Friday, October 24, 2014
Six months after they were abducted from their boarding school in Chibok, freedom remains elusive for 219 Nigerian schoolgirls. There will be no joyous family reunion this week.
Nigerian government officials suggested the girls would be released this week, but once again the hopes of loved ones and the Nigerian nation were dashed.
Officals said there was a negotiated ceasefire with Boko Haram--the girl's captors. Then they said the ceasfire would likely lead to the girl's freedom. But the ceasfire was violated, and negotiations collapsed. Few people know what really happened and whether the talks between the government and the Islamic terror group actually resumed this week in neighboring Chad.
Some Nigerians believe government officials are simply playing politics--they've learned a valuable lesson from their American counterparts: you can win more votes come election time if you "keep hope alive!"
But as the days pass, it becomes less likely that the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls (most of them are Christian) will ever return to their homes and families. Most are believed to have been sold into sex slavery to warlords, or trafficked to other militant groups thoughout the region. Some of the girls are believed to have been used by Boko Haram for sucide bombings.
Watch the latest from Nigeria analyst, Professor Peyi Soyinka Airewele of Ithaca College. She suggests it may be time for progressives and Muslims to admit that religion is motivating Boko Haram and other Islamists to violence in Nigeria. Also, take time to watch another video appearing here. It is from Human Rights Watch and is startling and revealing. It features testimonies from kidnapped women.
Professor Airewele on Nigeria & Boko Haram:
Human Rights Watch Kidnapped Women Video:
Friday, October 17, 2014
Unveiled women armed with guns.That's what brave ISIS fighters fear the most.
Just ask Rehana, a Kurdish female fighter with the YPJ (Women Protection Unit)--that is, if she is still alive.
Twitter posts suggest Rehana may have been killed recently in the battle for control of the Kurdish border city of Kobani.
Her name and talk of her brave actions are going viral. Syrian Kurds consider her a heroine because she allegedly, single-handedly killed 100 Islamic State fighters.
Another Kurdish female fighter is also believed to have killed ISIS jihadists when she blew herself up during one recent battle.
Embellishment, myth, or truth? The fact is, there are now more than 5,000 Kurdish female soldiers fighting inside Syria.
As The United States, Turkey and others nations hesitate to put male "boots on the ground" in Iraq and Syria, Kuridsh women are proving to be courageous and competent allies in the fight against ISIS.
If you want more, take a look at this interesting video I found about Kurdish female fighters:
Monday, October 06, 2014
When we last told you about prisoner Alan Gross, we reported that the 65-year-old American was ill and despondent about his captivity. It seemed that Gross had given up hope.
His wife Judy told me today that he is still despondent and refuses to meet with representatives from the U.S. State Department, or anyone other than his attorney.
"He is fed up. All of the visits turn into nothing, nothing changes. He's angry and feels that it is a waste of time to meet with them," Judy said.
She said her husband's health has gotten worse. He is no longer able to walk more than a few feet at a time because of the pain he feels in his hips. And he has lost another tooth, probably due to malnutrition.
Gross was a USAID subcontractor who was imprisoned five years ago in Havana on charges that he was undermining the Cuban government. That's because Gross was providing Internet equipment to the Cuban Jewish community.
Mrs. Gross said she hasn't heard from the U.S. State Department in quite some time.
"It's very disturbing and disappointing as an American citizen to feel that your own government cannot back you up and support you in a situation like this," she said.
I told her that our viewers are people of prayer and will certainly pray for Alan. She was grateful and said she has felt the prayers of others.
"We need all the prayers we can get. It means a lot, it really does mean a lot," she said.
Watch my interview with Judy Gross and then log on to the BringAlanHome.org web site to learn more and sign a petition if you want to help in that way.
Mrs. Gross says 10,000 signatures are need to get the president's attention. So far, just under 9,000 have signed.
Friday, October 03, 2014
By the looks of his rockstar welcome at New York's Madison Square Garden and his treatment by government leaders in Washington, you'd never have a clue that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had been denied entrance into the United States for nearly a decade.
