Monday, August 31, 2015

Czech Pres. Zeman: Migrants Must Leave Nation; "Muslims Can't Adapt Due to Culture Differences"

Most immigrants are in the Czech Republic illegally, and as they violated the law, they should be promptly returned, not placed into various accommodation facilities, Czech President Milos Zeman said yesterday, the Prague Monitor website reports today (August 31, 2015).

Zeman recalled that the Czech government decided to voluntarily accept 1500 refugees, which means that all the other immigrants are in the Czech Republic illegally and should be returned immediately.

Zeman indicated there were three risks concerning Muslim immigrants.

First, these people would not be able to assimilate due to their cultural differences, he said. Second, Zeman believes there is the risk of spreading infectious diseases. The third risk are sleeper cells sent by Islamic State that would develop into terrorist organizations, according to Zeman.

Showers Put by Auschwitz Concentration Camp; Jews See It as Distasteful,a "Holocaust Gimmick"

A group of Israelis who visited the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland yesterday was surprised to see external showers set up at the entrance to the site, The Jerusalem Post website reports today (August 31, 2015).

"As a Jew who lost so many relatives in the Holocaust, they looked like the showers that the Jews were forced to take before entering the gas chambers," Meir Bulka, 48, told The Jerusalem Post.

According to Bulka, all the Jews who visited the site felt it was "very distasteful." One visitor called it a "Holocaust gimmick."

Bulka went to the main offices and asked management for an explanation to the strange scene. Management told him it was "a good way to cool people off on a very hot day."

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Over 10,000 Stand Up for Biblical Morals in S.C.; Slam Abortion,Same-Sex Marriage Immoral Acts

More than 10,000 people gathered at the South Carolina State House yesterday for a "Stand with God, Pro-Family Rally," where presidential candidates and U.S. senators spoke about faith and moral issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion, the Christian Post website reports today (August 30, 2015).

"I feel like it's Sunday morning and we have a call to worship on the [State House] steps," presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz told the crowd in Columbia, South Carolina.

Cruz added, "Our nation is in crisis right now … but a spirit of revival is sweeping the country."

He also mentioned that undercover Planned Parenthood videos are showing the organization's employees discussing the sale of aborted babies' body parts.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Virginia Teenager Gets 11 Yrs. for Supporting IS; Ali Amin,17, Is First Minor Prosecuted in IS Case

A Virginia teenager -- who used social media to support the militant Islamic State (IS) group -- was sentenced to over 11 years in federal prison yesterday, the Reuters website reports today (August 29, 2015).

Ali Amin, 17, of Manassas, was the first minor prosecuted by the United States in such a case. He used Twitter to illustrate how to use the virtual currency Bitcoin to send funds to the Islamic State militants.

District Judge Claude Hilton handed down a 136-month sentence in a hearing in Alexandria, Virginia, the U.S. Justice Department said in a statement.

"Today's sentencing demonstrates that those who use social media as a tool to provide support and resources to ISIL will be identified and prosecuted with no less vigilance than those who travel to take up arms with ISIL," U.S. Attorney Dana Boente said.

Greece Swears In Its First Woman Prime Minister; Head Supreme Court Judge Leads Caretaker Govt.

Greece's top Supreme Court judge, Vassiliki Thanou, was sworn in as caretaker prime minister on August 27 to organize elections next month in the crisis-hit country after leftist leader Alexis Tsipras resigned, the Big News Network website reports today (August 29, 2015).

Thanou, 65, the president of Greece's Supreme Court , becomes the country's first female prime minister.

An opponent of austerity, Thanou has argued against wage cuts for judges and court officials. Her interim government will remain in place at least until parliamentary elections are held, expected to be on September 20.

"I'm especially happy because I'm receiving the first woman prime minister in the history of the Greek democracy, and this is an important step," Tsipras told Thanou at a handover ceremony at the prime ministerial mansion.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Germany to Let Syrian Refugees Remain There; They Can Apply for Asylum,Rebuild Their Lives

German Chancellor Angela Merkel -- with the stroke of a pen -- will allow Syrian refugees to stay in Germany and apply for asylum, the Vox website reports today (August 28, 2015).

Consequently, thousands of Syrians -- who would otherwise face uncertainty in Europe -- can now begin the process of rebuilding their lives in Germany.

Germany's welcoming of refugees could not have come at a more critical time.

Europe is now facing its largest refugee crisis since World War II, and the human cost has already been devastating. Unfortunately, most European countries have not taken a significant role to help resolve the serious dilemma resulting from the huge influx of African and Asian refugees and migrants.

Scores of Refugees Perish of Suffocation in Truck; 71 Bodies Found in a Smuggling Truck in Austria

Scores of refugees -- most likely fleeing war-ravaged Syria -- are believed to have died by suffocating inside a truck abandoned yesterday on an Austrian highway, the CNN website reports today (August 28, 2015).

Sixty of the 71 victims were men. Eight women died, as did three children, ages 2, 3, and 8. Police have arrested three Bulgarians and an Afghan citizen in connection with the truck.

"We are talking about human trafficking, homicide, even murder," said Johann Fuchs, an Austrian state prosecutor. He added, "We are looking at a Bulgarian-Hungarian people smuggling ring."

News of the deaths comes as Europe is struggling to deal with a record swell of migrants and refugees traveling by land and sea to find a better life or escape conflict at home in the Middle East and Africa.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

China Nabs 9 Christians against Cross Removals; Fought China's Policy to Remove Church Crosses

Chinese security forces have arrested at least nine Christians who opposed the ruling Communist party's campaign to remove crosses from churches, according to the Christian Today website.

The Christians are being detained in the eastern province of Zhejiang.

Tensions have been growing in the region since late 2013 when authorities began demolishing churches.

There were just one million Christians in China when the Communist party came to power in 1949, but today it is believed that there are as many as 100 million Christians in China.

Hungarian Police Fire Tear Gas at New Refugees; Hungary Building a 110-Mile Fence to Block Them

Hungarian police fired tear gas at refugees trying to cross into the country from Serbia yesterday, as tensions boiled over at a reception on the country's southern border, the Sky News website reports today (August 27, 2015).

The tear gas was fired as Hungarian police struggled to deal with around 400 people in the border city of Roszke.

