The Associated Press’s Bram Janssen reports, “Sporadic clashes erupted in Mosul on Tuesday, a day after Iraq’s prime minister declared ‘total victory’ over the Islamic State group, with several airstrikes hitting the Old City neighborhood that was the scene of the fierce battle’s final days.” Janssen adds, “Amnesty International warned in a report released Tuesday that the conflict in Mosul has created a ‘civilian catastrophe,’ with the extremists carrying out forced displacement, summary killings and using civilians as human shields.” Nearly 900,000 people have been displaced from Mosul due to the conflict, according to the United Nations.
The Washington Post’s Sarah Pulliam Bailey reports that a new Vatican letter to Catholic bishops reaffirms that communion bread and wafers must contain at least some gluten. She writes, “The letter drew attention from media outlets around the globe, but it actually reaffirmed earlier guidelines saying that bread and wafers must have at least some gluten in them.” She adds, “The Catholic Church teaches that the practice of the Eucharist should be in continuity with Jesus, who ate wheat bread and drank grape wine, describing them as his body and blood.”
For NBC, Tim Stelloh and Alex Johnson report, “An Army sergeant has been arrested in Hawaii and charged with seeking to provide classified military documents and training to ISIS, according to court records unsealed Monday.” Sgt. Ikaika Erik Kang, a 34-year-old air traffic control operator, was arrested on Saturday after having been under surveillance for nearly a year. Stelloh and Johnson write, “This past March, an undercover FBI operative reported that Kang said he had been researching ‘the most effective and painful ways people had been tortured,’ adding that ‘he was still angry at a civilian who had taken away his air traffic controller’s license, and that he wanted to torture him.’”
For The Washington Post, Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian American Muslim and a co-chair of the Women’s March on Washington, responds to allegations and threats from conservative media outlets and white-supremacists . Sarsour was attacked with anti-Muslim rhetoric after using the word “jihad” in a speech, which traditionally means “struggle” or “to strive for.” She writes, “This term has been hijacked by Muslim extremists and right-wing extremists alike, leaving ordinary Muslims to defend our faith and in some cases silenced.”
The Washington Post’s Julie Zauzmer and Sarah Pulliam Bailey report, “A federal court settlement that requires Hobby Lobby Stores to pay a $3 million fine for illegally importing thousands of ancient Iraqi artifacts is casting a cloud over the much-anticipated Museum of the Bible associated with the store’s owners just as the museum prepares to open.” Zauzmer and Pulliam Bailey write, “Hobby Lobby President Steve Green also chairs the board of the Museum of the Bible, and the Green family is the museum’s major funder.” In response to Wednesday’s civil complaint, the museum attempted to distance itself from Green and said that the artifacts implicated in the case were not part of its collection.
The New York Times’s Tim Arango and Michael R. Gordon report that Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi congratulated the country’s armed forces for regaining control of Mosul from the Islamic State on Sunday. Arango and Gordon write, “The victory marked the formal end of a bloody campaign that lasted nearly nine months, left much of Iraq’s second-largest city in ruins, killed thousands of people and displaced nearly a million more.” They add, “Other cities and towns in Iraq remain under the militants’ control, and Iraqis expect an increase in terrorist attacks in urban centers, especially in the capital, Baghdad, as the group reverts to its insurgent roots.”
CNN’s Chris Moody writes about the aftermath of Southern Baptist leader Russell Moore’s staunch opposition to Donald Trump. Moore, the 45-year-old president of the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, apologized after facing widespread criticism for speaking against Trump and his supporters during the election. In June, Moore helped pass a resolution to condemn the alt-right at the Southern Baptist Convention: “When we stand together as a convention and speak clearly, we are saying that white supremacy and racist ideologies are dangerous because they oppress our brothers and sisters in Christ,” Moore said.
For POLITICO Magazine, Joel S. Baden writes that Marco Rubio has been tweeting Bible verses from the Old Testament’s Book of Proverbs nearly every day since May 16. Baden explains, “In the understanding of Proverbs, everyone gets what is coming to them; behavior is directly linked to reward or punishment.” Republicans have historically quoted Proverbs to support conservative policy positions, such as the idea that poorer people should pay more for healthcare.
CNN’s Amanda Watts and Paige Levin report that Catholic nuns in Pennsylvania dedicated an open-air chapel on Sunday to block the construction of a natural gas pipeline. A grass-roots group called Lancaster Against Pipelines backed the Susquehanna Valley Nuns, whose property would be bisected by the pipeline. Mark Clatterbuck of Lancaster Against Pipelines said, “It’s not about money, it’s about principle. And the nuns have a land ethic that says this Earth is a sanctuary and we regard it as sacred, and we’re going to work to protect it.”
The Associated Press reports, “The most senior Vatican cleric to ever be charged in the Roman Catholic Church sex abuse scandal returned to Australia on Monday to stand trial in his home state on charges alleging he sexually assaulted multiple people years ago.” Cardinal George Pell, a financial adviser to Pope Francis, is set to appear in court on July 26. Pell denied the allegations after he was charged last month, saying, “The whole idea of sexual abuse is abhorrent to me.”