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Current Issue
September, 2018
Volume 44, Number 3
  
22 June 2015
Greg Kandra




In the video above, analysts note that every minute another 30 people in the world flee their homes because of war or persecution. This, as the UN reports that the most dangerous country in the world is, for the second year in a row, Iraq — where war and persecution are having a devastating effect on Christians and other minorities. (video: Rome Reports)

Church reopens after arson attack attributed to Jewish extremists (Fides) Thousands of Christians in Galilee gathered on Sunday, 21 June at the Church of the Miracle of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes in Tabgha. Arsonists, believed to be Jewish extremists, attacked the church Thursday. Sunday’s gathering marked the reopening of the church for Sunday Mass. Hundreds of young people protested, blocked the roads carrying crosses and white and yellow flags of the Vatican, and the singers sang in honor of Jesus and Mary...

UN report on Gaza finds evidence of war crimes (The New York Times) A United Nations investigation found “serious violations of international humanitarian law” that “may amount to war crimes” by both Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip during their bloody battle last summer, according to a report released on Monday in Geneva. The report by a commission of the United Nations Human Rights Council said that “impunity prevails across the board” regarding the actions of Israeli forces in Gaza, and it called on Israel to “break with its recent lamentable track record in holding wrongdoers accountable”...

Holy See to UN: victims’ needs are a priority for humanitarian efforts (Vatican Radio) “The priority of any humanitarian response are the needs of the victims,” according to the Holy See’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva. Archbishop Silvano Tomasi was speaking at the 2015 Humanitarian Segment of the Economic and Social Council on Friday. The theme of the segment was “The future of humanitarian affairs: towards greater inclusiveness, coordination, interoperability, and effectiveness.” In his address, Archbishop Tomasi focused on the need to make the best use of available resources in responding to greater and more protracted humanitarian crises...

Report: Iraq most dangerous place in the world to live (RT) Iraq is the most dangerous place in the world for civilians to live, according to new figures from the UK based monitoring group Action on Armed Violence (AOAV). Syria, Gaza, Nigeria and Pakistan round out the top five. Unenviably occupying the top spot for most civilian fatalities and injuries, Iraq has seen a renewed surge in violence since the rise of ISIS. More than 10,000 civilians have been killed or injured by explosive devices, including car bombs, roadside bombs and other IED’s, making Iraq the most dangerous nation on the planet for the second year running...

EU extends sanctions against Russia (CNN) European Union foreign ministers meeting Monday in Luxembourg extended sanctions against Russia imposed because of the country’s actions in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, an EU spokeswoman has told CNN. The sanctions were imposed a year ago to punish Russia for its annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea and its military support for separatists in the eastern regions of Ukraine, which border Russia. The sanctions consist of asset freezes on some Russian companies and people as well as travel bans against certain officials...

Nun sexually assaulted in India (Voice of America) A 47-year-old nun working as a nurse at a medical center run by Christian missionaries in the central Indian city of Raipur was sexually assaulted by unidentified men Saturday. After a medical investigation, police in Raipur’s Chhattisgarh state said the nun from Kerala had not actually been raped, with police calling it a case of “attempt to rape.” Police say some suspects have been detained for questioning...



Tags: India Iraq Gaza Strip/West Bank Israel Russia

19 June 2015
Greg Kandra




In this image from last year, Mor Ignatius Aphram II, Patriarch of the Syrian Orthodox Church (right), arrives to vote at a polling station in Damascus. He visited the Vatican today to meet
with Pope Francis. (photo: Louai Beshara/Getty Images)


Pope Francis welcomes Syrian Orthodox Patriarch to Vatican (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis welcomed the Patriarch of the Syrian Orthodox Church, Mor Ignatius Aphram II, to the Vatican on Friday. In his address to the Patriarch, Pope Francis spoke about the “bonds of unity and fraternity” that unite the Church of Rome to the Church of Antioch, recalling the meetings between Patriarch Mor Ignatius Jacob II and Pope Paul VI in Rome, and between Pope Saint John Paul II and Patriarch Mor Ignatius Zakka Iwas in Rome and Damascus...

Pontifical Council sends greetings for Ramadan (Vatican Radio) For the Islamic Month of Ramadan and the feast of Eid al-Fitr, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue has published a Message to Muslims entitled “Christians and Muslims: Together to counter violence perpetrated in the name of religion.” In the Message, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the President of the Council, offers best wishes to Muslims “for a peaceful and joyful celebration of Eid al-Fitr, the celebration that marks the end of Ramadan...

