MIAMI BEACH — Two former George W. Bush administration officials, Elliot Abrams and Michael Gerson, debated Monday whether it is appropriate for presidents to call Islam a religion of peace.
"What is authentic Islam? Is ISIS an authentic form of Islam, or is it not? I think it's very important that the United States government shut-up about that question," Abrams, senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, declared at the Ethics and Public Policy Center's Faith Angle Forum.
"It used to annoy me enormously when President [George W.] Bush, for whom I was working, would say, 'Islam is a religion of peace,'" continued Abrams, who served as deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser. more >>
For the first time since the Islamic State seized most of the Nineveh province in northern Iraq over the summer, a Christian mass was successfully held at a church in a small Iraqi village nearly 20 miles north of the ISIS stronghold of Mosul this past Sunday, Iraqi News reports indicate.
Although reports coming from Iraqi news outlets originally said that the mass was held at the Mar Yacob Church in the Christian village of Telskuf, Father Paulus Thabit Makku, a Chaldean priest in Mosul, told Fides News that the Eucharist was held at the only other church in Telskuf, Saint Georges Chaldean church.
"We celebrated the Eucharist this Sunday in one of the Nineveh province's villages – the first time since locals were forced out last August by ISIS jihadists," Father Makku said. more >>
WASHINGTON – A "tsunami of confusion" exists regarding religious liberty in the United States Armed Forces, according to panelists testifying before Congress.
Experts told the panel that the military is caught between a strong desire not to condone or coerce religious doctrine on soldiers and an equally strong desire to protect speech, especially religious speech, in the military. more >>
An Israeli police officer has died from his injuries sustained in the terror attack on a Jerusalem synagogue Tuesday that also led to the deaths of three rabbis with dual American-Israeli citizenship, and one with British citizenship. Terrorist group Hamas has claimed that the attack was revenge for the killing of a Palestinian bus driver on Sunday night. An autopsy report reveals, however, that the bus driver committed suicide.
Hamas, which was engaged in a war with Israel over the summer that led to the deaths of over 2,100 people, mostly Palestinians, said that it blamed Jewish settlers for the killing of 32-year-old bus driver Yussuf al-Ramuni.
"The attack in Jerusalem is a reaction to the crime and execution of the martyr al-Ramouni and a reaction to the crimes of the occupation, the Hamas movement is calling for more revenge attacks," Hamas said on its official Al-Aksa TV. more >>
Three Americans are among four people killed during an attack Tuesday at a Jerusalem synagogue carried out by two Palestinians armed with a meat cleaver and gun. The Israeli police, who shot down the attackers, said they view the incident as a terror attack.
"We are viewing this as a terrorist attack," said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, who confirmed the four dead and that the two assailants were killed by police.
Fox News identified the slain Americans as Aryeh Kupinsky, Kalmen Levin and Moshe Twersky. Another eight people were injured in the attack on the Kehillat Bnei Torah synagogue in the ultra-Orthodox Har Nof neighborhood in the western part of Jerusalem. more >>
Twenty-three Christian families who were unable to flee the city of Raqqa in northern Syria, which terror group ISIS has made its stronghold, are reportedly facing Islamic fanaticism and a "protection tax" they will be forced to pay in order to keep their homes.
Fides News Agency noted that as many as 1,500 Christian families had lived in the city prior to the start of the Syrian war three years ago. Many have since fled, especially in the past few months with the rise of ISIS, which has captured cities across Iraq and Syria. The remaining Armenian Christians in Raqqa were unable to escape for various reasons, ranging from lack of resources to old age and health problems.
They were told that starting Sunday, they would have to pay jizya, or the "protection tax" that amounts to $535. Fides stated it's likely that the families, who've been impoverished by the war, will be unable to pay the tax and will be evicted from their homes. more >>