Letter to the Vice President Regarding Relief and Coordination for Victims of Genocides
By Frank R. Wolf, Nina Shea
Thank you for your leadership on the issue of Christians, Yizidis and other religious minority communities targeted for genocide by ISIS. We took heart from your clear assertions last spring that religious freedom is an American foreign policy priority and that the administration would stand up for these severely persecuted religious groups. As coalition forces liberate Middle Eastern territory from ISIS, we are compelled to beseech you to take two urgently-needed steps to preserve these minority communities in Iraq from likely imminent extinction.
The continuing tragedy of Egypt’s Coptic Christians
By Samuel Tadros
La Ilaha illa Allah. Al Massih howa Allah. (There is no God but God. Christ is God.) These extraordinary words were chanted by angry Copts in the Egyptian province of Minya who gathered to welcome the bodies of their newest martyrs after a gruesome attack by Islamic State jihadists on Friday that left 29 people dead.
Mike Pence Promises to Defend Christians in the Middle East
By EMMA GREEN
The vice president announced that the administration will shift aid from the United Nations to the U.S. Agency for International Development. He’ll also visit the region in late December. In his comments on Wednesday, Pence made it clear that the Trump administration is specifically focused on protecting Christians as part of its national-security agenda. “Christianity is under unprecedented assault in those ancient lands where it first grew,” the vice president said.
"We Are Going to Burn You Alive!"
By Raymond Ibrahim
Jesuit Father Henri Boulad, an Islamic scholar of the Egyptian Greek Melkite rite, pulled no punches in an interview concerning the motives of Islamic terror and Western responses to it. "Islam is an open-ended declaration of war against non-Muslims" and those who carry out acts of violence and intolerance are only doing what their creed requires, said the priest
Islamic Family Values
By WILLIAM KILPATRICK
For some Catholics, it seems to be enough to hear that, as Nostra Aetate tells us, Muslims “revere” Jesus and “honor” Mary. I can’t remember the number of times that some hopeful Catholic has pointed out to me that there’s a whole chapter named after Mary in the Koran, or that Mary is mentioned more than any other women in that book. Supposedly, that somehow compensates for all the verses in the Koran that call for crucifixions, beheadings, and amputations, and for the fact that Christians who live in Muslim lands generally lead a precarious existence.
In the grasping-for-straws department, one of the items most frequently on display is the claim that Muslims have more or less the same moral code that governs traditional Christians
Coptic Christians: Islamic State’s ‘Favorite Prey’
By SAMUEL TADROS
“At this rate Copts will be extinct in 100 years. They will die, leave, convert or get killed,” a friend wrote on Facebook as news broke of the latest bloody attack on Egypt’s Coptic Christians. Less than two months ago, while attending church in Cairo on Palm Sunday, my friend told me she’d mused to herself that it was a blessing her daughter wasn’t with her: If there was a bombing, at least her child would survive.
For Iraqi Christians After Islamic State, Hope Amid the Ruins
By Lauren Ashburn
Christian towns in Iraq’s Kurdistan region show both heartbreaking damage and signs of resilience
Trump, Egypt and the future
By Judith Miller
The Palm Sunday bombings of Coptic churches in Egypt are a tragedy for Egyptian Christians, the Middle East’s oldest and largest Christian community and for all Egyptians who oppose the Islamic State’s intolerance and terror. But this calamity has political benefits for Egypt’s beleaguered President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi. The twin suicide bombings, the worst terror attack against Egypt’s Christians since 28 people were killed near St. Mark’s Coptic Cathedral in Cairo last December, have not only helped el-Sisi cement ties with President Trump, but they have given him even greater latitude to crack down on opponents of his policies.
Critics: State Department Delaying Aid Congress Provided to Yazidis, Christians in Iraq
By Susan Crabtree
Human rights activists and Catholic groups are questioning why the State Department still appears reluctant to direct money Congress appropriated to assist Christians, Yazidis, and other persecuted religious minorities in Iraq but this week quickly dispatched $32 million to help a majority Muslim group fleeing violence in Burma.
