Mideast Monitor

Found 36 stories for this story collection.
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  • Northern Iraqis 'just like us' & need help

    by Mark Kelly, posted Monday, September 15, 2014 (4 years ago)

    GHR photo
    KURDISTAN (BP) -- The newlyweds collapsed into bed, exhausted from a day filled with wedding celebrations. It was their first night as man and wife. Read More

  • Displaced Iraqis share stories of suffering

    by Mark Kelly, posted Friday, September 05, 2014 (4 years ago)

    Photo by Joseph Rose/BGR
    NASHVILLE (BP) -- More than they want food, forcibly displaced families in northern Iraq want to talk about the pain they are enduring at the hands of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) extremists. Read More

  • ISIS terror threat gives impetus to 'just war,' strategists say

    by David Roach, posted Wednesday, September 03, 2014 (4 years ago)

    Image from iStock. Graphic by Laura Erlanson
    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. Read More

  • Life-saving supplies delivered to displaced in northern Iraq

    by Mark Kelly, posted Tuesday, September 02, 2014 (4 years ago)

    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.

    Photo by Joseph Rose/BGR
    "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." Read More

  • Floyd: Iraq crisis calls for urgent action

    by Mark Kelly, posted Monday, August 25, 2014 (4 years ago)

    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. Read More

  • Israeli and Palestinian believers 'not void of hope' amid conflict

    by Charles Braddix, posted Friday, August 22, 2014 (4 years ago)

    JERUSALEM (BP) -- In war-torn Gaza and Israel, Christians watch with anguish as violence ravages the innocent on both sides of the conflict. But this "season of weeping and mourning" is "not void of hope," said Yohanna Katanacho, academic dean of Bethlehem Bible College and an "on call" pastor of Nazareth Baptist Church.

    Photo by Israeli Defense Forces, used with permission
    "Our tears are the bridge between brutality and humanity," Katanacho, who describes himself as an Arab Christian living in Israel, said. "Pray with tears" in regard to the Gaza-Israel conflict, he challenged believers.

    The latest clashes between Israel and Hamas in the past six weeks have seen more than 2,000 killed and 10,000 injured. But as deadly attacks continue, Christians from both sides of the conflict continue to pray for peace that some would contend can only be supernatural, and peace that the Bible says is beyond understanding.

    "We feel strongly that our position is to enlist prayer for all the people on all sides of the conflict," Dale Thorne, director of the Jerusalem Prayer Center, said. The center, an entity of Southern Baptists, is a five-minute walk from the ancient walled city of Jerusalem.

    "The real question for us is how are we to pray in this quagmire of pain, fear, destruction and confusion," Thorne said. "We can only depend on God's Word. There is no other source."

    Prayer is "invaluable" in times like these, he said.

    "When we replace worry with prayer and anxiety with thankfulness, we experience God's peace, which will control our emotions and thoughts and keep us centered in Jesus the Messiah," Thorne said.

    One leader of the Baptist church in Gaza said, "We have peace in our hearts."

    For people like Faten,* that peace is vital.

    Faten, a Baptist who attends the Bethlehem Bible College extension in Gaza, is grieving the deaths of two students who attended the school where her sister works. The students were hit by Israeli rocket fire while playing on the roof of their apartment building.

    When Katanacho, the academic dean of Bethlehem Bible College, learned that rockets were striking close to the building where Faten lives, he phoned her asking if there was an area where she could seek refuge. "She chuckled and said that the only refuge she has is God and He is enough for her," Katanacho said.

    He expressed amazement at her trust in God's care. "She wholeheartedly believes that her life is in God's hands," Katanacho said. "God is her refuge in Gaza. God called her to serve Him in this difficult place, and she will honor her Lord."

    Hanna Massad, former pastor of Gaza Baptist Church now living in Jordan, said, "It's a truly desperate situation ... many lives will never be the same again." Read More

  • Reign of terror must be stopped, Moore says

    by Tom Strode, posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 (4 years ago)

    WASHINGTON (BP) -- The United States possesses a distinctive duty in Iraq to combat the reign of terror by an Islamist army and needs discernment on how to do so, the Southern Baptist Convention's lead ethicist has said. Read More

  • Decisive action in Iraq urged in open letter

    by Tom Strode, posted Wednesday, August 13, 2014 (4 years ago)

    "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. Read More

  • ERLC's Moore urges action to stop genocide

    by Staff/ERLC, posted Tuesday, August 12, 2014 (4 years ago)

    "Our authorities should use the sword of the state to promote justice and the protection of innocent people."

    -- Russell D. Moore

    WASHINGTON, D.C. (BP) -- Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, signed onto an open letter with national leaders on Tuesday urging the United States and international community to act immediately to stop the genocide of religious minorities in Iraq. Read More