2013: The Year France Confronts Islam?

2013: The Year France Confronts Islam?


How a New Year’s celebration reveals France’s divided society

Fireworks are the most traditional way to celebrate the New Year. But there are other traditions. In Japan, Buddhist monks hit a gong 108 times. In Spain, people eat 12 grapes. And in certain French cities, they burn cars.

That’s right. The New Year’s Eve car burning has become so regular it is almost a tradition. Every year, youths run riot. This time, 1,193 cars were burned.

Naturally, the story has gathered a lot of media attention. But all the mainstream reports on the subject are strangely vague about one thing—who is doing the burning. Every student of journalism learns that his or her article should answer the “five Ws”: who, what, when, where and why (and sometimes “how”). Who is invariably listed first.

Why have so many journalists suddenly forgotten their basic training?

It’s tempting to look for a conspiracy, but the answer is more likely political correctness combined with laziness (or tight deadlines). Perhaps the French media are keeping quiet for fear that publishing the truth will pour oil on the flames.

Who are these rioting youths? The mainstream reports contain the hints necessary to put it all together.

“The practice reportedly began in earnest among youths—often in poor neighborhoods—in the 1990s in the region around Strasbourg in eastern France,” writes the Associated Press. Strasbourg is the home of France’s biggest mosque and a large population of Muslims.

Car burning “also became a voice of protest during the fiery unrest by despairing youths from housing projects that swept France in the fall of 2005,” continues AP. “At the time, police counted 8,810 vehicles burned in less than three weeks.

“Yet even then, cars were not burned in big cities like Paris, and that remained the case this New Year’s Eve. [Interior Minister Manuel] Valls said the Paris suburban region of Seine-Saint-Denis, where the 2005 unrest started, led the nation for torched cars, followed by two eastern regions around Strasbourg.”

Who rioted in 2005? At the time, the New York Times wrote that “a majority of the youths committing the acts are Muslim, and of African or North African origin.” Seine-Saint-Denis is heavily Muslim.

Even the Iranian state-owned Press tv notes the connection between car burning and Muslim districts. “While not a single car was burned in Paris, its suburban region of Seine Saint Denis led the nation in torchings,” it wrote. “Heavily Muslim and just as heavily impoverished, the area has 75 percent of the population of Paris, but Paris is protected by five times as many police officers.”

Whether you believe that Muslims are rioting (à la the right-wing blogosphere) or that French police refuse to protect France’s poor Muslim districts (à la Press tv), it’s clear France has a problem with Islam.

And that’s becoming obvious to the French too. They can hardly escape it after last year’s shocking attacks on Jews.

This week, the Gatestone Institute, a U.S.-based think tank, published a comprehensive report titled “The Islamization of France” detailing Islam’s confrontations with French society.

“In August, the French government announced a plan to boost policing in 15 of the most crime-ridden parts of France, in an effort to reassert state control over the country’s so-called ‘no go’ zones (Muslim-dominated neighborhoods that are largely off limits to non-Muslims),” it wrote.

These zones “include heavily Muslim parts of Paris, Marseilles, Strasbourg, Lille and Amiens,” according to the report—in other words, the areas where people burn cars.

Obviously the government’s plan hasn’t succeeded.

But the Gatestone Institute’s report notes that French attitudes to Islam are changing. “Opinion surveys show that to voters in France … Islam and the question of Muslim immigration have emerged in 2012 as a top-ranked public concern,” it writes. “The French, it seems, are increasingly worried about the establishment of a parallel Muslim society there.”

The government’s efforts, however, “were halting and half-hearted,” the report said.

A survey published in October last year found that 60 percent believe Islam has become “too visible and influential.” Forty-three percent said the presence of Muslim immigrants is a threat to French national identity, compared to 17 percent who said it enriches society. Sixty-three percent oppose Muslim women wearing veils or Islamic headscarves in public. Only 18 percent support the building of new mosques.

“Our poll shows a further hardening in French people’s opinions,” said the head of the French Institute of Public Opinion’s polling department, Jerome Fourquet. “In recent years, there has not been a week when Islam has not been in the heart of the news for social reasons: the veil, halal food, dramatic news like terrorist attacks or geopolitical reasons.”

The most headline-grabbing resistance to radical Islam came from the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. Islamists firebombed its offices in November 2011 after it published cartoons of Mohammed. Its response? This week it published Mohammed’s biography in cartoon form.

