News Analysis

The best of the web: ISIS, fasting and false allegations


ISIS sparks conversion – to Christianity

Muslims in Syria are converting to Christianity because of the horrific violence of ISIS, wrote Yuliya Talmazan on

“If ISIS represents Islam, I don’t want to be a Muslim anymore,” said one young man who attends the Church of the Brethren in Kobani, a city on the Syrian-Turkish border. “Their God is not my God.”

“Most of the brothers here converted or come to church as a result of what ISIS did to them and to their families,” said Omar, an administrator at the Protestant church. “No one is forced to convert. Our weapon is the prayer, the spreading of spirit of love, brotherhood and tolerance.”

Jasim converted to Christianity a few months ago. He said he was tortured in ISIS captivity and forced to read the Koran. “After I witnessed their brutality with my own eyes, I started to be sceptical about my belief,” he said. “It didn’t take me long to discover that Christianity was the religion I was searching for.”

Another man, who saw teenagers being whipped on the streets for being caught smoking, said: “If heaven is made for ISIS and their belief, I would choose hell for myself instead of being again with them in the same place, even if it’s paradise.”

Why fasting is a necessary joy

On her blog “Charlotte was Both“, Amy Welborn quoted Dorothy Day’s thoughts on fasting.

“How many times fasting is enjoined in the Old Testament. Whenever there was war, as penalty for their sins, the Jews were told to fast, and to fast joyfully, not with long faces,” the founder of the Catholic Worker movement wrote in her column “On Pilgrimage”.

Day suggests we can do without “those unnecessary things which become habits” – cigarettes, alcohol, coffee, tea, sweets, soft drinks and unnecessary food.

“We all have these habits, the youngest and the oldest. And we have to die to ourselves in order to live, we have to put off the old man and put on Christ. That it is so hard, that it arouses so much opposition, serves to show what an accumulation there is in all of us of unnecessary desires.”

Couple spread false reports about priest

A French couple have been convicted of spreading false reports about a priest abusing minors, wrote Pierre Sautreuil at LaCroix International.

The couple wrote to Châlons prosecutor, Eric Virbel, a year ago, saying they had heard several runours about Fr François-Jérôme Leroy. Virbel investigated the claims, interviewing 20 witnesses and finding nothing to incriminate the priest.

“On the contrary, several witnesses affirmed that the couple had concocted the story. ‘It’s a web of lies,’ said one. ‘It was just a way to get rid of Fr Leroy with whom they were in conflict,’ said another. In fact, the Martins had been in a dispute over the cost of an apartment they were renting from the Foyer de Charité managed by Father Leroy.”

The couple, who insisted that they had acted “in good faith” and “with no intention to hurt” were given a three-month suspended sentence and a fine of €500.