(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NPR)
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN POST)
A 10-year-old Egyptian schoolboy who witnessed the brutal murder of his father by Islamic State militants in Minya, where 29 Christians were slaughtered in May, says the jihadists cried out “God is great” every time they shot a follower of Jesus Christ.
Mina Habib told Reuters in a piece published Tuesday that his father, one of the 29 believers massacred on May 26 when IS stopped three vehicles on their way to a monastery, was killed specifically for his Christian faith.
“We saw dead people, just dumped on the ground,” the boy, who is now receiving therapy at a local church, said of the attack.
“They asked my father for identification then told him to recite the Muslim profession of faith. He refused, said he was Christian. They shot him and everyone else with us in the car,” he said of his father, Adel.
Mina said the 15 gunmen shot Christian children dead, but he and his older brother, Marco, were spared.
Three vehicles were attacked that day, with a bus and car transporting children and families being the fist targets.
The extremists reportedly shot out the windows, took the women’s jewelry, and asked victims whether they were Christians before killing them.
“They saw us in the back of the truck. They made us get down and a man wearing camouflage like the army pointed his gun at us, but another one in all black told him to let us go. Every time they shot someone they would yell God is great,” the 10-year-old added.
He said the radicals had Egyptian accents, and most of them were wearing masks.
The killing of the 29 Christians was only the latest attack on Egypt’s minority Coptic community, which has been terrorized by Islamic radicals for years, with the attacks increasing with IS’ rise in the region.
The Copts have said that they “take pride” in dying for their faith, in defiance against IS.
“We take pride to die while holding on to our faith,” Bishop Makarios, the top Coptic Orthodox cleric in Minya, said in May.
Thousands of Copts mourned the victims of the bus shooting, and expressed their grief and rage at the funerals.
“With blood and soul, we will defend you, oh cross!” Copts yelled at the Church of the Sacred Family in the village of Dayr Jarnous.
“We will avenge them or die like them,” they said. “There is no god but God and the Messiah is God!”
At the same time, however, they have pleaded with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to keep his promise to protect them, and to increase support for the families of victims.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES AND THE WASHINGTON POST)
A 17-Year-Old Muslim Girl Was Murdered While Walking Home From Her Mosque in Virginia
A 17-year-old Muslim girl was assaulted and killed as she made her way home after prayers at a Virginia Mosque.
The Washington Post reports that the body of Nabra Hassanen was identified by relatives after being discovered in pond in Sterling, northern Virginia. Fairfax county police have charged 22-year-old Darwin Martinez Torres with her murder. The Post reports that authorities are not investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.
A police statement cited by the Guardian said an investigation concluded that Hassanen “was walking outside [the mosque] with a group of friends when they got into a dispute with a man in a car.” The man then “got out of his car and assaulted the victim.” Her friends, unable to find her after the incident, called the police.
An officer had “seen a car driving suspiciously in the area,” and the driver, Martinez Torres, was taken into custody as a suspect, according to the police statement.
“People are petrified, especially people who have young Muslim daughters,”Arsalan Iftikhar, a human rights lawyer who attended the same Sunday evening service as Hassanen, told the Post.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN POST)
According to Reuters, the terrorist-linked Amaq News Agency announced last Thursday that IS (also known as ISIS, ISIL or Daesh) was responsible for the killing of two Chinese nationals who were abducted last month in the Baluchistan province and were believed to be Mandarin language teachers.
“Islamic State fighters killed two Chinese people they had been holding in Baluchistan province, southwest Pakistan,” Amaq was quoted as announcing in a statement.
On Monday, the Pakistani government identified the two Chinese nationals killed as 24-year-old Lee Zingyang and 26-year-old Meng Lisi. The interior ministry also claimed that both Lee and Meng were in violation of their visa rules because they were preaching instead of learning Urdu.
“Instead of engaging in any business activity, they went to Quetta and under the garb of learning (the) Urdu language from a Korean national … were actually engaged in preaching,” Reuters quoted the ministry as saying in a statement.
The statement didn’t indicate whether the Korean national was from South Korea or North Korea or what the Chinese nationals were preaching.
According to the online news outlet Quartz, The Global Times and Shanghai-based The Paper, the slain Chinese nationals belonged to a 13-member Christian missionary group in China being led by a South Korean national.
Quartz also cited Chinese reports indicating that a local Muslim community complained about the group trying to evangelize to them. Additionally, Quartz reports that a Chinese journalist has said that Chinese foreign ministry officials briefed reporters in a closed-door session and gave them much of the same information that has been reported.
Following the killing of the two Chinese nationals, Pakistan’s interior ministry has decided to “streamline” its visa policy for Chinese nationals, Pakistan’s The Nation quoted a ministry spokesperson as saying.
