Iraq suffers deadliest year since 2008. Double Christmas Day church bombings in Baghdad kill 37. Please pray for peace.

Violence is  on the rise in Iraq.

Violence is on the rise in Iraq.

(Washington, D.C.) — As the last of U.S. military forces departed from Iraq one year ago, al-Qaeda and other Radical Islamic movements have launched the worst wave of violence in Iraq in five years.

All Iraqis need our prayers, including the Christians who have been repeatedly targeted by the jihadists.

Two bombing attacks on Christians in Baghdad alone on Christmas Day left 37 people dead and scores wounded.

“Violence in Iraq has reached its worst level since 2008, the UN mission to Baghdad has said, reporting that more than 8,800 Iraqis were killed in 2013,” reports the UK Guardian. “The UN said 7,818 civilians died last year. The total including members of the Iraqi security forces surged to 8,868, with 759 people killed in December alone.”

“Al-Qaida in Iraq has found fertile ground in all this discontent and has attacked the Iraqi government …by killing members of its army, its police forces, its politicians and journalists, as well as its Shia population,” an NGO told the Guardian. “The last six months have seen the massacres of entire families as they sleep or travel to a holy place, sometimes five, sometimes 12 family members at a time….The faults are now as wide and deep as trenches.”

“The spike in violence can be attributed to several factors, including the crackdown by Iraq’s Shia-led government on a Sunni protest camp last April, in which 49 people were shot dead,” the British paper noted. “These killings spawned numerous revenge attacks against Shia targets in Baghdad and across the rest of Iraq. Amid discontent from Iraq’s Sunni minority and Shia majority, the prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, has in effect given up on cross-sectarian politics. He imprisoned high-profile Sunni politicians and forced others into exile.”

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Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

A REAL CHRISTMAS MIRACLE: Two People Survived This Wreck

Via the BBC:

A driver had an “incredible escape” from serious injury when a car was “sliced” in two as it hit a sign on the M11, Essex Fire Service has said.

The vehicle left the road and collided with a large motorway sign at junction 9a near Great Chesterford at about 14:00 GMT on Tuesday… No-one was trapped in the vehicle when fire crews from Cambridge, Newport and Saffron Walden arrived… Firefighters gave first aid to two people at the scene.

Nigel Webb, Saffron Walden incident commander, said the impact had “effectively sliced the vehicle in half sending the front of the vehicle into the nearside bushes and the rear half onto the hard shoulder”… He added that it was “simply an incredible escape for the driver”.

An East of England Ambulance Service Trust spokesperson there were two patients involved in the crash, one believed to be a man in his 20s, both of whom escaped with minor injuries.

Doug Ross @ Journal

Is Christmas offensive to Jewish people? It shouldn’t be, says Orthodox Jewish author and radio host.

Merry-Christmas-mangerHere’s a fascinating column by Dennis Prager, a devoutly religious American Jewish author and host of a nationally syndicated radio program.

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Mazel Tov, Christians! Most Jews wish you a Merry Christmas.

By Dennis Prager, December 24, 2013, National Review

As a Jew, and a religious one at that, I want to wish my fellow Americans a Merry Christmas.

Not “Happy Holidays.” Merry Christmas.

I write, “my fellow Americans” because, as reported by the Pew Research poll released just last Wednesday, nine in ten Americans say they celebrate Christmas.

Apparently, many Americans have forgotten that Christmas is not only a Christian holy day, but also an American national holiday. Just as we wish one another a “Happy Thanksgiving” or a “Happy Fourth,” so, too, we should wish fellow Americans a “Merry Christmas.”

It doesn’t matter with which religion or ethnic group you identify; Christmas in America is as American as the proverbial apple pie. That is why some of the most famous and beloved Christmas songs were written by . . . guess who? Jews.

  • “White Christmas” was written by Irving Berlin (birth name: Israel Isidore Baline).
  • “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” — Johnny Marks.
  • “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” — composed by Jule Styne, lyrics by Sammy Cahn.
  • “Silver Bells” — by Jay Livingston (Jacob Harold Levison) and Ray Evans (Raymond Bernard Evans).
  • “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)” — Mel Tormé and Robert Wells (Robert Levinson), both Jews.
  • “Sleigh Ride” — lyrics by Mitchell Parish (Michael Hyman Pashelinsky).

There are many others as well.

The notion that non-Christians are excluded is absurd.

Americans who feel “excluded” are not excluded. They have decided to feel excluded. Which is, of course, entirely their right to do; no one forces anyone to celebrate any American holiday. But attempts to remove Christmas from the public sphere are destructive to our society. It would be as if Jehovah’s Witnesses attempted to remove public celebrations and references to the Fourth of July because they don’t celebrate national holidays.

Why are these attempts destructive? Because the entire society — Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and atheists as well as Christians — benefits from the goodness and joy that the Christmas season engenders.

It never occurred to my Orthodox Jewish family not to enjoy this season. It was a tradition in our home to watch the Christmas Mass from the Vatican every Christmas Eve (unless it was a Friday evening, and therefore the Sabbath, when no television watching was allowed). Had you visited our home, you would have seen my mother — and my father, my brother, and me, all wearing our kippot (Jewish skullcaps) — watching Catholics celebrate Christmas.

Nor did it ever occur to my brother, Dr. Kenneth Prager, an Orthodox Jew, not to sing Christmas songs when he was a member of the Columbia University Glee Club. He happily sang not only secular Christmas songs, but religious Christ-centered Christmas songs as well.

So when and why did this pernicious nonsense of non-Christians being “excluded” by public celebrations of Christmas develop?

It is nothing more than another destructive product of the 1960s and 1970s, when the Left came to dominate much of the culture….

>> To read the rest of the column, please click here.


Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog