False Criminal Charges Placed Against Iraqi Christians in America by Islamic Interim Government in Iraq
by, Lauren Markoe | NCRonline.org | h/t T. Shoebat
Some Chaldeans and their supporters are wondering why more Christian Americans — their co-religionists — are not speaking out against the impending deportation of hundreds of them from the U.S. to Iraq, which many liken to a “death sentence.”
About 200 Chaldeans — members of a group of Christians indigenous to Iraq — were rounded up by ICE agents in past weeks, including 114 in the Detroit area last weekend.
Martin Manna, president of the Chaldean Community Foundation, based in Sterling Heights, Mich., said he’s frustrated by evangelicals and others who have expressed outrage over the persecution of Christians in the Middle East but who have been silent about the Chaldeans who face deportation.
“They could be doing a lot more,” he said. “They could be saying, ‘Wait, we have been fighting to protect these people in their ancestral lands and now we are sending them back to those areas that we’re not doing enough to protect?'”
Philippe Nassif, executive director of In Defense of Christians — a Washington-based group that seeks to protect persecuted Christians in the Middle East — pointed to evangelicals such as Franklin Graham, president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, who held a summit in Washington last month to rally support for Middle Eastern Christians he called victims of genocide.
“They came to D.C., a whole bunch of them,” said Nassif. “They brought up the issue that needed to be brought up, but we’re not seeing the follow-up. If they can’t stand up for the people who already made it here, then how can they stand up for the ones in the Middle East?”
Graham this week had not spoken out about the Chaldeans in custody until Thursday (June 15), when he issued a statement after an inquiry from RNS.
“I find it very disturbing what I have read about Chaldean Christians being rounded up by ICE for possible deportation. I would encourage the president to have someone investigate these cases thoroughly,” Graham said in a statement.
“I understand a policy of deporting people who are here illegally and have broken the law,” Graham’s statement continued. “I don’t know all of the details, but I would encourage our president to give great consideration to the threat to lives of Christians in countries like Iraq.”
Nassif said he was glad Graham felt moved to speak out.
But Nassif said there should have been more of an outcry when news broke of the Chaldeans’ plight.
Although the Knights of Columbus, the Catholic fraternal organization and a longtime ally of the Chaldeans, is circulating a letter on their behalf, “we aren’t seeing a lot of these other larger voices in the community standing up for the Iraqi Christians,” Nassif said.
“If all these people really care about these communities in the Middle East, they should also be caring about the communities that are living here in the United States that are being sent back,” he said.
Another group that has taken a stand on behalf of the Chaldeans: the American Civil Liberties Union. It filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court in Detroit on Thursday to halt the deportations.
Some of the Chaldeans detained by ICE have committed crimes, but their families say those offenses were often nonviolent and happened decades ago. The convicted have served their time and have become productive members of society on whom their families depend, they say.
A Department of Homeland Security representative defended the government’s actions.
“The agency recently arrested a number of Iraqi nationals, all of whom had criminal convictions for crimes including homicide, rape, aggravated assault, kidnapping, burglary, drug trafficking, robbery, sex assault, weapons violations and other offenses,” DHS spokeswoman Gillian Christensen said in a statement.
“Each of these individuals received full and fair immigration proceedings, after which a federal immigration judge found them ineligible for any form of relief under U.S. law and ordered them removed.”
Advocacy groups and the U.S. government have for years documented the danger to Christians living in Iraq, whose numbers have plummeted to less than 200,000 from a high of 1.2 million before the Iraq War. Many died during the conflict and hundreds of thousands fled to safer lands. Today Iraqi Christians sit in the crosshairs of the group known as the Islamic State, which is losing territory but still active in Iraq.
More than a year ago Congress and the State Department, under then-Secretary of State John Kerry, recognized the slaughter of Christians in the Middle East as a genocide.
“This is not complicated,” said Thomas Farr, director of the Religious Freedom Project at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs. “Iraqi Christians have formally been designated by the United States as victims of ‘genocide.’ They and other named minorities of that declaration should be welcomed to this country. Those who have made it here already should not be deported.”
