Gary Lane

CBN News Senior International Reporter

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Iraqi Heroine Risks Life for Desperate Yazidis

Many of us will never forget Vian Dakheel's impassioned plea to the world on behalf of the Yazidis.

Last week, the Iraqi lawmaker--herself a Yazidi--collapsed after making a tearful speech before Parliament.

"Our families have been slaughtered...set aside your political differences...In the name of humanity, I call upon all of you to save us, to save us!" she exclaimed.

Her emotional plea may have inspired the United States and other Western countries to respond with help to northern Iraq.

Many of the stranded Yazidis have now been rescued from atop Sinjar Mountain thanks to American airstrikes and daring members of the Syrian Kurdish Army. Some of them are now safely residing in a U.N. refugee camp in Mailikiya, Syria.

Ms. Dakheel was determined to do more to help her people, so earllier this week she boarded a Russian-made M-17 helicopter and flew with the Iraqi Army to Sinjar Mountain.

They delivered humanitarian relief to the people, but the dehydrated and malnourished Yazidis desperately demanded rescue from the mountain; many had been stuck there for more than a week, having fled the clutches of crazed Islamic State jihadists.

The Yazidis pushed and shoved their way to the open doors of the helicopter--too many of them clawed their way onto the deck of the departing chopper. Weighted down, the aircraft could not get enough lift, so it toppled over and crashed into the mountainside.

The pilot was killed. Lawmaker Dakheel and others were injured in the crash.

Please note. It's not just suffering Yazidis and displaced Christians who need intercession..

First responders--those who risk their lives in service to others--desperately need our prayers as well!

Watch this dramatic Iraqi Army rescue video of Vian Dakheel (at 1:50) and others, moments after the helicopter accident.

And then keep praying for Iraq!

posted @ Thursday, August 14, 2014 10:55 AM | Feedback (0)

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

American's Final Goodbye in Cuban Prison?

Did American Alan Gross bid a final farewell to his wife and daughter recently when they visited him at a Cuban prison?

Friends and relatives fear the worst if the U.S. government doesn't step in to help the 65-year-old contractor.

That's because Gross is apparently giving up. Depressed over his mother's recent death and despondent over his prolonged imprisonment, Gross told wife Judy and daughter Nina that he can no longer endure prison life. He's also refusing humanitarian visits from members of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana.

Gross was arrested in December 2009 for delivering Internet communications equipment to the country's small Jewish community. He was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison for committing "crimes against the state."

Nearly five years later, he's lost vision in one eye and is reportedly in deterioritaing mental and physical health.

In an expression of urgent concern, 300 American Jewish rabbis reportedly sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking that he secure the "immediate release" of Gross.

Christian leaders should do the same.

When I last interviewed Judy Gross two years ago, she remained hopeful that proposed talks between the Castros and the U.S. government would lead to her husband's early release. I asked readers of this blog to pray that Gross would be returned home in time for a joyous Hanukkah holiday celebration. That was in September 2012.

Let's keep praying that God will encourage Alan Gross and his family, and that the Obama administration will do more to negotiate the release of this aging, ailing man whose only crime was trying to help some Cuban Jews communicate with the outside world.

Learn more at Bring Alan Home.

posted @ Tuesday, August 05, 2014 3:43 PM | Feedback (1)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Sackcloth & Ashes: Asking God to Stop Ebola in Liberia

Starting Thursday, 500 Christian leaders in Liberia will gather at Dominion Fellowship Church in Monrovia, Liberia for three days of fasting and prayer. They're calling it Sackcloth And Ashes.

The pastors and other church leaders will ask God to to stop the Ebola outbreak that is plaguing the country (and now contracted by two American health workers). All Liberian churches will join in for a full week of prayer beginning Monday, August 4.

Pastor Emery David of Triumphant Christian Church told The Global Lane by phone that God has responded in the past when Liberians have humbly confessed their sins, repented, and asked for divine intervention to spare their nation.

He said Liberians would like American Christians to join them in prayer, so God will once again "heal their land."

Watch and listen to David's comments, and then join Liberians during this time of prayer--not only for their nation, but also Sierra Leon, and Guinea.

More than 1,200 cases of this fatal virus have been reported and nearly 700 people have perished from the disease in West Africa since last February.

posted @ Wednesday, July 30, 2014 5:09 PM | Feedback (0)

Monday, July 28, 2014

No New Churches in Sudan

Just days before the government of Sudan allowed Christian mother Meriam Ibrahim to leave the country, it imposed a new ban on church construction.

Because many Sudanese Christians fled the north and moved to South Sudan once that nation gained independence in 2011, the government insists the few who remain in Sudan have enough existing churches to meet their needs.

But Christian reports that Sudanese Christians were angered by the government decision. It quotes Rev. Kori Elramla Kuku, general secretary of the Sudan Council of Churches, who described the ban as shocking and misleading.

