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

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Why the Question of Christian vs. Muslim Refugees Has Become So Incredibly Divisive




The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

Christians make up a tiny percentage of the Syrian refugees the United States has resettled. Is that wrong?

The topic is raging this week, with multiple governors and GOP presidential candidates saying Syrian refugees should be shut out after the Paris attacks by Muslim radicals. President Obama then said it was "shameful" to have a religious test for refugees of war. "That's not American. That's not who we are. We don't have religious tests to our compassion," he said.

In fact, the role of religion in how refugees are considered and how the United States looks at persecution is more complicated. Religion is considered by both the United Nations and the State Department, which defines a refugee as "someone who has fled from his or her home country and cannot return because he or she has a well-founded fear of persecution based on religion, race, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group."

A torrent of other issues also come when refugee status is considered. How severely persecuted is the group? Is their religion the primary factor or are there other issues, such as political or ethnic affiliations that are equally or more significant? Does the group have other options, anywhere to else to go?

Whether the United States works too hard or not hard enough for persecuted Christians overseas has become increasingly explosive in the last decade. In that period, conditions for religious minorities in the Middle East have seriously deteriorated. And in the United States, some religious Americans see hostility in President Obama's liberalizing policies about birth control and gay rights. Among many of these people, and others, anti-Muslim sentiment is on the rise. Some 30 percent of Americans wrongly believe Obama is Muslim.

Advocates for Middle Eastern Christians note that this group is disappearing from the region of Jesus's birth in the rubble of government chaos in Iraq, Syria and Egypt.

This week such Americans were jarred by a Yahoo News report that the State Department is about to designate the Islamic State's assault on the small population of Yazidis in Iraq genocide -- a very rare move that could have implications for the United States to hold perpetrators accountable. While other religious minorities from the region, including Christians, are described as severely persecuted for their faith, the Yazidis are described as under a particular kind of siege.

The report suggests the government is influenced by a Nov. 12 paper by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide. That paper said the Islamic State "is carrying out a widespread, systematic, and deliberate campaign of ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity" against Yazidis, Christians, Turkmen, Shabak and other minority groups. Of that group, only the Yazidis faced genocide because "the attacks on them were to make sure no future Yazidis would be born. To end them as a people altogether," Naomi Kikoker, deputy director of the center, told The Post. She cited interviews with residents and said Christians "faced slightly different treatment" if "horrific," being forced to leave, pay a tax or convert.

That was the first time the museum had declared anything a genocide since 2004, when it used the term for the Darfur region of Sudan.

But the possibility of a State Department proclamation led prominent advocates for Middle Eastern Christians to say it showed bias.

"If true, it would reflect a familiar pattern within the administration of a politically correct bias that views Christians -- even non-Western congregations such as those in Iraq and Syria -- never as victims but always as Inquisition-style oppressors," wrote Nina Shea in National Review Nov. 13.

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Why the Question of Christian vs. Muslim Refugees Has Become So Incredibly Divisive

West Has 'Betrayed the Christians of the East,' Says Syrian Patriarch



 
The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

The head of the Syrian Catholic Church, Mar Ignace Youssif III Youan, has said the West has betrayed Syrians and caused an endless conflict in the country.

Speaking to Le Messenger, an Egpytian Catholic magazine, Youan spoke passionately about the "chaos" that Western governments have caused by ignoring the advice of Syrians, assuming that Assad's regime could be destroyed in a few months, and now having faith in airstrikes as the answer when ISIS has thoroughly infiltrated Iraq, Syria and beyond.

"We Christians are not able to live in this chaos," the Syrian Patriarch said. "The West has betrayed us."

The patriarch accused Western governments of wanting to "perpetuate the endless conflict in Syria" and of having "betrayed the Christians of the East. We explained from the beginning that our situation was different from that of other nations in the region, they were not listened to. And now we mourn deaths over the past five years. "

He described the current situation in Syria as "dramatic, and all the Syrian people are living in pain" as they are trapped under the regime of ISIS and other terrorist groups "who use Islam as an excuse to 'purify' areas under their control in the name of religion, and Muslim scholars who tell us that Islam is alien to these facts.

"It's a shame that the West has abandoned Christians to this situation," he said.