Nearly a thousand years ago, France was at the heart of the clash between Islam and Europe’s Christian civilization. Now, as home to the EU’s largest Muslim population, it is at the heart of that clash once again.

The politics haven’t changed to reflect this. But the people have.

Whether you blame the Muslim immigrants, or French society, it’s clear that France is bitterly divided. Animosity and even hatred are building on both sides.

Many conservatives worry that Islam will overrun Europe. But this belief neglects history. When has Europe not reacted to this kind of threat? The norm is to overreact—or invent threats to react to.

European civilization will not lay down and die. Already the French people are turning on Islam. Will 2013 be the year they push their politicians to do the same?

The push will come sooner or later. The Bible prophesies that Europe will take the lead against radical Islam. For more information on this, see our article “Catholic Europe vs. Islamic Hordes: Round 2.”

Sanctions on Iran Bringing Terror Closer to the U.S.

Sanctions on Iran Bringing Terror Closer to the U.S.


Curtailed funding from embargoed Iran to its terrorist proxies may be causing Hezbollah to partner with Mexican drug cartels to raise funds for potential attacks in the United States.

The economic sanctions that have been slapped on Iran for its nuclear weapons program have caused Tehran to cut back its funding to Hezbollah, according to the Israeli military. U.S. officials say Hezbollah operatives in Mexico are enhancing their cooperation with murderous drug cartels, like Los Zetas, in the northern districts bordering the U.S. in order to minimize dependency on Iranian funding.

In an article titled “Hezbollah’s Cocaine Jihad,” Ynetnews writes:

Western intelligence agencies have been able to gather ample evidence suggesting that the drug cartels in Mexico—which are the de facto rulers of the northern districts bordering the U.S.—are in cahoots with Islamic terror organizations, which are eager to execute attacks against American, Israeli, Jewish and western targets; but most of all, the Islamic terror groups are eager to make money, so they can fund their nefarious aspirations.

Hezbollah is helping the cartels in weapons and explosives production. The terror entity is also training drug lords to build elaborate tunnels under the U.S.-Mexico border, much akin to the maze of tunnels running under the Gaza-Egypt border. These tunnels would be mutually beneficial to both syndicates. The cartels would use them to smuggle humans, drugs and weapons, and Hezbollah would use them for its own terrorist activities in the United States. In 2009, the Department of Homeland Security caught wind of an al Qaeda recruiter’s boasts of the ease with which these tunnels could be used to bring terror to the U.S. on a scale that would “make 9/11 look like peanuts.”

Congresswoman Sue Myrick is losing faith in the Department of Homeland Security because she feels not much is being done to secure America’s southern border.

America’s half-hearted efforts in confronting terrorism will only lead to more trouble. In “Is Iran Infiltrating the United States with Terrorist Sleeper Cells?” we wrote:

This network of Hezbollah operatives already has detailed surveillance information on American infrastructure and access to vast reserves of drug-trafficking money. This puts them in a prime position to unleash societal chaos if so directed by the Iranian mullahs.The U.S. government may have the ability to defeat Iran in an outright military attack, but it lacks the ability to squash all the hit-and-run terrorist operations that may result from such an attack.Anciently, the Prophet Ezekiel foretold of a day when end-time Israel would be beset by terrorism, rioting and societal collapse. This time of chaos is prophesied to result primarily from a great economic siege against America, but it no doubt could be enhanced by violence coming from the hands of foreign terrorists. As it is written in Psalm 127, “Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.”

The United States is cursed and is no longer being blessed by God. That is why America’s weak attempts to curtail Iran are leading to potentially bigger problems at home. Request our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy. It reveals why America’s problems today seem unsolvable and how they can be solved.

Cliff Crisis Averted: Next Crisis—Debt Ceiling

Cliff Crisis Averted: Next Crisis—Debt Ceiling


Ever feel like it is just one crisis after another? Get used to it.

While everyone focused on avoiding the fiscal cliff, we cracked our head on the debt ceiling. On Monday, the U.S. government reached the statutory limit on how much money it can borrow. Get ready for the next big budgetary fight—and this time expect a much bigger hit to your pocketbook.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told Congress on Monday that emergency measures were now in effect to prevent Washington from defaulting on its debt. America has begun a “debt issuance suspension period” that would last through February 28, he said. We have less than 60 days to raise the debt ceiling, which is currently set at $16.394 trillion. If we don’t, our creditors will soon stop being paid. A debt default could have drastic implications on how much America pays to borrow money.

