The 2019 Christmas edition of The Status Quo: An Electronic Newsletter is dedicated to the One who loves children above all others. Jesus dedicated His life to showing us the power of love. He preached that love of God and our fellow man was the key not only to happiness but salvation. Although many do not believe in the promise of salvation in His life, death and resurrection, there is no getting around the power of love. And it must be our love for His little ones that brings us together to change what is wrong with American politics. Reasoned thought and sacrifice must replace twitter rants and passing the blame in our national political life. We owe them at least that.    

A World in Turmoil

Born in what today is called the Occupied Territories, Jesus came into the world in a land in turmoil. The land of Christ has been in turmoil for millennia and remains so today. There are few who would dispute the assertion that Israel is today the focal point in the struggle between non-Muslims and Muslims. The Israeli-Palestinian national/territorial conflict has raged since the creation of the State of Israel and does not appear to be ending anytime soon despite what the ill-informed might tell us. The Jewish-Muslim religious conflict has raged for centuries and that struggle too will not be ending anytime soon.

What has not existed for centuries is the Christian-Muslim cultural conflict occurring in Eastern, Southern, Central and Western Europe, Australia, Canada and America. The decision of Muslims to leave their homelands and settle in Christian lands while simultaneously refusing to assimilate into these different ethnic societies. Canada is a very different country than Austria and Hungary and the problems that arise from Muslims failing to assimilate are different in each of the countries. Some might even describe these clashes as cataclysmic in small more homogeneous nations like Austria, Belgium and Hungary.

The impact mass immigration from the middle east and Africa is having on these smaller European countries is not unlike the immigration crisis we are having in this country. Unfortunately, we, as Americans, are not having the debates Europeans are having because their elected officials have not sold their political souls to the never-ending job of raising money. Reasoned thought and compromise are no where to be found in American political debate. As such, it is time we begin to debate the issue of illegal immigration outside the realm of political expediency. It is time we debate the issue of illegal immigration outside the realm of racial animosity. It is time we debate the issues surrounding illegal immigration at the Second Constitutional Convention.

Never in history have so many Muslims migrated to the West. From Austria to Australia, this cultural clash is real and growing in intensity. It is growing because it is not only a clash pitting conservative Muslims against conservative Christians, it is pitting liberals against conservatives across the world. It is the escalating nature of the immigration debate that makes this clash of cultures so dangerous. We, as Americans, must recognize the realities of Muslim practices and customs across the globe just as we must come to terms with the important role immigration plays in our collective future. However, we must never forget that the liberty and right of self-determination of those who call America home is a national priority if only because these rights are guaranteed by the document so many have sworn to preserve and so many have died to protect. We, as Americans, can never allow the curtailing of these rights because a man’s religious beliefs allow him to arrange the marriage of his 11-year-old daughter or murder his 20-year-old daughter for demanding her right to self-determination.       

Much like Muslim immigration to Europe, the wave of illegal immigrants from Latin America and beyond is not just driving a wedge between liberals and conservatives but also dividing moderates and the fringe elements of the same party. This is a recipe for disaster especially in a time when government is hopelessly deadlocked. Unfortunately, honest debate is impossible for moderates when one party supports the position that for one to examine the real impacts of illegal immigration is evidence of racism or bigotry while the other party preaches that those who support open borders do so to promote far left policies aimed at increasing the ranks of loyal Democratic Party voters. As long as moderate conservatives are afraid to speak their minds for fear the media will label them racists and moderate liberals are afraid to speak their minds for fear of being labeled anti-American, the closer we come to nationwide civil unrest.

Allah Akbar III

The sexual mutilation of girls in Africa and the Middle East is well-documented. The sexual abuse of girls across the Islamic world is a matter of common knowledge. The physical abuse of women in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq and Egypt to name but a few Muslim countries has been the subject of many international aid organization’s investigations and reports since the attacks of September 11, 2001. The result of the past twenty years of reporting in Africa, Asia and the Middle East has been to exposure of Islam’s dirty secret: Sharia law. The efforts of many dedicated reporters to report on the realities of Sharia law has been rewarded by beheadings.

