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Christians face increasing persecution, congressman says

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The global persecution of Christians has gone from bad to worse, said U.S. Rep. Chris Smith at a congressional hearing Tuesday on Capitol Hill.

Smith, a New Jersey Republican, along with other U.S. House subcommittee members and various speakers gave testimony about religious hostilities against Christians worldwide. Speakers noted that religious persecution violates basic human rights.

Smith likened the persecution of Christians in Iraq to genocide.

"Christians remain the most persecuted group in the world and thus deserve special attention," he said.

Floods, rain threaten to make Christmas even more difficult in Gaza

The snowstorms and torrential rain that battered the Middle East in mid-December threatened to make this Christmas season an especially difficult one for Christians in Gaza.

Matthew McGarry, Catholic Relief Services' country representative, described the situation as "quite bad."

"There is extensive damage to infrastructure, and we haven't been able to get our staff in until today," McGarry told Catholic News Service on Tuesday. "We are targeting the most vulnerable families."

Many schools remained closed because of structural damage, he added.

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December 5-18, 2014

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