As we work to eradicate ISIS, Iraq's Christians, Yizidis need our help now more than ever

Nina Shea

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. 

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Secularism Is No Match for Radical Islam

Benedict Kiely                

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. Everywhere, in all the churches and monasteries I visited, the Cross was defaced, scratched out, broken, or pierced with bullet holes.  ISIS had spray-painted the message “the Cross will be broken” on the walls of the rectory, and the pastor’s office door was booby-trapped, to kill him when he returned. As I walked around the Christian cemetery, it was clear to me that the followers of the Prophet had dug up the Christian graves. In one instance, I was told, they had beheaded one of the corpses. In the sacristy of the church, they had dug up the grave of one of the priests and thrown his body away. Even in death, the persecuted Christians of Iraq were not safe.

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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. 

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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 

FOX News               

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.  Television footage showed the inside of the church, where a large number of people gathered around what appeared to be lifeless, bloody bodies covered with papers.

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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!

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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.

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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:

They’ve been horribly treated. Do you know if you were a Christian in Syria it was impossible, at least very tough to get into the United States? If you were a Muslim you could come in, but if you were a Christian, it was almost impossible and the reason that was so unfair, everybody was persecuted in all fairness, but they were chopping off the heads of everybody but more so the Christians. And I thought it was very, very unfair. So we are going to help them.

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TUCKER with Piers Morgan: American Media Don't Care About Palm Sunday Egypt ISIS Attacks - But They Should

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.

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The US Must Do More for Minority Faiths Facing Genocide Abroad

Nina Shea

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.

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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:

Nina Shea

“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.”

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

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Christianity in Iraq is finished, says Canon Andrew White, 'vicar of Baghdad'

Hollie McKay                 

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.”

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‘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”.

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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.

In Roosevelt’s words, “Among the refugees [from Germany], there are some spies... And not all of them are voluntary spies – it is rather a horrible story but in some of the other countries that refugees out of Germany have gone to, especially Jewish refugees, they found a number of definitely proven spies.”

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Strengthening the ties between the United States, United Kingdom, and the English speaking world.

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.

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Father Benedict Kiely on the Plight of Christians in Northern Iraq   


Most Democrats Think Christians in Muslim World Treated Better Than Muslims in U.S.

Matthew Archbold  

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.

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