The heartbreaking photo of the little Syrian refugee boy washed up dead on the shore of Bodrum, Turkey strikingly illustrates the tragic plight of desperate refugees — mostly Syrian — fleeing for their lives from the Islamic State and other violent groups in the Middle East and Africa.
The 3-year-old boy, named Aylan, along with his 5-year-old brother, Galip, and their mother, Rehan, drowned after the raft carrying them capsized near the Turkish coast.
Millions of refugees are scrambling to escape from the life-threatening civil wars plaguing several countries from Nigeria to Pakistan. more >>
WASHINGTON — Emmy-winning filmmaker Martin Doblmeier and Journey Films have produced a new two-hour documentary called "Chaplains" that will air on PBS stations in 2015, which seeks to enlighten the general public about the role that American chaplains play in their various arenas of work.
The film shadows chaplains from various faiths and theatres — from a Muslim police chaplain who serves as a middleman between cops and the hostile Muslim community, to a Buddhist chaplain who fulfills the spiritual needs of prisoners in an Oregon state prison — and provides a sense of the benefits that chaplains provide to the communities they serve.
At the film's premiere screening Thursday night at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., Doblmeier, who has produced over 25 films focused on religion, faith and spirituality, explained that the reason for producing the documentary is that most people don't understand the importance that the chaplaincy has to society as a whole. more >>
Sudanese security forces have killed, raped and burned civilians alive during two military campaigns in Darfur that left thousands of people displaced from their homes, a prominent human rights organization has claimed.
A new report by Human Rights Watch accuses Sudan's Rapid Support Forces, which are under the command of Sudan's National Intelligence and Security Services, of committing "widespread and systematic" crimes against civilians that include mass rape, torture and murder when the forces were ordered to carry out counterinsurgency campaigns in 2014 and 2015 in Darfur.
"The RSF led two counter-insurgency campaigns in the long-embattled region of Darfur in 2014 and 2015 in which its forces repeatedly attacked villages, burned and looted homes, beating, raping and executing villagers," the HRW report stated. more >>
A diverse group of clergy and legal experts sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to keep a rule allowing religious organizations with government grants to maintain hiring practices consistent with their religious beliefs.
Sent to the White House on Thursday, the letter pleads that President Obama reject calls by many progressive organizations to bar federal grants to religious organizations that use religious affiliation as a parameter for employment.
The letter was organized by the Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance and signed by liberals and conservatives, religious leaders and religious freedom experts. For instance, Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan's Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association; Ron Sider, president emeritus of Evangelicals for Social Action; and Douglas Laycock, Robert E. Scott Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Virginia Law School, were among the 69 signers. more >>
Christian Aid Mission, a nonprofit organization that assists over 500 ministries overseas, has said that the ongoing conflict that is tearing apart Syria and creating millions of refugees and displaced people is an opportunity for Christians to show the love of Christ, which is opening the world's eyes.
Steve Van Valkenburg, Christian Aid Mission's area director for the Middle East, told The Christian Post in a phone interview on Thursday that despite the confusion and complexity of the ongoing Syrian civil war, one thing that is clear is that it presents a way for Christians to minister to the suffering people by showing them what the love of Christ is about.
"I think that a lot of refugees see that there is something different there, they see the Muslim on Muslim fighting, and then they see how the Christians are reaching out with love and caring — that has to do something with their hearts," Valkenburg told CP. more >>
WASHINGTON — Members of the U.S. House of Representatives from both political parties told Christian persecution activists Thursday that the U.S. government has a moral obligation to help the Christians and other religious minorities affected by the refugee crisis in Syria and Iraq and also detailed various proposed resolutions aimed at doing so.
As thousands of Christians are risking their lives to smuggle their families into Europe in order to escape from the violence of the Islamic State and the Syrian civil war, Christian activists gathered by In Defense of Christians met with a bipartisan group of Congress members on Capitol Hill to discuss the actions being taken by the U.S. government to aid asylum seekers and other persecuted Christians in the Middle East.
Over 17 members of Congress spoke at the press conference and expressed displeasure with inaction taken by the Obama administration to provide refugees with protection and asylum. (On the same day, the White House announced plans to let 10,000 Syrian refugees into the United States, a six-fold increase from current levels.) more >>