Atheist author and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins has slammed a bill being debated by the Quebec Parliament in Canada that would make online "hate speech" against Islam illegal. Dawkins likened the bill to blasphemy laws, and described it as "blind and pathetic groveling to the Islamist lobby."
"Quebec Blasphemy Law. As ignominious as 'useful idiots' get. Blind and pathetic grovelling to the Islamist lobby," Dawkins said in a Twitter message on Monday.
The author cited a news story that was also reported by The Christian Post last month which described how the legislation, known as Bill 59, would grant Quebec Human Rights Commission powers to target Internet "hate speech," though the term is yet to be defined. more >>
A Syrian priest, along with 270 Christian and Muslim hostages kidnapped by Islamic militants earlier this summer in an offensive on the city of Homs, are reportedly alive and hoping that they'll be released after negotiations.
Fides News Agency said that Father Jacques Murad, who belongs to the monastic community of Deir Mar Musa, is still alive, according to local sources, but is being held hostage with groups of Christians and Muslims taken by jihadists in August. The hostages are reported to be "stable and secure," and are waiting as local ecclesial communities are carrying out negotiations through mediators for their possible release.
"The sources contacted by Fides confirm that all the hostages are still in Quaryatayn, and specify that the news on the story of father Murad broadcast in recent days by Lebanese television network Nursat TV did not include any statement regarding the religious person kidnapped, but only reassuring considerations about his fate, expressed by another priest," the report added. more >>
Nagmeh Abedini, wife of American pastor Saeed Abedini who has been imprisoned in Iran for his Christian faith since 2012, has made an impassioned plea to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, when he travels to New York City later this month, in hopes to personally lobby the president for her husband's freedom.
In a letter posted by the American Center for Law and Justice, which was sent to the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations last month, Nagmeh Abedini highlighted the suffering of her family and the need to have her husband back home.
"… For the last three years, our family has greatly suffered in the absence of my husband and my children's father. Saeed is currently being held in Rajaei Shahr prison in Gohardasht. Saeed is not a criminal. Saeed is not a threat to Iran or the stability of its government," she wrote. more >>
Muslim Americans have erected 100 billboards across major U.S. cities with the message that Islam and its prophet, Muhammad, taught love and peace, rather than violence and hatred.
The Associated Press reported that the billboards were erected over the summer by New York-based Islamic Circle of North America in cities such as New York, Austin, Memphis, Las Vegas, Portland, Denver, and Calgary, among others.
The billboards display different messages, including one declaring that Muhammad taught "love not hate," and "peace not violence." more >>
Images emerging Wednesday of a drowned 3-year-old Syrian boy whose body washed ashore face-down on a Turkish beach have rocked social media with the sad reality of the risks that hundreds of thousands of refugee families are taking just to find peace and liberty away from the nation's civil war and the rise of the Islamic State.
The 3-year-old Syrian boy, who was identified as Aylan Kurdi, was just one of 12 refugees aboard an overcrowded dinghy who drowned Wednesday in their quest to reach the Greek island of Kos from the Turkish resort town of Bodrum, according to the Turkish Anadolu news agency.
Among the others who perished at sea was Aylan's 5-year-old brother, Galip, who met a similar fate as he washed up on another Turkish beach. more >>
A senior Catholic leader in Syria is asking young Christians to stay in the war-torn country despite the ongoing violence and persecution they face, noting that parishes are being emptied and Christianity is disappearing from the region.
"The almost communal wave of youth emigration, especially in Syria, but also in Lebanon and Iraq breaks my heart, wounding me deeply and dealing me a deadly blow," Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregorios III said in an open letter, according to Catholic Herald.
"Given this tsunami of emigration ... what future is left for the Church? What will become of our homeland? What will become of our parishes and institutions?" Gregorios asked. more >>