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September, 2017
Volume 43, Number 3
  
23 April 2013
Greg Kandra




In the video above from October 2012, one of the two hierarchs kidnapped by gunmen yesterday — the Syriac Orthodox archbishop of Aleppo, Yohanna Ibrahim — says religion can play a positive role in Syria. (video: Huffington Post)

Pope Francis offers prayers for kidnapped Syrian bishops (Vatican Radio) The Director of the Vatican Press Office on Tuesday released a statement on the kidnapping of the Orthodox bishops in Syria...

Prayers requested for kidnapped Syrian hierarchs (OCA.org) In a portion of a letter dated 22 April 2013 and signed by His Grace, Bishop Basil, Secretary of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America to all member hierarchs, prayers were requested for two Syrian hierarchs who had been abducted earlier that day...

Israel: Syria used chemical weapons against its own people (CNN) The Syrian government is using chemical weapons against rebel forces, the head of the Israel Defense Forces’ intelligence research departments said Tuesday. “In all likelihood they used sarin gas,” Brig. Gen. Itai Brun said Tuesday in a speech at a conference in Tel Aviv. This comes as a civil war between the government and rebels rages across Syria — which borders Israel. Analysts believe the Syrian government may have one of the largest stockpiles of chemical weapons in the world...

Egypt’s street children, victims of political instability (Middle East Voices) Egypt’s street children had a lot to gain from the country’s revolution. However, change has come slowly if at all, and in many ways, their cause has been pushed off course. Increasing poverty, a growing shadow economy, and continued political instability, have proven challenges to the safety of these children...

On his feast, remembering St. George in Turkey (Catholic Herald) In fact George is not just Catholic, but also catholic in the widest sense: he is also revered by the Orthodox. He is even honored by some Muslims...



Tags: Syria Egypt Turkey Orthodox

22 April 2013
Greg Kandra




A protester opposed to Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi holds up a crucifix and the Quran as demonstrators chant slogans against the political leader near Cairo’s Tahrir Square on 19 April. Many Coptic Christians have left the unrest in Egypt and sought refuge in the United States.
(photo: CNS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany, Reuters)


Activists report record number of bodies found in Syria (CNN) The bodies of at least 566 people who were killed over a six-day period across Syria were found Sunday, according to Local Coordination Committees in Syria, an opposition group based in the country. That is the highest number of victims discovered in a single day since the war began in March 2011, LCC spokeswoman Rafif Jouejati said. At least 450 bodies were found in the Damascus suburb of Jadidat al-Fadel, LCC activist Abu Aasy said Sunday...

In Jordan, tensions rise between Syrian refugees and host community (Washington Post) More than 500,000 Syrians have fled to Jordan since the onset of the conflict in their country more than two years ago, according to the Amman government and the United Nations — a figure equal to nearly one-tenth of Jordan’s population. While 160,000 are housed in refu gee camps, the vast majority have been living in cities, where their presence is stoking tensions with an increasingly resentful host community and posing what Jordanian officials call one of the greatest crises the country has faced in decades...

Chaldean patriarch expresses hope during Iraqi voting (Vatican Radio) Iraqis went to the polls Saturday in their first provincial elections since the United States withdrew its military presence. Despite weeks of violence and bloodshed leading up to the elections, voting in 12 of Iraq’s 18 provinces took place in a state of relative stability and amid tight security. Reports of scattered violence during the first several hours of voting did not prove deadly and seemed not to dissuade voters. The Chaldean Patriarch of Babylon, Archbishop Louis Raphael of Baghdad, said interest among Iraqi citizens in exercising their right to vote was good. “I think the situation is much better today because of the security, and the police and the army are controlling the city of Baghdad in which we are living,” he said...

Chechnya casts long shadow over bombings in Boston (The Telegraph) The publication of the images of suspects by the US authorities, followed by a shoot-out, man-hunt and the lockdown of parts of Boston during Friday were accompanied by revelations that the two suspected bombers — the brothers Jokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev — were of Chechen origin. Attention quickly turned to the restive Southern Russian republic of Chechnya, and the Islamist regional insurgency led by veteran fighter, Doku Umarov, in an attempt find motives for the marathon bombing. But what motivated two young men who had spent most of their lives in the US to attack a marathon in Boston? Did the bombers really have any direct connections to Chechnya, why did they decide to launch such a deadly attack, and how were they radicalized?...

