AFP scribblers make it sound as if Trump caused all the problems in the Middle East. And ...as we all know, the only ‘migrants’ this pope is concerned about are Muslim migrants. He made that clear on many occasions.
‘So many other footsteps are hidden in the footsteps of Joseph and Mary’
(AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE) — Vatican City — Pope Francis in his Christmas eve mass Sunday urged the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics not to ignore the plight of migrants who are “driven from their land” because of leaders willing to shed “innocent blood”.
“So many other footsteps are hidden in the footsteps of Joseph and Mary,” the Argentine pontiff, himself the grandson of Italian migrants, told worshippers in Saint Peter’s Basilica.
“We see the tracks of millions of persons who do not choose to go away but, driven from their land, leave behind their dear ones.”
Pope Francis issues a strong defense of immigration in Christmas Eve mass, saying faith demands foreigners be welcomed, even as support for far-right parties has risen in Europe
Robert Spencer nails it, as usual:
Yes, of course, today’s Muslim migrants are exactly like Joseph and Mary. Exactly. Jihad Watch reader Mark says, “Somehow I missed the part about how Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem to plunder, rape and steal from the residents there…”
All of the jihadis who murdered 130 people in Paris in November 2015 had just entered Europe as refugees. Is it racism and xenophobia to recall that in February 2015, the Islamic State boasted it would soon flood Europe with as many as 500,000 refugees? Or that the Lebanese Education Minister said in September 2015 that there were 20,000 jihadis among the refugees in camps in his country?
Meanwhile, 80% of migrants who have come to Europe claiming to be fleeing the war in Syria aren’t really from Syria at all. So why are they claiming to be Syrian and streaming into Europe, and now the U.S. as well? An Islamic State operative gave the answer when he boasted in September 2015, shortly after the migrant influx began, that among the flood of refugees, 4,000 Islamic State jihadis had already entered Europe. He explained their purpose: “It’s our dream that there should be a caliphate not only in Syria but in all the world, and we will have it soon, inshallah.” These Muslims were going to Europe in the service of that caliphate: “They are going like refugees,” he said, but they were going with the plan of sowing blood and mayhem on European streets. As he told this to journalists, he smiled and said, “Just wait.”
On May 10, 2016, Patrick Calvar, the head of France’s DGSI internal intelligence agency, said that the Islamic State was using migrant routes through the Balkans to get jihadis into Europe.
“Leave them; they are blind guides. And if a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:14)
Many engulfed in the ongoing migration crisis were forced to flee from leaders “who, to impose their power and increase their wealth, see no problem in shedding innocent blood”, said the 81-year-old, who will give his traditional “Urbi et Orbi” Christmas address on Monday.
The pontiff’s plea for “hope” came as fresh tensions simmered in the West Bank following Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The announcement by US President Donald Trump on December 6 unleashed demonstrators and clashes, including in Bethlehem in the Israeli-occupied West Bank where Christians will mark the birth of Jesus at a midnight mass.
– Less tourists in Bethlehem –
Palestinian scouts played drums and bagpipes at Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem on Sunday, but many tourists stayed away this year.
Hundreds of people gathered in the cold on Bethlehem’s Manger square to watch the annual scout parade towards the Church of the Nativity, built over the spot where tradition says Mary gave birth to Jesus.
But the square was noticeably quieter following the violence between Palestinian protesters and the Israeli army in the past weeks.
Twelve Palestinians have been killed since Trump’s declaration, including a 19-year-old who died of his wounds on Sunday nine days after he was shot during a Gaza protest.
In the square, Nahil Banura, a Christian woman from Beit Sahur, near Bethlehem, said Trump’s decision had made the run-up to Christmas “miserable”.
“People are only going out to vent,” she said.
– ‘Reinforced troops’ –
Perhaps as few as 50,000 Palestinian Christians make up just around two percent of the predominantly Muslim population of the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, apostolic administrator of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, visited the Church of the Nativity Sunday afternoon.
He said last week that “dozens” of foreign visitors had cancelled their Christmas trips after Trump’s announcement.
But Israel’s tourism ministry said Christmas preparations have not been affected, and it expects a 20 percent increase in the number of Christian pilgrims this year compared with 2016.
An Israeli police spokesman said extra units would be deployed in Jerusalem and at the crossings to Bethlehem to ease the access for the “thousands of tourists and visitors”.
And the Israeli
army officer in charge of the Bethlehem area said that while tensions had been high in the area following the Jerusalem announcement, he did not expect trouble on Christmas.
“We’ve reinforced our troops, and are ready for any scenario,” Lieutenant Colonel Benny Meir told AFP.
Israel seized east Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war and later annexed it, in moves never recognised by the international community.
Palestinians view east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, and interpreted Trump’s statement as rejecting their right to a capital in east Jerusalem, although the Americans deny this.
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said Trump’s decision meant that any peace plan proposed by the United States will be no longer acceptable.
Mitri Raheb, pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem, told AFP on Sunday that Christmas this year is a “mix of sadness and joy” because of the US decision on Jerusalem, which he called “the beating heart of Palestine”.
– Christmas in Mosul –
In neighbouring Egypt, Coptic Christians who celebrate Christmas on January 6 saw a church in Giza attacked by a mob following Muslim prayers on Friday, the latest in some 20 such incidents in 2017.
Christmas decorations have meanwhile become more visible in Christian areas of Syria’s capital Damascus this year.
In the central Syrian city of Homs, Christians will celebrate Christmas with great fanfare for the first time in years after the end of battles between regime and rebel forces, with processions, shows for children and even decorations among the ruins.
In Iraq too, this year marks a positive turning point for the Christian community in the northern city of Mosul.
Hymns filled a Mosul church on Sunday as worshippers celebrated Christmas for the first time in four years after the city’s recapture from the Islamic State group in July.
Muslims stood alongside Christian worshippers amid the candles and Christmas trees at St Paul’s Church in Mosul.
“Muslims stood alongside Christian worshippers?” Perhaps they did. To spy on them.