A journalist with close ties to the Turkish President Recep Tayyib Erdogan claims that two "very important" imprisoned Islamic State members were freed by the Turkish government as part of the trade that caused ISIS, also known as ISIL, to release 49 hostages whom returned to Turkey on Saturday.
With Erdogan appearing before the Council on Foreign Relations on Monday in New York, many wondered how he and the Turkish government had gotten ISIS to free the hostages it secured when the group seized the Iraqi city of Mosul in June. Erdogan was asked about the hostages but gave vague responses providing nothing more than hints leaving many unanswered questions about what exactly Turkey gave up in return to the barbaric terrorist group that doesn't normally just willing let go of large groups of hostages.
During his visit to Albania and amid tightened security, Pope Francis on Sunday strongly condemned groups that pervert religion for violence under the guise of being "the armor of God." His comments come as the terror group Islamic State, or ISIS, continues to kill and abduct minorities in Iraq and Syria.
"Let no one consider themselves to be the 'armor' of God while planning and carrying out acts of violence and oppression," the pontiff said in his address to President Bujar Nishani of the majority Muslim country and other officials and religious leaders at Tirana's presidential palace.
"May no one use religion as a pretext for actions against human dignity and against the fundamental rights of every man and woman," The Associated Press quoted Francis as saying. "This is especially the case in these times where an authentic religious spirit is being perverted and where religious differences are being distorted and exploited." more >>
The new president of the Vatican Observatory Foundation has said that it is only a matter of time before alien life forms are discovered, which will pave the way to questions about God's relationship to intelligent beings outside our planet.
Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno speculated that the general public will not be too surprised when life on other planets is eventually discovered, and will react in much the same way it did when news broke in the '90s that there are other planets orbiting far off stars.
Consolmagno, a planetary scientist who has studied meteorites and asteroids as an astronomer with the Vatican Observatory since 1993, told Catholic News Service that discovery of alien life will not prove or disprove the existence of God, but will pave the way to questions on salvation and how it relates to intelligent species. more >>
Thousands of Russians marched through Moscow on Sunday in what was the first anti-war protest against President Vladimir Putin's actions in Ukraine. Some protesters held up signs asking the Russian president to "stop lying."
"The Peace March," as it is called, came as Putin's government continues to deny any responsibility for the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, where pro-Russian rebels in the eastern parts of the country have captured several cities.
The Evangelical Alliance of Scotland and the Church of Scotland are calling on the nation to build up the country with Christian values, as the path toward reconciliation began following the historic vote that went against independence from the U.K.
"During this campaign all Scots have rallied around a flag. But as Christians our identity is not based on a flag or a national boundary but on the radical grace of being adopted into God's family," Scottish National Director Fred Drummond said in a statement.
"Scotland and the U.K. will not be the same after this vote. We, the Evangelical Alliance and our member churches, stand ready to play our part," he continued. more >>
Church of England leader the Most Rev Justin Welby has admitted in a recent interview that he sometimes has doubts in God's existence. The Archbishop of Canterbury stressed, however, that there is room for doubt in faith, and that God remains faithful even when people are not.
Speaking during a recent visit at Bristol Cathedral, Welby told the congregation that sometimes he asks himself questions such as "Is there a God?" and "Where is God?"
The Archbishop of Canterbury pointed, however, to passages in the Bible that address the question of doubt. more >>