Lest we forget: Christmas in the “Caliphate” of Iraq—UPDATED

From Al Arabiya News:  After a year of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria purging Christian minorities from its self-declared caliphate, Iraqi and Syrian Christians are facing muted celebrations this Christmas. “Talk of Christmas and Christian occasions is forbidden under ISIS,” said Sulaiman Youssef, a Syrian researcher on minorities. “The group has destroyed, torched [Read More...]

Pope writes Christmas letter to persecuted Christians of the Middle East

From Vatican Radio:  Pope Francis has written a pre-Christmas letter to the Christians of the Middle East  to express his closeness to them at a time of “afflictions and tribulations” due to “the continuing hostilities in the region, but especially because of the work of a newer and disturbing terrorist organization.” The full text: Dear [Read More...]

Hello, Long Island

If you’re in the neighborhood this weekend: I’ll be visiting Curé of Ars Catholic Church in Merrick, Long Island and preaching at all the Masses. The topic: persecuted Christians. Four months after ISIS began its purge, so many Iraqis are still homeless and in need of basic necessities. I’ll be there on behalf of CNEWA, along with [Read More...]

In Iraq, “Christianity is bleeding”

The latest on the ground, from CNEWA’s blog One-to-One and Dominican Sister Maria Hanna: After four months of exile there are no signs of hope that the situation here in Iraq will be resolved peacefully. Unable to think or make decisions, everything is vague and we feel as if we have been living a nightmare. [Read More...]

Report: ISIS terrorist seen on video was once a “devout Catholic”

From The Independent:  The disturbing face of French “jihadism” has been revealed by a statistical survey and by the most recent, horrific video clip from Isis. The “face” is French or European, rather than Arab or North African. It belongs to a young man from a loving, non-religious family who has “self-converted” to extremist Islam [Read More...]

After 100 days, “dire situations” for Christians in Iraq

A new report from CNEWA’s blog One-to-One: After 100 days away from their homes, churches, and lands, more than 20,000 Christian families find themselves in dire situations where they have to fight everyday to cover their basic needs. …It is estimated that today more than 1.8 million people are displaced in the country, mostly in [Read More...]

Inside Iraq: “I cry every day. I pray and I am fasting. I am simply hoping…”

The Autumn edition of ONE, the magazine of CNEWA, is now online, and the centerpiece is an astonishing and moving glimpse at life for Iraqi Christian refugees in Erbil. Journalist Don Duncan captures it in all its harrowing detail: On talking to many Christian families and individuals who have taken refuge in cities across Iraqi Kurdistan, the [Read More...]

Behold the Face of a Martyr

Details: A Coptic Christian priest in Egypt’s Northern Sinai has been shot dead, in what could be the first sectarian attack since the military overthrow of Islamist Mohammed Morsi. The priest, Mina Aboud Sharween, was attacked in the early afternoon while walking in the Masaeed area in El Arish. The shooting in the coastal city [Read More...]

Meet the Muslims Keeping the Peace at Christianity’s Holiest Site

Who knew? Details:  If you follow the boisterous groups of cross bearers and prayer-humming nuns who weave through the narrow streets of Jerusalem’s Old City, you’ll eventually end up in a rare clearing that holds one of Christianity’s holiest buildings: the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Orthodox and Catholic Christians consider the complex to be [Read More...]

Report: Fr. Murad Shot, Not Beheaded

From the Daily Telegraph: A Catholic priest has been shot and killed in northern Syria, The Telegraph has found, contradicting claims that he is the victim in a widely-circulated beheading video. The footage, said to show Father Francois Murad, 49, as the victim in a brutal summary execution by foreign jihadists is likely to be [Read More...]