Current Events

The Pope Does Not Apologize

The Associated Press reported on September 20, 2006:

“Pope Benedict XVI said Wednesday that he has ‘deep respect’ for Islam, but he did not offer an apology demanded by some Muslim leaders offended by the pontiff’s remarks in Germany last week. The pope acknowledged that his remarks were open to misinterpretation, but insisted he had not intended to endorse a negative view of Islam… At the University of Regensburg last week, Benedict cited the words of a Byzantine emperor who characterized some of the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad as ‘evil and inhuman,’ particularly ‘his command to spread by the sword the faith.’ ‘This quote unfortunately lent itself to be misunderstood,’ the pontiff said Wednesday. ‘In no way did I wish to make my own the words of the medieval emperor. I wished to explain that not religion and violence, but religion and reason go together.’… But not all in the Islamic world were satisfied by Benedict’s statement of regret. The grand sheik of Cairo’s Al-Azhar Mosque, the Sunni Arab world’s most powerful institution, demanded that Benedict apologize more clearly.”

Bild Online reported on September 21, 2006, that thousands of Palestinians demonstrated in Ramallah against Pope Benedict XVI’s comments about Islam. According to the paper, a spokesman of the radical Islamic “Freedom Party,” which organized the demonstration, said that Muslim troops would conquer and destroy Rome.

Did Pope Benedict XVI Mean It?

On September 19, The Asia Times published the following editorial by Spengler on the front page:

“Jihad injures reason, for it honors a god who suffers no constraints on his caprice, unlike the Judeo-Christian god, who is limited by love. That is the nub of Pope Benedict XVI’s September 12 address in Regensburg, Germany. It promises to be the Vatican’s most controversial utterance in living memory… it is a defining moment comparable to Winston Churchill’s ‘Iron Curtain’ speech at Fulton, Missouri, in 1946… To denounce jihad on theological grounds is a blow at the foundations of Islam, in effect a papal call for the conversion of the Muslims… The Regensburg address oversteps the bounds of dialogue and verges upon the missionary…

“Specifically, Benedict stated that jihad, the propagation of Islam by force, is irrational, because it is against the Reason of God. Citing a 14th-century Byzantine emperor to the effect that Mohammed’s ‘decree that the faith he preached should be spread with the sword’ as ‘evil and inhumane’ provoked headlines. But of greater weight is the pope’s observation that Allah is a god whose ‘absolute transcendence’ allows no constraint, to the point that Allah is free if he chooses to promote evil… To ask Islam to become moderate, to reform, to become a peaceful religion of personal conscience is the precise equivalent of asking Catholics to abolish Mass…

“Regarding Benedict XVI’s statement that the characterization of the Prophet Mohammed did not reflect his ‘personal opinion’: In 1938, at the peak of Stalin’s terror, a Muscovite called the KGB to report that his parrot had escaped. The KGB officer said, ‘Why are you calling us?’ The Muscovite averred, ‘I want to state for the record that I do not share the parrot’s political opinions.'”

Please make sure to watch our new StandingWatch program titled, “The Pope in Germany.”

Military Coup in Thailand

On September 20, The Associated Press reported:

“The army commander who seized Thailand’s government in a quick, bloodless coup pledged Wednesday to hold elections by October 2007, and received a ringing endorsement from the country’s revered king. Gen. Sondhi… also hinted that ousted Prime Minister Thaksin… may face prosecution… Australia called the coup a ‘great disappointment,’ while Japan urged the quick restoration of democracy. The European Union condemned the military takeover, while Washington expressed concern about it… King Bhumibol… appointed Sondhi as head of the council ‘in order to create peace in the country.’… Sondhi led a precision takeover overnight without firing a shot, sending soldiers and tanks to guard major intersections and surround government buildings while the popularly elected Thaksin, accused of corruption and undermining democratic institutions, was in New York attending the U.N. General Assembly…

“In launching Thailand’s first coup in 15 years, Sondhi said on nationwide television that the overthrow was needed ‘in order to resolve the conflict and bring back normalcy and harmony among people.’… State-run television also announced that the new leaders had dismissed the state audit commissioners and given additional powers to the auditor general… to investigative government corruption. Analysts said the move is expected to make it easier… to investigate allegations of corruption involving Thaksin and his ministers and could eventually lead to the confiscation of his assets. The British Foreign Office said Thaksin was to arrive Wednesday in London on a private visit.”