Hungary says it may use its army to secure the border, where it is seeing a record number of people coming into the European Union -- mainly refugees fleeing the civil war in Syria.

Hungary is currently building a 110-mile razor wire fence along its Serbian border, in an effort to keep the refugees out of the country.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Vatican Backs a Rome Square for Martin Luther; Luther Renounced Catholic Church's Corruption

In a surprising show of support for a Catholic priest who renounced Catholicism and was the key person in sparking the birth of the Protestant faith in 1517, the Vatican has given its support to a central Rome square being named after Martin Luther, a church reformer excommunicated by the Pope some 500 years ago, the Catholic News website reports today (August 26, 2015).

A German Catholic priest and theologian, Luther caused much controversy by challenging the authority of the Catholic Church. He was especially opposed to the Catholic Church's sale of indulgences, which were believed to lessen the time a deceased person would spend in purgatory before going to heaven.

He denounced the corruption he saw among clergy in Rome and believed salvation came through faith alone -- views that did not sit well with Pope Leo X.

Luther was excommunicated in 1521 and was never allowed to return to the Catholic Church, but today the Vatican has become broad-minded -- as opposed to its inflexibility in the past --  and is more accepting of other faiths. Next month a hilltop square in Rome is due to be named Piazza Martin Lutero, in memory of Luther's achievements. The site chosen is the Oppian Hill, a park area that overlooks the Colosseum.

Two NATO Soldiers Killed in S'west Afghanistan; May Have Been an "Insider Attack" of the Taliban

Two members of NATO's remaining force in Afghanistan were killed today (August 26, 2015) in the southwest of the country, according to the Euro News website.

They died along with the two attackers who made their way into a coalition base in military uniforms.

It has not yet been determined if they were members of the NATO-trained force.

The Taliban has recently been using more so-called "insider attacks," which is creating a climate of increased tension between NATO and their hosts.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Israeli President Bound to Provoke Arab Anger; Claims Israel Has a "Right" to Build in W. Bank

In a view that is likely to provoke anger as well as violence by many Palestinians, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said during talks with settler leaders yesterday that Israel has a "right" to build settlements in the occupied West Bank, the AFP (Agence France-Presse) website reports today (August 25, 2015).

"I love the land of Israel with all my heart. I have never and will never give up on this land. For me, our right to this land is not a matter of political debate. It is a basic fact of modern Zionism," Rivlin said.

For Rivlin the "land of Israel" includes the occupied West Bank where Jewish settlements are considered illegal under international law, meaning the settlements may be demolished in the near  future.

The settlements are considered a major obstacle to peace negotiations with the Palestinians, who see the land as part of a future independent Palestinian state. The West Bank was seized from the Arabs by Israel in a 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

Many Migrants Leave Balkans,Head to W. Europe; Eight Thousand Pour into Serbia Within 24 Hours

Thousands of migrants -- many of them refugees from Syria's civil war -- surged through the Balkans yesterday en route to western Europe, riding by boat and bus in an organized effort by cash-stripped governments to move them on as swiftly as possible, the Reuters website reports today (August 25, 2015).

Eight thousand poured into Serbia in the space of 24 hours, trekking three miles from the border to a reception center in the town of Presevo, where buses were waiting to carry them north. A one-way ticket cost 25 euros. Buses left every few minutes.

Extra trains and buses ran regularly also from Macedonia's southern border, which has been inundated since Greece began ferrying migrants from Greek islands to the mainland at a rate of 2,500 a day.

A record of 50,000 migrants hit Greek shores in July alone, straining the resources of a country going through one of the worst economic crises of modern times.

Monday, August 24, 2015

IS Wipes Out Treasured Temple in Palmyra,Syria; Temple of Baal Shamin Stood for Nearly 2K Years

The Islamic State (IS) has destroyed another significant landmark in the ancient city of Palmyra, Syria, the Washington Post website reports today (August 24, 2015).

The Temple of Baal Shamin stood for nearly 2,000 years, honoring the Phoenician god of storms and rain.

Destruction of the site is directly in line with the Islamic State's campaign not just against people of non-Islam faiths, but also against their culture. After the IS captured Palmyra in May, Baal Shamin seems to have fallen to the group's philosophy.

"Daesh [another name for the Islamic State] placed a large quantity of explosives in the temple of Baal Shamin today and then blew it up causing much damage to the temple," Maamoun Abdulkarim, Syria's antiquities chief, said. "The [temple's inner area] was destroyed and the columns around collapsed."

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Abbas Quits Leading Palestinian Liberation Org.; Perhaps Due to Failure to Set Up Palestine State

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has stepped down from his position as the head of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), the International Business Times website reports today (August 23, 2015).

Several other top-level officials of the PLO also resigned.

Abbas, 80, remains president of the PLO -- a position he has held since 2005.

Abbas has not publicly stated the reasons for his resignation, but a Palestinian official, Wassel Abu Yussef, said it was intended to force new elections for the executive committee. Also, Abbas has been disappointed with the failure of the PLO and Israel to reach an agreement on the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Germans Toss Stones at Migrant Bus in Heidenau; Scuffles Break Out, 31 Police Officers Are Injured

German Justice Minister Heiko Maas has condemned anti-migrant violence in the eastern German town of Heidenau, the Euro News website reports today (August 22, 2015).

"We must never tolerate people in our country being threatened or attacked," he said in a statement.

What started as a peaceful demonstration later turned violent, as bottles and stones were thrown at bus loads of migrants attempting to enter the town.

Scuffles broke out when a group of far-right radicals joined the several-hundred-strong crowd calmly marching against the expected arrivals. The group then started chanting xenophobic slogans before clashes began in which 31 police officers were injured.

Islamist Gunman on Train Subdued by 2 Marines; Moroccan Terrorist Wounded 2 on French Train

A heavily armed man opened fire in a terrorist attack on a high-speed train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris yesterday, wounding at least two people before being overpowered by two off-duty U.S. Marines, the Times of Israel website reports today (August 22, 2015).

The two U.S. Marines -- in civilian clothing -- overpowered the suspected Islamic State-linked gunman who was loading his Kalashnikov assault rifle, and fired on the Marines with a handgun.

