IRBIL, Iraq - The head of the Vatican's Congregation for Eastern Churches visited Iraq to convey Pope Francis' blessing and concern for Church officials and the displaced living and working in difficult circumstances.

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TORONTO - For Ghina Al-Sewaidi — lawyer, Muslim and Iraqi-Canadian — the correct word to describe Islamic State attacks on Yezidi and Mandaean people is genocide. The correct response is to sponsor the survivors through Canada’s refugee system.

Published in Canada

OTTAWA - 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.

Published in Canada

PARIS - 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 Rai.

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TORONTO - Not only is the Islamic State causing catastrophic human tragedy throughout Syria and Iraq, it is engaged in a “cultural genocide” as it destroys anything in its way that is not part of its idea of Islam, said Sascha Priewe.

Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA

VATICAN CITY - Educating children is the best way to help displaced Iraqi Christians recover from the traumatic experience of being chased from their homes by Islamic State militants, said Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster, England, after an April 11-12 visit to Irbil.

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OTTAWA - The Canadian Council of Churches in an open letter to Prime Minister Harper has urging a broader response to the crisis in Iraq and Syria than military intervention.

Published in International
April 9, 2015

Think long term

By extending and expanding its military mission in Iraq, Ottawa has recommitted to being an active player in helping to stop the Islamic State. The cause to defend innocent victims is just, and Canada should be involved. But that involvement must go beyond a military contribution.

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AMMAN, Jordan - A call for an area to protect Christians and other religious minorities in Syria and Iraq is gathering pace even as April marks the centenary of the 1915 genocide of Armenian, Assyrian and Greek Christians.

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CHICAGO - Catholicos Dinkha IV, patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, died March 26 at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. A virus infection and pneumonia were cited as the cause of death. He was 79.

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VATICAN CITY - Iraqi and Syrian refugees who have fled persecution in their homelands and the Palestinian Christians struggling to survive in the land of Jesus deserve the prayers and material support of Catholics around the globe, a Vatican official said.

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AMMAN, Jordan - Christian leaders again called for help for Assyrian Christians as Islamic State militants stepped up their attacks against their towns in northern Syria.

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BEIRUT - A pontifical aid organization has begun sending aid to families who fled their homes when Islamic State militants raided a cluster of Assyrian Christian villages on the Khabur River in northeast Syria.

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AMMAN, Jordan - Christians in the Middle East welcomed the release of nearly 20 Assyrian Christians abducted by Islamic State militants in northeastern Syria, but expressed concern that more than 200 others remained in captivity.

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BEIRUT - Two Syrian-born patriarchs separately urged the international community to work together to address the crisis in Syria and the region.

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