Hundreds of kidnapped Arab Christians have been ransomed, tortured, beheaded and killed over the past year, including a priest who was chopped into pieces, in attempts to raise funds for radical Islamic terror groups and to strike fear into the hearts of Christians across the Middle East and throughout the world.
"Christians have become a form [of] currency in this tragedy," John Newton told The Christian Post. Newton is spokesman for Catholic relief agency Aid to the Church in Need. "I know of one priest who was kidnapped for two months ... they asked for a ransom of $120,000, which the family managed to raise and deliver. ... But hours later, the priest was killed and his body cut up, with pieces of him sent in a box to the family."
The process of trying to free kidnapped priests poses a difficult challenge. In many cases, Christian organizations are left in the dark with little information on who the kidnappers are or where the victims are being held. more >>
ERBIL, Iraq — Thousands of displaced Arab refugees, including a large number of Christians and Yazidis, are continuing to flee Iraq following the Islamic State's mass execution of around 2,000 Iraqis in the city of Nineveh — followed by a series of car bombs in Baghdad on Monday — resulting in dozens of causalities, according to Reuters.
It's been one year since the Islamic State began its reign of terror in the Sinjar and Tal Afar districts of northern Iraq's Nineveh Province, which has included a hate-fueled campaign to wipe out Christians and Yazidis as well as other religious communities.
"Islamic State has unleashed untold misery and suffering on defenseless religious and ethnic communities, while destroying treasured religious and historical sites in both Iraq and Syria," said Robert P. George, chairman of the U.S.Commission on International Religious Freedom, last week. "Muslims, Christians, Yazidis, and others are all at risk. Due to IS's reign of terror, millions of people from Iraq and Syria have been forced to flee and now are refugees or internally displaced." more >>
Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley believes the U.S. government needs to be doing more to help protect the hundreds of thousands of victims of the Islamic State's "genocide" of Christians in Iraq and Syria.
At a time when President Barack Obama's State Department is doing very little to allow the scores of persecuted Iraqi and Syrian Christians to come and live legally and safely inside the United States, the 52-year-old former Maryland governor wrote in a Friday op-ed published by Detroit Free Press that there is "no excuse" for the United States' "inaction" on the issue of protecting the endangered Middle Eastern Christian and religious minority communities.
"'Genocide' is not a word to be used lightly. But it is not hyperbole to say Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq and Syria face genocide at the hands of ISIS today," O'Malley, a practicing Catholic, wrote. "In the face of unthinkable terrorism and bloodletting on the basis of religion and ethnicity alone, the U.S. must do more to protect the Middle East's religious minorities from extremists committed to their annihilation." more >>
Tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians who have fled the Islamic State terror group to neighboring countries such as Jordan have said they are stuck in limbo, with nowhere to go and limited ways to provide a living. Pope Francis has condemned the world's silence on the issue, while an Iraqi archbishop has said that Christians in the region are hated because they want to keep hold of their faith.
"The Church is unable to offer and guarantee the fundamental security that its members need to thrive. It is no secret that hatred of minorities has intensified in certain quarters over the past few years. It is difficult to understand this hate. We are hated because we persist in wanting to exist as Christians. In other words, we are hated because we persist in demanding a basic human right," His Exc. Mgr. Bashar Matti Warda, C.SS.R., Archbishop of Erbil, said in a statement to Fides News Agency.
The Associated Press reported on Sunday that close to 7,000 Christians from northern Iraq alone have fled to Jordan. They have not been granted permission to work and have not been resettled to the West as hoped, leaving them in a state of limbo. more >>
A United Nations official has confirmed the existence of an Islamic State sex slave price list that is distributed in Iraq and Syria to regulate how much enslaved women and children are sold for in the caliphate's slave markets.
United Nations special envoy on sexual violence in conflict, Zainab Bangura, recently told Bloomberg that while she was visiting Iraq last spring, she obtained a copy of an IS, also known as ISIS or ISIL, pamphlet that lists the varying prices for the different age ranges of enslaved women and children.
According to the list, which Bangura deemed authentically produced by IS and representative of real transactions, small children fetch the most money, with little girls being sold for as much as $165. more >>
A new recruitment document thought to be a product of the Islamic State discusses how the terrorist group plans to bring about "the end of the word" by building up its operations inside Pakistan and Afghanistan and then attacking India to instigate a "final battle" between the Muslim community and Western nations.
The 32-page document, written in Urdu, is titled "A Brief History of the Islamic State Caliphate, The Caliphate According to the Prophet" and was discovered in Pakistan's lawless tribal lands.
Obtained by the American Media Institute through a Pakistani citizen with ties to the Pakistani Taliban, the document purports to show the Islamic State's plans to attack U.S. troops as they withdraw from Afghanistan and plans to target U.S. diplomats and Pakistani officials. more >>