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West Has 'Betrayed the Christians of the East,' Says Syrian Patriarch


Saturday, November 14, 2015

US Government Must Designate ISIS Attacks As Genocide for All Groups

 
Christina Khader Ebada, a 3 year-old Assyrian girl, was abducted from her family last August by ISIS as they were leaving Baghdede.

The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

(AINA) -- There are reports in the media that state the Obama Administration will designate ISIS's attacks on Yazidis in Iraq as genocide, without giving the same designation to ISIS's attacks on Assyrians and other minorities in Iraq and Syria, even though these attacks targeted both groups and were conducted in tandem.

There is no question as to the suffering of the Yazidis and Assyrians. Thousands of Yazidis have been killed, Yazidi women have been captured and raped and sold as sex slaves. Hundreds of thousands of Yazidis have been displaced. 200,000 Assyrians were driven from the Nineveh Plains in North Iraq last year (AINA 2014-08-07) in the ISIS attack that began -- not coincidentally -- on August 7, the Assyrian Martyrs Day. Most have not returned and are living as refugees in Arbel and Dohuk.

ISIS has destroyed or occupied 45 Assyrian churches in Mosul. It has killed Assyrians in Mosul. It has snatched Assyrian girls from the arms of their mothers, never to be seen again.

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ISIS Genocide Victims Do Not Include Christians, the State Department Is Poised to Rule



 
The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

A report by a renowned journalist states that Christians are to be excluded from an impending official United States government declaration of ISIS genocide. If true, it would reflect a familiar pattern within the administration of a politically correct bias that views Christians -- even non-Western congregations such as those in Iraq and Syria -- never as victims but always as Inquisition-style oppressors. (That a State Department genocide designation for ISIS may be imminent was acknowledged last week in congressional testimony, by Ambassador Anne Patterson, the assistant secretary of the State Department's Near East Bureau.)

Yazidis, according to the story by investigative reporter Michael Isikoff, are going to be officially recognized as genocide victims, and rightly so. Yet Christians, who are also among the most vulnerable religious minority groups that have been deliberately and mercilessly targeted for eradication by ISIS, are not. This is not an academic matter. A genocide designation would have significant policy implications for American efforts to restore property and lands taken from the minority groups and for offers of aid, asylum, and other protections to such victims. Worse, it would mean that, under the Genocide Convention, the United States and other governments would not be bound to act to suppress or even prevent the genocide of these Christians.

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ISIS Genocide Victims Do Not Include Christians, the State Department Is Poised to Rule


Thursday, October 22, 2015

A Future for Minorities in the Middle East?

The Arabic letter "n" (inside red circle), signifying "Nasrani" (Christian), on an Assyrian home in Mosul.


The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

(AINA) -- Consider this imaginary situation. Hundreds of British citizens are kidnapped while travelling in the Middle East by a Muslim jihadi militia. The kidnappers hold the victims in an unknown and lawless location in a failed state and demand a ransom of one million dollars per person for their release. When no ransom is forthcoming, the kidnappers take three males, dress them in orange jumpsuits, make them kneel and, after they say their names, they are shot in the back of the head while being filmed. The kidnappers then threaten to similarly execute the remaining captives if the ransom is not paid.
Consider another imaginary scenario. Some 5000 American women and girls are kidnapped by the same Muslim jihadi militia. They are turned into sex slaves, servicing the jihadi soldiers who consider the whole process to be an act of worship of their God. The women are sold for a few dollars in open markets and are subjected to an ongoing nightmare of exploitation, humiliation and terror.

If both of the above imaginary situations came to pass, it is highly likely that the British and American governments would bring the full force of their military power to bear on the perpetrators of such mediaeval barbarism. And they would be right to act in the interests of their citizens in this way, providing the protection that governments should provide to their own.

The subtext in the above scenarios is that in fact the situations described are going on as we speak. The hundreds of citizens who have been put up for ransom, with some being killed on camera, are not British but rather Assyrians, kidnapped in February from dozens of predominantly Christian towns and villages in the Khabur river valley in northern Syria. The exorbitant ransom demanded is far beyond the financial capacity of the local Assyrian community.

The thousands of women and girls, some pre-pubescent, serving as sex slaves are not Americans but mostly non-Muslim Yazidis, kidnapped in Sinjar in northern Iraq late last year. Some Christian women are also being held in the same manner. The perpetrators are, of course, the soldiers and leaders of the Islamic State, who have established rules of trade that include allowing an individual jihadi to purchase up to three female concubines. The captured woman are reportedly considered by their captors to have become Muslim if they are raped by ten ISIS fighters.