In New York, finding refuge from the unrest in Egypt (New York Times) Ever since the 2011 revolution that toppled President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and ushered in the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, Copts — Egypt’s Orthodox Christian minority — have been flooding out of the country and into the United States. The New York area has been a major gateway for these new arrivals, and churches in Brooklyn, Queens and Jersey City have had their rosters swell accordingly. Within a few months of the revolution, so many people had arrived from Egypt that the membership of St. Mary and St. Antonios had doubled, to about 1,000 families, and the church has not been quite the same since...

Indian bishops speak out against abuse of children (Fides) “What is the value of human life? What meaning does it have?” From this question one must start to seek answers to the sad phenomenon of violence and sexual abuse on minors, which in India reached a record of 48,338 cases in the last decade. This was stated to Fides Agency by the spokesman for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, commenting on the latest case of a 5-year-old girl in Delhi, kidnapped and raped repeatedly for 48 hours by two torturers, who were arrested by the police...



Tags: Syria Iraq India Egypt Copts

19 April 2013
J.D. Conor Mauro




Dozens killed in Baghdad cafe explosion (Al Jazeera) Up to 27 people have been killed and dozens more injured in a suicide bombing in a Baghdad cafe, a government source has told Al Jazeera. The source said that a suicide bomber walked into the popular Dubai Cafe late on Thursday and detonated explosives. Police said the cafe was full of young people enjoying water pipes and playing pool…

Syria’s Christian refugees seeking European future (Albawaba) Christian refugees from Syria have not been in Lebanon for very long. Or at least, you don’t hear much from them, as many are averse to reporters. Off the record, one refugee said that Syrian Christians are often accused of being partisans of President Bashar al Assad. Now, many have voiced a desire to move to England, France and other European nations. However, many obstacles stand in the way; for one thing, the visa procedures are very complicated…

Franciscan church destroyed in Syria (Fides) A violent explosion destroyed the church and convent of Capuchin Franciscan friars in Deir Ezzor, Syria, according to Father Tony Haddad, vice provincial of the Friars for the Near East, who oversees the Capuchin presence in Lebanon and Syria. The explosion occurred on 15 April. “It was the only church in Deir Ezzor still remained almost untouched so far.” Details of the cause of the explosion have not yet become clear…

Chaldean patriarch speaks out against ghettoization (Fides) Christians and other people of Iraq cannot live in enclaves drawn on the basis of ethnicity and religion. And the “militarization of the Arab Spring” represents “a loss for everyone,” according to Chaldean Patriarch Raphael Louis. In a recent interview, the patriarch replied to those who continue to voice concerns about the establishment of a special autonomous area reserved for Iraqi Christians — usually identified with the Nineveh Plain — and affirmed that neither Christians nor those belonging to other ethnic or religious groups should live in a ghetto…

Do Gaza’s Christians feel safe? (Al Monitor) Following Hamas’s rise to power in the Gaza Strip in 2006 and subsequent “Islamizing” campaigns, the region’s Christians have faced increasing animosity and often felt targeted. There are approximately 1,500 Christians in the Gaza Strip, down from some 5,000 in the 1970’s. Opinions vary about the reasons for this exodus; war, fear of religious extremism and the pursuit of a better future are all concerns. Some suggest the Hamas government has not succeeded in serving as a government for everyone and, in specific, has neglected those who disagree with it intellectually and ideologically. Government spokespeople dispute this, arguing Christians receive the full protection of law, and that most of the incidents committed against Christians have been criminal rather than sectarian incidents…



Tags: Iraq Refugees Middle East Christians Syrian Civil War Iraqi Refugees

18 April 2013
J.D. Conor Mauro




In this February 2011 photo, His Beatitude Christopher, archbishop of Prague and metropolitan of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, celebrates the Divine Liturgy at the Synodal Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign in New York. Metropolitan Christopher resigned from his position as head of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia on Friday. (photo: Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia)

