Category : Terrorism

Boko Haram traps starving people in Nigeria, UN warns

Two million people are teetering on the brink of famine in northeastern Nigeria but efforts to reach some are being thwarted by Boko Haram jihadists, the UN’s food agency said Thursday.

More than 20 million people across Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen, are in areas hit by drought and are experiencing famine or are at high risk of famine in “the biggest crisis we have seen in the past 50 years”, said Denise Brown, emergency coordinator for the UN’s World Food Programme.

“While they are all in difficulty, northeastern Nigeria is one that has got under our skin at WFP,” she added.

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Posted in Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Nigeria, Poverty, Terrorism

(FT) Sunni clerics in Sisi sights after Isis targets Christians

Days after twin suicide blasts at Christian churches rocked Egypt, the country’s media launched a wave of highly unusual attacks on al-Azhar, the institution that has for centuries provided religious guidance to Sunni Muslims around the world.

“If you are incapable, too tired or fed up, leave the job to someone else. Your passivity is killing us,” Amr Adib, a television presenter, yelled as he called on Azhar’s Grand Imam Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb to resign.

Such fiery criticism appears to reflect tensions between Egypt’s political and religious leaders, with pro-regime media alleging that Azhar’s leaders are failing to combat extremism and maybe even fuelling it. Pressure on Azhar — which Pope Francis visited last month — soared in the wake of April’s church bombings in Tanta and Alexandria, which were claimed by Isis and killed dozens of Christians.

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Posted in Coptic Church, Egypt, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Politics in General, Terrorism

NYT Front Page–When the Wife of a Soldier Hears a Knock at the Door

Nothing could have prepared her for April 8, a Saturday, when she returned from a soccer practice and heard a knock at their home at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

Mrs. De Alencar was upstairs. Her daughter Tatiyana, 13, shouted that two uniformed men were at the door, “like in the movies, when they knock on the door when something bad has happened.”

Mrs. De Alencar knew why the soldiers had come. “I couldn’t get down the steps. My body just froze,” she recalled.

When she was told that Mark was dead, she said haltingly, “it was the worst feeling in the world.”

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Marriage & Family, Military / Armed Forces, Terrorism, War in Afghanistan

(Telegraph) Lord George Carey–Christians face extinction in the Middle East – the next Government must prevent it

I recently saw images of the hauntingly empty Iraqi town of Qaraqosh, near Mosul, which was taken by ISIS in 2014. It had a population of 50,000 mostly Assyrian Christians, but is now totally abandoned.

The militants have used every means to erase the town of its Christian identity defiling and destroying its beautiful church buildings.

In August 2014, the militants swept through towns around Mosul and forced thousands to flee. Qaraqosh’s Christians abandoned their homes and have still not returned, even though the town has now been liberated from IS.

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Posted in Middle East, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

([London] Times) Exploit weak US gun laws to kill hostages, Isis guide orders

Islamic State has published a guide that encourages potential jihadists in America to exploit relaxed US gun laws to arm themselves and kill hostages.

The latest edition of the Isis magazine Rumiyah also made a plea to potential British recruits, saying: “Guns are readily available for purchase on the streets of Britain, even if not to the extent of their availability on the streets of its crusader European partners.”

The magazine provides details of how guns can be purchased in the US without background checks. “In most US states, anything from a single-shot shotgun all the way up to a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle can be purchased at showrooms or through online sales — by way of private dealers — with no background checks and without requiring either an ID or a gun licence,” it says.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Law & Legal Issues, Terrorism

(LA Times) The U.S. military is targeting ISIS’s virtual caliphate by hunting & killing its online operatives one-by-one

Gen. Joseph Votel, head of U.S. Central Command, which oversees military operations in the Middle East, acknowledged Islamic State’s loss of territory does not mean it is on the verge of collapse.

The group will continue to coordinate and inspire attacks from its online “virtual caliphate,” he said in an email interview.

“The military defeat of ISIS is essential but not sufficient,” he said, using an acronym for Islamic State. “As we continue to degrade ISIS’ physical capability they will shift more of their attention to the virtual realm and we will need to do whatever we can to stay ahead of them.”

U.S. efforts to counter extremist messaging has largely failed so far, said Thomas Joscelyn, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Terrorism

(Christian Today) 1.5 million Christians have fled Iraq in an exodus that could lead to the extinction of the faith in the land

As many as 1.5 million Christians have fled Iraq since the rise of Islamic State, according to an Iraqi MP.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Christian lawyer Josef Sleve said that just 14 years ago, there had been nearly two milliion Christians in Iraq.

There are now between 500,000 and 850,000.

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Posted in Iraq, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

(Atlantic) Emma Green–How 2 Mississippi College Students Fell in Love and Decided to Join a Terrorist Group

ISIS sympathizers pose a terrifying dilemma for law-enforcement officials, who have to sift through droves of online aliases engaged with propaganda—whose owners might live in America or abroad—to identify people who credibly wish to harm the United States. The accounts may not be accessible because of encryption, the FBI agents working the Mississippi case told me, and leads can go dark. Americans expect their government to prevent violence before it happens: Their shared national nightmare is the plot that goes undiscovered before an attack or the known sympathizer who gets away. Faced with such high stakes and uncertainty, the FBI is left to teeter between catching people before they act and walking along with them until they violate the law.

