomes, it seems so. Taken to a higher degree are physicians being forced to be stewards of death without their consent? Again, it seems so. Society must determine the appropriate circumstances in which one can bring his or her life to an end in the face of a terminal illness. Physicians must not take it upon themselves or be forced to decide when a life should terminate. I realize many have heard these words before. Unfortunately they have not penetrated the minds of some. The debate on a physician’s role in end of life planning should take place in an open forum for all to hear. Under no circumstances should a physician act in the shadows, playing the part of “Death,” no matter how empathetic he or she is with patients in his or her care.

 

Mark Davis MD, President of Davis Writing Services www.daviswritingservices.com platomd@gmail.com

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

More free stuff! Free community college tuition for everyone!

Earlier this month President Barack Obama issued the latest in his series of bad ideas: free community college for all. "No one with drive and discipline should be denied a college education simply because they can't pay for it," Mr. Obama said. "A college degree is the surest ticket to the middle class." While that assertion may or may not be true anymore, many people may be wondering what’s wrong with the free tuition idea.

First, we have to ask if he is really serious? Or, knowing that this idea has little chance of being approved, is he setting the stage for an issue in the 2016 campaign? But, assuming he is serious, here’s some of what is wrong with this idea.

If every state participated, the White House suggests that Mr. Obama’s proposal could help 9 million students and would save full-time enrollees an average of $3,800 a year. However, using the average cost, state and federal governments would have to pick up the tab of $34.2 billion each year. And, of course, these governments will get this money from … guess who: We, the taxpayers. Nothing is free.

Never having had to pay his own way, perhaps Mr. Obama is unaware that students with “drive and discipline” have in the past managed to pay their own way to a community college, a trade school, or to a four-year institution, through part-time or full-time jobs and/or work-study programs. That is a good process that over time has gotten millions of people through school and given them valuable work experience at the same time.

Giving things away is a slippery slope. An article in the Los Angeles Times has already suggested going farther. Michael Hiltzik writes, But the proposal fails to address one glaring flaw in the nation’s overall system of public higher education: It should all be free.” Really? Why? Will this give-away mentality never end? And, furthermore, what exactly gives the president the authority to take care of kids’ college costs?

And, making significant things too easy deprives people of the ability to control their own lives. How will they ever be able to actually think about their life, develop goals, and work to achieve them? How will they become self-sufficient, and make their way in the world? The ease with which one obtains desired things is directly and inversely correlated with the appreciation one has for that which is obtained.

We can see this concept in action in federal support programs for children and unemployed adults, how dependency becomes a way of life.

Paying unwed mothers generous levels of support for themselves and their children has produced single-parent families where the mother is incentivized to have more children, not because she really wants more children, but because having more kids means getting a bigger support check.

People who have lost their job in the ultra-weak Obama recovery not infrequently turn down a new job because they can collect more in extended unemployment support than they can make at the new job. This is a significant influence in pushing the workforce participation rate to its lowest point in decades. “I can make more on unemployment than I can working one of the jobs that are available, so I’ll just drop out, and stop looking for work,” is how tens of thousands look at the situation.

This is not some unsupported theory. In March of 2013 The Huffington Post reported that the “number of days a job vacancy sits unfulfilled has gone up since the depths of the Great Recession in 2009. It currently takes an average of 23 business days for an employer to fill a job opening, compared to 15 days in 2009, according to an analysis of Labor Department data from economists at the University of Chicago and University of Maryland that was cited by The New York Times.”

In November of 2014, a study conducted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) reported that in the U.S. “33% of job vacancies remain open for three months or more. The cost of these unfilled jobs reaches $160 billion each year, a significant cost to the nation as a whole, businesses and individuals.”

Just as providing too much comfort through support for families and the unemployed has produced negative economic and social outcomes, so will giving away tuition to community colleges.

The truth is that Barack Obama and the others who share his poisonous ideals don’t want people to think for themselves or to be self-sufficient. Big government liberals want widespread dependency. They decry and oppose free market features and self-sufficiency at every turn, not because it is better for Americans or for the country at large, but because it suits their narrow, selfish ambitions.

Remember, back in late October of 2008, candidate Barack Obama told us he wanted to fundamentally transform the United States of America.