The significant difference between the above imaginary situations and the reality is that neither Assyrians nor Yazidis are citizens of powerful nations. Those currently held in captivity cannot hope for their armed compatriots to come to their rescue. In such a context, their nightmare must be even darker and full of greater despair, enveloped within a sense of absolute hopelessness. It is little wonder that a number of the Yazidi women are committing suicide, according to reports provided by some lucky women who have escaped their captors.

And as these appalling situations continue day after day, leaders of the powerful nations do express concern and meet to confer about ways of gradually "degrading" the capacity of the Islamic State. A group of nine nations led by the USA have been conducting bombing raids from the air on Islamic State targets since August 2014, with mixed results. But while the discussions and the bombing raids take place, days become months and months become years, and the Assyrian and Yazidi hostages remain in their situations of terror, with little hope of rescue.

Two thoughts come to mind. Firstly, the great nations of the world that are mulling over ways of dealing with the Islamic State in a step-by-step fashion would do well to act as if the kidnapped hostages are indeed British and American. Images of British citizens being executed on mass and American women being sold at sex-slave markets may well succeed in breaking the paralysis that has beset Western action over the problem of the Islamic State.

Second, the tragic situation raises the issue of the future viability of religious minorities in the Middle East. The best solution would probably be for Assyrians and Yazidis to migrate to the West. Many will do this, but many will remain in their ancestral homelands.


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A Future for Minorities in the Middle East?


Assyrians Largely Ignored By U.S. and Other Western Officials



The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

Someone should tell ISIS: The orange jumpsuits no longer draw the world's attention as they did a year ago when American journalist James Foley became one of the terror group's first victims to be executed on camera wearing one.
In early October, three men crouched in sand wearing the orange one-piece outfits--all Assyrian Christians from northeastern Syria. They were shown being shot in the head and killed in a video released by ISIS. Those living in the United States most likely didn't see the one-minute video clip. A few Arabic-language media outlets carried reports of the latest filmed execution and some showed the video, but in the United States no news outlets televised it, and only a few reported it at all.

Yet the footage is the first from ISIS, or Islamic State, of Syrian Christians being executed. It also carried threats of further killings against hundreds of Assyrian Christians who have been held hostage for months, according to the Assyrian Monitor for Human Rights.

With the camera rolling and a brisk wind flapping their sleeves, the three men kneeling in the sand said they were "Nasrani," a Muslim pejorative for Christians. They recited their names and hometowns: Ashur Abraha of Tel Tamar, Basam Essa Michael of Tel Shamiram, and Dr. Abdulmasih Enwiya of Jazira. Two gave their dates of birth. Three men wearing desert camouflage and black masks next stepped behind them, each raising a handgun to shoot each of the three Christians in the head. The victims' bodies slumped forward, and seconds later three more men appeared kneeling behind the dead men, the executioners pointing guns at their heads also.

As with the first segment, each hostage recited his name and hometown, but one of them--in what looks like a scripted gesture--pointed to the bodies on the ground and said, "Our fate is the same as these if you do not take proper procedure for our release." With that, the video ended.

The three killed and the three apparently left alive all are confirmed part of a group of 250 Assyrians abducted in February after Islamic State attacked about 35 villages along the Khabur River in Hasakah Province. ISIS killed at least 15 young Assyrian Christians in the attacks as they tried to protect the towns, and militants rounded up hundreds and took them hostage in the overnight raids--leaving 1,400 Assyrian families unable to return to their homes (see "One family's night flight from ISIS," March 5, 2015). ISIS released several dozen captives, mostly elderly, leaving about 180 still held.

At that time, church leaders reported American aircraft flew over the area but took no action.


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Assyrians Largely Ignored By U.S. and Other Western Officials


U.S. to Iraq: If Russia Helps You Fight ISIS, We Can't

The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

The U.S. has told Iraq's leaders they must choose between ongoing American support in the battle against militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and asking the Russians to intervene instead.

Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Tuesday that the Iraqis had promised they would not request any Russian airstrikes or support for the fight against ISIS.

Shortly after leaving Baghdad, Dunford told reporters traveling with him that he had laid out a choice when he met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and Defense Minister Khaled al-Obeidi earlier Tuesday.

