Pope phones priest working in Iraqi refugee camp

From Vatican Radio:  Pope Francis called a priest at a refugee camp in Iraq to express his closeness to the persecuted Christians who have taken refuge there and to promise his continued support. Pope Francis reportedly called Fr Behnam Benoka on August 19, a day after returning from his apostolic journey to South Korea. Fr [Read More...]

Muslim leaders in UK issue fatwa condemning those who join ISIS

Details, from HuffPo:  Muslim leaders in the UK have issued a fatwa condemning British jihadis who fight alongside the Islamic State terrorist group, saying they are “betraying their own societies”. The fatwa, which The Sunday Times (£) said had been issued by imams, is the strongest condemnation yet of Britons joining Islamic extremists by the Muslim [Read More...]

Must-see video: Cardinal Wuerl’s powerful plea on Iraq

My blog neighbor Kathryn Lopez posted this last night, and it deserves a wider distribution. As she wrote: This is no ordinary opening of an academic year, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., said toward the end of Mass for my alma mater’s academic year. “Atrocities happen because there are people who commit them and [Read More...]

Muslim scholar: “I’m a Nazarene, too”

From Catholic News Agency:  Referring to the label “Nazarene” marked on houses of Christians in Iraq by the militant Islamic State, a Muslim scholar also called himself Nazarene in solidarity – maintaining that many people in the Muslim community are identifying with Christians as well.“Millions of Muslims have used the Arab letter ‘nun,’ or ‘n,’ [Read More...]

Memorial Mass held for James Foley

From The Wall Street Journal:  On Sunday, however, hundreds of people descended on Our Lady of the Holy Rosary parish with a new, painful focus: to remember James Foley, the U.S. journalist and New Hampshire native who was killed last week by extremists in the Middle East. More than 900 people packed the aisles and [Read More...]

Who killed James Foley? We may know soon.

Details:  British intelligence agents believe they have identified ‘jihadi John’ after employing sophisticated voice recognition technology, the British ambassador to the US has revealed. Officers from MI5 and MI6 have been working closely with specialists at the Government’s listening station at GCHQ and are now said to be “very close” to putting a name to [Read More...]

Is James Foley a martyr?

  My blog neighbor Pia de Solenni takes up that question and offers some very compelling answers:  With the beheading of James Foley and the increasing reports of his Catholic faith, the word “martyr” is becoming more popular. Some would caution that we shouldn’t use the word too lightly. I agree. At the same time, [Read More...]

On James Foley: “They made him stand against a wall and pose as if he’d been crucified…”

Someone who was held prisoner with the murdered journalist describes life with ISIS in The New York Daily News: James Foley — brave until the end — was subjected to beatings and psychological torture with mock executions before he was butchered by his Islamic State captors, it was revealed Thursday. “This group, which has a [Read More...]

The head of World Jewish Congress asks: “Who will stand up for Christians?”

Ronald S. Lauder offers us this provocative and stirring piece from yesterday’s New York Times: Why is the world silent while Christians are being slaughtered in the Middle East and Africa? In Europe and in the United States, we have witnessed demonstrations over the tragic deaths of Palestinians who have been used as human shields by [Read More...]

Want to support Iraqi Christians? Here’s a great fundraiser

And it was all started by a deacon. From the CNEWA blog, One-to-One:  A couple days ago, I got an email from Deacon Charles Rohrbacher in the Diocese of Juneau (Alaska), who wanted me to know about a fundraiser they are undertaking to help Christians in Iraq — and, specifically, to support the work of CNEWA. [Read More...]