When those who think government is the answer to all problems, great and small, significantly outnumber those who prefer individual liberty and self-reliance, the country will have taken a step from which it will not be able to retreat. We are very near to that point.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Paris attacks again call attention to the problem of radical Islam


Because they ridiculed the Islamic prophet, 12 employees of the French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo were killed in an organized military-style attack on its office in Paris by three terrorists with military weapons. In another event, a gunman entered a kosher grocery in the city and took several people hostage. In all, 17 innocent persons were murdered in the violence.

The AP reported the following item on January 9 that was not widely published: “Hundreds of bodies – too many to count – remain strewn in the bush in Nigeria from an Islamic extremist attack that Amnesty International suggested Friday is the ‘deadliest massacre’ in the history of Boko Haram.” One official said most of the victims were children, women and the elderly, who were unable to run fast enough to escape the savage attack.

The U.S. is quite familiar with Islamic terrorism, but over the years since September 11, 2001 the level of violence of subsequent episodes of has blessedly not been on the same large scale as the 9-11 attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 innocents. Which is not to say it has been a level that we can, or will, accept.

Radical Islamic terrorism is a subject many prefer not to address. To some, it is like whistling past the graveyard; if we ignore it, maybe it will go away. Still others refuse to confront it for the reality that it is. But Islamic terrorism is a growing problem in our world, perhaps the most serious thing we have to face. Certainly, it is an urgent problem.

Muslim terrorists finally have done something that produced a substantial response. A huge group gathered in Paris to commemorate the victims of last week’s terrorist activity at the hands of Islamic radicals and to show solidarity against terrorism. Reports put the total number of participants between 1.5 million and 3 million. Among those attending were 40 world leaders, among whom were French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Italy's Matteo Renzi, Mariano Rajoy of Spain, Ahmet Davutoglu of Turkey, and Jordan's King Abdullah II and Queen Rania. Notably, both Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas were there.

Conspicuously absent was the leader of the free world, President Barack Obama. Instead of joining the other world leaders who were able to make the trip, Mr. Obama stayed home. Attorney General Eric Holder was in Paris, not for the march, but was meeting with Bernard Cazeneuve, the French Minister of the Interior. U.S. Ambassador to France Jane Hartley did participate in the march. Where were senior cabinet members, like Secretary of State John Kerry, the most senior cabinet officer?

Mr. Obama did find the time to visit the French Embassy in Washington, sign a book of condolences, and speak with diplomats last Thursday, and at a Friday appearance in Knoxville, TN he expressed solidarity with the people of France, and offered assistance.

This behavior is in keeping with Mr. Obama’s proclivity for avoiding any connection to the term “Islamic terrorism,” in either word or deed. While nearly everyone else notes that the terrorists are “radical” Muslims, and that the radical element is only a fraction of the more than 1 billion Muslims wordwide, Mr. Obama refuses to connect these terrorist acts to Islam at all, saying that Islam does not allow such brutality.

It cannot be ignored, however, that those who carry out these savage, cowardly attacks believe themselves to be Muslims, and frequently shout “Allahu Akbar” (God [Allah] is the Greatest) when murdering innocent people, and the terrorists attacking Charlie Hebdo added, “We have avenged the prophet.”

Whatever the basis of Mr. Obama’s reluctance to adequately identify these acts as those of radical Muslims – he called the killing of 13 U.S. military personnel at Ft Hood by a Muslim psychiatrist praising Allah “workplace violence” – Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, himself a Muslim, has no such reluctance.

As reported by CNN, President el-Sisi has called for a "religious revolution," asking Muslim leaders to help in the fight against extremism when addressing the group during the celebration of the birthday of the Prophet Muammad. "I say and repeat, again, that we are in need of a religious revolution. You imams are responsible before Allah. The entire world is waiting on you. The entire world is waiting for your word ... because the Islamic world is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost. And it is being lost by our own hands," he said.

If Islam is a religion of peace, if Islam does not endorse the sort of barbarism demonstrated in these and other terrorist attacks perpetrated by people claiming to be Muslims, then Islam has to take the lead in putting an end to it.

