Bishop Georges Abou Khazen, the Apostolic Vicar of Aleppo in Syria for the Catholics of the Latin rite, denied reports that a Syrian Christian fighter beheaded an ISIS terrorist for revenge, accusing the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights of spreading rumor based on "unreliable and unverifiable" information.
"The manipulation of information is also one of the means used to multiply the violence and horrors of this conflict," Bishop Abou Khazen told the Catholic Fides news agency. "We know that more than 230 Assyrian Christians abducted in the villages of Khabur are still held hostage by jihadists."
The bishop said British media picked up the story despite it being "unreliable and unverifiable." more >>
Close to 200 civilians in Syria have died from barrel bomb attacks throughout the weekend allegedly carried out by the army of President Bashar al-Assad, activists have said. While Assad has continuously denied responsibility, a U.N. envoy has condemned the bombings as "totally unacceptable."
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Sunday that at least 184 people were killed in several provinces over the weekend, though the actual death toll is believed to be higher. The activist organization said that 71 civilians, including women and children, were killed by bombs dropped by Assad's helicopters on Saturday in the northern province of Aleppo alone.
"The news of aerial bombing by Syrian helicopters on a civilian area of the Aleppo neighbourhood of Al-Shaar deserves the most strong international condemnation," U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura said in a statement in response to the latest attack. more >>
President Barack Obama has promised a Cuban priest that he will defend human rights despite restoring diplomatic relation with Cuba late last year. Obama reportedly spoke with the priest at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Charity in Miami, where the president stopped to pray and light a candle to Cuba's patroness, the Virgin Mary.
"The topic of freedom for Cuba and human rights will always be on the negotiating table with [Cuban President] Raul Castro," Obama told Father Juan Rumin Dominguez in an unexpected visit last week, according to Catholic News Service.
Dominguez was able to speak with Obama in detail about the plight of Cubans in exile, many who have come to the United States seeking refuge. more >>
Malaysian authorities have begun exhuming the jungle graves of 139 trafficked migrant captives, who were buried in various human trafficking detention camps along a 30-mile stretch of the Malaysia-Thailand border, where it is believed they were tortured and kept in cages.
Malaysian Deputy Home Minister, Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, told reporters on Thursday that 12 police officials have been arrested for alleged involvement in human trafficking, while two of the officers were directly linked to recently discovered graves.
After it was reported earlier this week that the 139 discovered graves contained multiple bodies, Jaafar asserted that the graves only contained one body per grave. more >>
Human rights activist Pervez Rafique, who's also a former minority member of parliament representing the Pakistan People's Party in Punjab, said it will be hard to change Pakistan's blasphemy laws, which he said are upheld by an Islamic government that has "strong relations" with Muslim extremists.
Such blasphemy laws are often used to persecute minorities, and Christians in the country have been facing a growing wave of violence, with a Protestant church destroyed and six Christians beaten by armed men in Chakwal in Punjab in an incident on Thursday.
Rafique told The Christian Post in an email interview on Thursday that those presently in power in Pakistan are known for having a "pro Taliban, pro Islamic ideology" and said that they have "strong relations with Muslim extremist organizations." more >>
A Kurdish official has claimed that Islamic State militants have burned an 80-year-old Christian woman alive because she refused to cooperate with the caliphate's strict brand of Shariah law.
Sa'ed Mamuzini, a representative of the Kurdish Democratic Party's office in Mosul, told the Kurdish news organization BasNews on Tuesday that ISIS militants set the unnamed woman on fire in an Assyrian village about 12 miles southeast of Mosul.
Mamuzini explained that he was told of the incident by villagers who witnessed the torturous act. The villagers told Mamuzini that "the woman was killed for failing to comply with the strict laws of the Islamic State." more >>