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 >>
Sixteen fighters from the Islamic State terror group have reportedly contracted the HIV from two Moroccan sex slaves, and as a result have been ordered to carry out suicide bombings and sacrifice their lives.
"Most of those infected are foreign militants who had sexual intercourses with two Moroccan women. The women passed on the disease to the militants before their infection was revealed. We were ordered by the group's local leadership to transfer the infected militants to a quarantine center in the city," a Syrian doctor in the city of al-Mayadeen in the Syrian province of Deir ez-Zor, told ARA News earlier this week.
After IS leadership found out that the two Moroccan women, who have since escaped to Turkey, tested positive for AIDS, they ordered more of its fighters to carry out medical tests in order to avoid further spreading the disease. more >>
The Islamic State terror group has distributed online photos of three women believed to be kidnapped Assyrian Christians, warning that if a ransom is not paid for their freedom, the women will be turned into sex slaves.
MailOnline reported that the three women who appear in the photos, holding pieces of paper which reveal their names and the date July 27, are likely part of the over 200 Assyrians kidnapped by IS in February in Syria.
The Assyrian Federation of Sweden cautioned that it cannot yet be confirmed whether the women in the photos are indeed those kidnapped from the Assyrian village of Tel Shamiram, but said that their surnames suggest that it is so. more >>
Pope Francis has called on world powers to take action and help migrants who are fleeing violence and seeking refuge in Europe and the U.K. The pontiff made his call to action as part of a speech in which he condemned governments that refuse to accept the refugees into their countries and provide them with assistance and shelter, saying their actions are nothing short of a "crime."
Francis spoke out about the refugee crisis to members of the Eucharistic Youth Movement on the island of Lampedusa in southern Italy earlier this month, after 200 dead bodies were found near a capsized boat close by, as reported by the Gazzetta del Sud.
The pope also called on residents to remember the mostly Muslim Rohingya refugees as "brothers" from Myanmar and Bangladesh who have been refused entry in to Myanmar, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia as well as the 170,000 that reached Italy by ship last year, as recorded by the International Organization for Migration data. more >>
Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi repeatedly sexually assaulted American humanitarian worker Kayla Mueller before she died earlier this year in captivity in Syria, according to the victim's family. She got a chance to escape along with two Yazidi girls but she refused to join them lest her foreign appearance put them in danger, one of the girls has said.
"We were told Kayla was tortured, that she was the property of al-Baghdadi," Kayla's parents, Carl and Marsha Mueller, told ABC News on Friday, the day she would have turned 27.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi personally brought Mueller, who was captured in Sinjar, Iraq, last August, to the home of Abu Sayyaf, a Tunisian in charge of oil and gas revenue for IS, Al-Shadadiya. The top IS leader visited the home often to rape her. more >>