Scandal claims head of Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia (Prague Daily Monitor) The head of the Orthodox Church in the Czech Republic and Slovakia resigned Monday amid allegations that he has breached his oath as a monk, carrying out affairs with women and fathering illegitimate children. Having already denied the charges, Metropolitan Christopher, 59, opted to resign to help maintain the unity of the church. Metropolitan Christopher of Prague was elected in 2006 soon after the death of Metropolitan Nicholas of Presov. After his resignation, the church’s acting head will be the Olomouc-Brno Archbishop Simeon, 87, for about 40 days until a new primate is chosen. To learn more about the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, see our profile from the November 2011 issue of ONE

Chaldean patriarch says politics is the domain of the laity (Fides) Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael has encouraged Christians to participate in the upcoming elections and to make serious and positive proposals to contribute to the common good. According to the text released by the Chaldean Patriarchate, the participation in the elections is “an essential national task.” Father Albert Husham Zarazeer, the communications manager of the Chaldean Patriarchate, expresses the conviction that “Iraqi Christians, who have deep roots in Iraq and have played an important role in its construction, will participate in the local elections in many of the provincial councils”…

Egyptian Copts reject ‘reconciliation meeting’ (AINA) A customary “reconciliation” meeting took place yesterday in Al Khosous to address the recent sectarian violence that resulted in the death of six Christians and one Muslim. Organized by the regime, the meeting included the governor of Qaliubia, Mr. Abdel-Ghafour; the assistant to the Egyptian President for social outreach; top ranking security personnel; representatives from Al Azhar; and two priests from St. Georges church in Al Khosous. The government delegation encountered anger and outright rejection from Copts, believing as they have learned from the past that such reconciliation meetings are useless. The Copts stressed the need to apply the rule of law to all — Christians or Muslims…

Syrian patriarch asks Vatican to increase peace efforts (CNA) The most powerful Catholic leader in Syria met Pope Francis today to ask the Vatican to get more involved in bringing peace to his tortured homeland. “I think it’s time the Vatican plays a bigger role, when we hear about weapons here and there,” said Melkite Patriarch Gregory III. “We want to hear the voice of the Holy Father saying, ‘This is a sin, it is against humanity,’ ” he told reporters on 17 April at Rome’s Basilica of Santa Maria. The Patriarch of Antioch, who is the spiritual leader of the Greek Melkite Catholic Church, said the voice of the Holy See “is now extremely important for us, both Christians and Muslims.” For more, read our profile of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, which appeared in the March 2006 issue of ONE



Tags: Orthodox Church Chaldean Church Coptic Christians Melkite Patriarch Gregory III of Antioch Czech Republic

17 April 2013
Greg Kandra




Pope Francis kisses a young child as he arrives for his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on 17 April. During his audience, the pope expressed solidarity with the victims of yesterday’s earthquake that struck Iran and Pakistan. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)

Rockets from Sinai fired into Israel (AP) At least two rockets were fired at Israel’s southern resort city of Eilat from Egypt’s Sinai peninsula on Wednesday, the Israeli military said. Nobody was hurt in the attack, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said, adding that the remains of two rockets had been found and police were looking for more. Islamic militants have gained strength in the Sinai desert since the ouster of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. Radical Islamic groups have launched rockets at Eilat in the past, most recently last year from Sinai when militants fired one but caused no injuries…

Pope appeals for solidarity with Iran and Pakistan (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis appealed for solidarity with those affected by the earthquake that struck Iran and Pakistan on Tuesday afternoon. In his appeal, which came during the course of the weekly General Audience on Wednesday in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, Pope Francis said that he had “learned with sadness of the violent earthquake that has struck the peoples of Iran and Pakistan, bringing death, suffering and destruction…”

Iraq elections reserve three posts for Christians (Fides) At the upcoming provincial elections, scheduled for 20 April, the seats up for grabs in the different provinces are 447, and only nine of them are reserved to all the ethnic and religious minorities in the country. The seats reserved for Christians in particular are three, distributed in the local Councils of Baghdad, Nineveh and Basra…

In India, complaints accuse Christians of “conversion of children” (Fides) Police in Srinagar, capital of Indian Kashmir, rejected as “false and misleading,” a complaint by some mullahs who accused the Christians of “conversion of children.” As sources of Fides report, the complaint stated that the foreign staff that arrived at Agape House, a social and educational center run by Christians, “were trying to convert Muslim children to Christianity.” The local police, after investigating, dismissed the complaint…

