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In the Press

  • Earlier this year, Patricia King was presented with a prayer shawl by the Vista Grande Community Church in Colorado Springs that is typically given to women at their baptism. But this wasn’t a baptism; it was a Christian renaming ceremony signifying Ms. King’s spiritual passage from Peter to Patricia.
  • A Syrian priest who was held by Islamic State (IS) militants for nearly three months and threatened with execution has for the first time spoken about his ordeal. Fr Jack Murad was abducted from the central Syrian town of al-Qaryatain in May along with Botros Hanna, a volunteer at the ancient Mar [Saint] Elian Monastery.
    Fr Jack told BBC Arabic what happened.
    Fr Jack remembers how he and Botros Hanna were blindfolded and had their hands tied, before the car they were forced into sped away to an unknown destination "in the mountains around al-Qaryatain".
    After four days, the two men were blindfolded and handcuffed again, before being forced on a much longer journey.
    They ended up in a cell somewhere in Raqqa, IS' stronghold, where they were kept for 84 days.
  • A man accused of plotting a Lee Rigby-style knife murder in the run-up to Remembrance Day has told a court he made exaggerated claims in online chat groups with other Muslims in order to appear “one of the lads”.
    Haseeb Hamayoon, 28, said a claim he made about being thrown out of Australia by the country’s equivalent of MI5 had been untrue and was made to increase his standing among the group.
    He admitted buying a vest with an Islamic State-style logo but told the jury at Woolwich crown court he wore it only once while living in London.
    Hamayoon said buying it was “not clever at all” and he had only done so as a way of showing off to the group. He also admitted posting images and videos on group chats on Whatsapp and Telegram.
    He told the court: “I got sucked into it. I joined in to be one of the lads … There was a sort of exaggeration of the sort you might get among young men, not to be taken at face value. It’s like the talk you might get at a bar, you are not meant to take it literally.”
  • A senior Ofsted director says he cannot rule out a Trojan Horse-style plot happening in London schools.
    Mike Sheridan, Ofsted’s new regional director for London, said one of his biggest challenges was keeping children safe from extremism and sexual exploitation.
    However, he said he “doesn’t know” if there was a co-ordinated plot by extremists to seize control of state school governing bodies, as is alleged to have happened in Birmingham.
    Mr Sheridan, a former headteacher and Ofsted inspector, took over as London head of Ofsted last month and is responsible for Ofsted’s performance in the capital.
    Speaking to the Evening Standard, he said it was vital that schools did not “bury their heads in the sand” about extremism, radicalisation and child sexual exploitation and they must try to identify children at risk.
  • A new video from the Center for Medical Progress catches one of Planned Parenthood’s abortionists revealing that she regularly alters abortion procedures in order to harvest more viable, and more valuable, organs from the aborted babies.
    Amna Dermish, an abortionist for Planned Parenthood in Austin, Texas, explains in the video that she will sometimes use ultrasound guidance to position the baby to come out feet first, or what’s called “breech presentation,” in order to keep more of the child’s organs intact for prospective buyers.
    Altering an abortion procedure in the manner that Dermish describes is considered to be a partial-birth abortion, which is illegal in all states.
  • The Court of Appeals in New York has ruled that an unborn child still in the womb of its mother is not yet considered a person.
    The court made the ruling as it overturned the conviction of Jennifer Jorgensen, who was charged with manslaughter after her unborn child and two other individuals died due to the injuries they suffered during a vehicular accident in 2008.

    Jorgensen, who was eight months pregnant during the time of the accident, was found to be driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, according to Christian News. After she crossed oncoming traffic, she got into a collision with another vehicle driven by couple Robert and Mary Kelly.

    The Kellys died because of the accident, while Jorgensen suffered injuries. When she was rushed to the hospital, doctors decided to perform a C-section to save her unborn child. However, after six days, her child died because of injuries suffered during the accident.
    She was indicted for aggravated vehicular homicide because of the Kellys' death, driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, manslaughter in the second degree for the death of her unborn baby, and endangering the welfare of a child in 2009.
  • The British government has agreed to consider if the slaughter and expulsion of Christians from the Middle East by Islamist terrorists constitutes genocide, but said it was reluctant to use the term.
    Baroness Anelay of St Johns, Minister of State at the Foreign Office, told the Lords that she would “reflect” on whether brutality inflicted on minorities by ISIS amounted to efforts to eradicate them completely.
    She said the Government acknowledged that ISIS was “persecuting individuals and communities on the basis of their religion, belief or ethnicity, and its murderous campaign has resulted in the most appalling humanitarian crisis of our time”.
    But she said the Government was reluctant to profess the view, held by Pope Francis, that the persecution was genocidal, but added: “I will certainly continue to reflect on that.”
    Her comments were a response to Lord Alton of Liverpool, the Catholic crossbench peer, who had asked what steps the Government was taking to uphold Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees religious liberty and freedom of conscience.
  • A Chess master claims he was turned down for a job at the top secret GCHQ intelligence base because of his 'devout' Christianity and 'loyalty to God over his country'.
    Charlie Storey insisted his admissions – which also included drug-taking as a young man - were behind his rejection for a highly prized job after he went through a gruelling selection process at the listening station in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.
    He was eventually turned down for the job for 'national security' reasons, and later lost an Employment Tribunal case heard in Bristol before he launched an appeal against that decision.
  • The onus placed on universities by the government’s new counter-extremism strategy will lead to inoffensive and bland campus debates without preventing any student radicalisation, according to the former business secretary Vince Cable.
    The former Liberal Democrat MP instead says that banning extremist speakers from universities may in fact exacerbate the problem by driving underground hitherto non-violent extremists.
    In a speech to the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies on Tuesday, the former coalition cabinet minister will say that the new obligation on universities to balance free speech with counter-extremism is highly problematic.
    “Instead of intellectual challenge there will be a bland exchange of views which are inoffensive and politically correct,” says Cable, according to an advance copy of his speech provided to the Guardian.
    “This will not stop terrorism or terrorist recruitment, and may make the problem worse by driving underground those who are regarded as extreme but are currently non-violent...."
  • Secrecy within the UK’s system of family courts is allowing social workers to “ride roughshod” over ordinary people and resulting in the unnecessary breakup of families and forced adoptions, the Ukip MP Douglas Carswell has warned.
    Outlining a Ukip policy paper on opening up the family courts, the Clacton MP said a “juggernaut” of legal process currently leads to “outrageous injustices” and is calling for greater sensitivity and openness in the courts system.
    Carswell said: “There is a scandal at the moment. Once the legal process starts it is like a juggernaut and it breaks up families. Most of the time that is justified but some of the time it is not.”


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