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Canadian pastor ‘not heard from’ in North Korea

The head pastor of a large Canadian church has failed to return from a humanitarian visit to North Korea.

Reverend Hyeon Soo Lim, 60, had made hundreds of trips to the secretive state where he helped oversee an orphanage, a nursery and a nursing home.

Speaking on behalf of the Light Korean Presbyterian Church, Toronto, where Lim has been head pastor for 28 years, Lisa Pak said they had not heard from him since January 31.

Just before his disappearance Lim was invited to North Korea's capital Pyongyang, according to Reverend Chun Ki-Won, a South Korean missionary helping North Korean refugees.

At first, they thought he might have been subject to a 21-day quarantine period imposed on arriving travellers due to the ebola risk, but that period would now have ended. 

Several American Christians have been detained by North Korea in recent months.

Source: Reuters, Daily Telegraph

Is ISIS real Islam? Debate continues

Author Graeme Wood comes under attack for his recent article in The Atlantic, which argued that ISIS is "more than a collection of psychopaths," but a group with a clear set of [Islamic] beliefs.

In a new article in The Atlantic, Caner K. Dagli takes issue with Wood's implication that Muslims who reject ISIS as un-Islamic are being "hypocritical or naive," and that ISIS follow the texts of Islam as faithfully and seriously as anyone.

Dagli argues that ISIS justifies its actions by "cherry picking" from the Qur'an or the hadith (further texts about the life of the Prophet Muhammad), and that it makes no effort to fully understand the "complex and nuanced" texts.

Dagli concludes that articles like Wood's put Muslims in an impossible situation.

"In my experience," he says, "many Muslims are upset by articles like this not because their feelings are hurt, but because such arguments fill them with dread. They worry about what might happen to a religious or ethnic group that policymakers or the public believe to be intrinsically and uniquely dangerous.

"Muslims are presented with a brutal logic in which the only way to truly disassociate from ISIS and escape suspicion is to renounce Islam altogether."

Abandoned Syrian Christian leaders urge air strike

A Syrian Christian leader is urging the US to strike IS held positions following the news earlier this week that up to 220 Syrian Christians were kidnapped from Hassaka province.

“There is a need for immediate action similar to what took place in Kobani,” Bassam Ishak, president of the Syriac National Council of Syria, told the American Catholic News Service, referring to air strikes that helped the Kurds successfully drive out extremists from the city on the border with Turkey.

Ishak's appeal was echoed by Hassaka's Catholic Arcbishop Jacques Hindo who expressed a sense of abandonment "into the hands of Daesh [the Arabic name for Islamic State]".

“We have 100 Assyrian families who have taken refuge in Hassaka, but they have received no assistance either from the Red Crescent or from Syrian government aid workers, perhaps because they are Christians," Hindo added.

Source: Catholic Herald

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