Kerala marks “the mother of all festivals” (New India Express) Trichur Pooram, billed as the “mother of all festivals” in Kerala, begins Monday. The grand finale, however, will be days later, with the fireworks display on Sunday. The participating temples include the Vadakunnathan temple, where the pooram (festival) is held, and two other temples, the Krishna temple at Thiruvambadi and the Devi temple at Paramekkavu. The Trichur Pooram sees the active participation of Muslims and Christians too…



Tags: Iraq India Egypt Pope Francis Israel

16 April 2013
Greg Kandra




In this image from 2010, Jesuit Father David Neuhaus, vicar for Hebrew- and Russian-speaking Catholics for the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, speaks with reporters at the Vatican. Father Neuhaus is a papally-appointed voting member of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)

Hopes for Pope Francis as a Middle East bridge builder (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis’ “deep relationship with Jews in Buenos Aires” and his close contact with communities of Middle Eastern immigrants to Argentina have given the new pontiff a clear understanding of the urgent issues facing the Holy Land today. That’s the view of Jesuit Father David Neuhaus, patriarchal vicar for Hebrew-speaking Catholic communities in Israel, who hopes the Holy Father will be able to build bridges of mutual respect between all the different faith communities in the region…

Pope Francis offers prayers, condolences to Boston (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent his “sympathy and closeness in prayer” to the people of Boston in a telegram sent on his behalf…

U.N. agencies call for an end to the ‘cruelty and carnage’ of Syria (Al Jazeera) Leaders of five U.N. agencies have appealed to the international community to stop the “cruelty and carnage” in Syria, warning they may soon be forced to suspend humanitarian aid to the war-torn country. The U.N. leaders said on Monday that their “capacity to do more was diminishing, due to security and other practical limitations within Syria as well as funding constraints. … We are precariously close, perhaps within weeks, to suspending some humanitarian support,” the U.N. leaders said…

Pope Francis sends wishes Benedict on his birthday (Vatican Radio) On the occasion of Benedict XVI’s 86th birthday, the Holy Father, Pope Francis, began the celebration of Mass in the chapel of the Domus Santa Maria by inviting all present to pray for the pope emeritus. “Today is the birthday of Benedict XVI,” he said. “Let us offer Mass for him, that the Lord might be with him, comfort him, and give him much consolation…”

Orthodox bishop in Chicago steps down (Chicago Tribune) Unable to overcome the disgrace of a sexual misconduct accusation, Bishop Matthias, head of the local diocese for the Orthodox Church of America, has announced he will step down Monday, leaving a vacancy in Chicago just weeks before Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter on 5 May…



Tags: Pope Francis Syrian Civil War Pope Benedict XVI Jerusalem Orthodox

15 April 2013
J.D. Conor Mauro




Metropolitan Geevarghese Mar Ivanios of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church
1940 – 2013
(photo: Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, via theorthodoxchurch.info)


Kottayam Metropolitan Mar Ivanios passes away (Indian Orthodox Herald) Malankara Orthodox Metropolitan Geevarghese Mar Ivanios of Kottayam, India, passed away on Friday, 12 April 2013, after a long battle with illness. He was 72 years old. His legacy as an advocate of Orthodox spirituality and monasticism is embodied in the monastery he founded — St. Baselios Dayara Monastery at Njaliyakuzhi, Kottayam, where he used to live. Catholicos Emeritus Baselios Didymos I and the reigning Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan Baselios Paulose II presided over his funeral. Members of the Holy Episcopal Synod, priests and faithful from all over the church attended the function…

Maronite archbishop discusses Syrian Christians’ dilemma (Fides) Christians in Syria “must choose between two bitter chalices: to die or leave.” Maronite Archbishop Samir Nassar of Damascus outlines the many ways in which this dilemma seizes the lives of millions of defenseless civilians, Christians and Muslims, in the war-ravaged Syria: bombs, car bombs, snipers, lack of medical care — 223 hospitals were closed and all doctors are fleeing, explains Archbishop Nassar — malnutrition and lack of adequate food for diabetics, heart patients and nursing…

Coptic pope to meet Khosous victims’ families (Ahram Online) For the first time since last week’s sectarian violence in Al Khosous, Egypt’s Coptic Pope Tawadros II will lead the Divine Liturgy in Saint Mark’s Cathedral in Abbasiya, announced his secretary. Pope Tawadros has been secluded since Tuesday at the St. Bishoy Monastery in Wadi al Natrun, near the coastal town of Alexandria, following the violence outside of the funeral service of four slain Copts at the Cathedral on Sunday, 7 April. Today, Tawadros is also set to meet with the families of those Copts who died as a result of the violence that began on 5 April and continued for two days…