Gaza flotilla to set sail (Al Jazeera) At least three boats carrying pro-Palestine activists are preparing to set sail to Gaza in the latest attempt to break Israel’s blockade against the territory. Members of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition in Palermo, Sicily, have told Al Jazeera that final preparations are under way, with the boats aiming to reach Gaza before the end of June. Activist Kalle Ohlsson said the flotilla’s main objective was not to bring aid, but to open Gaza’s port to allow freedom of movement and trade...

Evangelicals and Orthodox grow closer in Ethiopia (Christianity Today) Roughly two-thirds of Ethiopians are Christians. The majority of these belong to the ancient Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church; the rest primarily to Protestant denominations such as the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Makane Yesus (which recently broke ties with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America over theological concerns). The Orthodox and Protestants have long had in common the search for a better life. Increasingly, they share even more. Veteran SIM missionary Howard Brant celebrates that “the two groups are coming closer and closer together” in Ethiopia, which he calls “one of the great success stories of evangelical Christianity...”

Kerala church to observe Yoga Day Sunday (Business Standard) Observing that yoga practice was not against Christian faith, a Malankara Marthoma church in Kerala today said it will be observing the International Yoga Day on 21 June after the Holy Communion...Bishops Conference of India, apex body of the Catholic priests in the country, had earlier expressed displeasure over government’s decision to organise Yoga day on 21 June, saying Sundays are “sacred day” for Christians in the country. CBCI President and Syro-Malankara Major Archbishop Cardinal Baselios Cleemis, had made it clear that the Church was not against yoga, which was described as “anti-Islam” by certain Muslim bodies, including All India Muslim Personal Law Board...



18 June 2015
Greg Kandra




The English edition of Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment is pictured during a news conference at the Vatican on 18 June. The encyclical is titled, “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home.” At left is Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council
for Justice and Peace. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)


Pope’s encyclical connects care of world with justice for the poor (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis’ first encyclical is focused on the idea of ‘integral ecology,’ connecting care of the natural world with justice for the poorest and most vulnerable people. Only by radically reshaping our relationships with God, with our neighbors and with the natural world, he says, can we hope to tackle the threats facing our planet today. Science, he insists, is the best tool by which we can listen to the cry of the earth, while dialogue and education are the two keys that can “help us to escape the spiral of self-destruction which currently engulfs us”...

Overview of encyclical “Laudato si” (VIS) The following text offers an overview of the 191 pages of the Encyclical Laudato si’ and its key points, along with a summary of each of its six chapters (“What is happening to our common home”, “The Gospel of Creation”, “The human roots of the ecological crisis”, “Integral ecology”, “Lines of approach and action” and “Ecological education and spirituality”). The Encyclical concludes with an interreligious prayer for our earth and a Christian prayer for Creation... (Full text of encyclical)

Worldwide displacement hits all time high (UNHCR press release) Wars, conflict and persecution have forced more people than at any other time since records began to flee their homes and seek refuge and safety elsewhere, according to a new report from the UN refugee agency. UNHCR’s annual Global Trends Report: World at War, released on Thursday (18 June), said that worldwide displacement was at the highest level ever recorded. It said the number of people forcibly displaced at the end of 2014 had risen to a staggering 59.5 million compared to 51.2 million a year earlier and 37.5 million a decade ago...

Final UN shelter in Gaza closes (AFP) The U.N. has closed the last remaining shelter for Palestinians displaced in last summer’s war in Gaza, a spokesman said Thursday, with families seeking temporary accommodation elsewhere. The July-August conflict between Israel and Islamist movement Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, left 100,000 Gazans homeless and forced many to seek refuge in schools belonging to the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency, UNRWA...

Suspected arson attack on historic church in Galilee (Fides) A suspected arson attack carried out between Wednesday 17 and Thursday 18 June, by unidentified extremists devastated the church in Tabgha, the village located near Capernaum, on the northwestern shore of Lake Tiberias, considered one of the most important holy places of Galilee. It is built in the area where, according to tradition, Jesus performed the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and the fishes. The criminal fire — according to official sources of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem — was extinguished by firefighters around 3:30 am, after having caused serious damage in the courtyard entrance. It also caused the poisoning of an elderly Benedictine monk and a young volunteer, who were taken to a hospital...

