By Jack Minor
A Christian couple in Norway has lost custody of their five children over charges that sound more akin to that of a Muslim terrorist.
Marius and Ruth Bodnariu moved to Norway, Ruths native country, ten years ago. The couple were previously members of the Philadelphia Pentecostal Church in Bucharest, Romania. During that time the family raised their family “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
Unlike some Christian families, the Bodnariu’s sent their two daughters and two sons to school rather than homeschool. On November 16, a series of events began that is among every parent’s worst nightmare.
The Barnevernet, Norway’s child welfare service agency showed up at the school without warning or notice and removed the two eldest children without their parent’s knowledge. After the children were taken, Barneverent agents along with police arrived at their home and seized two other children, leaving the parents with their sole remaining child, a young three-month old baby.
However, apparently realizing their “mistake” the authorities showed up the next day to take the infant after the family attempted to resolve the issue at a local police station. Then the following day they were told their children were no longer together but were living with two different families.
On a Facebook page to support the family, Marius’ brother Daniel, who is a pastor, explains that the incident seems to have begun when the children’s principal took it upon herself to contact the Barneverent over concerns how the children were being raised, especially when it came to the family’s Christian beliefs.
“The girls told her they are being disciplined at home. [She also said that] the girls are ‘challenging’ in the sense that they talk a lot and do not want to obey the school rules, but are creative and intelligent,” Daniel Bodnariu explained.
“In her message she also said that the parents are faithful Christians, ‘very Christian’ and the grandmother has a strong faith that God punishes sin, which, in her opinion, creates a disability in children,” he said. “The complaint further says that although the girls are distinguished by good results at school and that she does not believe them to be physically abused at home, she believes that the parents need ‘help’ and guidance from the Barnevernet into raising their children.”
On Nov. 30, the family lost an appeal against the removal of their children on charges of “Christian radicalism and indoctrination.” At the hearing they were told they could visit their three-month old baby Ezekiel twice a week for two hours and they could also see their two sons. However, they were told they would not be allowed to visit their older daughters.
While it may seem to be another case of a government taking an anti-Christian stand, there seems to also be the possibility of political correctness run amok.
Christian Today reported that the Barnevernet has a history of targeting children in immigrant and mixed families.
“While the circumstances of the removal of the children appear extraordinary, Barnevernet has faced a long record of similar charges, particularly related to its treatment of the families of immigrants. In 2011 the children of an Indian couple, Anurup and Sagorika Bhattacharya, were removed from their care in a move that drew severe criticism from the Government of India.
Also in 2011 the children of Eva Michaláková and husband, who originate from the Czech Republic, were removed, and in April 2015 a two-and-a-half month old girl called Maxine, whose mother is a deaf Norwegian and whose father is Slovak. One reason given was ‘lack of eye contact between girl and her parents’.”
However, what is interesting is the phrase “radicalism and indoctrination.” The children were taken just a few days after the terrorist attacks by radical Muslims in Paris, France. When one considers how governments including the United States seem to be going out of their way to separate the Islamic element from these types of attacks, including in San Bernardino, Fort Hood and other shooting incidents, there is a possibility the couple may have been charged in an effort to show that the government is not wanting to single out Muslims for “extremism,” but wants to show that Christians can be just as extreme.
If so, it would be the ultimate act of hypocrisy on behalf of the government, for at no time have the Bodnariu’s been accused of any type of extremism that compares to encouraging their children to become suicide bombers and grow up to hate Jews or infidels.
Government officials have long been worried about the rise of home-schooling. Several years ago, a 7-year-old boy was taken off of an airplane in Sweden as the family was leaving the country because he was homeschooled. In Germany a couple lost their children under a law passed by Adolph Hitler regarding homeschooling. The German government claimed they had a right to prevent the rise of parallel societies. In Kentucky, authorities removed children who were homeschooled and living off the grid. However, the family had access to the Internet so they were not living in squalor.
The reality is, Christian parents are considered a threat to governments who wish to indoctrinate children into their progressive, one-world government agenda. When parents teach their children Biblical values that are contrary to the government program they are a danger because these individuals are less likely to be willing to surrender their liberties and fall in line with unbiblical teaching in an attempt to “go along to get along.”
In the days to come, with the government attempting to equate opposition to homosexuality with hate speech, we may expect events such as what happened in Norway to come to America. It is only a matter of time.
Most people if asked would say ‘radical Islam’ is the greatest danger to us all today. They would be wrong. Atheism is, and always has been the greatest danger. It is responsible for more wars, murder and oppression than any religious ideology. It’s death toll runs into hundreds of millions. Yet Atheists totally ignore this fact when they argue that oppressive acts like this are justified.
Atheism is the wicked motivation behind the Barnevernet actions.
