Pastor Behnam Irani, who's been held in an Iranian prison since 2011 because of his Christian ministry work, has received a temporary release and is now visiting with his wife and children at home for the first time in more than four years.
Irani, a 43-year-old former Muslim who is now an evangelical Christian leader in the Islamic Republic, was originally sentenced to serve six years in prison for reportedly forming an evangelical congregation in the city of Karaj.
But in September of last year, Irani was accused of 18 new charges, including "spreading corruption on Earth," which is punishable by execution. more >>
WASHINGTON — Outspoken conservative Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is warning that a $50 billion signing bonus that could be a part of the U.S. State Department's nuclear agreement with Iran will likely be used to fund terrorist organizations that attack Americans and other Westerners.
The 44-year-old 2016 presidential candidate was interviewed via satellite video by Wall Street Journal's Bret Stephens at the Christians United For Israel conference in Washington, D.C. on Monday. Cruz asserted that terms of the agreement (which was announced Tuesday morning after the interview and aims to gradually lift crippling economic sanctions off of Iran in exchange for curbs to the Islamic Republic's nuclear activity) must be strong and added that agreeing to weak terms with Iran could spell disaster.
It was reported earlier this year that the State Department was considering the idea of offering a $50 billion signing bonus to the Islamic Republic for signing the agreement, but Cruz argues that money would — with "absolute certainty" — fund worldwide terrorism. more >>
Terror group ISIS is planning to send members of an all-female police force to attack Christian holy sites in Europe, a Syrian military expert has said, identifying the Vatican as one possible target of the attacks.
Fahad Al-Masri, the president of the Centre for Strategy, Military and Security Studies in Syria, shared with the MailOnline on Monday that members of the infamous Al-Khansaa Brigade are planning to disguise themselves as tourists in Europe so that they can carry out the attacks.
"This is the first time women will be used in these operations. It will be a surprise for the European authorities who look for men. Women are not as difficult as men to sneak into countries and there are many European women in the Al-Khansaa Brigade — like French and British — which makes it easier for them to get in undetected," Al-Masri said. more >>
UNESCO has officially designated as a World Heritage site the location of the baptism of Jesus Christ on the eastern bank of the Jordan River. Scholars have said it is not known whether the exact location falls on the Jordanian or Israeli side of the river, which has long stirred a tourism dispute between the two countries.
The Associated Press reported on Monday that although the U.N. cultural agency declared that most Christian churches believe the Jordanian side to be the location of Jesus' baptism by John, as found in Matthew 3 and other passages, scholars say there is no way to be certain which side of the river was the precise location.
Jodi Magness, an archaeologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said that UNESCO's decision "has nothing to do with archaeological reality." more >>
Close to a thousand Iraqi Christians who say they have been abandoned by their government have formed a militia to avenge ISIS taking their land and slaughtering their families. The Christians have said they will fight alongside their "Muslim brothers" who have also suffered at the hands of the terror group.
Rayan Al-Kildani of the Babylonian Brigades, the Christian militia group part of the Shiite-dominated militias organization known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, told NBC News that ISIS "displaced us from our houses, they took our money, killed our young men and women and they took our properties."
"By the will of God we will avenge what happened to our community," Al-Kildani vowed, and said that the Christian fighters will help Muslims who are also standing up to ISIS. more >>
While the Islamic State terror group claimed Saturday it was behind a powerful blast outside the Italian Consulate's compound in downtown Cairo earlier during the day, Afghanistan's intelligence agency said a top regional leader of ISIS was killed in a U.S. drone strike.
At least one person was dead and several others were wounded after a bomb exploded in front of the Italian consulate in Cairo Saturday morning, Reuters reported.
The bomb had been placed underneath a car and was detonated remotely, according to local media. Due to the ongoing Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan, there was little traffic in the area. more >>