Notorious Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau has been driven out of power and replaced by a new leader, the President of Chad Idriss Deby has claimed.
"There is someone apparently called Mahamat Daoud who is said to have replaced Abubakr Shekau and he wants to negotiate with the Nigerian government," Deby said in a statement, according to The Telegraph on Saturday. "For my part, I would advise not to negotiate with a terrorist."
Shekau's Boko Haram has terrorized Nigeria and the surrounding countries for over six years, killing well over 13,000 civilians, among whom are both Christians and Muslims. Under Shekau's leadership, the terror group's mission has been to drive out all followers of Christ from Nigeria. more >>
As many as 15,000 Assyrian Christian families might be in danger from the Islamic State terror group and the ongoing conflict in Syria, the Assyrian Church of the East in Lebanon bishop has said. Christians from over 100 families were kidnapped on Friday, with human rights groups fearing they will be beheaded or sold into sexual slavery.
"My personal sources say there are about 15,000 families left in Syria. Of course, they do not live in the villages captured by militants, but were able to temporarily relocate to nearby towns," Bishop Yatron Koliana told RIA Novosti on Monday.
Koliana said the families face uncertainty in the war-torn country, which is caught in a conflict between the central government, various rebel groups, and IS. The latter has conquered significant territory in Syria and Iraq, and has heavily targeted religious minorities, including Christians. more >>
A Sydney-based evangelist as well as the bipartisan U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), both recently condemned the crackdown on Christians under Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who had promised better treatment of religious minorities before taking office, and called for the release of prisoners of conscience, including Iranian American pastor Saeed Abedini.
"The Iranian government actively pursues Christian ministers and believers, placing them in prison under trumped up political charges, or simply killing them in accordance with their law," asserted Christian worker Marlene Mathew, who works with immigrants from the Middle East, to The Christian Post on Monday. "These people are innocent and need to be set free....In recent weeks the Iranian government has openly declared that 'Christians are enemies' who are a major threat to the state."
The USCIRF also condemned the detention of prisoners of conscience, and called for their immediate release, adding that since President Rouhani assumed office, he has failed to fulfill his promise to improve the climate for religious freedom, despite sparking hopes in 2013 when he said, "All ethnicities, all religions, even religious minorities, must feel justice," as reported by The Jerusalem Post. August marks the second anniversary of Rouhani's presidency. more >>
ERBIL, Iraq — Thousands of displaced Arab refugees, including a large number of Christians and Yazidis, are continuing to flee Iraq following the Islamic State's mass execution of around 2,000 Iraqis in the city of Nineveh — followed by a series of car bombs in Baghdad on Monday — resulting in dozens of causalities, according to Reuters.
It's been one year since the Islamic State began its reign of terror in the Sinjar and Tal Afar districts of northern Iraq's Nineveh Province, which has included a hate-fueled campaign to wipe out Christians and Yazidis as well as other religious communities.
"Islamic State has unleashed untold misery and suffering on defenseless religious and ethnic communities, while destroying treasured religious and historical sites in both Iraq and Syria," said Robert P. George, chairman of the U.S.Commission on International Religious Freedom, last week. "Muslims, Christians, Yazidis, and others are all at risk. Due to IS's reign of terror, millions of people from Iraq and Syria have been forced to flee and now are refugees or internally displaced." more >>
As the plight of Christians across the Middle East worsens, a Jerusalem archbishop has condemned the entire political world for its silence and lack of action on the issue. Former White House Chief of Staff John Sununu has meanwhile pointed the finger at President Barack Obama, accusing the latter of "indifference" in the face of the suffering Christian communities.
Archbishop Maroun Lahham, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem's vicar for Jordan, said in an interview that "the international community is absolutely inert, absent, or rather a silent accomplice" in the persecution of Christians, Catholic World News reported.
"The international Christian community, however, has never ceased to send aid to meet the needs of the brothers of the Church," Lahham added. "The political world is absolutely to be condemned, but the world of Caritas helps us, especially the Italian Episcopal Conference." more >>
The Islamic State terror group has released a video showing what appears to be a new method of execution to kill 10 men accused of apostasy in Afghanistan. The graphic footage shows the prisoners being forced to kneel down above bombs that have been buried in the ground, before the jihadists detonate the charges.
The Daily Mail reported on Monday that the footage was taken in an unknown location in Afghanistan, where the blindfolded prisoners are led out onto a hill where the bombs are buried, before being executed. The men are believed to be from the Shinwari tribe in the Afghan province of Nangarhar and were accused of aiding the Taliban, which is one of IS' rivals.
IS militants have been killing Afghans fighting for rival groups, and for the central Afghan government, which has been pushing back against the extremists. more >>