Friends, The new Alliance Alert Daily Digest is finally here! You can subscribe to the daily e-mail here: Subscribe to our mailing list * indicates required Email Address * First Name * Last Name *
The New York Times: The arrest on Saturday of a Queens college student on charges of conspiring with the Islamic State is just the most recent example of the group’s global strategy, which began about one year ago and has resulted in attacks or arrests in more than a dozen countries.
The Daily Star: Kurdish forces have driven ISIS from more than a dozen Assyrian Christian villages that the jihadis had captured in northeastern Syria, a monitor said Wednesday.
Aleteia: With the fall of Ramadi in Iraq and Palmyra in Syria, there have been questions about whether the Obama Administration’s approach to fighting the Islamic State group is working. Are airstrikes against militants enough, or will we eventually see American “boots on the ground?”
The Jerusalem Post: Countries in the Middle East have shot up an annual list of places where vulnerable minorities are most at risk of genocide, political killing and systematic repression, a human rights group said on Wednesday.
The New York Times: The Islamic State has revenue and assets that are more than enough to cover its current expenses despite expectations that airstrikes and falling oil prices would hurt the group’s finances, according to analysts at RAND Corporation, a nonprofit that researches public policy.
The Blaze: On May 13 the House Foreign Affairs Committee will hear testimony about how Islamic State is purging religious minorities.
‘We are going through a terrible moment’: 242 Syrian Christians remain hostage after ransom offer rejected
WorldWatch Monitor: Danger levels rose sharply in late April for northeast Syria’s isolated Assyrian Christians, caught for nearly three months now between Kurdish militias and Syrian army forces battling with militants of the self-proclaimed Islamic State for control of Hassaka province.
Religion News Service: In the weeks leading up to Easter, Archbishop Jean-Clement Jeanbart of Aleppo was starting to sense, finally, that the war that had ravaged Syria since 2011 was finally beginning to ease.
Christianity Today: ISIS has become one of the world’s best-funded terrorist groups, earning most of its profits by selling seized oil. But details keep emerging of the estimated No. 2 source of its billion-dollar revenue stream: looting biblical-era artifacts.
CBN: Its terror has spread from Syria and Iraq to Libya and other parts of Africa. The radical ideology that drives ISIS to kidnap, murder and behead people in Iraq and Syria is gaining influence around the world, including America.
CNN: It has all the key points you’d expect on a birth certificate — baby’s weight, length and date of birth confirmed with an official insignia. The difference here is the governing authority’s stamp: The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
AL Monitor: The people of the war-ravaged city of Aleppo have been through some very bad times during the past 2½ years of civil war, and they have gotten used to living in constant fear and uncertainty. The specter of death was ever-present; it never left them, not even inside their own homes or in their own beds. Yet, for all their tenacity, the events of Good Friday — April 10, according to the Eastern Christian calendar that most Syrian Christians observe — were a terror-filled nightmare that sent new shockwaves of despair and terror.
The Week: Media coverage of Christian persecution in the Middle East was once all but non-existent. (A representative headline on this website last year declared, “The world’s most ancient Christian communities are being destroyed — and no one cares.”) And while awareness of this troubling topic hasn’t quite reached Biblical proportions yet, it’s certainly increasing. CBS’s 60 Minutes devoted severalsegments to the matter, National Geographic gave it a large spread in their magazine, and most recently, Newsweek devoted their cover story to “the new exodus” of Christians from the Middle East.
CBS News: The leader of one of Christianity’s oldest communities reluctantly says that waging war against ISIS – killing their fighters – is the only way to stop the radical Islamists from destroying Christianity in Iraq. Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil speaks to Lara Logan for her report on the plight of thousands of Christians forced to flee ancestral homes from ISIS. Her story will be broadcast on 60 Minutes Sunday, March 22 AT 7 p.m. ET/PT.
Christian Today: The Islamic State (IS) shared photos of the destruction of Christian relics on Twitter on Monday, increasing calls for the terrorist group to be stopped.
Foreign Policy: Last August, President Barack Obama signed off on legislation creating a special envoy charged with aiding the ancient Christian communities and other beleaguered religious minorities being targeted by the Islamic State.