Canadian charity challenging groups to support Syrians (Toronto Star) The challenge is on: Canadians need to reach out and help Syrian refugees, say Mayor John Tory and Ratna Omidvar, founding executive director of the Global Diversity Exchange at Ryerson University and chairwoman of Lifeline Syria. Canadians should reach out and help Syrian refugees just as they helped sponsor Vietnamese refugees in the late 1970’s, Omidvar says...



Tags: Syria Pope Francis Refugees Gaza Strip/West Bank Vatican

17 June 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro




Cardinal Telesphore Toppo talks with sisters at the Vatican in this October 2003 file photo. New Delhi police arrested a man in connection with an early June death threat against the cardinal, who has criticized the Indian government’s inaction over anti-Christian violence. (photo: CNS/Danilo Schiavella, EPA)

Kerala: Hindu extremists arrested for attacking a Christian gathering (AsiaNews) Police in Kerala arrested five people in connection with an attack against a Christian prayer group in Attingal. According to law enforcement sources, the five could be members of a Hindu radical paramilitary group…

Appeal for aid to refugees (VIS) Following today’s catechesis the pope mentioned that tomorrow the encyclical on the care of creation, our “common home,” will be published. “Our home is being ruined and this damages everyone, especially the poorest. I therefore make an appeal for responsibility, on the basis of the task that God assigned to the human being in creation: ’to tend and to keep’ the ’garden’ in which he placed him. I invite everyone to welcome with an open heart this document which is in line with the social doctrine of the church.” He also drew attention to World Refugee Day, to be held next Saturday…

Syria conflict: Rebels launch Quneitra offensive (BBC) A rebel alliance in southern Syria has begun an offensive against government forces in Quneitra province, near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. The area around the town of Quneitra came under heavy bombardment on Wednesday morning, Reuters reported…

Palestinian unity government to dissolve itself in coming days, Abbas says (Haaretz) Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced Tuesday that the Palestinian unity government led by Prime Minister Rami al Hamdallah was expected to tenders its resignation over the next few days, with the goal of assembling a new cabinet in its wake…

Palestinian refugee crisis a ‘time bomb’ for Middle East region (U.N. News Center) The stark conditions afflicting millions of displaced Palestinians across the Middle East risk destabilizing the region and plunging it into a deeper crisis, the head of the United Nations agency assisting Palestinian refugees has warned…



Tags: Syria India Refugees Middle East Palestine

16 June 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro




Syrians mourn outside Al Razzi hospital after a Syrian rebel rocket reportedly struck a government-held part of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on 15 June. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said rebels had fired some 250 rockets at several districts in western Aleppo city in just four hours, causing massive damage including the collapse of an entire building. (photo: AFP/George Oufalian)

Intense rebel shelling of Aleppo kills more than 30 (Reuters) More than 30 people have been killed in the most lethal rebel bombardment of the city of Aleppo since Syria’s conflict started four years ago, a group monitoring the war said on Tuesday, an attack condemned by a U.N. envoy visiting Damascus…

Pope Francis to receive Syriac Orthodox Patriarch (Vatican Radio) From 17-20 June, Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II of Antioch and All the East will be in Rome to meet with Pope Francis. The Syriac Orthodox Church traces its history to the first Christian communities established in Antioch…

Families of ISIS captives block north Lebanon highway (Daily Star Lebanon) Families of the nine Lebanese servicemen held hostage by ISIS blocked both sides of a north Lebanon highway Tuesday demanding to know if their loved ones were still alive. “We are standing here today to ask whether the servicemen are still there or if they were executed like some rumors said,” the brother of Army Sgt. Maj. Ibrahim Mgheit told reporters…

Patriarch Gregory: Most Lebanese think of emigrating (Fides) “According to a recent survey, 60 percent of the Lebanese are considering the idea of emigrating, and 35 percent of them are actually waiting for a visa,” said Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregory III of Antioch in his opening remarks at the yearly synod. The meeting of the Melkite Greek Catholic bishops, underway at the patriarchal summer residence in Ain Trez, will discuss the theme of family and emergency situations experienced by communities in Syria…

