Members of a militant Islamic group is demanding shopkeepers to cover their store mannequins with full-face veils to abide by the strict Islamic teaching regarding the human form.
Local residents of Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, have told international media outlets that members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), now called the Islamic State, have demanded local shopkeepers to cover both male and female mannequins with veils. This mandate coincides with a strict interpretation of Shariah law that forbids artwork and statues depicting the human form.
Multiple media reports indicate that a Christian in Iran was reportedly sentenced by a judge to have his lips burned with a cigarette after he failed to fast during the month-long Muslim holiday of Ramadan.
Although Islamic rule states that the month-long fasting period of Ramadan only applies to Muslims, the Christian man was reportedly punished publicly in the city of Kermanshah this week. Along with the Christian man's punishment, five Muslim men were reportedly flogged with 70 lashes each for failing to obey the fasting rules of Ramadan, the city's deputy Governor Ali Ashraf Karami told The Daily Mail.
One group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, has condemned the recent public punishments, arguing that they are examples of Iran's unfair justice system that often target non-Muslim citizens. more >>
As militant group ISIS continued its attacks in Iraq, killing 31 people on Tuesday in a suicide blast in Baghdad, the country's bishops have pleaded for the government to stop the "catastrophe" and protect Christians who are being driven out in masses.
The appeal came from Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako and all the Chaldean, Syrian Orthodox, Syrian Catholic and Armenian Bishops in northern Iraq, Fides News Agency reported, and called on the government to provide "financial support to displaced people who have lost everything."
Thousands of Christians have been fleeing northern Iraq and are "near extinction" according to several persecution watchdog groups. Christians in the city of Mosul, which was captured by ISIS in June, were given an ultimatum to convert to Islam, pay a tax, or die. more >>
Eleven parents of the over 200 schoolgirls who were kidnapped by Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram in Chibok, Nigeria have died, according to reports.
"One father of two of the girls kidnapped just went into a kind of coma and kept repeating the names of his daughters, until life left him," said community leader Pogu Bitrus, adding that at least four of the parents have died due to trauma from the mass abduction in April, according to The Associated Press.
Chibok and other villages in the region have been besieged by militants, with Nigeria's army unable to control the situation. Seven fathers of the kidnapped girls were among 51 bodies carried over from the nearby village of Kautakari this month. more >>
A Muslim candidate running for commissioner in Coffee County, Tennessee claims his Republican opponent has spread false rumors regarding his patriotism and religion.
Zak Mohyuddin, an engineer and 25-year resident of Tullahoma, says the claims made by his Republican opponent for Coffee County commissioner are "offensive and completely untrue." Mohyuddin, who is running as a Democrat, has decried statements made in a letter sent to voters by his opponent, Commissioner Mark Kelly, earlier in July.
In the letter, Kelly reportedly claims that Mohyuddin had "expressed his beliefs publicly" that "the American flag should be removed from public buildings because it is a symbol of tyranny and oppression; that public prayer should be banned because it insults non-Christians; and that the Bible should be removed from public places," according to The Tullahoma News. In the letter, Kelly also points to his own Christian values and his belief that the Bible "belongs in public places." more >>
As Iraq's Christians continue fleeing the city of Mosul and other regions following a "convert or die" ultimatum by Islamic militants ISIS, persecution watchdog group Open Doors said that the "unprecedented" forced exodus has left Christianity in the Middle East near extinction.
"The persecution and treatment of Christians in Mosul is unprecedented in modern times," Dr. David Curry, President/CEO of Open Doors USA, said in a statement on Monday. "This latest forced exodus of Christians further shows why Western governments and the people in the West need to cry out in support for religious freedom in the Middle East and elsewhere. If this does not move us concerning the near extinction of Christianity in the Middle East, it's likely nothing else can."
ISIS, which has taken control of Mosul and other parts of Iraq, gave Christians until midday Saturday to convert to Islam, pay a tax, or be killed. Thousands of Christians have subsequently fled the region, with some seeking refuge at camps in the autonomous region of Kurdistan. more >>