Assyrian International News Agency: On Monday, February 23 ISIS attacked 35 Assyrian villages on the Khabur river in the Hassaka province in northeast Syria (AINA 2015-02-23). At least 9 Assyrians fighters were killed defending their villages. Up to 373 Assyrians were captured. 3000 Assyrians fled from their villages and are now in shelters in Hasaka and Qamishli.
Who are the Assyrian Christians? Islamic State’s latest captives are part of a long-persecuted group
Huffington Post: Islamic State militants have reportedly released 19 Assyrian Christians who were abducted from a village in northeastern Syria last week.
Christian Today: Four more Assyrian Christian hostages being held by Islamic State have been released, a week after being abducted in the Khabour region of Syria.
Reuters: Islamic State released 19 Assyrian Christian captives in Syria on Sunday after processing them through a sharia court, a monitoring group which tracks the conflict said.
ISIS’ apocalyptic endgame: They want to defeat Christian crusaders — Americans — in a massive battle in a town in northern Syria
NY Daily News: This week, Americans were bombarded with unnerving images of ISIS at home and abroad. In Brooklyn, three men were arrested for allegedly plotting to help the radical Islamist terrorists. In England, newspapers at long last identified”Jihadi John,” the masked figure seen on numerous decapitation videos, and published photos of him.
Time Magazine: More formidable than its al-Qaeda precursors in the view of many experts, the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) is more than a network of terrorist cells or even a militia: it’s almost a nation.
Crux: The number of Christians abducted by the Islamic State group in northeastern Syria has risen to 220 in the past three days, as militants round up more hostages from a chain of villages along a strategic river, activists said Thursday.
WorldWatch Monitor: Sources from Syria’s embattled Hassaka province confirmed at midnight on Tuesday, Feb. 24, that at least 72 Assyrian Christian families – thought to be around 200 people – from three villages have been captured by the self-proclaimed Islamic State. Reportedly taken to the Arab Sunni village of Um Al-Masamier, the exact number of Christian hostages from the Tel Gouran, Tel Jazira and Tel Hormizd villages remains unknown.
Reuters: Kurdish militia pressed an offensive against Islamic State in northeast Syria on Wednesday, cutting one of its supply lines from Iraq, as fears mounted for dozens of Christians abducted by the hardline group.
Reuters: A U.S.-led alliance launched air strikes against Islamic State on Thursday in an area of northeast Syria where the militants are now estimated to have abducted at least 220 Assyrian Christians this week, a group monitoring the war reported.
Aleteia: Christian aid groups were expecting to hear about the fate of some 150 Syrian Christian hostages today, but a promised ISIS announcement about the captives was not forthcoming.
Patheos: I do not wish a single person’s death but IS must be destroyed and sadly there are men and women who have freely chosen to link themselves to this evil organization. They have committed crimes in their person for which payment must be made. In the light of eternity they need grace, but in the temporal realm they must receive justice. The church and churchmen can forgive and what we forgive on earth is forgiven in Heaven.
Al Jazeera: The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has abducted at least 90 people from Assyrian Christian villages in northeastern Syria, a monitoring group that tracks violence in Syria said Tuesday. The alleged kidnappings appeared to be in direct response to recent gains made by Kurdish forces. Few details about the fate of the hostages were available.
Relevant: The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is reporting that ISIS militants have abducted at least 90 people after raiding an Assyrian Christian village.
Christian News Network: Supporters of the terrorist group ISIS are flocking to Iraq and Syria at record rates with an estimated 20,000 foreign fighters joining the barbarian organization worldwide, reports state.
New Statesman: The stark cliffs of the Zagros Mountains on the Iran-Iraq border, and the dusty hills and plains that lie between those mountains and the city of Mosul, might seem an unlikely location for paradise. Yet Christians living here in past centuries believed that a local river called the Great Zab had once flowed from Adam and Eve’s garden. Patriarchs of the Christian Assyrian Church of the East living on its banks once signed off their letters with the salutation, “From my cell by the river of Eden”.
New York Mag: Shannon Maureen Conley, a 19-year-old nurse’s aide from Colorado who wanted to join the terrorist group ISIS, appeared in a hijab and civilian clothes for her sentencing hearing Friday. Judge Raymond Moore handed down a four-year sentence but announced from the bench that she needs psychiatric help.
USA Today: Boko Haram, with its chilling brutality, radical Islamic ideology and unstoppable seizure of Nigerian territory is quickly emerging as the Islamic State of Africa.