One of the people injured in the attack was a U.S. military member, the Pentagon confirmed yesterday, amid reports that the Marines had overpowered the shooter and stopped the massacre.

The suspect -- who was arrested at a railway station in the northern French town of Arras -- was a 26-year-old of Moroccan origin who was known to the intelligence services, French investigators said. According to the French media, the suspect was linked to several radical Islamist groups and was marked as "potentially dangerous."

Friday, August 21, 2015

Migrants Charge to Macedonia at Greek Border; Macedonia in a State of Emergency,Blocks Entry

Hundreds of migrants charged Macedonian police lines at the border with Greece today (August 21, 2015) -- with people fainting in ensuing crushes -- a day after Macedonia declared a state of emergency in the area, The Guardian website reports.

People could be heard screaming and medical workers raced to treat those who passed out or were hurt. Many of the migrants are trying to head to northern Europe's more prosperous countries.

Backed by armored vehicles, the Macedonian army had closed the border yesterday and spread razor wire over rail tracks, but today the interior ministry announced that some migrants would be allowed into Macedonia.

"A limited number of illegal migrants in vulnerable categories are allowed to enter Macedonia and they may be provided with aid in accordance with the state's capacities," the ministry said in a statement, without elaborating.

Slovakia Accepts Refugees Who Are Christians; Won't Take in Muslims "for Their Own Benefit"

The government of Slovakia has agreed to take in refugees from Syria and the surrounding countries that are fleeing violence and unrest in their homelands; however, Slovakia has announced that it will only be allowing Christians into the country, the Christian Headlines website reports today (August 21, 2015).

Interior ministry spokesman Ivan Metik said that the decision is not discriminatory, and is for the benefit of Muslims.

He added, "We want to help Europe with the migration issue. We could take 800 Muslims, but we don't have any mosques in Slovakia, so how can Muslims be integrated if they are not going to like it here?"

Metik continued, "We want to really help Europe with this migration wave, but ... we are only a transit country and the people don't want to stay in Slovakia."

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Greek PM Tsipras Resigns, Elections Set for Sept.; Forced to Accept EU Demands for More Austerity

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras resigned today, hoping to strengthen his hold on power in snap elections after seven months in office in which he fought Greece's creditors for a better bailout deal but had to cave in to their demands, according to the Reuters website.

Tsipras submitted his resignation to President Prokopis Pavlopoulos and asked for the earliest possible election date.

Government officials said the aim was to hold the election on September 20, with Tsipras seeking to crush a rebellion in his leftist Syriza party and seal public support for the bailout program -- Greece's third since 2010 -- that he negotiated.

Faced with a near collapse of the Greek financial system which threatened the country's future in the European Union (EU), Tsipras was forced to accept the creditors' demands for yet more austerity and economic reform -- the very policies he had promised to scrap when he was elected prime minister in January.

IS Publicly Whips 20 Women in Mosul Market; Each Given 20 Lashes for Not Covering Eyes

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) publicly whipped 20 women -- giving each one 20 lashes -- in the center of a market in Mosul, Iraq, claiming that they were not wearing the required piece of black cloth to cover their eyes over the veil that is required of women to cover their face, the Clarion Project website reports today (August 20, 2015).

The whipping marks the first time that ISIS militants lashed the local women themselves. Previously, ISIS used foreign female volunteers to carry out the lashings.

Reports in the Iraqi newspaper "A-Sabach" (The Morning) say that the women were lashed on their backs and legs.

One Iraqi woman told the newspaper: "I am not surprised to see this occurrence from the cowards of ISIS. They say that they are concerned about women being modest, but they are the first who took our free women as captives and raped them in Mosul."

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Billy Graham's Grandson Deposed from Ministry; Tullian Tchividjian and His Wife Both Had Affairs

The grandson of Billy Graham -- considered by many Christians to be the most popular evangelist of our time -- has been deposed from ministry by his Florida mega church after both he and his wife admitted to having extra-marital affairs, the Christian Today website reports.

Tullian Tchividjian joined Coral Ridge Presbyterian church in 2009 and resigned in June this year after the affairs became public knowledge.

The church said he was deposed in order both to "protect the integrity of the Church from which his credentials were given while, at the same time, wrapping Tullian in the grace offered by Jesus Christ to all those who confess sin, pursue repentance, and desire restoration."

The American Presbyterian Church defines deposition as "the degradation of an officer from his office."

Kurdish Militants Have Killed 8 Turkish Soldiers; Deadliest Kurdish Attack on Turkey in Past Month

Eight Turkish soldiers were killed today (August 19, 2015) in the deadliest attack by Kurdish militants since the government began an anti-terror offensive last month, the AFP (Agence France-Presse) website reports.

An honor guard on duty outside the fabled Dolmbahce Palace in Istanbul was also attacked by suspected Marxist militants, with the country on edge after a wave of attacks in the last month.

The eight soldiers were killed by a remote-controlled explosive device laid by militants on a road in the Silvan district of the province of Sirit, the army said.

The army blamed the "Separatist Terror Organization," its customary phrase for the PKK (or Kurds), which it never refers to by name.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

ISIS Releases Video Threatening Raids on Turkey; Calls Erdogan a "Traitor" for Letting US Use Bases

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has released a video threatening attacks on Turkey, describing its president, Recep Tayyib Erdogan, as an "infidel" and a "traitor" for opening the country's air bases to the United States to carry out airstrikes against it, the Euro News website reports today (August 18, 2015).

The video was uploaded onto a social media website and is believed by Reuters to be genuine.

The militants accuse President Erdogan of opening up Turkish airbases to "crusaders," allowing the United States to "bombard the people of Islam."

Six F-16 fighter jets arrived at a Turkish base last week and began flying missions against ISIS in Syria, which borders Turkey.

Pope: Eucharist Transforms Us to Be Like Christ; Makes Us Persons of Peace, Forgiveness, Sharing

At his Sunday Angelus address in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis said that the Eucharist -- the true body and blood of Jesus Christ -- has the ability to transform our hearts and minds to be more like Him, the National Catholic Register website reports today (August 18, 2015).

"The Eucharist is Jesus, who gives Himself entirely to us. To nourish ourselves with Him and abide in Him through Holy Communion, if we do it with faith, transforms our life into a gift to God and to our brothers," the Pope said on August 16.

