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September, 2017
Volume 43, Number 3
  
6 May 2015
Greg Kandra




Syrian refugees walk the street at Zaatari refugee camp near Mafraq, Jordan, on 14 March. Jordan officials report international aid continues to fall short of what the country needs to host 1.4 million Syrian refugees. (photo: CNS/Jamal Nasrallah, EPA)

Situation in Ukraine “deteriorating” (Reuters) Five Ukrainian servicemen have been killed and 12 injured over the past 24 hours despite a ceasefire deal, Ukraine’s military said on Wednesday, describing a worsening situation in separatist eastern territories. The deaths came ahead of a meeting later on Wednesday of envoys from Russia, Ukraine, the OSCE rights watchdog and pro-Russian separatists. They are expected to discuss how to shore up the peace accord they agreed in Minsk, Belarus, in February. “In the past 24 hours the situation in the conflict zone deteriorated. The intensity of attacks is not falling,” military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said, accusing the separatists of using weapons outlawed under the ceasefire deal...

Jordan faces shortfall in funds to help refugees (Catholic Herald) International aid continues to fall short of what Jordan needs to host 1.4 million Syrian refugees, Jordanian officials reported, saying the number represents the equivalent of the United States hosting 60 million refugees. With no end in sight to the Syrian conflict, now in its fifth year, officials are calling the situation critical. So far this year, Jordan has received only 7.2 percent of $2.9 billion needed for services to Syrian refugees and host communities...

Massacre site in Iraq becomes a monument to suffering (The New York Times) The concrete platform at the river’s edge is festooned with flowers and streaked with blood. Along a back wall are photographs taken from a video of the horror that unfolded here last year: a procession of Shiite men, shot in the head one by one by Islamic State fighters and shoved into the waters of the Tigris. The riverbank has become a memorial of the massacre and a site of Shiite pilgrimage, already taking a prominent place in Iraq’s ledger of sectarian atrocities. In all, roughly 1,700 Shiite military personnel from the Camp Speicher base are believed to have been methodically gunned down by the Sunni extremists at Saddam Hussein’s old palace complex in Tikrit in June...

UN begins talks with Syrians to find “common ground” (BBC) The UN has begun consultations with Syrian government and opposition officials as it seeks to find enough common ground to restart peace talks. Special envoy Staffan de Mistura said more than 40 groups had been invited to attend one-on-one meetings over the next five to six weeks. Iran and Turkey have also been invited, but jihadist militant groups have not. Mr. de Mistura described it as a stock-taking process, saying there would be no big roundtable discussions. The last round of peace talks in Geneva collapsed in early 2014 with the government refusing to discuss opposition demands...

Syrian artist shows pain of war (CNS) The sad realities of Syria’s civil war permeate the paintings of Essa Neima, a 34-year-old Syrian national. At a recent exhibit, his oil on acrylic works ranged from depictions of damaged church and mosque mosaics, to a broken icon of Mary and a refugee woman forced into servitude by the need to survive. Most of the paintings were strewn with the deep red color of blood. “It is like treasure ... covered by blood because (of) what’s happening now, the sad events happening in Syria,” Neima told Catholic News Service in Washington, thousands of miles from his country, where conflict has killed nearly 200,000 people and dispersed about 10 million others, according to U.N. Estimates...

If borders were opened, “100,000 people would leave Gaza” (Al Jazeera) Electricity runs only six to eight hours a day in the Gaza Strip. More than 160,000 homes were damaged or destroyed in last summer’s war with Israel, and 100,000 people are still homeless. International donors pledged to give $3.5 billion in reconstruction funds in October, but barely a quarter of that has materialized so far. Israel’s economic blockade continues, Palestinian leaders are divided, houses lie in ruin, and youths feel unable to escape from or change the situation...



5 May 2015
Greg Kandra




In this image from April, a man walks past the rubble of a building following reported shelling by Syrian government forces in the Bab al-Hadid neighborhood of the northern city of Aleppo. Aleppo has been devastated by fighting since rebel fighters seized its eastern half in 2012, setting up a front line that carves through its historic heart. (photo: ZEIN AL-RIFAI/AFP/Getty Images)

“Crimes against humanity” reported in Aleppo (AFP) Syrian government forces are committing “crimes against humanity” by indiscriminately bombing Aleppo, Amnesty International said on Tuesday, as it also criticized rebels for abuses including “war crimes.” In a new report, the rights watchdog said “relentless” government aerial bombardment of Syria’s former economic powerhouse had forced many residents to “eke out an existence underground.” It slammed the “horrendous war crimes and other abuses in the city by government forces and armed opposition groups on a daily basis.” “Some of the government’s actions in Aleppo amount to crimes against humanity,” Amnesty said...

