Syria, more than 20 thousand foreign fighters have joined the jihad

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The number of volunteers who have joined the militias of the Islamic State has increased at an “unprecedented” rate. They come from more than 90 nations worldwide, at least 3,400 from the West (150 from the United States). A carefully masterminded propaganda and an “alienated” life are the main factors which lead many to join the jihadists. Damascus (AsiaNews / Agencies) – In the last period the number of foreign militants arriving in Syria via Turkey to join the jihad has increased at an “unprecedented” rate. Worldwide more than 20 … Continue reading

The children of Mosul and the future: the “five-star” refugee camp

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de Bernardo Cervellera In the garden of the parish of Mar Elia beside the tents there are containers that serve as classrooms for the children and as a library. Another serves as a room for sewing. A children’s choir. Fr. Douglas: “Taking care of refugees does not just mean thinking about eating, drinking, medicines, injections, vaccinations … The displaced persons need to do something and to cultivate hope.” Erbil (AsiaNews) – Before lunch we visit the refugee camp of the parish of Mar Elias, which is not Elijah the prophet, but … Continue reading

Stopping the Recruitment of Child Soldiers

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February 12th marks the International Day against the Use of Child Soldiers. It’s estimated that worldwide, there are roughly 300,000 kids, forced into armies. It’s a common practice for many terrorist groups, like Boko Haram, which has a strong presence in Nigeria. CARD. PETER TURKSON President, Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace “They strap the bombs to these young people because the military guys are not likely to search them very stringently. They can make them suicide victims.” South Sudan is also facing this challenge. According to a UN report, … Continue reading

“They had to leave at night, under the cover of darkness”

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Archbishop Bashar Warda’s Address to the General Synod of the Anglican Church “For the Chaldean Church, and our sister churches of the East, the persecution our community is enduring is doubly painful and severe” LONDON, February 11, 2015 (Zenit.org) – The following is the address given by Archbishop Bashar Matti Warda of Erbil, Iraq to the General Synod of Anglican Bishops in London. * * * Your Graces, Members of Synod, Thank you very much for inviting me to the General Synod of the Church of England. I am grateful … Continue reading

Maronite Patriarch: ‘Pray for Stability in Lebanon’

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Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai Explains Need of Christian Presence in the Middle East By H. Sergio Mora ROME, February 11, 2015 (Zenit.org) – A bronze bust containing the relic of Saint Maron’s skull was part of the event on Monday, February 9, of the Maronite community of Rome. It began with a Mass presided over by Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai, and was attended by Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, and several Ambassadors to the Holy See. The Lebanese Catholic Patriarch, who spoke to ZENIT, … Continue reading

After pilot’s heinous execution, Jordan’s Christians pray for religious harmony

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Amman, Jordan, Feb 4, 2015 / 05:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Christians in Jordan have responded to the Islamic State’s gruesome execution of a captured Jordanian pilot with sorrow, calling for prayer and religious and national unity. Father Rifat Bader, general director of the Jordan-based Catholic Center for Studies and Media, said the Christian churches of Jordan conveyed their “deep sorrow and sadness” over Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh’s execution, which Fr. Bader characterized as a “martyrdom” and a “heinous crime against humanity.” He said the churches called for all their bells to … Continue reading

Iraq Bishop To Speak at UK Parliament

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Rome, January 29, 2015 (Zenit.org) John Pontifex Archbishop Bashar Warda Will Discuss Relief Efforts For Persecuted Christians An Archbishop from Kurdish northern Iraq grappling with the influx of more than 120,000 Christians fleeing ISIS is to come to London to plead their cause. Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil is due to give an address in London’s Houses of Parliament on Monday, 9th February amid increasing concerns about the future of Christians who escaped from Mosul and Nineveh with no more than the clothes they were wearing. At the House of Lords … Continue reading

Syria rebels ‘burned down churches and destroyed Christian graves’

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When insurgents stormed Kessab, they posted pictures of themselves protecting ancient churches. But a visit to the Syrian town tells a different story. By Ruth Sherlock, Kessab Rain seeped into the tombs through shattered flagstones. Nearby, marble crosses lay in pieces. Plastic flowers, once lovingly placed on a grave, were torn and stamped into the earth. Beside the desecrated graveyard in the Syrian town of Kessab stood the Holy Trinity Armenian Evangelical church. Its library, pews and altar had all been burned by arsonists.   The perpetrators had shown both … Continue reading

What is the Pope doing to stop radical Islam?

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The world looked on as Pope Francis held a massive prayer gathering to stop military intervention in Syria. Privately, he helped re-establish diplomatic ties between the U.S and Cuba. Now one of his greatest challenges is stopping Islamic extremists and the violence they are waging. CARD. ZENON GROCHOLEWSKI Prefect, Congregation for Catholic Education “It’s either war or dialogue. Right now the greatest priority for the Pope is for us to embrace dialogue. It’s the only solution. We have seen results, but not as many as we would like. So we … Continue reading

Papal Envoy: Iraqi Christians Might Be Able to Return Home This Year

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Says Both Church and Political Leaders Hoping for a Visit From Pope Francis ROME, January 21, 2015 (Zenit.org) – This report is contributed by Oliver Maksan of Aid to the Church in Need. The Vatican’s diplomatic representative in Iraq, Archbishop Giorgio Lingua, is cautiously optimistic that the Christians driven out of northern Iraq by the Islamic State might be able to return to their homes sometime this year. He told international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, however, that the process will be most challenging—even aside from the … Continue reading