National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Iraq

Chaldean patriarch urges moderate Muslims to challenge extremist acts

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Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako of Baghdad implored moderate Muslims to reject "terrorism in the name of religion" and step up to challenge the actions of Islamic State militants against minority communities in Iraq.

During an international conference of Muslim and Christian leaders, Sako called the situation in Iraq an "unprecedented historic crisis" and called on Muslims in attendance to exercise their responsibility to protect Christian, Yezidi and other minority communities.

Aid to the Church in Need distributed the letter Sako read to the conference.

Minority communities wonder why Iraqi government fails to protect them

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Two months after 3-year-old Christina was snatched by Islamic State militants from a bus as her family helplessly watched, Ayda Abada wonders about the fate of her daughter.

Now sheltering in an unfinished building in the Christian enclave of Ainkawa outside of Irbil, the capital of the Kurdistan area of northern Iraq, Abada replays the scene over and over in her mind.

Winter's early arrival challenges Iraqi Christians who fled militants

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Sister Habiba's kindly face is etched with sadness as she surveyed the muddy field where dozens of tents sheltering displaced Iraqi Christians once stood.

Cold, punishing rains and blustery wind swept through the encampment Oct. 20, earlier than expected for winter, crashing down the tents in the dead of night. Shoes, slippers and toys were strewn about, stuck in the muddy mess, signaling the mad dash for safety.

An eerie calm: Iraqi Christians anxiously ponder their future

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Basima al-Safar retouches a picture of Jesus on an easel outside her house overlooking the flat Nineveh plains, 30 miles north of Mosul.

The murals she paints tell the story of her people, Christians in Iraq. But with Islamic State militants nearby, she is worried that life in Alqosh and towns like it could soon come to an end.

Terrorism in Middle East has reached 'unimaginable proportions,' pope says

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The Middle East, especially Iraq and Syria, are experiencing "terrorism of previously unimaginable proportions" in which the perpetrators seem to have absolutely no regard for the value of human life, Pope Francis said.

"It seems that the awareness of the value of human life has been lost; it seems that the person does not count and can be sacrificed to other interests. And all of this, unfortunately, with the indifference of many," he said during a special meeting at the Vatican on the Middle East.

Panel discusses just war theory and the US role in the Middle East

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Catholic speakers and scholars at a Colorado university discussed whether historical promises made by the U.S. to other nations have been held and if America is looking carefully at each criteria of the just war theory in determining actions in the Middle East rather than taking an all-in stance.

Craig White, a former U.S. diplomat to the Middle East, and Christian Brugger, a moral theology professor at St. John Vianney Seminary in Denver, discussed just war Oct. 14 at Colorado State University.

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