NEW YORK — The U.S. pastor who took it upon himself to fly to Sudan to meet with and pray for imprisoned persecuted Christian mother Meriam Ibrahim was among those celebrating her freedom Thursday. He credited the 27-year-old married mother's release to the outcry of people from around the world who were captivated by her steadfast Christian witness in the face of impending death.
"Praise God for that," Pastor William Devlin told The Christian Post in response to Ibrahim's early morning flight out of Sudan, where she had been held imprisoned for nearly one year. Devlin returned to New York City on July 20 after a week-long trip to Sudan, where he says he spent an hour and a half with Ibrahim, her husband Daniel Wani and their two children.
"I think it was really the outcry of people from around the world," added Pastor Devlin, commenting on what he thought led to Ibrahim's release just days after his visit with her at the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum. Indeed, the young woman's case resonated with many around the world and many were moved to petition for her release. One such petition, published on Change.org, had more than one million supporters. more >>
A group of Chinese Christians protecting a church cross from demolition has said that they are ready to die for the cause, even as they are beaten severely by police officers seeking to break their month-long vigil.
"We will continue to guard our church cross to the end," a local worker of Pingyang County said, according to International Christian Concern. "We divide people into two groups and take turns to guard the church through the night."
Government officials have been trying to forcibly remove the church cross of ShuiTou Salvation Church in Pingyang, Wenzhou City for over a month now, though Christians have been protecting it by holding overnight vigils. more >>
Rallies and prayer vigils worldwide are marking 100 days since more than 200 schoolgirls from northeastern Nigeria were abducted by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram, with most of the girls still missing.
A rally is planned for Thursday at the Embassy of Nigeria in Washington, D.C., hosted by the Institute on Religion & Democracy, Jubilee Campaign and The Working Group on Nigeria.
"The intentions of Boko Haram to forcibly Islamize Nigeria through horrific violence are a very serious threat both to U.S. security and to the citizens of Nigeria," said IRD Religious Liberty Program Director Faith J. H. McDonnell in a statement released Wednesday. more >>
Christian mother Meriam Ibrahim and her family have left Sudan and flew to Italy, where they were met by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, according to reports. Renzi declared a "day of celebration" for the woman, who had initially been sentenced to death for renouncing Islam and marrying a Christian Sudanese-American.
"Mission accomplished," said Lapo Pistelli, Italy's vice-minister for foreign affairs, who accompanied Ibrahim, her husband, Daniel Wani, and their two young children on the flight from Khartoum.
People around the world are uniting with persecuted Christians in Iraq through the Twitter hashtag "WeAreN," meant to reference the "N" painted on the doors of Christians in Iraq that make them a target for militant Islamists.
Supporters have either changed their Twitter photo to an image of the Arabic letter ن or "N", which stands for "Nazarene" or "Christian" in Arabic. Members of the jihadist militant group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) have invaded towns, including Mosul, demanding Christians either convert to Islam, pay a tax, or be killed. To identify the Christians in the town, members of the ISIS have painted the "N" on their front doors.
The Church of England changed its profile to the Arabic letter for "N," writing: "We are changing our picture to stand with those showing solidarity for those Christians being persecuted in Mosul #WeAreN." more >>
As militant group ISIS continued its attacks in Iraq, killing 31 people on Tuesday in a suicide blast in Baghdad, the country's bishops have pleaded for the government to stop the "catastrophe" and protect Christians who are being driven out in masses.
The appeal came from Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako and all the Chaldean, Syrian Orthodox, Syrian Catholic and Armenian Bishops in northern Iraq, Fides News Agency reported, and called on the government to provide "financial support to displaced people who have lost everything."
Thousands of Christians have been fleeing northern Iraq and are "near extinction" according to several persecution watchdog groups. Christians in the city of Mosul, which was captured by ISIS in June, were given an ultimatum to convert to Islam, pay a tax, or die. more >>