The United States must insure that Muslims are treated like everyone else in the U.S., and not give them special treatment, good or bad. We have to take a much more proactive role in wiping this scourge from the face of the Earth by rooting out the terror cells in America and focusing on the hotbeds of Islamist extremism around the world.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Tragedy hits Paris: was it avoidable


Tragedy hits Paris: was it avoidable

 

Death came to many in Paris, in the last few days, as radical Muslim extremists vented their anger over a satirical portrait of their religious icon. In the aftermath 12 people were murdered at the publication Charlie Hebdo with another dozen wounded. Violence jumped from this site to several other areas including a kosher deli where 4 more people were killed. Numbers of casualties are fluid which may rise as reports are revealed to the public. Three of the 4 terrorists were killed with a female counterpart remaining to be apprehended. Provocation for these horrific acts was rooted in the themes this weekly magazine expressed. Negative characterizations of religious figures were one of its specialties. Media hype around the World, for the most part, sided with the editorial staff at Hedbo believing freedom of speech allows publications to denigrate religions and their leaders. Some have suggested that by portraying the most holy Muslim leader in such a manner violence was automatically invited upon on this magazine. Muslim leaders across the World were slow to condemn this vicious act. High profile Muslim clerics went so far as to praise the attack with a righteousness hard to define by western standards. Consequently President Obama condemned the attack without directly blaming the Muslim community. Many facets of these violent acts have yet to be defined. Atheistic rhetoric demeaning religion was regular fodder fed to Charlie Hedbo’s audience. The media speaks of free speech rights which they believe gives them a license to incense billions with their religious bigotry. The question is: Where do these rights end and propriety of mind begin? Muslim culture in Europe has not merged with the culture of the countries that invited them in. Instead many of them live in enclaves separated from the general population. Hate has not capitulated itself as Middle Easterners  moved across borders. Western thoughts and traditions are an anathema to many from the Middle East. With this clash of cultures it is only a matter of time before other cities in Europe and this country must defend themselves from such assaults. Will we surrender to the Muslim hammer, merge with them or evict this crawling terrorism before it becomes unmanageable? One thing for sure, time is not on our side.

 

Mark Davis MD, President of Davis Writing Services, www.daviswritingservices.com platomd@gmail.com

For media requests please use the email.

Muslim Persecution Of Christians, November 2014



Both in the Islamic world and the Western world, Muslims continued to attack and slaughter Christians.
In Pakistan, "A mob accused of burning alive a Christian couple in an industrial kiln in Pakistan allegedly wrapped a pregnant mother in cotton so she would catch fire more easily, according to family members who witnessed the attack," reported NBC News:
Sajjad Maseeh, 27, and his wife Shama Bibi, 24, were set upon by at least 1,200 people after rumors circulated that they had burned verses from the Quran, family spokesman Javed Maseeh told NBC News via telephone late Thursday. Their legs were also broken so they couldn't run away.
"They picked them up by their arms and legs and held them over the brick furnace until their clothes caught fire," he said. "And then they threw them inside the furnace."
Bibi, a mother of four who was four months pregnant, was wearing an outfit that initially didn't burn, according to Javed Maseeh. The mob removed her from over the kiln and wrapped her up in cotton to make sure the garments would be set alight.
Shama Bibi (left) and Sajjad Maseeh, a Christian couple and parents of four children, were burned to death by a Muslim lynch mob in Pakistan because of a false blasphemy accusation.