Last year, due to concerns over the debt ceiling, a major credit rating agency downgraded U.S. debt. It was a first in U.S. history. It won’t be the last.

Now, after passing an unpopular last-minute “fiscal cliff,” Washington is set for the next set of crisis negotiations. The difference this time is that Republicans seem more determined to tackle government spending—and that means potential reforms to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Any reforms will almost certainly mean cuts to services and payouts. Democrats are sure to oppose. Democrats won the fiscal cliff battle by winning increased government spending and taxation. Who will win the next one?

If you thought the last battle over the debt ceiling was bad, wait till you see what this year’s could bring. And the debt ceiling crisis is only the beginning.

There is also the looming sequester issue—a legacy of 2011’s debt ceiling battle. Sequester involves $110 billion worth of automatic, across the board spending cuts to every single government department. The cuts were scheduled for January 1, but due to an inability to agree on how to avoid the cuts, Congress postponed the date two months.

Indebted America has few choices to deal with its budget issues. It can cut spending—and hurt the economy. It can raise taxes—and hurt the economy. It can increase borrowing—and hurt the economy. It can print money—and hurt the economy. Alternatively, it can do some combination of the four—and hurt the economy. Some options hurt more than others. Some hurt more immediately. Others hurt much later.

But here is the point: There is no way to avoid the consequences of our debt. Political attempts to avoid paying the price will make matters worse, not better. There will be no end to the crisis. It will be one crisis after the other until you think they have gone on forever. This is America’s future. This is reality. You can choose to prepare for it, or suffer the worst of it.

Preparing for it would involve reading: Does God Exist?, Repentance Toward God and The Song Of Songs—God’s Greatest Love Song.

A Lot of People Lie a Little

“Why We Lie” is an interesting piece in the Wall Street Journal from last May by Dan Ariely, author of The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty. It exposes an ugly truth about human nature: that people tend to cheat—but only to the degree that they can still consider themselves honest. He writes,

Over the past decade or so, my colleagues and I have taken a close look at why people cheat, using a variety of experiments and looking at a panoply of unique data sets—from insurance claims to employment histories to the treatment records of doctors and dentists. What we have found, in a nutshell: Everybody has the capacity to be dishonest, and almost everybody cheats—just by a little. Except for a few outliers at the top and bottom, the behavior of almost everyone is driven by two opposing motivations. On the one hand, we want to benefit from cheating and get as much money and glory as possible; on the other hand, we want to view ourselves as honest, honorable people. Sadly, it is this kind of small-scale mass cheating, not the high-profile cases, that is most corrosive to society.

As Herbert Armstrong said, “Human nature wants to be good—or think it is good—but it does not want to do good.”

This widespread, small-potatoes cheating has an enormously corrosive effect on society. It makes you shake your head to think about it.

In short, very few people steal to a maximal degree, but many good people cheat just a little here and there. We fib to round up our billable hours, claim higher losses on our insurance claims, recommend unnecessary treatments and so on.Companies also find many ways to game the system just a little. Think about credit-card companies that raise interest rates ever so slightly for no apparent reason and invent all kinds of hidden fees and penalties (which are often referred to, within companies, as “revenue enhancements”). Think about banks that slow down check processing so that they can hold on to our money for an extra day or two or charge exorbitant fees for overdraft protection and for using atms.All of this means that, although it is obviously important to pay attention to flagrant misbehaviors, it is probably even more important to discourage the small and more ubiquitous forms of dishonesty—the misbehavior that affects all of us, as both perpetrators and victims. This is especially true given what we know about the contagious nature of cheating and the way that small transgressions can grease the psychological skids to larger ones.

It reminded me of Dennis Leap’s terrific article “To Lie or Not to Lie.”

Pope Brings English Church to Heel

Pope Brings English Church to Heel

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Total victory for the pope as the English Catholic Church finally submits to the Vatican.

It’s hard to think of a more complete victory in the Vatican’s long-running battle with the English Catholic Church. To fully understand the magnitude of this victory, please bear with me while we go over some history first.

Catholic officials in Rome have long been frustrated by England’s liberal Catholic bishops.

One of the biggest reasons for this is the liberals’ refusal to follow Rome’s strict line on homosexuality. Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols, the senior Catholic leader in England, has consistently given the impression that the Catholic Church supported homosexuals forming marriage-like unions in the form of civil partnerships. In approving homosexual partnerships, Nichols has been accused of defying Vatican guidelines.