Hundreds of Yazidis reportedly killed near Mosul (BBC) Several hundred Yazidi captives have been killed in Iraq by Islamic State (IS) militants west of Mosul, Yazidi and Iraqi officials say. A statement from the Yazidi Progress Party said 300 captives were killed on Friday in the Tal Afar district near the city. Iraqi Vice-President Osama al-Nujaifi described the reported deaths as “horrific and barbaric...”

Catholics join efforts to save Yazidi (Catholic Register) For Ghina Al-Sewaidi — lawyer, Muslim and Iraqi-Canadian — the correct word to describe Islamic State attacks on Yazidi and Mandaean people is genocide. The correct response is to sponsor the survivors through Canada’s refugee system. Toronto Catholics have joined with Al-Sewaidi to help bring Yazidi and Mandaean refugees to Canada. Al-Sewaidi has teamed up with Toronto Police Inspector Chuck Konkel, the Office of Refugees, Archdiocese of Toronto and the 18 volunteer police chaplains in Toronto. Catholic parishes, such as Konkel’s St. Anselm’s, have stepped up to support the sponsorship efforts. “We can’t bring everybody here, but if we bring one or two families to start with, that would really be a start for us,” said Al-Sewaidi. “The Iraqi people, putting the government aside, they help each other from whichever ethnic minority they are, from whatever religion you are...”

Patriarch praises pope, criticizes Greek Catholics (Interfax) Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has praised Vatican’s position on the Ukrainian crisis but condemned the activities in Ukraine of the followers of the Greek Catholic Church (Uniates). “Pope Francis and the Holy See’s State secretary have taken a considered position on the situation in Ukraine, avoiding unilateral assessments and calling for an end to the fratricidal war,” the patriarch said at a ceremony on Thursday which saw him receiving honorary doctorate from the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Diplomatic Academy...

Vatican releases details for Jubilee of Mercy (VIS) This morning in the Holy See Press Office, Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization, and Msgr. Graham Bell presented the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy (8 December 2015 to 20 November 2016). The archbishop began, “The Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, which continues be the programmatic outline for the pontificate of Pope Francis, offers a meaningful expression of the very essence of the Extraordinary Jubilee announced on 11 April...



Tags: Syria Iraq Ukraine Russian Orthodox

4 May 2015
Greg Kandra




In this image from October, Argentinian Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, leaves the Synod Hall at the end of a session of the Synod on the themes of family in Vatican City. He’s now making a pastoral visit to Iraq.
(photo: Franco Origlia/Getty Images)


Cardinal Sandri calls for support for Iraq’s Christians (Vatican Radio) The Prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, was the homilist at Divine Liturgy in the Chaldean cathedral of Baghdad on Friday afternoon. The Liturgy and Cardinal Sandri’s participation in it were part of the Prefect’s three-day visit to the country, which began on Friday morning. He renewed his call — and the Holy Father’s — for assistance from the international community in favor of all those facing persecution in Iraq, and especially for the country’s suffering and sorely tried Christian community, thanking the UN’s High Representative for Iraq for his presence at the Liturgy...

Israeli group accuses military of “indiscriminate fire” during Gaza war (BBC) An Israeli activist group has accused the military of employing a “policy of indiscriminate fire” that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Palestinian civilians during last year’s Gaza war. Breaking the Silence said the rules of engagement during the 50-day conflict were “the most permissive” it had seen...

Ethiopian Israelis: “A community crying out” (CNN) The clashes between Ethiopian-Israeli protesters and police over the weekend have drawn international attention to one of the most disadvantaged groups in Israel. Though the demonstrations were set off by the police beating of a uniformed Israeli soldier, captured on video, experts say the issues between the Ethiopian-Israeli community and the government are not new ones...