By Bob Unruh
An appeals judge in the United Kingdom has issued a stunning reversal of a lower court judge’s blast at the Bible over a street preacher who quoted Leviticus in explaining the Christian perspective on homosexuality.
According to officials with Christian Concern, which fought in court on behalf of street preacher Michael Overd, it was Taunton Crown Court Circuit Judge David Ticehurst who upheld Overd’s appeal.
He ruled the government “failed to provide sufficient evidence to justify the conviction,” the organization reported.
Overd had been convicted by a judge, Shamim Ahmed Qureshi, who also serves with the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal, the overseer of the nation’s Shariah courts.
Qureshi had taken the “extraordinary step” of determining and announcing in court which Bible verses “it was appropriate for Mr. Overd to use in his public explanation of the Bible’s teaching on homosexual practice,” the organization reported.
Overd, in a statement released by Christian Concern, said the case never should have come to trial.
Paul Marshall, Lela Gilbert and Nina Shea have collaborated to create “Persecuted: The Global Assault on Christians,” which confirms that groups like Pew Research, Newsweek and The Economist also identify Christians as “the world’s most widely persecuted religious group.”
“The court was faced with the farcical situation of a witness telling the judge that he couldn’t even remember what I had said, but simply asserting that it was ‘homophobic’ – as though the mere assertion that something is ‘homophobic’ is enough to curtail free speech,” he said.
“In this country, we are now in the ludicrous situation where the slightest accusation of a ‘phobia,’ be it ‘homophobia’ or “Islamophobia,’ is enough to paralyze rational action by the police and authorities. The highly politicized dogma of ‘phobias’ now too often results in trumped up charges and legal action.
“There is a chilling effect,” he said.
WND reported earlier in 2015 when the case developed.
Overd was convicted and fined by Qureshi, who told him he should not have referenced Leviticus chapter 20 in explaining the biblical view on homosexuality, but “clearly indicated that he could have used chapter 18 of the book.”
Overd had been taking part in street preaching activities in Taunton, Somerset, at the time. Homosexuals filed the complaint, alleging Overd had “offended” them.
Overd, 50, was fined $300 and ordered to pay compensation and costs totaling $1,800.
He explained at the time he was approached by people with questions while he was preaching. Then they filed a complaint over his answr.
“I have been ordered to pay compensation for causing ‘emotional pain’ to someone who approached me aggressively demanding to debate the issue,” said Overd at the time. “There was no harm, injury or theft, just a simple disagreement over theology which I have now been fined for.”
Qureshi, who according to a 2009 article in “The Brief,” chronicling the rise of Shariah law in Britain, serves with the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal, the overseer of the nation’s Shariah courts, said it was impermissible to reference Leviticus 20:13 because it discusses the death penalty.
Overd took issue with Qureshi dictating which passages from the Bible were lawful for him to use.
“I am amazed that the judge sees it as his role to dictate which parts of the Bible can and can’t be preached,” he said then. “I did not quote the full text of Leviticus 20 or make reference to the death penalty, but the judge is telling me that I should use other parts of the Bible. This is not free speech but censorship. The judge is redacting the Bible.”
Andrew Williams, chief of the Christian Legal Centre, said, “Public debate is becoming more superficial and fragile. People feel that certain things can’t be said. That is dangerous. It prevents us from challenging ideas, beliefs and behavior that need to be challenged. It may make some people feel more comforetable, but it doesn’t make the country safer.”
Williams continued, “Mike’s case highlights problems that will only get worse if the government ploughs on with its flawed ‘Coungter-Extremism Streategy.” Islamic terrorism needs to be tackled, but giving the government far-reaching powers to clamp down on all sorts of beliefs that it doesn’t like is dangerous.”
Added Overd, “Reasonable, law-abiding people now feel that they can’t say certain things and that is dangerous. Totalitarian regimes develop when ordinary people feel that there are certain things that can’t be said.”
“In my view he enjoys coaxing people into asking him questions so that he can reply loudly into the microphone to answer them. The only semblance of civilized conversation is when they commend him, if they disagree he shouts them down,” he charged.
Paul Marshall, Lela Gilbert and Nina Shea have collaborated to create “Persecuted: The Global Assault on Christians,” which confirms that groups like Pew Research, Newsweek and The Economist also identify Christians as “the world’s most widely persecuted religious group.”
“From BreakPoint, (Dec 4), reprinted with permission of Prison Fellowship, http://www.breakpoint.org
Five years ago, a team of archaeologists digging “at the foot of the southern part of the wall that surrounds Jerusalem’s Old City” came across a refuse dump dating to the eighth century before Christ.
