After attending an event that promoted peace in Jerusalem last weekend, the Rev. Canon Andrew White, the "Vicar of Baghdad", is delaying his return to Baghdad after he was told that his life is in danger as Islamic State forces close in on Iraq's capital city.
Canon White, the vicar of St. George's Church in Baghdad, the only Anglican church in the country, explains in a Facebook post on Sunday that he was instructed by the leader of the Anglican church that it is best for him to stay out of Baghdad as he would be a marked target should ISIS breach the city. White, who is also the president of the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East, left Baghdad last weekend to attend the "Pray of the Peace of Jerusalem" event, a cross-religion event attended by Jews and Christians promoting peace in the region.
"Sadly things are not looking good for an immanent return to Baghdad. My dear friend the Archbishop of Canterbury has made clear that my profile is so high, I am British and very pro Israel which would place me at incredibly high risk should ISIL get near Baghdad," White wrote. "At the the moment they are not but who knows what could happen. This will mean that I will not be able to return to Baghdad yet." more >>
An Iraqi state television station is now airing a nationally televised parody series that directly mocks Islamic State militants and acts as an anti-ISIS propaganda tool, hoping to prevent more people from joining the jihadist movement.
The first episode of the 30-part comedy series "State of Myths" aired last weekend on the Iraqi owned al-Iraqiya television station. Set in a fictional Iraqi town that has been seized by ISIS, the show makes fun of the militants and their followers and symbolizes the Islamic State as if it had spawned from the devil.
The show's chief supervisor, Thayer Jiyad, said that the show's aim is to alleviate the widespread fear surrounding the group. more >>
The Rev. Canon Andrew White, the "Vicar of Baghdad," says he fears Christianity might soon become nonexistent in the Nineveh province of northern Iraq after Islamic State militants have seized most of the region's churches and established offices inside church buildings.
"To be honest, every single Christian wants to leave," White, the vicar of St. George's Church in Baghdad, the only Anglican church in Iraq, told The Telegraph.
"I used to say to my people: 'Don't you leave. I'm not going to leave you, don't leave me.' But now every one of them wants to leave and the ones who are left tend to be the poorer ones who couldn't get away earlier," he said. more >>
An Iraqi human rights lawyer was tortured and killed by terror group ISIS in the city of Mosul, after she was taken from her husband and three children at home and found guilty by the militants' religious court of abandoning Islam.
"The public execution of well-known human rights lawyer and activist, Ms. Sameera Salih Ali Al-Nuaimy, in Mosul, is yet another of the innumerable sickening crimes committed against the people of Iraq by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)" Nickolay Mladenov, the U.N. envoy to Iraq, said in a statement.
Islamic militants seized al-Nuaimy while she was at home with her husband and three children last week in a northeastern district of Mosul. The human rights lawyer was then taken to a secret location. It is not yet known how she was executed, but her body bore signs of torture when her family was called five days later to retrieve her corpse from the morgue. more >>
A teenage girl at a refugee camp in Iraq who escaped from ISIS militants has described some of the atrocities being committed by the terror group, including forced conversion to Islam and the rape of young women by ISIS leaders.
"In Mosul they tried to make us change our faith and religion," a 15-year old girl identified as "Aria" told CNN at the Khanke refugee camp in northwest Iraq. "They said to us, 'Read our Quran.' A couple of the girls said, 'We never went to school — we can't read.' I couldn't understand the Quran."
Aria was kidnapped over six weeks ago while her family was trying to flee by car from their home in Sinjar, knowing that ISIS militants were coming. A convoy of vehicles carrying the terror group's black flags surrounded them, and the young girl was taken. more >>
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said that despite reluctance from Western powers, ground troops might be needed in Iraq to fight terror group ISIS, as that would be the only way to really defeat them.
"Unless you're prepared to fight these people on the ground, you may contain them but you won't defeat them," Blair, who serves as a U.N. Middle East peace envoy, told BBC News.
He added that there is "no appetite for ground engagement in the West" but said that local forces could step in instead. more >>