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 >>
Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina offered her take on the growing controversy of the Kentucky county clerk who is refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses because it violates her religious conscience.
Fiorina spoke on Hugh Hewitt's radio show Thursday saying that religious liberty is clearly under attack but that rights of religious conscience is less clear when an individual is an "arm of the government."
"First, I think that we must protect religious liberties with great passion and be willing to expend a lot of political capital to do so now because it's clear religious liberty is under assault in many, many ways," Fiorina declared. more >>
A letter-writing campaign launched by the American Center for Law and Justice is calling on U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York later in September, and ask him for the release of imprisoned American citizen Pastor Saeed Abedini.
"I respectfully urge you to do everything in your power to meet with President Rouhani while he is in New York and negotiate the release of Saeed Abedini, a pastor who has been imprisoned in Iran for three years solely for the peaceful exercise of his faith," reads the letter directed at Ban that the ACLJ is urging people to sign.
"Pastor Saeed suffers from injuries sustained in the prison, requiring surgeries that have not been provided. He should be released on humanitarian grounds and allowed to return to his wife and children." more >>
The migrant crisis in Europe has reached "biblical proportions," according to U.K. Independence Party leader Nigel Farage, noting that millions of refugees from Syria and other countries throughout the Middle East and Africa hoping to be relocated to the West are overwhelming the borders and stretching capacities.
"The problem we've got is we've opened the door to an exodus of biblical proportions, meaning millions and millions of refugees. We've lost sight of what it is to be a refugee. How many millions does Europe want to take? That is the question," Farage said, speaking with BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday.
While many refugees from Syria are fleeing the four-year-long civil war, as well as attacks by the Islamic State terror group, Farage said the U.K. has "lost sight" of the definition of a refugee. more >>
Christians in India marked the seventh anniversary of the Orissa attacks on Monday, praying for close to 100 Christians who were massacred by Hindu extremists who were pressuring them to convert. An Archbishop has said the faith of Orissa's Christians has grown stronger in the face of persecution.
The Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, His Exc. Mgr. John Barwa SVD, told Fides News Agency that Christians "gather in prayer for the victims, reiterating, all together, our common commitment to promoting peace, justice and hope. The faith of Christians in Orissa has become stronger in the face of persecution."
The major attacks on August 31, 2008, in Orissa also left close to 56,000 Christians homeless after 300 churches and 6,000 homes were raided and looted. The Hindu mob reportedly organized against Christians who they accused of converting Indians to Christianity. more >>