As the New York Times told its readers, it’s “an area rich in relics from the period of the first of two ancient Jewish temples.” Among their findings were thirty-three clay imprints or seals, known as bullae. These seals were catalogued and stored.
It wasn’t until recently that these bullae were examined more closely, and what the closer examination revealed is rocking the archaeological world. One of the bullae bore the inscription “Belonging to Hezekiah (son of) Ahaz king of Judah.”
That would be the Hezekiah of which the Bible says, “He trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel, so that there was none like him among all the kings of Judah after him, nor among those who were before him. For he held fast to the Lord. He did not depart from following him, but kept the commandments that the Lord commanded Moses” (2 Kings 18:5-6).
As Eliat Mazar of Hebrew University told the Times, “It’s always a question, what are the real facts behind the biblical stories . . . Here we have a chance to get as close as possible to the person himself, to the king himself.”
You’ll pardon me for saying, but how cool is that?!
Now, if you’re a regular BreakPoint listener, you know that this is only the most recent in a series of archaeological finds that are confirming the historical nature and veracity of the biblical narratives. A few years ago, I told you about the discovery of Shaarayim, one of the two cities of David mentioned in First Chronicles, as well as the remains of one of David’s palaces and royal storehouses.
I also told you about the discovery of a coin, dating from the 11th century before Christ, which depicted “a man with long hair fighting a large animal with a feline tail.” As if that didn’t ring your biblical bell enough, the coin was discovered “near the Sorek River, which was the border between the ancient Israelite and Philistine territories 3,100 years ago.”
Of course, the coin depicted Samson.
You’ve got to remember that it was not that long ago that many historians and scholars were convinced that the biblical narratives that described the time before the Babylonian exile were largely the creation of pious scribes whose goal was to justify their contemporary concerns by creating a usable past. In fact, it was widely doubted that people like David and Solomon ever even existed, and if they did, they were little more than glorified tribal chieftains.
Then in 1993, a stone slab or stele dating from the 9th century B.C. referring to the “House of David” was found in northern Israel. More recently, archaeologists have discovered ancient copper mines south of Jerusalem that dated from the time of Solomon. The mines included “an impressive collection of clothing, fabrics, and ropes made using advanced weaving technology; foods, like dates, grapes, and pistachios; ceramics; and various types of metallurgical installations.”
So much for myths and glorified tribal chieftains!
Now the evidence left by their descendants is coming to light. And that shouldn’t come as a surprise. As John Stonestreet has said, “Biblical faith is an historical faith. The accounts in the scripture do not take place in some mythical time-before-time like that of their pagan neighbors or the Bhagavad Gita in Hinduism.”
Thus, we should not be surprised when evidence of this history turns up, even in a refuse dump.
By Tom Olago
The world was quick to rejoice over results of a recent poll conducted by the Pew Research Center (PRC) that suggest certain nations with predominantly Muslim populations hold views of ISIS that are “overwhelmingly negative”.
However, the poll results do not seem consistent with other publicly acknowledged realities and trends in connection to the acceptance of ISIS across Muslim-dominated territories worldwide.
The 11 countries covered in the poll were: Indonesia, Turkey, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Malaysia, Senegal, Israel, Palestinian territories, Jordan, Lebanon and Pakistan.
Among the key findings:
• In no country surveyed did more than 15% of the population show favorable attitudes toward Islamic State. And in those countries with mixed religious and ethnic populations, negative views of ISIS cut across these lines.
• In Lebanon, a victim of one of the most recent attacks, almost every person surveyed who gave an opinion had an unfavorable view of ISIS, including 99% with a very unfavorable opinion. Distaste toward ISIS was shared by Lebanese Sunni Muslims (98% unfavorable) and 100% of Shia Muslims and Lebanese Christians.
• Israelis (97%) and Jordanians (94%) were also strongly opposed to ISIS as of spring 2015, including 91% of Israeli Arabs. And 84% in the Palestinian territories had a negative view of ISIS, both in the Gaza Strip (92%) and the West Bank (79%).
• In Nigeria (also home to the ISIS sister-in-terror group Boko Haram), there was somewhat more support for ISIS (14% favorable) compared with other countries, but attitudes differed sharply by religious affiliation. An overwhelming number of Nigerian Christians (71%) had an unfavorable view of ISIS, as did 61% of Nigerian Muslims. However, 20% of Nigerian Muslims had a favorable view of ISIS when the poll was conducted in the spring of this year.
• Only 28% in Pakistan had an unfavorable view of ISIS, and a majority of Pakistanis (62%) had no opinion on the extremist group.
These partly counterintuitive results are not without controversy or challenge, and have naturally raised further probing questions in relation to the wider context of the poll and the completeness of its coverage.
Taken at face value, the inevitable conclusion of the poll would be that ISIS is not supported by, or representative of, the views and inclinations of the vast majority of the Muslims surveyed.