In March 2002, as many as 2,000 Muslims were believed to have been killed during riots In the western Indian state of Gujarat. Some Indians believe the riots were pre-meditated by Hindu nationalists. Modi was governor at the time and ordered police to stand down, not to interfere.
Because of his complicity (if not involvement) in the brutal attacks on Muslims, he became the first person (in 2005) to be denied entrance into the U.S.A. under provisions of the International Religious Freedom Act denying visas to those deemed guilty of religious persecution.
What a difference one federal election makes. Last May, Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 52 percent of all seats in the Indian parliament. The persecutor of religious minorities became prime minister and this week was given a hero's welcome in the Big Apple.
Not a word was uttered by the Washington elite about his jaded (if not criminal) past, or about the ongoing persecution of religious minorities in the world's largest democracy.
My interview with Hardwired President Tina Ramirez is a must watch if you want to learn more about how America's leaders failed to speak up for persecuted Indian Christians and other religious minorities during Modi's first visit to America as India's prime minister.
Friday, September 26, 2014
You don't often see people gathered around the White House praying for an imprisoned pastor in a far off land.
But Thursday night in Washington, D.C.--on the second anniversary of his imprisonment--religious freedom advocates gathered to pray for American Pastor Saeed Abedini. People in 500 cities in over 30 countries have also committed to pray for the Iranian-born Abedini.
Prayer vigils draw attention to the plight of this one imprisoned American pastor, but what about others who are also suffering in Iranian prisons because of their faith in Christ? Where are the mass rallies and vigils just for them?
-- Pastor Benham Irani of Karaj, Iran:
Imprisoned since May 2011, he was recently beaten and placed in solitary confinement for several weeks. He's also suffered from bleeding ulcers and colon complications.
Last February, after many months of delays and deterioriating health, authorities finally relented and provided Pastor Benham with the surgery he needed.
His family has not heard from him since August 25. He's now charged with spreading corruption on earth and could face execution.
-- Farshid Fathi of Tehran, Iran:
The Christian convert from Islam was arrested in December 2010 and spent nearly one year in solitary confinement. Last April, a prison guard stomped on Farshid's foot and broke it during a prison riot.
This past summer, Farshid was transferred to a prison in Karaj, Iran known as a detention facility for the country's most dangerous criminals. Fellow inmates have said they've been impressed by Farshid's "sweet spirit" and Farshid even wrote a letter drawing attention to the plight of other suffering Christians worldwide.
"...When I look at all these heroes of faith, how can I complain about my suffering?" he asked.
-- Pastor Silas Rabani:
Imprisoned in Karaj, Iran Pastor Silas is also charged with spreading corruption. He could be sentenced to death if convicted..
-- Pastor Matthias Hagnejad.
Also imprisoned in Karaj. He's been charged with waging war against God. He may also face death.
-- Alireza Seyyedian:
Imprisoned in March 2012. He's a former Muslim who became a Christian in 2006. Video of his baptism in Turkey was discovered on a computer when security police raided his apartment.
Charged with crimes against national security, 37-year-old Alireza has been confined to Section 350 (political prisoners section) of Evin prison.
Religious Freedom advocates know of at least 40 Christians imprisoned in Iran for their faith. As you sign petititons, and gather in vigils for Saeed Abedini, please remember these other Iranian believers.
Their only crime is their devotion to Jesus Christ.
* Photos courtesy of Present Truth Ministries.
Additional links to learn more about Iranian prisoners:
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
As U.S. bombs fall on Islamic State positions in Syria, Kurdish refugees from the northern town of Kobani are continuing to pour over the border into Turkey.
Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Nurman Kurtulmus warns the latest wave of Syrians fleeing the advance of ISIS jihadists could swell "to hundreds of thousands."
Already since last Thursday, an estimated 150,000 have flooded into Turkey. It's the largest mass wave of internally displaced since tens of thousands of Yazidis fled Sinjar last month.
What should be done?
First, the Turks should be more welcoming to these Kurds in crisis. Kurdish media reports Turkish border guards initially responded forceably with chemicals, rubber bullets and cannisters of tear gas as the refugees attempted to push across the border.
