The Middle East is tough on minorities. After millennia of Jewish presence throughout the Arab and Persian lands, almost every country in the region-save for Israel, of course-was emptied of Jews in the last century.
Today it's the Middle East's Christians who are streaming out. In Lebanon, Christians made up a slight majority a couple of decades ago, but today they're down to barely a third of the population. Hundreds of thousands of Christians fled sectarian fighting in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein, and they're a minority now in the Palestinian city of Bethlehem-the birthplace of Jesus. But the most dramatic Christian exodus is out of Egypt. Since the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak, the rise of Islamists and mob attacks have driven more than 100,000 Christian Copts out of the country.
Samuel Tadros's book, Motherland Lost: The Egyptian and Coptic Quest for Modernity, is a scholarly yet riveting account of this tragedy. The author takes us on a grim tour through the modern history of Egypt, chronicling the rise and fall of its Coptic minority, the country's largest Christian community. Along the way, Mr. Tadros offers a trenchant analysis of Egypt's struggle, and that of the Copts, to overcome backwardness and obscurantism. more >>
WASHINGTON – Pro-life advocates rallied outside of the ABC News office in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, demanding even-handed media coverage of abortion and the pro-life movement.
"It's time to stop censoring the news about this most important issue of the day," proclaimed Lila Rose, founder and president of Live Action, an new media organization that is known for its undercover videos of abortion clinics.
As Rose began speaking, around 60 supporters gathered, along with an ABC cameraman and various reporters from other outlets. After a half-hour, the crowd had swelled to well over 130. more >>
The U.S. State Department will be reaching out more to religious leaders and communities at home and abroad, Secretary of State John Kerry explained as he announced Wednesday a new Office of Faith-Based Community Initiatives within the State Department.
"I want you to go out and engage religious leaders and faith-based communities in our day-to-day work," Kerry told State Department workers. "Build strong relationships with them and listen to their insights and understand the important contributions that they can make individually and that we can make together."
The new office will be headed by Dr. Shaun Casey, professor of Christian Ethics at Wesley Theological Seminary. An expert on religion and politics, Casey wrote a 2009 book on religion and the 1960 presidential election. During the 2008 presidential campaign, he worked on encouraging evangelicals to vote for then-candidate Barack Obama. more >>
Adult magazines Playboy, Penthouse, and Nudewill continue to be allowed on military installations because their material is not "sexually explicit," a top Pentagon official wrote.
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness and Force Management Frederick Vollrath defended these magazines as "not sexually explicit" last week in response to a June complaint by anti-pornography group Morality in Media.
Addressing Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, the group's letter "respectfully requests that you order the removal of all items of pornography for sale in military exchange services, commissaries, and ships to help curb the plague of sexual assaults that afflict the United States Military at this time." more >>
A Wisconsin-based secular group has sent a letter to an Ohio city promising legal action should a recently approved Holocaust Memorial design be built at a government building.
Freedom From Religion Foundation of Madison has sent correspondence to Columbus' Ohio Statehouse noting their opposition to the memorial over its inclusion of a Star of David symbol.
In a letter sent to those determining the design for the memorial last month, FFRF co-presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor, argued that the Star of David in the winning design was too religious. more >>
The lives of more than 5,000 children may have been lost to the civil war in Syria, according to recent reports, and now Open Doors USA has brought to international attention the testimonies of two young girls living in fear in the country where violence and killings have become almost a part of daily life for the nation's most innocent victims.
"It's scary. We hear a lot of bad stories about what is happening around us. On the streets there are soldiers everywhere. We see smoke from fighting and hear bombings all the time," said 13-year-old Youmna, a Christian girl who lives in Damascus, Syria with her sister, 10-year-old Nashita, according to Open Doors USA.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claims that around 100,000 people have been killed in the civil war between government forces and rebels, and among those numbers are 5,000 children under the age of 16. more >>