Minorities see Russian meddling in Ukraine (Al Jazeera) As the conflict between Moscow-backed separatists and Kiev’s forces rages on in eastern Ukraine, minority groups say Russia’s state-owned media have been trying to provoke dissent in the multicultural region of Transcarpathia, on the edge of the European Union...

CNEWA Canada marks 10th anniversary with appeal for Iraq, Syria (Catholic Register) As Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) Canada marks its 10th anniversary this year, it is making an urgent appeal for continued help for imperilled families under Islamic State siege in Iraq and Syria. “The best way we can celebrate the 10 years of success of CNEWA in Canada is to redouble our prayers and our financial support to aid those most in need,” said Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, who hosts the CNEWA Canada offices in his diocese and chairs the CNEWA Canada board of directors, in a statement. “May we celebrate the Year of Mercy remembering our sisters and brothers in the East for whom we can be an agent of mercy with the help of CNEWA...”



Tags: Iraq Ukraine Ethiopia Middle East Gaza Strip/West Bank

1 May 2015
Greg Kandra




In this image from February, U.S. European Commander Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove conducts a news briefing at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. Gen. Breedlove said yesterday Russian-backed forces appear to be preparing for a new offensive in Ukraine.
(photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)


NATO commander sees threat of offensive in Ukraine (The Wall Street Journal) NATO’s military chief said that Russia-backed forces appear to be “preparing, training and equipping” for a potential new offensive in eastern Ukraine, even as European leaders said the conflict there was entering a “political phase.” U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s top commander, said Thursday that the separatist forces have been using the relative lull in fighting since a cease-fire was signed in February to regroup. “These preparations are consistent with the possibility of an offensive,” Gen. Breedlove said at a Pentagon news conference. “And that is what we have seen through several of the previous pauses in eastern Ukraine...”

Cardinal: world community must not resign itself to the tragedy of the Middle East (VIS) Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, spoke at the opening of the Symposium “Christians in the Middle East: what future?,” organised by the Sant’Egidio Community and the archdiocese of Bari-Bitonto, Italy. In his address, the cardinal remarked that many Christians in the East, hearing just a few days ago the story of Pilate’s famous gesture of washing his hands, “may have thought of the indifference and inaction to which the international community appears to have resigned itself before the tragedies that have for some years now been wearing away at Syria and Iraq.” He added, “it is also saddening to see the incapacity of leaders in Lebanon, even those who are Christians, to arrive at consensus on the new president on the basis of a line of conduct due less to conscience than to the weighty influences of the forces that compete for supremacy in the area...”

“Freedom Flotilla” reportedly set to sail for Gaza (The Jerusalem Post) Three ships are expected to set sail for Gaza this summer as part of a humanitarian mission to Gaza, Ma’an News Agency reported Friday. Details of the mission, coined “Freedom Flotilla III,” remain under the radar. Berawi Zaher, coordinator of the international mission, told Ma’an that its details, including the ships’ departure time and fleet location, will not be released in an effort to hamper Israeli authorities from intervening and exerting international pressure to halt the execution of the mission...

Religious leaders call for calm during elections in Ethiopia (The Turkish Weekly) Leaders of seven Ethiopian religious institutions on Wednesday issued joint calls for peace and calm during parliamentary polls slated for 24 May. “The age-old culture of understanding, tolerance and peaceful co-existence in the face of diversity should be maintained in the political competition,” Zerihun Degu, secretary-general of the Ethiopian Interfaith Council, said at a meeting in Addis Ababa...



Tags: Ukraine Ethiopia Middle East Gaza Strip/West Bank

30 April 2015
Greg Kandra




In this image from last summer, residents near Kramatorsk, Ukraine, carry empty buckets and bottles to have them filled with potable water. The World Bank this week reported that Ukraine’s economy is in ruins and faces years of recession. (photo: CNS/Valentina Svistunova, EPA)

Pope urges Catholics to spread culture of justice, peace (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday urged Italian Catholics to spread a culture of justice and peace, support families in difficulties and show solidarity with the world’s poorest and most needy. His words came during an audience with two Catholic associations, the Community of Christian Life in Italy and the Missionary League for Italian Students...

Ukraine’s economy “in ruins” (The Telegraph) Ukraine’s ongoing conflict with Russia has left the country facing years of recession as the country struggles to break ties with Moscow and implement structural reforms, the World Bank has warned. The Washington-based organization cut its 2015 growth forecast to -7.5 percent, following a contraction of 6.8 percent in 2014. Last October, it forecast that the Ukrainian economy would shrink by 1 percent this year, while the International Monetary Fund has forecast a contraction of 5.5 percent this year...

