It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself. -- Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Iranian General Helped Iraq's Kurds Battle IS Group



The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

TEHRAN (AP) -- A top Iranian general and 70 of his forces were on the ground in Iraq this summer, helping Kurdish fighters defend the regional capital Irbil against Islamic State militants, a senior commander from Iran's Revolutionary Guard said Wednesday.

The commander's remarks appeared to confirm for the first time that Iranian military forces are playing a battlefield role alongside Iraqis against the Islamic State extremist group, though it was not clear whether they were involved in combat or merely serving as advisers. Iran has said it provides advice to Iraq's government but has denied sending combatants or weapons.

Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, who runs the Guard's aerospace division, said top Gen. Ghasem Soleimani was instrumental in preventing the fall of Irbil.

"If it were not for Iran's help, the IS would have captured (Iraq's) Kurdistan," he said on state television late Tuesday. "Our respected General... Soleimani stood up to IS with only 70 forces and did not allow them to enter Irbil."

The Islamic State militants approached the outskirts of Irbil in August, prompting the United States to launch airstrikes that helped Kurdish forces drive them back.

Soleimani has since 1997 been head of the Quds Force, a division of the elite Revolutionary Guard that carries out special operations outside Iran. He is believed to have played a key role in mobilizing Iranian allies across the region, including the Lebanese Hezbollah group and Shiite militias in Iraq.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say on all state matters, has reportedly described Soleimani as a "living martyr" in recognition of his work.

Although Iran and the United States share a common enemy in the Islamic State group, a deep-seated lack of trust has so far kept the longtime foes from publicly allying against the extremists.

While the U.S. has led air strikes against Islamic State militants, Iran is believed to have played a key role on the ground mobilizing Iraqi Kurdish and Shiite forces, including for last month's retaking of the northern Iraqi city of Amirli , which had been besieged by Islamic State militants for more than two months.


Read more by clicking below:
Iranian General Helped Iraq's Kurds Battle IS Group


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Kidnapping of Christians in Egypt Has Become Endemic

"Coptic cross" by Sagredo - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Coptic_cross.svg#mediaviewer/File:Coptic_cross.svg


The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

Wadi Ramsis, a Coptic doctor who was kidnapped in Sinai two months ago was released Monday after "payment of large sums of [ransom] money," said authorities.

Targeting Copts--especially professionals, who can afford to pay, or children, whose parents become desperate to pay--is becoming endemic to Egypt.

In May, five "unidentified persons" kidnapped a Coptic Christian pharmacy owner at gunpoint in Sohag, Upper Egypt. Soon after Friday mosque prayers, a car pulled up in front of the pharmacy and opened fire on it before the assailants raided it and drove off with the kidnapped owner, one Mr. Marcos, a 52-year-old Copt, at gunpoint.

In April, Isaac Eli--another Coptic man--was abducted under threat of gunfire by four "unknown persons" armed with automatic weapons. They came upon the Coptic wood merchant while he was working in front of his home, coerced him into their car, and sped away. Later, one of his relatives received a phone call demanding a hefty ransom to release the Christian man: 500,000 Egyptian pounds.

In late March, Shenouda Riad Musa, a Coptic Christian man, was kidnapped by "unknown persons" who later called his family demanding one million Egyptian pounds for his release, roughly the equivalent of $150,000 USD, an exorbitant sum in Egypt.


Read more by clicking below:
Kidnapping of Christians in Egypt Has Become Endemic


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

12 Assyrians Who Were Held By ISIS Escape By Faking Conversion

Twelve Assyrians from Bartella, Iraq who escaped from ISIS.


The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

...Eleven of the Assyrians, including a toddler, were brought to Kirkuk where they were met by Father Qais.

The 12 Assyrians were interviewed by local media. Here is the account of their escape.

The reason they did not leave Bartella was because they were sleeping on their roof and did not know the whole town had left. When they awoke and went to the streets they were confronted by ISIS, who ordered them to return to their homes and not leave. ISIS told them they were in contact with their priests and they would let them know of any developments.

