A collection of top news stories from July 4 – July11, 2014:
ISIS destroys shrines, Shiite mosques in Iraq • Netanyahu calls father of slain Palestinian teen • 63 women and girls escape Boko Haram after clashes With Nigerian Military • ISIS shows off child recruits • Obama’s faith-based advisers divided over religious exemption for anti-gay discrimination • Learning More About The Hindu Religion
ISIS destroys shrines, Shiite mosques in Iraq
Jihadists have destroyed at least six Shiite mosques and four shrines devoted to Sufi and Sunni Arab figures in Iraq’s Nineveh province. Images of the destruction using explosives and bulldozers were posted by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS/IS).
Netanyahu calls father of slain Palestinian teen
After a suspected revenge attack, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the father of Mohammed Abu Khdair, whose son was kidnapped and burned alive by suspected Israeli right-wing extremists.
“I would like to express my outrage and that of the citizens of Israel over the reprehensible murder of your son,” Netanyahu said. “We acted immediately to apprehend the murderers. We will bring them to trial and they will be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law,” he continued.
“We denounce all brutal behavior. The murder of your son is abhorrent and cannot be countenanced by any human being,” Netanyahu expressed.
63 women and girls escape Boko Haram after clashes With Nigerian Military
Nigerian security sources have reported that 63 girls and women have escaped from Boko Haram, the group that is trying to create an Islamic state located in northern Nigeria. The hostages were captured as a group of 68 girls and women during a siege that left their village of Kummabza burned to the ground.
The Nigerian women and girls found the opportunity to escape during fighting between the Nigerian military and Boko Haram.
Over 200 schoolgirls abducted in April from Chibok remain held captive by Boko Haram in Nigeria.
ISIS shows off child recruits
Using Twitter, a pro-ISIS combatant named al-Simsim published a picture of young children recently recruited by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. “May God give them strength,” was al-Simsim’s message in addition to a comments that children are “racing to join the ranks” of ISIS.
The children were photographed in ragged clothing in front of an ISIS “registration office” in al-Bab, a town in the Aleppo province of Syria.
Obama’s faith-based advisers divided over religious exemption for anti-gay discrimination
Faith-based advisers for President Obama are divided over an upcoming executive order that would legally prohibit discrimination against sexual orientation among federal contractors. The key issue is if this directive should allow a religious exemption. A letter to the president this Tuesday, July 8 stated:
“An exception would set a terrible precedent by denying true equality for LGBT people, while simultaneously opening a Pandora’s Box inviting other forms of discrimination.” The letter was signed by over 100 signatories.
Last week, a letter requesting an exemption had been signed by former advisory council members along with Obama’s former chief liaison to evangelicals. Their request stated, ““A religious exemption would simply maintain that religious organizations will not be automatically disqualified or disadvantaged in obtaining contracts because of their religious beliefs.”
Learning More About The Hindu Religion
After reviewing a map developed by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies, Arizona authors learned that Hinduism has the second largest number of members in their state. On a visit to the Ekta Mandir temple in Phoenix, Sarah Ventre narrates her compelling experience.