Roman Catholic Church bishops from the Province of Acapulco in Mexico are urging families to hold on to hope as authorities continue searching for the 43 students kidnapped by drug cartel gunmen. Many of the students are feared to have been massacred, and even burned alive.
"United in pain and suffering, we greet you so you can feel our comfort and our hope, along with feelings of sympathy for the disappearance and death of your children, on Sept. 26, in the city of Iguala," reads the statement by the bishops from the Archdiocese of Acapulco, published by Fides News Agency on Monday.
"We encourage you to continue to look ahead. You have to keep walking because God always has good things for his children. Have hope because hope pushes to keep fighting, to continue to live with dignity, to continue working for a better world," the statement added. more >>
An Iraqi tribal leader revealed that at least 322 members of a single Sunni tribe have been killed at the hands of terror group ISIS in the western Anbar province. The tribe's senior leader has blamed the government for abandoning the people to the jihadists.
"The government abandoned us and gave us to ISIS on a platter," Sheikh Naeem Al Gaoud of the Albu Nimr tribe told BBC News on Sunday. "We asked them many times for weapons but they gave us only promises."
Iraq's Ministry of Human Rights confirmed that 322 people in total have been killed, following news that ISIS militants shot dead 50 men and women from the tribe on Friday night into Saturday morning. Another 65 people are said to have been kidnapped. more >>
A Christian who was one of the last to flee his village in the Nineveh Province of northern Iraq before Islamic State jihadists captured it in August claims that ISIS militants are setting up explosives inside of homes so that if residents are ever to return to the village, their houses will explode upon entering.
The testimony of a Christian native named Ayad from Tel Keppe, a village just outside of the city of Mosul, was featured in a recent video interview conducted by the World Council of Churches. Ayad's testimony highlighted the timeline and details the of events that took place as the Islamic State militants captured his town on Aug. 6.
Ayad, who claims to be the last capable person to flee the village, said he eventually fled the town with no shoes on his feet, but emphasized that Christians are eager to return to their homes, as day by day, the Kurdish forces tell refugees what villages they have liberated and are safe to return to. more >>
A 25-year-old British mother is believed to have traveled to Syria, along with her 1-year-old baby son, to join Islamic State extremists in their Syrian stronghold of Raqqa, according to her family.
The father of Tareena Shakil, a young British mother who resided in Birmingham and holds a psychology degree, told the British news source The Sun that he's concerned for his baby grandson's safety after he learned that his daughter and her 14-month-old son have entered the Islamic State caliphate in Syria and don't plan on returning home.
After four months of posting extremist messages on a Facebook account Shakil had created under an Islamic pseudonym, Shakil's family said that she lied when she told them that she and her son, Zaheem, were going on a vacation to Spain. They learned that Spain was not her intended destination when Shakil sent messages back home to the family saying that she and Zaheem had instead crossed Turkey's porous border into Syria and that they are now in the ISIS Syrian stronghold of Raqqa. more >>
As Islamic State extremists continue their reign of terror through Iraq and Syria, the chaos, violence and persecution forced upon the thousands of people in the region has caused 90 percent of Orthodox Christians in Iraq to flee the sanctity of their homes, according to the Greek Orthodox Bishop for Baghdad, Ghattas Hazim.
Hazim, who is also the Greek Orthodox Bishop of Kuwait and other surrounding areas, said in a recent interview with Al Monitor that he fears for the future of the Orthodox Christian presence in Iraq, Syria, and the whole Mesopotamia region. Citing unspecified statistics, Hazim said that 90 percent of Iraqi Orthodox Christians have been displaced from their homes. He added that only 30 of 600 Orthodox families remain in Baghdad as ISIS' quest to conquer the city continues.
In Mosul, the Islamic State's stronghold in Iraq in the northern Nineveh province, Hazim said only 10 Orthodox families remain, although it's believed that the only Christians left in Mosul are those who could not afford to, or physically, flee. more >>
An Iranian woman hanged for murdering her alleged rapist left behind a heartbreaking message for her mother in which she asserts that "death is not the end of life" and that she trusts God with her future, even if it meant death by the Iranian court.
"Let's see what God wants," Reyhaneh Jabbari said in a voicemail to her mother several months ago. The Iranian woman was charged with the murder of her accused rapist and in jail at the time she left the voicemail—her fate had not yet been decided, but she knew that she could easily be found guilty and hanged.
"The world did not love us," she said. "It did not want my fate. And now I am giving in to it and embrace the death. Because in the court of God I will charge the inspectors, I will charge inspector Shamlou, I will charge judge, and the judges of country's Supreme Court that beat me up when I was awake and did not refrain from harassing me … I will charge Qassem Shabani and all those that out of ignorance or with their lies wronged me and trampled on my rights and didn't pay heed to the fact that sometimes what appears as reality is different from it." more >>