The Associated Press added on September 21, 2006:

“Thailand’s new military rulers said Thursday that four top members of deposed Prime Minister Thaksin’s… administration had been detained. The regime also assumed the duties of parliament, which was dissolved when the government was ousted in a coup earlier this week, and banned meetings by all political parties… Other moves include barring the establishment of new parties and placing limitations on public meetings and restrictions on the media… Washington believes Thailand’s first coup in 15 years is ‘a step backward for democracy…’ The European Union demanded ‘that the military forces stand back and give way to the democratically elected political government.’ Other Western governments have issued similar statements.”

Hungarian Riots

In a very key area of Eastern Europe, unrest is brewing. As Hungary–a key center of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire–struggles to bring itself into line with European Union membership, an incriminating revelation has led to serious civil unrest. reported on September 20:

“Hungarian rioters clashed with police on the third consecutive night of violence in downtown Budapest, while demonstrations demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany continued… The riots, the worst since the end of communist rule, were sparked by a leaked tape in which Gyurcsany admitted the Socialist-led government misled the public about the need to cut spending before April general elections.”

These open demonstrations may not be the focus of news in the West, but they are another indication of the latent unrest that seethes below the surface of a Europe looking for leadership–strong, decisive, problem solving leadership! To place this current upheaval in perspective, consider these additional comments from the Bloomberg report:

“The past two days were the worst street violence in Hungary since the end of communism in 1989… Rioters invoked the memories [of] 1956, when Hungarians revolted against communist rule, fighting government and Soviet troops for weeks.”

The Associated Press added on September 21, 2006:

“Hungary’s main opposition party on Thursday postponed a weekend political rally amid fears of further street violence, saying state security officials had warned that the gathering could be hit by bomb attacks… and other ‘provocations’ from government and state security officials… fears of a bomb attack reflected the high level of political tensions that have gripped the country… The violence has shaken Hungary, held up as a model of progress following the collapse of communism in eastern Europe.”

It does not seem to take much these days to set an entire country on fire…

Shocking Victory of the Far Right in German State Elections

Der Spiegel reported on September 18:

“Germany’s far-right National Democratic Party [NPD], which wants to repatriate foreigners and believes Germany should stop atoning for the Holocaust, won seats in a state parliament on Sunday in the former communist east… The neo-Nazi NPD won 7.3 percent in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s home state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania on the Baltic Sea coast… The result means far-right parties are now represented in three of eastern Germany’s five state parliaments. The NPD entered the Saxony state parliament in 2004 and another far-right party, the German People’s Union (DVU), has seats in Brandenburg, which surrounds Berlin. ‘The fight for Germany continues,’ NPD chairman Udo Voigt said…, noting that [the] far right has gained a foothold in a quarter of Germany’s 16 state parliaments.

“The German Jewish Council called for a renewed attempt to ban the NPD. A previous attempt by the government to have it outlawed failed in 2002 because some of the NPD members called to testify turned out to be government informants. Election analysts attributed the far-right gains in part to discontent with Merkel’s ‘grand coalition’ of conservative Christian Democrats and Social Democrats, perceived as having failed to implement meaningful economic reforms since it was formed in October 2005. The coalition has also been criticized for imposing tax hikes… The NPD has also exploited xenophobic attitudes in [the] east, where many blame immigrants for their economic problems. In addition, resistance to the far right isn’t as strong in eastern Germany as in the west because responsibility for the Holocaust wasn’t addressed as intensely there during the decades of communist rule.”

Der Spiegel Online reported on September 19:

“The unfortunate but not unexpected breakthrough of far-right extremists in the German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania on Sunday has rattled the Berlin’s political establishment. Voters gave six seats in the state legislature to the… NPD… But in its ‘brownest’ towns a full quarter to a third of voters supported the neo-Nazis. Oskar Niedermayer, political scientist at Berlin’s Free University, told the Financial Times it was a bad sign for Chancellor Angela Merkel. ‘Her popular image has collapsed in recent weeks,’ he said, ‘and that’s why, for instance, she failed… in Mecklenburg, her home state.’…