Apparently the Turkish government fears some of the Kurds may be PKK rebels who have fought an independence inspired insurgency against Turkey since the mid-1980s. So, was this simply a matter of crowd control, or a response inflicted by deep wounds from the past? Regardless, this NATO country should respond more humanely. ISIS is the enemy, not the Kurds.
Secondly, the U.S. should direct air strikes against the Islamic State militants who are terrorizing the innocent women and children of Kobani. President Obama has already decided to strike ISIS in Syria, so it would simply mean repositioning some American Special Forces into the area to target the jihadists for attack. (Update: airstrikes were reportedly launched against ISIS positions 20-miles west of Kobani Tuesday evening).
Thirdly, the world needs to reach out to help these fresh Syrian refugees. Once again, Christians have an opportunity to act urgently as first responders.
Watch this Kurdsat Broadcasting video showing the inital response as thousands of refugees sought a safe haven across the Turkish border:
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Human rights activist Nonie Darwish is a former Muslim who says the United States cannot trust its Arab partners in the fight against the Islamic State.
She suggests they are more committed to the Quran than they are to defeating the ISIS terrorists.
Ms. Darwish is the founder of Arabs for Israel, and the director of Former Muslims United. She's an author of several books, including Cruel and Usual Punishment and The Devil We Don't Know.
Also, in her recent article for American Thinker, she says President Obama ignored the ISIS terrorist threat "until it blew up in our faces with the beheading of two Americans."
Why? She says the president was torn between his duty to America and his "dream of becoming the hero of the Muslim World who taught the West a lesson on how to treat Muslims."
Darwish doubts the sincerity of the anti-ISIS coalition's Arab partners saying that "no Muslim nation will seriously attack ISIS" because "according to sharia, a Muslim leader who stands against the Islamic State is automatically an apostate who must be killed."
Read her article, and then listen to Nonie Darwish's comments here:
Tuesday, September 02, 2014
ERBIL, Iraq -- American kids are obsessed with violent video games. Some who play them continually seem to live in a fantasy world far removed from reality.
And then we become surprised when periodically some bullied, lonely, or depressed gamer shoots up a school or movie theater.
Whatever happened to the less graphic games of yesteryear like Pong or Mario Brothers?
The innocence of some young Arab kids is also being stolen by graphic images recently seen on television, or social media about the murderous practices of The Islamic State. The terrorist's evil has now spread to children's games.
Watch. This is not your Cowboys and Indians game played during childhood. This is evil engrained into the minds of young Arabs. It was sent to The Global Lane by ABNA.
Now take a deep breath after watching that astonishing video. Relax and smile as you watch some Yazidi refugee children in Zakho, Iraq having fun as most Middle East children should do. They're pretending they are acrobats jumping on a trampoline.
Much better for their future (and ours) instead of playing the ISIS terrorist game, don't you think?
Monday, August 25, 2014
ERBIL, Iraq--This past weekend I met with Ankawa Evangelical Church Pastor Ghassan Yalda who told me he is saddened when Iraqi Christians talk about leaving the country for America or elsewhere in the West.
“Christians are salt and light. If everyone leaves, who will be speaking the truth to the people who need us? Sin is everywhere, people are killing each other. “
Who will be left to ask God to pour out his mercy on Iraq?
But every displaced Christian I’ve met here has told me they want to leave. They say they can no longer live with Muslims when a percentage of them are trying to exterminate anyone who does not believe the way they do.
Yalda also told me he appreciates the partnership CBN Disaster Relief has made with his church to help displaced Christians and others. Each day church volunteers provide food and other necessities for 60-80 families. CBN has stood alongside them.
The daily demands on Yalda’s church body are overwhelming. Just two months ago their main effort was conducting a weekly church service and doing outreach work with Syrian refugees. Now, in addition to the daily outreach efforts, 100 Christian refugees reside at the church in Sunday school classrooms.
Pastor Yalda asks us to pray for more volunteers to come to Iraq to help and encourage the people here.
“We need each other,” the pastor told me. “And our country cannot be saved by military action. It can only be saved by Jesus Christ.”
Watch my full interview with Pastor Ghassan Yalda by clicking on the video here:
Thursday, August 14, 2014
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!