"We (Christians) have the right to have new plots of land and building of new churches," he said.

"We need the churches for the growing of Sudanese Christians."

Religious freedom groups say the church ban is a violation of the right of freedom of religion and worship.

Also, Tina Ramirez, executive director of Hardwired recently told CBN News, Sudan's apostasy law needs to be overturned if more cases like Meriam Ibrahim's are to be prevented.

The 27-year old mother of two was sentenced to death for marrying an American Christian, and for abandoning the Muslim faith. Ibrahim insisted she never practiced Islam, but instead embraced the Christian faith of her mother.

Meanwhile, as Sudan moves forward with its ban on church construction--its northern neighbor--Egypt is negotiating with Christian leaders to develop plans to facilitate new church construction. Under the Mubarak regime, Egyptian Christians were required to petition the government for permission to repair or build churches. Rarely were new church buildings allowed.

So far, church leaders are optimistic that changes in the Egyptian constitution allowing church construction will be honored by new President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

posted @ Monday, July 28, 2014 9:46 AM | Feedback (0)

Friday, July 25, 2014

#WeAreN: Christians Marked for Modern-Day Holocaust

My father--a World War II veteran--often told me that history has a strange way of repeating itself.

Seventy years after the Nazis forced Jews to wear Yellow Star of David patches on their clothing to mark them for persecution and extermination, another holocaust is under way.

This time, it's Middle East Christians instead of European Jews. But the evil tactics are much the same.

Members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)--now known simply as The Islamic State (IS)--have marked Christians for dimmi status and extinction; their goal is to eliminate all Christian presence from their new caliphate.

As their predecessors did 1,400 years ago, Muslims in the IS have given Christians four options:

1. Convert to Islam.

2. Live as dimmis under sharia law and pay the jizya tax.

3. Forfeit their homes, possessions, and flee the IS.

4. Die.

Christian homes and businesses have been marked with the Arabic letter Nun. It stands for "Nazarene," or Christian. This symbol has now gone viral on social media and Christians around the globe are using it as a symbol of solidarity with the Christians of Mosul and Iraq.

They've also started the hashtag #WeAreN.

I too, have adopted the Nun symbol as my Facebook photo

But it will take more than just hastags and symbols to stop Caliph Ibrahim (Abu Bakir al-Baghdadi), his cohorts, and other Islamic extremists from committing atrocities in the Middle East.

Sir Edmund Burke said, "Evil prevails when good men do nothing."

Just ask survivors of the Jewish concentration camps.

Hashtags and symbols are excellent tools to raise awareness, but good men--and women--will need to do more to rescue these ancient Christian communities from this modern-day holocaust.

Watch this video of Islamic extremists blowing up the Mosul mosque that housed the tomb of the Biblical prophet, Jonah:

posted @ Friday, July 25, 2014 1:28 PM | Feedback (10)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Coptic Pope Adviser: U.S. Still Supports Muslim Brotherhood

After my recent visit to Egypt, some people asked about Egyptian Christians. "How are they faring under President Al-Sisi?"

"They are doing better under their new president," I replied. "But they still need our support and prayers because Islamists are continuing to attack them, and life remains extremely difficult for them and other Egyptians."

I recently interviewed Father Anthony Hanna, a key adviser to Coptic Pope Tawadros who said a Christian kidnapping case is now reported almost every week in Minya Province.

Militant Muslims are abducting males and females--mostly from wealthy Christian families--demanding that a ransome be paid. In some villages, Islamists are demanding that Christian businessmen pay a jizya-like tax to keep their businesses safe from attack.

Father Hanna said several Christian homes were recently burned in Upper Egypt, and police foiled an attempted arson attack against a church in Sohag.

Are police and the government responding to help Christians when they come under attack by militants, or are they looking the other way?

Hanna said in many cases the police neither have the men, nor weaponry needed to combat heavily armed terrorists.

He also told me most Egyptians love Americans, but they are still upset and puzzled over continued U.S. support for the Muslim Brotherhood. He insists it is ongoing through American arm shipments via Turkey and Egyptian Christians are often the victims.

The new Egyptian government is "promising," said Hanna. But Egyptian Christians and their new government need our help if the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic extrmism are to be defeated.

Watch the full interview here:

posted @ Tuesday, July 22, 2014 12:26 PM | Feedback (3)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Sexual Assault Victory for Egyptian Women

A court verdict in Cairo this week is sending shockwaves through Egyptian society.

Seven men convicted of sexual assault during recent rallies in Tahrir Square were given life in prison for their crimes.

Some felt the sentence was too harsh, but others were encouraged by the government's unprecedented, tough stance to defend the country's women.

