Thursday, May 31, 2012

Rabula Gospels





"Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art features the famous "Rabbula Gospels."


Arab Christian woman heroically defies Islamic intolerance, bigotry and misogyny

AMMAN, Jordan – A Christian Jordanian woman said Sunday she is suing her Gulf Arab employer for arbitrary dismissal after she refused a new dress code forcing her to cover her head. The incident is rare and could stir religious tensions in Jordan, a predominantly conservative Muslim nation whose Western-educated ruler — King Abdullah II — is perceived as a staunch supporter of moderate Islam and tolerance of other religions. "We are not in Iran, we are in Jordan, and we must continue to enjoy personal and religious freedoms as stipulated by our constitution," said Vivian Salameh, 45, an assistant manager of corporate operations at the Jordan Dubai Islamic Bank since March 2010 until she was fired a week ago. "I'm Christian. Why should I wear something not dictated by my religion?" she said in an interview. Christians make up nearly 4 percent of the country's 6 million population. Bank spokeswoman Eman Affaneh confirmed that Salameh was fired because "she refused to comply with the terms of her contract, which stipulates that all employees must respect management regulations and bank bylaws." "We are an Islamic establishment and the dress code is a reflection of our conservative Muslim traditions and values," she said. Salameh says she had worked for Jordan's Industrial Development Bank for 25 years until it was acquired in 2010 by the Jordan Dubai Islamic Bank — an offshoot of the Dubai Islamic Bank based in the United Arab Emirates. In January 2011, the new management issued a new regulation stipulating a unified dress code for its workers, including waist-to-heel skirts and head covers for female employees. Salameh accepted the uniform, but refused to wear the head cover on grounds that it violated her religious beliefs and since the contract she signed when she was hired did not oblige her to a dress code. Affaneh, the spokeswoman, said the headcover "is a fashionable piece of white cloth that shows the hair line — like what women wear in the Gulf Arab countries." "It's not a headscarf, covering all the hair," she added. She and Salameh said that five other Christian women employees at the bank accepted wearing the headcover. When Salameh refused the head cover, "no action was taken against me for nearly 17 months until two weeks ago, when I was suddenly given two notices, five days apart, warning me that I will lose my job if I don't wear the head cover," she said. "When I stuck by my decision, I was verbally fired last Sunday," she said, adding that she filed a lawsuit against the bank. The next legal step would be for the court to decide when it would hear the case. Affaneh, the spokeswoman, says the bank has not been notified of the lawsuit. "Her contract allows her to do what she wants," she said. She declined to discuss the matter further.

Read more:

Good News-if Syria loses Russia's support-it could be the beginning of the end of the brutal Assad/Alawite regime in Syria-the leading force of de-stability in the region.
Hopefully, Mr. Assad is packing his bags and is ready to flee.
I would like to see Mr. Assad brought to justice-but-if Syria is free from his evil rule-that would be enough! Remember-I lived in Syria and I observed the evil Alawite regime with my own eyes! I love Syria and hate the Alawite regime.