However, the poll results do not seem consistent with other publicly acknowledged realities and trends in connection to the acceptance (or otherwise) of ISIS across Muslim-dominated territories worldwide.
Examples of disparate areas include:
1. Other opinion polls covering similar demographics: The religionofpeace.com site reported on a 2009 poll that 83% of Palestinians approve of some or most groups that attack Americans, whereas only 14% oppose. Amazingly, American politicians think that if we give the Palestinians a state this will change. (www.worldpublicopinion.org)
ISIS would fit the group description at least as much as Al Qaeda. In contrast, the Pew poll reported that 84% in the Palestinian territories had a negative view of ISIS, both in the Gaza Strip (92%) and the West Bank (79%).
Yet there is seemingly no indication of a significant change in Palestinian demographic, attitude or anything else that would have influenced a major shift in results in the several years between these two polls. Perhaps with the benefit of a ‘why’ response from the Palestinians, there would have been more clarity over such disparities.
Similarly with Indonesia, the Pew 79% unfavorable rating is in sharp contrast to the World Opinion poll that rated Indonesia at 45% unfavorable .
2. The omission of other major Arab nations and territories. Certainly the inclusion of more Muslim nations would have provided a more balanced and accurate result. Breitbart.com in May of 2015 reported survey results conducted by AlJazeera.net (the website for the Al Jazeera Arabic television channel), in which respondents overwhelmingly supported the Islamic State terrorist group. 81% voted “YES” on whether they approved of ISIS’s conquests in the region. Only 19% of respondents voted “NO” to supporting ISIS.
Al Jazeera’s Arabic television audience is largely made up of Sunni Muslims living in the Arab world. Its biggest viewership numbers come from Egypt and Saudi Arabia, along with a large amount of satellite television viewers in the United States, according to research estimates. The poll, which asked in Arabic, “Do you support the organizing victories of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)?” has generated over 38,000 responses thus far, a much greater volume than covered by the Pew survey.
The omission of nations such as Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Tunisia, UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia would tend to skew the data. Intentional or not, the exclusion of many key Arab territories lowered the credibility of results that should have depicted a broader representation of the diverse Muslim community globally.
3. The actions of the majority of supposedly non-radical Muslims. There’s an old saying that actions speak louder than words. The high ‘unfavorable to ISIS’ ratings contradict the general behavior that has been displayed by Muslims considered moderate. There are strong indications that those who oppose ISIS still support Sharia and other Islamic fundamentals that are contrary to Western thought, as evidenced by other polls and some publicly displayed incidents.
• WND.com reported that roughly 17,000 Turkish soccer fans in Istanbul turned a moment of silence for Paris terror attack victims into a cacophony of boos and “Allahu Akbar!” chants. Other accounts state there were also reports of celebrations for the attacks in Gaziantep, South Central Turkey where cars were hooting, ISIS flags being waved and gunshots fired into the air.
• The gatewaypundit.com reported that a small group of 30 French Muslims from Bangladesh joined mourners in the Place de la Republique in Paris to protest the bloody ISIS attacks. Yet, approximately 10-15% of Paris is Muslim or at least 224,000 people. Where are the rest of the Muslim protestors of extremism?
In contrast a report by jihadwatch.com in January that stated 800,000 Muslims came out in Chechnya to protest cartoon drawings of the prophet Muhammad. This incident also triggered protests in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, some of which turned deadly. In Pakistan, 10,000 Muslims came out to protest. The stark contrast in these protest numbers should tell us about the real attitudes of the average person on the street.
• Israel National News.com has reported a poll that shows one in five British Muslims sympathizes with British citizens who flee the UK to join Islamic State (ISIS), and that number rises to one in four among British Muslims ages 18-34. Although 51% believe that it is the Muslim community’s responsibility to condemn attacks, 38% of respondents agreed that Muslims “should not have to condemn” terror attacks carried out by ISIS. It isn’t clear why about half of the community does not find it appropriate to disassociate from extremist and terrorist elements – unless of course they have their tacit support.
The “good news” that Muslims oppose ISIS seems hardly seems positive when other fundamentalist groups like Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas and Iran also oppose ISIS.
In other words, many Muslims may oppose ISIS because it’s not their particular brand of Islam, but many are still just as radical and would like to see an Islamic Caliphate rule the world, or simply see Sharia rule the land.
The Palestinians who supposedly oppose ISIS are willing to terrorize Jews every day in Israel. A new poll released on Dec 14 revealed that two-thirds of Palestinian Arabs support the ongoing wave of terror attacks against Israelis, with the same percentage backing a larger “armed uprising” with more shooting attacks. A full 67% back the use of knives, while 66% of those asked said an armed Intifada with guns would “serve Palestinian national interests in ways that negotiations could not.”