Christianity Today: Fleeing violence, nearly 1.3 million Syrians and Iraqis are now living in Jordan. How local and global leaders are meeting their needs.
Acton: Jeff Gardner was frustrated. As a photo-journalist working primarily in the Middle East, he is witness to the violence towards Christians on a daily basis, but the rest of the world seems unconcerned. Gardener realized it wasn’t that people didn’t care, but that they just didn’t know. It truly was an “out of sight, out of mind” situation. Gardener set out to fix this.
ISIS executes 150 women and girls, some pregnant, for refusing to become sex slaves and marry jihadists
The Christian Post: Terror group ISIS has reportedly killed over 150 women and girls, some of them believed to be pregnant, for refusing to become sex slaves and marry jihadists.
The Christian Post: About 100 Syrian soldiers and at least 80 Islamic militant fighters lost their lives in a major battle over the past two days, resulting in the insurgents capturing the Wadi al-Deif military base.
The Christian Post: Terror group ISIS reportedly killed at least 30 soldiers on Friday on its way to capture the last remaining military air base in Syria. The major battle took place at al-Jafra village near the military airport, where 37 ISIS fighters were also killed.
The Christian Post: A United Nations terrorism expert said on Monday that the Islamic State terrorist group has made between $35 million and $45 million off of ransom payments in the past year alone, the Associated Press reports.
Public Discourse: In his new book on Syria, Christian Sahner explores the rise of Islam, the place of Christianity, the emergence of sectarian politics, the autocratic state, and the Lebanese paradigm.
Christian News Network: The Islamic terrorist group ISIS, also identifying themselves as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, has beheaded an American aid worker, according to a new video released by the barbaric Muslim faction and confirmed to be authentic by the Obama administration.
Christian exodus in Iraq and Syria reached ‘Biblical proportions,’ Open Door says on Day of Prayer for persecuted church
The Christian Post: Persecution watchdog group Open Doors warned that the exodus of Christians in Iraq and Syria fleeing terror group ISIS reached “biblical proportions” this year, and called for Christian unity during the International Day of Prayer for the persecuted church on Sunday.
The Washington Times (AP): Islamic State militants tortured and abused Kurdish children captured earlier this year near the northern Syrian town of Kobani, beating them with hoses and electric cables, an international rights group said Tuesday.
The Christian Post: A U.N. report has warned that as many as 15,000 jihadists from close to 80 different countries are flooding into Iraq and Syria to fight for ISIS and other terror groups in the mission to establish an Islamic caliphate over the region.
Religious Freedom Coalition: The Islamic State has just beheaded a woman who resisted being raped by an ISIS fighter. She killed the rapist and then was slaughtered for defending herself.
The Christian Post: A 25-year-old British mother is believed to have traveled to Syria, along with her 1-year-old baby son, to join Islamic State extremists in their Syrian stronghold of Raqqa, according to her family.
CBN: Kurdish forces fighting to protect the critical Syrian city of Kobani from the Islamic State received additional weapons and ammunition over the weekend.
Christianity Today: Fawzi Khalil recalls what he saw on a recent visit to Dohuk, Iraq. Refugees slept on streets and under bridges, fleeing the wrath of ISIS.
The Christian Post: Hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the life of British aid worker Alan Henning in a multi-faith ceremony in Manchester on Sunday. Henning, who was beheaded by terror group ISIS earlier in October, was remembered as a “hero” who “put the needs of others before his own.”
Report: Islamic State sells Yazidi girls for $1,000, Yazidi boys forced to train to become ISIS militants
The Christian Post: A new report released Sunday provides more details on how Islamic State militants are inhumanly treating their captives of religious minority groups, more specifically the Yazidis. The report finds that militants are forcing preteens, teenagers and grown women into forced marriages and sex slavery, while forcing detained Yazidi men to convert to Islam and young Yazidi boys to train to become ISIS fighters.
CBN: Iraqi officials have sent out an urgent request for U.S. ground troops to help the Iraqi army, as well-armed ISIS terrorists moved to the Baghdad suburb of Abu Ghraib.
CBN: Islamic State terrorists continue to advance and take new ground despite U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and Syria.
Aleteia: Father Hanna Jallouf, the Franciscan parish priest kidnapped on Sunday night by a group of armed militants of the jihadist faction Jabhat al-Nusra, has been released, according to Fides news agency.