Russia states that it doesn't support the Syrian Regime

BEIRUT (AP) — A weekend massacre of more than 100 people emerged as a potential turning point in the Syrian crisis Monday, galvanizing even staunch ally Russia to take an unusually hard line against President Bashar Assad's government. Analysts said Russia may be warning Assad that he needs to change course or lose Moscow's support, which has been a key layer of protection for the Syrian government during the uprising that began in March 2011. Russia has grown increasingly critical of Damascus in recent months, but Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's latest comments were unusually strong. Although he said opposition forces have terrorists among them, he put the blame for 15 months of carnage primarily on Assad's government. "The government bears the main responsibility for what is going on," Lavrov said in Moscow following a meeting with British Foreign Secretary William Hague. "Any government in any country bears responsibility for the security of its citizens." Alexei Malashenko, a Middle East expert with the Carnegie Moscow Center, said Lavrov's comments suggest Russia may be backing away from its long-standing support for Damascus. "Bashar Assad is driving himself and Russia into a corner," Malashenko said. "Bashar has definitely gotten the sense that he may lose Russia's sympathy, and he may step back a bit." It is not clear whether Assad's forces were exclusively to blame for the slaughter of 108 people Friday in Houla, a collection of poor farming villages in Homs province. The United Nations said 49 children and 34 women were among the dead; some had bullet holes through their heads. The U.N. Security Council blamed Syrian forces for artillery and tank shelling of residential areas, but it did not clearly state who was responsible for the close-range shooting deaths and "severe physical abuse" of civilians. Activists from the area said the army pounded the villages with artillery and clashed with local rebels. They said pro-government gunmen later stormed the area, doing the bulk of the killing by gunning down men in the streets and stabbing women and children in their homes. The Syrian government rejected that account entirely, saying soldiers were attacked in their bases and fought back in self-defense without leaving their bases. Russia blamed both the government and the rebels for the Houla massacre. "Both sides have obviously had a hand in the deaths of innocent people, including several dozen women and children," Lavrov said. "This area is controlled by the rebels, but it is also surrounded by the government troops." He said Russia has no interest in propping up Assad but wants Syria to guide its own transition under a plan brokered by special envoy Kofi Annan. "We don't support the Syrian government; we support Kofi Annan's plan," Lavrov said. Moscow's pro-Syria stance has been motivated in part by its strategic and defense ties to Damascus, including weapons sales. Russia also rejects what it sees as a world order dominated by the U.S. Losing Russian support could be disastrous for Assad because his crackdown has left him almost completely isolated internationally. Russia and China have stood by him so far, using their veto power to block U.N. resolutions against him. Hilal Khashan, a political science professor at the American University of Beirut, said the Houla massacre appears to be ushering in a change in Russia's position. "There is a shift and the momentum against the regime is gathering," Khashan said. "The momentum is building and the Russians are not blocking the rising momentum." The Syrian conflict is among the most explosive of the Arab Spring, in part because of Syria's allegiances to powerful forces, including Lebanon's Hezbollah and Shiite powerhouse Iran. Activists say as many as 12,000 people have been killed since the uprising began. The U.N. put the toll as of March, a year into the uprising, at 9,000, but many hundreds more have died since. Annan's peace plan, which calls for a cease-fire and dialogue, has been faltering for weeks. But Western leaders have pinned their hopes on his diplomatic pressure, since the U.S. and others are unwilling to get deeply involved in another Arab nation in turmoil. Annan arrived in Damascus on Monday for talks with Assad and other officials and called on "every individual with a gun" in Syria to lay down arms, saying he was horrified by the Houla massacre. Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Holland spoke on the phone and expressed their desire to work with Russia to resolve the crisis in Syria. A British spokeswoman said Cameron and Hollande agreed to act together to "bring an end to the bloody suppression of the Syrian people." Activists reported fresh violence Monday, saying troops shelled several neighborhoods in Hama, killing at least 24 people. ___Berry reported from Moscow. AP writers Bassem Mroue in Beirut and Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed to this report.

AMERICA and other nations around the world-are kicking out their Syrian ambassador's over this atrocity. BEIRUT – The U.N. said Tuesday that entire families were shot in their homes during a massacre in Syria last week that killed more than 100 people, including children. Most of the victims were shot at close range, the U.N. said. Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the conclusions were based on accounts gathered by U.N. monitors and corroborated by other sources. He said U.N. monitors found that fewer than 20 of the 108 people killed in the west-central area of Houla were killed by artillery fire. "Most of the rest of the victims were summarily executed in two separate incidents," Colville told reporters in Geneva. "At this point it looks like entire families were shot in their houses." He said witnesses blamed pro-government thugs known as shabiha for the attacks, noting that they sometimes operate "in concert" with government forces. The killings in a collection of villages called Houla near the central Syrian city of Homs last week have drawn fresh attention to the Syrian conflict, in part because of the brutality of the massacre. Activists posted amateur videos online showing shells exploding in the village, dismembered bodies lying in the streets, then rows of dozens of dead laid out before being buried in a mass grave. The U.N. has said government forces fired tank shells and artillery at Houla, but stopped short of blaming them for Friday's killings. Activists said most of the victims were killed by pro-government thugs who stormed the area after clashes with local rebels, but the regime categorically denied any involvement. The United Nations said previously that 108 people were killed in the massacre, including 49 children and 34 women; some had bullet holes through their heads. International envoy Kofi Annan met with Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus on Tuesday, Syria's state new agency reported without giving further details.