One only needs to look at Saudi Arabia to see the culture of Sharia where women cannot drive and a woman’s male “guardian”, usually a father or brother can stop her traveling overseas, marrying, working, studying or having some forms of elective surgery. This is the same country that has beheaded more people this year than ISIS and puts people in jail for “liking” the wrong post on Facebook.
Yet amazingly a recent poll put out by The Center for Security Policy found that 51% of American Muslims agreed that “Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to Sharia”, Twenty-nine percent agree that “violence against those who insult Mohammad is acceptable”, and 25 percent agree that “violence against America can be justified as part of global jihad”.
Franklin Graham, who heads the Samaritan’s Purse organization as well as the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, commented on the poll results calling them “frightening”. “Think about it – that’s 144,000 Muslims (based on 1.8 million Muslim adults in the United States) who openly say without hesitation that violence in the name of Islam is justified! “That’s not ‘peaceful’ and that’s not a small number – it’s about the size of the entire population of Syracuse, New York!”
By Michael Snyder
Why is the mainstream media ignoring evidence that the primary reason why Sayed Farook and his wife went on a deadly shooting spree in San Bernardino, California was because Farook wanted to get revenge on a pro-Israel Messianic Jewish Christian co-worker?
52-year-old Nicholas Thalasinos had worked alongside Farook as an inspector for an extended period of time, and it is being reported that they would often have discussions about religion and politics. As you will see below, the two had been arguing about whether Islam was a peaceful religion or not, Farook had reportedly made threats to kill Thalasinos, and Farook had was quite insistent that Islam would someday “rule the world”.
As authorities search for a motive for the shootings, you would think that a “heated, passionate” debate that took place between Farook and Thalasinos just a few days earlier would be a natural place to start. The following comes from CNN…
One of Farook’s colleagues killed in the attack, Nicholas Thalasinos, liked to discuss religion and politics. Farook and Thalasinos, reportedly a devout Messianic Jew, had a “heated, passionate” discussion about politics and religion a few days earlier, said Kuuleme Stephens, a friend of Thalasinos, who called him at work while Thalasinos was in the middle of the conversation.
But apparently what transpired between the two went far beyond just a “discussion”. According to a close friend of Thalasinos, Farook told Thalasinos that “Christians and Jews deserve to die”, and he also threatened to kill Thalasinos in particular. This next excerpt comes from an article by Paul Joseph Watson…
A close friend of Nicholas Thalasinos, one of the victims of the San Bernardino shooting, said that gunman Sayed Farook had threatened to kill Thalasinos because he was Jewish and asserted that “Islam will rule the world.”
CV Claverie posted the following Facebook message on Thursday evening;
“The islamic terrorist who took the Life of my friend & bro in Christ, Nicholas Thalasinos, on yesterday in San Bernadino, CA, had been threatening him, telling him that islam will rule the world, Christians and Jews deserve to die; and that he (Nicholas) was going to die.”
To me, this appears to be the core of the whole story. But it has been almost entirely discarded by the mainstream media because it does not fit with any of the “narratives” that they are trying to push.
If Thalasinos was a member of a group favored by the liberal media, his name would be everywhere and this angle of the story would be front page news. But because he was a pro-Israel Messianic Christian Jew, the fact that Thalasinos and Farook had been heatedly arguing only a few days before the shootings is being given very little importance. Apparently at least one of the “discussions” that had really upset Farook was one about whether or not Islam is a peaceful religion…
Thalasinos is a member of a messianic church and is strongly pro-Israel. His Facebook page is filled with positive postings about Israel and Jewish holidays and messages of Shabbat Shalom. He was also a strong political conservative.
Co-workers described Thalasinos as strongly outspoken about his political views, but “wonderful and compassionate.”
But here’s the kicker: The USA Today report, which buried this detail 31 paragraphs down in a 54 paragraph story about some of the victims, on Tuesday, the day before the massacre, Thalasinos posted on social media that he had received threats in recent days, including one stating he “will die.”
An Associated Press report revealed that a co-worker said that Thalasinos and Farook had argued recently about religion, and Thalasinos complained to her that Farook “doesn’t agree that Islam is not a peaceful religion.”
Thalasinos and his wife are members of the Shiloh Messianic Congregation church in Crestline, California.
If I was a detective assigned to this case, I would be focused like a hawk on the interactions between Thalasinos and Farook. To me, this is clearly what motivated Farook and his wife to murder Thalasinos and the others. But the vast majority of the news stories that I have read about this event do not even mention Thalasinos.
Although the mainstream media does not like to admit it, there are lots of radical Muslims living inside the United States that hate Christians, that hate Jews, and that hate the state of Israel. And since Thalasinos was a Christian, a Jew, and a tremendous supporter of the state of Israel, that made him easy for Farook to hate.