National Review: The Islamic State now reportedly controls more than one-third of Kobani, the besieged Syrian city on the border of Turkey. American military officials are considering the “real possibility” that the Islamic State will defeat the Kurdish forces struggling to keep the city from falling, Voice of America reported last night.
The New York Times: Tracking the cultural treasures of Syria and northern Iraq has become a heartbreaking task for archaeologists and antiquity scholars.
The Christian Post: At least 41 children and 48 people in total were killed by two heavy suicide bomb blasts near a school in Homs, Syria, several sources have reported.
Al Arabiya News (AP): Militants with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group publicly killed a rights lawyer in the Iraqi city of Mosul after their self-styled Islamic court ruled that she had abandoned Islam, the U.N. mission in Iraq said Thursday.
CS Monitor: A Syrian woman walked the streets of Raqqa with a camera hidden in her niqab. The video offers a rare glimpse of what life is like in the IS stronghold, where the group has imposed a radical interpretation of Islamic law.
The Christian Post: Around the globe, there are signposts of progress. The shadow of World War that existed at the founding of this institution has been lifted, and the prospect of war between major powers reduced. The ranks of member states has more than tripled, and more people live under governments they elected. Hundreds of millions of human beings have been freed from the prison of poverty, with the proportion of those living in extreme poverty cut in half. And the world economy continues to strengthen after the worst financial crisis of our lives.
Deseret News: Combined U.S.-Arab airstrikes hit Islamic State group military strongholds in Syria and Iraq as a simultaneous U.S. strike attacked an al-Qaida cell of hardened veterans with “significant explosives skills” said to be plotting attacks on the U.S. and Western interests, the U.S. military said.
The Washington Times (AP): The Pentagon says airstrikes in Syria and Iraq are the beginning of a “credible and sustainable, persistent” campaign to degrade and ultimately destroy the Islamic State militant group.
Christianity Today: Here’s a chilling thought experiment that, given the arc of world events, might seem eerily like a peek into the not-so-distant future.
Christian News Network: A Yemen-born man living in New York is among the latest being charged with aiding the Islamic terrorist group ISIS, or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in federal court.
Western Journalism: While the terrorist group ISIS continues to dominate world headlines thanks to their liberal use of force, coercion, and religious persecution, the battle for religious freedom quietly proceeds unabated within the borders of America, albeit with a new twist that underscores the administration’s palpable hypocrisy.
The Christian Post: A lack of concern for Christians and a lack freedom of expression for religious minorities in the Middle East is one of the reasons behind the rise of terror group ISIS in Iraq and Syria, said David Curry, the CEO and president of Christian persecution watchdog group, Open Doors USA.
Deseret News: The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is America’s enemy, not Islam, President Obama stated in his national address Wednesday night laying out a plan to destroy the terrorist organization.
Religious Freedom Coalition: The Irish Mirror has recently posted grotesque photos of the children of Islamic State terrorists playing with the severed heads of Christians or Muslim “apostates” who have been the victims of the ISIS cruelty.
Religion News Service: Watching ancient Christian communities stand nearly defenseless as Islamic militants roll across swaths of the Middle East, coalitions of Christians are banding together to sound the alarm and demand government action.
Religious Freedom Coalition: Saudi Arabia’s “purity” police have just arrested dozens of Christians at a prayer meeting in the city of Khafi.
ISIS’ ‘cultural cleansing’ of Mideast Christians ignored by complacent Americans, Robert George complains
The Christian Post: As thousands of Christians in Iraq and Syria, and other parts of the Middle East, are being tossed from their homes, killed, raped and pillaged by Islamic State forces and other terrorist organizations, Princeton law professor Robert George claims that Christians in America and other westernized nations are too complacent to speak out against the persecution in the Middle East and urge their governments to take action.
Aleteia: Jihadists continue to quickly publicize their crimes and acts of violence on YouTube in videos that show ISIS armed militiamen beheading their prisoners in Iraq and Syria. The terrorists in Syria murdered dozens of soldiers after they gained control of the al-Raqqa Air Base last week. In Iraq, ISIS gunmen killed a Kurdish leader in what was considered a warning to Kurdistan to end its cooperation with the United States in attempting to stop the Islamists.