Mohammed Morsi death sentence upheld by Egypt court (BBC) An Egyptian court has upheld the death sentence imposed on ousted ex-President Mohammed Morsi over a mass jailbreak. The sentence was initially passed in May, but was confirmed after consultation with Egypt’s highest religious figure, the grand mufti. The death sentences of five other leading members of the Muslim Brotherhood and 101 others were also upheld. Morsi’s supporters have described the sentence as “farcical.” The verdict is subject to appeal…

Ecumenical patriarch hosts Halki Summit II (Huffington Post) Just days before Pope Francis is due to release his long-awaited and much-anticipated encyclical letter on climate change, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I organized the second Halki Summit in Istanbul, from 8 to 10 June. Entitled “Ecology, Theology, and the Arts,” this summer’s conference aimed to incorporate the artistic senses and spiritual dimension of environmental stewardship into the broader conversation on climate change…



Tags: Egypt Lebanon Christian Unity Aleppo Climate change

15 June 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro




Turkish soldiers stand guarded as Syrian refugees wait on the Syrian side of the border to cross Akcakale, in southeastern Turkey, on 15 June. Thousands of Syrians cut through a border fence and crossed over into Turkey on Sunday, fleeing intense fighting in northern Syria between Kurdish fighters and ISIS militants. (photo: Getty Images/Gokhan Sahin)

Rights group: World’s response to refugee crisis a ‘shameful failure’ (Al Jazeera) There were more than 50 million people displaced from their homes in 2013 — the highest number since World War II, Amnesty International said in a report published Monday.The report suggested that world leaders have abandoned millions of refugees to “an unbearable existence” and left thousands more to die by failing to provide basic human protections…

Syrian Kurds seize control of main road, encircle ISIS town (Daily Star Lebanon) The Syrian Kurdish militia said Monday it had encircled the ISIS-controlled town of Tal Abyad, the nearest border town to the militant group’s de facto capital of Raqqa…

Lebanese turn to faith to break political stalemate (Al Monitor) Christians in Lebanon seem to have lost hope in politics and politicians and decided to resort to religion for solace, as the Catholic churches in Lebanon have taken steps to consecrate their country to the “immaculate heart of Our Lady of Fatima.” The statue will be brought all the way from Portugal to roam the regions of Lebanon and visit four Catholic patriarchates amid various political and religious expectations…

Egypt’s Copts dig heels in over right to remarry (Al Monitor) Dozens of Christian Copts organized a protest inside the Cathedral of St. Mark during the 3 June homily of Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria. The protesters shouted, “We want to remarry,” while the priests tried to contain the situation to no avail, prompting Tawadros to cancel his sermon…

Egyptian president extends invitation to Pope Francis (Fides) Egypt’s ambassador to the Holy See reports that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al Sisi has officially invited Pope Francis to make a visit to Egypt. Regarding timing, the ambassador says no date has been set and will surely not take place in 2015…

Francis speaks at ROACO (VIS) The lands of the Middle East, marred by years of conflict, are also “marked by the footprints of those who seek refuge and soaked with the blood of many men and women, including numerous Christians persecuted for their faith,” said Pope Francis her as he received in audience the members of the Reunion of Aid Agencies for the Oriental Churches (ROACO), a year after their pilgrimage and Francis’ plea for peace in the region, when all hoped that “the seed of reconciliation would have borne greater fruits…”



Tags: Syria Egypt Lebanon Pope Francis Refugees

12 June 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro




Activists stage a protest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government in Bangalore
on 6 June. (photo: AFP/Manjunath Kiran)


Church institution says Indian government ‘abandoned’ farmers (Fides) A year after its election, the Indian government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi “has abandoned farmers, the backbone of the Indian economy, and granted a free hand to extremist groups who attack religious minorities such as Muslims and Christians,” says the Rev. Fusine Lobo, national director of the Pontifical Missionary Societies in India. “The government has cut subsidies and pursues a policy favorable to big interest groups and corporations,” the director said. “The increase in suicides among farmers is an alarming signal…”

Syria conflict: Al Nusra fighters kill Druze villagers (BBC) At least 20 Druze villagers have been massacred by the Al Qaeda-affiliated Al Nusra Front in northwestern Syria, activist and opposition groups say. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said elderly people and a child were among those killed in Qalb Lawzah in Idlib province on Wednesday afternoon…

Assad meets with synodal delegation of the Syriac Orthodox Church (Al Manar) Syrian president Bashar al Assad said that the extremist aggression against the region target the diverse social and cultural fabric of the region in general and Syria in particular, SANA reported. Members of the Holy Synod stressed that Syria has been and always will be a homeland for all of the Syrians with their various affiliations and “a sanctuary” for all those who believe in the generous values of humanity in spite of the ferocious war waged against the country…