And of course that are lots of other radical Muslims that harbor similar hatred in their own hearts. For example, it has been reported that radical Muslims in Dearborn, Michigan celebrated the terror attacks in Paris on November 13th by setting off fireworks…
Radical Muslims in the Dearborn, Mich., area were celebrating the Nov. 13 Paris attacks orchestrated by ISIS, according to a resident.
“As the news started, I don’t remember exactly what time but it was in the early evening [of the shooting], at first there was a large crack and it startled me, and I’m like ‘okay, what was that?’ and shortly thereafter there were several more fireworks going off,” the Dearborn, Mich., resident reported, who wished not to be identified. “What I found out later [they were] fireworks and in the streets, I did not see the people, however it was several blocks away, within four or five blocks from my house, people were shouting ‘Allah Ackbar.’”
Last month, at two different soccer games in Azerbaijan and Turkey, soccer fans were similarly chanting “Allahu Akbar” and booing during a moment of silence for the victims of the attacks, and in 2001 radical Muslims were celebrating 9/11.
The mainstream media does not like to report things like this because they are not “politically correct”.
Decades ago, journalists often made an honest attempt to report the news, whether it was good or bad. But now so much of our “journalism” is really just agenda-driven propaganda.
And since the fact that a radical Muslim was trying to take revenge against a conservative Messianic Jewish Christian does not “fit the narrative” that the mainstream media is trying to craft around this story, it is almost entirely ignored.
I can understand the reason Snyder uses the prefix “radical” to differentiate between Muslim terrorists and their sympathisers, and those who are merely nominal Muslims. And I say nominal because to be anything more is to identify with Islam’s founder – Muhammed. Who according to that religion’s own writings was what the media describes as a radical.
By Tom Olago
About two decades back, Dolly the sheep became the world’s first and most famous mammal to be cloned from an adult cell. Fast forward to 2015: cloning is now much more commonplace and in ‘open season’.
China is one nation that well exemplifies the growth rate of the cloning industry – she is now working on a ‘cloning factory’ to produce cattle, racehorses and pets. China has been cloning sheep, cattle and pigs for the past 15 years and is now taking it all to a whole new level.
The factory, which will include a 15,000 square meter laboratory, an animal center, a gene bank and an exhibition hall, is currently being built in the port city of Tianjin, near Beijing, and is due to open in the first half of 2016. Neil Connor’s recent account for The Telegraph states that the animal “cloning factory” will be the world’s biggest, producing one million calves a year, sniffer dogs and even genetic copies of the family pet.
The core motivation for this project is being fronted as mainly due to the increasing interest in agricultural biotechnology, spawned by beef shortages. Chinese farmers are reportedly battling to provide enough beef for the country’s growing middle class and eager to find ways to increase supply. The price of meat is said to have tripled between the years 2000 to 2013 in response to market demand.
According to Chinese Media, the £21 million ($32 million) “commercial” facility will edge the controversial cloning science “closer to mainstream acceptance.” The new facility will initially produce 100,000 cattle embryos a year, eventually increasing to one million.
Connor notes that the center may cause alarm in Europe, where the cloning of animals for farming was banned in September due to animal welfare considerations. Another influential factor for the ban was that the cloning process was described as “not fully mature”.
The European Parliament’s environmental committee co-rapporteur, Renate Sommer, protested the apparent lack of progress, stating: “The mortality rate remains equally high. Many of the animals which are born alive die in the first few weeks, and they die painfully. Should we allow that?”
However, Xu Xiaochun, chairman of Chinese biotechnology company BoyaLife that is backing the facility, dismissed such concerns in an interview. Implying that it was cheap politics rather than “scientific rationale or ethical rationale” that was behind Europe’s ban, Xiaochun concluded: “Legislation is always behind science. But in the area of cloning, I think we are going the wrong way and starting to kill the technology.”
Xiaochun said his new facility will clone racehorses and a handful of dogs for people with “emotional ties” to their pets, but its main focus was producing cattle. He was also reportedly keen about the factory’s ability to churn out sniffer dogs: “The dog has to be smart and obedient, strong, sensitive…That’s one in one hundred. You would normally have to look at a large number of dogs to find this one.”
Xiaochun’s views would certainly be popular with many animal lovers worldwide. Not just with pet owners who love their pets and want to see them ‘live on’ through cloning, but also with owners of special and champion breeds.
According to new.spectator.co.uk, Adolfo Cambiaso, has cloned dozens of his favorite horses with great success. Cambiaso is so keen that he has become a partner in a cloning company, Crestview, which has its own laboratory near Buenos Aires.