Reps Push Trump Admin to Bypass U.N. and Help Iraqi Christians, Yazidis Directly
By Susan Crabtree
Four House members are pressing the top official of the U.S. Agency for International Development to bypass the United Nations and channel funds intended to help Christians and Yazidis in Iraq directly to Catholic charities and others helping them on the ground. The urgent push comes amid dire warnings from lawmakers and human rights activists that Christians and Yazidis, already victims of genocide at the hands of the Islamic State, are on the verge of extinction in Northern Iraq, their home for thousands of years.
See attached letter to USAID from Members of Congress*
Should America’s Refugee Policy Put Persecuted Christians First?
David Curry, Nina Shea, Matthew Soerens, and Jeremy Courtney
Four Christian experts offer their take on Trump’s controversial plan.
Under President Donald Trump’s new executive order, religious minorities claiming persecution will take priority over other applicants once the refugee program resumes. Last weekend on the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), Trump indicated that the policy will particularly advantage persecuted Christians from the Middle East:
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Most Democrats Think Christians in Muslim World Treated Better Than Muslims in U.S.
This is what happens when ideology clashes with reality.
This is disturbing for so many reasons. A majority of Democrats believe that Muslims are mistreated in the United States because of their faith, but fewer say the same thing about Christians living in the Islamic world, a new poll shows. Fifty-six percent of Democrats told Rasmussen that Muslims living in the U.S. are mistreated because of their faith while only 46 percent believe Christians in the Islamic world are persecuted over their faith.
IRAQ: A FORGOTTEN HOPE (Part of: The Justice Film Festival October 6–8, 2017)
Director: Joel Parker
The Middle East is an ancient land with a complicated narrative. Today in Northern Iraq, the story seems muddier than ever. A modern evil has brought devastation and genocide, pushing some of Iraq’s oldest people groups to the verge of extinction. In an effort to make sense of the story, host Mark Foreman meets with ethnic minorities, ISIS survivors, and political and religious leaders.
Christian refugees reportedly forced to say Muslim prayers for food in Sudan
By Matt Hadro
Christian children in Sudanese refugee camps are reportedly being given food only after they recite Muslim prayers, a papal aid group says. According to Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), a papal charity that provides aid to persecuted Christians around the world, there are reports of Christian children who have fled violence in South Sudan being forced to recite Muslim prayers in order to receive food at several refugee camps in the Sudan.
The lessons of Roosevelt’s failures
Caroline B. Glick
The current media and left-wing uproar over the executive order US President Donald Trump signed on Saturday is extraordinary on many levels.
Is US President Donald Trump the new Franklin Delano Roosevelt? Does his immigration policy mimic Roosevelt’s by adopting a callous, bigoted position on would-be asylum seekers from the Muslim world? At a press conference on June 5, 1940, Roosevelt gave an unspeakably cynical justification for his administration’s refusal to permit the desperate Jews of Nazi Germany to enter the US.
TUCKER with Piers Morgan: American Media Don't Care About Palm Sunday Egypt ISIS Attacks - But They Should
In the birthplace of Christianity, Christians and other minorities are being persecuted, driven and wiped out, and their places of worship are being destroyed. Faithkeepers gives face and voice to the humanitarian crisis and genocide affecting millions in the Middle East as a result of religious and ethnic persecution. The film is a testament to the stories of the persecuted and an inspiring portrait of the human spirit. Using personal testimonies and original animation, the film exposes daily life for those facing violence and expulsion.
Faithkeepers – the movie and the movement – will awaken, enlighten and inspire all people of faith to stand up and take action.
Palm Sunday attacks: 44 dead, more than 100 injured in Coptic church bombings carried out by ISIS
Egypt's president called for a three-month state of emergency Sunday after at least 44 people were killed and more than 100 more were injured in two Palm Sunday suicide attacks at Coptic Christian churches, each carried out by the ISIS terror group. Sunday's first blast happened at St. George Church in the Nile Delta town of Tanta, where at least 27 people were killed and 78 others wounded, officials said.
