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 >>
It's that time again when adults take off to celebrate Labor Day, and kids head back to the adventures a new school year. But for millions of children worldwide the adventures of a new school year remain but a dream. Sadly, these children will never learn to read or write. They will not acquire computer skills. They will not experience singing in chorus, going on field trips, or playing at recess. Their classrooms will be sweatshops, farm fields, and battlefields. Their days will be filled with long, dirty, dangerous work. And the lessons they will learn are that life is cruel and unfair.
According to the International Labor Organization's latest report "Global child labor trends 2008 to 2012," approximately 168 million children aged 5-17 were involved in child labor — that is, labor not in legal accordance with ILO Conventions — in 2012.
Austrian police have said that 71 people, including four children, have been discovered dead in an abandoned truck near the Hungarian border. Police suspect that the victims were Syrian migrants and victims of human trafficking.
BBC News reported that among the victims were 59 men and eight women, believed to have suffocated inside the truck two days ago.
The grizzly discovery was apparently made Thursday morning when police were sent to investigate the abandoned truck on the A4 motorway toward Vienna. more >>
ERBIL, Iraq — Dozens of Yazidi sex slave survivors, including 9-year-old girls, were rescued this week by smugglers from their Islamic State captors following months of brutal rape and torture by their "owners" and other Jihadi soldiers who purchased them at an IS slave market.
"Their fighters pray to Allah before and after they systematically rape Yazidi women and children, including some as young as 9-years-old," said Hadi Pir, vice president of Yazda, a U.S.-based global Yazidi organization, to The Christian Post.
While some Christians had the option to pay jaziya (Islamic tax paid by non-Muslims) to purchase their freedom, most other minority groups such as the Yazidis, who number about 600,000 in Iraq, were specifically targeted and separated for sex slavery. more >>
The Islamic State terrorist group has released pictures and video purporting to show militants bulldozing a nearly 1,600-year-old Christian monastery, while a claim has been made that the jihadis have also dug up and desecrated the bones of a martyred Christian saint.
As Islamic State captured the Syrian town of al-Qaryatain in the Homs province and kidnapped over 230 Syriac Christians earlier this month in what was deemed ISIS' biggest military advance since it took over the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra in May, it's believed that some of the kidnapped Christians were taken from the town's ancient Syriac Catholic Mar Elian Monastery.
This week, IS-affiliated social media accounts posted images and footage showing the destruction of the monastery, which was founded in the year 432 and was also the location where priest Jacques Mourad and a church volunteer was abducted in May. more >>
Stirred by a report of how the Islamic State uses the Quran to justify systematic sexual violence against women and young girls, Hillsong Church pastor Bobbie Houston has called on women everywhere to pray over the shocking and abhorrent situation in any way they know how.
After reading The New York Times Aug. 13 feature "ISIS Enshrines a Theology of Rape," Houston posted a fervent prayer request on her Instagram account, alerting potentially more than 100,000 followers to the powerful report.
The Times feature, written by Rukmini Callimachi, highlights how "the Islamic State codifies sex slavery in conquered regions of Iraq and Syria," using the Quran in support. The radical Sunni militant group uses the barbaric practice as a recruiting tool to grow its numbers. more >>