One day, he’s said, he’d like to play in an entire match that involves only cloned horses. They are turning out to be in hot demand. In 2010, a clone of one of Cambiaso’s best horses, Cuartetera, sold for $800,000.
BoyaLife will reportedly operate the facility with its South Korean partner, Sooam Biotech, which runs a centre that can clone dogs for customers willing to pay $100,000 (£66,000). Sooam Biotech has already produced more than 550 puppies. Company head Hwang Woo-Suk was considered a national hero when he pioneered the world’s first cloned dog in 2005, although his research into creating human stem cells was found in 2006 to have been faked.
The cloning culture also continues to grow in the U.S, as recent developments show. Amy Harmon for the New York Times reported that with the federal government’s approval last week of a fast-growing salmon as the first genetically altered animal Americans can eat, a menagerie of gene-edited animals is already being raised on farms and in laboratories around the world — some designed for food, some to fight disease and some, perhaps, as pets.
Harmon lists a number of other examples:
• Bull calves being bred in Sioux City, Iowa were genetically modified to have their DNA edited by scientists at a start-up company called Recombinetics, so that they do not grow horns. In a few months, their sperm will be harvested, each with edited DNA, which will be used to create a new generation of hornless cattle.
• The value of this development is said to be to in the discontinuation of the physical dehorning process which may produce injuries to cattle and is “considered to be quite painful”, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.
• With a tool called Talens, Recombinetics says it has created gene-edited pigs that can be fattened with less food and Brazilian beef cattle that grow large muscles, yielding more meat that may also be more tender.
• Others are working on chickens that produce only females for egg-laying and cattle that produce only males since females are less efficient at converting feed to muscle.
• Researchers reported having edited mosquitoes so that they will no longer carry the parasite that causes malaria.
• Bruce Whitelaw, a professor of animal biotechnology at the Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh has changed three genes in domesticated pigs vulnerable to African swine fever, which can devastate herds, to resemble those from wild pigs that are resistant to the disease. He is now breeding them to put them to the test.
• Chinese researchers have produced meatier cashmere goats that also conveniently grow longer hair for soft sweaters, miniature pigs lacking a growth gene to be sold as novelty pets and bulky beagles lacking a muscle-inhibiting gene, an edit that could make for faster dogs.
• Using the most powerful of the new tools, called Crispr-Cas9, in pursuit of treatments for human disease, researchers are also altering pigs in hopes of making them grow human organs and creating “gene drives” that would ensure that the edit to make mosquitoes malaria-proof, for instance, would spread through the whole population.
• The National Science Foundation is underwriting an effort to create dairy cattle that can resist a parasite that causes sleeping sickness in sub-Saharan Africa, a blight often treated with an antimicrobial drug that ended up making its way into the meat consumed by humans.
• Bhanu Telugu, a University of Maryland researcher, is trying to design pigs so they can no longer serve as a reservoir for the flu virus.
Animal breeders seem to be among the most ardent supporters of genetic modifications, since they offer time shortcuts to natural breeding processes. This gene-editing trend is certainly snowballing in momentum, but is not without its risks.
Concerns and warnings abound, including some from scientists and bioethicists. This despite many of the seemingly noble and beneficial rewards that mankind stands to reap from gene-editing successes.
Harmon observes that the discussion of gene-edited animals in farming, in particular, will most likely be colored by the existing debate over the merits of genetically engineered food, notably genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. For decades largely centered on corn and soybeans, altered with older technology to resist pests and tolerate herbicides.
Although embraced by many farmers and scientists, retailers and the general public continue to view them with a measure of suspicion.
Another concern cited is that many of the new generation of edited animals contain DNA from another species, a frequently cited concern among opponents of genetically engineered foods, which incorporate genes from bacteria. Other concerns vary and range from the fear of deformities and unforeseen developmental and health complications in the future.
Advocates of the technology argue that it can make farming more efficient to help feed a growing world population with less impact on the environment. Today’s chickens, for instance, reportedly produce nearly 80 percent more meat for the same amount of feed as the chickens of the 1950s. All courtesy of genome technology.
Still, some consumer advocates urge caution in applying techniques that are still so new to animals that will be consumed as food. Gene-editing tools are known to sometimes make changes to genes other than their intended targets, raising flags about how the changes might affect an animal’s health or the composition of milk or meat.
Therefore, they urge for great caution with the tools. Others insist that no gene editing should be allowed without proper regulation and general public support.
Yet others seem to disagree with any form or extent of gene-editing. David Byer, a spokesman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals says people should stop consuming dairy or meat or eggs, rather than further manipulating animals by playing with their DNA.
The Food and Drug Administration has reportedly not said how or whether it will regulate the gene-edited animals to come. But even with the government’s stamp of approval, biotechnology advocates know that farmers are unlikely to embrace technology if they fear consumers will reject it.
