North Korea on Monday allowed The Associated Press and CNN to speak to three detained Americans, including Christians Kenneth Bae and Jeffery Fowle. All three said there's hope only if a high-ranking U.S. representative visits for negotiations. Bae complained of deteriorating health.
"The only hope that I have is to have someone from the U.S. comes," Bae was quoted as saying in the interview that was conducted in the presence of regime officials. "But so far, the latest I've heard is that there has been no response yet. So I believe that officials here are waiting for that."
Fowle, 56, and the other prisoner, Mathew Miller, who is 24 years old, said their trial is expected within a month. Both were arrested in April. more >>
The slaughter of Christians taking place today is like a "living history" for Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-California. Her parents and grandparents fled the Middle East because they were being persecuted for their Christian faith, she explained to The Christian Post in a videophone interview.
Both of Eshoo's parents emigrated to the United States as children. Both sets of her grandparents, Armenian and Assyrian Christians, "fled for their lives because Christians were being slaughtered," she explained. What is happening to Christians in Syria and Iraq today recalled for Eshoo stories told to her by her grandmothers.
"What we are witnessing today, and have been witnessing, began after the invasion of the U.S. into Iraq, ... This is a living history for me. What is taking place now are the same stories that my grandmothers have told me of what they witnessed, of what they endured, of the family members who did not make it because they were slaughtered. So this is very real to me," she said. more >>
Tired of being slaughtered like sheep and chased from a place they have called home for two millennia, some Christian groups in northern Iraq have decided to take up arms to defend their place in the war-torn country from the terror of ISIS.
Henry Sarkis, 44, an official with the Assyrian Patriotic Party which is one of several Assyrian political organizations in Iraq, told National Geographic that his party has armed and dispatched 40 of its members to join the Kurdish Peshmerga, the official security force of the Kurdistan Regional Government, in fighting ISIS in Iraq's northwest.
The convictions of 16 Amish men and women in Ohio found guilty of beard- and hair-cutting attacks on fellow members of their faith have been overturned by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The Appeals Court determined that the jury in the case was given incorrect instructions on how to deliberate the role of religion in the attacks, documents from the case state.
"No one questions that the assaults occurred, and only a few defendants question their participation in them. The central issue at trial was whether the defendants committed the assaults 'because of' the religion of the victims," the decision from the Appeals Court read. "When all is said and done, considerable evidence supported the defendants' theory that interpersonal and intrafamily disagreements, not the victims' religious beliefs, sparked the attacks." more >>
Todd Daniels, Regional Manager for the Middle East of International Christian Concern, has cautioned that Qatar's role in recent hostage rescue missions, as well as its relationships with ISIS and the Nusra Front, could be worrying.
The role in missions "should not overshadow the concerns about Qatar's foreign policy in the region and their role in providing support to groups that are engaged in terrorist activities. The ability to mediate in these situations demonstrates the links that Qatar has to these groups … it raises serious concerns about what kind of support Qatar has given to these groups that grants them leverage to arrange the release of hostages," Daniels told The Christian Post.
The state of Qatar is currently working to help free four American hostages being held in Syria. more >>
Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, a 23-year-old British rapper who reportedly walked out of his family's £1 million home in Maida Vale, West London, last year to join militants in Syria after telling them he was "leaving everything for the sake of Allah," is being investigated as a key suspect in the beheading of journalist James Foley.
A senior western intelligence official who was not identified told Fox News that Bary is being eyed as Foley's executioner. The report noted that the Sunday Times and Sunday People listed Bary as a member of a group of at least three British-born ISIS fighters that former hostages call "The Beatles."
The Sunday Times said Britain's two major intelligence agencies, MI5 and MI6, had identified the man who beheaded Foley but had not publicly revealed this information. more >>