To let ourselves be nourished by the Bread of Life, he said, "means to be in tune with the heart of Christ, to assimilate His choices, thoughts, behaviors."

It also means that we enter into "a dynamism of sacrificial love and become persons of peace, forgiveness, reconciliation, and sharing in solidarity," he added.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Hundreds of U.S. Rabbis Now Support Iran Deal; Send Letter to Congress Urging It Approves Deal

In a disastrous blow to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu -- and his persistent efforts to sabotage the Iranian nuclear deal -- 340 U.S. rabbis from the major streams of Judaism expressed support for the Iran deal in a letter to Congress, the Forward (Jewish) website reports today (August 17, 2015).

The letter -- which was sent today -- urges the House of Representatives and Senate to endorse the agreement, in which sanctions against Iran are lifted in exchange for restrictions on Iran's nuclear program. Congress is scheduled to vote on the Iran deal in September.

Noting that "we are deeply concerned with the impression that the leadership of the American Jewish community is united in opposition to the agreement," the letter states, "We, along with many other Jewish leaders, fully support this historic nuclear accord."

In a news release issued by Ameinu -- a liberal Zionist organization -- one of the letter's signatories, Rabbi Steven Bob of Glen Ellyn, Illinois, said, "We commend the U.S. and the other negotiating teams for their dedication to reaching an agreement to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. This deal is good for the United States and our allies in the region, and is the best arrangement possible given current international realities."

Northeastern U.Teaches RAs Oppression "Facts;" Says White People and Men Cannot Be Oppressed

An instructional guide being used at Northeastern University in Boston is teaching the school's resident assistants (RAs) -- who usually serve as live-in dormitory supervisors --  that it is impossible for white people or men to be oppressed, the Daily Caller website reports today (August 17, 2015).

"In order to have the experience of being oppressed, one must belong to an oppressed category," Northeastern's guide -- titled "The Umbrella of Oppression" -- says. "Men cannot be oppressed as men, just as whites cannot be oppressed as whites."

The guide was posted at Northeastern's Resident Assistant Resource Link portal, and was posted to a wider public when it appeared on the popular news website Reddit.

The guide becomes more assertive and specific by stating, "For a male to experience oppression, they would also need to be a person of color, gay, disabled, or in a lower social class. They cannot be [oppressed] simply because they are male."

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Jewish Groups Raising Funds for Galilee Church; Help Rebuild Church Where Jesus Fed 5K People

Various Jewish organizations have contributed funds to help rebuild a church located at the site where Christians believe Jesus fed 5,000 people by multiplying five loaves of bread and two fish. The church was burned down in June by anti-Christian Israeli extremists, the Christian Post website reports today (August 16, 2015).

Elijah Interfaith Institute -- the organization that initiated a crowd funding campaign that has raised over $17,000 -- set out to rebuild the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes in Tabgha, Israel, in an act of good faith toward people of other religions. A representative for the group recently spoke out against the arsonists who are believed to be part of a Jewish extremist sect.

"If in the name of Judaism one could destroy, in the name of Judaism one should also rebuild," said Rabbi Alon Goshen-Gottstein, the founder of Elijah Interfaith Institute who started the fundraising campaign earlier this month.

Various prominent Orthodox rabbis and Mosaica -- another interfaith organization in Israel -- are helping out with the efforts. Similarly, American Judaic groups such as the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League have also donated funds.

Study:Joining Rel. Group Evokes Happy Lifetime; Gives More Happiness Than Other Social Activity

A new study in Europe suggests that joining a religious group could do more for someone's "sustained happiness" than other forms of social participation, such as volunteering, playing sports, or taking a class, The Star website reports today (August 16, 2015).

The study in the American Journal of Epidemiology by researchers at the London School of Economics and Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands found that the secret to sustained happiness lies in participation in religion.

"The church appears to play a very important social role in keeping depression at bay and also as a coping mechanism during periods of illness later in life," Mauricio Avendano, an epidemiologist and an author of the study, said in a statement.

Researchers looked at four areas in the study: volunteering or working with a charity; taking educational courses; participating in religious organizations; and participating in a political or community organization. Of the four, participating in a religious organization was the only social activity associated with sustained happiness, researchers found.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

At Least 40 African Migrants Die Off Italy Coast; Thousands Make Deadly Sailing for Italy,Greece

At least 40 African migrants died in the hold of a boat off Italy today (August 15, 2015), as the European Union (EU) struggled to cope with "the worst refugee crisis since World War II," with thousands making dangerous crossings to reach Italy and Greece, according to the AFP (Agence France-Presse) website.

"Operation under way... many migrants saved. At least 40 dead," the Italian navy said on Twitter, while an Italian newspaper said those who died were found in the hold of the vessel, apparently having suffocated below deck.

An Italian navy helicopter had spotted the boat, which was "overcrowded and starting to sink," about 21 nautical miles off the Libyan coast, south of the Italian island of Lampedusa.

Almost 400 other migrants were picked up in the Mediterranean Sea today by other vessels taking part in the EU's patrol and rescue operation, called Triton.

Syrian Jets Now Bomb Hospitals in Rebel Areas; Killed 11 in Idlib Province Hospitals in Past Week

Syrian warplanes have killed 11 people in strikes against hospitals in rebel-held Idlib province in the past week, the News Daily website reports today (August 15, 2015).

"These attacks...indicate an increasing pattern of healthcare structures and civilians being affected as a result of the ongoing war," the international charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said yesterday.

Three hospital workers were among the dead, and 31 others were wounded in the strikes, which occurred between August 7 and 10.

Fighting in Syria's ongoing 4-year-old civil war -- which has killed over a quarter of a million people -- has seen increasing attacks on Syria's healthcare facilities, with the majority being carried out by government forces.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Girl,11,Raped in Paraguay Gives Birth to a Girl; Raped by Mother's Boyfriend,Denied Abortion

An 11-year-old Paraguayan girl -- who was raped by her mother's boyfriend -- gave birth yesterday to a girl, rekindling the uproar over authorities' refusal to let her have an abortion, the Alter Net website reports today (August 14, 2015).

The child -- who was 10 years old when she was raped -- gave birth by C-section to a girl that weighed eight pounds, said Dolores Castellanos, the doctor that monitored the pregnancy.