“The CDU and the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) are clinging to power ‘by their fingernails,’ writes the center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung… If the two parties keep up this ‘ignorant’ thinking, the paper writes, ‘they’ll learn the lesson of (Mecklenburg) and Berlin’ even more clearly at the next election in 2008. ‘The nation always has alternatives.’…

“But it was the leftist daily Die Tageszeitung that studied what neo-Nazis did right in this election while the major parties stood by. The extreme German right isn’t just anti-immigrant; it’s also pro-family and part of the fabric of daily life in towns which larger parties have abandoned… The paper suggests that large parties don’t even try to get out the vote in these regions because they’re afraid to admit they’ve lost touch… Sunday may indeed have been a ‘devastating day,’… writes the paper: ‘But the NPD thinks in years.'”

A powerful charismatic leader will soon arise in Germany to restore confidence, job security and prosperity to the Germans. But in the end, this will not be good news for either the Germans or the rest of the world.

Iran’s Double-Tongued Assertions

On September 20, BBC News reported that Iran’s President, “Ahmedinajad… defended [during a speech at the UN General Assembly on September 19] Iran’s nuclear programme, which he again said was peaceful… He said his country’s nuclear activities were ‘transparent, peaceful and under the watchful eyes’ of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Mr Ahmadinejad has said Tehran will not yield to international pressure to suspend its uranium enrichment programme.”

However, his assertions are disputed by the IAEA. In a report, dated August 31, 2006, the IAEA reached the following conclusions:

“Although Iran has provided the Agency with some information concerning product assays at PFEP [Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant], Iran continues to decline Agency access to certain operating records at PFEP. Iran has not addressed the long outstanding verification issues or provided the necessary transparency to remove uncertainties associated with some of its activities… the Agency remains unable to make further progress in its efforts to verify the correctness and completeness of Iran’s declarations with a view to confirming the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme.”

In addition, WorldNetDaily reported on September 21:

“While most of the reporting and analysis of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speech at the U.N. focused on what he had to say about the West and specifically the U.S., his chilling closing remarks were lost on most listeners–and apparently all reporters. The last two paragraphs of his remarks revealed his steadfast and driving conviction… that a messianic figure, known as the ‘Mahdi’ to Muslims, is poised to reveal himself after an apocalyptic holocaust on Earth that leaves most of the world’s population dead. ‘I emphatically declare that today’s world, more than ever before, longs for just and righteous people with love for all humanity; and above all longs for the perfect righteous human being and the real savior who has been promised to all peoples and who will establish justice, peace and brotherhood on the planet,’ Ahmadinejad said. ‘Oh, Almighty God, all men and women are your creatures and you have ordained their guidance and salvation. Bestow upon humanity that thirsts for justice, the perfect human being promised to all by you, and make us [to be counted] among his followers and among those who strive for his return and his cause.’

“With Iran on the verge of producing nuclear weapons and already in possession of sophisticated medium-range missiles, mystical pre-occupation with the coming of a Shiite Islamic messiah is of particular concern because of Iran’s potential for triggering the kind of global conflagration Ahmadinejad envisions will set the stage for the end of the world. Ahmadinejad is on record as stating he believes he is to have a personal role in ushering in the age of the Mahdi. In a Nov. 16, 2005, speech in Tehran, he said he sees his main mission in life as to ‘pave the path for the glorious reappearance of Imam Mahdi, may Allah hasten his reappearance.'”

American Hiroshima Coming?

On September 16, Canada Free Press published the following frightening article:

“Urgent news [has been received] from Abu Dawood, one of the newly appointed commanders of the al Qaeda forces in Afghanistan: Final preparations have been made for the American Hiroshima, a major attack on the U.S. Muslims living in the United States should leave the country without further warning. The attack will be commandeered by Adnan el Shukrijumah (‘Jaffer Tayyer’ or ‘Jafer the Pilot’), a naturalized American citizen, who was raised in Brooklyn and educated in southern Florida. The al Qaeda operatives who will launch this attack are awaiting final orders. They remain in place in cities throughout the country. Many are masquerading as Christians and have adopted Christian names… The announcements from Abu Dawood were obtained by Hamid Mir, the only journalist to interview Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and Taliban leader Mullah Omar in the wake of 9/11.”

This information was collaborated in an article by WorldNetDaily, dated September 17. For a video commentary on this subject please visit our StandingWatch web site or click here to download.