Court sentences 71 to life imprisonment for destroying church in Egypt (Egypt Daily News) The Giza Criminal Court sentenced, on Wednesday, 71 people to life on charges of attacking and burning a Church in Kerdasa. The court also sentenced two minors to 10 years in prison. They are charged with burning the Kafr Hakim Church in the village of Kerdasa on 14 August 2013, in the post-Rabaa Al-Adaweya dispersal violence. They are also charged with joining an illegal group, possession of weapons, and attempted murder...

Toronto Ethiopians rally against ISIS brutality (Catholic Register) Close to 1,000 Ethiopian immigrants — a mix of Orthodox, Protestant and Muslim — gathered in the late afternoon and evening of 28 Apri in Dundas Square to mourn together the death of two Ethiopian migrant workers murdered 19 April in Libya by Islamic State militants. The Ethiopians also came to appeal to Canadians and the international community to do more to protect vulnerable Ethiopian migrants under attack in Yemen and South Africa and subject to grave risks as they try to reach Europe in rusted, leaky boats crossing the Mediterranean...



29 April 2015
Greg Kandra




In this image from last summer, Lebanese Cardinal Bechara Peter, the Maronite patriarch, blesses a baby in Erbil, Iraq. The blessing took place in one of the churches housing the more than 100,000 Christians and minorities displaced in the country by the advance of
Islamist militants. (photo: CNS/Mychel Akl, courtesy Maronite Patriarchate)


Gaza protestors beaten, detained by Hamas officials (The New York Times) A rare show of defiance against Hamas, the militant Palestinian group that controls Gaza, was quelled on Wednesday as men who appeared to be Hamas security officials beat some protesters and detained others, witnesses said...

Cardinal: Christian exodus from Middle East will weaken moderate Islam (CNS) The exodus of Christians from the Middle East — due to wars, conflicts, socio-economic crises and persecution — will weaken moderate Islam “which, thanks to the Islamic-Christian conviviality, is so far the vast majority of Muslims in the Middle East,” said Lebanese Cardinal Bechara Peter. Speaking at UNESCO in Paris on 25 April, the cardinal said Christians were “irreplaceable peacemakers” and, without them, “Islam will fall into the hands of fundamentalists.” He called on Europe and the international community “to ensure that Christians remain in their countries...”

Pope: Christians should kneel before the poor (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis said on Tuesday that poverty is the great teaching Jesus gave us and we can find his face among the poor and needy. Stressing that the poor are not a burden but a resource, he said he wished that both the city of Rome and the local Church community could be more attentive, caring and considerate towards those in need and that Christians could kneel before a poor person...

Egypt to let Christians start work later on Sundays (Fides) A legal ruling has reaffirmed the right of Christian workers to start work at 10 on Sundays, in order to allow them to participate in the Sunday Eucharistic liturgy. This was reported by Coptic sources consulted by Agenzia Fides...

First ‘Lourdes Grotto’ to be dedicated in Jordan (Fides) The first shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes in Jordanian territory is located in the parish of the Sacred Heart in Nour, 24 kilometers south of Amman, and will be inaugurated on Saturday 2 May with the recitation of the Rosary and with a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Maroun Lahham, Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem...



Tags: Egypt Pope Francis Gaza Strip/West Bank Palestine Muslim

28 April 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro




A Palestinian boy sits on a chair in the ruins of a house on 28 April in the eastern Gaza City neighborhood of Shajaia, destroyed during the 50-day war between Israel and Hamas militants in the summer of 2014. (photo: Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images)

U.N. report says Israel struck Gaza shelters (BBC) At least 44 Palestinians were killed by “Israeli actions” while sheltering at seven United Nations schools during last summer’s war in Gaza, a U.N. inquiry has found…

Palestinians in Israel demand end to home demolitions (Daily Star Lebanon) In a demonstration on Tuesday, hundreds of people protested in Tel Aviv against demolitions targeting Palestinian-owned houses. Protests by Israel’s Palestinians occur frequently, but seldom have they taken place in Tel Aviv, in a central square that typically hosts demonstrations for causes championed by Jewish Israelis…

