Beyond the Cusp

November 12, 2017

Of Science, Christianity, Jews, War, Demography and Islam

 

We can cover the initial item, the war against the Jewish People, with a simple recognition of historical fact which has become so well known and uncontestable, as stated in the Passover Haggadah, “In every generation one rises up against us.” That simple sentence states the minimal condition where there is one person who will rise up and call for our murders. The unstated and unfortunate reality is that one is often a political leader, a leader of a nation, or the dictator of an empire who is the one rising to destroy us. The list is filled with illustrious names of their eras with names such as Pharos Ramses I and Pharos Ramses II, Haman, Nebuchadnezzar, King Ahasuerus, Tsar Nicholas II, Ottoman rulers Sultan Mehmed I, Mehmed II, Suleiman I, Mustafa I, Murad IV, Suleiman II, Mahmud I, Abdülhamid I, Mehmed V, Musa Çelebi and the remainder of the Ottoman leadership throughout the ranks all used the Jews to fund their positions. This continued from invader to invader and foreign rulers and dispersion sent Jews throughout the Roman and later the Ottoman Empires and beyond to every corner of the globe driven most often through the necessity to flee pogroms, rioting or genocidal efforts to destroy the small minority of Jews within almost every border.

 

Probably the least obvious but greatest surprise was the reaction by the Japanese High Command when visiting Nazi SS officers demanded that the Japanese release their Jews and send them to the German death camps. The Japanese flatly refused the German demands threatening to turn against Germany should these demands persist. The Nazi officers left empty handed and with much challenged authority after having their wings clipped. The Palestinians and their Arab and Iranian backers are the most evident threat to Jews with many others in the background ready to launch into the picture. Anti-Semitism has returned across much of the globe including Europe, Russia, the Arab World and even to include the United States and the rest of the Developed World. The new anti-Semitism includes two new forms, anti-Israelism and anti-Zionism. The sad part is that many far left Jews are what are referred to as Post-Zionists who no longer believe in a Jewish nation and instead call for a joint nation allowing all the Arabs claiming to have been dispossessed to return with full rights. The small problem is that under their solutions, hundreds of thousands of Arabs claiming refugee status would take advantage of the opportunity to move to the area and live in an area where the economy functions. These Arabs would far outnumber the Jews who would soon find Arab rule destroying their efforts and stealing all that has been built leading to their eventual destruction. Israel would be dissolved and the Jews fleeing or dead should such a plan ever be enacted. The problem is the leftist parties already within the Israeli governance who are willing to do whatever it takes to get into power and enact just such a dream under the idea of solving the problems. There are two ways of solving problems, allow the problem to win or to continue the limited immigration rather than opening the floodgates and surrendering to the coming destruction of all which has been built.

 

All right, so the Jews have been persecuted in both the Muslim and Christian worlds nearly constantly and before by the major idolatrous powers for close to four thousand years should one include the exile in Egypt which was where distrust of the Jews, known then as the Hebrews, first began and has continued unabated ever since. But the Christians have controlled almost half of the world for the past eighteen centuries, how are they now included as persecuted? That is an easy one to answer, there was the remainder of the world which they did not control and sometimes they suffered from Christian upon Christian violence such as the War of the Roses. the Hundred Years’ War, Second Hundred Years’ War (the first lasted 116 years and the second lasted 126 years), the Eighty Years’ War and the entirety of the Catholic-Protestant wars including the Thirty Years’ War and more all of which were ended by the treaties named the Peace of Münster and the Peace of Westphalia. Another war which has taken many forms and been fought on many fronts have been the wars between the ever expanding Islamic forces against Christendom which started as early as 622 AD or 625 AD (see map below) depending on the source, but all sources would agree that Christianity was being conquered by Islam and was well underway by 650 AD (see map below). This war is still being fought today, at least by Islam even if not by Christendom.

