ISIL issues hit list of U.S. churches for holiday attacks

The Islamic State published the names and addresses of thousands of churches in the United States and called on its adherents to attack them during the holiday season, according to a message posted late-night Wednesday in the group’s “Secrets of Jiha

CHR Comment: The article does not include a list of the churches that were suggested as targets but they were found across country. These attacks did not take place. ISIS was perhaps hoping that their publication of a list would inspire action by resident disciples of their movement.

Source: ISIL issues hit list of U.S. churches for holiday attacks

Iraqi Church Desecrated By Jihadis

Islamic State fighters are the “grandsons of Satan” according to survivors of the torture and slaughter in Mosul in Iraq.

CHR Comment: A report on the efforts of ISIS in the Mosel region where many Christians have lived. According to the report, Christians remain hostage to ISIS.

Source: ISIS Are The ‘Grandsons Of Satan’: Iraqi Christians Return To Find Church Desecrated By Jihadis | Christian News on Christian Today

Iraqi Christians Celebrate Mass In Qaraqosh

Surrounded by charred walls and in front of a ruined altar, dozens of Iraqi Christians celebrated mass at the Church of the Immaculate Conception.

CHR Comment: Christians were driven out in August 2014 when ISIS troops occupied the city and issued an ultimatum that they should convert or else.

Source: Iraqi Christians Celebrate Mass In Qaraqosh For The First Time Since Liberation From ISIS | Christian News on Christian Today

Islamists Attack French Church, Slit Priest’s Throat

CHR Comment: The dramatic murder of Father Jacques Hamel at Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray in France while he was finishing mass illustrates the senseless brutality of ISIS inspired “soldiers.” Remarkably, the terrorists chose as their target an 84-year old man. The terrorism experienced by so many Near Eastern Christians continues to crop up in Europe and North America in 2016, illustrating desperate measures by devotees of the declining Islamic State. Father Hamel is rightly remembered as a martyr of the Christian Faith. Lord, have mercy.

I’ve added a more recent article below, which includes further information about the attack. And now a third article about ISIS.

Source: Islamists attack French church, slit priest’s throat | Reuters

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2016/07/28/france-church-attacker-islamic-state-priest-nuns/87651244/

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2016/07/27/islamic-state-losing-territory/87645316/

 

Iraq’s Oldest Christian Monastery Destroyed by Islamic State

Satellite images confirm the oldest Christian monastery in Iraq has been destroyed by the jihadist group Islamic State (IS).

CHR Comment: St. Elijah’s monastery was 1,400 years old. The article describes some features of its cultural significance, the martyrs there from 1743, and use of the monastery by military groups in recent fighting. The article is based on an interview with a Chaldean priest since the Chaldeans were the last Christian group associated with the site. None of the articles I saw included much information about St. Elijah himself. If a reader is aware of further information on this Syriac Christian leader, please share comments and/or a link.

This is yet another example of how ISIS practices vandalism in the name of religion, as though an unused site was somehow a threat to them.

Source: Iraq’s oldest Christian monastery destroyed by Islamic State – BBC News

Egypt’s President Greets Christmas Worshippers

Egypt’s Coptic Christians follow the Julian calendar in celebrating Christmas on January 7th of each year. For the second consecutive . . . .

CHR Comment: Early in 2015 Coptic Christians were martyred by ISIS militants. Religious tensions in Egypt and elsewhere around the Middle East remain high. Here is a positive example of how one government official in a predominantly Muslim country is attempting to ease tensions.

Source: Eastern Christmas and Egypt’s President | Ayman S. Ibrahim | First Things

Rev. Jacques Mourad’s Escape from ISIS

A Syrian priest held hostage for months by the ISIS terrorist group is certain his life was saved due to his interfaith work, despite being threatened with beheading by jihadists if he did not renounce Christianity.

CHR Comment: Mourad, a Syrian Catholic priest, was captured at the Mar Moussa monastery along with a fellow worker, driven to Raqqa, held prisoner in a bathroom, and urged to convert to Islam or die. He credits his efforts at dialogue with Muslims and compassionate attitude toward them as reasons why he was not executed. While a captive, he met c. 250 members of his parish who were likewise held as prisoners. After ministering to fellow captives for some time, he determined it was best for him to escape.

Source: Priest who survived ISIS: “My interfaith work saved my life’’ – The Washington Post

Assyrian Christian Hostages Held for Ransom

The Islamic State released 10 Assyrian Christian hostages Tuesday night in the Tel Temir town in Hasakah province, northeastern Syria, but over 150 remain captured and threatened with death.

CHR Comment: Those released seem to be persons who could not easily be held in captivity (sick and elderly). The captors seek millions of dollars in ransom money. Terrorist groups use these methods as a form of fundraising.

Source: ISIS Releases 10 Assyrian Christian Hostages; Over 150 Remain Captured