Bill to Aid Christian Genocide Victims in Iraq Advances in Senate
Posted by Matt Hadro/CNA/EWTN News
WASHINGTON — A Senate committee on Tuesday voted to advance a bill that seeks to ensure U.S. aid reaches Christian genocide victims in Iraq. “The vote from this morning is an important step toward providing relief for those victims of the genocide committed by ISIS,” said Rep. Chris Smith, R-New Jersey, one of the sponsors of H.R. 390, the Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act of 2017.
Egypt attack on Coptic Christians: Wake up, President Sisi! ISIS is murdering your Christian children
By Lela Gilbert
The first thing I read on Friday morning was that 28 Egyptians in the Sinai had been murdered by terrorists, with more than 20 others wounded. And my first thought was clear and to the point: Maybe this will finally wake up the Egyptian authorities. The grisly attack, carried out with firearms, took place on an isolated road in the Sinai desert – a sparsely populated region of Egypt where some believe ISIS is setting up a new base of operations in the wake of their losses in Iraq and Egypt.
‘Record-Breaking’ Number of Migrants Crossing Mediterranean This Easter
By Nick Hallett
The charity said the situation had been a “24 hours marathon of continuous rescue operations” in what was “set to be the latest marker in the record-breaking escalation of this on-going humanitarian crisis at sea”.
Pope gets a Lamborghini, donates it to rebuild Iraq’s Christian region
ROME-Italian luxury car manufacturer Lamborghini created a personalized edition of its Huracan model and donated it to Pope Francis on Wednesday morning. The pontiff will auction it off, with the earnings destined to go to four charitable projects, including the rebuilding of the Nineveh Plains.
According to a statement released by the Vatican’s press office, the white and yellow car will be sold through Sotheby’s, one of the world’s largest brokers of art, jewelry, real estate, and collectibles.
Cardinal says world leaders sidestepping persecution of Christians
By Christina Leslie
Cardinal Edwin F. O’Brien told Catholics gathered for Mass and a symposium in the Metuchen Diocese that “the enormity of today’s modern Christian genocide is possibly the worst and bloodiest in church history.” “The situation in Africa, Asia and the Middle East is conveniently sidestepped by the world’s leaders, even those in Washington,” the cardinal said in his homily during the Aug. 8 Mass at St. Brigid Church in Peapack. “We give God thanks for the grace that continues to nourish and strengthen them.”
ISIS victims in Iraq, Christians and Yazidi, desperately need global aid, Vatican says
By Perry Chiaramonte | Fox News
The Vatican is using its U.N. position to challenge the world to rescue Iraq’s and Syria’s Christians and Yazidis, victims of horrendous Islamic State persecution and now on the verge of extinction.
In a U.N. forum sponsored by the Holy See Mission last Thursday titled, “Peace, Reconciliation and Justice for the religious and ethnic minorities victimized by Daesh [ISIS],” two survivors retold the horrors they suffered at the hands of ISIS militants who devastated communities in Syria and in Iraq’s Nineveh Plain.
Ekhlas Khudur Bajoo, a now 17-year-old Yazidi survivor from Iraq, was kidnapped by ISIS when the terror group raided her village in August 2014. The girl, who watched ISIS murder her father, was raped repeatedly and faced humiliation every day during her six-month captivity. She was also sold as a sex slave. She attempted to escape three times and experienced horrific beatings after each time she failed. Finally, on her fourth try, she succeeded.
Ending Syria’s war may be easier than rebuilding Christian/Muslim trust
By John L. Allen Jr.
Although a bloody conflict in Syria is still smoldering after six long years, bringing it to an end may prove less complicated than going back to the relatively trusting relationships that once existed in the country between Muslims and Christians. Many Syrian Christian refugees say that having watched their Muslim neighbors join in attacking them, it's impossible to imagine that they'll ever be able to trust them again.
Will Genocide Victims Be Enabled To return To Their Ancient Homes? Will the International Community and State Governments Fail Them yet Again?
