christian persecution

Iraq Christians’ status more stable but still precarious

The ruins of the Chaldean Catholic cathedral are seen Aug. 3 in Kirkuk, Iraq. Iraq was home to about 1.5 million Christians at the start of the U.S.-led war against Iraq in 2003; some estimates put the current total at 175,000 Christians.

WASHINGTON — Although life in Iraq for Christians has stabilized since the routing of Islamic State from the country, their numbers are down from 2014, when the militant group began its insurgency, with their towns largely wrecked and infrastructure in shambles.

This was the assessment of panelists at a Nov. 28 roundtable in Washington sponsored by the Knights of Columbus in recognition of a week of "Solidarity in Suffering" declared by the U.S. Catholic Church that began Nov. 26 to raise awareness of the situation of persecuted Christians throughout the world.

U.S. urged to be more vigorous in protecting religious freedom globally

WASHINGTON — A U.S. congressman told attendees at a Washington summit on Christian persecution that "more than ever before, vigorous U.S. leadership and diplomacy are needed to address religious freedom violations globally."

"Religious persecution is festering and exploding around the world. What has been unconscionable for decades, centuries, has gotten worse," Rep. Chris Smith, R-New Jersey, said May 12 in remarks at the World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians.

Witnesses at hearing say killing of Middle East Christians 'genocide'

Assyrian Christians, who had fled Syria and Iraq, carried placards and waved Assyrian flags at a gathering in late May in front of U.N. headquarters in Beirut. Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako of Baghdad said the survival of Christianity in the Middle East has reached such a critical point that the chances of dialogue and reconciliation in the region are being threatened.

WASHINGTON -- A congressional hearing Dec. 9 sought a State Department determination of ongoing Christian genocide by the Islamic State, a designation that could produce considerable pressure for additional U.S. military intervention in the region, not just humanitarian aid.

Such a designation also has policy implications for U.S. efforts to restore property and lands taken from the minority groups and for offers of aid and asylum to the victims.

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