"I said it would make it very difficult for us to be able to provide the kind of support you need if the Russians were here conducting operations as well," Dunford said. "We can't conduct operations if the Russians were operating in Iraq right now."

He said there was "angst" in the U.S. when reports surfaced that al-Abadi had said he would welcome Russian airstrikes in Iraq. The U.S., Dunford said, "can't have a relationship right now with Russia in the context of Iraq."

The ultimatum to Iraq comes as the U.S. grapples with Russia's dramatically increased role in the war in Syria, just to the west of Iraq.

In Syria, President Vladimir Putin has essentially rescued his close ally, President Bashar Assad, from opposition forces that had been inching closer to his seat of power prior to the beginning of Russian airstrikes at the end of September.

Russia's intervention was not telegraphed beforehand to the U.S., and while Moscow first insisted its primary target was ISIS in Syria, it became apparent immediately that the Russian planes were targeting other opposition groups more in a clear effort to shore up Assad's beleaguered forces.

The choice given to Abadi in Iraq by Dunford on Tuesday is a clear indication that the U.S. is not willing to compete with Russia for airspace over two neighboring countries deeply intertwined in the same convoluted war.

The U.S. and Russia put into practice new rules on Tuesday designed to minimize the risk of air collisions between military aircraft over Syria.

Reuters reports that the U.S. ultimatum to Iraq puts Abadi in a difficult position, as his own country's ruling political alliance and some powerful Shiite groups have been pushing him to request Russian air support.

The news agency said a proposal to request Russian strikes had been put to Abadi last week, but that he was yet to respond.


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U.S. to Iraq: If Russia Helps You Fight ISIS, We Can't



Wednesday, July 1, 2015

64 soldiers killed in ISIS attack on Egyptian Army's Sinai checkpoints | Fox News



The following excerpts are from FoxNews.com:

Islamic militants on Wednesday unleashed a wave of simultaneous attacks on Egyptian Army checkpoints in the restive northern Sinai Peninsula, killing at least 64 soldiers, country officials said.

The coordinated assaults, which included up to 70 militants, came a day after Egypt's president pledged to step up the battle against Islamic militants and two days after the country's state prosecutor was assassinated in the capital, Cairo. The BBC reported that the clashes are ongoing, with militants reportedly overtaking a main police station.

The officials said scores of militants were besieging Sheikh Zuweid's main police station, shelling it with mortars and rocket-propelled grenades and exchanging fire with dozens of policemen inside. Reuters reported that militants planted bombs along a road between the police station and an army camp to deter reenforcements.

"We are under siege, the militants didn't storm inside it so far, or else I wouldn't be speaking to you right now," Col. Mohamed Soliman told Daily News Egypt from inside the police station

Al Jazeera, citing a local news, reported that ambulances had trouble reaching those injured due to the crossfire.

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74 children executed by ISIS for 'crimes' that include refusal to fast, report says | Fox News



The following excerpts are from FoxNews.com:

The blood-soaked executioners of ISIS have spared neither women nor children since the jihadist army established its caliphate a year ago, putting an estimated 74 kids and even more women to death for such offenses as practicing “magic” and refusing to fast during Ramadan.

A total of 3,027 people have been executed by ISIS since it declared itself a state under strict Islamic law in Syria and Iraq last June, according to a new report by the UK-based group, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

"Many of the charges against those executed are recorded as blasphemy and spying, but others include sorcery, sodomy, practicing as a Shia Muslim," the report states.

Just this week, two children whose ages were not known were crucified in the Mayadin, Deir Ezzor province in eastern Syria after ISIS accused them of not properly fasting during Ramadan. The children’s bodies, put on public display on crossbars, each bore a sign explaining their violation during the holy month for Muslims that runs June 17 to July 17. With each execution justified by ISIS' medieval interpretation of the Koran, the group is attempting to portray itself as the true practitioners of Islam, say experts.

Underlying all these executions is the apocalypse ideology of the final battle between the believers and the unbelievers,” said Jasmine Opperman, the director of Southern Africa Operations at the Terrorism, Research & Analysis Consortium. “ISIS is using executions to show its followers -- and would-be followers -- that the group is the only true representative of believers, not only in word, but action, which is why executions are featured so prominently.”

Other children died fighting for their lives.

The violent Islamist group appears to demonstrate a particular interest in children, releasing videos of children fighting in cages and undertaking military training,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights group said. “The report also details moves undertaken by the group to entice children to join, which include setting up offices called "cubs of the caliphate" that recruit children to fight for ISIS.”

