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 >>
Hindu radicals in India have intensified their threats, forced conversions and persecution of Christians, saying they would cut them "into pieces" if they continue to worship Christ. Such threats have already forced at least 10 Christian families in a northwest province to flee from their homes and villages.
Church leaders told the Christian persecution watchdog Morning Star News that the 10 families fled from their homes in the Indian state of Rajasthan, which shares a border with Pakistan, because of death threats coming from Hindus seeking to turn Christians away from Christ and "reconvert" them to Hinduism.
The Hindu extremists have threatened to harm anyone who mentions Christ's name or participates in church functions. The threats have prevented Christians in the area from worshiping for over two months. more >>
A human rights group has called on the United States government to step up its outreach to Syrian refugees and resettle 65,000 people before the end of 2016. While the U.S. has said that it will accept between 5,000 to 8,000 refugees, the International Rescue Committee said that is far from enough to really help Europe in its migrant crisis.
"Not only are Syrians resorting to desperate measures to seek a better life for themselves and their families in Europe, but they are dying in the process," IRC president David Miliband said in a statement.
"The U.S. has historically been the world leader in recognizing the moral obligation to resettle refugees," Miliband added. "As the German government calmly says that it expects 800,000 refugees and asylum seekers in 2015, it is vital for the U.S. to step up its response." more >>
The Islamic State terror group has issued a "safety contract" that Christians living in the captured Syrian town of Qaryatian must follow, which includes 11 specific commandments, if they want to live.
"The meeting showed images of a lot of Christians abducted from the city of al-Quaryatayn, in what is believed to be a cultural center. It also stipulated 13 items to give security to the Christians in the city, "Jamil Diarbakerli, director of the Assyrian Monitor for Human Rights, told International Christian Concern.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights noted that Christians in the captured town will have to pay the jizyah or jizya tax imposed on non-Muslims, in addition to the other commandments issued by IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. 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 >>