A United Nations terrorism expert said on Monday that the Islamic State terrorist group has made between $35 million and $45 million off of ransom payments in the past year alone, the Associated Press reports.
Speaking at a hearing for the U.N. Security Council's Counter-Terrorism Committee, Yotsna Lalji, an expert who has monitored Al Qaeda and other extremist groups, told the committee that the extremist practice of kidnapping for a source of revenue "continues to grow."
By telling the committee that the Islamic State has made as much as $45 million off of ransom payments this past year, Lalji put that dollar amount into perspective by stating that an estimated total of just $120 million in ransom payments were paid to terrorist organizations in the span of 2004 to 2012. more >>
A 35-year-old Christian man was reportedly tortured and killed by police while in custody in Lahore, Pakistan. His family attempted to storm the policy station in protest, while an investigation has been launched into the incident.
Fides News Agency reported that the family of Rakha Shahzad is demanding justice for the slain man, which has prompted an investigation by authorities. The agents involved in the incident have claimed that the Christian, who was allegedly arrested because of selling drugs and alcohol, died because of a "heart attack" during the investigation. The brother of the diseased has claimed, however, that Shahzad "was arrested for no reason."
An autopsy will be carried out on the man's body to determine the cause of death. more >>
The lawyer representing two Christian pastors and a deacon facing six years in prison in Iran for their faith has reportedly been denied access to his clients ahead of an appeal hearing.
"It is unacceptable that these men have been denied access to their legal counsel ahead of the court hearing. We remain concerned about the lack of due process in their case and the exceptional nature of their punishment. They have committed no crime and are effectively being punished for their faith," said Christian Solidarity Worldwide's Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas on Monday.
"We are deeply concerned for their wellbeing and, in particular, for pastor Irani's health, which has deteriorated significantly during his unjust detention. We urge the Iranian authorities to release these men and the many others who are being held in contravention of the international covenants guaranteeing freedom of religion or belief to which Iran is party," Thomas added. more >>
The Islamic State terrorist organization now has at least 12 known military allies, operating in nine countries outside of Iraq and Syria, that have publicly pledged their allegiances to the caliphate of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
As Islamic State leadership continues to call on extremists worldwide to wreak havoc on the West, NYMag.com's Daily Intelligencer reports that the Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium (TRAC) has identified 12 international militia organizations that are now affiliating their efforts with the Islamic State's jihad and could help expand the group's caliphate.
Militia allies in Pakistan, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Indonesia, Lebanon, Philippines, Jordan and Gaza/Israel have all announced some sort of cooperation with the Islamic State and al-Baghdadi. Many of these organizations were recently affiliated with Al Qaeda and have since switched to ISIS allegiances over the summer and into the fall. more >>
A former Islamic State commander, currently locked away in a Baghdad prison, is now a key informant for the Iraqi government and has provided crucial intelligence that has aided the liberation of strategic areas that were once under ISIS control.
After being arrested by the Iraqi government at the end of 2013, Abu Shakr, ISIS' head of security operations in the town of Fallujah, was given a choice by Iraqi security officials.
The 36-year-old Sunni extremist said in a recent interview with The Associated Press that the offer was if he aided the Iraqi government in defeating ISIS, he would be provided special prison privileges including free roam of his max-security prison and quality free time with his five children. more >>
Family members of the Pakistan Christian couple burned to death say they are being pressured to drop their calls for a criminal case and demand the government to protect them, in a recent press conference.
Shahbaz Masih and wife Parveen are petitioning the government to get justice for his brother Shehzad Masih and sister-in-law Shama, who was believed to be pregnant when a mob, allegedly led by Muslim clerics, burned them alive in a kiln. So far regional Kot Radha Kishan police have arrested 44 people in connection to the incident.
However the Masih family says they are receiving threats to drop their pleas for an investigation. The family said they have also been offered bribes of land and money to end the case. But they are determined to get justice for their family. more >>