Read more:

MSNBC's Memorial Day Insult to ALL veterans and to ALL the War Dead

As a soldier who went to war twice and as someone who has worked with our horrifically wounded warriors-I find MSNBC's Memorial Day comments that those who have died in combat in the war on terror are not heroes deeply offensive. MSNBC and CNN are both CRAP and it is time for people to change the channel. Not only does Chris Hayes need to be fired both of these anti-American communist networks need to go off the air. HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY EVERYBODY. REMEMBER THE HONORED DEAD-those who gave the last full measure-their very lives-out of devotion to the greatest nation on earth and in human history-the U. S. of A. As a chaplain our mission is to "Nurture the living, care for the wounded, honor the dead"… that is-our fallen HEROES. Here is the idiot's full quote, "I feel uncomfortable about the word 'hero' because it seems to me that it is so rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war. Um, and, I don't want to obviously desecrate or disrespect memory of anyone that's fallen, and obviously there are individual circumstances in which there is genuine, tremendous heroism, you know, hail of gunfire, rescuing fellow soldiers, and things like that. But it seems to me that we marshal this word in a way that is problematic. But maybe I'm wrong about that…"

"News Media censors story about Christians suing Obamacare due to it's violation of Religious Freedom" BILL O'Reilly May 23, 2012-05-29 CNN are both CRAP and it is time people turn the channel.
Not only does Chris Hayes need to be fired these two anti-American communist networks need to go off the air.
HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY EVERYBODY. REMEMBER THE HONORED DEAD-those who gave the last full measure-their very lives-out of devotion to the greatest nation on earth and in Human history-the US of A. As a chaplain our mission is always to "Nurture the Living, Care for the wounded and Honor the Dead" our fallen HEROES.

By Bill O'Reilly There are three things I want to tell you about tonight. Number one, in Pakistan Dr. Shakil Afridi has been sentenced to 33 years in prison. The doctor helped the CIA locate Osama bin Laden. He did the world, the entire world a major favor. But Pakistan... his own country is punishing him. That's a direct insult to every American citizen and therefore Pakistan must be punished by us. It's clear the country is not a friend to America. They have given us a hard time for years. They allow Taliban terrorists to operate within their country. They know bin Laden was hiding in the north, they knew that. And they don't give a deuce about what we think. And so all U.S. aid must be immediately suspended to Pakistan. And we should up our aid to Pakistan's enemy, India and see how they like that. Pakistan is a rogue nation. It's not as bad as Iran but it's close. Enough with coddling these people. President Obama should demand that the Pakistani government send Dr. Afridi to the U.S.A. just as we did with China in the case of dissident Chen Guangcheng. If Pakistan refuses to release the doctor all aid stops, as simple as that.

Number two tonight, another friend of the President who's a stalwart Democrat goes off the reservation. When asked about Bain Capital, Romney's previous employer, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick stuck up for the company. Now, that's the second shot across the bow of the Obama re- election campaign. First Mayor Cory Booker of Newark and now Governor Patrick of Massachusetts telling the President to pretty much knock off the anti-capitalist stuff. Why? Because large corporations help individual states, the governors need the revenue. That's why.

Number three... You will not likely hear critical commentary against President Obama on the issues of Pakistan and capitalism on the three network news broadcasts. Once again the Media Research Center provides the proof. On Monday a major story about the Catholic Church filing lawsuits against the Obama administration was ignored completely by ABC News and NBC News. The CBS Evening News devoted 19 seconds to it, 19 seconds. Now, many believe the nightly network newscasts are not going to report stories that make President Obama look bad unless they absolutely have to. Bernie Goldberg with more on that in just a few moments. So, let's recap. "Talking Points" wants President Obama to get tough with Pakistan, to knock off the anti-capitalist campaign rhetoric, and to suggest to the networks that they cover the election in a fair and balanced way. The last one, no hope; the first two, not much.

