President Barack Obama said with confidence in Wednesday night's prime-time presidential address that he considers hunting down terrorists organizations like the Islamic State to be a "core principle" of his presidency. However, the plan Obama presented the nation to combat the terrorist group ISIS, also known as ISIL, in Syria and Iraq has received heavy criticism from both sides of the political aisle and from ranking officials in the Defense Department.
Many members of the GOP criticized Obama because they felt the plan is not strong enough or lacks the proper details to prove it will "degrade and ultimately destroy" the terrorist group like the president has vowed, Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters on Thursday.
Although Obama said he will continue airstrikes in Iraq and begin airstrikes in Syria, he ruled out sending combat troops to fight on the ground. But many Republicans need to see some kind of action on the ground, Boehner said. And, Obama's "isolated counter terrorism" efforts will not fully defeat "an enemy that has declared a holy war against America," he added. more >>
WASHINGTON — The day after U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was heckled at a Christian event aimed at bringing Christians together over the plight of persecution in the Middle East, some speakers at the event addressed the disruption.
Rateb Rabie, president of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation, sounded critical of Cruz for his mention of Israel and the event sponsors for the lack of Palestinian Christian voices. Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom, appeared to be more critical of those who disrupted the speech while calling for greater unity around the issues that they agree on. They were both on a Thursday morning panel, "Changing Policy Through Awareness and Advocacy," for the In Defense of Christians Inaugural Summit. more >>
In Defense of Christians, the nonprofit organization that has made protecting Christians in the Middle East its mission, challenged media reports Friday that Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was booed offstage at their inaugural Summit Gala Dinner Wednesday for supporting Israel.
A 30-second YouTube clip from the dinner shows Cruz declaring to a restive audience: "I will say this, that I am saddened to see that some here, not everyone, but some here, are so consumed with hate …" At the mention of the word hate, guests at the gala became loud enough to drown out portions of Cruz's voice.
He continued: "I will say this: if you will not stand with Israel, then I will not stand with you. Thank you and God bless you." 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 >>