Thursday, December 11, 2014
ERBIL, Iraq -- Christians who fled villages near Mosul this past summer have yet to return to their homes. They joined more than a million other Iraqis who fled for Kurdistan this past summer after Islamic State fighters overran their once peaceful neighborhoods.
Though Kurdish Peshmerga fighters forced ISIS jihadiist (called Daesh in Arabic) from the Christian towns, it is not safe for the Christians to return at this time because as long as ISIS controls the Iraqi city of Mosul, they'll remain within range of mortar fire.
That's what I was told today during my interview with Hemen Hawrami, the head of the Kurdistan foreign relations office.
Hawrami said it took a while for his government to adapt the tactics necessary to fight "a terrorist organization." But now, the Kurdish Pehmerga has ISIS on the run and security in Kurdistan is stable.
One major area of northwestern Kurdistan still remains under ISIS control. Which one is it? Hawrami explains in the clip below:
And what about Mosul? Will the Pesshmerga act soon to liberate Iraq's second largest city from ISIS? Watch his answer here:
Watch for more from this articulate Kurdish government spokesman in my next blog report, including the latest information about undelivered U.S. weaponry and what the recent oil deal with Baghdad may mean for the Kurdish people.
Tuesday, December 02, 2014
Photo courtesy Swedish Institute
Spare the rod, spoil the child. Remember that saying?
It seems a growing number of countries around the world prohibit the corporal punishment of children.
At last count--according to the Swedish Institute--43 nations have now made it illegal. It says people in 194 countries think spanking a child is wrong. Thirty-five years ago, Sweden became the first country to prohibit spanking.
SI reports that 90 percent of the world's kids live in countries where physical violence against them is allowed.
While most of us would agree that children should not suffer physical abuse, what about spanking?
Christians and Jews may prefer to follow the wisdom of the Book of Proverbs:
Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.
Good advice, or an antiquated practice that should no longer apply in 2014?
What do you think?
Watch the Swedish Institute video below:
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Break out the baklava and other sweets. Four Jews, three of them Americans, were massacred as they prayed in their Jerusalem synagogue!
Praise be to allah and praise to the glorious shaheed (martyrs)! That should teach those Zionist occupiers for desecrating the sacred al-Aqsa Mosque compound (The Temple Mount).
That is how some Palestinians responded Tuesday as most of the world mourned the senseless slaughter of four innocent rabbis.
Watch how they celebrated in Gaza:
President Obama condemned the terror attack and called on the Israeli government and the Palestinian authority to calm tensions. However, the U.S. president still believes Israel must negotiate a peace agreement with Hamas--the same "peace partner" that praised the slaughter at the synagogue.
Join me in praying and grieving today for the lost lives.
I pray not only for the families and friends of the four rabbis, but also for the families of the two Palestinian terrorists.
As Jesus said, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." Luke 23:24.
And shame on elected Palestinian leaders who continue to praise the death of innocent civilians and propagate violence as the pathway to peace.
"Woe to those who call evil good and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter."
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
A visit to Cuba this week by two U.S. senators has brought new hope to 65-year old Alan Gross, the former USAID contractor imprisoned in Havana for the past five years.
Send. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Tom Udall, D-N.M., met with Gross and Cuban government officials. Both senators expressed optimism that Gross may be freed, although they admitted his release may not imminent.
In December 2009, Gross was arrested and charged with undermining the Cuban government. He received a 15-year prison sentence. Gross had provided members of Cuba's Jewish community with internet equipment and the Cuban government accused the USAID of using him in an effort to foment an anti-government uprising.
In exchange for Gross, the Castro government apparently wants to secure the release of three Cuban spies imprisoned in the U.S..
Gross is reportedly in ill health--both physically and mentally. In past reports, we've told you about his growing despondency, and in my most recent interview with his wife Judy, she revealed that her husband refused to meet with U.S. State Department officials. Apparently he felt the meetings resulted in nothing more than false hopes.
Keep praying for Gross--that the recent visit to Cuba by senators Udall and Flake will lead to a breakthrough in his five year ordeal. Pray that Gross will return home to his wife Judy --just in time for a joyous Chanukkah celebration.
Friday, November 07, 2014
When Liberian health officials announced new Ebola infections were reduced by as much as 25 percent this week, Pastor Emery David knew someone other than healthcare workers and politicians was responsible.
He believes God responded after hearing the sincere pleas of a desperate nation and he credits Liberia's Christian population and the non-stop prayers they sent heavenward:
CBN Disaster Relief has also responded to help the people of Liberia cope with this crisis.
David details what CBN is doing:
He also tells how his heart was touched by 11-year-old Ebola survivor Cecelia Tupa. She is Ebola free but is now orphaned because her parents were killed by the deadly virus:
Keep praying and CLICK HERE to learn more about how you can help.
Friday, October 31, 2014
Temple Mount violence, Gaza and Hamas rebuilding, Hezbollah threats, Iran's nuclear program, ISIS, and chilly relations with the United States. Israelis are facing many difficult security issues as the U.S. midterm election approaches.
It's a perfect time to sit down to talk with one of the Labor Party's most insightful representatives.
Dr. Einat Wilf is a former member of the Israeli Knesset, and she served as foreign policy adviser to Vice President Shimon Peres.
Wilf suggests Jews, not Muslims, should decide if Jews should pray at the Temple Mount. Ms.Wilf told me "mutual respect" needs to be demonstrated at the Temple Mount because" it is a holy place for all" and all faiths have a right to pray there.
The Temple Mount dispute, and the current state of U.S. Israel relations were among issues discussed during our interview at The United Jewish Federation of Tidewater this week.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently received international condemnation when he approved the construction of 1,000 new apartments in Jerusalem. Some have said the new housing construction is an obstacle to peace, but Ms. Wilf says "settlements are not at the core of the conflict" between Palestinians and Jews, it's not what's preventing the possibility of the emergence of a Palestinian state.
So,what is? Watch part one of our interview:
Also, Ms. Wilf said Israelis do not appreciate recent Obama administration name calling of their elected prime minister. It was "uncalled for" and a "foreign policy mistake."
And she said it's "unfortunate" that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry suggested that Israel's unwillingness to make new concessions in peace talks with the Palestinians has helped the Islamic State enlist new recruits.
In part two of our interview, Dr. Wilf discusses Iran's nuclear program and the upcoming deadline (Nov. 24) for a negotiated agreement. We also discussed Egypt's crackdown in the Sinai and other security issues facing Israel.
What should Americans do to help Israel? Watch to hear her response:
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.