By Lord David Alton
At a conference held this week in Rome, about the persecuted Christians driven out of their homes in northern Iraq in the ISIS campaign of genocide, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, warned that Iraq’s ancient Christian community is struggling for its very survival – and has made an urgent call for the rights of all minority groups to be respected. The Nineveh Plains Reconstruction Conference considered practical steps that can be taken to allow these communities to return. What was really striking was the courageous faith and fortitude of those who have suffered so grievously.
Strengthening the ties between the United States, United Kingdom, and the English speaking world.
The Anglosphere Society
Cardinal highlights threat to Christianity in Iraq
By John Newton
The Vatican's Secretary of State has warned that Iraq's ancient Christian community is struggling for its very survival -- and has made an urgent call for the rights of all minority groups to be respected. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who ranks second behind Pope Francis in the Vatican, issued his stark warning yesterday (Thursday, 28th September) at a conference in Rome organised by Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need. Speaking at the meeting about the future of Iraq's Christians, Cardinal Parolin said: "We are all aware that the conflicts and tensions of recent years represent a risk, not only for the survival of Christians -- but also for the very possibility that the Middle East can be a place of coexistence between peoples belonging to different religious and ethnic groups."
House OKs bill to aid genocide victims; Senate urged to act quickly on it
By Josephine von Dohlen - Catholic News Service
The co-authors of a House bill that will provide humanitarian aid to Christians and other religious groups suffering at the hands of Islamic State militants praised the June 6 House passage of the measure and urged the Senate to quickly act on it. The House unanimously approved the bipartisan Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act, or H.R. 390, in a voice vote. Co-authored by Rep. Chris Smith, R-New Jersey, and Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-California, the bill will provide emergency relief and aid to the victims of genocide in Iraq and Syria, particularly the Christians in the Middle East as well as other religious minorities.
Secularism Is No Match for Radical Islam
It falls to Christian leaders everywhere to work and advocate for their co-religionists in the Middle East.
Trudging around the ruined Church of St. Addai, in the empty Christian town of Karemlash, I saw clearly where radical Islamic extremism leads. This was only days before the attack on Westminster in London on March 22. With broken glass underfoot and the walls of the Church blackened after ISIS firebombed it, perhaps the most powerful symbol I came across in Karemlash was the defaced Cross.
Syria’s Christians driven to the edge
By Richard Spencer, Tel Tamer
The 35 Christian villages of the Khabur Valley echo emptily. Some are burnt and others just deserted, their mud-brown houses settling back into the desert hills. Six years ago, this was one of the last rural communities of the Assyrian Christian population of Syria. Around 20,000 of them lived along its banks, their villages marked out by elaborate churches and monasteries.
Juliana Taimoorazy responds to Islamist Terrorist Attack on Coptic Christians in Egypt today
By Iraqi Christian Relief Council
CHICAGO, IL, May 26, 2017 -- "This morning in Egypt, ISIS made good on its promise to attempt to divide the country by mercilessly slaughtering Coptic Christians. On behalf of the Assyrian community in the US and the Iraqi Christian Relief Council, our thoughts and prayers go out to the Coptic families who lost children in this despicable act of terror committed this morning in Egypt by barbarians in the name of the so-called "Caliphate". Christians across the Middle East are under attack. The outcry from the church in the US should be deafening, yet it is not. Rather the silence is deafening. It is time for the Church in the West to speak up and take action. If we do not act now, there will soon be no Christians left in the Middle East. Shame on us if we allow this to happen on our watch. Let us send a clear message of solidarity to our brothers and sisters persevering through this persecution. 'We hear you. We love you. We will not rest until you are able to worship in peace.' Let this short docudrama, Sing a Little Louder, be a reminder to us of the Church's inaction during the Holocaust. This is not the first time the Church has turned a blind eye to genocide. There is still time to act, but with each new attack, that window closes."
In Egypt, Meeting with Sunni Muslim Leaders, Pope Francis Must Speak Up
By Nina Shea
He should ask them to define and clarify key Islamic terms that terrorist groups use to recruit members.
