With 45 percent of Iowa Republican voters undecided and a roller-coaster ride about to come to a screeching stop next Tuesday with the GOP caucuses, it may be Rick Santorum’s turn to take the final ascent and surprise the political class by … doing better than expected?
Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator, has been touted as the sleeper candidate by none other than 2008 Iowa caucuses winner Mike Huckabee. He has relentlessly campaigned in the state, hitting all 99 counties and moving his family out there. He has held 350 campaign events in the past year.
He has received key endorsements from well-known social conservatives in the state, and has had solid performances at each of the debates. And he’s running an old-school style campaign that Iowa voters expect in the retail-style politics of the Hawkeye State.
The man whose at the back of the polling pack — despite recent buzz giving him a late boost — is taking nothing for granted but has nothing to lose.
“My feeling is when you’re sitting last, if you can do better than that, that’s good,” he told Fox News.
Santorum said he’s got 1,000 caucus representatives in a contest with about 1,700 caucus locations. He acknowledges that means no official representative to make his case at each of the locations, but at “almost all of them, and no other campaign is going to have someone there who’s going to get up and speak on our behalf.”
Santorum, who claims organization and message will make the difference, is also banking on a divide and conquer strategy.
“There’s really three primaries going on here,” Santorum said. “Ron Paul has his own primary, the libertarian primary. And (Newt) Gingrich and (Mitt) Romney are sort of the establishment primary. And I think there are three who are vying for the conservative mantle to go up against the Gingrich-Romney duo. And I think that I’m going to be the one coming out Iowa with that mantle.
“And if we can do that, then we’re off to the races here, and conservatives around the country, just like they’re doing here in Iowa, are going to start rallying around our campaign,” he said.
A growing number of Christian (and even Hindu) girls are being raped and forced to marry and convert to Islam, according to Agenzia Fides (the information service of the Pontifical Mission Societies) via Continental News.
Hundreds of cases are filed each year with many more going unreported out of victims’ fear. In most reported cases, authorities refuse to prosecute the offenders.
For example, 14-year-old Sidra Bibi was reportedly abducted, raped, and impregnated by a Muslim man in her Pakistani village. When she went to local police, they reportedly would not accept her complaint and refused to investigate the crime.
The article points to numerous other examples, most of young Christian girls who catch the eye of local Muslim men. So why the trend? The site explains:
“The Christian girls are the weakest and most vulnerable, because their communities are poor, defenseless and marginalized, therefore easily exposed to harassment and threats. Often they do not even have the courage to denounce the violence” one sister told Fides.
Fides said in a society that tolerates discrimination of religious minorities, especially of women, the dominate religion and related social position are used to impose tyranny.
This tragic story follows on the heels of another The Blaze reported on just last week, which featured a graphic video a Coptic Christian girl being sexually assaulted in an attempt to Islamicize her.
This is a Catholic Church in Cordova, Spain. Sorry no Muslims allowed. Take your mat or towel and go pray to that factitious person you claim to be allah and do your chant in another region. There are symbols of crosses in that Church. This is a sacred to Catholics. They exercise the seven sacraments in that Church and the devote prayers to the Lord Jesus Christ, who died for our sins with the coming of the Holy Spirit.
A powerful bomb, possibly from a homicide attacker, exploded in front of a Coptic Christian church as a crowd of worshippers emerged from a New Years Mass early Saturday, killing at least 21 people and wounding nearly 80 in an attack that raised suspicions of an Al Qaeda role.
The attack came in the wake of repeated threats by Al Qaeda militants in Iraq to attack Egypt’s Christians. A direct Al Qaeda hand in the bombing would be a dramatic development, as Egypt’s government has long denied that the terror network has a significant presence in the country. Al Qaeda in Iraq has already been waging a campaign of violence against Christians in that country.
Police initially said the blast came from an explosives-packed car parked outside the Saints Church in the Mediterranean port city. But the Interior Ministry later said it was more likely from a bomber who blew himself up among the crowd.
