At least 200 people were killed and three villages were raided in a major new offensive by Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram in Nigeria on Monday. The gunmen reportedly dressed like soldiers and tricked the locals before carrying out the massacre.
"We all thought they were the soldiers that we earlier reported to that the insurgents might attack us," said one community leader who escaped the massacre, The Associated Press reported.
The attacks focused on the villages of Danjara, Agapalwa, and Antagara in northeastern Nigeria. The terrorists reportedly drove into the villages in pickup trucks used by the military and said that they were soldiers who were there to "protect" the villagers. As people gathered in the center, the gunmen began shouting "Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar" (God is great), before they opened fire. more >>
On death row in Sudan last week, Meriam Ibrahim gave birth to a girl, whom she named Maya. The 27-year-old prisoner of conscience is now a step closer to the gallows. On May 15, Meriam was sentenced to be hanged for apostasy from Islam, but the execution was ordered delayed until the then-8-month pregnant defendant delivered and weaned the baby.
Notwithstanding its assertion last weekend that Meriam would be released "in a few days," by Monday Sudan had made it clear it has no such intention. Her defense lawyer is now pursuing legal appeals, but Meriam's only real hope of being spared lies in the moral pressure created in the court of public opinion.
Meriam's case turned on the question of her religious identity-whether she is lawfully a Christian, a faith she inherited from her Ethiopian Orthodox mother and embraces, or whether, because her father was a Muslim, she too must be a Muslim, even though he abandoned the family when she was young. more >>
Persecution watchdog group Open Doors has released its top 10 list of countries where Christians face the most violent attacks for their faith, with Nigeria topping the list.
"The alarming trend of violence against Christians in Nigeria over the past months highlights the lack of religious freedom they have and the daily dangers they face from the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram and other violent Islamic organizations," said Open Doors USA President/CEO Dr. David Curry.
"Going to school, attending church or identifying yourself as a Christian is a very brave decision in Nigeria. It is turning into a bloodbath. Christians in the West must stand in the gap with our prayers and support." more >>
A Florida pastor, best known for burning copies of the Quran, will speak at a rally outside of a Dearborn, Michigan, mosque on Flag Day.
Later this month, Terry Jones, pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, will be the keynote speaker in an event where members of the American Patriotic Bikers intend to drive through Dearborn before protesting Sharia law outside the Islamic Center of America.
Out of the 96,000 residents in Dearborn, one third claim Arab heritage, among which one third are foreign born, reported Time magazine last year. The city is also home to the largest mosque in the country, which boasts 3,000 members. more >>
Two Italian priests and one Canadian nun have been freed from Cameroon after they were allegedly kidnapped by the terror group Boko Haram in April.
Father Giampaolo Marta, Father Gianantonio Allegri from the Diocese of Vicenza in northeast Italy and Canadian nun Gilberte Bissiere of the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre-Dame were photographed Sunday being led to the Cameroon capital of Yaoundé, where they were scheduled to meet with the country's president, Paul Biya, later that day.
The three missionaries had been working in the country's parish of Maroua, near Nigeria's border, to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS and improve local drinking water when they were kidnapped on April 4. Although no group has taken responsibility for the kidnappings, the Cameroonian government has accused Boko Haram of taking the three missionaries. The group of Islamic militants has taken responsibility for multiple kidnappings in the past year, including the kidnapping of over 200 Nigerian school girls from Chibok, Nigeria, in April. more >>
A report by Pew Research Center has found that as of 2012, about one in ten nations in the world have legal punishments for apostasy, or the leaving of one's faith.
Released Wednesday and authored by Angelina Theodorou, the report found that 11 percent of countries and territories had apostasy laws and 22 percent had blasphemy laws.