RAP Sheet

The “Caliphate’s” Colonies: Islamic State’s Gradual Expansion into North Africa

posted on November 19, 2014

For Spiegel, Mirco Keilberth, Juliane von Mittelstaedt, and Christoph Reuter discuss the effects of ISIS’ expansion into Libya, Tunisia, and Egypt. “Should Islamic State (IS) manage to establish control over a significant portion of Libya, it could trigger the destabilization of the entire Arab world.” ISIS emerged in Libya as a group of fighters returning from Syria. Eventually, hundreds of citizens and some local governments proclaimed their loyalty to the “caliph.”  A young Libyan activist said, “Eastern Libya is hardly any different from Syria or Iraq.”

Read at Spiegel Online International

Sexual Revolution Is Destroying Families, Russell Moore Tells Vatican Conference

posted on November 19, 2014

Religious News Service’s Josephine McKenna reports, “Prominent U.S. evangelicals Russell Moore and Rick Warren blasted the sexual revolution at a Vatican conference Tuesday.” Moore claims that the sexual revolution imposes a new patriarchy that enables men to “pursue a Darwinian fantasy of the predatory alpha male” for “power, prestige and personal pleasure.” Pope Francis made similar comments at the conference: “This revolution in manners and morals has often flown the flag of freedom, but in fact it has brought spiritual and material devastation to countless human beings.”

Read at Religion News Service

Israel on Edge after Four Are Killed in Attack on Synagogue

posted on November 18, 2014

The New York Times‘ Jodi Rudoren and Isabel Kershner report, “Two Palestinians armed with a gun, knives and axes stormed a synagogue complex in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of West Jerusalem on Tuesday morning, the Israeli police said, killing four men in the middle of their morning prayers, the Israeli police said.” Three of the men were rabbis and three were also American citizens. At least a dozen more worshippers were injured by the assailants, who were later killed by the police. It was the deadliest attack on Israeli civilians in more than three years.

Read at The New York Times

Kassig’s Parents Say Their Hearts Are “Battered But Will Mend”

posted on November 18, 2014

At The Indianapolis Star, Brian Eason and John Tuohy report on Ed and Paula Kassig’s first public appearance since their son’s execution. The Kassig’s addressed the media at Epworth United Methodist Church in Indianapolis. Eason and Tuohy write, “After weeks of highlighting their son’s conversion to Islam — which they had hoped might earn him mercy from his captors — Kassig’s parents for the first time publicly acknowledged their own Christian faith, in the lobby of the church where they have been members for at least three decades, according to church officials.”

Read at The Indianapolis Star

Protesters Prepare for the Worst in Ferguson

posted on November 17, 2014

Jennifer S. Mann of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports, “Three months and nearly 350 arrests since they first took to the streets protesting the death of Michael Brown at the hands of a Ferguson police officer, activists here and across the nation are girding for round two.” Mann reported from a training session in St. Louis for activists led by the Rev. Rev. Osagyefo Sekou of the First Baptist Church of Boston. She writes, “If the grand jury deliberating charges against Officer Darren Wilson does not indict him, protesters will flood the streets — that’s a promise. What nobody can predict is whether that type of mass gathering will erupt into arson, looting, tear gas and rubber bullets like last time.”

Read at St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Obama Condemns Islamic State’s Killing of Peter Kassig

posted on November 17, 2014

The New York Times‘ Rukmini Callimachi reports on the beheading of an American aid worker and former Army Ranger, Peter Kassig, by ISIS. “Today we offer our prayers and condolences to the parents and family of Abdul-Rahman Kassig, also known to us as Peter,” President Obama said in a statement. Kassig converted to Islam after his capture over a year ago. The poor quality and brevity of the footage of Kassig’s beheading have analysts wondering if “something went wrong when they were beheading him.”

Read at The New York Times

Sierra Leone Surgeon Has Died at US Hospital

posted on November 17, 2014

United Methodist News Service’s Kathy L. Gilbert reports that Dr. Martin Salia has died from Ebola after he was transported to Nebraska Medical Center for treatment. Salia said of his work as a surgeon in Sierra Leone, “Whenever we want to start surgery, we pray. I am just being used as an instrument or as a surgeon to carry out God’s own plan for that person’s life.” Missouri River District Superintendent Dan Flanagan hoped efforts to support Salia and his family would encourage United Methodists to “be health advocates for all and respond more quickly to global health issues.”

Read at United Methodist News Service

Before the Beheadings

posted on November 17, 2014

The Atlantic‘s Jeffrey Goldberg compares his peaceful experiences as a Jewish journalist interviewing Islamist extremists to the modern threats ISIS has placed on reporters. “I used to tell people that as a reporter for an American news organization, it was like we were wearing armor,” Dexter Filikins of The New Yorker recalled. “People just didn’t go after American reporters.” Goldberg credits social media and the internet with modern jihadist’s rejections of journalistic neutrality. “Journalists have been replaced by YouTube and Twitter. And when there is no need for us, we become targets,” Goldberg writes.

Read at The Atlantic

States of the Union

Writers tell us stories about where they discovered religion and politics in their states.


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By Christopher D. Cantwell

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