September 16, 2014
The Persecuted Church
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2nd VIEW: Northern Iraqis 'just like us' & need help
KURDISTAN (BP) -- The newlyweds collapsed into bed, exhausted from a day filled with wedding celebrations. It was their first night as man and wife.
Boko Haram gaining ground in Nigeria
ABUJA, Nigeria (BP) -- Boko Haram's incessant capture of villages in northeastern Nigeria is gaining attention from United States and United Nations security officials, who say the terrorists' victories are troubling and pose a serious threat to Nigeria's overall security.
ISIS terror threat gives impetus to 'just war,' strategists say
NASHVILLE (BP) -- With ISIS beheading a second American journalist and controlling a large section of Iraq and Syria, analysts say military action against the terrorist group aligns with traditional just war principles.
Life-saving supplies delivered to displaced in northern Iraq
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) -- Life-saving relief supplies are being delivered to Iraqi Christians and other minorities forcibly displaced in northern Iraq by radical ISIS Islamists. Many of these families have gone for three weeks with little to eat, said Abraham,* who leads work in the Middle East for Baptist Global Response (BGR). He reports these persecuted Christians believe they are facing extinction and worry Christians in the West do not know of their suffering.
"We entered this one camp, and they said, 'So far we are just eating rice and some watery tomato soup. We have only had meat once. A guy came and he gave us some chicken. Just for a day,'" Abraham said. "It touched my heart, to know we could provide some good healthy nutrition for these people," he added. "It brought joy to their hearts for us to bring beans and other food. Just to make them feel they are normal and loved." Many of these families were urban professionals who ran businesses and owned homes. When violence reached their majority-Christian neighborhood, however, they had only minutes to flee. An estimated 60,000 people left in the space of a few hours, most with only the clothes on their backs. Several families pooled their resources and managed to rent an apartment, Abraham said. Eight families shared two floors of an unfinished house. "We entered this place, and it's totally empty. It's just a floor and concrete walls," he said. "To look at these children, to look in the eyes of a defeated father who cannot provide for his family, the least we could do was we bought carpet so it can be a little more comfortable for them than sleeping on the floor. Pillows. Blankets. Basic things." Baptist Global Response has been providing relief to refugees and displaced families throughout the Middle East for years now, Abraham said. But the ISIS advance across northern Iraq has compounded one crisis with another. "That makes it more tragic, in a sense, but at the same time it helps us because we already have work, we already have projects on the ground, to pool our efforts together, to pool our teams together," he said. "Now some of our national team members are forcibly displaced themselves, becoming victims of the crisis as well." BGR is drawing on resources provided by Global Hunger Relief (GHR) to provide food, water, baby formula, propane burners and temporary shelter. They also have been helping families obtain cooling units to provide relief from scorching summer heat. "The heat is suffocating. The temperature is in the hundreds and it's a dusty environment. So you can see a baby, 25 days old, they cannot endure this," Abraham said. "So we try to have a water cooling system to help them in their own tent."
Bae interviewed; Abedini's release requested
WASHINGTON (BP) -- An American Christian being held captive in North Korea said in interviews with CNN and the Associated Press that his health is failing and asked the U.S. government to help secure his release.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement calling on Iran to release pastor Saeed Abedini, another American Christian held prisoner for nearly two years.
Stand, fight for religious liberty, Platt says
NASHVILLE (BP) -- Southern Baptists must boldly proclaim the Gospel as they fight for religious freedom in the United States and globally, David Platt said in an interview conducted by the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
Bolivian laws threaten religious liberty
COCHABAMBA, Bolivia (BP) -- Evangelical Christians in Bolivia have begun their battle against new measures that could result in the dissolution of Protestant denominations and other religious groups in the heavily Catholic Andean country.
Boko Haram sets up Islamic Caliphate
BORNO, Nigeria (BP) -- Boko Haram has established its own government in Gwoza, a Nigerian city it captured three weeks ago by killing perhaps 1,000 residents and overcoming the Nigerian military, a legislator displaced from his home there has confirmed.
Egypt yet to help persecuted Christians
CAIRO, Egypt (BP) -- One year after the attacks, Mina Thabet can still see the ruins in his mind -- a seemingly endless series of scorched, hollowed-out church buildings, schools, homes and businesses stretching out across Egypt.
Floyd: Iraq crisis calls for urgent action
SPRINGDALE, Ark. (BP) -- Christians in Iraq are the targets of a "horrific injustice" and immediate action is required to help them, said Ronnie Floyd, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, in an Aug. 25 statement.
FIRST-PERSON: Iraqi Christians are suffering. Now is the time to act!
Now is the time for Christians to act, says Southern Baptist Convention president Ronnie Floyd, as he points to the crisis in Iraq.
Indian villages crack down on Christians
NEW DELHI, India (BP) -- Christian minorities in central India face a new threat as Hindu extremists in more than a dozen village councils have passed resolutions imposing restrictions on religions other than Hinduism.
N. Korea detainee's family pleads for release
PYONGYANG, North Korea (BP) -- The family of an American man detained in North Korea for "anti-state" crimes has apologized to the country and pleaded with officials to show mercy and release him, saying in a statement that they are desperate for him to return home.
Nigeria death toll higher than reported
GWOZA, Nigeria (BP) -- The death toll from Boko Haram's takeover of the predominantly Christian town of Gwoza is nearly 1,000, not the 100 included in many reports, Nigerian relations expert Adeniyi Ojutiku told Baptist Press.
Decisive action in Iraq urged in open letter
"No options that are consistent with the principles of just war doctrine should be off the table."
-- Open letter initiated by Robert George, USCIRF vice chair
WASHINGTON (BP) -- An open letter endorsed by the Southern Baptist Convention's lead ethicist and religious freedom advocate calls for the United States and other countries to support decisive military action to incapacitate extremist Islamic forces conducting genocide in Iraq.

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