The Islamic State terrorist group has abducted scores of Syrian Christian families in what has been deemed the terrorist organization's biggest military advance since it conquered the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra in May.
According to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, IS captured the town of al-Qaryatain in the Homs district of western Syria on Thursday and took numerous Christian families hostage. The militants began their attack on the town after jihadi suicide bombers took out checkpoints at the entrance of the city.
After a night of battle with Assad regime fighters, IS took control of the town which was once a destination for many Christians and religious minorities to flee to after the militants took over the city of Aleppo. more >>
Some of the most influential Christian leaders in the Middle East convened in Syria in late July to urge world leaders to support the persecuted Christian community, crying out for help to remain in the land "watered by the sweat of our fathers."
The meeting in the Old City of Damascus was attended by the five patriarchs of the oldest Christian churches in the Arab world including the Antiochian Greek Catholic Church, the Syriac Orthodox Church, the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, the Syriac Catholic Church, and the Maronite Church. The Vatican's ambassador to Syria also attended.
"We call on everyone who claims to have an interest in our fate to help us to remain," said the Mid East church leaders in a joint statement released from Syria's capital. more >>
A member of the Church of Iran who was arrested in 2010 for being baptized in Turkey has been released early from prison, according to a Christian persecution advocacy group.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide announced Tuesday that Alireza Seyyedian, a 38-year-old former Muslim, was granted an early exit from the Evin Prison in northwest Tehran.
Seyyedin, who became a Christian in 2006, was originally arrested in 2010 after his baptism in Turkey and was let out on a $50,000 bail. more >>
WASHINGTON — Christianity is being "wiped out" of its region of birth, said Cato Institute foreign policy expert Doug Bandow Tuesday during a Family Research Council discussion on the increase in Christian persecution in the Middle East and Africa, and he offered reasons why the international community has done little to save those ancient Christian communities.
Bandow, who is also a senior fellow in international religious persecution at the Institute on Religion and Public Policy and a former special assistant to the late President Ronald Reagan, argued that as Christians continue to be martyred at the hands of radical Islamic State jihadis or continue to live in squalor as refugees in Kurdish Iraq, the United States and other nations need to be doing more to aid the affected Christians and other religious minorities.
Although the U.S.-led coalition has conducted a number of airstrikes against IS, the strikes have done little to defeat the terrorist group or prevent it from continuing to destroy the ancient Christian history that has survived in Iraq and Syria for over 2,000 years. more >>
Two South Sudanese Presbyterian pastors who faced death penalties on charges of espionage have been freed from prison after months in detention following a judge's order for their release on Wednesday.
As previously reported, pastors Yat Michael and Peter Yein Reith were arrested by Sudanese authorities last winter and detained without charges and prevented from access to their family and lawyers until March 1.
They were eventually charged with various crimes against the state, including criminal conspiracy, espionage, promoting hatred amongst the sects, blasphemy, undermining the constitutional system, obtaining official documents and disturbing the peace, two charges of which were punishable by death. more >>
A Christian tourist visiting the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem was attacked by a Muslim mob on Tuesday and escorted away from the area by police.
A video released earlier this week shows the tourist being escorted away by Israeli officials while a group of Muslims, including children, are screaming out "Allahu Akbar."
The tourist, who was described by Israeli authorities as a French man, sustained some minor head injuries and could face charges of disrupting public order for waving an Israeli flag while visiting the holy site. more >>