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.
People around the world are uniting with persecuted Christians in Iraq through the Twitter hashtag "WeAreN," meant to reference the "N" painted on the doors of Christians in Iraq that make them a target for militant Islamists.
Supporters have either changed their Twitter photo to an image of the Arabic letter ن or "N", which stands for "Nazarene" or "Christian" in Arabic. Members of the jihadist militant group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) have invaded towns, including Mosul, demanding Christians either convert to Islam, pay a tax, or be killed. To identify the Christians in the town, members of the ISIS have painted the "N" on their front doors.
The Church of England changed its profile to the Arabic letter for "N," writing: "We are changing our picture to stand with those showing solidarity for those Christians being persecuted in Mosul #WeAreN." more >>
As militant group ISIS continued its attacks in Iraq, killing 31 people on Tuesday in a suicide blast in Baghdad, the country's bishops have pleaded for the government to stop the "catastrophe" and protect Christians who are being driven out in masses.
The appeal came from Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako and all the Chaldean, Syrian Orthodox, Syrian Catholic and Armenian Bishops in northern Iraq, Fides News Agency reported, and called on the government to provide "financial support to displaced people who have lost everything."
Thousands of Christians have been fleeing northern Iraq and are "near extinction" according to several persecution watchdog groups. Christians in the city of Mosul, which was captured by ISIS in June, were given an ultimatum to convert to Islam, pay a tax, or die. more >>