U.S. pastor Saeed Abedini was reportedly pinned down and shackled on Wednesday at an Iranian hospital, where he was also denied much needed surgery.
"This morning Iranian guards lashed out violently against Pastor Saeed and an elderly relative who had been able to visit him in the hospital. Pastor Saeed was pinned down and shackled. His elderly relative was roughly handled and expelled from the hospital," the American Center for Law and Justice, which represents Abedini's wife and two children in the U.S, stated.
According to the law group, Abedini was moved over a week ago from Rajai Shahr Prison to a private hospital in Iran where he underwent various tests for a deteriorating medical condition and received nourishment. And although he was promised that he would undergo surgery to address chronic pain in his stomach area - the result of numerous prison beatings - Abedini was sent back to the prison without being treated and doctors giving him nothing more than pain medication. more >>
A doctor helping Syrian refugees in Lebanon has reported a "shocking" number of severe birth defects in newborn babies, while the devastating civil war enters its fourth year with no end in sight.
"In my short time in Lebanon, I've seen more cases of severe birth defects than during my entire career as a pediatric resident," Dr. Nancy Snyderman, chief medical editor for NBC News, wrote in a report on Wednesday.
"Many babies born have major malformations of the brain and nervous system: from minor cases of spina bifida where parts of the brain or spinal cord are outside of the body to anencephalic babies born without the majority of their brain." more >>
A four day Evangelical conference out of Bethlehem focusing on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict kicked off on Monday, even as several Christian leaders spoke out against the event and suggested that it was a veiled attempt to dampen the Church's support for Israel.
The Bethlehem Bible College (BBC), an institution founded by Palestinian Christians in 1979 with the intent to train Arab Israeli and Palestinian pastors, has sponsored Christ at the Checkpoint (CC) bi-annually since its inaugural event in 2010, and according to its mission, seeks to challenge "evangelicals to take responsibility in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through Jesus' teaching on the Kingdom of God."
Several of the 10 points of the conference manifesto state that "racial ethnicity alone does not guarantee the benefits of the Abrahamic Covenant," "all forms of violence must be refuted unequivocally," that the "the Church in the land of the Holy One, has born witness to Christ since the days of Pentecost," and "must be empowered to continue to be light and salt in the region, if there is to be hope in the midst of conflict." more >>
The upcoming Bible-based epic "Noah" has been banned by three Arab countries after Islamic critics took aim at the movie for offending religious teachings by depicting a biblical figure on screen.
"Censors for Qatar, Bahrain and the UAE (United Arab Emirates) officially confirmed this week that the film will not release in their countries," a representative of the producer, Paramount Pictures, told Reuters on Saturday.
"The official statement they offered in confirming this news is because 'it contradicts the teachings of Islam,'" the representative added, saying that Egypt, Jordan and Kuwait are also expected to ban the $125 million Darren Aronofsky film. more >>
Darren Aronofsky's upcoming film "Noah" has reportedly been banned by censorship boards in Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates due to its personification of biblical characters, which reportedly violates Islamic law.
Insiders with Paramount Pictures, the company producing "Noah," told The Hollywood Reporter that censorship boards in the Middle Eastern countries said they will not release the film. Kuwait, Egypt and Jordan are reportedly expected to follow suit.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Paramount had expected "Noah" would face criticism in Islamic countries. Islamic law states it is blasphemous to characterize prophets of Muhammad, and the film is inspired by the biblical story of Noah, one of God's prophets who builds an ark to escape a catastrophic flood. more >>
The U.N. Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic denounced the Security Council, which includes the U.S., for failing to take action and allowing the ongoing slaughter in the Syria civil war to continue.
"States that exert influence on the parties in the Syrian Arab Republic must act to ensure that these parties comply with the rules of international humanitarian law," human rights investigators said in a report released Wednesday. "The Security Council bears responsibility for allowing the warring parties to violate these rules with impunity."
The U.N. Security Council, which has the responsibility to maintain international peace and security, is composed of five permanent members – the U.S., the U.K., China, France, and Russia – as well as 10 non-permanent members elected for two-year periods. more >>