Tired of being slaughtered like sheep and chased from a place they have called home for two millennia, some Christian groups in northern Iraq have decided to take up arms to defend their place in the war-torn country from the terror of ISIS.
Henry Sarkis, 44, an official with the Assyrian Patriotic Party which is one of several Assyrian political organizations in Iraq, told National Geographic that his party has armed and dispatched 40 of its members to join the Kurdish Peshmerga, the official security force of the Kurdistan Regional Government, in fighting ISIS in Iraq's northwest.
The convictions of 16 Amish men and women in Ohio found guilty of beard- and hair-cutting attacks on fellow members of their faith have been overturned by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The Appeals Court determined that the jury in the case was given incorrect instructions on how to deliberate the role of religion in the attacks, documents from the case state.
"No one questions that the assaults occurred, and only a few defendants question their participation in them. The central issue at trial was whether the defendants committed the assaults 'because of' the religion of the victims," the decision from the Appeals Court read. "When all is said and done, considerable evidence supported the defendants' theory that interpersonal and intrafamily disagreements, not the victims' religious beliefs, sparked the attacks." more >>
Todd Daniels, Regional Manager for the Middle East of International Christian Concern, has cautioned that Qatar's role in recent hostage rescue missions, as well as its relationships with ISIS and the Nusra Front, could be worrying.
The role in missions "should not overshadow the concerns about Qatar's foreign policy in the region and their role in providing support to groups that are engaged in terrorist activities. The ability to mediate in these situations demonstrates the links that Qatar has to these groups … it raises serious concerns about what kind of support Qatar has given to these groups that grants them leverage to arrange the release of hostages," Daniels told The Christian Post.
The state of Qatar is currently working to help free four American hostages being held in Syria. more >>
Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, a 23-year-old British rapper who reportedly walked out of his family's £1 million home in Maida Vale, West London, last year to join militants in Syria after telling them he was "leaving everything for the sake of Allah," is being investigated as a key suspect in the beheading of journalist James Foley.
A senior western intelligence official who was not identified told Fox News that Bary is being eyed as Foley's executioner. The report noted that the Sunday Times and Sunday People listed Bary as a member of a group of at least three British-born ISIS fighters that former hostages call "The Beatles."
The Sunday Times said Britain's two major intelligence agencies, MI5 and MI6, had identified the man who beheaded Foley but had not publicly revealed this information. more >>
An American journalist was released from captivity by an al-Qaeda related group on Sunday, possibly thanks to the attention drawn from James Foley's brutal death.
"I don't know what was going through their heads but there can be no doubt they realized it was not in their best interests to be holding an American hostage at this time," GlobalPost CEO Philip Balboni told MailOnline.
Peter Theo Curtis was kidnapped while in Turkey in 2012 before he could enter Syria to document the humanitarian crisis in the country. He was held by an al-Qaeda offshoot known as the Nusra Front. They made the decision to release him to UN intermediaries on Sunday, but nothing is known about what exactly led to his release. However, Balboni, who employed Foley, believes that his death and the attention brought by it, was a contributing factor. more >>
The home church of U.S. journalist James Foley, who was brutally beheaded by ISIS militants last week, held a memorial service in Rochester, New Hampshire, Sunday, remembering him for living his faith by highlighting suffering. The journalist's family released a final letter sent by him while he was in captivity, where he prayed regularly.
The memorial Mass was attended by Foley's parents, John and Diane Foley, and hundreds of others at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary church, The Associated Press reported.
Bishop Peter Libasci, who spoke at the memorial Mass, was quoted as telling the crowd that Foley was captured for the first time in Libya in 2011, and yet he "went back again that we might open our eyes. That we might indeed know how precious is this gift. May almighty God grant peace to James and to all our fragile world." more >>