Nearly two decades after rising to fame as part of the best-selling boy band in history, two members of the Backstreet Boys were captured on video recently getting baptized in Israel's Jordan River.
Last month, Backstreet Boys members Howie Dorough and Brian Littrell took time out of the Middle East leg of the band's world tour to connect with their faith in the holy land through an emotional baptism ceremony. Littrell, also a Christian artist, was joined by his wife, Leighanne Littrell, during the ritual he described as an "amazing experience."
Iran's revolutionary court is believed to have sentenced 18 Christian converts to prison for their faith in a new crackdown on Christianity in the Islamic Republic, a report said.
Fox News noted that the charges include evangelism, propaganda against the regime, and creating house churches to practice their faith. It added that the total sentences come close to 24 years, but it's not known how many years each individual received, due to the lack of transparency in Iran's judicial system.
"The cruelty of Iran's dictatorial leaders knows no limits," said Saba Farzan, the German-Iranian executive director of Foreign Policy Circle, a strategy think tank in Berlin. more >>
It has become a common occurrence over the years for Muslims in the Middle East who have converted to Christianity to claim to have been compelled to do so after dreaming of a person who they believe is Jesus Christ. Now, one militant belonging to the brutal Islamic State that has massacred Christians has converted to his victims' religion after dreaming of "a man in white" with a startling message, according to one missionary's account.
"One of our YWAM workers in the Middle East was contacted by a friend earlier this year and they met up and he was introduced to an ISIS fighter who had killed many Christians already. I mean that's a horrible situation, and admittedly, he was probably on guard," Gina Fadely, director of Youth With A Mission Frontier Missions, Inc. (YWAM), said during a recent appearance on The Voice of the Martyrs Radio Network.
YWAM, a nonprofit missionary organization active since 1960, describes itself as "a global movement of Christians from many cultures, age groups, and Christian traditions, dedicated to serving Jesus throughout the world." The Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) is another nonprofit that draws attention to Christians facing persecution around the world. more >>
The Islamic State terrorist group is being accused by local government officials of kidnapping over 500 children from the Anbar and Diyala provinces in Iraq, and there is fear that some of the children could be forced to carry out suicide bomb attacks.
Farhan Mohammed, a member of Anbar's Provincial Council, told the Turkish news organization Anadolu Agency on Saturday that the Islamic State abducted approximately 400 children in the Anbar towns of Ar Rutba, Al-Qaim, Anah and Rawa in raids that took place over the course of a week.
Mohammed further added that he believes more children in the area will be recruited to join ISIS and that they could be used to carry out jihadi attacks. more >>
Hundreds of Jewish protesters blocked a group of Greek Orthodox Christians from entering the site in Old Jerusalem that Jewish tradition believes is where King David is buried and where Christians believe Jesus held his infamous Last Supper on Sunday.
The protesters held a mass prayer service and study while attempting to block access to the building. Israeli Police managed to ensure the Christians' access to the site where they held a religious ceremony to celebrate Pentecost, according to a spokesman for the department.
Bishop Georges Abou Khazen, the Apostolic Vicar of Aleppo in Syria for the Catholics of the Latin rite, denied reports that a Syrian Christian fighter beheaded an ISIS terrorist for revenge, accusing the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights of spreading rumor based on "unreliable and unverifiable" information.
"The manipulation of information is also one of the means used to multiply the violence and horrors of this conflict," Bishop Abou Khazen told the Catholic Fides news agency. "We know that more than 230 Assyrian Christians abducted in the villages of Khabur are still held hostage by jihadists."
The bishop said British media picked up the story despite it being "unreliable and unverifiable." more >>