Terror group ISIS has reportedly released a video showing the conversion of one kidnapped Assyrian Christian into Islam. Previous reports have stated that the 200-plus Christian hostages have refused to deny Christ during ISIS' conversion attempts, but the latest video shows a man from the village of Tel Temit declaring that Muhammad is God's prophet.
"These forms of propaganda are repugnant, offend the conscience of every man and should provoke rebellion also on behalf of Muslims who have true religious piety" Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo, head of the Syrian Catholic archeparchy in Hassaké -Nisibi, told Fides News Agency in response to the video.
"It is obvious that the moral and physical violence on persons held hostage is another manifestation of barbarism in which we have fallen. We pray that the Lord helps and consoles those who suffer in his name." more >>
A mass grave of about 70 to 100 corpses, with the majority of them having their throats slit, was discovered near the Nigerian town of Damasak last week, and is believed to be the brutal handiwork of the Islamic State's newest affiliate group, Boko Haram.
According to a witness who spoke with Reuters, soldiers from Niger and Chad, who were responsible for initially driving Boko Haram out of the town, found the mass grave left under a concrete bridge.
The bridge is believed to have been an execution site for the militant group, which has killed over 10,000 people in the last year and has seized a sizeable area of Nigeria's northeastern Borno state. more >>
WASHINGTON – Nigerian human rights lawyer Emmanuel Ogebe insinuated that ISIS' systemic abductions of religious minorities in Iraq last summer were inspired by Boko Haram's kidnapping of over 276 Chibok schoolgirls last April.
Ogebe, who became the youngest law graduate in Nigeria and was exiled to the United States as a political detainee, explained at an event hosted by the Hudson Institute on Monday, that after Boko Haram abducted the schoolgirls in the town of Chibok in April 2014, the terrorist organization Al Qaeda issued a statement condemning the group's kidnappings. He further explained that although Al Qaeda decried Boko Haram's abduction of the girls, the Al Qaeda offshoot, ISIS, responded in the opposite manner.
"What was ISIS response?" Ogebe asked. "ISIS' response to the Chibok schoolgirls was to begin abducting Yazidis and Christians in Iraq. That seemed to be the point of where ISIS said, 'You know what, if these guys are getting this kind of condemnation from Al Qaeda, let's [relate] with them. They are good guys to get into bed with.'" more >>
Six people have been arrested after a group of Hindu extremists attacked a cathedral in central India, breaking down doors and smashing windows. The attack, which was caught on CCTV cameras, was aimed at Christians who are being accused by the extremists of converting people into Christianity.
"We arrested six men last night in connection with the vandalism. We are trying to identify more people ... there may be more arrests," senior state police official HC Mishra said, according to AFP.
The attack on the cathedral in Madhya Pradesh state apparently took place on Friday night, police said. The right-wing Hindu Dharma Sena group has accused the church of converting close to 200 local tribal people into Christianity, though it has denied involvement in the attack. more >>
NEW YORK — A former Pakistani parliamentarian advocating for equal treatment for religious minorities back home claims life is sometimes hell for the Islamic Republic's Christian minorities, who are often victimized by blasphemy laws and bear the brunt of public resentment against Western nations like the United States.
"Due to our faith, we are persecuted. People are killing us, people are burning us, and people are putting us in jail. And (the) state (has) failed to protect the rights (of Christians) and (have failed in) their responsibility," said political and human rights activist Pervez Rafique. "The state doesn't have any solid and concrete policy and agenda and plan to protect marginalized and persecuted Christians and other non-Muslims in Pakistan."
Rafique, a former minority member of parliament representing the Pakistan People's Party in Punjab, worked alongside Shahbaz Bhatti, the Christian minorities minister who was assassinated in 2011, as a chief coordinator for All Pakistan Minorities Alliance. At the time of transition prompted by Bhatti's murder, a clash with the former leader's family members forced Rafique and supporters to leave the organization he had served for more than 10 years. Since then, Rafique has helped found another group, with a similar name, the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance-Founders, which in combination with the PAK Christian Fellowship, represents around 25,000 people, he told The Christian Post. more >>
Associate Counsel Matthew Clark of the American Center for Law and Justice has said that he hopes the U.N. Human Rights Council will take up the case of pastor Saeed Abedini, who is serving an eight-year sentence for his Christian faith in Iran.
"The Human Rights Council Working Group looked at the facts, they looked at the evidence and they came to the independent conclusion, as we have, that his detention is arbitrary, that it is in violation of international law and that he should be freed," Clark said, according to One News Now, commenting on the oral intervention last week by its international affiliate, the European Centre for Law and Justice, before the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
"So the U.N. is taking steps to put out there exactly what is happening and what action needs to be taken by the Iranian government to free him." more >>