Chaldeans are Eastern Rite Catholics, who affiliate with the Roman Catholic Church but have their own bishops and patriarch. They believe their ancestors were converted to Christianity by Thomas the Apostle.
The largest groups of Chaldeans reside in Iraq and Syria. In the U.S., population estimates range in the hundreds of thousands, with more than 100,000 living in Greater Detroit, where many began to immigrate in the 1920s.
“On a practical level, this is mind-boggling,” said Nina Shea, an international human-rights lawyer who runs the Center for Religious Freedom at the Washington-based Hudson Institute. She can’t think of a safe destination for the Chaldeans in Iraq.
“The director of Homeland Security — does he know that there has been a genocide declared there by the United States? Had anyone told him? Does ICE know this?” Shea said.
“In a situation of genocide you don’t deport anybody. We didn’t even deport Gitmo detainees to places where they would be killed.”
by, Stoyan Zaimov | CP World
The Islamic State terror group is defending the village of Dabiq in northern Syria as U.S.-backed Syrian rebels launch attacks, seeking to liberate the village that IS believes will be the center of an apocalyptic battle between Christians and Islamists.
“If matters proceed as planned, within 48 hours we will be in Dabiq,” Ahmed Osman, commander of the Sultan Murad Free Syrian Army, told Reuters on Monday.
The Independent reports that at least 15 Turkish and Syrian rebels have been killed in the fighting near Dabiq, but a much fiercer battle is expected to take place for the village which is in the center of IS’ propaganda operation.
The Islamic militants believe that Dabiq, which they first captured in August 2014, will be the host of a major battle between Islamic and Christian forces that will signal the beginning of the apocalypse.
ARA News added that U.S.-led coalition warplanes have been aiding the Syrian rebels with airstrikes, killing and wounding over 20 of the militants.
IS has been losing its grip on a number of towns across Iraq and Syria, with additional reports that Turkey-backed rebels have captured areas in the northern countryside of Aleppo.
“Backed by an air cover from the coalition, rebel fighters of the Euphrates Shield expelled ISIS from the eastern suburb of Maree town,” rebel spokesman Salih al-Zein said.
“The rebels have also captured the Akhtarin village after heavy clashes with ISIS,” he added.
Besides being the center of an apocalyptic final battle that IS predicts, Dabiq also lends its name to the monthly stylized propaganda magazine that IS publishes, which explains its ideology and celebrates terror attacks that have been carried out around the world.
Osman added that IS officials have sent close to 800 additional fighters to defend the village from advancing FSA rebels, but the terror group has been unable to stop several other villages near Dabiq from being recaptured.
Rebel and U.S.-backed forces are also preparing to attack and recapture two other IS strongholds, namely Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria, which would also be a massive blow to the terror group’s ambitions.
The apocalyptic beliefs of IS have been explored by a number of counter-terrorism experts, including Sebastian Gorka, author of The New York Times best-selling book Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War and chair of military theory at the Marine Corps University.
Gorka said at the first annual The Bridge conference for the persecuted church hosted by International Christian Concern in July that an English-language translation of IS’ former name was the ‘Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham,’ with the latter part of the name bearing the most significance.
“Like every religion, Islam has an eschatology. It has a story of the End Times. Just as in Christian eschatology, the talks of a final period of tribulation or judgment day and a series of battles between the believers and non-believers, Islam has the same,” Gorka said, according to The Christian Post
“Everybody will be resurrected and judged by Allah at the End Times. But prior to that judgment, there will be a series of battles in al-Sham. The pivotal jihad, the last jihad will occur in this territory.”
Pictured above: 39-year-old Wahida Mohamed — better known as Um Hanadi. Photo courtesy of: CNN
by, Ben Wedeman | CNN | h/t
‘More wanted than the Prime Minister’
Um Hanadi is not new to this.