Only time will tell to what extent the gene-editing processes will overshadow the benefits, as medical science continues with its attempts to play God by interfering with the natural processes of life and creation.
7The locusts looked like horses prepared for battle. On their heads they wore something like crowns of gold, and their faces resembled human faces. 8Their hair was like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth. 9They had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the thundering of many horses and chariots rushing into battle. 10They had tails with stingers, like scorpions, and in their tails they had power to torment people for five months.
There are many descriptions in the Bible like that above, which could be the writers attempt to describe a product of genetic engineering and cybernetics. It is clear to me, from my study of the circumstances leading to the Genesis flood, that interference with human DNA was a factor in God’s decision to destroy most of life on Earth. There’s nothing new under the sun!
By Matt Ward
Sweden’s Foreign Minister, Margot Wallstrom, got straight to the point. Cutting to the heart of the matter she revealed that she knew exactly who was to blame for the unrest setting the Middle East on fire.
Foreign Minister Wallstrom revealed that all the Islamic terrorism and brutality, all the beheadings, all the abhorrent crucifixions – including those of tiny children carried out in the name of Islam by ISIS, all the pillaging, all of the wanton destruction of people, cities and nations, could be laid at the feet of one entity alone.
The fault does not lay with ISIS, nor is the blame to rest with radical Islam, or Islam in general, she said. Islam is, she believes, a religion of peace. The responsibility for all the unrest in the Middle East, even the blame for the recent massacres in Paris, lays squarely at the feet of Israel.
What a terrible blood libel on Israel and the Jewish people this is.
It is a view widely reflected in the corridors of the United Nations. Each month at the United Nations brings another series of condemnations solely aimed at Israel. Last week, six resolutions were passed against the tiny Jewish State. No other nation state received any condemnation, just Israel.
At a time when the Middle East is descending into an horrific bloodbath unseen in living memory, when entire population groups are being forced into mass migrations to other continents, when the Christian population of the entire region is being systematically wiped out, the UN finds the time to focus all its attention upon tiny little Israel. Over 75% of all UN condemnation resolutions ever passed have been solely against Israel.
To date, North Korea has received 8 condemnations. Iran has received 5, South Sudan has received 0, as have Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, Egypt, Bangladesh, China, Cuba, Lebanon, Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey, Zimbabwe, Yemen and Venezuela. Israel currently has 62.
Little wonder this is so when one looks at UN institutions like the Human Rights Council, an organization populated by every type and kind of Jewish hating nation.
Its current chair is Saudi Arabia. That the UN would pick a country that competes with ISIS for the number of people it has beheaded this year is scandalous. Saudi Arabia is one of the worst violators of human rights on the planet. Making them chair of the Human Rights Council, which often condemns Israel, is like making a pyromaniac into the town fire chief.
Iran routinely and openly infringes on the terms of the UN Security Council rubber-stamped nuclear deal, yet has received not a word of protest, let alone an official condemnation. This Iranian regime, led by the Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, regularly states that the single function of this nuclear program is to “…wipe Israel off the map.” At the UN nobody bats an eye to this obvious incitement to genocide.
In the year 2013 there were a total of 21 UN resolutions directly condemning Israel, but only 4 for the rest of the world, despite the fact that this was the year Bashir al-Assad first used WMD in the Syrian civil war, unleashing chemical weapons against the Syrian rebel forces. Thus far, it is estimated he has used chemical weapons ten times. No UN resolution of condemnation for Assad though.
In this same year there were zero resolutions on the gross and systematic abuses committed by China, Cuba, Egypt, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Zimbabwe, nor on many other major perpetrators of grave violations of human rights.
In 2012, the UN adopted 9 resolutions against Israel vis-à-vis Palestinians and the Golan, yet remained completely silent on the increasing Syrian massacres against the same Palestinian peoples.
There is an obvious bias and hatred of the tiny Jewish State and it is a clear fulfilment of Bible prophecy. We should expect to see increasingly unjust and bizarre condemnations world-wide against Israel in the coming months and years.
We are witnessing the ongoing abandonment of Israel by all the world. This all-encompassing, visceral and growing hatred towards Israel is one of the clearest indicators of the lateness of the hour.
The word of God is clear, Jerusalem is a burdensome stone and at the time of the end all the world will come against her. (Zechariah 12:3) We are witnessing the beginnings of that process now.
Ultimately God will allow Israel to go to such a place of complete international isolation that they will have no other option but to turn to Him, to cry out for Him. This process of abandonment by the world is an indicator that God is once again beginning to turn His attention to dealing with His holy inheritance, Israel.
This means that the closing of the Gentile age must be close at hand.