Iran's revolutionary court is believed to have sentenced 18 Christian converts to prison for their faith in a new crackdown on Christianity in the Islamic Republic, a report said.
Fox News noted that the charges include evangelism, propaganda against the regime, and creating house churches to practice their faith. It added that the total sentences come close to 24 years, but it's not known how many years each individual received, due to the lack of transparency in Iran's judicial system.
"The cruelty of Iran's dictatorial leaders knows no limits," said Saba Farzan, the German-Iranian executive director of Foreign Policy Circle, a strategy think tank in Berlin. more >>
A group of Christians in Hidalgo State, Mexico, were allegedly threatened by a government official with death after attempting to meet to discuss religious persecution, a watchdog group has said.
The International Christian Concern said that the threats were issued back in April by "Community Delegate" Jesus Dominguez Hernandez, who found out that the Christian community of Chichiltepec village attempted to meet with his office and outline their concerns. Mexican human rights organization Impulso 18 said that during the meeting, Hernandez became "infuriated" and "threatened to kill all of the Christians present."
Christians in the village have reportedly been pressured to renounce their faith, and faced consequences for refusing. more >>
Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of imprisoned American pastor Saeed Abedini, is set to testify before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday and urge Congress to free her husband, alongside representatives of the three other Americans wrongfully imprisoned in Iran. Abedini wrote in prepared remarks that she cannot bear any longer to tell her two children their father is still not home.
"I am here today as a single mother who is trying to be strong for her children, and as a wife who humbly admits, I need your help. I cannot bear to look at my children's longing eyes one more time and explain to them why their daddy is still not home. I cannot bear to see their hopes crushed again. I cannot imagine my husband spending yet another day in an Iranian prison. I need your help. I cannot do this on my own," Naghmeh Abedini said in her remarks.
Pastor Abedini has been in an Iranian prison since his arrest in 2012 while working on a non-sectarian orphanage project. more >>
Pope Francis has said that leaving migrants to die in the Mediterranean sea, such as the fate of thousands in the past few years, is similar to the "scourge" of abortion and euthanasia. The pontiff spoke out at a meeting of the Italian Science and Life Association, where he warned against several "attacks against life."
"The scourge of abortion is an attack on life. Leaving our brothers on the boats in the Sicilian channel is an attack on life. Death at work is an attack on life because it does not respect the minimal security conditions," Francis said, according to an article on LifeNews on Monday.
"The love of Christ urges us to become servants of the small ones and the elderly, of every man and every woman, through which the primordial right to life is recognized and protected." more >>
The Islamic State terrorist group is being accused by local government officials of kidnapping over 500 children from the Anbar and Diyala provinces in Iraq, and there is fear that some of the children could be forced to carry out suicide bomb attacks.
Farhan Mohammed, a member of Anbar's Provincial Council, told the Turkish news organization Anadolu Agency on Saturday that the Islamic State abducted approximately 400 children in the Anbar towns of Ar Rutba, Al-Qaim, Anah and Rawa in raids that took place over the course of a week.
Mohammed further added that he believes more children in the area will be recruited to join ISIS and that they could be used to carry out jihadi attacks. more >>
Hundreds of Jewish protesters blocked a group of Greek Orthodox Christians from entering the site in Old Jerusalem that Jewish tradition believes is where King David is buried and where Christians believe Jesus held his infamous Last Supper on Sunday.
The protesters held a mass prayer service and study while attempting to block access to the building. Israeli Police managed to ensure the Christians' access to the site where they held a religious ceremony to celebrate Pentecost, according to a spokesman for the department.