 

Christian World 500AD

Christian World 500AD

 

 

Islamic Conquests Under the Caliphs

Islamic Conquests Under the Caliphs

 

Christianity has been facing an even more insidious encroachment which has been eating at it from within. This has been the modernization and the growing Secular Humanism belief where there is no longer any reason to believe in a Supreme Being as technology and science have described most of what was originally attributed to the gods or to a Supreme Being. The rest of the reasoning for Secular Humanism claims that humans can act honestly and ethically without any expectations of rewards or punishments from any higher source. The only need is to rely on ourselves, our better inclinations, the laws we write, and the communal expectations and limits which are mutually agreed upon to prevent actions which would be deemed undesirable. Should we have any problems, those can be resolved through government actions and laws which will become the new guides as to how we live our lives. The new guardians of our humanity will be the new anointed ones in long robes, the judiciary, which will act by the cold application of the laws. This revolution has all but stripped the heart out of Christian Europe leaving it without the steadying guidance of a traditional set of moral truths which have been replaced by what one would expect of any faith where mankind is the highest moral judge, hedonism. This hedonistic value system which places the personal freedom and pleasures above any other expectation has led to a precipitous drop in the reproductive rate leaving Europe, including Russia, with a steadily declining population which has an ever increasing average age as in many instances the reproductive rate has fallen to 1.5 births per woman or even lower. Some examples include Moldova and Portugal with 1.2 births per woman; Bosnia-Herzegovina, Greece, Poland and Spain at 1.3 births per woman; Cyprus, Hungary, Italy, Malta and Slovakia at 1.4 births per woman; Austria, Bulgaria, Channel Islands, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Switzerland and the Ukraine at 1.5 births per woman. The replacement rate in the developed world is 2.1 births per woman with it reaching as high as 3.4 births per woman in some developing countries with higher infant mortality rates and with the global average being 2.33 births per woman. Modernity and the related influences have also had an effect upon the Islamic world or, as some have theorized, the conditions have grown unbearable to the point that people no longer desire to bring children into this world in these countries which does not explain why their birth rates were so much higher ten, twenty, thirty and fifty years ago. The evidence is the introduction of electricity, television, modern comforts and conveniences have brought the same problems to the Islamic world as it develops as it has the Christian world though in the Islamic world none dare claim they are Secular Humanists for fear of being executed. The other variable is education and literacy. These are related issues and for the majority of MENA nations, they have just started to witness changes in these areas. Below we have a graph of the literacy rates for women aged fifteen to twenty-four years of age in Oman, Iran, Algeria, Egypt and Morocco as these are the prime start of childbearing ages and increased literacy usually leads to higher grade education and even increased college admissions which raise the age of initial childbearing thus lowering the average number of births per woman in a nation.

 

Literacy in Oman, Iran, Algeria, Egypt and Morocco

Literacy in Oman, Iran, Algeria, Egypt and Morocco

 

Where this will make a difference in the future is with lower births, Islam will soon approach or possibly equal Christians in reproductive rates and thus an equilibrium will have been met. The main factor which has spurred the recent upsurge in Islamic expansion was a combination of retaining high reproductive rates while experiencing lower infant mortality rates thus leading to a rapid increase in populations which strained the economic growth, or lack thereof, across the MENA states. This was brought on with the introduction of modern medical facilities in many if not most of the major cities thus providing better prenatal and post-birth care resulting in lower infant mortality and better reproductive health for the women as well. But modernity has started to catch up in the form of education and literacy which has provided women with more information and a greater opportunity to work and find economic improvement. These are items which most often have produced dropping reproductive rates in nations worldwide. The MENA nations of the Muslim world are no different. With a more steady population returning, these nations are not going to be likely to feel any need for expansionist policies nor will they be demanding greater ability for their excess population to migrate into Europe and the rest of the developed world. Further, as their world develops they will find the need to retain their populations, especially their now educated population, and this will lessen their pressures on the rest of the world. This will lessen the pressures Islam has been pressing on the Christian world and the lines will remain drawn as they currently are with hopefully a lessening in the levels of violence experienced in these regions, particularly the African Transition Zone (see map below) where some of the greatest Islamic-Christian conflicts have occurred.

