An Islamic militant group has declared that an "Islamic state" has been established in Iraq and Syria following territorial gains, calling on "Muslims everywhere" to support leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as the "Caliph," or the head of the state.
"Accordingly, the 'Iraq and Sham' (Levant) in the name of the Islamic State is henceforth removed from all official deliberations and communications, and the official name is the Islamic State from the date of this declaration," spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani said in a statement, according to Reuters on Sunday.
"It is incumbent upon all Muslims to pledge allegiance to (him) and support him...The legality of all emirates, groups, states, and organizations, becomes null by the expansion of the khalifah's authority and arrival of its troops to their areas," the statement added. more >>
Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram has killed scores of worshipers and burned down four churches in a major attack on Christians in Kwada and Kautikari villages in Nigeria.
"They killed dozens of people and burned houses after attacking worshipers," survivor Mallam Yahi told The Associated Press on Sunday after escaping to Chibok.
A vigilante group fighting Boko Haram has said that at least 30 bodies have so far been recovered from the bushes, where people tried to escape from Kwada. more >>
Persecution watchdog Open Doors is sending food, water and humanitarian aid to close to 3,000 Christian families that have fled the Iraqi city of Mosul, which was recently taken over by Islamic extremists looking to enforce Sharia law.
"The immediate needs were very obvious – water and food," an Open Doors field worker said.
"Because many of the refugees were placed in schools or empty buildings, they were sleeping on a piece of cardboard; there were no mattresses and pillows. And with temperatures reaching 113 degrees during the day, a third need made itself known – air coolers, especially important for families with young children or the elderly." more >>
The interdenominational Christian Federation of Malaysia has warned that believers in the country face "serious negative consequences" after the Supreme Court again confirmed that a Catholic newspaper is not allowed to use the word "Allah" to refer to God.
"We continue to support that the decision of the Court of Appeal, upheld by the Federal Court, is seriously flawed in many respects. According to Justice, many erroneous and inaccurate observations had to be corrected. Now there will be serious negative consequences for the religious freedom of Christians in Malaysia," the group said, according to Fides News Agency on Monday.
The long-standing case concerns the Catholic weekly newspaper "Herald," which was initially told in 2007 by Malaysian authorities to stop using the word "Allah." While in 2009 a lower court defended the newspaper's right to use the term, in October 2013 chief judge Mohamed Apandi Ali ruled that "the usage of the word 'Allah' is not an integral part of the faith in Christianity," and that it would "cause confusion in the community." more >>
The CIA once considered a plan of developing Osama Bin Laden dolls that turned into a demon when exposed to heat in an attempt to counter Bin Laden's influence on children in Afghanistan.
The agency produced three prototypes of the doll with the help of Donald Levine, the former head executive of the Hasbro toy company. The final prototype of the toy, although it was never released to the public, included an Osama Bin Laden face that, when exposed to heat, melted off to reveal a demonic expression with red and black designs and piercing green eyes. The toy was designed so the evil face would be exposed when heat from a child's hands touched the doll.
The purpose of the toys was to counter Osama Bin Laden's powerful influence on Afghani children and their parents. The 12-inch doll came wearing traditional Afghani clothing and was sold in a cheap box wrapped in plastic. The body of the doll had already been in production in China when Levine partnered with the CIA to superimpose the Bin Laden face. more >>
Thirty-eight members of the U.S. Congress wrote an open letter on Thursday to Secretary of State John Kerry, asking him to use "every legal means" necessary to rescue Christian mother Meriam Ibrahim and her two young children currently being held inside a Sudanese prison.
"We request that the U.S. State Department, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, review granting Mrs. Ibrahim Significant Public Benefit Parole, asylum, or refugee status, as appropriate. In short, we urge that every legal means necessary be exhausted to ensure that she and her young children are provided safe haven," reads the letter, led by Congressman Trent Franks, R-Arizona, and Congressman Frank Wolf, R-Virginia.
The letter also asks that her two children, Martin and Maya, be granted U.S. citizenship, because their father, Daniel Wani, is a U.S. citizen. more >>