NEW YORK — A New York City pastor who visited Sudanese Christian mother Meriam Ibrahim during her detention in the Muslim-majority country for blasphemy has partnered with a U.S.-based Yazidi activist to travel to Iraq to assess the humanitarian crisis of the religious minority group that has been targeted by the Islamic State. The men said they also hope to win the release of Yazidi women and girls abducted by the jihadist group and used as sex slaves.
The Rev. William Devlin and Texas-based Yazidi human rights advocate Murad Ismael were traveling to Erbil, Iraq, this week to "assess the humanitarian condition of the Yazidis first-hand" and "will also be seeking the release of women and young girls kidnapped by ISIS," they told The Christian Post in a series of emails and phone conversations.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, abducted scores of Yazidi women and girls in August as they attacked their towns in the Sinjar Mountain area in the Nineveh province in northwest Iraq. ISIS cornered many of the tens of thousands of Yazidis on Mount Sinjar, where some died from hunger and dehydration before the international community stepped in to help. The United States was among the countries offering humanitarian aid, in addition to carrying out airstrikes and training local forces in their military engagement with ISIS militants, who have already seized cities in Syria and Iraq. Reportedly, hundreds of Yazidis still remain on Sinjar Mountain, defending themselves against the Islamic State's unrelenting attacks. more >>
A string of secret Santas in Massachusetts made their way to local Toys "R" Us stores last week and paid thousands of their own dollars to pay off all of the stores' layaway orders in efforts to help families in financial need put gifts under the Christmas tree for their children.
The pay it forward-type of Christmas initiative took prominence last Wednesday at a Toys "R" Us in Bellingham, Massachusetts where an unidentified woman, known only as the "Layaway Angel" paid nearly $20,000 of her own money to bless hard working parents by closing out all of the store's 154 layaway orders. Each balance varied from just a few bucks to over a few hundred dollars.
One parent, who along with her kids is a beneficiary of the "Layaway Angel's" Christmas generosity, told the Milford Daily News that she was surprised when she received a call from Toys "R" Us telling her to come pick up her layaway order because her balance had already been paid for. more >>
An abortion provider whose clinic has been in operation since the 1980s has been arrested on charges of providing abortion-inducing drugs to women who were not pregnant.
Authorities arrested Nareshkumar G. Patel of Warr Acres at his clinic on Tuesday, later being booked into the Oklahoma County jail.
The evangelical humanitarian organization Samaritan's Purse airlifted over 60,000 gift-filled shoeboxes on Wednesday to the Kurdish-controlled region of Northern Iraq, intending to provide hope to children living as refugees after they were forced to flee their homes to escape from the wrath of the Islamic State.
Through Operation Christmas Child, a program run by evangelist Franklin Graham and his Samaritan's Purse organization, people from all over the United States, United Kingdom and Canada have combined efforts to fill up 60,000 shoeboxes with small gifts and uplifting messages, which will be flown from Baltimore-Washington International Airport to the city of Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan.
With Samaritan's Purse already supporting a major refugee camp in the town by airlifting supplies in October, the Operation Christmas Child airlift is the second that Samaritan's Purse has conducted to support the refugees living in Iraq. more >>
At least four people have died, while over a million people were forced to evacuate their homes after Typhoon Hagupit hit the Philippines over the weekend. But many people are thankful that the damage wasn't worse, given that last year's "super typhoon" Haiyan killed thousands.
"We're happy that we've learned our lessons from our past experiences. This is a good sign," said Gwendolyn Pang, secretary general of the Philippine Red Cross.
"We saw that with preparation and being alert we prevented tragedy and harm, we took our countrymen away from harm," added Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas. "It is sad to hear news of deaths, but this is very low, way below what the potential was." more >>
In a precedential ruling, Britain's Court of Appeal ruled on Thursday that mothers who excessively drink while pregnant are not criminally responsible for causing life-long disabilities to their unborn babies and children born permanently harmed by their mother's alcohol abuse are not eligible to receive criminal injury compensation from the government.
Attorneys representing a 7-year-old girl, who is known only as CP and was born with severe brain damage because her mother consumed either half a bottle of vodka or eight cans of lager per day, petitioned the court to grant her compensation funds from Britain's Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.
However, the three-judge panel ruled that a fetus cannot be considered a person under British law because they do not have a "legal personality" and are just an "organism" in the mother's womb. The court also deemed that since pregnant alcohol abuse has not been criminalized by Parliament, the mother had not committed a crime. more >>