 

African Transition Zone

African Transition Zone

 

This will still leave the threats posed by the increasing Secular Humanism but there may even be a light in the darkness here as well. The last centuries have seen science remove much of the mysteries in our lives and explain away things we thought mystical removing their magic and cementing explanations. Now the scientists are really getting into the very fabric which our universe consists of and they are finding some things which are changing opinions and the argument. The first item was the realization that had any of numerous constants been different by even less than one single percentage point in relationship with all of the others, then our universe would have been very different or not have existed at all. Even had it simply been different, that would still have made lifeforms, such as ourselves, impossible, and that does put a different look to things. We are now realizing how extremely special and precious our universe actually is and that it appears in many ways to have been designed especially for life to exist. Still, even with such a design we are realizing that intelligent life, if that is what we qualify as being, may not be anywhere near as abundant and actually so special that there may only be a small number of other intelligent species in our galaxy if even one other and even so, they may not exist in our time frame. We are starting to see that we may be the only intelligent life in the Milky Way at this time and as such, we may not find other intelligent life with whom we would have anything in common. It may be that if there is another intelligent lifeform, they have colonized other star systems and are so far advanced from us that we would have nothing in common, and we would be fortunate if they even considered us intelligent. On the other hand, we may be the first and foremost intelligent lifeform and should we reach the point of colonizing other star systems, then when the next intelligent lifeform evolves, we might be so far in advance of them that we would not realize their being intelligent, though we would probably think so much of ourselves that we would posit we would be capable of realizing their intelligence. Our lack of ability to see the abilities of animals on our own planet does place this in danger.

 

What does any of this have to do with the threats to Christianity and Judaism or belief in a Supreme Being at all? What would be the result of science proving that there was an actual intelligent design to the universe? What happens when science postulates the existence of a Supreme Being which came before and may very well exist currently and will continue existing even after our universe dies? Does that definition sound familiar to anybody? Should science, or a fair number of scientists which has already begun, start to make an argument, then religion, Judaism and Christianity would find their beliefs becoming more aligned with science, actually, it would be science becoming aligned with them, and this could benefit both sides of that equation. There will always be those areas of doubt where science has yet to assign numbers and equations and is still somewhat fuzzy on what is occurring, but we are not referring to using lack of knowledge as the reasoning for Supreme Being. What we are referencing is that science will have found formulations and such proofs and items which point to there being a necessity for an ordering intelligence to the universe and that this creates the need in science for a Supreme Being. Professor Einstein believed in the existence of an ordering logic behind the universe and was a believer in Hashem. His belief may not have fit with your average Rabbi, Priest, Minister or Cleric, but at least he saw a necessary place for such belief. We know that Physicist Stephen Hawking is a doubter who does not believe or find any need for a Supreme Being. But what can you expect for a person who also lends his name to the BDS Israel campaign, which is an attempt to economically cripple the Jewish State. Guess one could say that Stephen Hawking and the Supreme Being are not in agreement, and we know on which side with which we prefer to reside. But, science is growing closer to religion and religion has learned from their mistakes and has left room for science, being assured in their belief that the proof is out there. Christianity can take faith from the fact that the Jews remain a force in the world that there is hope for them to have similar lasting power providing they remain open to ideas and willing to meet facts with reasonable skepticism and sufficient confidence to admit when perhaps they had made an error in their previous position. We can only hope that the world of science can be equally acceptive and honest.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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July 31, 2017

Our Worlds Are in a Mess and Clashing

 

Part I

 

Link to Part II

 

The Western World is seemingly in a death spiral while the Eastern Worlds are struggling with ideas the West cast off at the end of colonialism and Israel is caught in the middle. The Eastern World and Developing World are easily assessed as they are at the beginning point the West has already progressed past. Africa, central and much of southern, are still living largely off resources and selling such on the world market and subsistence farming with small amounts of true agricultural farming. The greatest of harms has been done to Africa as they have received massive shipments of food in the forms of wheat and other crops which would have been more productive had they grown the crops themselves. As their economy was basically agrarian, shipping them food was starving their economy thus making investments impossible as there was no venture capital with which to develop further. Basically, the Western World, whether through neglect, ignorance or an actual attempt to impede development, took away the one industry which Africa was suited to utilize for their own development. This left them with their farmers starving having to farm for their own families’ existence instead of farming to feed their own cities and thus form a solid backbone from which their economies could base growth. This has left Africa as a vastly underdeveloped continent surviving by selling off their natural resources instead of developing their own infrastructure to ready themselves to introduce industrial economic development. So while they sell their ore, their gems, their precious metals and every other item they can mine or find, they are actually stealing their own future to pay for the society today and that is a recipe for ruin.