Muslims raise funds to build Coptic church in Cairo (Christian Today) Muslims in Egypt have donated money towards the building of a Coptic church in the Monufia governorate, north of Cairo, signaling another step towards solidarity in a country previously divided along sectarian lines. Coptic Orthodox Bishop Benyamin began a collection of donations for the church, which will be dedicated to the Virgin Mary…

Sinai Islamist groups threaten Copts for supporting Egyptian president (Fides) A threat issued to Copts in the Sinai peninsula states that they must leave their homes if they do not want to die. People identifying with militant Islamic fundamentalist groups spread this threat across social networks…

Armenians in Lebanon keep their culture, memory of 1915 heroism alive (Los Angeles Times) The priest unlocks the door to a musty room, home to the ghosts of Moses Mountain, a lost place where determined townsfolk once gathered with hunting rifles and faced down an imperial army. A glass-and-wood frame secures a white flag emblazoned with a fading red cross, a symbol of resistance and survival celebrated in Armenian lore. Laid out on tables and shelves are prized artifacts: a chalice, rusted farming implements, an ancient rifle and black funeral boxes holding remains of those who were killed fighting the Turks 100 years ago. “Here, you can feel our ancestors’ presence,” said the Rev. Ashod Karakashian, 82, who came here from Turkey as a boy and has few direct memories of his homeland. But he lives daily with its legacy…



Tags: Egypt Lebanon Violence against Christians Gaza Strip/West Bank Christian-Muslim relations

27 April 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro




Indian schoolgirls light candles for the victims of an earthquake in Nepal at a school in Amritsar on 27 April. (photo: Narinder Nanu/AFP/Getty Images)

Nepal earthquake: International aid effort increased (BBC) The international aid effort for Nepal is gathering pace, with Saturday’s huge earthquake now known to have killed at least 3,900 people and injured 7,000. China, India, Pakistan and Britain are among the countries contributing to the effort, alongside major aid agencies. Nepal has asked for more help, saying it needs everything from helicopters and blankets to paramedics and drivers…

Tensions rise on Israel-Syria border after infiltration attempt, airstrikes (Washington Post) Israeli forces were on heightened alert on Monday along the northern border with Syria after the military reported thwarting an attack by armed militants and retaliating with airstrikes. Details about the late Sunday incident were not clear, but unrest from Syria’s war has occasionally spilled over into the heavily guarded border zone near the Israeli-held Golan Heights…

Gaza’s dying bamboo crafts industry (Al Monitor) Amer Khalaf cuts and shapes bamboo culms into arcs to make handmade furniture. Although he was preoccupied with work, he did not look satisfied. It appears that people no longer care about this profession amid a decline in demand for bamboo products. Those who work in the bamboo furniture industry in the Gaza Strip fear the near extinction of a craft that is one of the Palestinians’ most important traditional handicrafts carrying a long historical legacy…

E.U. won’t send armed force to Ukraine despite clashes (BBC) EU leaders have told Ukraine they are worried about ceasefire violations in the east of the country but will not send armed peacekeepers there. “We can only talk about a civilian mission, not military,” European Council President Donald Tusk told a news conference in Kiev…

Pope meets with chief rabbi of Rome (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met Monday morning at the Vatican with the chief rabbi of Rome, Riccardo Di Segni. A press statement from the spokesman of the Jewish community in Rome described the meeting as cordial. During the meeting, the two leaders discussed a number of issues, including issues arising from immigration to Europe…



Tags: Ukraine Gaza Strip/West Bank Israel Cultural Identity Catholic-Jewish Dialogue

24 April 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro




Over a million people have been forced to flee their homes because of the war in Ukraine. Many of these internally displaced people struggle to find a new life. (video: New York Times)

A population uprooted by Ukraine’s war struggles to get by (New York Times) Valeria Huseva fled her home in Luhansk last July during heavy fighting between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian military forces. “I couldn’t stay in the city,” she said. “It was too dangerous for a baby.” Three months pregnant, Ms. Huseva, then 19, arrived alone in this industrial city outside of rebel-controlled territory and sought refuge at a coordination center for internally displaced people…

Ecumenical patriarch affirms solidarity with Iraqi Christians (AsiaNews) Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I paid an official visit to Turkey a few days ago, meeting the faithful and visiting a number of Chaldean places of worship in Ottoman lands. A highlight of his trip included a meeting with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I in Istanbul. The meeting took place last Wednesday, confirming the bond of closeness and solidarity between the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Chaldean Church, which has endured violence and persecution at the hands of ISIS in Iraq…

Syriacs urge Turkey to recognize massacres (Al Monitor) The Ottoman policy of slaughter and deportations in 1915, associated mainly with its Armenian victims, was actually much broader in its scope. Along with more than a million Armenians killed, it also crushed the Syriac Christian community, which counts its dead in the hundreds of thousands. Syriacs remember it as the Seyfo (or “sword”) Massacre. On the 100th anniversary this year, the Syriacs are for the first time holding protests urging Turkey to recognize the Seyfo Massacre and to apologize…

Pope Francis meets with the president of the Czech Republic (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday met with the President of the Czech Republic, Miloš Zeman. A statement released by the Holy See Press Office called the meeting “cordial,” and noted the meeting took place on the 25th anniversary of the restoration of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the then-Czech and Slovak Federative Republic, which took place on 19 April 1990…

Rights group: Czechs segregating Roma children at schools (Al Jazeera) The Czech Republic has failed to comply with a European court order to stop placing Roma children in schools for the mentally disabled regardless of the students’ capabilities, rights group Amnesty International said Thursday. The European Court of Human Rights had ruled in 2007 that the Czech Republic must stop the practice. Roma people in Europe suffer from widespread discrimination not only in schools, but also in the labor and housing markets and from health care providers, according to a report by the European Commission published last year. The commission opened an investigation last year into whether the Czech Republic was breaching European Union anti-discrimination legislation…

Gaza women shed veil, spark conversation (Al Jazeera) Two weeks ago, journalist and film director Razan Madhoon took off her veil and posted her picture on Facebook, stirring a fierce backlash of comments against her and her husband. Madhoon’s decision came as a shock for the Gaza public, given the region’s rising religiosity. Women wearing the veil and frequenting mosques have become commonplace in the Gaza Strip. Though it may be widely believed that Gaza is a conservative society by nature, no one knows where this idea came from, as society was not as it is now in the 1960’s and 1970’s…



Tags: Iraq Ukraine Armenia Roma Czech Republic

23 April 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro




Displaced Iraqis from the city of Ramadi gather to collect food aid at a government building in the Abu Ghraib area west of the capital Baghdad, on 22 April. (photo: Ahmad Al Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images)

Chaldean Church and Caritas help displaced Iraqi Muslim families (AsiaNews) The Chaldean Patriarchate and Caritas in Iraq today delivered aid to at least 2,000 Muslim families that were displaced from Tikrit and Anbar following the latest offensive by the Islamic State group…

Residents return to Iraqi city of Ramadi as panic subsides (Washington Post) Thousands of police officers and residents who fled Ramadi after an Islamic State offensive last week have begun to return home after reinforcements were dispatched to shore up the center of the western city, Iraqi military officials said Wednesday…

Imams and priests preach together in schools in Minya (Fides) The collective mission of a large group of imam linked to Al Azhar — the biggest theological center of Sunni Islam — and Coptic priests begins today, who for a few days will visit schools in the Egyptian province of Minya to meet the students and promote a “culture of encounter” and peace…

Ethiopia’s Catholic bishops condemn execution of Christians (Vatican Radio) Ethiopia’s Catholic bishops condemned “in unambiguous terms” the execution of 30 Ethiopian Christian migrants in Libya. “These Ethiopian martyrs who were butchered on the coast and desert of Libya were not politicians, nor military soldiers, or they were not armed people, considered to be dangerous people for security, rather they were young innocent migrants hopeful for a better future on the other end of their destination; capable of transforming their lives, the lives of their family and even contribute for the betterment of the country of their destination,” the bishops said in a statement issued during their 18 to 23 April general meeting…

Social divide widens between West Bank, Gaza Strip (Al Monitor) Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip live in two different, geographically separated areas. Moreover, since mid-2007 the political breakup has widened the geographical gulf and caused the two parts to drift further apart, and have even become governed by different rules and regulations. Israel separates the Gaza Strip from the West Bank and does not allow the movement of people between the two sides…



Tags: Iraq Egypt Ethiopia Palestine Christian-Muslim relations





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