The U.S. Supreme Court in Early October will rule on a Muslim prisoner's lawsuit against the Arkansas Department of Correction claiming that when prison guards forced the inmate to shave his beard, they had violated his freedom of religious practice. Four Christian organizations have come to the defense of the inmate's religious liberties.
Inmate Gregory Holt, who also goes by Abdul Maalik Muhammad, is in jail on a life sentence after being convicted of burglary and domestic battery and is looking to maintain a beard of at least a half inch in length to fulfill what he believes to be a religious obligation. However, Arkansas' prison regulations only allow for inmates with dermatologic conditions to grow a beard of a quarter inch in length.
Holt filed a handwritten petition to the Supreme Court after his prior cases in Federal District Court and its ensuing appeal ruled in favor of the Arkansas DOC's claims that regulations are preventive safety measures in case inmates try to hide contraband or weapons in their beards. Holt is being represented by The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which also recently successfully defended the religious freedom of the owners of Hobby Lobby before the Supreme Court, and by personal lawyers. more >>
The Rev. Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse, has questioned whether news coming out of the Middle East is a sign of the end times.
First published on billygraham.org last week, Franklin Graham noted the various incidents of persecution facing Christians throughout the world.
"The killing of Christians by Muslims from Indonesia to Bangladesh to Pakistan. China tearing down church buildings," wrote Graham. more >>
The family of American journalist Steven Sotloff, who was beheaded in a video released by terror group ISIS earlier this week, have spoken out on the life of the reporter, stating that he was "no hero" but a man who tried to find good in the world, and ultimately sacrificed his life to bring to others stories of suffering and ravages of war.
"He was no war junkie. He did not want to be a modern-day Lawrence of Arabia. He merely wanted to give voice to those who had none," the family began in a statement through a spokesman.
"From the Libyan doctor in Misrata who struggled to provide psychological services to children ravaged by war, to the Syrian plumber who risked his life by crossing regime lines to purchase medicine, their story was Steve's story," the statement continued. more >>
A British mother of two, now a Muslim convert associating with Islamic State terrorists in Syria, posted a series of tweets threatening Christians, with one specifically mentioning beheadings at the point of a "blunt knife."
The radical militant threats along with pro-Osama Bin Laden comments were posted to the Twitter account of a radical jihadist named Sakinah Hussain who uses the pseudonym Umm Hussain al-Britani. She is believed to be known in the United Kingdom as Sally Jones, 45, hailing from Kent in southeast England, according to investigators.
"You Christians all need beheading with a nice blunt knife and stuck on the railings at raqqa … Come here I'll do it for you!" the tweet stated. more >>
Early in August, I flew from New York to Tel Aviv. I was a part of a faith oriented solidarity trip, with Christians United for Israel, focused on supporting Israel from a prayer and public policy perspective. In my mind this was a humanitarian trip – it was made up of a diverse group of 51 ministers representing all 50 states plus Washington, DC. We prayed earnestly for the peace of Jerusalem and Israel. Of special concern to everyone was the protection of women and children of all faiths and ethnicities.
The three-day trip to Israel was worth every moment we invested. We got a chance to talk with Israeli citizens who were practicing Christians, Jews, and Muslims. We were also allowed to view regions targeted by rockets, conflict zones, and selected sacred sites.
The most surprising bit of information we gathered was that nearly one out of every five Israelis is of Arab descent. Nowhere was this diversity more evident to us than in Jerusalem. Arabs and other minorities live with the full rights of citizenship in Israel, unlike Muslim controlled lands surrounding them - where religious freedom is almost non- existent. more >>
As Russia launched a series of events on Sept. 1 to commemorate the Beslan school siege, one of the bloodiest terrorist attacks in that country in which 300 people died, including 186 Christian children, a decade ago, Nurpashi Kulaev, the lone surviving Muslim jihadist who took part in the massacre, sahhhh hj he feels no guilt over what he did.
"I don't feel guilty that women and children died. … But I can say neither I nor anyone else could have saved them. Because the decisions were made by other people," Kulaev told RT.
According to RT, 10 years ago when the incident took place, 1,128 Beslan children, teachers and parents were celebrating the first day of school when they were taken hostage by terrorists who rigged the school with explosives. more >>