Muslims Soon in Charge of Jerusalem?

On September 18, ynetnews reported the following:

“Head of the northern faction of the Islamic Movement Sheikh Raed Salah said Friday that ‘soon Jerusalem will be the capital of the new Muslim caliphate, and the caliph’s seat will be there.’ Salah addressed an audience of 50,000 attending the Islamic Movement’s 11th annual rally… ‘Caliph’ refers to a leader of the Muslim nation and in Arabic means the ‘heir’ or ‘substitute’ of the prophet Muhammad. Salah noted that history tells of many occasions in which the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem was occupied by foreign conquerors, but the occupiers left after a short time, and thus will also be the fate of the Israeli occupation… The former mufti of Jerusalem Ekrima Sabri and the archbishop of the Greek-Orthodox church who is considered close to the Palestinian Authority also spoke at the rally. Secretary General of the Arab League Amr Musa also sent his blessings to the assembly.”

The Bible predicts that the city of Jerusalem will become a central point of end-time prophecy. We read in Zechariah 12:2 that God will make “Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem.” God continues in verse 3: “And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.” We are also told, in Zechariah 14:2, that God will “gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem,” and that “Half of the city shall go into captivity, But the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city.”

Germany Sends Troops to Lebanon

Der Spiegel Online reported on September 20:

“German forces are bound for the Middle East after the parliament approved the dispatch of up to 2,400 troops to help patrol Lebanon’s coastal waters… Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany’s first military mission in the region since World War II was historic because it underlined the country’s responsibility for protecting Israel and its growing role in world affairs following unification. ‘This mission by the Bundeswehr in the Middle East is of historic significance,’ she told the Bundestag. ‘We all know that with unification Germany’s responsibility in the world changed. That has consequences, military ones too.’… Addressing concerns by German opposition politicians that the military involvement would weaken Germany’s position as an honest broker in the region, Merkel said: ‘We’re not neutral and we don’t want to be. German state policy hasn’t been neutral ever since 1949. It has been value-bound, and that is the opposite of neutrality.’…

“Berlin ruled out sending ground troops to Lebanon because that may have brought its soldiers into confrontation with Israeli soldiers, an unthinkable prospect in Germany given the Holocaust. Instead, it has agreed to lead an international maritime task force patrolling Lebanon’s coast and will contribute eight vessels to it, including two frigates equipped with helicopters, two supply ships and four speedboats. The task force will also include troops and vessels from Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden… it will be empowered to divert vessels it suspects of carrying arms supplies, and to use force to board and search ships and accompany them to Lebanese ports. Its soldiers will not however be allowed to confiscate weapons — that will be up to Lebanese forces. The German mission is limited until August 31 but most officials expect it to run for much longer than that.”
The article continued:

“Ahead of the vote, the leader of the main opposition party FDP, Guido Westerwelle, said he opposed the mission because it couldn’t be ruled out that German troops may come into conflict with Israelis. ‘The fact that we have a special responsibility that stems from the greatest crime in German history is undisputed in this house,’ he told the Bundestag. ‘We are not neutral as regards Israel, we mustn’t be and we don’t want to be. German soldiers must be spared confrontation with Israeli soldiers or citizens. Can such confrontation, even if it occurs accidentally, between German and Israeli soldiers really be excluded? We shouldn’t get a false sense of security just because this is a naval mission.’ Westerwelle also said he didn’t have much faith in the Lebanese government’s pledge that it would confiscate weapons destined for Hezbollah, especially given that Hezbollah ministers were in the Lebanese government…

“Opinion polls show a solid majority of Germans [about 64 percent] oppose the mission, partly because growing violence in Afghanistan, where Germany has almost 3,000 troops, has fuelled skepticism in a country that has inherited a strong pacifist streak from Word War II.”

The Associated Press added on September 21 that “Germany began its biggest naval operation since World War II on Thursday as eight warships set sail for the eastern Mediterranean to help the U.N. keep the peace in Lebanon.”

