WASHINGTON — As hundreds of thousands of Christians and religious minorities are living homeless in Iraq due to the rise of the Islamic State, a pastor from New York City says it is a "total embarrassment" that most American Christians are not willing to travel to the Kurdish region of Iraq to care for the persecuted.
The Rev. William Devlin, who pastors the Infinity Bible Church in South Bronx, has traveled to over 11 different countries where the persecution of Christians is rampant and in December he went to Kurdish Iraq for 11 days to provide humanitarian assistance to those displaced from their homes by ISIS.
Devlin, who's also a registered nurse with a specialty in war trauma, told The Christian Post on Wednesday that he plans to go back to Iraq in July and hopes to recruit and even pay for other pastors to go with him. more >>
Pope Francis condemned the ongoing persecution of Christians by radical Islamic groups such as ISIS and Boko Haram Monday during mass at the Vatican, and said even though these groups believe they are serving God with their actions, they do not truly know Him.
The mass included a reading from John 16:2-3 where Jesus says: "the hour is coming when everyone who kills you will think he is offering worship to God. They will do this because they have not known either the Father or Me."
Francis followed the reading with his homily where he said there are some who "kill Christians in the name of God because they think they are infidels." The pontiff encouraged listeners to take heart by telling them how Jesus prophesied that His followers would be persecuted as He was and would suffer through tribulations. more >>
WASHINGTON – An Iraqi nun who has been displaced by the Islamic State terrorist organization told members of Congress on Wednesday that Christians in Iraq have lost everything, including their own dignity and history, as ISIS continues its quest to completely erase evidence of Christianity's existence in the region.
Sister Diana Momeka, who was at the center of a recent State Department visa controversy, testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee and said that although it has been nearly a year since ISIS took over most of the Nineveh Plains in northern Iraq, Christian Iraqi citizens are still in dire need of assistance in liberating their lands.
Momeka, who works with the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena, fled from Qaraqosh to the Kurdish-protected north last summer upon ISIS' rapid takeover of the Mosul region. more >>
Chinese authorities in Zhejiang province have removed hundreds of crosses from atop Protestant and Catholic churches and believers expect the rooftop crosses to be removed from all houses of worship because the government sees the rapid growth of Christianity in the country as a threat.
"The authorities have attached great importance to this religious symbol," said Zheng Leguo, a pastor from the province who now lives in the U.S., in a CBS News report. "This means no more prominent manifestation of Christianity in the public square."
The province is now proposing an official ban on any further placement of crosses atop sanctuaries. But that has not stopped Zhejiang officials from toppling crosses from more than 400 churches since early 2014. The government has justified the action by claiming the crosses were a violation of the Communist regime's building codes. more >>
The U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan resolution on Monday that calls on Iran to immediately release Iranian-American Pastor Saeed Abedini, two other imprisoned Americans, and to locate another American that went missing in the Mideast country.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, singled out in an address to the U.S. Senate Abedini, who has been imprisoned in Iran for two and a half years, and urged the Obama administration to secure his release before a deal is reached with Iran on its nuclear program.
"One of those Americans, Saeed Abedini, has reportedly been held prisoner for what would appear to be the supposed 'crime' of attempting to build and operate an orphanage. Beaten, denied access to medical care, and locked away in solitary confinement — that's apparently how the Iranian regime deals with those who dare to show love and compassion to others," he said. more >>
A well-known nun and activist who has witnessed the atrocities committed by ISIS believes the United States has the power to stop the mass slaughter and kidnappings that are being carried out daily by the terrorist group.
Sister Hatune Dogan has worked with victims of oppression and violence her whole life, traveling to areas affected by ISIS and other terrorist organizations. She recently spoke about the horror and persecution Christians and Yazidi people face in Syria and Iraq, addressing their needs and condemning ISIS' treatment of girls and women, as well as calling out the U.S. for its apparent lack of action to ease and end the suffering of ISIS' victims.
"There have been 12,000 kidnapped at the hands of ISIS —Yazidi alone. What is going on there, what I was hearing, is the highest barbarism on Earth in the history until today. The mission of (Abu Bakr) Baghadadi, of ISIS, is to convert the world completely to the Islamic religion and bring them to Dar Al Salaam, as they call it. And Islam is not peace, please. Whoever says ISIS has no connection to Islam or something like this is … he's a liar. ISIS is Islam; Islam is ISIS," Dogan told CBN News. more >>