On Friday, Pope Francis travels to Egypt, the largest Arab country and home to the Copts, the Middle East’s largest Christian community. His principal purpose is to take part in an interfaith dialogue with Grand Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, who heads el-Azhar, the ancient center of Sunni Muslim learning. Begun 20 years ago, this dialogue effort is best known for Tayeb’s breaking it off in 2011, after he faulted Pope Benedict XVI for an “unacceptable interference” in Egypt’s internal affairs.
Christianity's prospects of surviving in its birthplace are grim
By Perry Chiaramonte
Prospects of Christianity surviving in its birthplace, the Middle East, appear as grim this Holy Week as they have at any time in the last two millennia. Persecution of the world’s largest religion has intensified throughout the 20th century and that trajectory has only intensified in recent years, especially in Muslim-dominated countries. Jihadists appear to have repeatedly carried out one of their oft-stated goals of erasing any trace of Christianity in some regions, while in others persecution against Christians and other religious minorities are being held at bay — for now.
The US Must Do More for Minority Faiths Facing Genocide Abroad
The fact that President Trump’s executive order allows the government to prioritize individual claims of religious-based persecution from religious minorities—whether Christian, Yazidi, Jew, Muslim, Bahá’í, Buddhist, etc.—should be welcome news to every Christian and everyone concerned with human rights and religious freedom.
ISIS has waged genocide against Christians and other minorities for nearly three years. The terror group carried out its slogan, “We will break your crosses and enslave your women,” with literal precision against the ancient Christian community of several Middle Eastern countries. The Yazidis, another ancient religion, saw ISIS abduct more than 3,000 of its women and girls for sexual enslavement, and mass graves of their men are now being unearthed.
March 6, 2017
Statement of Nina Shea, director of Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, in light of the March 6 Executive Order, which drops prior version’s refugee section on religious persecution of minorities:
“There’s a dire need for Pres. Trump to issue a separate executive order -- one specifically aimed to help ISIS genocide survivors in Iraq and Syria. For three years, the Christians, Yizidis and others of the smallest religious minorities have been targeted by ISIS with beheadings, crucifixions, rape, torture and sexual enslavement. One year ago, on March 17, 2016, ISIS was officially designated as responsible for this “genocide” by the State Department. Nevertheless, the UN marginalizes these minorities, not only from Syrian refugee resettlement referrals, but from other UN programs substantially funded by the U.S.: Iraqi humanitarian aid programs, Nineveh reconstruction assistance plans and its refugee camps, which, region-wide, have been allowed to become dens of religious persecution in which few minority refugees dare enter. Even if ISIS is routed from Mosul, the Christian community is now so shattered and vulnerable, without Pres. Trump’s prompt leadership, the entire Iraqi Christian presence could soon be wiped out.”
EU Parliament: Weber (EPP), “Christians persecuted all over the world. must be protected”
(Strasbourg) “The persecution that Christian have to endure all over the world is more and more worrying”: this has been stated by Manfred Weber, head of the People’s Party Group in Strasbourg, as he commented on the fact that tomorrow afternoon the European Parliament, gathered in its plenary meeting, will hold a debate about such subject with the EU High Representative for Foreign Policy, Federica Mogherini. “Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world. One million Christians had to flee Syria alone. Attacks on churches and communities, as it recently happened in Egypt, are multiplying”. Weber states that the European Parliament “must give a strong message”, so that the communities, that are above all in the Middle East and in Africa, are really protected.
Next few months will decide Christians’ fate in scarred Iraq, says official
By Mark Pattison - Catholic News Service
The next few months will determine whether Iraqi Christians can return to their homes in areas where Islamic State had been routed, according to Msgr. John E. Kozar, international president of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association. Msgr. Kozar, who was in Iraq March 31-April 5, cited several daunting challenges for Iraqi Christians who return to their country: infrastructure woes, burned- and bombed-out buildings, desecrated churches and security issues.
Why are US aid policies in Iraq helping Iran and hurting Christian and Yazidi minorities?
