Stacey Dash, outspoken conservative known primarily for her 1995 role in the cult classic "Clueless," has been cast to portray Sudanese Christian and near-martyr Meriam Ibrahim in a planned feature film currently seeking $500,000 in funding from the public.
Ibrahim captivated the world's attention in 2014, when it was revealed that she had been arrested and sentenced to death for alleged apostasy. Ibrahim, pregnant with her second child and imprisoned with her toddler son, was convicted by Sudanese authorities on the grounds that she had converted from Islam to Christianity — an act prohibited by law and considered a capital offense in the Muslim-majority country.
The 27-year-old woman, married to Sudanese, U.S.-based emigrant Daniel Wani, insisted that she was raised as a Christian by her mother after her Muslim father disappeared early in her childhood. The young woman, whose charges were eventually dropped, testified in court, "I am a Christian, and I have never been a Muslim." more >>
Thousands of Christians clashed with police and rioted on the streets in Lahore, Pakistan, on Monday, following suicide bombing attacks that killed 17 people in two churches on Sunday. Reports have said that two men suspected to have aided the attackers were beaten to death and burned in the riots.
The Associated Press reported that Christians, who make up only 2 percent of Pakistan's population, clashed with police forces, blocked the highway and ransacked bus terminals, demanding the government start taking serious action to protect the persecuted minority.
As the ongoing civil war in Syria has entered it's fifth year, with over 220,000 people dead, humanitarian agencies like Oxfam International have said that the collective failure of world leaders to bring the devastation to an end is a "stain on the conscience of the international community."
"This spiralling catastrophe is a stain on the conscience of the international community," Oxfam wrote in a report, assessing the civil war.
It added that despite several U.N. Security Council resolutions to protect civilians, the violence in the country has continued to intensify, while the humanitarian response has been underfunded. more >>
At least 14 people have been killed and nearly 80 others were injured in two church bombings carried out by a Pakistani Taliban splinter group on Sunday in the Christian neighborhood of Youhanabad, Lahore. The Catholic faithful are marking a "day of prayer for the innocent lives of the martyrs" on Monday to honor the victims.
Reuters reported that the death toll might've been higher, if it wasn't for the quick actions of a security guard who attempted to prevent one of the suicide bombers from entering one of the churches.
"I was sitting at a shop near the church when a blast jolted the area. I rushed toward the spot and saw the security guard scuffle with a man who was trying to enter the church. After failing, he blew himself up," said witness Amir Masih. more >>
A released Islamic State captive, who says he was imprisoned with the two beheaded American journalists in Syria, revealed recently that when ISIS jihadis aren't terrorizing the streets of Raqqa, they spend their downtime watching the children's television program "Teletubbies" and playing child video games.
Former ISIS hostage, Nicolas Henin, a French journalist who was held hostage for 10 months and released by the terrorist group in April of 2014, told BBC News that even though ISIS captors claim to hate America and western ideals, he noticed that the militants' interests were heavily influenced by Western culture.
"The discussions that we had with them, I could just notice that these jihadis have little to do with the local culture— Arab or Muslim culture – they are children of our societies," Henin contended. "They speak our language —I don't mean they speak French or English or German – they have the same cultural references that we have. They watch the same movies as us, play the same video games our children play. They are products of our culture, of our world." more >>
Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., and Family Research Council president Tony Perkins argued that limiting religious freedom to "freedom of worship" in the United States has hurt efforts to advocate for religious freedom abroad.
"I think the lack of priority on religious freedom that we have placed here domestically on our policies does send a message internationally. I think there is a correlation between the growing intolerance of religious freedom, not freedom of worship, but the growing intolerance toward religious freedom, like in the marketplace, is giving rise to persecution abroad," Perkins asserted before the U.S. Senate's State, Foreign Operations Subcommittee hearing on protecting international religious freedom Wednesday. "We no longer make it a priority here domestically, that sends a message to bad actors abroad that 'America no longer puts a high priority on religious freedoms so we don't have to worry about them moving against us based on that.'
Perkins noted how the Obamacare HHS mandate on birth control health care coverage has forced private businesses, like Hobby Lobby, to go to court to fight for their religious freedom. more >>