isis

Image courtesy Preemptive Love Coalition.

Every time more civilians are killed, it gives further weight to the idea that we have lowered value of human life — or at least, the value placed on Iraqi lives. Imagine the response, by comparison, if 200 American aid workers were killed in an errant strike. The seemingly low threshold for civilian safety makes the fight against ISIS harder, not easier. It makes ISIS propaganda more believable. At the very moment when ISIS should be gasping its final breath, these incidents inject life into their militancy.

Pope Francis waves as he arrives to lead his Wednesday general audience in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican, March 29, 2017. REUTERS/Tony Gentile

Pope Francis on Wednesday said it was "imperative and urgent" to protect civilians in Iraq, speaking as U.S. investigators looked into who caused an explosion in Mosul that killed scores of non-combatants. Addressing tens of thousands of people at his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, Francis said he was "concerned about civilian populations trapped in the neighborhoods of western Mosul."

Smoke rises from the old city during a battle against Islamic State militants, in Mosul, Iraq, March 26, 2017. REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal

The military statement differed from reports by witnesses and local officials that said many more bodies were pulled from the building after a coalition strike targeted IS militants and equipment in the Jadida district.

Displaced Iraqi people react at Hammam al-Alil camp, as Iraqi forces battle with Islamic State militants in Mosul, Iraq March 23, 2017. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily

The battle for Mosul, Islamic State's last major stronghold in Iraq, is now in its sixth month with Iraq forces backed by a U.S.-led coalition, air strikes and advisers now controlling the east side and more than half of the west.

Image via RNS/Screenshot from CNN

With his anti-Muslim rhetoric and planned travel bans, you’d think President Trump would be a favorite target for Islamic State’s propaganda. The jihadist caliphate in Syria and Iraq must be pulling out all the stops to slam him as the epitome of Islamophobia.

Well, think again. The extremist group that Trump vows to “totally obliterate” has hardly printed or broadcast a word about him since before the November election. The caliphate’s Ministry of Media acts almost as if he didn’t exist.

Image via RNS/Reuters/Jim Lo Scalzo

President Trump, long-chided for failing to address a surge in hate crimes, began his first address to Congress by invoking Black History Month, and condemning recent threats against Jewish institutions and the shooting of Indian men in Kansas City.

Matthew Willingham 2-22-2017

Image via Preemptive Love Coalition

We’re in a bombed-out church in the heart of Mosul, where ISIS had painted a giant black flag on the cross out front.

Where thousands of Christian homes were marked with the Arabic letter “N,” their lives threatened with the sword, their possessions looted, families ultimately driven out of their ancestral neighborhoods like cattle.

Image via RNS/Reuters/Amit Dave

In one weekend, the swastika appeared in public places in three U.S. cities — HoustonChicago, and New York. The sight was so offensive, average New Yorkers pulled out hand sanitizer and tissues to wipe the graffiti from the walls of the subway where it had been scrawled.

“Within about two minutes, all the Nazi symbolism was gone,” one subway rider who was there said. He added, “Everyone kind of just did their jobs of being decent human beings.”

Image via Creative Commons/Dragan Tatic

As the only female Yazidi in the Iraqi Parliament, Dakhil fought tirelessly for international assistance to stop the violence, including sexual slavery, targeting her beleaguered people.

Now she has been awarded the Lantos Human Rights Prize in Washington, D.C. But she is unlikely to make the ceremony on Feb. 8, since President Donald Trump banned all travelers from Iraq.

Uzhunnalil claims that his captors have made repeated attempts to negotiate with the Indian government and Catholic officials, but he says nothing has happened. “I am very sad that nothing has been done seriously in my regard.

“If I were a European priest, I would have been taken more seriously by authorities, and people and would have got me released,” Uzhunnalil continued. “I am from India and perhaps am not considered of as much value. I am sad about this.”

the Web Editors 12-19-2016

Image via Sergey Kohl/Shutterstock.com

On Dec. 19 a truck drove into a Christmas market in Berlin, Germany, killing at least nine people and injuring more, in what law enforcement officials suspect is a terrorist attack, reports the Guardian. The Christmas market was set up in Breitscheidplatz, one of Berlin’s most-frequented shopping areas.