Lebanese Christian leaders focus on need for president (Al Monitor) Christian political and religious leaders in Beirut intensified efforts to address the conditions of Christians in the region and to find a solution to the stalemate in Lebanon, where the presidential vacuum has continued since May 2014…

Families outraged as Israel closes probe into deaths of four Gaza boys (U.S. News & World Report) Israel says no action will be taken against those involved in the last year’s bombing of Gaza beach that left four Palestinian children dead, saying that it was an accident. The father of one of the children expressed his hope the killings would be part of a case against Israel, which is expected to be presented to the International Criminal Court…

Egypt agrees to reopen Gaza’s Rafah crossing for 3 days (Haaretz) The head of the Palestinian Authority border agency announced Wednesday that the Egyptian government has decided to reopen the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip for three days starting Saturday. The official says the decision to open the crossing followed a direct appeal by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al Sisi and senior Egyptian officials to reopen the crossing, to ease the hardship of many people who have been stuck on either side of the crossing, especially as Ramadan approaches…



Tags: Syria India Lebanon Middle East Christians Palestine

11 June 2015
Greg Kandra




Pope Francis greets Russian President Vladimir Putin as he arrives for a private meeting at the Vatican on 10 June. At center is Archbishop Georg Ganswein, prefect of the papal household.
(photo: CNS/Gregorio Borgia pool via Reuters)


Pope Francis meets with Vladimir Putin (Vatican Radio) Russia’s President Vladimir Putin met Pope Francis Wednesday evening in a private audience in the Vatican. It was the second meeting between the Pope and the Russian President...

Police probe death threat against Indian cardinal (Vatican Radio) Indian Cardinal Telesphore Toppo, the archbishop of Ranchi, the state capital, received a threatening letter on 8 June, allegedly from the People’s Liberation Front of India (PLFI), a splinter group of the Communist Party of India (CPI Maoist). The letter contained a demand for 50 million rupees (about 691,844 euro or US$780,000) to be paid within 15 days. Claiming that the Church has financially prospered through evangelism, the letter states: “You have made money [moolah] spreading the religion, which is why you should give a cut to the organization...”

Hundreds pour into Turkey from Syria (Al Jazeera) Hundreds of people have fled from Syria into Turkey as moderate fighters and Kurdish forces battle the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group holding the Syrian border town of Tel Abyad. Activists on the Turkish border said that Turkish authorities allowed Syrian refugees in Raqqa province to cross into Turkey on Wednesday after another group of hundreds crossed over to Turkey on 4 June...

ROACO meeting to address plight of suffering Christians (VIS) ROACO (Reunion of Aid Agencies for the Oriental Churches) will hold its 88th annual plenary assembly in the Vatican from 15 to 17 June. The assembly will begin on Monday morning with an audience granted by Pope Francis to the representatives of the various aid projects to the Oriental Catholic Churches. As in previous years, it will be a session dedicated to the situation in Syria with attention also given to Iraq in view of the recent tragic developments in that region which also affect the faithful of the Eastern Churches. The results of the recent visit to Iraq made by Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, during which he and a delegation from ROACO met with refugees, bishops, priests, and religious in Baghdad, Erbil, and Dohuk, will be presented...



Tags: Syria India Pope Francis Russia Turkey

10 June 2015
Greg Kandra




Ukrainians attend Pope Francis’ general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on 10 June. The sign in Italian says, “Holy Father, Pray for Ukraine.” Ukrainians were calling attention to their country as Pope Francis was scheduled to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin at the
Vatican Wednesday. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)


Pope, Putin to meet today (NPR) Russian President Vladimir Putin and Pope Francis will meet for the second time on Wednesday. Russia Today, the English-language news outlet of the Russian government, reports that Putin will head to the Vatican for the meeting. RT reports: “The two men champion similar conservative values in a rapidly changing world, as well as concerns for emerging threats to Christianity. During their last meeting in 2013, Putin and the Pope discussed the danger Christians face in the Middle East at the hands of radical Islamists”...

