Islamic State has landed in lawless Somalia, bishop says

NAIROBI, Kenya — As it loses its grip in the Middle East, the Islamic State is finding a foothold in Somalia, according to a bishop who oversees the Catholic Church in the troubled country.

The insurgent group — linked to mass killings, abductions and beheadings in Iraq and Syria, where it's facing defeat — sees Somalia as a suitable base due to its lawlessness, said Bishop Giorgio Bertin, apostolic administrator of Mogadishu, Somalia.

Philippine Christian leaders join to help rebuild Muslim-majority city

Residents who returned from evacuation centers walked past a bullet-ridden house Oct. 29 believed to have been used by pro-Islamic State militant group leaders in Marawi, Philippines.

Christian leaders in Philippines have banded together to help rebuild Marawi, a Muslim-majority city in southern Philippines damaged by five months of occupation by terrorists.

Catholic attorney protects rights of people of Islamic faith

Robert West, a graduate of St. Louis Priory School and St. Louis University, serves as staff attorney for the Council on American-Islamic Relations and works on civil rights cases. He sees a lot of parallels with Muslims, especially recent immigrants, and Catholic immigrants centuries ago, and is inspired by Catholic social teaching. He is helping the Alnusour family who say they have been under threats from a neighbor in south St. Louis. West visited their home and spoke with Eyad and his wife, Laila.

The young family — dad, mom and three children — is happy with their two-story home in south St. Louis, in a normally quiet residential area.

But they fear they may have to move from their home of more than a year and a half after encountering what they see as a bullying neighbor motivated by his hatred of Muslims.

Priest explores Islam through Catholic eyes

Estimates of the Muslim population in St. Louis range from 30,000 to 100,000, and 23 mosques dot the St. Louis landscape, according to the archdiocsan Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.

As such, St. Louisans, especially St. Louis Catholics, need to learn about Islam and its culture.

"It's really important for us in St. Louis," said Msgr. Michael Witt, emphasizing the population numbers. "This is reality. It's time for us to understand that and to understand where they're coming from. There are a lot of prejudices and misconceptions out there."

Editorial | Religion and the Middle East: Not so simple

Earlier this month, 21 Egyptian Christians who had been kidnapped while working in Libya were beheaded by an extremist group. As reported by Catholic News Service, the brutal killing was depicted in gruesome detail in a video released Feb. 15 on a pro-Islamic State website.

For the love of Jerusalem, its religions

The Dome of the Rock as seen in the move "Jerusalem."

"Jerusalem," which took five years to make, packs a lot of material into a 45-minute movie.

Daniel Ferguson, director, writer and co-producer, said that the people he first approached were concerned that he had an agenda or was using it for propaganda. "It took a thousand cups of tea," he said in a visit Oct. 3 to the St. Louis Science Center, where the movie is showing several times a day.

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