Fall in Christian refugee admissions ‘suggests Trump has no real interest in religious persecution’

Iraqi Christians who fled Islamic State have found shelter in a church yard in Erbil, Iraq. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
The United States, under President Trump, has admitted 40 per cent fewer Christian refugees in the past year, US broadcaster NBC News has reported. As the Trump administration has implemented stricter policies on immigration and refugees, almost 11,000 Christians looking for a safe place to go were reportedly refused entry to . . . Read More

Syrian village bombed: five children under 15 – three from same family – among 12 killed

Syrian village bombed: five children under 15 – three from same family – among 12 killed
The children were still playing in the streets on Friday night. Then the rebels bombed the village. On Saturday, they should have celebrated a wedding in Mhardeh, a Christian village in northwest Syria. Instead they had to carry ten of their own to the grave; two more later died in . . . Read More

‘ISIS won despite defeat as West was unwilling to confront it’

Iraqi Christians ask the international community for help as they are facing annihilation by Islamic State. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
The Islamic State group may have been defeated on the battlefield, but the West has allowed its ideology to “percolate” and in that case it won, writes Seth J. Frantzman for the Jerusalem Post. “[ISIS] won in Iraq and Syria by destroying minority communities. It won because today the international . . . Read More

Syria’s Christian villages ‘hollowed out’ by IS

Before the war there were many churches in the area around Hassaka who held regular services, like this one in Tel Jezirah. (Photo: World Watch Monitor, 2009)
The Islamic State, following its defeat in Syria, has left behind hollowed-out Christian villages, reports the New York Times. Assyrian Christians, an indigenous Middle Eastern minority, once formed thriving farming communities along the Khabur River in Syria’s northeast. But when IS attacked the area in 2015, the militants demolished churches and kidnapped . . . Read More

‘Only jihadists want to see Christians leave the Middle East’

Around 300 Christians went to Bartella during the Easter weekend of 2017, to have the very first Easter celebration in three years in their home town. A convoy of about 15 buses travelled from Erbil, crossing several Kurdish and Iraqi army checkpoints to reach the church. The people still live in Erbil and cannot go back to Bartella to live or to rebuild. But for this day many take the chance to celebrate Easter in their own church again. (Open Doors International)
“The only people that want to see all Christians leave are some of the violent jihadists,” concludes a new book. “Everyone else, including some we might term as Islamists, desires their continued presence. They recognise that it is Christians who are the leaven that permeates the whole of society.” The . . . Read More

‘Middle East without Christians would not be the Middle East’ – Pope Francis

Pope Francis lights a candle inside the cripta of the St. Nicholas Basilica in Bari, southern Italy July 7, 2018. REUTERS/Tony Gentile
Pope Francis says religious fundamentalists in the Middle East, “under the guise of religion, have profaned God’s name, which is peace, and persecuted age-old neighbours”, Reuters reports. The pope was speaking during a summit of Christian leaders in Bari, Italy, on Saturday, 7 July. He spoke of the “terrible suffering” . . . Read More

Church council calls for release of Syrian bishops abducted five years ago

(Source: World Council of Churches)
The World Council of Churches (WCC) has called for the release of two Syrian archbishops kidnapped five years ago. “The Central Committee recalls with heavy hearts the abduction five years ago of the archbishops of Aleppo, Yohanna Ibrahim and Paul Yazigi,” the WCC said in a statement following a six-day . . . Read More

70,000 Syrian Armenians have fled during the war, and few will return

70,000 Syrian Armenians have fled during the war, and few will return
The fragrance of Middle Eastern cuisine wafts into your nostrils, even before you open the door of the café opposite the central railway station in Yerevan, Armenia’s capital.   Nerses Kevo, the café’s owner, is one of thousands of Armenian Christians who fled the Syrian civil war and moved to . . . Read More