 

The area known as MENA (Middle East and North Africa) is not in much better shape economically. Their economies are based on oil and drugs depending on the country. The few which are not able or willing to rely on either of those resources are living off base level industry, tourism, the good graces of an oil rich sponsor or some combination thereof. Egypt is such an example, as are many of the North African nations, has meager industrial base, a natural tourist industry with the Pyramids of Giza and other ancient wonders and a small oil market which also provides sufficient energy for the country to operate. Egypt could develop an industrial fishing economy and does receive funds from passage of commerce through the Suez Canal but still relies largely on the United States and Saudi Arabia to keep her solvent. The rest of the North African nations are at some level of poverty or worse, in complete melt-down as is Libya where tribal forces compete for the right to claim they rule the country when in reality it is nothing more than tribal influences vying for land and terrorist training areas taking advantage of the lack of governmental military force to prevent such. Along the entirety of the border with Central Africa there is a low level warfare going on with the most notable area being split between the war by proxy the Sudan is waging against the separative South Sudan and the regions being torn apart by terrorist violence by Boko Haram centered upon Nigeria where a little over a week ago at least twelve people were killed following two suicide blasts in the Maiduguri area of northeastern Nigeria and at the start of this month Boko Haram militants killed nine and abducted dozens more in southern Niger where attackers rode camels into the village of Ngalewa, about fifty kilometers north of the border with Nigeria. Such violence goes all but unreported in Western news as if this area of extreme and brutal violence is not important when the nations fighting these struggles cannot develop properly in such an atmosphere. This zone is known euphemistically as the African Transition Zone (pictured below). This zone also is the demarcation line between the Islamic World and that of Christian and African Traditional Religion. This is a war which deserves recognition beyond that of the Coptic Christians though they are an important segment of this struggle of non-Islamic faiths which are bordering the Islamic World.

 

African Transition Zone

African Transition Zone

 

The Middle East has its share of difficulties starting with the focal point of Syria. Syria, along with Yemen, defines the main struggle in the area, Sunni Islam against Shiite Islam. This battle has raged off and on since the death of Muhammad and is once again coming to the foreground. The main impetus behind Shiite Islam is Iran which currently includes much of southern Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. This area can be referred to as the Shiite Crescent (pictured below) and connects the Indian Ocean with the Mediterranean Sea granting an overland route which circumvents the Suez Canal. Such is important as should Iran take full control of Yemen they will control both choke points, the Straights of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, the main oil route from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, and the Bab el Mandeb which controls the exit from the Red Sea through the Gulf of Aden into the Indian Ocean which also cuts off the Suez Canal and the Israeli southern port of Eilat. Blocking these two choke points is what makes a land route to the Mediterranean Sea so important. Saudi Arabia could benefit from an oil pipeline across her width to the Red Sea but they would need to build a port capable of handling tankers or they could use the Israeli ports which have such capabilities if only they recognized that such an entity existed. The Saudi Port of Jeddah would also suffice but such would be susceptible to Egyptian control of the Suez Canal where using Israel would likely cost recognition and Saudi pressure to end the Arab-Israeli conflict and end the Arab Palestinian war to eliminate Israel through all means usable. For the meantime, Saudi Arabia is more than happy to keep the pressures on Israel preventing her from developing even faster. All the while, we have the heart of the Islamic World across MENA which saw itself go from the leaders in the world to the losers in the world with the Industrial Revolution in the Western World. What is most interesting is the Islamic World refuses to believe that they fell behind and hold the West as responsible for their lost primacy and have sworn to bring the Western World down, and are making great headway as the West does little or actually aid the Islamic World in this endeavor.

 

Strait of Hormuz and Bab-el-Mandeb Strait

Strait of Hormuz and Bab-el-Mandeb Strait

 

The Far East has one eight-ton gorilla and some interesting, in a warped way, other actors. The main force emerging from the Far East is China. What is mostly ignored is right behind China we have India. India is simply working quietly in harmony with all around her with the exception of Pakistan (border with Islam) and a conflict over border claims around the region of Doklam, where Chinese and Indian forces remain locked in a stand-off sparked by a road construction project in a disputed border area shared with Bhutan. This is an old rivalry going back long before modern history with these two being the central powers in this region for much of human history. What will make this more interesting is that India is expected to surpass China as the most populous nation sometime this century. Also in this area is our favorite nut-job, North Korea’s Kim Jong-un who, as we have reported over the past two weeks, is developing missiles and well on his way to ICBM’s capable of striking anywhere on the planet and the nuclear warheads to place atop these missiles. North Korea is a menace which China appears unwilling or unable of reining in which could lead to open warfare if one side blinks at the wrong time or is caught winking when they should have been eyes front. Any misreading by either side, and especially the mentally less than stable Kim Jong-un, could result in a nuclear war whose expanse will be determined by that which the North Korean dictator can reach with his missiles. North Korea is suspected of working with Iran which means that Kim Jong-un could have a fleet of ballistic missile carrying freighters ready to launch at coastal cities leaving them mere minutes if not seconds to react before being struck by a nuclear warhead. And, of course, both South Korea and Japan, two of North Korea’s main enemies after the United States, are both within striking distance already and are obviously nervous.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