Discussing this latest atrocity against Pakistan's Christian minorities, an AFP report states:
Blasphemy is a hugely sensitive issue in the majority Muslim country, with even unproven allegations often prompting mob violence.
Anyone convicted, or even just accused, of insulting Islam, risks a violent and bloody death at the hands of vigilantes.
A Christian woman [Asia Bibi] has been on death row since November 2010 after she was found guilty of making derogatory remarks about the Prophet Mohammed during an argument with a Muslim woman.
An elderly British man with severe mental illness, sentenced to death for blasphemy in Pakistan in January, was shot by a prison guard last month.
Two days after the Christian couple were burned alive, a policeman in Pakistan hacked a man to death for allegedly making blasphemous remarks against Islam.
About the Christian couple, Dr. Nazir S. Bhatti, President of the Pakistan Christian Congress, wrote a letter to U.S. President Obama expressing surprise that the U.S. did not even bother to condemn this crime:
It is surprising that neither US Administration under your honor nor US State Department even bothered to condemn this horrific crime of burning live of Christian couple by a mob living in country named Islamic Republic of Pakistan which is receiving billions of aid of US taxpayers.
I would appeal your honor to put pressure on government of Pakistan to end misuse of blasphemy laws against Christian, Ahamadiyyia and other religious minorities and condition US Aid to Pakistan on human rights and repeal of blasphemy laws.
Meanwhile, in America itself, in Oklahoma, Jimmy Stepney, a Muslim, stabbed Jerome Bullock, a Christian, after Stepney had said that Muslims need to "step up" beheadings. According to Koco5 News:
The [police] report went on to say Stepney had been making comments about beheading people.
"We were watching the news," said Bullock. "He said he felt like more Muslims need to step up to the plate and do certain thing. He was talking about beheading people."
The severity of the plight of Christians in the Middle East was further underscored by Dr. Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom, who wrote:
Russia is currently considering the possibility of initiating a draft decision of the UN Human Rights Council on the protection of Christians in the Middle East and North Africa. Russian experts are now working on this document.[…]
The scale of the problems demands the coordination of international efforts to protect Christians in the Middle East.
Further initiatives, new measures and relevant discussions aimed at finding durable solutions in this regard are strongly needed. Of course, we believe that Europe, including the UK, should make its contribution to these efforts, taking into account the Christian roots of the European civilization, which are now often forgotten for the sake of political correctness.[…]
The fate of the region's religious minorities is of the greatest concern. The mass exodus of Christians, who have been an integral part of the Middle Eastern mosaic for centuries, is particularly troubling.
The rest of November's roundup of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes (but is not limited to) the following accounts, listed by theme and country in alphabetical order, not necessarily according to severity:

Muslim Attacks on Christian Churches
Bangladesh: Two Christian pastors from the Faith Bible Church of God were arrested for preaching the Gospel to Muslims. They could face two years in prison if convicted for "hurting religious sentiments" and luring Muslims to convert by offering them money. The pastors deny both charges. Police arrested the pastors and 41 other people, including Muslims, after a throng of Muslims disrupted a house meeting. According to a witness: "More than 100 Muslims headed by local Jamaat-e-Islami party members and Muslim clerics gathered at the house and started barking questions at the pastors—why did they propagate Christianity in the locality and convert some of them," and who gave them permission to preach to Muslims. "The pastors replied that it did not take any permission from any authority to propagate any religion and convert people to any religion. Suddenly the Muslims became apoplectic with rage, tried to pick a fight and started jabbing the pastors' faces."

Egypt: Father Timothy Shakar, priest of St. Mina Church in Port Said, confirmed that two homemade bombs were planted near the St. Mina Church but caused no injuries, or losses of life or property. Police searched other churches in the region for more bombs.

Germany: Nine men who had earlier broken into, vandalized, and robbed several Christian churches in the Cologne area—including by stealing money from the collection boxes and liturgical vessels—were caught during a massive raid. Apparently, all of the arrested are German by nationality, but Muslim by background and heritage. Some were also identified as "Salafis"—especially fundamentalist Muslims—connected to international terrorist organizations. Some had even raised hundreds of thousands of Euros from native Germans to support overseas "charities," the proceeds of which actually went to terrorist groups such as ISIS.

Iraq: As cries of "Allahu Akbar" emanated from surrounding mosques, Islamic State militants blew up yet another Christian church -- St. George's Church and its associated nunnery in the city of Mosul -- along with other non-Sunni sites. Separately, after breaking the cross from off the dome of the St. Ephrem Church dome (before and after pictures here) and selling its pews and other furnishings, the IS transformed the church into a mosque and council seat for the jihadis.

East Jerusalem: Despite constant and ever bolder attacks on a church, police refuse to respond to pleas for help from the Christian congregation. According to Morning Star News, "The attacks, driven by both intent to seize property and opposition to Christianity, have been mounted by young men with ties to Palestinian militants who for more than three months have been trying to force Living Bread Church from its rented building. Church pastor Karen Dunham and others have filed at least eight police reports about the assaults." The most recent incident took place on November 5, when the gas tank of a car owned by a church volunteer was filled with sugar. On November 2, a car owned by one of the pastor's relatives was stolen. And on October 16, three American Christians were injured while trying to repair a metal security door: A crowd of Palestinian men attacked them with box cutters, sticks, clubs and pepper spray. According to the church's attorney, authorities "have their [the assailants'] pictures, they have their names, they even have their national ID numbers, and still they do nothing.... The level of brute force compared to the level of lack of response of the police force there is pretty shocking.... It almost seems like if someone is going to go in and murder her [Dunham], that no one is going to lift a finger."

