The controversial nonprofit group Invisible Children, which produced two influential documentaries that helped heighten awareness of the abduction and use of children as soldiers by the Lord's Resistance Army in the Ugandan civil conflict, has announced that it will officially close down by the end of 2015.
The organization is most notable for the 30-minute "Kony 2012" documentary, which called for the arrest of LRA leader Joseph Kony and also called for greater U.S. involvement against the LRA. The documentary, which went viral on YouTube when it was published in March of 2012, received over 100 million views in a matter of five days and helped raise more than $30 million for their cause.
The organization's CEO, Ben Keesey, announced in a recent video statement that the group has had difficulty maintaining funding and it's no longer viable for the organization to continue operating at its current levels. more >>
Editor's note: This article is tied to a report on Yazidi immigrant Murad Ismael and NYC Pastor William Devlin's humanitarian trip to Erbil, Iraq. Read that report here: US Pastor Who Supported Meriam Ibrahim in Sudan Heads to Iraq With Yazidi Activist; Says Christians Can Pray, Give Money But Should Put Their Bodies on the Line
NEW YORK — Murad Ismael's words came in a constant stream, with only the occasional stammer as he grasped for the right English words slowing them down. When he did pause, his absence of words were replaced by a sigh. He sounded weary. Thousands of Yazidis, his Yazidis — those related to him by blood and those who are not — have been killed, tens of thousands of them displaced, and more women and young girls than he would care to count abducted and sold, and being used as sex slaves by the Islamic State.
If Ismael sounded like a man in shock during his 40-minute phone conversation with The Christian Post, it was understandable. The people and town he has called family and home for nearly all of his life "(are) not in place anymore." more >>
The Saudi Arabian government has reportedly passed a law that imposes the death penalty on people caught smuggling Bibles into the majority-Muslim country.
According to the HeartCry Missionary Society, the Saudi government issued an official statement signifying that capital punishment may now be used on those who smuggle Bibles into the desert nation, where the royal family upholds a strict Wahhabi brand of Sunni Islam.
The society's report added that the death penalty, which usually comes in the form of beheadings, can also be used against people who simply distribute the Bible and all other "publications that have prejudice to any other religious belief other than Islam." This means that anyone handing out any kind of religious literature that is not of Islamic faith can legally be executed. more >>
Pakistan's Supreme Court has ordered the arrest of two Muslim clerics for inciting a violent mob of hundreds of Muslims to brutally beat, torture, burn and murder a married Christian couple in the Punjab Province in early November.
The court also ordered disciplinary action to be levied against five police officials, who were present during the time of the beatings but took no action to protect the two individuals. Additionally, the court ordered a complete investigation into the incident and also ordered compensation payments to be made to the family of the victimized couple.
After being accused of burning pages from the Koran, Shamah Masih, who was a 24-year-old mother of four and four months pregnant at the time, and her husband, Shahzad Masih, were surrounded by an enraged mob, who gathered around the brick kiln in the village of Kot Rodha Kishan where the couple was located. more >>
NEW YORK — A New York City pastor who visited Sudanese Christian mother Meriam Ibrahim during her detention in the Muslim-majority country for blasphemy has partnered with a U.S.-based Yazidi activist to travel to Iraq to assess the humanitarian crisis of the religious minority group that has been targeted by the Islamic State. The men said they also hope to win the release of Yazidi women and girls abducted by the jihadist group and used as sex slaves.
The Rev. William Devlin and Texas-based Yazidi human rights advocate Murad Ismael were traveling to Erbil, Iraq, this week to "assess the humanitarian condition of the Yazidis first-hand" and "will also be seeking the release of women and young girls kidnapped by ISIS," they told The Christian Post in a series of emails and phone conversations.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, abducted scores of Yazidi women and girls in August as they attacked their towns in the Sinjar Mountain area in the Nineveh province in northwest Iraq. ISIS cornered many of the tens of thousands of Yazidis on Mount Sinjar, where some died from hunger and dehydration before the international community stepped in to help. The United States was among the countries offering humanitarian aid, in addition to carrying out airstrikes and training local forces in their military engagement with ISIS militants, who have already seized cities in Syria and Iraq. Reportedly, hundreds of Yazidis still remain on Sinjar Mountain, defending themselves against the Islamic State's unrelenting attacks. more >>
For the third Christmas in a row, Christian American-Iranian pastor Saeed Abedini, who has been imprisoned in Iran for his faith since 2012, is missing his family. And despite being cold and threatened by inmates in prison, Abedini encouraged Christians in a moving and at times heartbreaking letter to his family from his prison cell to keep hoping in God.
The letter, which Abedini wrote from the Rajai Shahr Prison, was posted on the ACLJ website after he sent it to a family member.
The organization noted that Abedini was allowed see a relative for the first time in more than a month last week. He's also still waiting to receive medical attention for pain and internal injuries he suffered as a result of multiple beatings in prison over the last two years. more >>