The White House and the Pentagon said for the first time Friday that the United States is indeed "at war" with the Islamic State, or ISIS, contradicting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who maintained a day earlier that Washington's efforts cannot be seen as part of the "war on terror."
"In the same way that the United States is at war with al Qaeda and its affiliates … the United States is at war with ISIL," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said, according to Fox News.
Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby was also quoted as saying that while "this is not the Iraq War" from a decade ago, Washington is "at war with ISIL in the same way we are at war and continue to be at war with al Qaeda and its affiliates." more >>
WASHINGTON – In response to the plight of Middle East Christians fleeing from their homes in the wake of extremism and terror brought by the Islamic State and other terrorists groups, Christian leaders and advocates called on modern Muslim community leaders against radical Islam and warned that the plight of Christians could have disastrous consequences in the Middle East.
"The stakes are enormous," said Edward Clancy, director of outreach for the humanitarian organization Aid to the Church In Need, on Thursday. "Christianity might entirely disappear from the very region of its birth. Such a disaster would not only mean the loss of ancient patrimony, it would also mean the demise of a key player to society dominated by Islam and unfortunately dominated by a radical Islam that seeks to kill and destroy rather than to live side by side."
A top priest among Jordanian Christians said that Christianity needs support now that Christians are fleeing by the masses or suffering the consequences. He called out the modern Muslim community telling them it is time for them to help lead the charge against extremism and promote religious co-existence. more >>
The pastor of a church in Aleppo has spoken out against President Barack Obama's recently announced plan to support "moderate" rebel groups in Syria, noting that all such groups want to establish Islamic rule. He also discouraged military intervention in the region, arguing that war can never stop war.
Pastor Mouner Ajji of Aleppo Baptist Church told The Christian Post in an email interview on Friday that he does not support Obama's strategy on Syria, and said that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should not be compared to terror group ISIS. more >>
There might be as many as 31,000 fighters in terror group ISIS' army, the CIA has said, which is three times more than it previously feared. Ten Arab countries have meanwhile said that they will be helping the U.S. in the war against ISIS.
"This new total reflects an increase in members because of stronger recruitment since June following battlefield successes and the declaration of a caliphate, greater battlefield activity, and additional intelligence," CIA spokesman Ryan Trapani said, according to BBC News on Friday.
ISIS has captured a number of cities across Syria and Iraq; it has attacked minorities including Christians, and has directly threatened the U.S. in videos showing the beheadings of two American journalists. more >>
WASHINGTON – Patriarchs from the Middle East gathered on Capitol Hill Wednesday to speak with members of Congress urging for further U.S. military aid for the new Iraqi central government and Kurdish peshmerga forces that are helping provide refuge to thousands of displaced Iraqi religious minorities being persecuted by Islamic State jihadists.
As forces from neighboring Kurdistan have helped clear paths for minorities to escape the atrocities in the Nineveh province and along with Iraqi forces look to push back Islamic State out of their strongholds, the Patriarchs said there is a need for increased military and equipment support with a great need for better weaponry.
"It seems that the Iraqi central government and the Kurdish region, they need help," said His Beatitude, Ignatius Youssef III Younan, Syriac Catholic Patriarch of Antioch and All the East. "What you call military intervention with Air Force it will be much needed [but] those militias of the ISIS, they have plenty of weaponry and they already robbed a lot of money and they have been assisted and financed by those radicals of the gulf countries. They have the offense they need. So the Peshmerga of Kurdistan and also the Iraqi central army need military assistance." more >>
WASHINGTON – As thousands of Christians in Iraq and Syria, and other parts of the Middle East, are being tossed from their homes, killed, raped and pillaged by Islamic State forces and other terrorist organizations, Princeton law professor Robert George claims that Christians in America and other westernized nations are too complacent to speak out against the persecution in the Middle East and urge their governments to take action.
"It must be a kind of complacency that comes with power and affluence," George said. "We are happy. We are content. We are not persecuted, or not very much. So, we do not see the persecution of our brothers and of our sisters on the other side of town."
Increasingly in the last few months, Christians and believers of other religions in areas of Iraq and Syria are facing the wrath of of the Islamic State's "cultural cleansing." This has caused thousands of Christians to either flee their home, convert to Islam, or face death by sword. more >>