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child released a report in February, documenting the many horrors ISIS has imposed on children who are Kurdish, Yazidi, Christian and even Muslim. Children – even those who are mentally challenged – are being tortured, crucified, buried alive, used as suicide bombers and sold as sex slaves, the report said.

ISIS is hoping to spur current supporters around the world who are dormant, of which there are millions, into joining their caliphate by advertising acts like these, of which there are millions,” said Ryan Mauro, national security analyst for the Clarion Project, a nonprofit organization that educates the public about the threat of Islamic extremism. “They know that they can greatly increase their numbers by appealing to current radicals rather than the broader masses.”

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74 children executed by ISIS for 'crimes' that include refusal to fast, report says | Fox News

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Dear Gullible People...



You know who you are. You are the ones who get all caught up in the story, grossly misreported as "news", of a mentally ill man saying he is now a woman.

While you were being so easily manipulated and distracted, here are some things happening in the real world that you missed:

Boston terror suspects plotted to behead police officers, source says

U.S. official: 10,000-plus ISIS fighters killed in 9-month campaign

Democratic finance chair under fire for fundraising for Clinton campaign http://bit.ly/1FuVHyN

Baltimore to feds: Send help

Da Vinci discovered: Art sleuthing reveals Leonardo engraving

IRS Employee Steals $326,000 By Using Taxpayer's Identities

4 family members accused of beating pregnant teen to kill baby



Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Assyrian Monks Won't Leave Ancient Monastery Amid ISIL Threat

The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

Yousif Ibrahim, the head monk at Saint Matthew's Monastery,
laments the ever present struggle the Christian community faces in Iraq

(photo: Abed al Qaisi)


AL-FAF, Iraq -- Yousif Ibrahim paces down the 1,600-year-old chamber room of Saint Matthew's Monastery passing rows of empty polished-wood pews. Ornate crystal chandeliers hang from the arched ceiling above him. The room smells of dust and incense, and its silence is peaceful. Outside of the ancient walls, however, the battle for Iraq is raging.

"We can see the battles and the airstrikes from here in front of us, especially at night. The sky lights up at night, but we of course are not scared. God protects us," Ibrahim, one of three monks who resides in the monastery, says.

Situated on the side of Mount Al-Faf in North Iraq's Nineveh Plains, St. Matthew's Monastery is recognized as one of the oldest Christian monasteries in Iraq. Today, the beige stone structure looks down on the rolling hills of one of Iraq's most active frontlines against the Islamic State, less than four miles away.

The horizon is spotted with pluming towers of white and black smoke from U.S.-led coalition airstrikes and heavy artillery fire. From this frontline, Islamic State territory stretches back to Mosul, the group's largest Iraqi stronghold.

The proximity of the Islamic State to St. Matthew's means the monastery is constantly at risk. The extremist group is known for destroying churches, museums and other culturally and historically significant sites.

Last week, the militants seized the Syrian city of Palmyra and its ruins, described by the United Nations as "one of the most important cultural centers of the ancient world." The city's fall left the world holding its breath in anticipation of the UNESCO World Heritage site's destruction.

St. Matthew's is safely under Kurdish Peshmerga military control for now. But Sahar Karaikos, one of six students at the monastery, fears what could happen if the Islamic State advances closer.

"We are not scared, because our teachers give us a feeling of peace here, but we know we are on the frontlines, and in seconds the Islamic State could be here," Karaikos says. "I don't even want to think or speak about the destruction the Islamic State would cause if they took our monastery."

While monks at the monastery say they are confident God and the Peshmerga forces will protect the site, they have removed their most precious relics, including centuries-old Christian manuscripts. The tomb of the monastery's namesake, St. Matthew, lies empty -- the bones have been moved north into the relatively safe territory of the Kurdish Regional Government.


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Assyrian Monks Won't Leave Ancient Monastery Amid ISIL Threat



Friday, May 22, 2015

Egypt Police Rescue Kidnapped Christians



The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

Egyptian police have rescued four Copts who were kidnapped while on their way from a pilgrimage site in Minya province.

Authorities raided an isolated farmhouse in the mountainous area not far from the city of Salamut where the victims were taken away by armed gunmen, the Catholic Fides news agency reported.