According to The Nation, Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan called for a databank of Chinese nationals present in Pakistan during a meeting.
“This data bank, to be prepared by National Database and Registration Authority, should be shared with all security agencies,” the minister said, reiterating their claim that the deceased Chinese nationals violated the terms of their visas.
The killing of the two Chinese Christians come as IS has attempted in the last year to establish its presence in Pakistan, just like it has in Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Afghanistan. IS-linked militants have carried out a number of attacks in Pakistan this year, including a suicide bombing at the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan that killed at least 90 and injured over 300 in February.
Last month, IS claimed a bomb attack on a convoy of Senate Deputy Chairman Abdul Ghafoor Haideri south of Quetta that killed 25 people.
Additionally, this is not the first time that IS has claimed responsibility for the killing Chinese nationals.
In 2015, IS in Syria killed 50-year-old Beijing native Fan Jinghui who was held hostage for months.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)
Republican House whip Steve Scalise shot in Virginia shooting
- The shooting appears to be a “deliberate attack,” sources tell CNN
- Scalise is the first member of Congress to be shot since former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords
Washington (CNN) Rep. Steve Scalise was shot Wednesday morning in Alexandria, Virginia, a House colleague told CNN, in what sources are calling an apparent “deliberate attack.”
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)
Secret Mexican diary sheds light on Spanish Inquisition
A story of torture, betrayal and persecution is captivating Mexicans almost 500 years after it happened.
The dramatic life and death of the Carvajal family in 16th-Century Mexico is in the spotlight after a decades-long search for a national treasure came to an unexpected happy ending.
Luis de Carvajal “The Young” came to Mexico – then known as New Spain – with his large, well-to-do family during the early colonisation of the Americas.
His family governed part of northern Mexico and soon made enemies, including a power-hungry viceroy keen to topple them from power.
The ambitious viceroy discovered that Luis de Carvajal was a practising Jew, a crime punishable by death in the times of the Spanish Inquisition
Older relatives had urged Luis de Carvajal to convert to Catholicism for his own safety, but he staunchly stuck to his faith.
When he was first arrested, the authorities let him off with a warning but kept tabs on him.
Far from giving up his religion, Luis de Carvajal became a leader in Mexico’s underground Jewish community.
When the inquisitors caught up with him again a few years later, he was sentenced to death. He was just 30 years old.
Before he was executed, he was tortured so badly that he revealed the names of 120 fellow Jewish people, historian Alicia Gojman explains.
His captors forced him to listen as those “heretics”, which included his own mother, were tortured in the cell next to him.
“He tried to commit suicide because he couldn’t cope with having told them about his family and friends, but didn’t manage it,” says Ms Gojman.
We know the excruciating details of Luis de Carvajal’s persecution because he managed to keep secret diaries.
But these were not any old notebooks. They were painstakingly crafted, miniature manuscripts with almost microscopic handwriting in Latin and Spanish.
Some pages were intricately decorated with gold leaf he scraped from pages of a Bible.
Each of the three memoirs was no larger than a present-day iPhone, most likely so he could keep them hidden away under his hat.
Luis de Carvajal wrote about being a young Jew in the New World, about exploring his heritage and practising his beliefs despite the dangers.
But much of the memoirs focus on his final tragic days before he was burned at the stake, with vivid descriptions of him falling to his knees upon hearing his mother’s tortured screams as she was pulled on the rack.
Luis de Carvajal found comfort in poetry, writing verses and prayers to reaffirm his faith in the face of so much cruelty.
Luis de Carvajal’s memoirs are treasured by Mexico’s Jewish population as chronicles of keeping faith despite the ruthlessness of the Spanish Inquisition.
“Children who go to Jewish schools study the Carvajal family history,” says Mauricio Lulka, executive director of the Central Committee for the Jewish Community in Mexico.
For centuries, the delicate manuscripts were kept in Mexico’s National Archives. They were treasured as being among the first artefacts documenting the arrival of Jews to the Americas and were studied by researchers from around the world.
But in 1932 they vanished, leading to suspicions among the small group of academics who had access to them that one of them may have stolen the precious diaries. After all, they were small enough to hide under a hat.
With no trace of the documents, the search was eventually suspended and the trail went cold.
More than 80 years after their disappearance, the London auction house Swann in 2016 listed “replicas” of the manuscript at an initial price of $1,500 (£1,150).
But a US collector of Judaica, Leonard Milberg, was suspicious.
Why would someone go to the trouble of recreating the minuscule handwriting of Luis de Carvajal’s original to create a replica?
Intrigued, he contacted the Mexican consulate which confirmed that the originals were still missing and sent experts to check the “replicas” out.
