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 >>
The son of a Pakistani Christian servant, who was accused of stealing from her employer's home, was killed by local police officers last weekend after he was arrested and beaten in hopes that his beating would force his mother to confess to the burglary.
The British Pakistani Christian Association reported that the body of 20-year-old Zubair Rashid Masih was dumped onto the street in front of his mother's home in the early morning of March 8 in the Shamsabad area of the Punjab province.
On March 4, his mother, Aysha Bibi, was arrested on charges that she stole about 35,000 rupees and 100 grams in gold ornaments from the home where she worked as a domestic servant. more >>