Both tactics are hallmarks of Al Qaeda and have been rarely used in Egypt, where the government crushed an insurgency by Islamic militants in the 1990s. Though the government of President Hosni Mubarak denies an Al Qaeda presence, Egypt does have a rising movement of Islamic hard-liners who, while they do not advocate violence, adhere to an ideology similar in other ways to Al Qaeda. There have been fears they could be further radicalized amid growing sectarian tensions between Egypt’s Muslim majority and Christian minority.
Nearly 1,000 Christians were attending the New Year’s Mass at the Saints Church, said Father Mena Adel, a priest at the church. The service had just ended, and some worshippers were leaving the building when the bomb went off about a half hour after midnight, he said.
“The last thing I heard was a powerful explosion and then my ears went deaf,” Marco Boutros, a 17-year-old survivor, said from his hospital bed. “All I could see were body parts scattered all over — legs and bits of flesh.”
The Department of Homeland Security is trying to deport the son of a Hamas founder who told of his conversion to Christianity and decade of spying for Israel in a New York Times best-seller.
“Son of Hamas” author Mosab Hassan Yousef revealed on a blog hosted by his publisher he is scheduled to appear June 30 before Immigration Judge Rico J. Bartolomei at the DHS Immigration Court in San Diego.
Yousef said the DHS informed him Feb. 23, 2009, he was barred from asylum in the U.S. because there were reasonable grounds for believing he was “a danger to the security of the United States” and “engaged in terrorist activity.”
An incredulous Yousef said the U.S. government’s belief he is a terrorist is based on a complete misinterpretation of passages of his book in which he describes his work as a counterterrorism agent for the Israeli internal intelligence service Shin Bet.
Yousef said he’s not so much worried about himself as he is “outraged” about “a security system that is so primitive and naive that it endangers the lives of countless Americans.”
“If Homeland Security cannot tell the difference between a terrorist and a man who spent his life fighting terrorism, how can they protect their own people?” he asked in his blog post.
Yousef said whatever Judge Bartolomei decides will be appealed, “and this insane merry-go-round can go on like that for decades.”
Yousef’s asylum case – A 088 271 051 – was filed Aug. 22, 2007, about seven months after he arrived in the U.S. from Israel.
The office of DHS Senior Attorney Kerri Calcador, who is handling the case, referred WND’s request for comment to Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Lauren Mack, who said the agency is barred by policy from commenting, or even confirming or denying the existence of any case.
WND tried to reach Yousef for further comment, but he was not available.
As WND reported, Yousef worked alongside his father, Sheik Hassan Yousef, in the West Bank city of al-Ghaniya near Ramallah while secretly embracing Christian faith and serving as one of the top spies for Israel’s internal security arm. Yousef was recruited by Shin Bet in 1996 at the age of 18 while at an Israeli detention facility.
Since publicly declaring his faith in August 2008, he has been condemned by an al-Qaida-affiliated group and disowned by his family.
His chief Shin Bet handler, “Captain Loai,” has confirmed his account and praised him in media interviews for disrupting dozens of suicide bombings and assassination attempts by Hamas, saving hundreds of lives.
Yousef said he recently received a document from DHS in which attorney Calcador pointed to passages in his book as evidence of terrorist activity.
Calcador cites a passage in which she says “a member of Shin Bet shows the respondent a list of suspects implicated in a March 2001 suicide bombing and asks the respondent whether he knows the individuals. The respondent indicates that he does know five of the people on the list and states that he previously drove them to safe houses.”
In the DHS document, Calcador concludes, “At a bare minimum, evidence of the respondent’s transport of Hamas members to safe houses … indicates that the respondent provided material support to a [Tier I] terrorist organization.”
Yousef’s response: “Is she kidding? Either Homeland Security’s chief attorney has zero reading comprehension, or else she intentionally took the passage out of context. And I am not sure which is worse.”
Yousef explained his job as a Shin Bet agent required him to be involved with his father’s activities.
“So when he asked me to go with him to pick up these guys when they were released from the Palestinian Authority prison, I went,” he said.
He insisted that no one at the time – not his father or even Israel – knew the five men were involved in suicide bombings.