The court decision came following several brutal sexual attacks at political gatherings over the past three years. Cell phone videos captured frenzied mobs of men tearing clothing off of women--some even showed them being raped and beaten.

The brutal attacks led to a public outcry to protect women and even resulted in an unprecedented hospital visit from an Egyptian president.

One day after he was sworn in as president, Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi visited the hospital bedside of a female victim who was raped during his innaugural celebration at Tahrir Square.The newly elected president vowed to crackdown on those perpetrating sexual violence against Egyptian women, and one week later, 13 supects were placed on trial.

Wednesday's court verdict demonstrated the government is serious about enforcing the country's new sexual violence law.

Three of the convicted men received multiple life sentences for involvement in several assaults. Two others received 20-year prison sentences.

The court also ordered the defendents to pay restitution to their victims.

This is a big step forward for Egypt. President al-Sisi and the court deserve our praise.

But will they remain committed and respond in the same manner when militant Muslims rape, kidnap, and attack Egyptian Christian women?

Watch this video of the Egyptian convicts as they received their sentences in a Cairo courtroom on Wednesday:

posted @ Thursday, July 17, 2014 9:32 AM | Feedback (2)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Ebola Spreading in West Africa

Photo Courtesy Operation  Blessing International

Chances are the Ebola outbreak that is now growing in West Africa is unlikely to spread to America or other western countries. Still, we need to be concerned.

The number of people that have contracted the deadly disease since late last winter is fast approaching 900. There is no known cure for the virus.

More doctors and nurse volunteers are needed, and humanitarian relief organizations like Operation Blessing, Samaritan's Purse, and Doctors Without Borders need our financial contributions if they are to do what they can to help prevent this disease from spreading.

Also, the people of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leon need our prayers!

Watch my interview with Dr. Lance Plyler, Medical Team Director for Samaritan's Purse to learn more about this fatal disease and why it is spreading.


posted @ Monday, July 14, 2014 11:39 AM | Feedback (0)

Friday, June 27, 2014

Iraqi Christians Find Help and Refuge

AL QOSH, Iraq -- Christians fleeing the advance of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters are finding refuge in one of the last remaining Christian cities in Iraq.

Al Qosh is an exclusive Christian town, in northern Nineva Province, about 28-miles from Mosul. Only Christians are allowed to live here.

Three hundred Christians arrived in Al Qosh yesterday, fleeing ISIS’s attempted takeover of Qaraqosh, just southeast of Mosul. At least for now, Pashmerga (Kurdish) Army troops reportedly have held off their advance.

As he arrived in Al Qosh, 45-year-old Christian refugee Radi Yussef told me two Pashmerga soldiers were killed and maybe five or six civilians injured as the constant bombardment of rockets and mortar fire besieged Qaraqosh throughout Tuesday night and into early Wednesday morning.

“There’s no electric or water,” he said.

Mid-evening last night, I met a family of five at the entrance to Al Qosh. Clutching her two-year-old son as he slept in her arms, tears ran down the cheeks of the frantic mother. She spoke English and told me that America was to blame for her family’s suffering.

I told her that I was an American and did not cause ISIS to lay siege to her town so she corrected herself and said, “Obama is to blame! He trained and supports the ISIS fighters!”

Distraught over her elderly father’s plight, she continued to sob uncontrollably.

“He is 78-years-old and suffers from pancreatic cancer," she explained. "We had to leave him behind because there is no medicine for him in Al Qosh!”

Then she asked, “Who will take care of him?”

Most of the internally displaced Christians are finding sanctuary and care in five school buildings. At one school I asked, “How can American Christians help you, what do you need right now?”

They expressed appreciation for the women of the local Chaldean church who have graciously served up daily meals. But the refugees told me they desperately needed mattresses so they wouldn’t have to sleep on the floor. They also requested pillows and powdered milk for the children.

CBN Disaster Relief responded immediately to honor their request and bring much needed help. We’ll share more details as I update this blog.

In the meantime, view this short video clip of some of the Christian refugee woman and children receiving milk provided by CBN:

posted @ Friday, June 27, 2014 11:41 AM | Feedback (2)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Iraqi Christians on the Run - Again

ERBIL, Iraq --  Christians who sought refuge in the northern Iraqi city of Qaraqosh because of fighting in Mosul are on the run once again.

Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) forces attempted to seize Qaraqosh Wednesday, but were turned back by Kurdish Peshmerga troops. The city is located southeast of Mosul.

I've learned that most of the fleeing Christians are destined for Erbil, the capital city of Kurdistan.

It isn't known at this time how many have fled Qaraqosh, but it is now clear, as ISIS advances and aligns itself with the al Nusra terrorists of Syria, Iraqi Christians will soon run out of safe havens. They urgently need our prayers!

Keep following The Global Lane for in-country updates.

posted @ Wednesday, June 25, 2014 4:19 PM | Feedback (0)