The American Center for Law and Justice has started a petition asking the U.S. government to stop sending foreign aid to Pakistan, the country that recently upheld the death sentence for Christian mother Asia Bibi for blasphemy. Figures have shown that the U.S. sent close to $8 billion to Pakistan in the past five years while Bibi has been imprisoned.
"We must stop sending billions of our taxpayer dollars to nations that persecute Christians. It's that simple. Not one more dime for persecution. Cut off American foreign aid to any country that persecutes Christians," reads the petition, which has close to 40,000 signatures as of Tuesday morning and is addressed to Congress and President Barack Obama.
"As a wave of persecution sweeps across the Middle East — and Christians flee for their lives — it's time for the money to stop," it adds. "Already there is growing support for basic human rights and basic common sense on Capitol Hill." more >>
Talks between Nigeria and Jihadist group Boko Haram to release more than 200 kidnapped girls have not been jeopardized by a surge in violence, the West African nation's foreign minister said today.
The Islamic militant group agreed to a ceasefire 10 days ago and release talks are said to be ongoing, Aminu Wali confirmed. Despite ongoing negotiations, the terrorist group continues to wreak havoc in Northeastern Nigeria which has raised doubts about the likelihood of a release.
"There are still negotiations going on and we expect a lot of progress to be made. Soon we will announce exactly where we are," Wali told journalists after meeting French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. more >>
An Iranian woman hanged for murdering her alleged rapist left behind a heartbreaking message for her mother in which she asserts that "death is not the end of life" and that she trusts God with her future, even if it meant death by the Iranian court.
"Let's see what God wants," Reyhaneh Jabbari said in a voicemail to her mother several months ago. The Iranian woman was charged with the murder of her accused rapist and in jail at the time she left the voicemail—her fate had not yet been decided, but she knew that she could easily be found guilty and hanged.
"The world did not love us," she said. "It did not want my fate. And now I am giving in to it and embrace the death. Because in the court of God I will charge the inspectors, I will charge inspector Shamlou, I will charge judge, and the judges of country's Supreme Court that beat me up when I was awake and did not refrain from harassing me … I will charge Qassem Shabani and all those that out of ignorance or with their lies wronged me and trampled on my rights and didn't pay heed to the fact that sometimes what appears as reality is different from it." more >>
U.S. journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning, who have been beheaded by the Islamic State militants, were subjected to severe physical torture and may have converted to Islam under duress, according to their freed cellmates.
Foley and at least 23 other western hostages from 12 countries were routinely beaten, subjected to waterboarding and starved for months, according to The New York Times, which interviewed five former hostages, local witnesses, relatives and colleagues of the captives, and a tight circle of advisers who made trips to the region to try to win their release.
The 23 prisoners were eventually divided into two groups. "The three American men and the three British hostages were singled out for the worst abuse, both because of the militants' grievances against their countries and because their governments would not negotiate, according to several people with intimate knowledge of the events." more >>
The daughter of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman being held on death row in Pakistan, has spoken out about the alleged torture her mother experienced at the hands of alleged Islamic zealots.
"My friends told me that people were torturing my mother at the fields where she used to work," Esham Masih, who was nine years old at the time, told Mail Online. "I rushed to the spot and found that she was being abused and tortured by men."
The beating allegedly began after Bibi encountered some Muslim workers in the field where they all worked. The women accused her of being unclean because of her Christian faith and later said that she made disparaging remarks against the prophet Mohammed. After the beating, Bibi was taken into custody and sentenced to be hanged. Her case has drawn international attention from Christian and women's rights organizations. more >>
International Christian Concern has expressed hopes that Christian mother of five Asia Bibi could see her death sentence overturned by Pakistan's Supreme Court, despite pressure on judges from radical groups that are determined to see her executed.
"I think the chances of the Supreme Court overturning the death sentence are much greater than that of the High Court. In many cases, especially blasphemy cases, court decisions are influenced, either by ideology or threats, by local radical groups. Generally, the High Court is more insulated from this influence," William Stark, ICC's Regional Manager for South Asia, told The Christian Post in an email on Wednesday.
"Unfortunately, in Asia's case, she is very high profile and the radical groups tracking her case and advocating for her death have already shown what they are willing to do to keep Asia's death sentence confirmed. Shabaz Bhatti, a federal government minister, and Salmaan Taseer, the governor of Punjab, were murdered for speaking out against the blasphemy charge against Asia," Stark continued. more >>