What is being done in the name of Islam is driving a wedge between Muslims and non-Muslims across the world. To many Westerners in general and Christians in particular, the practice of Sharia law is not consistent with the teachings of Jesus Christ or the customs and norms developed and embraced by peoples whose family histories are rooted in Christianity. If you doubt this assertion, the article below is offered as an example of what it means to be a boy in a Muslim land where Sharia law is the law. Once you have read the entire article, please engage your neighbors and co-workers on the topic of whether serial child rapists should receive billions in U.S. taxpayer dollars or whether those dollars would be better spent fixing the water systems of countless American cities.  

3 Afghan Schools, 165 Accounts of Students Being Raped

                By David Zucchino and Fatima Faizi (25 November 2019)

KABUL, Afghanistan — The 14-year-old Afghan boy said his teacher had asked him for “a little favor” in return for not failing him on his final exams. Then the man took him to the school library, locked the door and raped him, the boy said. At the same school, a 17-year-old boy reported similar treatment from the school’s principal. He said the man had threatened to kill him if he told anyone.

But the boys did talk, giving their accounts to a child advocacy group in their province and repeating them later in interviews with The New York Times. The advocacy group discovered that those two boys were not the only victims. From just three schools in one area of Logar Province, south of the Afghan capital, the group said it had taken statements from 165 boys who said they had been sexually abused at their schools, or by local officials they went to for help.

Now, Afghanistan is again caught up in discussion of rampant sexual abuse of children, and of a deep reluctance by many officials to deal with the issue at all. After talking with the TOLO news channel about the investigation, the leader of the Logar advocacy group, Mohammad Musa, and a colleague, Ehsanullah Hamidi, were detained by Afghanistan’s national intelligence agency late last week, the group says.

On Monday, former President Hamid Karzai said that if verified, the detention of Mr. Musa by the intelligence agency was “a very wrong thing.” A spokesman for the National Directorate of Security declined to comment Monday. Mr. Musa has not Been reachable for comment since late Thursday. Robert A. Destro, the assistant secretary of state, said on Twitter that the United States was closely following the case and was “greatly concerned.” He called on the Afghan government “to take action to protect survivors and bring perpetrators to justice.”

It is unclear whether the cases at the three schools are related. But the prevalence of systematic sexual abuse of boys in Afghanistan has been a problem for generations.  Bacha bazi — it means boy play — is common among men in powerful positions who keep boys as sex slaves. Bacha bazi boys are forced to dress as girls and to dance for men before being raped. Sometimes the boys are prostituted to the highest bidder.

In an interview with The New York Times this month, Mr. Musa said that his group — the Logar Youth, Social and Civil Institution — began intensively investigating after a troubling Facebook post in May that showed men with boys in sexual positions. One video provided by the group shows a teenage boy dancing barefoot for about two dozen men who stand or sit in a circle around him. The post came down quickly, Mr. Musa said, but the group was able to preserve many of the images. Some of the boys were recognizable, and had complained of sexual abuse before, he said.

The Logar group began methodically talking to students in the area, finding dozens who said they had been raped. Many of their accounts were confirmed by teachers or other people in the area, who along with four of the boys were also interviewed by The Times. As the accounts unfolded, at least seven boys who said they had been raped were found dead, Mr. Musa said, most likely at the hands of their own families. Mr. Musa said that the advocacy group took the boys’ statements to Logar provincial police, but that no action was taken. He said several boys who had agreed to be questioned by the police were subsequently raped by officers. Shapoor Ahmadzai, a spokesman for the Logar provincial police, said the accusations were false. “Nobody has come to the police for rape cases,” he said. “It’s just rumors.”

The Logar provincial governor, Mohammad Anwar Ashaqzai, said officials were examining boys’ statements provided by the advocacy group. He said he was not aware of any rapes in the province’s schools. “If we find these documents are incomplete and they are fake, then those who are involved will face the law and should be punished,” Mr. Ashaqzai said. Still, in response to the group’s accusations, the Ministry of Education in Kabul said on Nov. 14 that it was sending a delegation to the province to investigate.

