If you follow religion news at the global level, then you know that the Internet era has led to the rise of many alternative wire services, most of which produce news stories that are mixed with material advocating the views of the sponsors.
You can take the advocacy stuff or leave it. What matters to journalists is whether the editors of this material have a reputation for getting their facts right when to comes to dates, names, institutions and sources.
You see, the issue isn’t whether these “news reports” can be printed in the mainstream press. The issue is whether there is material in them that mainstream journalists can verify and use as the starting point for their own independent reporting.
The Assyrian International News Agency is one such wire service and it is especially crucial to us (I am an Eastern Orthodox layman) with a special interest in the horrors that continue to unfold for Christians in the ancient churches of the Middle East. Here is a chunk of a recent AINA report:
Twelve Christians have been brutally executed by the Islamic State, including the 12-year-old son of a Syrian ministry team leader who had planted nine churches, because they refused to renounce the name of Jesus Christ and embrace Islam. The martyrs were faithful to the very end; right before one woman was beheaded by the terror group, she appeared to be smiling slightly as she said, “Jesus!”
According to Christian Aid Mission, a humanitarian group which assists indigenous Christian workers in their native countries, the horrific murders took place on August 28 in an unnamed village outside Aleppo, Syria.
“In front of the team leader and relatives in the crowd, the Islamic extremists cut off the fingertips of the boy and severely beat him, telling his father they would stop the torture only if he, the father, returned to Islam,” Christian Aid revealed, according to a report from Morning Star News. “When the team leader refused, relatives said, the ISIS militants also tortured and beat him and the two other ministry workers. The three men and the boy then met their deaths in crucifixion.”
They were killed for refusing to return to Islam after embracing Christianity, as were the other eight aid workers, including two women, according to Christian Aid. The eight were taken to a separate site in the village and asked if they would return to Islam. However, after they refused to renounce Christ, the women, ages 29 and 33, were raped before the crowd summoned to watch, and then all eight were beheaded.
Read more at GetReligion.org…