President Obama has nominated Rabbi David Saperstein to be the next ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom at the State Department, a position that has been vacant since late last year. The announcement on Monday also marks the first time that a non-Christian will hold the job, which was created in 1998.
"I am grateful that Rabbi Saperstein has chosen to dedicate his talent to serving the American people at this important time for our country. I look forward to working with him in the months and years ahead," Obama said. Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, now awaits Senate confirmation.
The nomination came with some controversy, namely the fact the post sat vacant for nine months. Intended for the purpose of promoting and defending religious freedom around the world, the position was not filled for two years until Suzan Johnson Cook took the post in 2011. However, Cook left in October during a time of intensified religious persecution globally, especially in the Middle East. more >>
The end of Christianity in Iraq could be "very near" according to Canon Andrew White, the vicar of the only Anglican church in Iraq, as Islamic militants continue their attacks of Christians and the central government.
"Things are so desperate, our people are disappearing," White said in an interview with BBC Radio 4 over the weekend. "We have had people massacred, their heads chopped off.
"Are we seeing the end of Christianity? We are committed come what may, we will keep going to the end, but it looks as though the end could be very near." more >>
Meriam Ibrahim, a young Christian mother from Sudan who refused to renounce her faith even after she was placed on death row for it, is expected to fly from Rome to New Hampshire with her family this week to settle in Manchester, her brother-in-law said.
After arriving in the United States, Ibrahim's family is likely to visit Washington, D.C. first to thank those who contributed to their release, The Associated Press reports, quoting her brother-in-law, Gabriel Wani, who lives in Manchester with his wife and their three daughters.
Ibrahim and her family — her husband, Daniel Wani, their son, Martin, and their daughter, Maya, who was born in prison in Sudan just two months ago — will settle in Manchester, which is home to a Sudanese Christian community and church. more >>
Persecution watchdog groups who have campaigned for the release of Christian mother Meriam Ibrahim are celebrating her family's departure from Sudan to Italy, with one calling it an "answered prayer" for the thousands who had signed petitions and offered prayers.
"We are thankful for the Italian government's critical involvement in this case, and for the ACLJ supporters who never ceased to bring attention to Meriam and her family," said Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice.
"The ACLJ, in conjunction with nations and organizations worldwide, fought for Meriam and her family their basic religious liberties. Because of the unwavering dedication of the American people, the four are now safe in Italy and hoping to be in the United States soon." more >>
NEW YORK — The U.S. pastor who took it upon himself to fly to Sudan to meet with and pray for imprisoned persecuted Christian mother Meriam Ibrahim was among those celebrating her freedom Thursday. He credited the 27-year-old married mother's release to the outcry of people from around the world who were captivated by her steadfast Christian witness in the face of impending death.
"Praise God for that," Pastor William Devlin told The Christian Post in response to Ibrahim's early morning flight out of Sudan, where she had been held imprisoned for nearly one year. Devlin returned to New York City on July 20 after a week-long trip to Sudan, where he says he spent an hour and a half with Ibrahim, her husband Daniel Wani and their two children.
"I think it was really the outcry of people from around the world," added Pastor Devlin, commenting on what he thought led to Ibrahim's release just days after his visit with her at the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum. Indeed, the young woman's case resonated with many around the world and many were moved to petition for her release. One such petition, published on Change.org, had more than one million supporters. more >>
A group of Chinese Christians protecting a church cross from demolition has said that they are ready to die for the cause, even as they are beaten severely by police officers seeking to break their month-long vigil.
"We will continue to guard our church cross to the end," a local worker of Pingyang County said, according to International Christian Concern. "We divide people into two groups and take turns to guard the church through the night."
Government officials have been trying to forcibly remove the church cross of ShuiTou Salvation Church in Pingyang, Wenzhou City for over a month now, though Christians have been protecting it by holding overnight vigils. more >>