The pregnancy came to light when the girl went to the doctor with stomach pains in April. At that time, doctors discovered on examining her that she was five months pregnant.

The authorities' handling of the case sparked outrage in Paraguay -- a predominantly Catholic country -- where abortion is illegal, except when the mother's life is deemed to be at risk. Officials ruled the pregnancy must proceed.

Christian Dies in Wilderness as He Follows Jesus; Zimbabwean Decided to Fast and Pray for 40 Days

A Zimbabwean Christian -- who was trying to imitate Jesus and fast for 40 days in the wilderness -- has died, most likely from starvation, the Christian Headlines website reports today (August 14, 2015).

Khulu Reinfirst Manyuka -- a 73-year-old man -- decided to follow in the footsteps of Christ and make a wilderness pilgrimage to fast and pray for 40 days.

After about 30 days, however, Manyuka's body was found in the wilderness by a stranger who reported it to the police.

The police said that the precise details of Manyuka's death remain unclear, while a family member stated that Manyuka was strong and healthy for his age.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

ISIS Says It Has Beheaded a Croatian Hostage; Due to Egypt Failing to Free Muslim Prisoners

ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) says it has executed Croatian hostage Tomislav Salopek, who was captured in Cairo, Egypt in late July, the Balkan Insight website reports today (August 13, 2015).

After a photograph of what appeared to be Salopek's decapitated body was published on Twitter,  media reports said he may have been executed by ISIS, although the photograph's veracity was not yet proven.

The deadline ISIS set for 30-year-old Salopek expired today. Egyptian authorities did not fulfill the group's demand for the release of imprisoned Muslim women, believing it would set a bad precedent by encouraging ISIS to kidnap more people.

Salopek was taken hostage by armed ISIS men on July 22, while driving to work in a company car. He has a wife and two children in Croatia (a nation that came into being with the breakup of the former Yugoslavia in 1992), and worked as a topographer for a French company.

Traditional Cath. Urge Pope to Decry Gay Unions; Nearly Half-Million Sign Petition Opposing Them

Nearly half a million Catholics have signed a petition urging Pope Francis to condemn same-sex unions as unnatural and rule out allowing divorced believers who remarry to receive communion, the AFP (Agence France-Presse) reports today (August 13, 2015).

The Filial Appeal on the Future of the Family -- launched by a group describing itself as an alliance of lay Catholics and pro-life organizations -- has also secured the backing of more than 100 senior clerics, including many bishops from developing countries.

According to the Appeal's website, more than 462,700 people have already signed the petition, which urges Francis to uphold traditional teaching ahead of an October synod which will review how the Catholic Church relates to gay and divorced followers.

Francis has made it clear that he wants the church to adopt a more inclusive, understanding approach to believers living "irregular" lifestyles. He caused dismay among traditionalists last year when, asked about his attitude toward gay Catholics, he responded: "Who am I to judge?"

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Antisemitic Slurs Spray-Painted on Homes, Cars; Done During Services at San Antonio Synagogue

Police in San Antonio, Texas are investigating an extensive case of antisemitic vandalism in which graffiti was found spray-painted on more than 30 homes and vehicles today (August 12, 2015) in a predominantly Jewish community, according to the Algemeiner website.

Members of the area's Rodfei Sholom Congregation discovered the vandalism in the area around the synagogue after they finished morning prayers today. The graffiti included images of swastikas, "KKK" lettering, and other hateful slurs.

One vehicle had the word "Jew" spray-painted on it and a large rock thrown through the driver-side window.

"We are outraged that in this day and age there are people who still live in their own minds and own worlds where it seems to be okay to hate people based on their religion," said Howard Feinberg, a board member at the congregation.

Mississippi Couple Arrested, Planned to Join IS; Charged with Trying to Support a Terrorist Org.

A Mississippi couple -- accused of seeking to join the militant Islamic State (IS) group on a planned honeymoon trip -- remained in custody yesterday after being denied bond in federal court, the Reuters website reports today (August 12, 2015).

Jaelyn Delshaun Young, 20, and Muhammad Oda Dakhlalla, 22, were charged with conspiring and attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, the U.S. Department of Justice said yesterday.

According to prosecutors, the former Mississippi State University students were planning to travel to Syria to join the IS group. They were arrested last weekend before boarding a flight at an airport in Columbus, Mississippi.

If convicted, the couple faces up to 20 years in prison in the latest case in a recent wave of U.S. prosecutions involving individuals accused of trying to aid the Islamic State. Federal officials are now investigating the activities of people they believe might be involved in aiding or joining the Islamic State group in all 50 states.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Church, Italian Govt. Clash Over Mass Migrants; Church Backs African Migrants, Govt. Does Not

High-ranking members of the Catholic Church in Italy have slammed politicians who peddle anti-immigrant ideas to win votes, sparking a heated row with Italy's government, the Catholic News website reports today (August 11, 2015).

"We hear talk of the 'unbearable' number of asylum seekers, an attitude that is unfortunately fed by these salesmen" who are merely pandering to voters, Bishop Nunzio Galantino, Secretary-General of the Italian Bishops' Conference (CEI), said yesterday in an interview on Vatican Radio.

The head of the anti-immigration Lega Norda (Northern League) party, Matteo Salvini, was quick to lash out at the Church, saying "those who defend this illegal invasion, which is ruining Italy, either don't understand or are making money" from the migrant arrivals.

Tempers have been fraying in recent weeks over the reception of a plethora of North African migrants and would-be refugees in Italy, with Pope Francis intensifying his pleas for those fleeing war or persecution to be taken in -- despite increasing anger over the large number being rescued.

Chuck Schumer's Opposition to Iran Deal Deadly; Many View His Stand as Treason,Favoring Israel

Days after announcing his opposition to the Iranian nuclear deal, Jewish Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer of New York has faced an onslaught of allegations from progressive critics of disloyalty and treason, the Times of Israel website reports today (August 11, 2015).

On August 6 Schumer announced that he would oppose the nuclear deal with Iran when it faces a crucial vote in Congress next month. His defection from the Obama administration's side of the issue was a blow to White House efforts to prevent a two-thirds majority in Congress against the deal that might overcome a presidential veto.