Blast at Palestinian refugee camp, no casualties (Daily Star Lebanon) A bomb exploded Monday at the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain al Hilweh, near the southern coastal city of Sidon, security sources said, adding that there were no reported casualties or material damage. The sources, who spoke to The Daily Star on condition of anonymity, said the relatively small bomb went off near the headquarters of the Palestinian Unions Confederation…

Pope Francis meets with Latin patriarch of Jerusalem (Vatican Radio) The Holy Father met this morning with Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal and official delegation from the patriarchate. This audience gave Pope Francis an opportunity to become more acquainted with the church in Jerusalem and its pastoral problems. Patriarch Twal said Pope Francis was very well informed about the situation of Christians who have fled the Middle East. The patriarch noted that many Christians who have left the region had settled in Latin America; some in Argentina were under the pastoral care of then-Cardinal Bergoglio…



Tags: India Pope Francis Refugee Camps Coptic Orthodox Church Maronite Church

12 April 2013
Greg Kandra




A boy rides his bicycle past damaged buildings in Deir al Zor, Syria, on 3 April. (photo: CNS/Khalil Ashawi, Reuters)

Turkey building new refugee camps for Christians, Kurds (Daily Star Lebanon) On Wednesday, a Turkish government official announced the nation's plan to build two camps along its far southeastern border with Syria to house a growing number of refugees from Syrian minority groups — mainly Assyrian Christians as well as ethnic Kurds. More than 250,000 Syrians fleeing civil war in their homeland have registered in Turkey, with most staying in 17 camps along the 560-mile border, although Turkish leaders say the total number of refugees is closer to 400,000. Those who have fled are predominantly ethnic Arabs from Syria’s Sunni Muslim majority, most of whom largely support the rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar al Assad…

Percentage of Christians in Palestinian territories drops by half (Fides) The percentage of Christians in the population of the Palestinian territories has been cut in half since the year 2000, from 2% to 1% over the last 13 years. And in Jerusalem, home to 27,000 Christians in 1948, today counts only 5,000. This is some of the data collected by the Hanna Issa, professor of international law…

After cathedral clash, Copts doubt future in Egypt (Reuters) After days of fighting at the cathedral and a town outside Cairo killing eight — the worst sectarian strife since Islamist President Mohamed Morsi was elected in June — many Copts now question whether they have a future in Egypt. An angry young fringe of a community that has lived in Egypt since the earliest days of Christianity may also be turning to violence…

Russian Catholics concerned over raids on churches, charities (CNS) Russia’s Catholic Church expressed surprise and concern after a wave of raids on its parishes and charities, part of a government clampdown on organizations with foreign links. “The Catholic Church is classified as an organization benefitting from foreign funds,” explained Father Kirill Gulbunov, spokesman for the Moscow Archdiocese, who added: “We can’t help feeling surprised that associations linked with our church are viewed as possible sources of extremism or terrorist activity…”



Tags: Syrian Civil War Violence against Christians Turkey Holy Land Christians Russian Catholic Church

11 April 2013
Greg Kandra




Pope Francis greets U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during a meeting at the Vatican
on 9 April. (photo: CNS/Vincenzo Pinto, pool via Reuters)


Pope meets with UN head, discusses crisis in Syria (CNS) Each recognizing the important role the other plays on the global stage, Pope Francis and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met at the Vatican 9 April, discussing common efforts to promote peace and protect human dignity. “The United Nations and the Holy See share common goals and ideals,” the U.N. secretary-general told the pope as the two sat across from each other at a desk in the papal library. Reporters were ushered out of the room at that point. The two spoke specifically about “situations of conflict and serious humanitarian emergencies, especially in Syria,” but also about the ongoing tensions on the Korean peninsula and in several African countries “where peace and stability are threatened,” said a statement from the Vatican press office…