June 8, 2017

The Christian Situation

 

There are a number of different peoples who have problems in the Islamic Middle East and North Africa (MENA). One of the most covered is Israel where over half the world’s Jews reside and are in mortal danger in one way or another every single day, especially with the missiles and weapons of mass destruction held by Iran. Another group which has gotten its fair share is the Kurds who despite being largely Muslim are not accepted well by their Arab coreligionists. But there is one group that unless there has been some heinous act of barbarity or one particular group is facing a special situation, they are mostly ignored. These groups are the many different types of Christians. We spend much of our time here at BTC on Israel and the United States as that is where much of the news coverage emanates from and where we do or have lived. Today we will go a little afield of this and try to give this particular message about the Christians some attention. The first thing people need to realize are who these disparate groups of Christians are. We will list those we know of and where they predominantly reside. There are the Coptic Christians who largely reside in Egypt, the Maronite Christians living mostly in Lebanon, the Chaldeans (also known as Kaldaye and Kaldanaye) who are a form of Catholics and reside largely in Iraq, the Assyrian Christians who obviously reside mostly in Syria but also into Iraq, the Yazidis Christians who are a derivative of the Kurdish peoples and like them reside mostly in Syria and Iraq, and then there are other smaller groups of Christians throughout the MENA area and also those Christians throughout the world who reside on the borders of Islam where there is often frictions and even terrorism and outright warfare placing all civilians in danger in the area. The sad news is that almost all Christian communities in the MENA regions in every nation are facing falling populations as they are facing the contempt and violence which before them was inflicted on the Jews. The Jews have all but left the MENA nations, which is why the Christians are now facing these harassments, as these nations purge their populations of the non-believers, those not following Islam. As this purge continues, these populations will reach a critical point where the Muslims will feel it easiest to force their conversions or simply murder them, the choice between Islam and death. When this point is reached, any remaining Jews will be grouped right along with the Christians and executed if they refuse to convert. Even conversion will not end the strife as once converted they will be scrutinized by their fellow Muslims for any breach in their observance or appearance of still keeping to their former religion. All of these supposed transgressions will be met with death as notice to the remainder to remain pure and diligent in their newly adopted faith of Islam.

 

Levels of Christian Persecution Within MENA

 

It should be noted that there is one nation where the Christian population is healthy and growing and that is Israel as there is true freedom of religion in Israel and all religions are recognized and accommodated including Islam (both Sunni and Shiite), Christianity (all the above mentioned and almost every other form of Christianity found on Earth), Baha’I, Hindu, Buddhist, Animist, Druze, Atheist and other less well known religions. Outside of Israel, the story is mostly not as kind. In Syria and the areas ruled by Islamic State, it is unsafe for people in general, and for non-Muslims, it gets even more treacherous, with the danger becoming critical in a moment, and with little warning. In Iraq, there is sectarian violence between Sunni and Shiite Islam yet they still find time to make being a Christian a dangerous religious choice. Some groups of Christians have made themselves useful to the ruling form of Islam in their area and are thus treated as protected, but this protection will only last for as long as these Christians are filling that niche needed by the Islamic believers. Often this takes the position of being able to cross certain otherwise uncrossable areas to take messages to those Muslims who are kin to the ones protecting these Christians, as they are able to cross the frontier between two warring sects of Muslims delivering their messages or other packages. This also permits getting messages into the prisons as Christians often have relatives imprisoned giving them reason to visit and then the system in place within the prison takes over and the message will get to the intended. Being a Christian in an Islamic world, specially now with Islam becoming resurgent and thus more aware of their Islamists becoming more brutal in their means of rulership with Sunnis warring with Shiites and vice-versa, their lives are more fragile than the finest china. The one item they both do agree upon is that non-Muslims, those not following their version of Islam, must be converted or eradicated. This has placed some of the smaller sects of Islam, such as the Kurds, the Kharijites or the Sufri and any other small Islamic sects in mortal danger. Eventually, if permitted to take its course, Islam would face a final battle for the good of Islam where either Sunni or Shiite will prevail proving them the beloved of Allah as Allah rewards strength and abhors weakness.

