Egyptian priest praises Muslim support of threatened Christians

Displaced Egyptian Christian families, who used to live in the north of the Sinai Peninsula, sat near their belongings after arriving Feb. 24 at a church in Ismailia. Catholic churches in Ismailia, with help from Caritas, have helped Coptic Orthodox fleeing Islamic State attacks in North Sinai.

OXFORD, England — A spokesman for Egypt's Catholic Church praised local Muslims for helping embattled Christians after a series of Islamic State attacks in Sinai.

Father Rafic Greiche, spokesman for the Coptic Catholic Church, said Christians must differentiate between ordinary Muslims and extremists.

"Ordinary Muslims are kind and try to help however they can — they're often first on the scene, rescuing the injured and taking them to hospitals," he said March 3, as Christians continued to flee Egypt's North Sinai region.

Immigrant entrepreneurs take risks, enrich local economy

Luis Rivero, right, who owns the company that makes Hůga Bar with his brother-in-law, immigrated from his native Venezuela in 2003. After 10 years working for DuPont, he decided to quit his job and start his small business. Rivero talked with Jamie Bubenik, Whole Life manager at Dierbergs, who said she is happy to have a St. Louis food product like Hůga Bars on the shelves.

Luis Rivero founded Hůga Bar (think "PowerBar") and recently added Whole Foods stores as an outlet for the nutrition bar with flavors inspired by international recipes.

Bishop Vasquez welcomes federal appeals court ruling on refugee ban

Syrian refugee Baraa Haj Khalaf greeted her mother, Fattoum Haj Khalaf, Feb. 7 at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago.

WASHINGTON — The chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Migration welcomed a federal appeals court ruling that upheld a temporary restraining order against President Donald Trump's travel ban on refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries that also temporarily suspended the country's refugee resettlement program.

"We respect the rule of law and the American judicial process. We remain steadfast in our commitment to resettling refugees and all those fleeing persecution," Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, Texas, wrote in a statement Feb. 10.

Faith leaders urge communities to show care for their neighbor

Utah march shows support for refugees, immigrants, celebrates diversity
Marchers participated in Utah’s March for Refugees Feb. 4 in Salt Lake City. The march began at the Wallace Bennett Federal Building with a chain of children, representing diverse cultures and upbringings, holding hands.

The march was a reaction to President Donald Trump’s executive order that prohibited travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States for 90 days and barring all refugees for 120 days.

People of different cultures, religions and beliefs sent a message to lawmakers and to the world that the lives of refugees and immigrants matter and they are welcome in Utah.

WASHINGTON — A coalition of interfaith leaders from the InterFaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington gathered at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington on Jan. 31 to announce a vision statement for religious communities in the local area.

The statement, released a day before the start of the United Nations' annual World Harmony Faith Week, arises from the communities' "trust in God and belief that good government is exercised 'under God.'" It also called upon their belief in "our responsibility to serve humanity," which calls them into community.

English lessons, friendship provided for women isolated in a new land

As she readied to dish out a bowl of soup, Hayat Bashir-Louise told Becky Mueller about the lentils she prepared for the fast of Jonah (fast of Nineveh). The practice of fasting for three days began in the Syrian Orthodox Church and commemorates the time the prophet Jonah spent in the belly of the whale in Scriptures.

Hayat Bashir-Louise was pleased that she had understood the reading comprehension workbook story about a man, Bob Finn, who visited a doctor at the Hill Street medical clinic.

POPE’S MESSAGE | At audience, pope leads prayers for migrants, trafficking victims

Pope Francis held a booklet with an image of Sudanese St. Josephine Bakhita Feb. 8 at his general audience in Paul VI hall. Marking the feast of St. Bakhita, a former slave, the pope urged Christians to help trafficking victims and migrants.

VATICAN CITY — Marking the feast of St. Josephine Bakhita, a former slave, Pope Francis urged Christians to help victims of human trafficking and migrants, especially the Rohingya people being chased from Myanmar.

For the Catholic Church, St. Bakhita's feast day, Feb. 8, is a day of prayer for victims of trafficking.

Pope Francis asked government officials around the world to "decisively combat this plague" of human trafficking, paying particular attention to trafficking in children. "Every effort must be made to eradicate this shameful and intolerable crime."

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