Well worth a read.
Very philosophical for a Saturday afternoon.
Theology and Society:
Boko Haram militants claim that they are turning Nigeria into an Islamic caliphate. The Muslim extremist organization is in control of three Nigerian towns, and continues to gain power and influence in the region, the Christian Headlines website reports today (August 29, 2014).
In video, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau is seen announcing, “Thanks be to Allah who gave victory to our brethren in Gwoza and made it part of the Islamic caliphate… By the grace of Allah we will not leave the town. We have come to stay.”
The militants conquered Gwoza on August 6, destroying homes and killing many residents. Some survivors fled to surrounding mountains, as well as bordering nation Cameroon.
Officials fear that Boko Haram is working with Islamic State terrorists, who have taken control of large regions of Syria and Iraq, and have given Christians in their seized land one of three choices: Convert to Islam, pay a non-Islam tax, or be killed.
I noticed that according to the Pew Research Center, half of the world’s Christians live in just 11 countries.
The whole report with other religions, is here.
Italian press report has claimed that Islamist terrorists were preparing to assassinate Pope Francis – Vatican spokesman Lombardi: “The Vatican does not harbor special concerns in this direction”
Vatican City (kath.net/KNA/red) The Vatican has denied a report according to which Islamist terrorists were preparing an assassination attempt on Pope Francis. This lacks foundation, in the words of Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi. “There is nothing to be taken seriously. The Vatican does not harbor special concerns in this direction,” as the media quoted him on Tuesday.
On Monday, the Italian daily newspaper “Il Tempo” spread rumors, that fighters of the terrorist militia “Islamic State” were planning an attack on the Pope. Referring to Israeli sources, it was said that their leader, the self-styled “Caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, had ordered attacks in Europe and in particular against Francis as “the greatest representative of the Christian Religion” and “support of false truth”.
Currently, the jihadists fighting in Syria and Iraq, are coming to Italy, militia mingled with the numerous refugees coming across the Mediterranean. Last week the Italian media reported that Italy is reinforcing its security measures. But a concrete suspicion of terrorism did not exist.
During the general audience on 13 May 1981 in St. Peter’s Square Ali Agca, surrounded by about 15,000 people, made an attempt on John Paul II. The Pope barely survived. There is still nothing certain known about the actual motivations and instigators of the Turkish-Muslim assassin. This assassination-Shirt by Pope John Paul II. (Rome Reports, Eng.)
Which comes via released hostages:
The family of the kidnapped American journalist killed by Islamic State militants last week have posted a letter they say he sent while in captivity, via a fellow hostage.
James Foley was unable to write letters to his family because they were confiscated by his jailers.
Instead he asked another hostage who was about to be released to commit his letter to memory.
When that hostage was freed he dictated the letter to James’ mother, Diane.
The family posted the letter on Sunday evening, on a Facebook page they had set up to campaign for James’ release.
Earlier they had attended a memorial mass for James in their home town of Rochester, New Hampshire.
James Foley, a freelance journalist was abducted in northern Syria in November 2012, while covering that country’s civil war.
Last week, Islamic State militants released a video showing his beheading by a masked man with a British accent.
On Sunday, he British ambassador to the US told CNN that British officials were close to identifying the killer.
Last letter home
Dear Family and Friends,
I remember going to the Mall with Dad, a very long bike ride with Mom. I remember so many great family times that take me away from this prison. Dreams of family and friends take me away and happiness fills my heart.
I know you are thinking of me and praying for me. And I am so thankful. I feel you all especially when I pray. I pray for you to stay strong and to believe. I really feel I can touch you even in this darkness when I pray.
Eighteen of us have been held together in one cell, which has helped me. We have had each other to have endless long conversations about movies, trivia, sports. We have played games made up of scraps found in our cell… we have found ways to play checkers, Chess, and Risk… and have had tournaments of competition, spending some days preparing strategies for the next day’s game or lecture. The games and teaching each other have helped the time pass. They have been a huge help. We repeat stories and laugh to break the tension.
I have had weak and strong days. We are so grateful when anyone is freed; but of course, yearn for our own freedom. We try to encourage each other and share strength. We are being fed better now and daily. We have tea, occasional coffee. I have regained most of my weight lost last year.
I think a lot about my brothers and sister. I remember playing Werewolf in the dark with Michael and so many other adventures. I think of chasing Mattie and T around the kitchen counter. It makes me happy to think of them. If there is any money left in my bank account, I want it to go to Michael and Matthew. I am so proud of you, Michael and thankful to you for happy childhood memories and to you and Kristie for happy adult ones.
And big John, how I enjoyed visiting you and Cress in Germany. Thank you for welcoming me. I think a lot about RoRo and try to imagine what Jack is like. I hope he has RoRo’s personality!
And Mark… so proud of you too Bro. I think of you on the West coast and hope you are doing some snowboarding and camping, I especially remember us going to the Comedy Club in Boston together and our big hug after. The special moments keep me hopeful.
Katie, so very proud of you. You are the strongest and best of us all!! I think of you working so hard, helping people as a nurse. I am so glad we texted just before I was captured. I pray I can come to your wedding…. now I am sounding like Grammy!!
Grammy, please take your medicine, take walks and keep dancing. I plan to take you out to Margarita’s when I get home. Stay strong because I am going to need your help to reclaim my life.
The US and UK intelligence services are investigating Foley’s killing by Islamic State militants