Read more:

CHRIST THE LORD to be made into a movie 2013 release

We've all wondered what Jesus was like as a boy. All we know is that he "grew up healthy and strong" and was "filled with wisdom, and God's favor was on him" (Luke 2:40). Novelist Anne Rice has wondered about it too, so she did a lot of research and wrote Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt (2005), imagining Jesus at the ages of 7-8. The story has "movie" written all over it, and after a number of fits and starts, it's finally coming to fruition, slated for release sometime in 2013. Rice originally had a movie deal with Good News Holdings, but that fell apart in 2009, and the project was shelved indefinitely. But after watching The Stoning of Soraya M, Rice felt like she'd found the right person to bring her story to the silver screen: American writer-director Cyrus Nowrasteh. Rice, who has had other books (most notably 1994's Interview with a Vampire) turned into films, told CT that she thought Soraya M was "beautifully written and directed. The film was restrained and eloquent and simple. It had a profound impact." She had just written a review at when her agent called to say that Nowrasteh was interested in Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt. Says Rice, "I thought, Here is a fine director and someone who knows the Middle Eastern milieu. I was immediately interested." Nowrasteh, who will direct, partnered with his wife, Betsy, on the script. Casting has not yet begun—Nowrasteh says finding a young boy for the lead role "is not as easy as it might seem"—and filming will likely begin later this year. The movie will be produced by 1492 Pictures, founded by Chris Columbus and the studio behind three Harry Potter films, The Help, and many more. Of Rice's novel, Nowrasteh says, "I love the book. It's written with real passion and heart and belief. It's one of the most original fresh conceits at the heart of the story of Jesus. We tried to be faithful to it in the script." He adds that Rice's book is perfect for a film adaptation. "We're immersed both in a gritty ancient world and yet transported into the dreamy imaginings of a child filled with wonder, beauty and miracles," he says. "It's a beautiful and faith-affirming story." Rice agrees about her novel's natural fit for the big screen: "I think the book is very visual and will make a very entertaining and gripping movie. I tend to write cinematically, telling the story through scenes both great and small, and moving from one dramatic encounter to another." An American born of Iranian parents, Nowrasteh jokes that he is "Muslim by birth, Christian by marriage, and Jewish by inclination. I absolutely feel connected to Anne's book. I'm right there with her in the story." Rice says she "loved their script because they were true to the spirit of the book, true to the historical accuracy of the book, true to the all-important theological belief that Jesus is both God and Man. At the same time, they added elements to the script which will make this a very fast-paced and suspenseful film, and they added those elements without sacrificing the integrity of the material. They 'got' the Jewish background of the first century. They 'got' the dialogue of the family. They 'got' the idea that this is a fictional story about Jesus, but it is biblically and historically accurate." Of course, any film about Jesus is bound to come with some controversy. But Rice and Nowrasteh have been through it before. On July 29, 2010, Rice famously denounced Christianity on her Facebook page, writing, "Today I quit being a Christian. I'm out. I remain committed to Christ as always but not to being 'Christian' or to being part of Christianity. It's simply impossible for me to 'belong' to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group. For ten years, I've tried. I've failed. I'm an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else." She later clarified that "my faith in Christ is central to my life. My conversion from a pessimistic atheist lost in a world I didn't understand, to an optimistic believer in a universe created and sustained by a loving God is crucial to me. But following Christ does not mean following his followers. Christ is infinitely more important than Christianity and always will be, no matter what Christianity is, has been, or might become." She later discussed her decision with CT. We asked Rice if she thought her comments about Christianity might affect the film's marketability to a Christian audience. "I do not think it will affect the marketability of the film in any negative way for two reasons," she said. "First, there are many believers in Jesus who feel as I do. Most of the mail I received after my comments was positive, and from fellow believers who had walked away from organized religion, or who found themselves uncomfortable with it for various reasons. They understood my dilemma, my struggle, and my quest. "Second, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, the book is painstakingly researched and biblically and theologically accurate. That was the nature of the endeavor: to create a realistic and moving novel about Jesus, the Son of God, as he appears in Scripture, and as he appeared in history—to make him a living, breathing character for people, without ever betraying biblical and historical accuracy. The film, being true to this, is what many people want to see. In other words, I don't think the Christian audience will care about me personally or my journey. What they will care about is whether this film is really about the Jesus of faith. And once they realize that it is, they will be interested." Nowasteh also co-wrote with Betsy and produced the ABC miniseries, The Path to 9/11, which explores both the Clinton and Bush administrations leading up to the terrorist attacks in 2001. Members of the Clinton administration pummeled Nowrasteh and director David Cunningham regarding the film. They said it was an unfair characterization of their actions in dealing with Osama Bin Laden in the 1990s, and they allegedly forced ABC to edit the film before it aired. Nowrasteh fought back, speaking out on television, radio, and in print. Though Disney/ABC will not release the film on video after airing it only once on TV, Nowrasteh feels somewhat vindicated because he says the facts have not been disputed. (A documentary, Blocking the Path to 9/11, tells the story.)

