In a passionate speech presenting the historic sacrifice made by Iraqi Christians on Wednesday, Chaldean Catholic Bishop Mar Sarhad Yawsip Jammo said that although Iraqi Christians have been slaughtered in masses by ISIS, Iraqi Christians have been proudly losing their lives in the name of Jesus since before Islam existed.
Speaking at Skyline Wesleyan Church's Future Conference in San Diego, Jammo, who's a native of Baghdad with ancestral ties to the Nineveh Plains and serves as bishop of a Chaldean Catholic Diocese that spans throughout the Western U.S., explained that the Chaldean Christian community's experience of being forced to choose between paying a tax for their faith or being killed predates ISIS' brutal demand.
In fact, Jammo explained that Chaldean Christians were first asked to pay taxes in order to celebrate their faith in the year 339 under the rule of King Shapur II, when he told Christians that they must pay double taxes if they wish to continue worshiping Jesus without being killed. more >>
A prominent Muslim leader in France has suggested that thousands of the country's abandoned Catholic churches should be turned into mosques to accommodate the growing French Muslim population, which is the largest Muslim population in Europe.
In a Monday interview with France's Europe 1 radio, Dalil Boubakeur, the president of the French Council of Muslim Faith and rector of the Grand Mosque in Paris, explained that there are only 2,500 mosques in France, with another 300 under construction, which falls short of being able to serve the nation's estimated 5 million Muslims.
Boubakeur asserted that at least 5,000 mosques are needed in order to comfortably serve the French Muslim community and advised that converting some of the nation's emptied churches could be a viable option. more >>
As Pakistani lawmakers consider legislation to reform the nation's corrupt blasphemy laws, Islamic clerics are bashing the government for even considering such an option, and are calling for the release of the murderer of the Punjab governor who advocated for blasphemy reform in 2011.
Asia News reports that 10 Muslim scholars and a former Pakistani judge gathered recently at a "seminar for protection of the prophet's dignity" and expressed their concern over the proposed legislation that is attempting to add the word "intention" to the nation's blasphemy law.
Speaking at the seminar was former Pakistani justice Mian Nazir Akhtar, who represents Mumtaz Qadri, the bodyguard who killed Punjab Governor Salman Taseer for referring to Pakistan's blasphemy law as a "black law." Akhtar bashed the proposed legislation and asserted that those who insult the Muslim prophet Muhammad deserve to be killed and "sent to hell." more >>
MIAMI BEACH — Can the Islamic State, or ISIS, be classified as a "religious movement," or is it a political movement that's only superficially religious? This issue was discussed by two Middle East experts at a recent Faith Angle Forum.
Bernard Haykel noted that many of his colleagues in the social sciences "want to push very hard against the idea that ISIS is a religious movement or that Islam has anything to do with the Islamic State." Social scientists, he added, usually prefer analyses centered on race, class and gender to those centered on religion as an explanatory variable. He also noted that President Barack Obama prefers to not associate ISIS with Islam.
"If you look at the cultural production, the intellectual production, the legal and theological production of ISIS, which is plentiful on the Web, there is no question that this is a movement that's drawing on a very particular strain or trend within the Islamic intellectual history, legal history, theological history," Haykel countered. "It has particular obsessions with certain theological concepts, and, of course, it's presenting itself as an heir to the 'true' version of Islam, which is a kind of projection backwards onto what true Islam was, by people who are living with us today, by moderns." more >>
Days after The Christian Post reported that American pastor Saeed Abedini, who's in an Iranian jail because of his Christian faith, was "viciously beaten" by fellow prisoners, the Rev. Franklin Graham has called on President Obama to help secure his release just as the White House recently worked to free an Egyptian-American Muslim from an Egyptian prison.
"Mr. President, American pastor Saeed Abedini has been imprisoned in Iran for two-and-a-half years, and last week he suffered another severe beating at the hands of inmates," Graham wrote in an open letter posted on his Facebook page, which is followed by more than 1.6 million people.
"His life is continuously threatened not only because he's an American, but also because he's a Christian. This was why he was arrested — and he has been told his only way out is to deny Jesus Christ," added Graham, who leads Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. more >>
The 23-year-old widow of Malak Ibrahim, one of the 21 Egyptian Christians who were beheaded by Islamic State terrorists in Libya earlier this year, says she's proud and comforted by the fact that her husband refused to deny Christ and was praying to Jesus when he and the others were killed.
Mariam Farhat, who lives in Al Aour village, about 150 miles south of Cairo, told CBN News that she "was very proud" that Ibrahim "stood firm in his faith and that he didn't deny Jesus."
"We were very sad for the first two days, but we hadn't seen the video," she said. "When we saw them in the video calling to Jesus we were very comforted." more >>