Iraqi pastor Abdi Ali Hamzah, also known as Pastor Jamal, has finally been released from prison after 21 months and will get the medical attention that he needs following what one ministry leader is calling an unprecedented move.
"It is by God's grace that this has been done," said Dr. Terry Law, founder and president of World Compassion Terry Law Ministries, who had campaigned for the pastor's release. "I don't think there is precedent for a former Muslim, converted to Christianity and proselytizing other Muslims, now convicted of a crime in an Iraqi court, to be released by 'private amnesty.' The odds against it were huge!"
Hamzah was arrested in July 2011 and initially sentenced to five years in Iraqi prison, with authorities trying to portray him as a spy for Iran. World Compassion has argued, however, that the charges were false, and that his capture had more to do with his evangelism – the pastor has helped Dr. Law distribute $100,000-worth of food to people in Iraq, risking his life as he went undercover to refugee villages. more >>
Archaeologists from Manchester University in England have made an exciting discovery near the ancient city of Ur in southern Iraq, home of the biblical Abraham, unearthing a large complex that could have been used for religious gatherings.
"This is a breathtaking find," said Professor Stuart Campbell, the leader of the university's Archaeology Department. What is remarkable about the sprawling complex, the team said in a statement, is that it extends 260 feet on each side, which is roughly the size of a football field.
"We provisionally date the site to around 2,000 B.C., the time of the sack of the city and the fall of the last Sumerian royal dynasty," Campbell told The Associated Press. "The surrounding countryside, now arid and desolate, was the birthplace of cities and of civilization about 5,000 years ago and home to the Sumerians and the later Babylonians." more >>
Secretary of State John Kerry confronted Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki for continuing to grant Iran access to its airspace, warning that Baghdad's behavior was raising questions about its reliability as a partner.
"I made it very clear that for those of us who are engaged in an effort to see [Syria's embattled] President Assad step down and to see a democratic process take hold … anything that supports President Assad is problematic," The Associated Press quoted Kerry as saying at a news conference at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad after meeting with Maliki at his office.
"And I made it very clear to the Prime Minister that the overflights from Iran are, in fact, helping to sustain President Assad and his regime," Kerry said, adding he and Maliki had "a very spirited discussion" on the Iranian flights, which Washington believe is ferrying weapons and fighters intended for the Syrian government. more >>
Iraq had 300 churches and 1.4 million Christians in 2003, but now only 57 churches and about half a million Christians remain with members of the minority fleeing Islamist attacks, according to local reports.
Patriarch Louis Sako of the Chaldean Church told Mideast Christian News the remaining 57 churches also continue to be targeted. The number of Christians has fallen from about 1,400,000 in 2003 to nearly half a million now, added William Warda, the head of the Hammurabi Human Rights Organization, a registered local non-governmental organization.
This means more than two-thirds have emigrated, Warda said. "The last ten years have been the worst for Iraqi Christians because they bore witness to the biggest exodus and migration in the history of Iraq." more >>
Pastor Abdi Ali Hamzah might be released from Iraqi prison after Dr. Terry Law of World Compassion Ministries met with high-ranking government officials and petitioned for his freedom.
"We need a continued focus of prayer over the next week or so as we continue to go through the appeal process," Jason Law, vice president of Operations and the son of Dr. Terry Law, shared in an email with The Christian Post on Friday. "We have high expectations for his release soon." more >>
A Christian pastor in Iraq being held in prison is suffering from urgent health problems and might die unless he receives immediate attention, a missionary organization says.
Pastor Abdi Ali Hamzah has been held in jail since July 2011, after he was arrested without charges in his home and sentenced to five years in prison. World Compassion Terry Law Ministries is seeking to raise urgent attention for a man who it says has put his life on the line going undercover to refugee villages and helping Dr. Terry Law distribute $100,000 dollar-worth of food to desperately hungry people in Iraq.
"He has been in prison for 18 months now, and before that we sent him to Jordan to have some gammanite surgery done," Jason Law, vice president of Operations and the son of Dr. Law, shared with The Christian Post on Thursday. "He had a tumor in his brain, and they believe that it is coming back. From our understanding, he is now in a prison hospital but is not really receiving the treatment and care that he needs." more >>