Pastor Behnam Irani, who's been held in an Iranian prison since 2011 because of his Christian ministry work, has received a temporary release and is now visiting with his wife and children at home for the first time in more than four years.
Irani, a 43-year-old former Muslim who is now an evangelical Christian leader in the Islamic Republic, was originally sentenced to serve six years in prison for reportedly forming an evangelical congregation in the city of Karaj.
But in September of last year, Irani was accused of 18 new charges, including "spreading corruption on Earth," which is punishable by execution. more >>
Pakistan's first woman on death roll, Asia Bibi, whose struggle with the country's highly criticized blasphemy laws, may not be able to truly escape the death sentence even if she's acquitted of her "crime."
Bibi's husband, Ashiq Masih, recently told U.K.-based Daily Mail that his 50-year-old wife, who has been imprisoned for six years for allegedly blaspheming Islam by drinking out of a Muslim's bowl, is on the local Muslim clerics' hit list and a bounty has been placed on her head. Masih said his family is "broken" over what has happened to Bibi and believe she is framed.
"My children cry for their mother, they are broken. But I try to give them hope where I can," said Masih to Daily Mail. more >>
A bill introduced to protect churches and religious organizations from IRS and other federal punishment may be gaining steam according to lawmakers; however, only one Democrat currently co-sponsors the religious freedom bill.
Congressman Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), a co-founder of the conservative Freedom Caucus, is pushing support for the "First Amendment Defense Act" (H.R. 2802) that is designed to protect same-sex marriage dissenting religious churches and organizations from possible IRS penalties and persecution.
While America's "first freedom" is no longer a foregone conclusion in today's cultural climate and new understandings of sexual rights, the "First Amendment Defense Act" would only affect the federal government and is not binding on the states. Conservative lawmakers are hopeful that the legislation will set an example for states currently persecuting citizens for dissenting from participation in same-sex wedding ceremonies. more >>
Close to a thousand Iraqi Christians who say they have been abandoned by their government have formed a militia to avenge ISIS taking their land and slaughtering their families. The Christians have said they will fight alongside their "Muslim brothers" who have also suffered at the hands of the terror group.
Rayan Al-Kildani of the Babylonian Brigades, the Christian militia group part of the Shiite-dominated militias organization known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, told NBC News that ISIS "displaced us from our houses, they took our money, killed our young men and women and they took our properties."
"By the will of God we will avenge what happened to our community," Al-Kildani vowed, and said that the Christian fighters will help Muslims who are also standing up to ISIS. more >>
Despite having family members to sponsor them, a group of 20 Chaldean Christians who fled ISIS have been detained for over four months at the Otay Detention Facility in San Diego. The large Chaldean community in Southern California are unhappy with the unexplained delays and are demanding their release.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) claim they are undermanned and face a backlog of cases but have offered little to the media about the prolonged detention of the Chaldean 20.
Mark Arabo, an activist and spokesmen for the local Chaldean community says, "What we do know is that they are being held without a real reason." more >>
Keeping a job because of religious beliefs "should not even be a dilemma for anybody in this country," said Kelvin J. Cochran, who was fired by Atlanta's mayor for authoring a book critical of sexual sin, including homosexuality.
Cochran, 55, made national news in January when he was sacked by Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed for authoring a book titled Who Told You That You Were Naked? The book covered issues of human sexuality from a Christian worldview and was critical of sexual behavior that deviates from Christian teaching.