Putin’s calculated revival of the Russian Orthodox Church (The Fiscal Times) Something remarkable, though little noticed outside Russia, happened during the massive Victory Day parade and celebration held in Moscow last month. With troops assembled in Red Square awaiting his inspection, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, standing in the back of an open car, was driven through the gate in the Spasskaya Tower. As the car passed beneath the tower’s giant icon of Jesus it slowed and Shoigu, with the portrait above him and the massive edifice of St. Basil’s Cathedral to his right, made the sign of the cross. This was remarkable because Shoigu, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, neither is an ethnic Russian nor is he even a Christian. Born in the Siberian region of Tuva, Shoigu is widely believed to be a Buddhist...

Holy See: Poor countries need better access to medicines (Vatican Radio) The Vatican has called for waivers for the Least Developed Countries from certain obligations of intellectual property treaties in order to give them better access to essential medicines and vaccines. Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, Permanent Representative of the Holy See to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva, said this particularly needed to help fight HIV/AIDS...

Chaldean Patriarch: only national reconciliation can save Iraq (Fides) On the first anniversary of what is called “the tragedy of Mosul” when the jihadists of ISIS conquered the second city of Iraq, the Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, Louis Raphael I, turns to refugees forced to flee from their city with a message to express his closeness in prayer, along with the hope “that you can return home soon, in the land of your fathers”...

Lebanese will pray for their country before Mary (Fides) From 12 to 16 June, a series of liturgical celebrations and moments of Marian devotion will be held in various locations in Lebanon on the occasion of the second anniversary of the consecration of the Lebanese nation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary...



Tags: Iraq Lebanon Ukraine Russia

9 June 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro




Young supporters of pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) celebrate in the streets the results of the legislative election, in Diyarbakir, Turkey, on 7 June. (photo: AFP/Bulent Kilic)

Kurdish election gains are ‘historic’ boost for inclusion in Turkey (Al Jazeera) The surprising success of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party) in this weekend’s election was a historic moment for one of the country’s — and world’s — longest-persecuted ethnic minorities. By capturing 13 percent of the national vote in Sunday’s poll, the HDP became the first pro-Kurdish political faction to surpass the minimum threshold and gain representation in parliament for Turkey’s 14 million Kurds…

Islamic State: One year on, a brutish regime maintains grip on Mosul (Christian Science Monitor) One year after the Islamic State invaded the Iraqi city of Mosul, its hold on Iraq and neighboring Syria has spread, despite a U.S.-led military campaign to halt the group. Secretly filmed footage of life in Mosul, released by the BBC today, shows the power and control the Sunni Muslim militant group holds over everyday life in the largest city in its self-declared caliphate…

Inside Mosul: What’s life like under Islamic State? (BBC) Exclusive footage reveals how Islamic State wields power over people’s everyday lives in Iraq’s second city, Mosul, a year after it was captured…

Islamic State isn’t just destroying ancient artifacts — it’s selling them (Washington Post) Islamic State militants have provoked a global outcry by attacking ancient monuments with jackhammers and bulldozers. But they also have been quietly selling off smaller antiquities from Iraq and Syria, earning millions of dollars in an increasingly organized pillaging of national treasures, according to officials and experts…

The Journey: Syrian refugee risks life crossing the Mediterranean, Sweden-bound (The Guardian) In the darkness far out to sea, Hashem Alsouki can’t see his neighbors but he can hear them scream. It’s partly his fault. They are two African women — perhaps from Somalia, but now is not the time to ask — and Hashem is spread-eagled on top of them. His limbs dig into theirs. They would like him to move, fast, and so would he. But he can’t — several people are sprawled on top of him, and there’s possibly another layer above them…

Patriarchs met in Damascus to give courage and hope (AsiaNews) Catholic and Orthodox patriarchs of Antioch called for a political settlement of the Syrian crisis and the return of all the people who have been kidnapped and displaced…

Russian Church hopes meeting of Putin, pope will help Middle East Christians (Interfax-Religion) The Russian Orthodox Church believes the upcoming meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Pope Francis may address the peacekeeping initiatives in the Middle East and the other regions, specifically, the issue of the protection of Christians…

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I shares World Oceans Day message (Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople) “Over the past two decades, the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Orthodox Church worldwide has drawn the world’s attention to the deteriorating condition of our oceans. Now then, more than ever, it is important to recognize the need to respect and protect this invaluable and inalienable resource of our planet, which is the unique source of sustainability and biodiversity, but also the innate cradle of religion and culture…”



Tags: Syria Iraq Refugees Turkey ISIS





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