Anti-Schumer campaigners now refer to him as a "traitor," claiming his loyalty lies only with Israel, and not with the United States.

On the other hand, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer of California -- another Jewish Democratic Senator -- has conveyed her support of the United States, rather than Israel, by saying that she plans to vote for the Iranian nuclear deal.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Rel.Org.Rips Rabbi Seeking to Destroy Churches; Asks Israel's Atty. Gen. to Indict Rabbi Gopstein

A Vatican group is asking Israel's attorney general to indict the head of a far-right Jewish group who recently expressed approval for destroying churches in Israel, the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) website reports today (August 10, 2015).

The Custody of the Holy Land -- in a letter sent yesterday to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein -- said that Rabbi Benzi Gopstein of the group Lehava poses a threat to Christians in Israel. The letter referenced Gopstein's comments during an August 4 program that Christianity is idolatry and that the Bible calls for the destruction of idol worship.

"The writing is on the wall and the attack on people that will cause unknown results is not a matter of 'if,' but of 'when,'" warned the group, which is in charge of the Catholic Church's holdings in Israel.

In June, the Church of the Multiplication on the Sea of Galilee -- the site where Jesus multiplied two fish and five loaves of bread to feed 5,000 people -- was damaged in an arson attack by far-right Jewish extremists. In recent years, several other churches have also been targeted by Jewish extremists in "price tag" attacks.

Pregnant Swedish Girl,15, Is Held by IS in Syria; Her Boyfriend Now Being Forced to Fight for IS

A pregnant 15-year-old Swedish girl is being held by the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria after running away from her foster home with her boyfriend to join Al-Qaeda, the AFP (Agence France-Presse) website reports today (August 10, 2015).

The Swedish foreign ministry remained tight-lipped about the case, confirming only minimal details. "We have been informed that a Swedish minor is in Syria. We are in contact with family members," ministry spokesman Gabriel Wernstedt told AFP, refusing to disclose any other details.

Swedish media reported that the 15-year-old girl -- whose name was not disclosed -- disappeared from her foster home in Boras in southwestern Sweden on May 31. It said she is six months pregnant.

She and her 19-year-old boyfriend traveled to Syria via Turkey, and were recruited on arrival by an Al-Qaeda-linked group. The couple were captured by IS fighters in the northern city of Aleppo in early August, and have been moved to an IS-controlled area. They have been separated and the boyfriend has been forced to fight for the Islamic State group.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Father of Toddler Killed in Fire Attack Has Died; Israelis Torched Saad Dawabsheh's W.Bank Home

The father of a Palestinian toddler killed in an arson attack on his home a week ago died today (August 8, 2015) of wounds sustained in the fire, according to the France 24 website.

Suspected Jewish attackers torched the home of Saad Dawabsheh in the West Bank village of Duma on July 31, killing his 18-month-old child and seriously injuring his wife and a second son -- an act that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described as terrorism.

A spokeswoman for Soroka hospital in Israel where Dawabsheh had been receiving treatment said he died early today.

The Israeli government -- enraged at violent far-right Jewish groups since the arson attack -- decided to allow harsher interrogations of suspected Jewish militants. It also agreed to detain Israeli citizens suspected of political violence against Palestinians without a trial.

Kosher Bakery Owner in Philly Shot and Robbed; Victim in Critical Condition, Bullet in Her Spine

A kosher bakery owner in Philadelphia was shot in the face yesterday during an attempted robbery, the Times of Israel website reports today (August 8, 2015).

Ziza Djordevic, 56, was taking a cigarette break outside the Best Cake Kosher Bakery early yesterday morning when two people approached and shot her. The assailants fled the scene with Djordevic's apron, which is where she keeps her money.

The bakery sits on a strip with numerous other Jewish establishments on the northwestern outskirts of Philadelphia.

After the victim called 911, she was rushed to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center in critical condition. The bullet -- which had passed through her windpipe -- was lodged in her spine. Police are searching for the assailants.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Islamic State Seeks Deaths in Germany, Austria; Tells Muslims Living There to Kill Non-Muslims

The Islamic State (IS) has threatened to bring slaughter to Germany and Austria in its latest execution video, calling on Muslims living there to move to the Islamic State, or -- if they cannot for whatever reason -- to kill non-Muslims in their countries, the Clarion Project website reports today (August 7, 2015).

The video was shot in Palmyra, Syria and shows jihadists executing two soldiers of Assad's army. It is in German with Arabic subtitles, speaking directly to its target audience.

A jihadist in the video praised Allah and made the journey himself to the Islamic State (termed "hijrah" -- migration).

He called on German and Austrian Muslims saying, "My dear brothers, make hijrah with Allah's permission. I swear in the name of Allah if you do this you will be very happy. You will live here knowing that the sharia [Islamic law] of Allah rules all around you."

IS Mil.Take Dozens of Syrian Christian Families; Kidnap at Least 230 People in Province of Homs

Islamic State militants have captured dozens of Christian families after seizing a strategically located town in the Syrian province of Homs, the Religion News website reports today (August 7, 2015).

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 230 people were kidnapped or detained -- including dozens of Christians -- some of whom were taken from a church in Qaryatain, the town captured overnight after heavy fighting with the Syrian army.

Rami Abdulrahman, the head of the Observatory, said the Christians were "either kidnapped from checkpoints or raids from churches."

Among those seized were 45 women and 19 children -- including 11 families -- some of whom were on a militants' wanted list, said the monitor that tracks the war's violence through an extensive network of sources on the ground.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Suicide Bomber Kills at Least 15 in Saudi Mosque; Islamic State Takes Responsibility for the Attack

A suicide bomber killed at least 15 people today (August 6, 2015) -- including 12 members of a Saudi police force -- when he detonated explosives in a mosque in southern Saudi Arabia, according to the NY Times website.

The bombing was the deadliest attack in recent years on Saudi Arabia's police forces, and the most recent in a series of attacks on mosques in the kingdom.

Most of the recent attacks have targeted mosques used by the Shiite minority in Saudi Arabia. The Islamic State (IS) -- which considers Shiites heretics -- has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

The state-run Saudi Press Agency said the attack today was at a mosque belonging to a local security force in the region of Asir, in the southwest.