Police tracked down the hideout of the kidnappers, who demanded ransom from the victims' families of 600,000 Egyptian pounds ($79,000), at the village of Akoris.

The raiding team stormed the kidnappers' safe house around dawn May 20, and a firefight ensued between authorities and the criminals. Some of the kidnappers managed to escape.

Police found the victims shackled with chains at the farm, and saw indications that they had been tortured by their captors, who waited for ransom to be paid.

The victims said the kidnappers constantly threatened to kill them if their families refused to pay ransom.

Some of the victims even suffered physical abuse as the kidnappers beat them up while waiting for the families to give into their demands.

Three of the victims were adults with ages ranging from 20 to 35 years, while the fourth was a five-year-old child.

The victims had come from the Church of the Virgin Mary in Jabal al-Tair, which was built around 328 A.D. on the orders of Queen Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine.

The church is one of the most popular Marian shrines frequented by the Coptic Christian community in Egypt.


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Egypt Police Rescue Kidnapped Christians



Assyrian Girl Kidnapped in Baghdad Released

Juliana George released in Baghdad
Juliana George released in Baghdad

The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

(AINA) -- Juliana George, a 16 year-old Assyrian girl who was kidnapped from her home in Baghdad 9 days ago (AINA 2015-05-12), was released yesterday after a $55,000 ransom was paid. According to her father, George, Juliana was badly frightened by the experience but was not apparently mistreated.

"I fear for her and my two other daughters," said George in a telephone interview. "There is no reason to believe that we will not be targeted again. I don't see how we can stay in Baghdad after this."

Juliana was abducted by four men when she answered the door bell at her home.

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Islamic State Burned a Woman Alive for Not Engaging in an 'extreme' Sex Act



The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

Amid all the Islamic State's atrocities -- its massacres of civilians, its beheading of hostages, its pillaging of antiquities -- the systematic violence the jihadists have carried out against countless enslaved women and girls never fails to shock. For months now, we've heard appalling testimony from women who escaped the Islamic State's clutches, many of whom endured rape and other hideous acts of violence.

Zainab Bangura, the U.N.'s special representative on sexual violence in conflict, recently conducted a tour of refugee camps in the shadow of the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, war-ravaged countries where the Islamic State commands swaths of territory. She heard a host of horror stories from victims and their families and recounted them in an interview earlier this week with the Middle East Eye, an independent regional news site.

"They are institutionalizing sexual violence," Bangura said of the Islamic State. "The brutalization of women and girls is central to their ideology."

Bangura detailed the processes by which "pretty virgins" captured by the jihadists were bought and sold at auctions. Here's a chilling excerpt:

After attacking a village, [the Islamic State] splits women from men and executes boys and men aged 14 and over. The women and mothers are separated; girls are stripped naked, tested for virginity and examined for breast size and prettiness. The youngest, and those considered the prettiest virgins fetch higher prices and are sent to Raqqa, the IS stronghold.

There is a hierarchy: sheikhs get first choice, then emirs, then fighters. They often take three or four girls each and keep them for a month or so, until they grow tired of a girl, when she goes back to market. At slave auctions, buyers haggle fiercely, driving down prices by disparaging girls as flat-chested or unattractive.

We heard about one girl who was traded 22 times, and another, who had escaped, told us that the sheikh who had captured her wrote his name on the back of her hand to show that she was his "property."

Estimates vary, but there are believed to be somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 women enslaved by the Islamic State. Many are Yazidis, a persecuted minority sect that the extremist Islamic State considers to be apostate "devil-worshippers," in part because of the Yazidis' ancient connection to the region's pre-Islamic past. The jihadists' treatment of Yazidi women, in particular, has been marked out by its contempt and savagery.

Here's Bangura again:

They commit rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution and other acts of extreme brutality. We heard one case of a 20-year-old girl who was burned alive because she refused to perform an extreme sex act. We learned of many other sadistic sexual acts. We struggled to understand the mentality of people who commit such crimes.

Hundreds of Yazidi women and girls have escaped their captors, either by running away, or being ransomed and rescued by their families. Bangura has urged international assistance in providing proper medical and "psychosocial" support to the escaped women, who have experienced terrible trauma.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

ISIS Using Passports Stolen From Westerners to Travel to Syria and Iraq



The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

The Islamic State (Isis) militant group reportedly is using passports stolen from unsuspecting Westerners to assist its jihadi supporters to travel to Syria and Iraq.

