Pence’s plans to help Middle East Christians overshadowed by political storm

NASA HQ PHOTO
US Vice President Mike Pence’s postponed trip to the Middle East goes ahead this weekend amid myriad tensions and a fast-shifting diplomatic landscape. Pence’s trip is a shortened version of the one planned for last month, which was abruptly cancelled when protests erupted at President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem . . . Read More

Young refugees ‘urgently need access to education’

The new Catholic University of Erbil offers displaced young people an opportunity to continue their education.
At the start of the 10th session of the UN Forum on Minority Issues, which this year focuses on ‘minority youth’, human rights advocate Ewelina Ochab draws attention to the obstacles displaced young people face in accessing education. Ochab describes meeting Iraqi Christian youth and children in Jordan. Their families . . . Read More

More than 80 countries ‘favour’ one religion over others – Pew Research Center

More than 80 countries ‘favour’ one religion over others – Pew Research Center
Over 80 countries favour a specific religion, either officially as a state religion or tacitly through special treatment, according to a new report by the US-based Pew Research Center. Islam is the most common state religion – 27 countries have it as their official religion, including 16 of the 20 . . . Read More

Iraqi Christians returning to Nineveh Plains after 3 years ‘need protection’

Iraqi women and children are demonstrating in front of the UN office in Erbil where they present a declaration to the UN calling for protection of minority groups on 13 August 2015. (Photo: Open Doors International)
Three years after Iraq’s Christians fled the Nineveh Plains, driven away by the Islamic State group, human rights lawyer Ewelina Ochab has charted the movements of the Christians and evaluated the likelihood that they will now return. A report published earlier this year showed that 50% of Iraq’s Christians have . . . Read More

Iraqi bishops seek $262m for post-IS ‘Marshall Plan’

Iraqi bishops seek $262m for post-IS ‘Marshall Plan’
Church leaders in northern Iraq are launching an ambitious US$262 million “Marshall Plan” for the reconstruction of Christian-majority villages devastated by the occupation of Islamic State (IS) jihadists – but knowing they could be subjected to attacks while they implement it. The ecumenical Bishops’ Emergency Committee (BEC) hopes to raise the . . . Read More

Iraqi Christians ask: Where were our Kurdish protectors when IS came?

Iraqi Christians ask: Where were our Kurdish protectors when IS came?
A young girl in a camp in Levo, northern Iraq, holds up a picture of the Virgin Mary and Jesus. One question that still angers many of the Christians who fled northern Iraq as jihadists from Islamic State (IS) advanced on their towns and villages is, “Where were the Kurdish . . . Read More