The Assyrians said for the first three days they were given food by ISIS but for the next 17 days after they were given nothing. They survived from whatever they had in the house.

ISIS stole all their money and their papers. They were brought to an Islamic court in Mosul where they "converted" and were given an Islamic state ID and then returned to Bartella. They said they saw one Assyrian who had not converted and was badly beaten, his hands were tied behind his back and he was driven off in a truck. They assumed that he was killed.


Read more by clicking below:
12 Assyrians Who Were Held By ISIS Escape By Faking Conversion

Chaldean Bishop: ISIS Wants to Rip Christians From Their Roots



The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

Brussels (AINA) -- Appealing to everyone to work and pray for Iraq and Syria, Bishop Shlemon Warduni, Patriarchal Assistant for the Chaldean Church, said that ISIS wants to rip Christians from their roots in Iraq and Syria. Bishop Warduni was conducting Holy Mass in the church of Saint Mari and Saint Adday in Brussels last Thursday.

"Pray for peace in the Middle East," he said, "particularly Iraq and Syria, because we live in very difficult conditions. We need the international community's attention because the evil demonic forces have expelled us from our homes and villages."

He likened ISIS to bandits in the story of the Good Samaritan in the Bible and said "we heard in Mass today the story of the Good Samaritan [Luke 10: 25-37]. Our Christian people are have fallen into the hands of road bandits, but with the difference that the man in the story found mercy but we did not find mercy, what has happened to us has not been seen before, where they try to rip us from our land that we have owned for more than two thousand years, even before Christianity we were in Iraq, Syria and Turkey and other places."

He continued, "In Mosul and villages in the Nineveh Plain they expelled our people and robbed them and pillaged all their possessions and forced them to go out on foot in high temperatures. Now there are more than 120,000 displaced people and many of them homeless. ISIS is ruthless and merciless, they are trying to rip our roots from the ground. For the first time in two thousand years there are no Mass prayers in Mosul and the villages in the Nineveh Plain."


Read more by clicking below:
Chaldean Bishop: ISIS Wants to Rip Christians From Their Roots

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Bishop Criticizes Senator for Politicizing Summit on Mideast Christians

A cross is carried to the altar during an ecumenical prayer service during the In Defense of Christians summit in Washington. Christian patriarchs from the Middle East, along with lawmakers and international human rights activists, attended the three-day gathering on the persecution of Middle Eastern minorities. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)


The following excerpts are from Catholic News Service:

WASHINGTON -- A Catholic bishop criticized Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, for politicizing a conference of diverse political and church leaders working on behalf of Christians and other minorities in the Middle East.

"When you come to a hard political stance on anything, it's going to cause a flare-up, and that's what happened last night," Maronite Bishop Gregory J. Mansour of Brooklyn, New York, told Catholic News Service Sept. 11.

Cruz was a keynote speaker at the gala solidarity dinner at the inaugural summit of In Defense of Christians, a new organization with the aim of shaping policy and heightening awareness of Christians in the Middle East.

The conference brought together more than 500 politicians, church leaders -- including Catholic and Orthodox patriarchs flown in from the Middle East -- and Christians in the diaspora. The patriarchs emphasized that their differences did not preclude unity on behalf of all minorities in the Middle East.

Cruz, touted as a potential Republican candidate for president in 2016, left the stage after he was booed for saying that Christians have no better ally than Israel.

In a statement posted on his website, Cruz said: "After just a few minutes, I had no choice. I told them that if you will not stand with Israel, if you will not stand with the Jews, then I will not stand with you. And then I walked off the stage."

Bishop Mansour said he felt Cruz "had a litmus test for us: If we don't stand with Israel, then he won't stand with us. Well, that's not an approach that is viable for a Christian.

"Christians don't ally themselves to any state," said Bishop Mansour. "We are not allied to the state -- to the United States or to Iraq, or to Syria. Christians must be free to engage their society, to build up what is beautiful in it, and to critique what is not."