But perhaps more brazenly, Nichols has consistently supported the Soho Masses. These masses deliberately cater to homosexual Catholics—again prompting accusations that Nichols and the English bishops are defying the Vatican. The Catholic Herald’s Dr. William Oddie called the issue “the most potentially inflammatory source of division between Rome and Westminster.”

Last year, Gerhard Ludwig Müller was appointed prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Formerly known as prefect of the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition, this role is the Vatican’s enforcer. And one of Müller’s top goals was, reportedly, to end the Soho Masses.

A German magazine, Katholisches Magazin für Kirche und Kultur, wrote that Müller “intends, very firmly, to address the problem of the Mass.”

The other big bone of contention between the Vatican and the English bishops has been the bishops’ unenthusiastic welcome for Anglicans defecting to Rome.

Pope Benedict xvi personally orchestrated the creation of a personal ordinariate, to allow defecting Anglicans to retain their traditions. He even donated a quarter of a million dollars toward its upkeep.

But the English bishops have refused to support it. They’ve given the ordinariate no buildings to hold its own church services in. The last thing the English Catholics want is for the Church of England’s most conservative members and priests to cross over into the Catholic Church. That’s not to say that England’s Catholics are liberal. But the bishops are, and they don’t want Anglican conservatives.

Many Catholic commentators believe that Nichols’s defiance over these issues is the reason he is still Archbishop Nichols, not Cardinal Nichols—a promotion he traditionally would have received by now.

With all that in mind, now appreciate the magnitude of the English church’s January 2 announcement.

The Soho Masses will be shut down, and the building they were held in will be given to the Anglican Ordinariate.

The Vatican suddenly got its way on the two issues that have frustrated it for years. The Soho Masses are gone, and, for the first time, Anglicans returning to Rome will be able to worship in their own church building, all with one stroke. It’s hard to think of a better sign that the Vatican is now getting its way in England.

If the change translates into a more welcoming attitude toward the ex-Anglican Catholics, many more may cross over into the Catholic Church.

Just a few days earlier, in his Christmas Eve message, Nichols strongly condemned the government’s plan to introduce same-sex “marriage”—bringing himself back in line with the Vatican.

This all shows the progress the Vatican has made in reasserting control over the more liberal areas of the church. As we’ve point out before, the pope is cementing his control over the church. With England brought to heel, this process seems almost over.

With unity imposed on the church, it will be ready for its new public role. The Trumpet has long forecast that the Catholic Church will rise in power. Now that the dissenters have been defeated, it’s ready for this rise.

For more information on the role the Catholic Church will soon play in world events, read our article “Europe: The Next Chapter.”

Iranian Meddling in the Gulf Triggers GCC Coalition

Iranian Meddling in the Gulf Triggers GCC Coalition


The Gulf Cooperation Council (gcc) has condemned Iran’s interference in the region and is working together to set up a unified, military command.

At the conclusion of a two-day summit December 24-25, the six-member, Saudi-led gcc—which includes Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait—issued a statement that slammed “the continuing Iranian interference in the affairs of the Gulf Cooperation Council’s states and called on Iran to stop these policies.”

Iran has denied any interference in the Gulf—a region that Iran clearly sees as its own backyard, as Reuters reports. Of particular note is Iran’s “backyard” pastime in the nation of Bahrain. Bordering Saudi Arabia and in the neighborhood of the rich Saudi oil fields, Bahrain is strategic for maintaining the economic and geopolitical influence of the Saudis. Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid Bin Ahmed Bin Mohammed Al Khalifa commented on the “very serious threat” that Iran poses: “Politically, [there is] lots of meddling in the affairs of gcc states … and there is of course the looming nuclear program. [T]he threat level is quite high, but we are ready if faced with circumstances that require action.”

One way the Gulf Cooperation Council is getting “ready” is by integrating its members’ foreign and security polices, and enhancing defense cooperation. The gcc summit communique said the Council had “supported the creation of a unified military command that organizes and plans and leads the ground, naval and air forces.”

The Wall Street Journal wrote that “Saudi Arabia is rallying Muslim nations across the Middle East and Asia to join an informal Arab alliance against Iran.”

Back in 1994, based on Bible prophecy Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry said many of these nations will comprise the prophesied Psalm 83 alliance. Watch for that alliance to team up with Germany against an Iranian-led bloc of nations and, ultimately, against Israel. For the biblical identities of the states that will make up this alliance and more, request Mr. Flurry’s booklet The King of the South.