According to a report by Dubai based Al Aan TV, several passports found in an Isis safehouse following a raid by a local Syrian armed rebel group, belonged to 'innocent' Westerners from the United States, the United Kingdom and France, apart from those belonging to Israel, with no ties to Isis.

The investigative report found that these passports were stolen and were later used by the Isis supporters to travel to Syria.

Jenan Moussa, a correspondent with Al Aan TV noted that she was able to get copies of 34 passports issued by various countries.

Six of the passports were Albanian, four were French, two each were of Holland, Germany, Sweden, Poland and Denmark; and one each of the US, the UK, Israel, Kosovo, Latvia, Finland and the Czech Republic.

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Assyrian Girl, 16, Abducted in Baghdad

16 year-old Assyrian girl Juliana George was kidnapped in Baghdad 7 days ago.


The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

Baghdad (AINA) -- A 16 year-old Assyrian girl, Juliana George, was abducted from her home in Baghdad 7 days ago. A person knocked on the door of her home and when she answered she was abducted by 4 men and placed into a taxi which sped away. Her grandfather Joseph, who is a priest, chased the taxi on foot and grabbed on to the door, but as the taxi sped away he could not hold on and fell to the side. A man riding a bicycle witnessed the incident and followed the taxi. He recorded the license plate of the car and returned and gave it to Fr. Joseph.

The police were able to find the taxi and its owner, who is in custody but has refused to talk.


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Assyrian Girl, 16, Abducted in Baghdad



Monday, May 4, 2015

Muslims Demand 'Right of Return' to Spain



The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

Muslim groups are demanding Spanish citizenship for potentially millions of descendants of Muslims who were expelled from Spain during the Middle Ages.

The growing clamor for "historical justice" comes after the recent approval of a law that would grant Spanish citizenship to descendants of Sephardic Jews expelled from Spain in 1492.

Muslim supporters say they are entitled to the same rights and privileges as Jews because both groups were expelled from Spain under similar historical circumstances.

But historians point out that the Jewish presence in Spain predates the arrival of Christianity in the country and that their expulsion was a matter of bigotry. By contrast, the Muslims in Spain were colonial occupiers who called the territory Al-Andalus and imposed Arabic as the official language. Historians say their expulsion was a matter of decolonization.

In any event, the descendants of Muslims expelled from Spain are believed to number in the millions--possibly tens of millions--and most of them now live in North Africa. Observers say that by granting citizenship to all of them, Spain, virtually overnight, would end up with the largest Muslim population in the European Union.

Much of the Iberian Peninsula was occupied by Muslim conquerors known as the Moors from 711 until 1492, when the Moorish Kingdom of Granada surrendered to the Catholic Monarchs of Spain (Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon), in what is known as the Christian Reconquest.

But the final Muslim expulsion from Granada did not take place until over a century later, beginning in 1609, when King Philip III decreed the expulsion of the Moriscos.

The Moriscos--Moors who decided to convert to Catholicism after the Reconquest rather than leave Spain--were suspected of being nominal Catholics who continued to practice Islam in secret. From 1609 through 1614, the Spanish monarchy forced an estimated 350,000 Moriscos to leave Spain for Muslim North Africa.

Today, up to five million descendants of the Moriscos are living in Morocco alone; there are millions more living in Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Tunisia and Turkey.

In a recent essay published by the Morocco-based newspaper Correo Diplomático, the Morisco-Moroccan journalist Ahmed Bensalh wrote that the "decision to grant Spanish citizenship to the grandchildren of the Hebrews in Spain in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, while ignoring the Moriscos, the grandsons of the Muslims, is without doubt, flagrant segregation and unquestionable discrimination, as both communities suffered equally in Spain at that time. The decision could also be considered by the international community to be an historic act of absolute immorality and injustice...This decision is absolutely disgraceful and dishonorable."

Bensalh then went on to threaten Spain: "Is Spain aware of what might be assumed when it makes peace with some and not with others? Is Spain aware of what this decision could cost? Has Spain considered that it could jeopardize the massive investments that Muslims have made on its territory? Does Spain have alternatives to the foreign investment from Muslims if they ever decide to move that capital to other destinations due to the discrimination against Muslims?"

Bensalh is one of many Muslim journalists, historians and academics who are demanding that Spain treat Moriscos the same way it treats Sephardic Jews.

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