Patriarch expresses concern about Christians in Syria (Christian Post) Maronite Patriarch Bechara Peter expressed concern on the situation of Christians in Syria and the increasing number of displaced Syrians living in Lebanon. During his meeting with French President Francois Hollande at the Elysee Palace in Paris Tuesday, the patriarch said a large number of Orthodox Christians — about 60 percent of those displaced — had left Syria, and that the solution there must be political. He stressed that President Bashar al Assad is not worse than those who are fighting in Syria…

Kerala Muslim man receives gift of life from Catholic priest (Indian Express) Diagnosed with chronic kidney disease a year-and-a-half ago, 30-year-old Rasad Muhammad’s hope of living had sunk with each passing day as a donor remained elusive. Until last month, when his saviour appeared suddenly — in the form of a Christian priest he had never met before. Father Kidangathazhe Sebastian, 41, will donate one of his kidneys to Rasad so he can live. Preparations are under way, and the transplant surgery is likely to be performed next month…

‘Pacem en Terris’ 50 years later (Vatican Radio) Thursday, 11 April, marks half a century since Blessed John XXIII published his encyclical “Pacem in Terris.” This encyclical, which as the Latin title indicates focuses on peace on earth, called for social and international peace. With this document which can be perceived as Pope John XXIII’s last testament, published as it was only a couple of months before his death, he broke new ground…



Tags: Kerala United Nations Maronite Patriarch Bechara Peter Patriarch Kirill

10 April 2013
J.D. Conor Mauro




In this video, Al Jazeera’s Nisreen El-Shamayleh reports from Ramtha, near the Syria-Jordan border, on the state of refugees. An estimated two-thirds of the 477,000 Syrians who have fled their homeland live outside of the camps set up for them in Jordan. Many are forced to crowd together in abandoned buildings, and all those outside the camps face the added challenges resulting from a smaller allocation of humanitarian aid. (video: Al Jazeera)

Rising cases of lice and scabies among Syrian refugees in Lebanon (Daily Star Lebanon) Lebanon’s Health Ministry said Wednesday cases of scabies and lice have increased among Syrian refugees and urged citizens to take precautionary measures. “The Health Ministry has recorded an increase in the number of scabies and lice cases, as a result of overpopulation and bad personal hygiene in locations where Syrian refugees reside,” the ministry said in a statement. The ministry affirmed that these diseases were “not dangerous” and could be treated easily with medication that is available without any cost for citizens…

Chaldean bishop: Aleppo is starving (Fides) “One lives day by day. I have the impression that people are more and more exhausted. They have all become poor and everyone is always looking for something to eat for himself and his family. In the streets of Aleppo you can see the people that run endlessly with bags in their hand, trying to find a bit of bread,” said Chaldean Bishop Antoine Audo. Bishop Audo, who is also the president of Caritas Syria, outlined a vivid image of the daily condition of a city that was among the most prosperous and dynamic in the Middle East, and which now appears hopelessly scarred by the civil war. The latest emergency that closely involves the churches in Aleppo is that of hundreds of Christian families forced to flee from the neighborhood of Cheikh Maksoud, conquered in the last days by the anti-Assad militias…

Unexploded devices pose hazard to Gaza children (Al Monitor) The Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor mentions that the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories are “contaminated with mines and explosive remnants of war. The precise scope, scale and impact of the contamination is not known, but encompasses minefields, military-training zones and areas of confrontation where many explosive devices are left behind.” The presence of unexploded ordnances (UXOs) continues to pose a high risk to civilians, particularly children, in the Gaza Strip. Following Israel’s 23-day assault on Gaza in 2008-2009, which resulted in more than 1,500 Palestinians killed and over 5,300 injured, the risk of UXOs became significantly higher. A United Nations report released back in August 2009 shows than within only six months of the end of the deadly Israeli assault, 12 civilians were killed in UXO incidents, six of whom were children, and another 24 were injured, including four children. Four years later, such incidents have not ceased. In fact, they have notably increased…

Cardinal Tauran discusses interreligious dialogue (Chicago Tribune) Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, has given many lectures, speeches and homilies during his years of Vatican diplomatic service. Tribune religion reporter Manya A. Brachear sat down with him to reflect on this and other matters. “You have to remember,” the cardinal says, “that interreligious dialogue is not dialogue between religions. It’s dialogue between believers. It’s not [merely] a theological, philosophical exercise…”



Tags: Refugees Syrian Civil War Israeli-Palestinian conflict Refugee Camps Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran





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