RAP Sheet

Paris Attack’s Top Suspect, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, Died in Raid, France Says

posted on November 19, 2015

The New York Times’ Aurelien Breeden and Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura report, “Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the Islamic State militant suspected of orchestrating the Paris terrorist attacks, died in a police raid in the northern Paris suburb of St.-Denis early Wednesday.” While politicians praised the investigative work of the French authorities, several suspects in the terrorist attacks remain at large in France and Belgium. In speaking to the National Assembly, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said, “We now know that Abaaoud, the brain behind these attacks — one of the brains, because we must be particularly cautious, and we know what the threats are — was among the dead.”

Read at The New York Times


posted on November 17, 2015

In The New Yorker, Adrian Chen writes about Megan Phelps-Roper, a former Westboro Baptist Church member who first brought the church’s messages to Twitter. Chen writes, “Phelps-Roper spearheaded Westboro’s push into the social-media age, using Twitter to offer a window into life in the church and giving it an air of accessibility.” However, Phelps-Roper grew disillusioned with the church. “It stopped feeling like this larger-than-life divine institution ordained and led by God, and more like the sniping and sordid activity of men who wanted to be in control,” Phelps-Roper said.

Read at The New Yorker

Americans Fret About Islam, Immigrants, the Future – and Each Other

posted on November 17, 2015

Religion News Service’s Cathy Lynn Grossman reports on the findings of the American Values Survey, released today by the Public Religion Research Institute. The survey notably showed a significant rise in the extent to which Christians feel the values of Islam are at odds with American values. Views that racial tensions are “a major concern” have also seen a rise, more than doubling in prevalence since 2012. The Institute’s CEO Robert Jones said, “I am struck by the high level of anxiety and worry on all fronts.”

Read at Religion News Service

Would Jesus Take in Syrian Refugees?

posted on November 17, 2015

Michelle Boorstein of The Washington Post reports, “For many American Christians, the Paris attacks have revealed a conflict between two priorities: The cause of persecuted Middle Eastern Christians and a hard line on security.” U.S. governors, GOP presidential candidates, and religious leaders have called for a halt on accepting Syrian refugees, while others see a duty to protect all who are persecuted. In the coming weeks, director of the Office of Migration and Refugee Policy for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Kevin Appleby predicts a “big battle” over funding for resettlement.

Read at The Washington Post

For the Islamic State, Paroxysms of Violence Portends Apocalypse

posted on November 17, 2015

In light of the recent attacks in Paris, Craig Whitlock and Ellen Nakashima of The Washington Post report on what seems to be an irrational strategy of the Islamic State. Whitlock and Nakashima write, “According to the group’s extremist ideology, the caliphate will eventually triumph in a great war against infidel forces, culminating in a final end-of-days battle in Dabiq, an obscure Syrian town near the northern city of Aleppo.” According to Matthew Henman, managing editor of HIS Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Center in London, “The more the West strikes, the more people are killed [in Syria], it only builds into the narrative that the end is coming.”

Read at The Washington Post

Raids Spread Across France and Belgium Amid Manhunt for Suspects

posted on November 16, 2015

At The Washington Post, Anthony Faiola, Daniela Deane and Brian Murphy report, “Police in France and Belgium staged more than 160 anti-terrorism raids on Monday as authorities expanded crackdowns, seized weapons and cast their nets wider for suspects in the Paris attacks.” The intense manhunt for the suspects that organized the attacks escalated as French authorities gathered more information about the militants.

Read at The Washington Post

Beirut, also the Site of Deadly Attacks, Feels Forgotten

posted on November 16, 2015

The New York Times’ Anne Barnard writes that many Lebanese feel as if their grief has been forgotten after the recent terrorist attacks in Paris overshadowed the bombings in Beirut that killed 40 civilians. Numerous commentators complained that the Western-biased media was portraying European lives as more valuable, while violence in Lebanon was part of the norm, despite its relatively peaceful recent history. “When my people died, no country bothered to light up its landmarks in the colors of their flag,” wrote Elie Fares, a Lebanese doctor. “When my people died, they did not send the world into mourning. Their death was but an irrelevant fleck along the international news cycle, something that happens in those parts of the world.”

Read at The New York Times

Cruz Courts Christians, Saying Religious Liberty Under Attack

posted on November 16, 2015

Katie Zezima of The Washington Post reports, “Sen. Ted Cruz asserted Saturday that Christians are under assault, both by the government and in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris.” The statement was part of Cruz’s efforts to court evangelical voters in the Republican presidential primary. In a visit to Bob Jones University in South Carolina, Cruz said, “The federal government wages a daily assault on life, on marriage, on religious liberty. It’s because Christians are not standing up for our values.”

Read at The Washington Post

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