News from the Frontlines

Thursday March 5, 2015

Islamic State frees 19 of 220 abducted Christians

Middle East Concern, March 2, 2015

We are pleased to report that 19 hostages were released yesterday (1st March). However, grave concerns remain for the many others still being held by Daesh, now estimated to be more than two hundred. The nineteen released were taken by bus to the Church of Our Lady in Hassaka. Most are men, and all are reported to be over 50 years old. There is speculation that an Islamic court ordered their release after 'tax payments' were made on their behalf.

The abductions began at around 4.00am on 23rd February, when Daesh launched an offensive on a 40km front along the River Khabour in Hassaka Governorate - an area in which there are around 35 predominantly Christian villages. It is believed that the abducted Christians are being held in Mount Abdelaziz, an area nearby which is under Daesh control.

News from the Frontlines

Monday March 2, 2015

Authorities in Iran Raid Christians' Homes, Ask Them to Leave Country

By Our Middle East Correspondent
ISTANBUL, Turkey, March 1, 2015 (Morning Star News) – A Christian in Iran who received 80 lashes for drinking communion wine has been asked to leave the country, human right activists said.

Agents from the Iranian intelligence service, known as VEVAK, on Feb. 16 raided the home of Mehdi Reza Omidi and two other members of house churches in Rasht, Saheb Fadaie and Yasser Mosayebzadeh, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), a United Kingdom-based advocacy group. Omidi was one of four men sentenced on Oct. 6, 2013 to 80 lashes for drinking communion wine and owning a satellite antenna. Rights advocates believe the flogging was carried out within a month after sentencing.

After the Feb. 16 raids on the homes of Omidi and the two others, authorities ordered the three Christians to report the next day for questioning, where officials asked them to leave Iran. [READ MORE]

News from the Frontlines

Friday February 27, 2015

Islamic Extremists in Sub-Saharan Africa Pursue Convert from Islam Who Fled Egypt

By Our Sudan Correspondent
NAIROBI, Kenya, February 26, 2015 (Morning Star News) – When Ahmed Ali, a Christian convert from Islam, fled his native Egypt to a sub-Saharan nation after months of torture by his father and brothers, loneliness was not his worst problem.

On the streets of the capital city of the African country (undisclosed for security reasons) last month, Ali’s uncle appeared – accompanied by members of an Islamic extremist group his family had hired to assault him, Ali said.

“Why have you left Islam?” various ones among them said, according to Ali. “Why did you become an infidel? You should pay for your act.” [READ MORE]

News from the Frontlines

Friday February 27, 2015

U.S. Evangelist Wins Five Year Battle for Residency in Turkey

By Our Middle East Correspondent
ISTANBUL, Turkey, February 25, 2015 (Morning Star News) – After a five-year court battle, a U.S. evangelist singled out by Turkey’s Ministry of the Interior for deportation because of his outreach activities has been granted a residency permit to stay in Turkey.

David Byle was issued a residency permit at the end of January after five years of living in limbo. During that time, the co-founder of the Holy Book Information Association, also known as the Bible Correspondence Course in Turkey (BCC-Turkey), was unsure from month to month if he might be detained and deported.

His problems stemmed from an immigration hold placed on his name by Turkey’s Ministry of the Interior that prevented him from getting a regular residency visa. Over the summer, the Fifth Administrative Court in Ankara found that the hold on his file was not legal. [READ MORE]

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