iraq

U.S. seminarians run across Italy to help displaced families in Iraq

U.S. seminarians studying at the Pontifical North American College in Rome participated in a relay-run across the Italian peninsula to raise funds for displaced families in Iraq. Runners departed from the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas and met in the middle.

ROME — Loaded with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, bananas, Gatorade, grit and prayer, nine U.S. seminarians studying in Rome ran relay-style across the Italian peninsula to raise funds for displaced families in Iraq.

Warm-up included a pre-dawn Mass May 6 at the Pontifical North American College where the students live, followed by packing two vans with nine runners, two drivers and protein- and carb-rich provisions, Christian Huebner of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., told Catholic News Service May 4.

Refugee fled Iraq in fear; now thriving in St. Louis

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Nadya Kanim was a child when her family was forced to leave Kuwait. Her father had worked in Kuwait for 30 years and returned to his native Iraq because of the political differences between the countries that erupted in the 1990-91 Gulf War.

They resettled in his homeland, and all was well.

Then, on a warm summer night in 1996, soldiers rushed into their home and took her father away.

"We were screaming, crying, pleading with them to leave our father and not to hurt him," said Kanim, who was 15 at the time.

Iraqi patriarch: Fast track for Christian refugees will fuel tensions

An elderly woman from Mosul, Iraq, sat at a refugee camp in Khazer, Iraq, Jan. 29. Giving priority to Christian refugees for settlement programs would be "a trap" that discriminates and fuels religious tensions in the Middle East, said Patriarch Louis Sako of Baghdad.

VATICAN CITY -- Giving priority to Christian refugees for settlement programs would be "a trap" that discriminates and fuels religious tensions in the Middle East, said Iraq's Chaldean Catholic patriarch.

"Every reception policy that discriminates (between) the persecuted and suffering on religious grounds ultimately harms the Christians of the East" and would be "a trap for Christians in the Middle East," said Patriarch Louis Sako of Baghdad.

In Turkey, Iraqi Christians waiting for resettlement live in limbo

Basima Kamil, right, a refugee from Iraq who teaches at the Don Bosco Youth Center in Istanbul, spent time during a break Oct. 3 at the school office and teacher’s room with colleagues, Wafa Toma and Dina Jouna. Kamil has been in Turkey since December 2012, waiting for an answer to her relocation application to Canada.

ISTANBUL — Yako Hanna, 36, always keeps an eye on his phone waiting for a call that would change his life.

"Anytime it rings, you think it is the U.N., so you have to be careful. Even if you go to the bathroom, you have to take your mobile with you," Hanna said, referring to the call he might receive from the U.N. refugee agency, UNHCR, which is handling his resettlement application to Australia, where he has relatives.

Knights of Columbus, In Defense of Christians mount genocide petition

WASHINGTON -- As a mid-March deadline approached for U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to make a decision on whether to make a declaration of genocide in the Middle East, the Knights of Columbus, based in New Haven, Connecticut, and the Washington-based group In Defense of Christians have mounted a petition campaign asking Kerry to make a genocide declaration.

"America must end its silence about the ongoing genocide against Christians and other minority groups in Iraq and Syria," the petition says.

European bishops welcome EU classification of Islamic State 'genocide'

MANCHESTER, England-- A European bishops' commission has welcomed a move by the European Parliament to classify atrocities and religious cleansing by the Islamic State as genocide.

Father Patrick Daly, general secretary of COMECE, the Commission of the Bishops' Conference of the European Community, said the designation represented progress in halting the persecution of Christians and other minorities in Syria and Iraq.

"Steps to prosecute criminals and bring them to justice are also imperative," Father Daly said in a Feb. 4 statement.

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