In Logar, Shafiullah Afghanzai, the executive officer of Hamid Karzai high school, where the 14-year-old and the 17-year-old said they had been raped, told The Times that the school’s headmaster had been transferred to another district earlier this year after he was accused of sexually assaulting a boy. Mr. Afghanzai said boys had also been raped by teachers at two other schools in the province. He said three boys who had reported rapes were later killed by the Taliban, who condemn the sexual abuse as anti-Islamic. “If they get evidence that teachers were involved, they will hang them,” Mr. Afghanzai said of the militants. A Taliban spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.

Hassibullah Stanikzai, the head of the Logar provincial council, said the bodies of several boys had been found in areas of Logar under Taliban control. But he said there was no evidence that their deaths were related to sexual assault.

A teacher at one school in Logar, who asked to be identified only by his first name, Hamid, said he had spoken to 13 boys who said they had been raped by teachers there. He said the families of three of those boys had moved away to avoid the social stigma of rape, especially after images were posted on Facebook. “It’s a crisis,” Hamid said. “We want to do something to stop this mafia, but we don’t know what to do.”

Mr. Musa, of the advocacy group, said 25 families abandoned their homes in shame after their sons said they had been raped. In some cases, he said, the boys’ faces had been visible in images on the anonymous Facebook page before it was taken down.

In several cases, boys had been banished from home by their fathers, Mr. Musa said. “We don’t trust anyone, neither the Taliban nor the government,” Mr. Musa said. One school is in an area contested by the Taliban, and two are in government-controlled areas. Wakil Kaliwal, the head of the education department in Logar, said there were perhaps one or two cases of student rape in the province’s schools but no epidemic of sexual assault. He said the principal at Hamid Karzai high school had been transferred for beating a boy but also had been accused of raping another boy. Mr. Kaliwal added, referring to sexual assaults of boys: “It is an issue across the country and Logar isn’t exceptional.”

Mohammad Qasim Sediqqi, a member of the Logar provincial council, said there was no evidence of widespread rape in schools. “Maybe there are one or two cases, because this is Afghanistan and crime exists everywhere,” he said. President Ashraf Ghani, who is from Logar, promised in 2015 to crack down on bacha bazi. But pederasty is still widely tolerated in Afghan culture, and prosecutions of men who sexually assault boys are rare.

An investigation by The New York Times in 2015 found widespread sexual assault of boys by the Afghan security forces or others in power, and that the American military was reluctant to intervene. The article reported that an American captain was relieved of command and a first sergeant was pressured to retire after they confronted and shoved an Afghan militia commander who had raped a boy. That article led to a report by the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction on the military’s reticence to confront the abuse.

Afghanistan made bacha bazi and related offenses violations of the national criminal code in May 2017. The penalty for violating the code is up to three years in prison — three to five years if the dancing is “a public event.” If a teacher, instructor or “superior in any way is involved,” the penalty is five years in prison.

But Charu Lata Hogg, executive director of All Survivors Project, a human rights group based in Liechtenstein, said the group interviewed 24 male rape victims in four Afghan provinces, not including Logar. “We found that sexual violence against boys and young men is pervasive and happens within communities, police checkpoints and in detention settings,” Ms. Hogg said. She said her group welcomed the 2017 laws, but she added that the authorities must “apply the law and hold perpetrators to account.”

In a 2018 report, the United Nations documented 78 cases of sexual assault against boys in Afghanistan, adding, “Impunity for perpetrators remains a serious challenge.” Shaharzad Akbar, chair of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, called on the authorities to investigate the Logar allegations and prosecute anyone involved. She asked government officials to protect members of the advocacy group and refrain from “the language of fear and intimidation.”

Amnesty International warned that the two detained rights activists were at risk of torture “and other ill-treatment” as long as they remained in custody. Lyla Lynn Schwartz, who counsels victims of trauma in Afghanistan, including rape, said Afghan boys raped by men often suffer extreme emotional and psychological distress, often for the rest of their lives. The victims are often ostracized, or even attacked, by their family members over a perceived dishonor.

The 17-year-old from Hamid Karzai high school said in an interview that he was left homeless after his father banished him. He said he no longer attends school.

“My father says if he sees me again,” he said, “he will kill me.”