Malaysia: Approximately 70 local residents in Petaling Jaya protested the construction of a church. They claimed the growing number of Christian places of worship in the area is part of an attempt to evangelize and convert Muslims to Christianity. An NGO, the local branch of Pertubuhan Sahabat, supported the claims of the Muslims. They argued that there are three churches in the vicinity, although close to 70 percent of the residents in the area are Muslims. According to a spokesman, "Even before the church is built, flyers on Christianity have been distributed to our homes, and this could confuse our children and divert them from the path of Islam." The vacant plot was previously occupied by squatters, a car park and several food stalls. Another local Muslim added "None of our neighbours are Christians, we can vouch for that... it is an insult to Muslims to allow a church to be built here, but none of our representatives seem to have the time to listen to us." One demonstrator hurled large rocks at the temporary steel fence around the vacant plot.
Jihadi Slaughter of Christians
Kenya: Members of neighboring Somalia's Islamic group Al Shabaab—"the Youth"—hijacked a bus carrying 60 passengers in the town of Mandera, near Kenya's border with Somalia. They singled out and massacred 28 non-Muslims, the overwhelming majority of whom were Christian. According to an eyewitness, "When we got down, passengers were separated according to Somali and non-Somalis. The non-Somalis were ordered to read some verses of the holy Koran, and those who failed to read were ordered to lie down. One by one they were shot in the head at point blank range."

Nigeria: On November 10, a suicide bomb attack on a Christian secondary school as students gathered for morning assembly killed at least 47 people. The Islamic group Boko Haram— meaning: "Western education is forbidden"—is believed to be behind the blast. In a separate incident, Christians from the predominantly Christian city of Mubi in Adamawa state were tortured and killed after Boko Haram took control of the town. Churches and homes were torched throughout the city, which was renamed Madinat al-Islam, or "the City of Islam." In yet another separate incident, Boko Haram militants raided the mostly Christian town of Shani. According to a resident speaking to Reuters, "They rode on motorcycles and were more than 30 men. They started throwing bombs into houses... then the Boko Haram fired shots at people fleeing. They set ablaze the police station, houses and a telecom mast... I saw people fleeing, some bodies on the ground." Reuters continues: "The Sunni jihadist movement is fighting to revive a medieval Islamic caliphate in Nigeria's north."

Pakistani Persecution
A few days after the Christian couple, mentioned earlier, was burned alive, a 35-year-old Christian father of five known as "Mithu" was arrested on false charges by police and tortured to death in prison. According to the deceased's brother-in-law: "It was a fake allegation, because the raiding party failed to recover any contraband from Mithu's person and his house... On the morning of Nov. 22, we were informed by Ilyas Gill, a local councilor, that Mithu had died in police custody because of heart failure.... Young Christian men are made scapegoats to show police performance while the real culprits are carrying out their illegal activities right under the police's nose." Morning Star News adds: "Area police routinely round up young, impoverished Christians on false charges of drug peddling and bootlegging, and then force their families to pay heavy bribes in return for their release... family elders had seen signs of torture on the body..."
Christian families in a Punjabi village were forced to flee after a Christian man married a Muslim woman—an act forbidden by Islamic law. According to the Pakistani report, "The Muslims in this village became enraged when this occurred and began threatening them.... When the news of the marriage was learned, the Muslims in Sahiwal attacked Shahab's [the Christian husband's] family as well as other Christian families in the village. The Muslims demanded that Ruksana [the Muslim wife] be returned immediately, according to Sharia which prohibits Muslim women from marrying a man from another religion…. the entire Muslim community was threatening to kill Shahab's father and all of the village's Christians.... The Christians' pleas for help from the local police were all in vain."
And Qaiser Ayub, a 40-year-old professor of Christian background, was arrested and charged with insulting Islam's prophet Muhammad. The computer science professor had been a fugitive avoiding the police since 2011, when he was first accused of having written blasphemous comments on his blog.

