The Islamic State terrorist organization released a new audio message on Wednesday purporting to come from the mouth of the group's caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who asserted that Islam is not the religion of peace, but rather the religion of violence.
If it is in fact Baghdadi speaking in the message, which was posted by the group's al-Furqan media outlet and shared by several ISIS-affiliated websites, it would mark the first time that the public has heard from Baghdadi in months, after it was reported that he was immobilized by a spinal injury resulting from shrapnel wounds from an airstrike.
The last audio message Baghdadi released was in November, which was just days after he was wounded in another airstrike. BBC reports that analysts believe that the voice in Wednesday's audio message, entitled "March Forth Whether Light or Heavy," sounds like Baghdadi's but it's still hard to verify. more >>
Controversial author and religious scholar Reza Aslan has said in an interview that he believes "anti-Muslim fervor" is rising in America due to media portrayals of the ongoing war on terror, but at the same time admitted that if ISIS calls itself Muslim, it should be taken seriously.
"I do think we need to resist saying ISIS has nothing to do with Islam, or that violence in the name of religion has nothing to do with religion," Aslan told "The Daily Show's" Jon Stewart. "Well, of course it has to do with religion."
Aslan added: "If ISIS calls itself Muslim, we should probably take them seriously. Fine. They are Muslims." more >>
It's hard to be bold and courageous on tough issues while also exemplifying meekness and love. In fact, some say it can't be done.
This past week, the Christian-right has found itself divided in regards to the Garland, Texas cartoon contest sponsored by Pamela Geller.
Should we insult all Muslims for the sake of making a point? Is it better to turn the other cheek and kill them with kindness as the old adage advises? This is a tough scenario to decipher. more >>
Famous anti-death penalty campaigner Sister Helen Prejean, who inspired the Susan Sarandon movie "Dead Man Walking," testified Monday on behalf of the Boston Bomber facing possible execution for murdering four, including an 8 year old child, and wounding 264, many of whom lost limbs.
Summoned by the defense, her purpose was to demonstrate that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is sorry for his bloody crimes, even though he declined to testify himself about his supposed sorrow, instead looking bored while surviving victims have testified of their suffering.
"He said emphatically, 'No one deserves to suffer like they did,'" the activist nun testified. Searching for evidence of his sorrow, she recalled of his voice during their conversation: "It had pain in it, actually, when he said what he did about 'nobody deserves that.' I had every reason to think he was taking it in and he was genuinely sorry for what he did." more >>
In the wake of the Muhammad cartoon contest attack, the Charlie Hebdo massacre, tens of thousands of Muslims worldwide flocking to join ISIS, and the chronic oppression of women and minorities in Islamic nations, millions of people are taking a second look at Islam. Journalists, politicians, Muslims, and the public are realizing that something is fundamentally different about the religion. With every Islamic inspired beheading, bombing, burning, crucifixion, hanging, kidnapping, raping, shooting, stabbing, beating, lashing, amputation, and stoning, the difference becomes clearer.
If nations are serious about addressing the root cause of Islamic violence and oppression, they must stop deceiving themselves about the cause. The world must acknowledge the features of Islam that make followers more susceptible to acts of terror and tyranny and put out to pasture the discredited excuses of Islamic apologists.
Just like it would be absurd to say all governments are the same and equally benign, it is the height of irrationality to believe religions are the same and don't differ in their dangerous teachings. While nearly all religions can teach violence and oppression, each religious text and founder is distinct. What they emphasize means the difference between extreme non-violence, as is the case with fundamentalists in Jainism, or extreme violence, as is the case with fundamentalists in Islam. more >>
The Taliban on Thursday claimed responsibility for an attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday that left 14 people dead, including one American.
The attack began when up to three members of the Taliban stormed a home in the Afghan capital of Kabul in an attempt to assassinate the ambassador from India.
Afghan National Security Forces who responded to the crisis rescued 54 people among an estimated 100 who were trapped inside a guesthouse. more >>