President Barack Obama met on Wednesday with Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of imprisoned Pastor Saeed Abedini, and their two children in Boise, Idaho. Abedini said that she had been praying a long time for such a meeting, while Obama promised the family to do all he can to bring the pastor home.
"I am extremely thankful the president took the time to meet with our family and told us that securing the release of my husband is a top priority," Naghmeh Abedini said following the meeting.
"The president was focused and gracious — showing concern to me and my children. I know that this meeting could not have occurred without prayer, and I am grateful to the many people around the country and world who continue to pray for Saeed's release. The president repeated his desire to do all that he can to bring Saeed home. That means the world to me and my children and has given me a renewed sense of hope." more >>
The United Nations warned on Tuesday that ISIS militants are executing educated women within the territories it controls, reporting that the militants have already executed three female lawyers this month.
UN spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told reporters that numerous women living in ISIS strongholds, especially in the Iraqi city of Mosul, have recently been killed by ISIS militants and added that educated women are especially in danger.
"Educated, professional women, particularly women who have run as candidates in elections for public office seem to be particularly at risk," Shamdasani said. "In just the first two weeks of this year, reports indicated three female lawyers were executed." more >>
President Barack Obama is set to visit Boise, Idaho, on Wednesday, the hometown of pastor Saeed Abedini, who's serving eight years in prison in Iran for his faith. Abedini's wife, Naghmeh, has pleaded with Obama to meet with her so that she can ask him for her husband's release.
"My heart leapt with hope when I heard that you would be visiting my hometown of Boise, Idaho. Since the Iranian government took my husband, Saeed Abedini, almost three years ago, I have been praying and wanting to meet with you," Naghmeh Abedini wrote in a letter ahead of Obama's visit.
"With each of my travels to Washington D.C. I hoped that I would get a call, or an invitation to see you and to speak with you. To have you look into my eyes and see the piercing pain that has been there since my husband's imprisonment; to see my kids and to know that they have missed the warm embrace of their dad for nearly three years." more >>
The Islamic State terrorist organization in Iraq has executed 13 teenage boys solely because they were found watching a soccer match, an act that has apparently been deemed punishable by death under ISIS' sharia law.
According to the Syrian activist organization Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, a group closely monitoring executions carried out by ISIS militants, the 13 teens were caught last week in the Al-Yarmouk district of the Iraqi city of Mosul watching the Iraq vs Jordan Asian Cup soccer match, which was held in Australia.
After being caught watching the game, which Iraq won 1-0, The boys were rounded up by ISIS militants and were later publicly executed via a firing squad using machine guns. more >>
In response to the growing threat posed by the Islamic State terrorist group, the royal family of Saudi Arabia is having a 600-mile barrier constructed to completely block the Iraqi portion of the Saudi northern border, hoping to prevent ISIS militants from infiltrating the kingdom.
The planned fence structure will span the entire distance of the Iraq-Saudi border, from Jordan to Kuwait. The border barrier system will feature five layers of barbed wire fencing, a ditch, a patrol road, 240 rapid response vehicles, underground motion sensors, 40 watchtowers, radar, day/night cameras, seven command centers, 28 communication towers, 32 military response stations (equipped with helipads), and three rapid intervention teams. The entire system will also be connected through a fibre-optic communications network.
The idea for the "great wall" was first proposed during the height of the United States' invasion of Iraq in 2006. But, construction on the barrier did not begin until last September, after the Islamic State conquered large swaths of the neighboring Anbar province in Iraq. more >>
At least 10 people have been killed in violent protests in Niger over the weekend, after Muslim mobs burned down a number of churches in retaliation to French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo publishing cartoons depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammad.
Christian missionaries in the capital, Niamey, told International Christian Concern that "all of [their] churches have been burned along with the pastors' homes ... almost every church [they] know or are associated with has been attacked." The missionaries, who despite seeing smoke "around all sides of [their] house," remain in Niamey.
"Jesus said: 'I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.' We are confident that this persecution will only grow the church and the Gospel in Niger," the missionaries continued. more >>