Jesuit Father Drew Christiansen, distinguished professor of ethics and global development at Georgetown University, attended the conference but was not at the gala.

In a blog for ncronline.org, scheduled for publication Sept. 15, Father Christiansen contrasted the unanimity of the patriarchs' message on Christians with Cruz's remarks, which he called "divisive."

"Members of the audience responded that calls made by Cruz and other speakers for respect for Jews and their inclusion in a pluralist Middle East had met with wide approval," wrote Father Christiansen, who has spent years advocating for Mideast Christians in his work as a policy adviser for the U.S. bishops' conference and as editor of America magazine.

"It was Cruz's assertion that Israel was an ally of Middle Eastern Christians to which they objected," he wrote. "They felt that their effort to build a coalition had been hijacked for the sake of Cruz's own political ambitions and the ultra-Zionist cause."

Bishop Mansour, who said he liked Cruz personally, told CNS: "I ran after him, and I saw him, face to face, as you and I are talking. He was very upset."

But he pointed out that many in the audience at the gala dinner were Palestinian Christians.

"Come on, you have to talk to your audience, you have to talk to the people who are here. I felt that showed a great insensitivity on his part," said Bishop Mansour, whose comments were echoed by others in attendance.

"We've been very careful, all the organizers and everybody involved," said Bishop Mansour. "The only one who was not very careful was Sen. Cruz."

"He made it very clear about defense of Jews and defense of Christians, but he did not mention defense of Muslims," said Bishop Mansour. He said everyone at the conference had been "very careful to defend the best of the Muslim tradition and to condemn the worst in it."

The bishop noted that 18 congressmen and senators had had talks with the Christian leaders on Capitol Hill without any kind of animosity.


Read more by clicking below:
Bishop Criticizes Senator for Politicizing Summit on Mideast Christians

Iraqis Fear ISIS Using Small Children As 'Human Shields, Trafficking'

Rosalinda, 4, with her uncle (Courtesy of The Sunday Times).

The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

Iraqis have sounded the alarm over the fate of small children kidnapped by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group, saying they were either used as "human shields" or victims for "human trafficking."

Steven Nabil, a popular Iraqi activist on Facebook, helped an Iraqi Christian woman disseminate her plea via a video for "good Iraqis" to bring back her three-year-old daughter Christina Abada.

...In an additional case, another Iraqi citizen expressed concern about the fate of his kidnapped 4-year-old niece, saying she is being used by ISIS as a human shield.

Mirze Ezdin, an Iraqi lawyer, told The Sunday Times he was terrified for the future of his niece Rosalinda, 4, who is among an estimated 3,000 children and women believed to be held hostage as "human shields" in the ISIS-controlled border town of Tal'Afar.

The uncle also fears for his other 45 relatives who were also snatched by the militant group.

Last week, Ezdin's family told The Sunday Times of the horrors inflicted on their children and wives. The family said their relatives lived under 24-hour house arrest in a town transformed into an open prison.

The family also described to the daily the terror of rape, of concerns that young girls were being sold into sex slavery, of little boys being taught to kill and of babies dying from malnutrition.


Read more by clicking below:
Iraqis Fear ISIS Using Small Children As 'Human Shields, Trafficking'

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Senator Ted Cruz Booed Off Stage At In Defense of Christians Summit

Senator Ted Cruz speaking at the
In Defense of Christians Inaugural Summit Gala Dinner
.

The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

Washington (AINA) -- Speaking at the In Defense of Christians (IDC) summit in Washington yesterday, Senator Ted Cruz ran afoul of the attendees who had gathered to build support for the Christians of Iraq, who are facing a genocide by ISIS.

Senator Cruz was introduced by Nina Shea, the director of the Center for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute.

Senator Cruz began by saying all gathered here are united in defense of Christians and Jews, and received applause.

He then said "Tonight we are all united in defense of people of good faith who are standing together against those who would persecute and murder those who dare to disagree with their religious teachings."

