A 16-year-old Yazidi girl who was used as a slave by Islamic State terror group leader Abu bakr al-Baghdadi has described the savage beatings and rapes she and other women, including U.S. hostage Kayla Mueller, suffered at the hands of the jihadists.
The Yazidi girl, using the name Zeinat, revealed in a CNN interview that she met Mueller when both were forced to serve al-Baghdadi at his home in Raqqa, Syria.
"He treated us so badly," Zeinat said. "He would always tell us: Forget your father and your brothers. We have killed them. And we have married off your mothers and sisters. Forget them." more >>
Pope Francis has urged every Catholic parish and religious community in Europe to take in at least one refugee family and help Europe with its migrant crisis, noting that the Vatican would take two families itself. With hundreds of thousands of refugees making their way toward Western Europe, countries such as Germany and Austria are said to be near the "tipping point" of how much they can help.
"May every parish, every religious community, every monastery, every sanctuary of Europe, take in one family" Francis told the crowds at St. Peter's Square on Sunday. ￼ "Before the tragedy of tens of thousands of refugees fleeing death in conflict and hunger and are on a journey of hope, the Gospel calls us to be close to the smallest and to those who have been abandoned," he added, according to Vatican Radio.
Iranian Muslims seeking asylum in Germany are reportedly converting to Christianity at a high rate, and one Berlin church has seen its membership jump from 150 to 600 in a short time, with most of its new members being Muslim converts.
These new believers have been baptized in the name of Jesus Christ and wish to never return to their home country to the intense persecution from radical groups like Islamic State.
Becoming a Christian also helps migrants' and refugees' chances of staying in Germany, but the pastor of the booming Berlin church isn't worried about the motives behind the conversions. more >>
A Syrian priest, along with 270 Christian and Muslim hostages kidnapped by Islamic militants earlier this summer in an offensive on the city of Homs, are reportedly alive and hoping that they'll be released after negotiations.
Fides News Agency said that Father Jacques Murad, who belongs to the monastic community of Deir Mar Musa, is still alive, according to local sources, but is being held hostage with groups of Christians and Muslims taken by jihadists in August. The hostages are reported to be "stable and secure," and are waiting as local ecclesial communities are carrying out negotiations through mediators for their possible release.
"The sources contacted by Fides confirm that all the hostages are still in Quaryatayn, and specify that the news on the story of father Murad broadcast in recent days by Lebanese television network Nursat TV did not include any statement regarding the religious person kidnapped, but only reassuring considerations about his fate, expressed by another priest," the report added. more >>
Over 1,000 people have been killed by terror group Boko Haram in the first 100 days of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari's reign, while close to 2.1 million have been internally displaced. Buhari had promised that he would find a way to drive out the Islamic terror group from his country, but so far the terror group's raids have continued in full force.
The International Organization for Migration revealed on Friday that displaced people have risen to 2.1 million in the northeastern states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe, as well as the central state of Nassarawa and Abuja.
"The increase ... can be attributed to the intensification of attacks carried out by the insurgents, as well as to improved access to previously inaccessible areas of Borno state, where the IDP population is now well over 1.6 million," IOM said. more >>
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 >>