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Religion Today Blog Christian Blog and Commentary

Carrie Dedrick

Citizens in Delaware will observe “Charles Darwin Day” on Feb. 12 after an official declaration of the state holiday by Gov. Jack Markell. 
Charles Darwin was the scientist who introduced the theory of evolution, or how organisms change over time. Feb. 12 was Darwin’s birthday. 
The Huffington Post reports that Markell said evolution is "the foundation of modern biology, an essential tool in understanding the development of life on earth” and the holiday would be "...a time to reflect and celebrate the importance of his scientific achievements."
The holiday was requested by a member of the Delaware Atheist Meetup group; according to state law, Delaware organizations have the right to request recognition for a day, week or month.
Some groups first began observing Charles Darwin Day in 1980. Two liberal lawmakers have proposed legislation to create a national holiday but were not successful, despite some interest from Democrats.
Publication date: January 27, 2015 
Monks in Erbil, Iraq are preserving Christian history by smuggling ancient books and manuscripts out of Mosul so they cannot be destroyed by Islamic insurgents. 
NPR reports that monks began taking important books out of Mosul in 2008 when Islamic extremists began to endanger the city. Books and manuscripts were taken piece by piece until last summer when ISIS captured Mosul. Iraqi Dominican monk, Father Najeeb Michaeel, collected all of the remaining important books and took them by truck out of the city. 
"We passed three checkpoints without any problem, and I think the Virgin Mary [had] a hand to protect us," Michaeel said. 
The books and manuscripts are now in the Christian city of Qaraqosh, though the exact location was not revealed to keep them safe. 
Father Columba Stewart, a monk from Texas, has joined Michaael’s project to preserve Christian history in Iraq. The monks are now working on digitizing the books and manuscripts by photographing them.
Publication date: January 27, 2015
Saudi Arabia has announced that it is construction a 600-mile “great wall” at its Iraq border to protect itself from ISIS and other extremist groups. 
Fox News Insider reports that former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia Robert Jordan said that plans for a wall to keep out drug traffickers and militants began in 2003 but funding was available at the time. After securing the necessary funding, construction for the wall began in September. 
The wall is technologically advanced and will include five layers of fencing, parts of which will be 125 feet high. The wall will serve to keep ISIS terrorists at bay, as well as Iranian Shiite militants. 
Meanwhile, President Obama will travel to Saudi Arabia this week to meet with the royal family following the death of King Abdullah. Obama is also scheduled for an audience with Abdullah’s successor, King Salman. 
Jordan said, "The president needs to develop a personal relationship with King Salman. So much of business in the Middle East is done on a personal level."
Publication date: January 27, 2015