Despite the potential controversy, Rice thinks Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt will have wide appeal. "It will please Christians and others because it will be entertaining and fresh," she says. "What this film offers is an opportunity to see an entirely new story about Jesus and his family that contains fictional incidents and fictional characters, yet this new story is entirely biblically correct. It's the story of Christmas told in an entirely new and fresh way. I think it will be immensely satisfying to Christians and yet completely surprising and arresting.

"Of course, some people will avoid any film that has to do with Jesus or the Bible. But perhaps this film will win over even those hardcore avoiders, when they hear that it offers scenes never before offered in such a film." Rice sees a specific faith-based audience catching on: "I hope Jewish viewers will be interested, because we have made every effort to present the Jews of the first century in a positive light. Jesus was a Jew growing up in a Jewish family; all his neighbors and friends and later apostles were Jews, and I spent a great deal of time researching the Jewish customs and village life of the time. Jewish and Christian readers and viewers came together for Ben Hur, both the book and the film, because it presented Jewish life in the first century respectfully and accurately. We don't have the spectacle of Ben Hur, but our intent is to make a film that Jewish viewers will enjoy, just as this was a book that Jewish readers enjoyed."


The Rabbula Gospels at the MET The Rabbula Gospels, or Rabula Gospels, (Florence, Biblioteca Mediceo Laurenziana, cod. Plut. I, 56) is a 6th century illuminated
Gospel Book. One of the finest Byzantine-era works produced in Asia, and one of the earliest Christian manuscripts with large miniatures, it is distinguished by the miniaturist's predilection for bright colours, movement, drama, and expressionism. Coming from a period from which little art survives, and which saw great development in Christian iconography, the manuscript has a significant place in art history, and is very often referred to. The Gospel was completed in 586 at Monastery of St. John of Zagba (Syriac: ܙܓܒܐ, ܒܝܬ
Bēṯ Zaḡbā), which, although traditionally thought to have been in Northern Mesopotamia, is now thought to have been in the hinterland between Antioch and Apamea in modern Syria. It was signed by its scribe, Rabbula (ܐܪܒܘܠ, Rabbulā) about whom nothing else is known. In their current condition the folios are 34 cm (13.4 in) by 27 cm (10.6 in). Their original size is unknown because they were trimmed during previous rebindings. The text is written in black or dark brown ink in two columns of a variable number of lines. There are footnotes written in red ink at the bottom of many of the columns. The text is the Peshitta version of the Syriac translation of the Gospels. The Exhibition's is entitled "Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition." Apparently, the goal of the exhibit is to state that there was little difference between the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) culture and that of Islam. It is obvious that the uncivilized Arab barbarian hoards were going to be significantly influenced by the older and superior civilizations that they conquered or stole land from.

No comments: