WASHINGTON - More than 100 Muslim leaders -- clerics and laypeople alike -- have signed on to a letter criticizing the Middle East Muslim military group ISIS, short for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

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VATICAN CITY - The Middle East, especially Iraq and Syria, are experiencing "terrorism of previously unimaginable proportions" in which the perpetrators seem to have absolutely no regard for the value of human life, Pope Francis said.

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VATICAN CITY - Gathered with Pope Francis, members of the Synod of Bishops on the family issued a message of solidarity, support and prayers for all families suffering the impact of war and violence, especially in Iraq and Syria.

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ROME - Captors released a Franciscan priest who was among about 20 Christians kidnapped from a Syrian village near the border with Turkey, said the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land.

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October 9, 2014

A just response

In cases of unprovoked violence the use of reasonable force may be justified to stop an aggressor.

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ROME - A Franciscan priest was among about 20 Christians kidnapped from a Syrian village near the border with Turkey the night of Oct. 5-6, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem said.

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NEW BEDFORD, Mass. - After telling parishioners and students in the religious education program at Our Lady of Guadalupe at St. James Parish about what is happening in Syria, Father Rodrigo Miranda was impressed that a 13-year-old girl was one of the first to respond.

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AMMAN, Jordan - Ask Syrian refugees sheltering in neighbouring Jordan about the advent of U.S.-led strikes against Islamic State militants in their homeland, and the reactions will be mixed.

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WASHINGTON - More than 120 Muslim scholars from around the world joined an open letter to the “fighters and followers” of the Islamic State, denouncing them as un-Islamic by using the most Islamic of terms.

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As Amir Harrak watched the news this summer, the Toronto scholar saw a history, culture and language that he devoted his life to understanding being turned to dust. Churches, monasteries, mosques blown up, libraries full of ancient manuscripts burned and the people who still speak and live according to the language of Jesus and his Apostles dispersed. The news out of Iraq could not have been worse.

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The United Nations should create a permanent, rapid-response peacekeeping force for rapid intervention in emergencies, said Canada’s elder statesman of peace and disarmament.

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BEIRUT - Sister Marie Claude Naddaf, provincial leader of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd for Lebanon and Syria, is still shaken by what she witnessed visiting Irbil, Iraq.

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TORONTO - The people came to pray and were told to act.

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Even as some prominent Christians are calling on the United States to take more forceful military action against Islamic extremists in Iraq and Syria, more than 50 mainly Catholic and Protestant leaders are telling President Barack Obama to halt American airstrikes and pursue solely peaceful means to resolve the conflict.

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VATICAN CITY - Although Christians, Muslims and Jews have struggled for hundreds of years to live peacefully alongside each other in the Middle East, "we have never seen the kind of 'religious cleansing' we are witnessing today," said the head of the region's Franciscans.

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