Former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi has insisted he is still the country's legitimate leader at the start of his trial on Monday, which has now been adjourned until Jan. 8, following several interruptions.
"This is a military coup whose leaders must be put on trial in accordance with the constitution," Morsi declared before the court, according to The Associated Press.
"I am the president of the republic and I am here against my will. What is happening here is providing cover for the military coup." The 14 other Muslim Brotherhood co-defendants reportedly chanted "down, down with military coup." more >>
More than 30 bodies of Christian civilians have been uncovered in mass graves in the Syrian city of Sadad, which was destroyed in an attack by Islamic militants, with the Syrian Orthodox Archbishop describing the incident as "the most serious and biggest massacre" of Christians in the past two years and a half.
A total of 45 Christians were reported to have been killed in the small town halfway between Homs and Damascus, after Islamist militants apparently invaded on Oct. 21. Fides News Agency reported that representatives of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate and relatives of the victims found the mass graves when they returned home, and later provided a proper burial for their dead relatives and friends.
"45 innocent civilians were martyred for no reason, and among them several women and children, many thrown into mass graves. Other civilians were threatened and terrorized. 30 were wounded and 10 are still missing," explained Archbishop Selwanos Boutros Alnemeh, Syriac Orthodox Metropolitan of Homs and Hama. more >>
The Vatican news agency Fides reports today that two new mass graves containing a total of 30 bodies were found in Sadad, an ancient Christian town of some 15,000 people between Damascus and Homs, bringing to 45 the number of residents killed there by Islamist militias since October 21.
Surviving relatives and friends uncovered the graves after government forces recently recaptured the town from rebels. Those killed were reported by the local Syriac Orthodox metropolitan, who presided over 30 of their funerals this week, to be Christian civilians, including women and children. A list of their names was provided to the Catholic press. The Islamist rebel militias of Al Nusra Front and Daash were identified by eyewitnesses as responsible for this war crime.
The battle also resulted in the destruction and looting of the town, including its homes, hospitals, schools, government buildings and electrical, telephone, and water capabilities. St. Theodore's Syriac Orthodox Church and a number of the 4,000-year-old Assyrian town's 14 other churches and a monastery have been desecrated. more >>
A large-scale battle between Nigerian forces and Islamic militants lasting over 5 hours in the state of Yobe has left 128 people dead, local sources have reported, raising questions about how much control the government has over the troubled region.
Details are still scarce about the violence that occurred late last week, but figures quoted by Nigerian military and hospitals state that 95 of the dead are militants, 23 are soldiers and eight others are police officers.
Two weeks ago, at Camp Shelby in Mississippi, counter-intelligence officers presented a briefing that identified the American Family Association – a non-profit Christian organization – as a "domestic hate group." This was not the first time something bizarre like this had happened. On another army base, evangelical Christians and Catholics were listed as prime examples of religious extremism. On yet another, the Founding Fathers were portrayed as extreme.
Then, last week, a similar report came out about a briefing at Fort Hood in Texas where Tea Party supporters, in addition to evangelical Christians, were labeled as extremists.
Each time, senior military officials downplayed the shocking classifications as isolated incidents. But a string of incidents reflect a pattern. more >>
Soldiers attending a pre-deployment briefing at Fort Hood say they were told that evangelical Christians and members of the Tea Party were a threat to the nation and that any soldier donating to those groups would be subjected to punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
A soldier who attended the Oct. 17th briefing told me the counter-intelligence agent in charge of the meeting spent nearly a half hour discussing how evangelical Christians and groups like the American Family Association were "tearing the country apart."
Michael Berry, an attorney with the Liberty Institute, is advising the soldier and has launched an investigation into the incident. more >>