Monday, October 23, 2017

IS Murdered at Least 128 People in Syrian Town; Considered Them "Agents of the Syrian Regime"

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said today (October 23, 2017) that the Islamic State (IS) terror group killed at lest 128 people in  a Syrian town in central Homs during the past three weeks, before the Syrian army recaptured it on October 21, according to the Jerusalem Post website.

Syrian troops and allied forces regained control of al-Qaryatayn town after eliminating the IS group, state media said.

The IS had killed the civilians because it viewed the as being "agents of the (Syrian) regime."

The Syrian government did not comment on the Syrian Observatory report on the 128 people killed by IS.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Conservative Jews Send Mixed Marriage Message; Back Mixed Marriage Ban, Also Interfaith Couples

A letter signed by leaders of the Conservative Jewish movement, reasserting a ban on rabbis performing interfaith weddings, has manged to wed confusion and anger, as clergy state that the missive is doing more harm than good, the Times of Israel website reports today (October 22, 2017).

The letter does not reflect a change in policy, as it reasserts the ban on interfaith weddings, and urges its member synagogues to welcome interfaith couples before and after nuptials.

The letter is believed to have been sparked by declarations by a few Conservative rabbis earlier this year that they would begin performing mixed marriages.

Several leading Conservative rabbis are criticizing the letter, questioning why it was necessary and calling for the ban to be either lifted or modified.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

At Least 54 Egypt Police Killed Fighting IS Mil.; Police Raid on Militant Cache Turns to Firefight

At least 54 policemen were killed today (October 21, 2017) when a raid on a militant hideout outside of Cairo escalated into an all-out firefight, according to the Chicago Tribune website.

It was one of the largest losses of life for Egyptian security forces since militants began targeting government after the 2013 military ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, whose one-year rule proved divisive.

The exchange of fire began late last night in the al-Wahat al-Bahriya area in Giza governorate, about 135 kilometers from the capital after security services moved in.

Egypt has been struggling to contain an insurgency by Islamic militants led by an affiliate of the Islamic State (IS) group, centered mostly across the Suez Canal in the northern region of the Sinai Peninsula, but attacks on the mainland have also recently increased.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Mideast Christians Need World Leaders' Help; Still Need to Be Protected Despite Defeat of IS

A Catholic charity organization has said that despite recent major victories against the Islamic State (IS) terror group, unless world leaders make a change, IS may still destroy the Christian population in Iraq and Syria, the Christian Headlines website reports today (October 20, 2017).

"We have seen drastic reductions in the Christian populations in many nations in the Middle East. Iraq might very well have lost 80 percent of their native Christian people," Edward Clancy, ACN (Aid to the Church in Need) director of outreach told The Christian Post. "Syria might have lost 50 percent."

Middle East church leaders have said they feel "forgotten" by the international community.

"They need our help. It is more than just guaranteeing property rights for returning families. The security of their communities is a major issue. It is about leaders not being afraid to say that these Christians belong in their ancestral towns and that they deserve to be supported and protected," Clancy said.

Suicide Bombers Attacked Two Afghan Mosques; At Least 72 Killed,Believed by Sunni IS Militants

Suicide bombers attacked two mosques in Afghanistan today (October 20, 2017), killing at least 72 people -- including children -- according to the Reuters website.

One bomber walked into a Shi'ite Muslim mosque in the capital Kabul as people were praying and detonated an explosive.

At least 39 people died in the blast at the Imam Zaman mosque. Separately, a suicide bombing killed at least 33 people in central Ghor province, a police spokesman said.

Shi'ite Muslims have suffered a series of attacks in Afghanistan in recent months, many of them claimed by the Sunni Muslim militants of the Islamic State (IS).

Fed.Court Says Md. WWI Peace Cross Unconst.; American Legion May Appeal to Supreme Court

In a case that has critical ramifications for memorials and cemeteries across the U.S., a federal court ruled on October 18 that a World War I memorial in the shape of a cross in Bladensburg, Maryland is unconstitutional, the Spero Forum website reports today (October 20, 2017).

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled in a 2-1 decision that the 40-foot "Peace Cross" violates the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment of the Constitution.

The American Humanist Association (AHA) -- an organization that promotes atheism in the United States -- initiated the court case, and wants the cross demolished, altered, or removed.

In voting against the cross, Judge Stephanie Thacker wrote, "The monument here has the primary effect of endorsing religion..." The American Legion is expected to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Headstones Sacked at Romania Jewish Cemetery; Three Teens Nabbed for Smashing 10 Headstones

Police in Romania arrested three teenagers accused of destroying 10 headstones at a Jewish cemetery, the Jerusalem Post website reports today (October 19, 2017).

The incident occurred last weekend near the northern city of Reghin, located 200 miles north of Bucharest, the Romanian capital.

The suspects allegedly smashed the headstones and drew a swastika on two gates, although police said they were not sure if the swastikas had already been painted on the gates.

The Federation of Jewish Communities in Romania said it was "shocked by this new antisemitic act of vandalism."