FaithWorld

Iraq Chaldean Catholic leader says Islamic State worse than Genghis Khan

(Iraqi Christians fleeing the violence in the Iraqi city of Mosul, pray at the Mar Afram church at the town of Qaraqush in the province of Nineveh, July 19, 2014. The ancient Christian community of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul had all but fled by Saturday, ending a presence stretching back nearly two millennia after radical Islamists set them a midday deadline to submit to Islamic rule or leave. The ultimatum by the Islamic State drove out the few hundred Christians who had stayed on when the group's hardline Sunni Muslim fighters overran Mosul a month ago, threatening Christians and the diverse city's other religious communities. REUTERS/Stringer)

(Iraqi Christians fleeing the violence in the Iraqi city of Mosul, pray at the Mar Afram church at the town of Qaraqush in the province of Nineveh, July 19, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer)

The head of Iraq’s largest church said on Sunday that Islamic State militants who drove Christians out of Mosul were worse than Mongol leader Genghis Khan and his grandson Hulagu who ransacked medieval Baghdad.

Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako led a wave of condemnation for the Sunni Islamists who demanded Christians either convert, submit to their radical rule and pay a religious levy or face death by the sword.

At the Vatican, Pope Francis decried what he said was the persecution of Christians in the birthplace of their faith, while U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the Islamic State’s actions could constitute a crime against humanity.

Hundreds of Christian families left Mosul ahead of Saturday’s ultimatum, many of them stripped of their possessions as they fled for safety. They formed the remnants of a community which once numbered in the tens of thousands and traced its presence in Mosul to the earliest years of Christianity.

Saudi Arabia investigates imams who did not condemn al Qaeda attack – paper

(Muslims wait to have their Iftar meal on the first day of the holy fasting month of Ramadan at Prince Turki bin Abdullah mosque in Riyadh June 29, 2014. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser )

(Muslims wait to have their Iftar meal on the first day of the holy fasting month of Ramadan at Prince Turki bin Abdullah mosque in Riyadh June 29, 2014. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser )

Saudi Arabia’s Islamic Affairs Ministry is investigating 17 mosque imams in the capital Riyadh for not using their Friday sermons to denounce an al Qaeda attack this month, the English daily Arab News reported on Saturday.

The conservative Islamic kingdom has kept a close eye on mosque sermons for evidence of militancy since last decade, when al Qaeda staged a series of attacks inside Saudi Arabia that killed hundreds.

Tunisia orders crackdown on Islamist mosques and radio stations

(Worshippers arrive at Zitouna Mosque to celebrate the birthday of Prophet Mohammad, in Tunis January 13, 2014. REUTERS/Anis Mili )

(Worshippers arrive at Zitouna Mosque to celebrate the birthday of Prophet Mohammad, in Tunis January 13, 2014. REUTERS/Anis Mili )

Tunisia on Saturday launched a crackdown on mosques and radio stations associated with hardline Islamists after militants killed 14 soldiers in an area near the country’s border with Algeria.

The move underscores the difficulty one of the Arab world’s most secular countries faces in dealing with the rise of conservative Islamist movements and militants since the 2011 revolt that ousted autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali and opened the way to democracy.

Iraqi Chaldean bishop urges world to act after Mosul’s Christians forced to flee

(An Iraqi Christian family fleeing the violence in the Iraqi city of Mosul, arrives at the town of Qaraqush in the province of Nineveh, July 19, 2014. The ancient Christian community of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul had all but fled by Saturday, ending a presence stretching back nearly two millennia after radical Islamists set them a midday deadline to submit to Islamic rule or leave. The ultimatum by the Islamic State drove out the few hundred Christians who had stayed on when the group's hardline Sunni Muslim fighters overran Mosul a month ago, threatening Christians and the diverse city's other religious communities. REUTERS/Stringer)

(An Iraqi Christian family fleeing the violence in the Iraqi city of Mosul, arrives at the town of Qaraqush in the province of Nineveh, July 19, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer)

A senior Iraqi bishop urged the world to act on Sunday after Islamic hardliners drove Mosul’s Christians from the northern Iraqi city, effectively ending a presence there dating back to Christianity’s earliest years.

“The world must act, speak out, consider human rights,” Chaldean Catholic Bishop Shlemon Warduni said on Sunday, a day after a deadline expired for Christians in Mosul to submit to the rule of the radical Islamic State or die.

Chicago Catholic archdiocese seeking to help child immigrants

(Immigrants who have been caught crossing the border illegally are housed inside the McAllen Border Patrol Station in McAllen, Texas July 15, 2014, where they are processed. More than 57,000 unaccompanied children have been apprehended at the southwestern border since October, more than twice the total this time last year. REUTERS/ Rick Loomis)

(Immigrants who have been caught crossing the border illegally are housed inside the McAllen Border Patrol Station in McAllen, Texas July 15, 2014, where they are processed. REUTERS/ Rick Loomis)

Roman Catholic officials in Chicago want to provide services, which may include housing, to undocumented immigrant children who have been pouring into the United States in recent months, church officials said on Wednesday.