A police spokesperson announced that the incident may have caused a gas leak. The Christmas market has been evacuated and an information point has been established for people in search of missing loved ones.

Image via RNS/Sai Mokhtari/Gothamist

Melissa Grajek was subjected to all kinds of taunts for wearing the hijab, but an incident at San Marcos’ (Calif.) Discovery Lake sealed the deal.

Her 1-year-old son was playing with another boy when an irate father saw her and whisked his son away, telling Grajek: “I can’t wait until Trump is president, because he’ll send you back to where you came from.”

The man then scooped up a handful of wood chips and threw them at Grajek’s son.

Image via RNS/Order of Preachers, via Facebook

We write to you on All Saints Day to update you on the situation in Iraq. Remembering the Christians who were killed in 2009 while attending Mass at Our Lady of Deliverance Church in Baghdad. That was the beginning of harder times to all Christians in Iraq.

It has been two years and four months since we left Nineveh Plain. It has been long time of displacement, of humiliation, of exile. However, people always lived in hope of God’s mercy to return and go back home. We believed that God will not fail us.

Matthew Willingham 10-24-2016

Image courtesy Preemptive Love Coalition

With Mosul making headlines around the world this week, there are a lot of people tuned in to things here right now.

That said, from our vantage point on the ground and on the front lines of this crisis, there are a few things you might be hearing that aren’t quite right, or don’t tell the whole story — and we want to provide some clarity. They aren’t totally wrong, per se, but they’re off, and we think you deserve to know the full story.

Matthew Willingham 10-18-2016

Two unidentified peshmerga militia at Bashik base 25km from then ISIS-controlled Mosul in July. Owen_Holdaway / Shutterstock.com

The battle for Mosul has begun.

This is big. Mosul is big. This offensive will be really, really big. Mosul is the most populous city under ISIS control. It's their capital in Iraq.

French President Francçois Hollande leaves the Church of St. Louis of the French in Rome on Aug. 17. REUTERS/Remo Casilli 

Pope Francis met with French President Francois Hollande at the Vatican just three weeks after an elderly priest was brutally murdered by Islamist militants in northern France.

The Vatican said the meeting on Wednesday was private and released no further details of what was discussed.

Unidentified Syrian refugees on the Turkish - Syrian border. thomas koch / Shutterstock.com

The U.S. State Department warned that religion-based terrorists as well as some governments across the globe are threatening the liberties of religious minorities.

“One of the best ways to deny these murderers their victory is by ensuring that those they have sought to destroy not only survive, but thrive,” said Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken, announcing the 2015 Annual Report on International Religious Freedom on Aug. 10.

Image via REUTERS / Stefano Rellandini / RNS

To outsiders, a massive rally of young Catholics waving flags and chanting “Francis” might seem like a strange spectacle far removed from today’s pressing concerns.

But in a world scarred by religiously-inspired violence and grappling with a global migrants crisis, the World Youth Day gathering in Poland that wrapped up on July 31 could be read as a powerful piece of counterprogramming.

RNS Staff 7-26-2016

Image via REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/RNS

France was convulsed by another horrific attack on July 26 as armed men burst into a Catholic Church near Rouen and slit the throat of a priest who was saying Mass.

The slain priest, the Rev. Jacques Hamel, 84, was one of four people taken hostage by the attackers, who authorities said had claimed to be from Daesh, the Arabic term for the Islamic State group.

Robert Satloff 7-21-2016

Image via /Shutterstock.com

Nice, on France’s Mediterranean coast, now joins a long list of cities, on four continents, where Islamist terrorists have perpetrated gruesome attacks, mercilessly killing hundreds of innocents.

And those are just where some of the highest-profile outrages have occurred, the ones that attract headlines. The fact that millions of people, mostly other Muslims, survive under the daily brutality of violent Islamists in large parts of Syria, Iraq, Libya, Gaza, Nigeria, and elsewhere is so routine as to barely be newsworthy.

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