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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OTTAWA - Religious leaders, including two Imams, denounced the barbarism of the Islamic State and urged the protection of Iraqi Christians and other minorities during a Parliament Hill rally on Sept. 6. 

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TORONTO - Mahir Aboudi’s aging mother and father — on the run from the Islamic State and holed up with thousands of refugees in Irbil, Kurdistan — can’t join their son and his family in Canada as refugees because they haven’t yet crossed an international border, Conservative cabinet member Jason Kenney told Aboudi and his family. 

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OTTAWA - The Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada is giving $1 million to the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace to help displaced Iraqis.

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VATICAN CITY - Iraqi Christians are true and courageous witnesses of Christ's message of hope, forgiveness and love, Pope Francis said.

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WASHINGTON - In the days that followed Pope Francis' Aug. 18 remarks on U.S. airstrikes earlier in the month against Islamic State, the buzz was about whether the Pope had actually given his consent to them.

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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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August 28, 2014

Just War and Iraq

Should Christians be pleased that the expansion of the “Islamic State” in Iraq has apparently been slowed? Should they be pleased that this was the result of American air strikes? 

Published in Fr. Raymond de Souza

BEIRUT - Returning from a visit to the Kurdish region of Iraq, Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan called the Islamic State invasion "pure and simple religious cleansing and attempted genocide."

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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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Despite her comfortable life in Hamilton, Ont., fourth-year MacMaster University student Sherly Kyorkis comes from a long line of refugees.

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