When Senator Cruz said "And today Christians have no better ally than the Jewish state" audience members began to object, saying "stop it" and booing. He immediately followed by saying "Let me say this: those who hate Israel hate America." At this point the audience became very agitated.

...IDC issued the following statement on the "disruption:"

In Defense of Christians President Toufic Baaklini issued the following statement in response to a disruption at the Inaugural Summit Gala Dinner:

As Cardinal Rai so eloquently put it to the attendees of the In Defense of Christians' inaugural Summit gala dinner: 'At every wedding, there are a few wedding crashers.' In this case, a few politically motivated opportunists chose to divide a room that for more than 48 hours sought unity in opposing the shared threat of genocide, faced not only by our Christian brothers and sisters, but our Jewish brothers and sisters and people of other all other faiths and all people of good will.

Tonight's injection of politics when the focus should have been on unity and faith, momentarily played into the hands of a few who do not adhere to IDC's principles. They were made no longer welcome.

When we set out to form In Defense of Christians, many in the foreign policy and faith-based communities said such an effort was impossible. That it would be too difficult to bring such a diverse group of Christian sects, religious and human rights organizations together to draw attention not only to the plight of the deteriorating situation facing our Christians brothers and sisters, but also to the plight of all people of faith, in the Middle East who are suffering.

For more than 48 hours, our initial IDC conference was successfully bridging divides of faith, language, geography and politics. It has not been easy, and not without challenges. Tonight's events make clearer than ever, that the In Defense of Christians is desperately needed in a world that remains divided to the point where even the most fundamental value of life and human dignity are cast aside.

We remain undaunted and focused on achieving our goals.

Note: Be sure to click the link below for the transcript of the speech from Senator Cruz, and listen to the audio from the speech there as well.


Read more by clicking below:
Senator Ted Cruz Booed Off Stage At In Defense of Christians Summit

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Patriarch blasts Iraqi government, international community for failure to help persecuted Christians : News Headlines - Catholic Culture


The following excerpts are from Catholic Culture's Catholic World News:

Catholic World News - September 04, 2014
The head of the Chaldean Catholic Church has renewed his criticism of the Iraqi government and the international community for their failure to address the persecution of Iraq’s Christians.

The curtains have been drawn on the painful events, and 120,000 Christians are uprooted from their historical homeland because the political Islam does not want them there, and the world is silent, standing still, either because it approves or because it is incapable of acting,” said Patriarch Louis Raphaël I Sako.

The suffering of the displaced Christians and other minorities is mounting: their needs are escalating and their fears of an unknown future of their shocked children, seized towns, and looted houses keep them sleepless,” he added.


Read more by clicking below:
Patriarch blasts Iraqi government, international community for failure to help persecuted Christians : News Headlines - Catholic Culture

Former Israeli leader proposes united religious effort against terrorism : News Headlines - Catholic Culture


The following excerpts are from Catholic Culture's Catholic World News:

Catholic World News - September 04, 2014
Former Israeli President Shimon Peres proposed a worldwide organization uniting religious leaders against terrorist violence, during a September 4 meeting with Pope Francis.

The Pope also met on the same day with Jordan’s Prince El Hassan Bin Talal, to discuss the work of the Arab leader’s Royal Institute for Interfaith Studies. Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, later told reporters that the Jordanian leader’s work is entirely directed toward interreligious dialogue and commitment to peace, in the current context of violence.”

Shimon Peres said that his plan for a “United Religions” initiative reflected the need for a new organization to promote world peace. “The UN has had its time,” he told reporters after his meeting with the Pope. He suggested a new group that would “establish in the name of all the faiths that slitting people's throats or conducting mass slaughters, like the ones we have seen in recent weeks, has nothing to do with religion.”


Read more by clicking below:
Former Israeli leader proposes united religious effort against terrorism : News Headlines - Catholic Culture

:-)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Fundraiser for Cataract Surgery

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...