By Nina Shea (Nina Shea is a Board Member of TAS)
Iraq’s Christian and Yazidi communities have survived beheadings, sexual slavery and bloody religious genocide by ISIS but they may not endure the grossly unfair and badly managed U.S. aid programs that are now meant to help them following ISIS’ defeat. The ugly possibility is that U.S. assistance policies may finish the terrible work that the fanatics of ISIS started. In fact, as Congress will learn Tuesday at a hearing on this issue, things are like they were in the Obama administration, only worse. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and USAID Director Mark Green continue to channel over $1 billion of aid for Iraqis through various United Nations agencies, which divert the money away from the smallest and most beleaguered minorities, who suffered most grievously under the Islamic State.
Egypt's Battle Against Islamic Extremism
By Shireen Qudosi
For a Western audience, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is a complex figure, who was shunned by the Obama administration. There appear truly pressing, immediate priorities in Egypt, such as developing the economy and combating the avalanche of extremist attempts to overthrow him. Among Middle East and North African territories, Egypt stands out as a primary target, given the cocktail of challenges that position it as a center of radical Islam.
Anglosphere Society to host summit on defending Middle East Christians
The cradle of Christianity risks being eradicated and should be of compelling concern to Christians of all denominations. The Anglosphere Society is convening experts in various disciplines to present a clear-eyed analysis of the challenges that face our fellow Christians in the Middle East in the post-ISIS era. The Economist headlined a recent article about the liberation of Raqqa in Syria from ISIS last month this way: “To the victors, the toils.”
While we can all rejoice that the blood-soaked reign of ISIS terror is ended, the Anglosphere Society invites you to their Second Annual Conference daytime inter-faith forum to be held December 5, 2017 at the 3 West Club in New York City. Learn more and dialogue with experts about the subsequent protection, reconstruction, and inclusion for Christians in the Middle East.
How to Help Iraq’s Religious Minorities
By Nina Shea (Nina Shea is a Board Member of TAS)
Trump should undo an Obama policy that largely blocks them from getting U.S. aid.
As Islamic State heads toward defeat in Iraq, Christian and Yazidi survivors of genocide should be returning to their hometowns in Nineveh province. Instead, these fragile minority communities mostly remain stranded at displacement shelters in Kurdistan without the means to rebuild their villages. Many are fleeing Iraq, and the country now risks losing these religious minorities entirely. The Trump administration is making the situation worse by continuing Obama policies that effectively exclude these non-Muslims from U.S. aid in Iraq.
Amid Pence promises, persecuted Iraqi Christians still in perilous limbo
By George Russell | Fox News
Hundreds of thousands of persecuted Christians, Yazidis and other minorities driven from battered northern Iraq are still in a perilous limbo, as humanitarian groups struggle to make sense of a new Trump Administration initiative rolled out after Vice President Mike Pence’s October 25 promise to “stop funding ineffective relief efforts at the United Nations” and “provide support directly to persecuted communities through USAID.” Humanitarian groups have called the Administration declaration a big step forward in helping the sorely-neglected minority groups recover from genocidal waves of murder, rape, displacement and plunder inflicted by now-defeated ISIS forces.
Christianity in Iraq is finished, says Canon Andrew White, 'vicar of Baghdad'
He is one of the world’s most prominent priests, but Canon Andrew White – known as the “Vicar of Baghdad” – has reached a painstaking conclusion: Christianity is all but over in the land where it all began. “The time has come where it is over, no Christians will be left. Some stay Christians should stay to maintain the historical presence, but it has become very difficult. The future for the community is very limited,” White told Fox News this week. “The Christians coming out of Iraq and ISIS areas in the Middle East all say the same thing, there is no way they are ever going back. They have had enough.”
In Middle East, waiting for ‘right time’ to help Christians a fool’s errand
By John L. Allen Jr.
A recent independence vote in Kurdistan has created the threat of new conflict in northern Iraq, and raised questions about whether this is the right time to be trying to rebuild the Christian presence in the Nineveh Plains. Ask Middle East Christians that question, however, and they'll reply, 'When exactly would the right time be?'