Three Israeli Soldiers Injured in Terrorist Attack; Intentionally Rammed by Palestinian Driven Car

Three Israeli soldiers were injured -- two seriously -- in a suspected terrorist attack today (August 6, 2015) in the West Bank near the Shiloh settlement, when they were intentionally rammed by a car, the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) website reports.

The two seriously hurt soldiers sustained head and chest injuries and were on respirators, according to reports. They were evacuated by helicopter to Hadassah Medical Center in Ein Kerem.

Other Israeli soldiers fired at the driver, causing the car to overturn, the Israeli Defense Forces said in a statement.

The driver, a Palestinian, was treated at the scene for a gunshot wound to the chest and then taken to Shaarey Zedek hospital in Jerusalem.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

UN: Young Girls Sell for $165 as IS Sex Slaves; Women between Ages of 40 and 50 Sell for $40

A United Nations official has confirmed the existence of an Islamic State (IS) sex slave price list that is distributed in Iraq and Syria to regulate how much enslaved women and children are sold for in the caliphate's slave markets, the Christian Post website reports today (August 5, 2015).

UN special envoy on sexual violence in conflict, Zainab Bangura, said that while she was visiting Iraq last spring, she obtained a copy of an IS pamphlet that lists the varying prices for the different age ranges of enslaved women and children.

According to the list -- which Bangura deemed authentically produced by IS and representative of real transactions -- small children fetch the most money, with little girls being sold for as much as $165.

Adolescent children between the age of 10 and 20 are sold for about $124. Twenty to 30-year-old women are sold for about $85, while 30 to 40-year-olds are sold for about $65. Rounding out the bottom of the list are 40 to 50-year-old women, who are expected to be sold for about $40.

Survey:Support Exists for "Jew-Free" Romania; Many Romanians Opposed to Jewish Residents

Nearly a quarter of Romanian respondents on a survey on Jews said their country should have no Jewish residents, the Jerusalem Post website reports today (August 5, 2015).

The results of the survey among 1,000 Romanian adults was published last week by the Elie Wiesel National Institute for Holocaust Studies in Romania, which commissioned the Center for Opinion and Market Studies to conduct the poll in June.

Eleven percent described Jews as "a problem for Romania" whereas 22 percent said they would like Jews only as tourists.

Romania -- whose predominant religion is Greek Orthodox -- used to have a Jewish population of over 750,000 before its pro-Nazi regime, led by Ion Antonescu, collaborated in the murder of about half of Romanian Jewry in the Holocaust. Today, Romania has only a few thousand Jews, mostly living in its capital of Bucharest.

Pope: Church Accepts Divorced, Remarried Cath.; Francis Lengthens Path to a More Merciful Church

Speaking out on one of the most contentious issues of his papacy, Pope Francis today (August 5, 2015) issued a powerful call to the church to embrace Catholics who have divorced and remarried, telling a gathering at the Vatican that such couples "are not excommunicated, and they absolutely must not be treated that way," the Religion News website reports.

"They always belong to the church," he added, calling on pastors to welcome Catholics who have remarried without an annulment, even though such Catholics are currently barred from receiving the Eucharist, the central sacrament of the faith.

"The church is called to be always the open house of the Father... No closed doors! No closed doors!" Francis told the crowd at his weekly public audience, which resumed today after a month-long summer break.

Since he was elected in 2013, Francis has said that the church must be more merciful and open, and he has encouraged debate on changing pastoral practices to allow, for example, divorced and remarried Catholics to take Communion.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Netanyahu Calls on US Jews to Oppose Iran Deal; Asserts Deal Won't Curb Iranian Nuclear Projects

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tried to rally American Jews today (August 4, 2015) against the Iranian nuclear deal championed by President Barack Obama and facing review by Congress, saying it risked a catastrophic Middle East war, according to the Reuters website.

In a webcast organized by Jewish groups in North America, Netanyahu reiterated Israel's arguments that the July 14 deal was not enough to curb Iranian nuclear projects with bomb-making potential while bringing Tehran a windfall in sanctions relief that could help fund destabilizing regional conflicts. Some 10,000 people had signed up to view the webcast.

With surveys showing American Jewish opinion mixed on a dispute that has strained the U.S.-Israeli alliance, Netanyahu cast his opposition to the Iran deal as non-partisan. He also disagreed with the Obama administration's argument that the deal was the only way to avoid eventual war with Iran.

"I don't oppose this deal because I want war. I oppose this deal because I want to prevent war. And this deal will bring war," he said. "This is a time to stand up and be counted. Oppose this dangerous deal."

Study: 7th-Day Adventist Church Is Most Diverse; Most Diverse US Rel. Group Due to Various Races

On a scale of 1 to 10, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in America is at a 9.1 when it comes to racial diversity and that number makes it the most diverse religious group in the United States, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center, the Christian Post website reports today (August 4, 2015).

In the new analysis looking at 29 religious groups -- including mainline Protestant denominations and others -- the Pew Research Center measured the distribution of Hispanics, non-Hispanic whites, blacks, Asians as well as mixed-race Americans and concluded that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is the most diverse of all.

A breakdown of the racial fabric of the church shows that among its adherents in the United States, 37 percent are white, 32 percent are black, 8 percent are Asian, 8 percent are mixed race, while 15 percent identify as Hispanic.

In fact, the Seventh-day Adventist Church is so diverse, it has a higher diversity index than the United States itself.

French Tourist Attacked Near Jerusalem Mosque; Due to Waving Israeli Flag at Al-Aqsa Compound

A French Christian tourist was assaulted by four Palestinians today (August 4, 2015), after waving an Israeli flag at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem -- one of Islam's holiest sites -- the France 24 website reports.

The man --in his mid-thirties -- was wounded on his head and taken for medical care, a police spokeswoman said. He was detained and was facing potential charges of disrupting the public order.

Police also detained the four men suspected of assaulting the tourist, identified as residents of Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.

The spokeswoman said it was an isolated incident and there was no further violence at the mosque compound, the third holiest site in Islam and the holiest for Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Saudi Arabian King Cuts Short French Vacation; Perhaps Due to Anger for French Riviera Closing

In a completely unexpected move and well ahead of schedule, King Salman of Saudi Arabia -- the most sacred Islamic country --  yesterday left the French Riviera, where he had arrived about a week ago on holiday, the Asia News website reports today (August 3, 2015).

