The United Nations has declared the highest level of humanitarian emergency in Iraq and has accused Islamic State militants of carrying out "barbaric" acts of sexual violence against women and teenage boys and girls belonging to Iraqi minorities.
U.N. special representative Nickolay Mladenov said that the declaration by the UN of a "Level 3 Emergency" in Iraq would "facilitate mobilization of additional resources in goods, funds and assets to ensure a more effective response to the humanitarian needs of populations affected by forced displacements," BBC News reported on Thursday.
The Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS, has taken over significant territory in Iraq and Syria, capturing major cities, carrying out violent attacks on minorities, including Christians, and forcing close to 1.2 million people to flee their homes. more >>
U.S. Pastor Saeed Abedini is reportedly receiving death threats from ISIS jihadists at the Iranian prison where he is being held.
The militants have said that they will kill him because of his Christian faith, the American Center for Law and Justice reported in a press release. Abedini, who is being held at Rajai Shahr prison, spoke of the death threats with family members earlier this week.
While the ISIS militants are apparently being held in a separate section of the prison ward, they have managed on several occasions to make their way to the pastor's section on their way back from the prison yard, forcing Abedini to hide. more >>
A diverse group of evangelical leaders, led by the National Religious Broadcasters President & CEO Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, is set to travel this Sunday to Israel to show their support and friendship to the Jewish state and counter anti-semantic views.
"Countering rising anti-Semitism in the international press and on the streets, this friendship visit will communicate to Israel and to the Palestinians who stand in opposition to Hamas that we, leaders who represent the Christian community, stand with them. It will also show the world that Christians in general support the Jewish people and their right to security," Johnson said in a statement earlier this week.
"In addition, this visit should serve as an example to all followers of Jesus Christ, specifically encouraging them to pray for the peace of Jerusalem so that the lives of all those living in this region can be secure," he added. "We are thankful to the Israel Ministry of Tourism for coordinating this trip." more >>
The Islamic group known as ISIS has had a serious impact on the lives of young people raised by ISIS members, as well as those infatuated with the group's ideology.
"Everywhere our camera went, there seemed to be a young man eager to extol the virtues of the newly formed caliphate," VICE Media's Medyan Dairieh reported this week from the Syrian city of Raqqa, which has fallen into ISIS hands.
"I swear to Allah we will divide America in two," the young boy said. "And we'll destroy the enemies of the religion of them all, all who fight the Islamic State. We promise car bombs and explosives," he added. more >>
Israel has strongly spoken out against the appointment of Canadian international lawyer William Schabas to head the U.N. Human Rights Council's inquiry into the Gaza conflict, accusing the lawyer of setting himself against the Jewish state and suggesting that the commission has already indicated it will have an anti-Israel bias.
"This commission's anti-Israeli conclusions have already been written, all it needs is a signature," Israel foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said, according to AFP.
"For this commission the important thing is not human rights but the rights of terrorist organizations like Hamas." more >>
A priest from Nineveh has claimed that Christianity "is finished in Iraq," amid the ongoing conflict and thousands of Christians fleeing persecution from members of ISIS.
"Today the story of Christianity is finished in Iraq," Father Nawar told the Catholic News Agency. "It's a very difficult life … very, very difficult. [Families] are dying because of the temperatures, dying because they can't eat, dying because of fear, and also because of war, of bombs."
Father Nawar is originally from Nineveh, considered the Christian capital of Iraq, but ISIS forces took over the city and told Christians that they either had to convert to Islam or face death by the sword. The residents then fled to Kurdish areas in the country, where they were welcomed and able to take refuge. However, there were so many refugees there with very little resources. more >>