RAP Sheet

American Fighting for ISIS Is Killed in Syria

posted on August 27, 2014

In The New York Times, Michael Schmidt reports on Douglas McCain, the first American to die while fighting for ISIS in Syria. Schmidt writes that McCain’s death “is a sign that ISIS, at least in this case, is willing to use Americans on the battlefield in the Middle East rather than sending them back to the United States to launch attacks.” Richard Barrett, a former British intelligence officer, said that Americans fighting in Syria “are going to join ISIS, not the fight for the future of Syria.”

Read at The New York Times

A Tale of Two Abortion Wars

posted on August 27, 2014

At Pacific Standard, Anada Rose reports on many faces of abortion: a woman who must terminate her pregnancy due to fetal anomalies; another who struggles to reopen her mentor’s abortion clinic; the founder of PersonhoodUSA, a Christian pro-life organization; and a woman who conceived from an adopted embryo. Rose writes that abortion pits “traditionalist and progressive values against each other.” Abortion providers like Dr. Willie J. Parker “see first hand the need to broaden the conversation regarding reproductive health and spirituality.”

 

Read at Pacific Standard

Hamas And Israel Agree To Extended Gaza Cease-Fire

posted on August 27, 2014

The New York Times’ Fares Akram and Jodi Rudoren report, “Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday reached a long-term cease-fire after seven weeks of fighting, according to officials on both sides, halting the longest, bloodiest battle either side has experienced in years.” Many of the underlying issues in the conflict remain unresolved but are to be addressed in one month if the truce holds. “Israel has once again accepted an Egyptian proposal for a complete cease-fire,” a senior Israeli official said on the condition of anonymity. “This cease-fire is unlimited in time.”

Read at The New York Times

ISIS Demands $6.6M Ransom For 26-Year-Old American Woman

posted on August 26, 2014

At ABC News, Brian Ross, Rhonda Schwartz and James Gordon Meek report that ISIS is asking for $6.6 million and the release of U.S. prisoners for the release of an American woman. The 26-year-old was captured while doing humanitarian relief work in Syria one year ago. Each of three American hostages held by ISIS have been threatened since journalist James Foley was executed last week.

Read at ABC News

In Ferguson, Nation of Islam Members Push for Peace

posted on August 26, 2014

At Religion News Service, Lilly Fowler reports on the Nation of Islam’s helping hand in Ferguson, Missouri, during protests after the death of Michael Brown. Though Nation of Islam members helped control crowds and protected businesses from looters, many protesters find their presence “problematic,” Fowler writes. St. Louis Alderman Antonio French, however, praised the group’s efforts, saying that members had “a relationship with these young guys that few others do. Their presence makes us feel better about being able to keep the peace.”

Read at Religion News Service

Forget Priesthood — Some Mormon Feminists Seek a Middle Way

posted on August 26, 2014

In The Salt Lake Tribune, Peggy Fletcher Stack reports on “LDS women pushing for change.” Melissa Wei-Tsing Inouye, a New Zealand Mormon, wrote in an online essay that “neither the formal leadership… nor the informal influence of women within the community are immediately apparent.” Feminist Mormon women “have embraced a careful approach short of ordination, trying to help the church they love navigate the gender storm that seems to building all around,” Stack writes.

 

Read at The Salt Lake Tribune

Michael Brown’s Father Asks for Calm on Day of Funeral

posted on August 25, 2014

At the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Steve Giegerich reports on Michael Brown Sr.’s request for calm on the day of his son’s funeral. Brown, father of 18-year-old Michael Brown who was shot in Ferguson, Missouri, told an audience at PeaceFest 2014 in Forest Park, “Please, please take a day of silence so we can lay our son to rest.” The Rev. Al Sharpton echoed Brown’s sentiments, saying, “Mum is the word until Michael Brown is laid to rest. Then, justice.”

Read at St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Friends of Israel

posted on August 25, 2014

In The New Yorker, Connie Bruck reports on the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) clashes with the Obama Administration over the recent violence in Gaza. The main conflicts are the expansion of Israeli settlements and peace agreements between the Israelis and the Palestinians. A former AIPAC official noted that “the U.S. has its own foreign policy, and, while it is extremely friendly to Israel, it will only go so far.” Yossi Beilin, a former official in the Labor government, said that AIPAC “doesn’t represent the majority of Jews in America, who are so Democratic and liberal.”

Read at The New Yorker

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