WASHINGTON – Nine out of the ten countries ranked the most oppressive for Christians to live in were due to Islamic extremism, according to Open Doors' annual World Watch List, which was released Wednesday.
With the exception of North Korea – ranked No. 1 for the 12th year in a row – every other country on the top 10 list had as its source of persecution, Islamic extremism. North Korea's persecution of Christians was due to communist oppression and dictatorial paranoia, explained Open Doors in its 2014 World Watch List. According to the report, the countries with the most extreme persecution besides North Korea are: Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Maldives, Pakistan, Iran, and Yemen, respectively.
Open Doors announced the rankings for its 2014 World Watch List, which documented the 50 nations least tolerant of their Christian population, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The Christian persecution watchdog group's methodology involved measuring the level of Christian freedom found in five spheres of life: private, family, community, national, and church. A sixth sphere regarding degree of violence also factors in to the rankings. more >>
President Barack Obama's former secretary of defense, Robert Gates, accused the president of sending an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan while believing the plan would fail. This was just one of many startling revelations, including comments about Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden that could have consequences for the 2016 presidential race, in Gates' memoir, Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, due out next week.
Obama "doesn't believe in his own strategy, and doesn't consider the war to be his. For him, it's all about getting out," Gates wrote.
During the 2008 election, Obama was critical of President George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq and argued that more military resources should have been devoted to Afghanistan instead. Bush "took the eye off the ball" in Afghanistan in order to invade Iraq, Obama accused at the time. more >>
Global engagement advocate Lynne Hybels, wife of megachurch pastor Bill Hybels, is partnering with a nationwide team of social media experts to provide shoes and other supplies to as many of the millions of Syrian refugees displaced because of a bloody civil war in their country as possible.
"All of this work is done in the name and Spirit of Jesus," says Lynne Hybels, who is partnering with Think Eternity Ministries to leverage her personal connections to Middle Eastern ministry leaders — directing 100 percent of the donations to local ministries providing aid, according to organizers.
"The local people providing these services to both Christians and Muslims are heroes, but they have to be unsung heroes," Hybels said. "The more we give, the more we can show the love of Christ to Syrian Christians and Muslims who are suffering. A hundred percent of donations will go straight to the people who need it." more >>
A conservative online publication has recently claimed that Syrian rebel forces are beheading Christians to drain their blood and sell it to Islamist radicals.
Jerome Corsi of World Net Daily reportedly talked with a nun in Syria via Skype who detailed for him the allegation.
"Sister Hatune Dogan told WND in a Skype interview that members of the Syrian opposition are draining the blood of Christians they behead and selling vials to Islamic radicals for $100,000 a piece," wrote Corsi. more >>
The Muslim Brotherhood was officially declared a terrorist organization by the Egyptian government on Wednesday, over a year after winning the country's first democratic presidential elections with former leader Mohamed Morsi.
"All of Egypt ... was terrified by the ugly crime that the Muslim Brotherhood group committed by blowing up the building of the Dakahlyia security directorate," the Egyptian government said in an official statement.
The decision came after the latest crackdown on the Islamic party, which is being accused of carrying out a suicide bomb attack that killed 16 people at a police station on Wednesday, Reuters reported. more >>
At least 38 people are dead and 60 wounded after two bombs went off on Christmas Day in Baghdad. One exploded outside a Catholic church as members of the congregation were leaving a Christmas Day service, while another bomb killed 11 in a market in a Christian neighborhood.
The attacks will likely only incite more anxiety in Iraq's waning Christian population, which has long been targeted by extremists following the U.S. invasion of the country and the toppling of Saddam Hussein. The population has dwindled down to less than 500,000 from 1.4 million in 2003.
Dr. David Curry, president/CEO of Open Doors USA, said that he believed the violence was part of a deliberate act to remove Christians from the country. more >>