The Archdiocese of Chicago, the third-largest Catholic diocese in the country with 2.3 million members, has submitted a proposal offering to help the children to the refugee resettlement office at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, spokeswoman Colleen Dolan said.

Sudanese family drops lawsuit against Christian woman claimed as Muslim

(St. Matthew’s Cathedral, Khartoum, 5 October 2013/Shmyg)

(St. Matthew’s Cathedral, Khartoum, 5 October 2013/Shmyg)

A lawsuit brought by a Sudanese Muslim father against a Christian woman to formally establish her as his Muslim daughter was dropped on Wednesday, the lawyer handling the case said, a move that could allow her to depart for the United States.

The case of Mariam Yahya Ibrahim, 27, raised an international furore when a Sudanese court sentenced her to death in May on charges of converting from Islam to Christianity and marrying a Christian South Sudanese-American.

Ibrahim says she was born and raised as a Christian by an Ethiopian family in Sudan and was later abducted by the Sudanese Muslim family. The Muslim family denies that and insists she belongs to them.

from John Lloyd:

As Israel attacks Gaza, Jews elsewhere feel an impact

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As the death toll in Gaza rises, so does anger against Israel -- and sometimes, by extension, Jews -- in Europe and elsewhere.

We should mark how unique this is. There's a very large, and often very rich, Russian community in London -- and there are no attacks on Russians or their mansions, restaurants or churches because of the Russian seizure of Crimea and sponsorship of uprisings in eastern Ukraine. 

People from Sri Lanka didn't live in fear when their government was pounding the Tamil Tigers into submission, with thousands of deaths. Chinese visitors are undisturbed by reaction to their government's suppression of dissent in Tibet and its jailing of dissidents. And quite right, too. Who knows what Russians, Sri Lankans or Chinese abroad think about their governments' actions?

Nepal halts cremation of Buddhist monk after Chinese pressure: report

(A monk rests at the premises of Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu March 10, 2014. Security was increased at the premises as Tibetan exiles in Nepal commemorated the 55th Tibetan Uprising Day. With a growing Chinese influence over Nepal, the Nepalese government stands strong against Tibetan exiles whose protests in support of their homeland have increased in recent years. Nepal ceased issuing refugee papers to Tibetans in 1989 and recognizes Tibet to be a part of China. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar )

(A monk rests at the premises of Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu March 10, 2014. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar )

Nepal has reversed a decision to allow a monk prominent in Tibetan Buddhism to be cremated on its soil after what media reports said was pressure from China and his organization said it was in talks with the government in Kathmandu.

Shamar Rinpoche, also known as the Shamarpa, died of a heart attack in Germany aged 62 on June 11, according to his office. He was scheduled to be moved on Sunday to Nepal, where he ran a monastery, for his final rites.

Church of England votes ‘yes’ to letting women become bishops

(Women react after the Synod session which approved the consecration of women bishops, in York July 14, 2014. The Church of England voted on Monday to allow women to become bishops, a historic decision which overturns centuries of tradition in a Church that has been deeply divided over the issue. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis )

(Women clergy react after the Synod session which approved the consecration of women bishops, in York July 14, 2014. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis )

The Church of England voted on Monday to allow women to become bishops, a historic decision which overturns centuries of tradition in a Church that has been deeply divided over the issue.

Two years ago, a similar proposal failed narrowly due to opposition from traditionalist lay members, to the dismay of modernisers, the Church hierarchy and politicians.

Iraqi slaughter swells crowded Shi’ite cemetery in holy city Najaf

(Mourners carry the coffin of Salah al-Wa'ili, a fighter from the Iraqi Shi'ite group Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq, during his funeral in Najaf July 12, 2014. Responding to an appeal from Shi'ite clerics, Wa'ili signed up earlier this month with the militia near Baghdad fighting the Islamist insurgents who have swept through northern Iraq and threatened the capital. A week later the 27-year-old part-time fighter was dead. Killed in battle against Sunni militants near the western city of Ramadi on Friday, he joined the growing list of casualties from the latest wave of conflict to strike Iraq, which has been plagued by war, sanctions and sectarian strife for longer than Wa'ili's brief lifetime. Picture taken July 12, 2014. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani )

(Mourners carry the coffin of Salah al-Wa’ili, a fighter from the Iraqi Shi’ite group Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, during his funeral in Najaf July 12, 2014. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani )

Responding to an appeal from Shi’ite clerics, Salah al-Wa’ili signed up earlier this month with a militia near Baghdad fighting the Islamist insurgents who have swept through northern Iraq and threatened the capital.

A week later the 27-year-old part-time fighter was dead.

Killed in battle against Sunni militants near the western city of Ramadi on Friday, he joined the growing list of casualties from the latest wave of conflict to strike Iraq, which has been plaged by war, sanctions and sectarian strife for longer than Wa’ili’s brief lifetime.