More than 200 Assyrian Christians have been kidnapped by the terrorist organization ISIS, and prayers have gone out around the world for their safe return. Two members of the Assyrian Church of the East spoke with The Christian Post about the situation in Syria and the loss of several religious artifacts at the hands of ISIS.
Jennifer Griesenauer and her aunt, Toni Abraham, who live in the United States, have watched in horror as members of their faith are systematically being targeted for kidnapping and execution. This week it emerged that ISIS fighters also destroyed religious artifacts, reaching new levels of destruction and animosity.
"Oh my God it's horrible," Toni told CP late Thursday. "Khabour River area is where my great grandfather held a priest school. Under his teachings, we have many well-known bishops, priests and deacons who are scholars in Aramaic, the language Christ spoke, currently the Assyrian Church of the East. It's sad to see that church destroyed and our Assyrian people still being targeted because of our Christian religion." more >>
American Center for Law and Justice Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow has asked "how many more Christians must be murdered" at the hands of terror group ISIS before President Barack Obama decides to take specific action to stop the slaughter.
"It is unacceptable for President Obama, the West and the United Nations to stand idly by and watch the systematic elimination of Christians by radical Islamists," Sekulow said.
"How many more Christians must be murdered because of their religious beliefs? Without a specific strategy to eliminate this evil, ISIS remains emboldened and continues to use these tragic events to recruit more radical jihadists. It is clear ISIS intends to continue to target and execute Christians. It is time for President Obama to exercise leadership — to assemble a global coalition — and put an effective strategy into action to stop the slaughter of Christians, to put an end to this jihadist war against Christians." more >>
Assyrian Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo, ordinary of the Syrian Catholic Archieparchy in Hassaké-Nisibis, has spoken out against the kidnapping of more than 260 Assyrian Christians and blamed the U.S. and its Western allies for triggering conflicts that have destabilized the region and prompted ISIS to carry out such attacks.
"With their disastrous policies — mainly the French and the U.S., with their regional allies, have favored in fact the Daesh (ISIS) escalation," Hindo told Fides News Agency.
"Now they persevere in error, commit strategic, grotesque mistakes such as the announcement of the 'spring campaign' to liberate Mosul and insist on interfering with irrelevant interventions, instead of recognizing that their guaranteed support to jihadist groups has led us to this chaos and has destroyed Syria, making us regress 200 years." more >>
Islamic State terrorists captured more Assyrian Christians Wednesday night, bringing the total number of hostages to 262 as the group continues its siege on the country.
"ISIS is taking over more and more Assyrian towns," Osama Edward, founder of the Assyrian Human Rights Network told CNN.
The terrorist organization took nearly 150 Christians hostage before Wednesday, causing widespread fear across the country. The greater fear is that they will either be executed or sold into slavery. Men, women, children, and the elderly were among those captured, meaning that no one is safe from the threat of captivity. more >>
The man featured in several ISIS execution videos and nicknamed "Jihadi John" has been identified as a former British citizen who traveled to Syria in 2012 to pledge allegiance to the Islamic State.
"Jihadi John" is actually Mohammed Emwazi, a man from a well-to-do family who was born in Kuwait, grew up in London and graduated from college with a degree in computer programming from Queen's Park in West London, The Washington Post reported. A close friend managed to identify him and said he has "no doubt" that the man in the videos is actually Emwazi.
"He was like a brother to me. I am sure it is him," the friend, who wanted anonymity, told the Post. more >>
Members of the Islamic State terrorist organization who were involved in the kidnapping of as many as 150 Christians in Syria this week, are claiming that the hostages are "safe" and will be released in a few days, according to the Assyrian International News Agency.
AINA reports that an Assyrian man, who's not a member of ISIS but knows many ISIS fighters, was told by ISIS members that the hostages, who were kidnapped during the Islamic State's raids on 35 Christian villages along the Khabur River near the town of Tel Tamer, are in "good condition" and are expected to eventually be released.
Although the news agency's source, an Assyrian named Matthew, was told the captives will be released, he's skeptical that the militant group will actually free the Christians, since ISIS has become notorious for its publicized hostage execution videos. more >>