Images emerging Wednesday of a drowned 3-year-old Syrian boy whose body washed ashore face-down on a Turkish beach have rocked social media with the sad reality of the risks that hundreds of thousands of refugee families are taking just to find peace and liberty away from the nation's civil war and the rise of the Islamic State.
The 3-year-old Syrian boy, who was identified as Aylan Kurdi, was just one of 12 refugees aboard an overcrowded dinghy who drowned Wednesday in their quest to reach the Greek island of Kos from the Turkish resort town of Bodrum, according to the Turkish Anadolu news agency.
Among the others who perished at sea was Aylan's 5-year-old brother, Galip, who met a similar fate as he washed up on another Turkish beach. more >>
A senior Catholic leader in Syria is asking young Christians to stay in the war-torn country despite the ongoing violence and persecution they face, noting that parishes are being emptied and Christianity is disappearing from the region.
"The almost communal wave of youth emigration, especially in Syria, but also in Lebanon and Iraq breaks my heart, wounding me deeply and dealing me a deadly blow," Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregorios III said in an open letter, according to Catholic Herald.
"Given this tsunami of emigration ... what future is left for the Church? What will become of our homeland? What will become of our parishes and institutions?" Gregorios asked. more >>
A report from a group of clergy argues that Presbyterian Church (USA)'s vote taken last year to divest from three companies connected to Israel was tainted by institutional biases.
Released Tuesday afternoon, the report was signed by several commissioners from the 221st General Assembly who had taken issue with the process for which the debate over the divestment proposal was overseen.
Titled "Reformed and Reforming: A Word of Hope from Commissioners to and Observers of the 221st General Assembly of the PC (USA)," the report argued that the process was slanted in favor of the pro-divestment side. more >>
The migrant crisis in Europe has reached "biblical proportions," according to U.K. Independence Party leader Nigel Farage, noting that millions of refugees from Syria and other countries throughout the Middle East and Africa hoping to be relocated to the West are overwhelming the borders and stretching capacities.
"The problem we've got is we've opened the door to an exodus of biblical proportions, meaning millions and millions of refugees. We've lost sight of what it is to be a refugee. How many millions does Europe want to take? That is the question," Farage said, speaking with BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday.
While many refugees from Syria are fleeing the four-year-long civil war, as well as attacks by the Islamic State terror group, Farage said the U.K. has "lost sight" of the definition of a refugee. more >>
The Islamic State terrorist organization has released a heinous new execution video purporting to show another one of the group's sick execution methods in which four Iraqi prisoners were burned to death by being suspended by their hands and feet over roaring flames.
The video, which according to the British news site The Daily Star is titled "Punish (Them) Equal With Which You Were Harmed," was released by the Islamic State's propaganda wing onto ISIS-linked social media accounts on Monday morning.
The footage purports to show four chained Iraqi men, believed to be Shiite Muslims, being forced to watch a video of an IS militant being burned alive by anti-IS forces only to suffer the same fate moments later. more >>
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has said that the Islamic State terror group has executed at least 91 people in the space of a month in Syria, including 39 of its own fighters, for crimes such as sorcery and sodomy, among others.
"The executions [are being] carried out for sorcery, insulting Allah, sodomy, adultery, banditry, joining and cooperating with the awakening movements, sorcery, cooperating with crusader coalition, mischief on Earth and cooperating with the Nusayri regime forces," SOHR wrote, noting that most of the victims were beheaded.
At least 32 civilians, including two women, were among the executed in Syria between the period of July 29 to Aug. 29. IS has implemented its strict version of Shariah law in the territories it has conquered, and despite airstrike operations from allied countries, it maintains its control over several cities in Iraq and Syria. more >>