He further argued he was the one who later provided Israel the evidence that connected the men to the terrorist bombing at the Hebrew University cafeteria in July 2002.
“And Homeland Security would do well to remember that there were five American citizens among the dead,” Yousef said of the attack. “Apparently the agency needs also to be reminded that I was the one who located the terrorists and led to their arrest or death.”
For that, he said, Homeland Security “today tells me ‘thank you’ by trying to deport me!”
He explained it was “part of his job” to pose as a terrorist and participate in “terrorist meetings” with Palestinian leader Yassir Arafat, his father and other Hamas leaders.
“I passed on to the Shin Bet all the information I gathered during those meetings and saved the lives of many people – including many Americans,” he said.
‘Exposing the weaknesses’
Yousef said his intent for writing the blog post was to alert Americans to the danger they face.
“I believe that God is using this situation to expose the weaknesses of Homeland Security and to put pressure on it to make changes that can save lives and preserve freedom,” he said.
Hamas rally on 22nd anniversary in Gaza
He recalled that when he arrived in America Jan. 2, 2007, he “walked into the airport like anyone else on a tourist visa.”
When he went to the Homeland Security office seven months later, he said, he knocked on the door and told them, “Hey, guys, I am the son of Sheik Hassan Yousef, my father is involved in a terrorist organization, and I would like political asylum in your country.”
He said the officials were shocked.
“I wanted them to see that they have huge gaps in their security and their understanding of terrorism and make changes before it’s too late,” Yousef explained.
Yousef said that when DHS demanded evidence of his claims, he presented a draft of his book “Son of Hamas.”
“Surely this would make everything perfectly clear,” he thought. “They would discover that I was an intelligence agent, not a terrorist. That I tracked down terrorists and put them in prison. That I was an asset, not a threat.”
But Homeland Security, according to Yousef, doesn’t “get it.”
He said the FBI, in contrast, “has a much better understanding of terrorism and recognizes me as a valuable asset.”
“They told Homeland Security that I am not a threat and advised them to drop the case. But Homeland Security shut its eyes and stopped up its ears and told the FBI, ‘You have nothing to do with this. It is our job,'” Yousef said.
The agency’s performance, he asserted, “should worry the American people.”
“If Homeland Security cannot understand a simple story like mine, how can they be trusted with bigger issues?” he asked. “They seem to know only how to blindly follow rules and procedures. But to work intelligence, you have to be very creative. You have to accept exceptions. You need to be able to think beyond facts and circumstances.
“Homeland Security has absolutely no idea of the dangers that lie ahead,” he said.
‘Imagine suicide bombers in America’
He warned the U.S. is not prepared as al-Qaida adapts its strategy to lessons learned from terrorist groups like Hamas.
Suicide Bomber Hits Southern Israeli Town Of Dimona
“For nearly 30 years, I watched from the inside as Hamas dug its claws deeper and deeper into Israel. They started awkwardly, clumsily, but they got good at it. And al-Qaida is becoming more like Hamas,” he said.
The strategy of Hamas, Yousef explained, has always been to destroy Israel through a “slow bleeding war.”
“They don’t have nuclear bombs, so they send a suicide bomber here, another one there. And over the years, they severely damaged the economy and gave Israel a bad reputation all over the world,” Yousef said.
While al-Qaida began with massive attacks like 9/11, Osama bin Laden “understands how effective the Hamas strategy will be on American soil,” he said.
The U.S. has experienced nothing like Israel has endured, said Yousef, and the country is not ready.
“Try to imagine attacks by suicide bombers and car bombers, attacks on schools, in shopping malls, in the gridlock of rush-hour traffic, week after week, month after month, year after year, here and there, in big cities and rural towns,” he said.
“No one feels safe anywhere. There seems to be no reason behind the attacks, no pattern. Everyone is a target.”
Having been raised on the inside of this kind of environment, from both sides, he said he is only asking Homeland Security “to be humble and listen, so they can learn.”
“Exposing terrorist secrets and warning the world in my first book cost me everything,” he said. “I am a traitor to my people, disowned by my family, a man without a country. And now the country I came to for sanctuary is turning its back.”