 

MENA Refugees Admitted United States by Year and Religious Breakdown

 

The recent strikes against Coptic Christians in Egypt being responded to by the Egyptian military air strikes on the training facilities for those terror groups identified who struck these Coptic Christian communities is a new and welcome face for Islam and is a good indicator that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has at least his nation heading in a proper direction. And there are other signs that a new era may be emerging in the world of Islam. This will be due in no small part to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi as well as the recent visit by United States President Trump who read fifty national leaders about their responsibilities and taking a lead in transforming Islam for the modern era. One cannot know exactly what President Trump said to these fifty leaders behind closed doors, but if their actions against Qatar, which forced them to expel certain Hamas individuals who had been hiding in a safe house within their borders, are any indicator, that message was received and they are intending initially to comply. The pressure was placed on Qatar by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. This was an immediate response to President Trump’s strong message that there was a role which the Arab and Muslim world must take if they are hoping to distance themselves from radical Islamic terrorism and be a part of the solution, not the problem. This should also, with time, force them to be more accepting of others starting with other varieties of Islam and finally other religions and recognizing their right to exist.

 

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi could be a chapter if this were a book. His actions place him as the leader of these changes which the Royal Family of Saudi Arabia will need to set their sites on meeting if not exceeding his actions and examples, which will be a test for them. Egyptian President el-Sisi has addressed Al-Azhar University in Cairo, the leading Sunni institution of higher education in the world, and both times demanded that they bring their curriculum into the modern age and teach tolerance and stay away from the imperative for Islam to rule the world but instead teach that Islam should become a major contributor to improving the world and gaining adherents through their good and beneficial actions rather than the old message of conquest and conversion by the sword. It appears that his pressures are paying dividends, as we mentioned yesterday, in that Al-Azhar University has hired their first non-Muslim professor who is going to teach in their medical school. Where this is but a small step, every journey into change and reaching into the future, or even the present as in this case, starts with that first step no matter how small or how timid, that first step is always the most difficult. We can feel certain that President el-Sisi will keep the pressure on for change and modernization. He has stated that modernization of Egypt is his eventual aim and towards that end he will be instituting a basic education package which all schools must teach which will include literacy in that all students can read and write with a degree of proficiency and that they also be taught basic math and sciences and that these prerogatives be accepted in the Madrasa and move from simply teaching the memorization of the Quran and enter into teaching a modern set of assignments such that the Egyptian people will be capable of working within an advanced society and perform factory work and higher level work and that Egypt transcend from their current 73% reaching 100% as their immediate goal.

 

Here is a list of illiteracy rates for the population over fifteen years of age in the MENA nations; Afghanistan 72%, Pakistan 50%, Mauritania 49%, Morocco 48%, Yemen 46%, Sudan 39%, Djibouti 32%, Algeria 30%, Iraq 26%, Tunisia 25.7%, Egypt 28%, Comoros 25%, Syria 19%, Oman 18%, Iran 17.6%, Saudi Arabia 17.1%, Libya 16%, Bahrain 13%, Turkey 12.6%, Lebanon 12%, U.A.E. 11.3%, Qatar 11%, Jordan 9%, Kuwait 7%, Israel 3%, Azerbaijan 1.2%, and Armenia 1%. As is noticeable, some of the nations have abhorrent and rampant illiteracy while more than one might initially expect have high literacy rates but overall they could all use improvement. These numbers show the results of efforts as over the past twenty-seven years the trend has been noted and significant with literacy rising from 59% in 1990 to 78% in 2010 on average across the MENA nations. Below is a graph depicting results in basic math skills in some Arab nations where testing has been conducted.

 

TIMSS 2011

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

In closing we are going to share a video titled “Christians At Risk in Iraq Urgently Need Your Help” from the Knights of Columbus Supreme Council. We will mention ahead of time that this is a request for funding but may still be of interest as information and of course, those wishing to assist in these efforts will find this useful, or at least this is our hope.

 

 

 

 

 

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