Displaying items by tag: IS
IS has taken a firm grip on territory in Mozambique, far from its original strongholds in Syria. Even though it is losing territory in most other places, it has killed and kidnapped thousands in the country since 2017. Sphiwe, a Christian worker with Trans World Radio, says, ‘They behead people, they attack homes and villages. People live in fear. It causes displacement, as people move away to protect themselves.’ Many fear the next attack so much they avoid working in the fields. Christian broadcasting continues in troubled areas and also provides support for refugees. Sphiwe says, ‘It is emotionally draining. Sometimes they are adopted or taken in with other families, so that one family may end up having fifty people within one home because they are trying to help out.’ Pray for those fleeing from trauma in Mozambique to find hope and life in Jesus.
Christians in Iraq remain shaken by the twin suicide bombing in Baghdad. It was the first mass-casualty attack since 2018, killing at least 32 people and wounding more than a hundred. IS took credit, stirring fears of a resurgence. Samuel of Redemptive Stories says believers are shaken, but they’re pressing on to make Christ known. ‘I had the privilege to talk to a pastor on the very night of the suicide attacks and he said, ‘Our spiritual condition as a church is well; our physical condition is well; but our emotional state, as a church, is sad. The church had seen three years of almost peaceable activity. Now suddenly, out of nowhere, there are these significant attacks. The hope of Christ shines brightly amid such tumult.’
On 27 November, around 7:30 am, Nei was having breakfast with her husband, Yasa, and saw about ten unknown people visiting Naka, at a nearby house. Soon after that terrorists Ali Kalora and Jaka Ramadan entered the house and took Yasa and Nei outside. Yasa was tied up, stabbed in the back, then decapitated with a machete. One of the terrorists, near Yasa’s house, gave a signal to villagers to flee, allowing several witnesses and children to escape. Naka and his son Pedi were set on fire, as was their house and eight other homes. Terrorists also torched the Salvation Army house of worship. Another Christian, Pinu, was stabbed to death. Approximately 750 people fled their homes after the attack. Police suspect militants with allegiance to IS carried out the violence, as the leader of the outlawed group was seen at the scene of the crime.
Suspected IS-aligned militants herded dozens of fleeing victims to soccer fields to execute them and abducted others, in weekend raids in Mozambique. The commander of the police force said extremists carried out attacks on several villages in the Cabo Delgado province. They beheaded over fifty people, abducted women and children and burnt down homes. Then they went after those who had fled to the woods and continued their macabre actions. The BBC, and privately-owned Pinnacle News, reported that villagers in Mautide who tried to run were taken to the field and chopped to pieces. Police learned of the massacre committed by the insurgents through reports of people who found corpses in the woods The oil-rich Cabo Delgado province has seen a rise of terror attacks since 2017 by ASWJ militants who have officially pledged allegiance to IS Central Africa Province.
A 20-year-old gunman, Kujtim Fejzulai, previously convicted of trying to travel to Syria to join IS, was killed by police after he had gone on a shooting spree, killing four different people at different locations in Vienna. 23 people including a policeman were wounded; three of them are still in a critical condition. The victims were in an area near the central synagogue, full of people in bars and restaurants. Several arrests were made during searches. The IS group claimed responsibility, but there is no evidence of any accomplice. Fejzulai had been freed from prison in December 2019 after completing a de-radicalisation programme.
The Centre for Global Policy (CGP) has called on European governments to intervene urgently on behalf of 750 children of EU member states citizenship who are held in IS detention camps in Syria. CGP’s latest report said that urgent intervention and support was needed. The report, entitled ‘The children of IS detainees - Europe's dilemma’, was based on research that focused on two camps in northeast Syria where 70,000 women and children are being detained. At least 12,000 of the detainees are foreign nationals. While public opinion in EU member states is strongly opposed to repatriating IS members and affiliates, the report emphasised, ‘Leaving them in these camps will not keep anyone safe’.
IS has taken credit for an attack on 8 April on the largest US military base in Afghanistan - Bagram airfield, near Kabul. The attack came as 100 Taliban prisoners were released, as a prerequisite for peace talks. More prisoners should be released near the Bagram base. The government is required to free 5,000 Taliban prisoners, with the Taliban releasing 1,000 members of the Afghan security forces. There is disagreement over the procedure, as to whether senior Taliban commanders would be covered by the deal.
In Middle East’s honour-shame culture, a raped woman brings her family shame and they have a duty to kill her. Three Yazidi girls were taken as slaves by IS. Later, while their father was asleep, he saw Jesus. He recognised Him by His nail-pierced hands. Jesus said, ‘You don’t need to kill your daughters. I paid for everyone, so go and get them.’ The man woke and thought this can’t be real. He went back to sleep and had exactly the same dream. He woke up again, went back to sleep, and had the same dream for a third time - one dream for each daughter. He gathered the Yazidi elders and told them what happened. ‘Jesus showed up in my tent, I’m going to get my girls and not kill them.’ Because of Jesus, he welcomed his girls home and persuaded other Yazidi men to take back their daughters without harming them.
In 2014 Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared the establishment of an Islamic caliphate and that the world’s Muslims owed him their allegiance as ‘Caliph Ibrahim.’ It was an attempt to establish Islamic sovereignty across the Earth much as the Prophet Mohammed enjoyed. Recent events demonstrated that his aspiration died with him. However al-Baghdadi divided the jihadist movement rather than uniting it. IS controlled a hard-line state, offering recruits the chance to live its ‘revolutionary’ vision, which was what made IS such a radical sensation, and was key to al-Baghdadi’s recruiting power. Now both the caliph and the caliphate are gone. Yet IS survives underground, lurking in the shadowy manner al-Baghdadi helped to define for it.
Burkina Faso is quickly going from a peaceful farming nation to an extremist breeding ground. Attacks by IS and al-Qaeda militants have quadrupled since 2017. Over 70,000 people have fled their homes this year. Recently, gunmen in the north surrounded a group of people and executed four Christians who they found wearing crosses. Previously Christians, Muslims, religious people, and those with no faith lived together peacefully, but now violence is directed specifically at Christians, looking for religious symbols and attacking churches. The militants are really trying to bring division between the Muslims and Christians with a ‘divide and conquer’ mentality. This extremism can be traced back to the fall of Libya, when militants trickled into neighbouring countries like Burkina Faso, bringing their weapons and violence with them. While the rest of the world was focused on surging extremist movements in east and central Africa, the seeds of militant Islam in West Africa were quietly being sown.