Dhimmitude: Generic Contempt and Hostility
Denmark: In an apparent replication of the Islamic world's modus operandi, Muslim refugees in the European nation are persecuting Christian refugees. According to 10news.dk, "Christian asylum seekers are repeatedly exposed to everything from harassment to threats and physical abuse by other refugees in the asylum centers, simply because they have converted from Islam to Christianity." According to Niels Eriksen Nyman, who led the study, "There are certainly many more cases around the country than the ones we hear about in the church. I hate to say it, but I'm afraid that on some of the asylum centers there are some very unhealthy control mechanisms when the staff turns their back... I refuse to support Islamophobia, but we have a serious problem here." Two recent examples: "An eight year old Christian at the Center Sandholm was bullied and beaten by the larger Arab boys on their way to school. Now the boy nolonger [sic] dares to go to school. On the island Bornholm, somebody had tampered with a Christian asylum seeker's bike so that he crashed and broke both hands."

Egypt: The Islamic State called on its followers to take the jihad to Egypt. Abu Mus'ab al-Maqdisi, a leader in the Islamic State, said in a statement titled "Advice to Egypt's Mujahidin" that "It is necessary to take the battle to Cairo, until the Sinai is safeguarded from the apostates [reference to Egyptian government] and becomes a rear base [qaeda] from which to expand the jihad." He also called on the jihadis in Egypt to "target the Copts," the nation's indigenous, Christian minority: "For targeting them, following them, and killing them is one of the main ways to serve the cause of our virtuous male and female hostages of the tyrants."

Iraq: Christian homes in Tel Isqof were looted by Kurds who, after fighting the Islamic State, took control of the area on August 17. According to Agenzia Fides, "The city of Tel Isqof was occupied on August 7 by jihadist militias who already in June had conquered Mosul. Faced with the advancing of jihadists, the civilian population, mainly Christians, had fled to the autonomous Region of Iraqi Kurdistan, leaving the city deserted. Ten days later [on August 17], with a counter-offensive the Kurdish Peshmerga had regained control of the city. But it is precisely since then that [Christian] residents periodically return to the city to check the status of their homes, and acknowledge that the doors of a growing number of homes and businesses have been forced and property looted: money and jewelry, technical equipment and electronic instruments." As in the Islamic State, most Kurds are Sunni Muslims.

Islamic State: IS issued a document breaking down the purchase prices of Christian and Yazidi women being sold as sex-slaves. Apparently these enslaved unfortunates are priced based on age— the youngest being the most expensive. The breakdown is as follows (with USD equivalency in brackets): 40-50 years old: 50,000 dinars [$43]; 30-40 years old: 75,000 dinars [$64]; 20-30 years old: 100,000 dinars [$86]; 10-20 years old: 150,000 dinars [$129]; 9 years old: 200,000 dinars [$172].

Spain: Real Madrid, a professional football (soccer) team, stripped the traditional Christian cross from its club crest as part of a deal with the National Bank of Abu Dhabi. "It is believed the European champions' new crest, minus the Christian cross, was created so as not to offend Muslim sensibilities in the United Arab Emirates, where a marketing drive will take place," wrote the Telegraph. Club president Florentino Perez said, "This agreement will help the club to keep conquering the hearts of followers in the United Arab Emirates."

Syria: As of November, Raqqa, which once had approximately 1,500 Christian families, had only 23 Christian families remaining in it—the others were driven out or killed by the Islamic State. Those few remaining were unable to leave the city for lack of resources or for reasons of age and health. On November 16 they were told that they must pay $535, an exorbitant sum (human sex-slaves are being sold for as little as $43). "In all likelihood Christian families, impoverished by the war, will not be able to pay the tax and will have to leave their homes" or convert to Islam, as many elderly, debilitated Christians unable to flee have already done.

About this Series
While not all, or even most, Muslims are involved, persecution of Christians is expanding. "Muslim Persecution of Christians" was developed to collate some—by no means all—of the instances of persecution that surface each month.

It documents what the mainstream media often fails to report.

It posits that such persecution is not random but systematic, and takes place in all languages, ethnicities and locations.