ROME - Fair warning: This isn’t exactly the most original insight you’re likely to stumble across in your Sunday reading. However, it bears saying out loud anyway, because it has immediate consequences for one of the world’s most creative and systematic efforts to aid suffering Christians. If the project succeeds, there’s new hope everywhere; if it tanks, well, you don’t need me to spell out what that would mean.
As we work to eradicate ISIS, Iraq's Christians, Yizidis need our help now more than ever
Three years ago ISIS began attacking Iraq's Christians and Yizidis in an onslaught of rape, murder and ruin that was properly designated as “genocide” on March 17, 2016 by the State Department. Now, as their hometowns in Iraq’s northern Nineveh Province become liberated in an ongoing coalition offensive, a few brave Christian and Yizidi genocide survivors are straggling back to the rubble that was once their homes and businesses. The next six months will be the moment of truth for them.
Frank Wolf: A short window to save Christians in Iraq
By Jennifer Rubin
Former Republican congressman Frank Wolf, a leading voice on human rights during his time in Congress and now a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative, has just returned with a disturbing report from his fifth visit to Iraq. While U.S. forces have made great progress on the battlefield, Christian and Yazidi areas he visited have been decimated by years of war. The horrors of war — rape, forced conversion, enslavement — have scared those who survived. He went to areas where U.S. Embassy personnel are not permitted — Sinjar Mountain, Sinjar City, Bartella, Qaraqosh, Nimrud, Irbil, Dahuk, and Mosul, where a Christian population that once reached 1.5 million people has been reduced, by Wolf’s estimate, to 250,000. In some towns structures have all been destroyed and families live in tents wary of Islamic State sympathizers who may be in camps for displaced persons. His written report does not mince words:
Florida rally designed to support persecuted Christians
Kathryn Jean Lopez
The site of this event is so connected to the mission of this festival because it was on this “holy acre” where the first Mass of the United States was said and where seven Servants of God of La Florida were martyred for their faith. Also, the Shrine to Our Lady of La Leche at Mission Nombre de Dios is where the first Marian shrine in the U.S. was founded and this devotion to Our Lady is one of comfort, healing, and restoration.
What a perfect place to pray for the persecuted Church and their aggressors!
Middle East – and not even a visit from the Pope can convince them to stay
By Robert Fisk
In the British mandate of Palestine, the Christian population was 9.6 per cent of the population. By 1999, it was 2.9 per cent. Meanwhile, 35 per cent of the Christians of the West Bank and Gaza left between 1967 and 1999
State Department Accused of Ignoring Christian Genocide
By Brendan Kirby
While the U.S. government spends $32 million to assist Myanmar’s persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority, it has shown a curious lack of commitment toward Christians who fled the Islamic State invasion of Iraq, according to critics. Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, raised the issue in a Wall Street Journal op-ed last week. She told LifeZette that the State Department has spent very little of the $1.4 billion of humanitarian aid authorized by Congress since fiscal year 2014 on the Christian and Yazidi communities of Iraq.
Cardinal Dolan Leads Good Friday Mass at Coptic Church
By NY1 News
Religious leaders gather on the Upper East Side as a show of solidarity in the face of last weekend's terror attacks in Egypt. Cardinal Timothy Dolan led Good Friday services at Our Lady of Peace on 62nd Street, a Coptic Christian Church. A Greek Orthodox archbishop, an Armenian orthodox archbishop and a rabbi also came out to pray for peace.
Islam: A Giant Step Backwards for Humanity
By WILLIAM KILPATRICK
One of the big mysteries of our day is how so many supposedly enlightened Catholics have managed to get it so wrong about Islam for so long. It’s understandable that in the 1960s, when the Islamic world was relatively quiescent, Catholics might entertain the high hopes for Islamic-Catholic relations expressed in Nostra Aetate. But this is 2017 and in the intervening half century a lot of water has passed under the bridge. Given all that has transpired in the interim—9/11, daily terror attacks, the accelerating Islamization of Europe, and the development of nuclear weapons by Pakistan and Iran—it seems that Catholics deserve to know more about Islam than the brief treatment presented in Nostra Aetate or the even briefer treatment in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.