Germans Highly Liked by Arabs

Der Spiegel Online is wondering whether the new role of Germany in the Middle East will change the love of the Arabs for the Germans. The magazine reported on September 11, 2006:

“No other Western power [can] rival Germany’s popularity — not the United States, which has few friends in the Middle East right now, and not Great Britain, the old colonial power. Even France comes up short despite helping push the Syrians out of Lebanon… The relationship of the Arabs to Germany is that of a complicated and largely unrequited love, which contains an element of admiration or jealousy, and it sometimes leads to bizarre misunderstandings… The admiration many Arabs have for Nazi leaders is notorious, just like the embarrassing compliments that they make sometimes. One of Egypt’s highest state officials, President Hosni Mubarak’s now retired anti-corruption czar, is called Hitler Tantawi. Arab nationalists have also been known to give their sons names such as ‘Rommel’ and ‘Eichmann.’ In some cases, this love for Germany reflects an explicit anti-Semitism; in others, it is simply a sign of historical ignorance… “This fondness for Germany goes back to a tradition that Germans have forgotten, but which lives on among cultivated Arabs. The tradition begins with German Kaiser Frederick II, the crusader who spoke Arabic. When he entered Jerusalem in 1229, he refused to ban Muslims from praying the way they were accustomed to: ‘You’re wrong to change your customs in your own country because of me. You would not even have to do this if you were in my country,’ Frederick said. Arabs also like to remember Wilhelm II, another German Kaiser. In 1898, when relationships between the German Reich and the Ottoman Empire were especially close, Wilhelm spoke these lofty words in Damascus: ‘If I had not been born a Christian, I would be a Muslim.’…

“Germany’s image in the Middle East improved dramatically when former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder took a stand against the US-led invasion of Iraq. Schröder was credited more for his stance than French President Jacques Chirac, who also criticized the invasion, but was accused of just wanting to place himself in the spotlight. And Vladimir Putin’s reservations about US policy were just explained in terms of Russia’s economic interests in Iraq…

“[German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier] remains confident about the future following the end of the Israeli air and sea blockade. He says many Arab states have assured him they are glad there is now another influential foreign power with good relations to Israel operating in the region, besides the United States. According to Steinmeier, German diplomacy will play an important mediating role in the future, given its good contacts to both the Arab and the Israeli camps. Perhaps Germany can mediate in the question of a possible exchange of prisoners, the foreign minister suggested last week. Just one more example that the Germans appear intent on maintaining their good ties in the region.”

The Bible clearly reveals that in the near future, Germany and many Arab nations will enter into a confederacy or friendship pact. For more information, please read our free booklets, “Europe in Prophecy” and “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord.”

IRS Fights Liberal Pasadena Church

The Associated Press reported on September 16:

“The IRS is investigating whether All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena violated the federal tax code when its former rector, Rev. George F. Regas, delivered an anti-war sermon on the eve of the last presidential election. Tax-exempt organizations are barred from intervening in political campaigns and elections, and the church could lose its tax-exempt status… Ed Bacon received a summons Thursday ordering the church to present any politically charged sermons, newsletters and electronic communications by Sept 29. Bacon was ordered to testify before IRS officials Oct. 11… ‘There is a lot at stake here,’ Bacon said. ‘If the IRS prevails, it will have a chilling effect on the practice of religion in America.’… In a sermon two days before the 2004 election, Regas did not urge parishioners to support President Bush or challenger John Kerry but was critical of the Iraq war and Bush’s tax cuts, Bacon said in an interview last November when the investigation was announced… “All Saints has a long history of social activism, dating back to World War II, when its rector spoke out against the internment of Japanese Americans. Regas, who headed the church for 28 years before retiring in 1995, was well-known for opposing the Vietnam War, championing female clergy and supporting gays and lesbians in the church.”

Europe and China

The Week in Germany reported on September 15:

“Last year, the 25-nation European Union overtook the United States in terms of trade with China, which now totals some $217.3 billion and is $5.7 billion more than with the U.S… European companies like civil jet maker Airbus, German engineering group Siemens and German automaker Volkswagen helped make the EU the No. 4 investor in China.. [A Chinese official] negotiated bolstered trade agreements with both Britain and Germany during his European tour, which also saw the announcement of a new factory in China for automaker DaimlerChrysler. He signed eight new trade agreements on September 14 with the German government and businesses, including one on copyright issues and another on biotechnology.”

As we have announced for decades, Europe will become the most powerful economic force in the world, while the influence of the United States of America will steadily decline. For more information, please read our free booklet, “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America.”

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