As Iraqi-led coalition forces fight to liberate the Iraqi city of Mosul and surrounding areas from the Islamic State, two Nineveh towns that were once home to hundreds of Christian families have finally been liberated from the barbaric death cult, according to the Archbishop of Erbil.
Speaking to The Christian Post on Friday, Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Warda said the hopes of thousands of displaced Christian families are on the rise knowing that there is finally a concentrated ground effort to reclaim and liberate their homelands from IS.
It was reported earlier this week that Iraqi-led forces, including Kurdish Peshmerga troops and Christian militia fighters, have besieged and are battling to liberate the once-largest Christian town in Iraq, Qaraqosh. Warda told CP that coalition forces have already liberated two smaller Christian villages of Bartella and Mar Oraha, which are situated just miles outside of Mosul. more >>
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who sat right between Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton at the Al Smith Dinner for charity in New York on Thursday night, has claimed that contrary to media reports, the two candidates were "friendly and complimentary" to one another.
"I was very moved by their interaction together around me, they were very friendly, very uplifting, very complimentary to one another," Dolan, who is the Archbishop of New York, told Fox News after the annual white-tie charity event.
"I thought the evening accomplished its goals," he added. more >>
Displaced Iraqi Christians from the Mosul region are still fearful about the prospects of returning home, even though the coalition offensive to reclaim their homelands is underway and despite the fact that some of them have held onto their house keys in hopes that one day it will be safe to return.
While Iraqi-led forces continue to press forward in pursuit of reclaiming Mosul and pushing the Islamic State out of Iraq's second largest city, forces to the East besieged Qaraqosh on Tuesday, a town located 20 miles Southeast of Mosul that was once home to Iraq's largest Christian community.
Before IS rose to power in the Nineveh Province in 2014, the town of Qaraqosh and its surrounding areas were home to about 50,000 Iraqi Christians, totaling about one-quarter of the nation's Christian population, before they were forced to flee to Kurdistan or leave the country in fear of being killed or persecuted for their faith. more >>
As conflicts in Iraq and Syria have forced millions of residents to flee their homes over the last several years, a leading Christian persecution activist has explained that over 80 percent of Christians have left Iraq in the last 13 years, while nearly half of all Christians have fled Syria since 2010.
Before the United States military went into Iraq in 2003, captured dictator Saddam Hussein, and opened up a power vacuum, Iraq was home to about 1.5 million Christians. But after sectarian violence commenced and the brutal Islamic State terrorist organization rose to power in 2014, fewer than 300,000 remain.
Meanwhile, in neighboring Syria, civil war has ravaged the country over the last five years and the rise of IS (also known as ISIS or ISIL) inside the country has compounded problems, thus creating one of the worst refugee crises in the 21st century. more >>
Persecution watchdog group Open Doors has found that at least 743 Christian refugees living in camps in Germany were attacked by Muslim refugees in 2016, pointing to big failures on the part of German authorities when it comes to understanding the role of religion in the lives of refugees.
"The documented cases confirm that the situation of Christian refugees in German refugee shelters is still unbearable. As a minority they are discriminated against, beaten up by and receive death threats from Muslim refugees and partly by the Muslim staff (securities, interpreters, volunteers) on grounds of their religion," found a major survey published by Open Doors Germany earlier in October, representing a number of organizations, such as Persecuted Christians and the Needy, European Mission Society Fellowship, and the Central Council of Oriental Christians in Germany.
"Taking these new cases into consideration there are now 743 Christian refugees who have reported religiously motivated attacks. With more staff at hand, a significantly higher number of cases could have been included in the survey," it added. more >>
Best-selling author and megachurch pastor Max Lucado believes that the 18 month long political process is draining Americans of the joy in their lives.
In an interview on the NPR program "All Things Considered" that aired Sunday, the Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas preacher talked about his concerns regarding the 2016 election.
"I think these days, my main concern is not really with either candidate. But my main concern is with the anxiety that has settled upon the country. I'm concerned about the consequences of this 18-month conversation that seems to have just really sucked the joy out of our people," said Lucado. more >>