“I began fighting the terrorists in 2004, working with Iraqi security forces and the coalition,” she says. As a result, she attracted the wrath of what eventually became al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, which later morphed into ISIS.
“I received threats from the top leadership of ISIS, including from Abu Bakr (al-Baghdadi) himself,” she says, referring to ISIS’s self-declared caliph.
“But I refused.”
“I’m at the top of their most wanted list,” she brags, “even more than the Prime Minister.
Um Hanadi ticks off the times they planted car bombs outside her home. “2006, 2009, 2010, three car bombs in 2013 and in 2014.”
Along the way, her first husband was killed in action. She remarried, but ISIS killed her second husband earlier this year. ISIS also killed her father and three brothers. They also killed, she added, her sheep, her dogs and her birds.
She narrowly escaped death as well.
“Six times they tried to assassinate me,” she says. “I have shrapnel in my head and legs, and my ribs were broken.”
She pulled back her headscarf to show her scars.
But all that didn’t stop me from fighting,” she said.
Um Hanadi claims to have led her men in multiple battles against ISIS. General Jamaa Anad, the commander of ground forces in her native Salahuddin province, told me they had provided her group with vehicles and weapons.
General Anad, a short, compact, no-nonsense man of few words, simply says: “She lost her brothers and husbands as martyrs.”
‘Check out my Facebook page’
After listing all the attacks against her, and all the loved ones lost to ISIS, Um Hanadi said: “I fought them. I beheaded them. I cooked their heads, I burned their bodies.”
She made no excuses, nor attempted to rationalize this. It was delivered as a boast, not a confession.
“This is all documented,” she said. “You can see it on my Facebook page.”
So we checked. Among many pictures of her with her dead husbands, fighters and generals, there was a photo of her in the same black combat fatigues and headscarf holding what appeared to be a freshly severed head. Another showed two severed heads in a cooking pot. In a third photograph, she is standing among partially-burned corpses. It’s impossible to verify whether the photos are authentic or Photoshopped, but we got the point.
Um Hanadi describes herself as a “rabat manzal” — a housewife. She denied media reports she was a hairdresser, although a photo on her Facebook page shows her without a headscarf, in what appears to be a hair salon. She has two daughters, aged 22 and 20. They are trained and ready to fight, she says, but are busy at the moment taking care of their children.
When we finished the interview, Um Hanadi’s entourage prepared to board their pickup trucks. I walked up to one of the trucks, where three men sat in the front seat. One pulled out a hand grenade.
“This is for Daesh,” he said, using the derogatory term for ISIS.
“And so is this — to cut off their heads,” said the driver, pulling a long machete off the dashboard and brandishing it uncomfortably close to my face.
by, Russ Read | The Daily Caller | h/t Glen Roberts @ Trop
Despite condemning homosexuality as a sin, Islamic State militants in Afghanistan regularly rape gay men as punishment, according to a former member of the terrorist organization.
Kamandar Bakhtiar was a former member of Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K), the terrorist group’s Afghanistan branch located in the hills of Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province. He recounted the atrocities he witnessed in a video interview.
“During the three months I spent in the ranks of ISIS, I saw the worst things one can imagine on the face of the Earth,” Bakhtiar told the United Arab Emirates’ Alaan TV on Sept. 7. “They kill and behead innocent people, plunder the property of regular people, and they do the worst possible things, such as raping homosexuals.”
Video courtesy of: MEMRI TV
ISIS is known to issue proclamations declaring the death penalty for anyone who is caught engaging in sodomy, which makes the raping of homosexuals particularly strange. The terrorist organization often lumps in homosexuals with drug dealers and pedophiles.
“Allah says that they are the worst of creatures,” said an ISIS member in a 2014 video.
Executions of those accused of homosexuality are common in the so-called caliphate’s primary territory in Syria and Iraq. In one example, ISIS executed nine men and a 15-year-old boy for allegedly engaging in gay sex. More often, gays are thrown off the tops of buildings, a common theme practiced by radical Islamic organizations across the Middle East.