Baltazar Brito is the director of the National Library of Anthropology and History in Mexico and one of the experts sent to assess the documents.
“When I got there, something told me they were originals, I knew it in my heart,” he says.
For Mr Brito, the documents have relevance beyond their time.
“They tell the story of religious intolerance that we shouldn’t let happen again in the world,” he says. “Despite that, it still happens.”
Leonard Milberg felt the manuscripts belonged in Mexico, so the collector made it his mission to deal with all the international agencies involved and covered the costs of sending them back.
Their safe return was welcome news for Mexico’s now thriving Jewish community of about 50,000 people, many of whom were drawn to the country by its modern-day commitment to religious freedom.
After they were briefly exhibited in Mexico City they are now safely stored in a special climate-controlled vault in the National Library of Anthropology and History in Mexico, as no one wants to risk the miniature manuscripts disappearing for another eight decades.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE PAKISTAN NEWS PAPER ‘DAWN’)
A senior journalist of a local newspaper has been killed by unknown assailants in the Haripur district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Sunday, police told Dawn.
Baksheesh Allai ─ the bureau chief of The K2 Times ─ was on his way home when motorcyclists intercepted him on a main road and showered him with bullets, successfully fleeing the scene after the attack.
“We see this murder of a local journalist as an act of a high profile target killing and the assailants will soon be arrested,” Shahzad Nadeem Bukhari, the district police officer of Haripur, told reporters.
Mohammad Arshad, the brother of the slain journalist, has filed an FIR against unknown assailants, stating that Baksheesh Allai and his entire family had no enmities.
The local journalists’ fraternity placed the body of the victim at the Panian square at GT Road and blocked it to all sorts of traffic for many hours demanding the killers’ arrest.
Shahid Chaudhry, the president of the Abbottabad Press Club and ex-member of the executive body of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, led the protest.
Bukhari held talks with protesting journalists and convinced them to end the protest.
“I assure you that we will arrest his [Allai’s] killers without wasting any time as we are considering this is a high profile case of target killing,” said Bukhari.
Chaudhry asserted that the journalists’ fraternity across the Hazara region would observe protests and take out rallies to condemn the cold-blooded murder of their colleague on Monday.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)
Kabul, Kandahar – The Taliban claimed on Saturday an insider attack by an Afghan commando that left three American Troops dead US and Afghan officials said.
One US soldier was wounded in the incident.
Nangarhar provincial spokesman Attaullah Khogyani told AFP the Afghan commando had opened fire on US troops during an operation in the volatile Achin district.
“The (Afghan) soldier was also killed in the return fire,” he said.
The Pentagon said the families of the three dead soldiers were being informed.
“One US soldier was wounded and has been evacuated for medical treatment,” a spokesman added. “This incident is under investigation.”
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the deaths, saying the attack was carried out by an infiltrator.
This is a latest in a line of so-called “green-on-blue” attacks where Afghan soldiers have turned their weapons on international forces they are working with.
It also comes as the Taliban ramp up their campaign against the Western-backed government in Afghanistan, and as US President Donald Trump mulls sending more troops into the lengthy conflict.
Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed on Twitter that four US soldiers were killed in the attack. The insurgents are known to exaggerate battlefield claims.
Achin is also contested by militants of the ISIS group.
In April, the US military dropped its largest non-nuclear bomb ever used in combat on a complex of caves in Achin used by ISIS fighters.
The deployment of the so-called Mother Of All Bombs killed dozens of extremists, but fighting in the area has continued.
American troops have partnered with Afghan soldiers in raids against ISIS Khorasan, claiming the local offshoot of the militant group based in Iraq and Syria is steadily losing ground in Afghanistan.
Green-on-blue attacks have been a major problem during NATO’s long years fighting alongside Afghan forces.
Western officials say most insider attacks stem from personal grudges and cultural misunderstandings rather than insurgent plots.
Saturday’s attack came just hours after an errant US air strike killed and wounded at least six Afghan policemen in southern Helmand province, in the latest “friendly fire” incident.
Such strikes have bred deep mistrust between local and foreign forces.
Three US troops were wounded in March when an Afghan soldier opened fire in Helmand, in the first known insider attack on international forces this year.
Similar incidents have also plagued Afghan troops, depleting morale and causing mistrust within security ranks.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)
Iran has slammed US President Donald Trump’s response to Wednesday’s twin terror attacks in Tehran as “repugnant”, as the death toll from the ISIS-claimed assaults rose to 16.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)
Three police shot, man dead after ‘terrorist attack’ in Melbourne, Australia
(CNN) An armed standoff in Melbourne, Australia, which left one civilian dead and two police in hospital was a “terrorist incident,” Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told reporters Tuesday.