The most remarkable thing about Jaelyn and Moe is that theirs was a largely straightforward case. In less than three months, the FBI had crafted a powerful indictment against them. Theoretically, when the Bureau comes across two kids like Jaelyn and Moe—lost, in love, and grasping toward a dark future—agents could try to set them on another path, reaching out to their families and communities. In reality, though, that’s not what the country has asked them to do.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Young Adults

(Bloomberg) Champions League Final Police to Scan Soccer Fans’ Faces

Security at this year’s Champions League final will be aided by facial recognition technology.

Police will be able to match soccer fans’ faces against a database of known offenders in real-time, according to a contract worth 170,000 pounds ($210,000) posted on the U.K. government’s website.

“The UEFA Champions League finals in Cardiff give us a unique opportunity to test and prove the concept of this technology in a live operational environment,” South Wales Police Chief Superintendent Jon Edwards said in an emailed statement, adding that it should provide a basis for further use of the technology by police.

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Posted in --Wales, Police/Fire, Sports, Terrorism

(BBC) Egyptian Christians living in fear for the future

At the ancient Monastery of St Mina in the desert sands of Egypt, a low concrete tomb holds the remains of Christians slaughtered for their faith – not in Roman times, but earlier this month.
They were among almost 50 people killed in co-ordinated attacks at two churches. The bombings – on Palm Sunday – were claimed by the so-called Islamic State (IS).
Priests at the monastery say persecution is as old as the faith.

“The history of the Christians is like this,” said Father Elijah Ava Mina, his flowing white beard contrasting with his black robes. “Jesus told us ‘narrow is the gate, and difficult is the way’.”

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Posted in Coptic Church, Egypt, Middle East, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

(CT) Forgiveness: Muslims Moved as Coptic Christians Do the Unimaginable

Twelve seconds of silence is an awkward eternity on television. Amr Adeeb, perhaps the most prominent talk show host in Egypt, leaned forward as he searched for a response.

“The Copts of Egypt … are made of … steel!” he finally uttered.

Moments earlier, Adeeb was watching a colleague in a simple home in Alexandria speak with the widow of Naseem Faheem, the guard at St. Mark’s Cathedral in the seaside Mediterranean city.

On Palm Sunday, the guard had redirected a suicide bomber through the perimeter metal detector, where the terrorist detonated. Likely the first to die in the blast, Faheem saved the lives of dozens inside the church.

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Posted in Christology, Coptic Church, Egypt, Middle East, Terrorism, Theology: Scripture

(Bloomberg) Boko Haram Conflict Cuts Nigeria Wheat Crop as Farmers Flee

Wheat growers in Nigeria’s northeast have abandoned their farms under the onslaught of the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency, a setback for the country’s efforts to cut imports by boosting local production, a research agency said.

“Wheat production in the zone has declined to just 20 percent of what it used to be due to insurgency,” Oluwashina Olabanji, executive director of the Lake Chad Research Institute, said in an interview in the northeastern city of Maiduguri, the Borno state capital. Borno, which used to account for about a quarter of Nigeria’s production, currently grows no wheat, he said.

Nigeria produced an average of 80,000 metric tons of wheat a year for decades until the introduction of a new variety in the 2012-13 season that tripled the average yield to as much as 6 tons per hectare (2.47 acres), increasing output to 400,000 tons in 2015-16 as more areas were cultivated, according to the institute. This compares with the output of 3.3 million tons during the same period by Ethiopia, sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest producer.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Economy, Nigeria, Terrorism

(Christian Today) Ancient Sinai monastery targeted by Islamic militants in Egypt a week after Coptic church bombings

Islamist gunmen attacked security forces near St Catherine’s Monastery in Egypt’s south Sinai yesterday, killing at least one police officer and injuring four others outside one of the world’s most important and oldest Christian sites.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack on a police checkpoint about 800 metres from the entrance to the monastery, which comes just 10 days before Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Egypt.

The incident follows two deadly suicide bombings on Coptic Christian churches last week, which were also claimed by Islamic State and which plunged the country into mourning and marked one of the bloodiest days for the country’s Christian minority in decades.

St Catherine’s, founded in the 6th century and located at the foot of Mount Sinai, is one of the oldest Christian monasteries in the world and a UNESCO world heritage site. It is part of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

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Posted in Coptic Church, Egypt, Middle East, Terrorism

(NDTV) Iraqi Christians Hold Easter Celebrations At A Church Damaged By ISIS

Hundreds of Iraqi Christians gathered on Sunday in a church damaged by ISIS north of Mosul, celebrating Easter there for the first time since 2014.

“God willing, the celebration of the resurrection of Christ will also mark the return and rising-up of the Christians in Iraq,” said Kyriacos Isho, 75, who was accompanied by his 12 children and grandchildren at Mar Gewargis (St George) Chaldean Catholic church in Tel Esqof.

Tel Esqof, or Bishop’s Hill in Arabic, did not sustain the same amount of damage as other Christian towns overrun by the terrorists three years ago in the plain of Nineveh.

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Posted in Easter, Iraq, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Terrorism

(Tel) Lord George Carey: Christians face genocide, but the Government looks the other way

On Maundy Thursday today in which we remember the last supper, it is distressing beyond belief to know that the steady ‘crucifixion’ of Middle East Christians continues.

There are millions in the Middle East today whose identities are attacked daily. They are being eradicated in a region of the world where they have always coexisted with others. These are ancient communities who face a daily threat of being slaughtered in the relentless brutality of war.

One of the most disturbing things about the current crisis is how slow the world has been to recognise that Christians, and indeed other groups such as Yazidis, are facing genocide in Syria and Iraq. Even those governments which recognise there is a serious problem are sitting on their hands and doing nothing to prevent the eradication of Christians from the birthplace of our faith.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Middle East, Terrorism, Uncategorized