Pope Francis is sending a Cardinal to Iraq to offer support to Christians fleeing the country amid intensified persecution from Islamic militant group ISIS.
Cardinal Fernando Filoni, a former papal nuncio to Iraq, will go to the country to "show the Pope's solidarity with the suffering of the population," spokesman Federico Lombardi said, according to the American Foreign Press.
Pope Francis has been vocal about his support for Christians being persecuted and has called for the Catholic Church to offer help however it can. more >>
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest announced Friday that while the U.S. military might be conducting additional airstrikes Friday and over the weekend, he reiterated President Obama's statement on the humanitarian crisis in Iraq that the U.S. "will not be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq."
Earnest said during the White House daily briefing that the authorization Obama has given for military action is "very limited in scope," and didn't provide information on the possibility of additional military operations following the airstrike the Department of Defense confirmed Friday morning had already been carried out.
The protection of American military and diplomatic officials in Arbil is the administration's top priority, said Earnest, who added that their protection merits the use of military force. more >>
President Barack Obama announced Thursday night at the White House that the U.S. military will engage in targeted airstrikes against Islamic State terrorist convoys in Iraq if they advance toward the U.S. embassy in Baghdad or the consulate in Arbil.
Obama emphasized that while he believes the "U.S.cannot and should not intervene every time there's a crisis in the world," he said his administration is taking action in this case to help "avert a massacre."
"In recent days, these terrorists have continued to move across Iraq, and have neared the city of Arbil, where American diplomats and civilians serve at our consulate and American military personnel advise Iraqi forces," Obama said. "We're also providing emergency assistance to the Iraqi government and Kurdish forces so they can more effectively wage the fight against ISIL." more >>
The end of Christianity in Iraq could be "very near" according to Canon Andrew White, the vicar of the only Anglican church in Iraq, as Islamic militants continue their attacks of Christians and the central government.
"Things are so desperate, our people are disappearing," White said in an interview with BBC Radio 4 over the weekend. "We have had people massacred, their heads chopped off.
"Are we seeing the end of Christianity? We are committed come what may, we will keep going to the end, but it looks as though the end could be very near." more >>
A revered Muslim shrine in Mosul, Iraq, said to be the burial place of the biblical prophet Jonah known as Yunus in the Koran, was reportedly blown "to dust" by members of the jihadist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Thursday.
"Islamic State completely destroyed the shrine of Nabi Yunus after telling local families to stay away and closing the roads to a distance of 500 meters from the shrine," an official at the Sunni endowment, which manages Sunni religious affairs in Iraq told AFP.
The official who asked not to be identified said the militants took an hour to rig the shrine before levelling it to the ground. He explained that other notable shrines had also been destroyed by ISIS: "But the worst destruction was of Nabi Yunus, which has been turned to dust." more >>
Members of a militant Islamic group is demanding shopkeepers to cover their store mannequins with full-face veils to abide by the strict Islamic teaching regarding the human form.
Local residents of Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, have told international media outlets that members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), now called the Islamic State, have demanded local shopkeepers to cover both male and female mannequins with veils. This mandate coincides with a strict interpretation of Shariah law that forbids artwork and statues depicting the human form.