His visit had sparked heated debate and protests from local residents over the closure and navigation ban -- for security reasons -- along one kilometer of the coastline near the villa where the monarch was staying. More than 150,000 people had signed a petition against the "privatization" of a stretch of public coastline.

Eight days after his arrival in Vallauris in southern France -- home to the king's luxurious villa -- for what was to have originally been a three-week vacation, the monarch departed from Nice airport to Tangier, Morocco.

At least 500 of the 1,000 people who made up the delegation that accompanied the Saudi leader on his French holiday have also left. Previously, the Saudi Embassy announced that the stay would last until August 20.

Palestinians File ICC Report on Toddler's Murder; Will Ask UN to Place Zionist Gangs on Terror List

Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki reported last week's deadly Duma firebombing attack -- allegedly carried out by radical Jewish settlers -- to the International Criminal Court (ICC) today (August 3, 2015), according to the Times of Israel website.

The Palestinian report addressed attacks on Palestinians by Jewish settlers in general, as well as the July 31 attack on the Dawabshe family, in which an 18-month-old toddler was killed.

Jordan and the Palestinian Authority have also agreed to draft a joint appeal to the UN Security Council demanding "international protection for the Palestinian people and an end to the Israeli occupation" in response to the killing.

"We will turn to the Security Council requesting to place the Zionist gangs on the terror list and define them as terrorist organizations that must be confronted by the international community," Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad said.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Nigerian Army Frees 178 Boko Haram Hostages; Frees 101 Kids,67 Women,10 Men from Islamists

The Nigerian army has freed 178 people being held hostage by Boko Haram Islamic militants, including more than 100 children, it said, as it carries out a regional offensive aimed at rooting out the insurgency, the AFP (Agence France-Presse) website reports today (August 2, 2015).

"During the offensive operations, 178 people held captives by the Islamic terrorists were rescued; they include 101 children, 67 women, and 10 men respectively," army spokesman Colonel Tukur Gusau said in a statement.

The rescue took place near Aulari about 40 miles south of Maiduguri, the biggest town in northeast Nigeria, he said, without specifying when the operation was conducted.

"In addition, one Boko Haram terrorist commander was captured alive and is presently undergoing investigation," the spokesman said.

Russian Orth. Church Sway Causes Controversy; Seeks to Head St.Petersburg Cathedral Museum

The Russian Orthodox Church's bid to secure the restitution of the landmark St. Isaac's Cathedral in St. Petersburg is creating a controversy, the Big News Network website reports today (August 2, 2015).

The Orthodox Church has wielded increasing clout in Russia and has successfully won restitution cases involving many historic churches since the Soviet collapse in 1991, but it is facing significant opposition in St. Petersburg, where activists are pushing for a referendum on the takeover.

St. Isaac's -- built over 40 years from 1818 to 1858 -- is one of the world's biggest cathedrals. Erected under the orders of Tsar Alexander I, it survived the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 mostly unscathed while other historic churches were demolished.

It is the third most-visited cultural site in St. Petersburg and has served as a museum, with the Orthodox Church using it only periodically for services.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Most Americans Don't See US as Christian Nation; New Survey: Only 35% See It as a Christian Nation

A new study has found that while most Americans believe faith in God is an important part of being a citizen, they do not consider the United States to be a Christian nation, the Christian Headlines website reports today (August 1, 2015).

The Public Religion Research Institute found that 69 percent of Americans claimed that belief in God was an "important part of being truly American." However, about 59 percent of respondents indicated that the US is not a Christian nation.

According to the study, older people were more likely to think that belief in God was important than young people. Seventy-seven percent of the senior population confirmed that belief in God was an important part of being a citizen, while only 52 percent of young adults indicated that belief in God was important.

Most people indicated that America is not a Christian nation; 45 percent said the country once was Christian. Only 35 percent of respondents said that the US is currently a Christian nation.

Israeli Soldiers Shoot Dead Palestinian Teenager; Killed for Throwing Stones at Gaza Border Fence

Palestinian medical officials said today (August 1, 2015) that Israeli soldiers shot dead a Palestinian teenager near the border fence in the northern Gaza Strip yesterday, the Christian Today website reports.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said several suspects approached the fence and threw stones at it.

She added that the soldiers fired warning shots for the group to stop throwing stones before firing at the suspects. Hospital officials identified the dead teenager as Mohammed al-Masri, 17.

Israel enforces a 300-meter-deep security no-go zone on the Gaza side of the fence.

New Taliban Leader Promises to Wage Terrorism; Vows to Carry on Jihad to Establish Islamic State

The new leader of the Afghan Taliban vowed to continue his group's bloody 14-year insurgency in an audio message released today (August 1, 2015), urging his fighters to remain unified after the death of their longtime leader, according to the USA Today website.

The audio message from Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor also included comments about the Taliban's peace talks with the Afghan government, although it wasn't clear whether he supported them or not.

Mansoor took over the Taliban after the group on July 30 confirmed that former leader Mullah Mohammad Omar had died and said they elected Mansoor as his successor.

"We should keep our unity, we must be united, our enemy will be happy in our separation," Mansoor said in his message. "This is a big responsibility for us. This is not the work of one, two, or three people. This is all our responsibility to carry on jihad until we establish the Islamic State."

Lesbian Woman Expelled by Jehovah's Witnesses; Reveals Sexual Abuse by Elders, Home Vandalized

An Oklahoma woman who revealed ample sexual abuse by elders in the Jehovah's Witnesses has found herself bombarded by creepy and threatening graffiti, the Raw Story website reports today (August 1, 2015).

Debbie McDaniel, 46, had been ousted from the Jehovah's Witnesses because she is a lesbian and had become sexually active, according to an article in the publication called Reveal.

McDaniel said in retaliation for telling her story to Reveal, members of her former chapter vandalized her home. Police are treating the vandalism as a hate crime because McDaniel is gay.

One of the elders who removed McDaniel from the Jehovah's Witnesses was Ronald Lawrence, who McDaniel said molested her for five years, beginning when she was eight years old. "I thought it ironic that the man who had molested me was now going to oust me to keep his congregation clean," she told Reveal.