In the United States of America, whenever a cause wants to garner national awareness, it often attempts to do so by staging an event in Washington, DC.
Indeed, one of the many hazards of driving in the District of Columbia is simply never knowing when a road will be blocked off so that a large group of people with signs, flags, and chants can cross.
Although plenty of protests, rallies, and demonstrations have seen immense success, getting a certain number of people at a given place for a given event is never guaranteed. more >>
Highlighting escalation of attacks on Egypt's Copts, speakers at a congressional hearing this week expressed concerns over the Muslim Brotherhood making Christians the scapegoat for the Islamist group's political downfall.
"An unprecedented wave of violence erupted against Christians" after security forces' violent crackdown on Brotherhood protesters following the removal of President Mohammed Morsi in July, noted Bishop Angaelos of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom.
"They [Copts] alone were set as scapegoats and erroneously blamed and accused of instigating or contributing to the violent dispersal of pro-Morsi demonstrators," added Bishop Angaelos at a joint hearing before the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations and Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa on Tuesday. more >>
A group of 13 Greek Orthodox nuns who were abducted by a jihadist militia that raided their town in Syria on December 1 were seen attesting to their well being in a video aired on Al Jazeera Friday afternoon. It is a great relief to see that they were still alive. Other jihadist videos have been surfacing on social media, including a spate in recent days, graphically documenting their bloodletting, according to links in the Catholic service Asia News.
"The brothers are treating us well and have brought us from the convent here and we are very happy," one of the sisters is heard saying. Each of the sisters reportedly took turns speaking to the camera.
On Wednesday, the Greek-Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch told the international press that the nuns were in Yabrud, some 80 kilometers north of Damascus. However, their exact whereabouts have not been confirmed and church sources say they are being held captive by extremist rebels. more >>
Yet another phenomenon with a long paper trail in Islamic history has just taken place, even as the Western "mainstream"-little acquainted with true history or reality-dismisses it as an aberration. Asia News has the details:
Islamist rebels have kidnapped a group of nuns from the Greek Orthodox monastery of St Thecla (Mar Taqla) in Maaloula [an ancient Christian community where Christians were earlier forced to convert to Islam or die]… "Armed men burst in the monastery of St Thecla in Maaloula this afternoon [Dec. 2]. From there, they forcibly took 12 women religious," Mgr Zenari said …. Neither the nuncio nor the Greek Orthodox Church know [the] reason behind the kidnapping.
The "reason behind the kidnapping"? Sexual abuse and rape certainly should not be discounted, as these have been the lot of thousands of women abducted by U.S.-sponsored "freedom fighters" in Syria. Indeed, a new report issued by the National Reconciliation Commission in Syria states that some 37,000 women have been raped since the war started. more >>
A historically Methodist, Texas university now offers a prayer room for its Muslim students.
Following a 2012 meeting betwen Texas Wesleyan University (TWU) president Frederick Slabach and Mohammed Khalid M. Alshafei, the head of the Saudi Students Club, the university designated a space in its gym for Muslim students to pray.
"The reasons for this (prayer room) are two-fold," Rev. Dr. Robert K. Flowers, the Wesleyan chaplain, told The Rambler, TWU's school newspaper. "One, to show hospitality to our foreign students and, two, our campus needs to be open and tolerant of other faith traditions whether it is Islam, Hindu, Jewish, or otherwise." more >>
An American chemistry teacher working abroad in Benghazi, Libya was shot and killed by gunmen Thursday during his routine jog near the U.S. Consulate, security sources in the country confirmed Thursday. The man died one week before he was supposed to travel back to his native state of Texas to celebrate Christmas with his wife and young son.
Security official Ibrahim al-Sharaa said that it is unclear why the Texas-native chemistry teacher working at Libya's International School Benghazi was shot, although he was doing his regular exercise routine close to the U.S. Consulate, where Islamic militants attacked and killed American ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans last September. The city's International School is a government-owned institution that follows American standards for curriculum, according to the Association Press.
"He was doing his morning exercise when gunmen just shot him. I don't know why. He was so sweet with everyone," Adel al Mansouri, director at the school, told Reuters. Libya's special forces have reportedly been struggling to contain Islamic extremists in the country, especially in Benghazi. Members of the militant Ansar al-Sharia group reportedly inhabit the city, and this same group is the one the U.S. blames for the September 2012 attacks on the U.S. Consulate. more >>