The Islamic State terror group has released 22 Assyrian Christians who were part of a group of over 200 believers kidnapped in February in raids on villages in the Khabur region in northeastern Syria.
The Assyrian Observatory for Human Rights has said the Christians were released due to "the tireless efforts and negotiations by the Assyrian Church of the East in the city of Hasakeh," and noted that there were 14 women among the hostages.
Hundreds of kidnapped Arab Christians have been ransomed, tortured, beheaded and killed over the past year, including a priest who was chopped into pieces, in attempts to raise funds for radical Islamic terror groups and to strike fear into the hearts of Christians across the Middle East and throughout the world.
"Christians have become a form [of] currency in this tragedy," John Newton told The Christian Post. Newton is spokesman for Catholic relief agency Aid to the Church in Need. "I know of one priest who was kidnapped for two months ... they asked for a ransom of $120,000, which the family managed to raise and deliver. ... But hours later, the priest was killed and his body cut up, with pieces of him sent in a box to the family."
The process of trying to free kidnapped priests poses a difficult challenge. In many cases, Christian organizations are left in the dark with little information on who the kidnappers are or where the victims are being held. more >>
A criminal gang in Pakistan located near the Indian border has forced nearly 300 children to engage in sexual acts in what authorities have discovered is the largest child pornography ring in the nation's history. Islamic scholars are now calling for the perpetrators to be put to death.
The chief minister of Pakistan's Punjab province, Shahbaz Sharif, requested on Sunday that the Lahore High Court investigate a gang of child pornographers in Kasur, which supposedly produced at least 400 videos featuring 280 children who were forced into sex, Pakistan's Dawn newspaper first reported.
A top child protection official in the province has labeled the case "the largest-ever child-abuse scandal in Pakistan's history" and assured that those responsible will be punished vigorously. more >>
ERBIL, Iraq — Thousands of displaced Arab refugees, including a large number of Christians and Yazidis, are continuing to flee Iraq following the Islamic State's mass execution of around 2,000 Iraqis in the city of Nineveh — followed by a series of car bombs in Baghdad on Monday — resulting in dozens of causalities, according to Reuters.
It's been one year since the Islamic State began its reign of terror in the Sinjar and Tal Afar districts of northern Iraq's Nineveh Province, which has included a hate-fueled campaign to wipe out Christians and Yazidis as well as other religious communities.
"Islamic State has unleashed untold misery and suffering on defenseless religious and ethnic communities, while destroying treasured religious and historical sites in both Iraq and Syria," said Robert P. George, chairman of the U.S.Commission on International Religious Freedom, last week. "Muslims, Christians, Yazidis, and others are all at risk. Due to IS's reign of terror, millions of people from Iraq and Syria have been forced to flee and now are refugees or internally displaced." more >>
Sexual slavery is alive and well in the United States. In fact, there's an American interstate highway that's known, within certain circles, to be a main artery for sex trafficking.
With over 27 million people around the world forced into modern-day slavery, and many of them trapped in various forms of sexual slavery, the Southern Baptist Convention's International Missions Board President David Platt said Wednesday that only the Gospel has the power to eradicate the slavery epidemic.
Speaking at the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission's national conference on The Gospel & Politics in Nashville, Tennessee, Platt, like many others, admitted he once thought the issue of slavery was a "relic of a bygone era" before his time. more >>
A-list Hollywood celebrities including Anne Hathaway, Kate Winslet, and Meryl Streep have joined 400 prominent figures, including a number of faith leaders, who've signed a letter rejecting a proposal by Amnesty International to advocate for the legalization of prostitution.
Fox News reported on Thursday that while Amnesty is arguing that legalizing the practice can help sex workers receive better protection from violence and the risk of HIV/AIDS in their line of work, the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, which the celebrities have backed, has warned that such a move will also make life worse for the victims caught in sex trafficking.
The letter, which starts off by praising Amnesty's history of fighting for human rights and shedding light on human trafficking issues, says that should Amnesty vote next month to support "the decriminalization of pimping, brothel owning and sex buying, it will in effect support a system of gender apartheid, in which one category of women may gain protection from sexual violence and sexual harassment, and offered economic and educational opportunities; while another category of women, whose lives are shaped by absence of choice, are instead set apart for consumption by men and for the profit of their pimps, traffickers and brothel owners." more >>