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February 22, 2017

Trump’s travel ban isn’t Islamophobic – UAE Foreign Minister

The United Arab Emirates’ foreign minister said President Donald Trump’s recent order barring citizens from seven countries to enter the country isn’t Islamophobic and doesn’t target a single religion. The order, which some media outlets have called a “Muslim ban,” isn’t actually that, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan told Al Jazeera TV. “The United States has taken a decision that is within the American sovereign decision,” he said in Abu Dhabi, the Muslim-majority country’s capital. “There are attempts to give the impression that this decision is directed against a particular religion, but what proves this talk to be incorrect…

Why Nigeria Needs to Refrain From Membership of the Islamic Military Alliance

The Nigerian government must withdraw its steps from joining the alliance, particularly within the context of the “Islamic” label attached to the alliance… The non-inclusion of key players in the region – Iran, Iraq, and Syria – should be a tell-all sign that the intentions of Saudi Arabia for pushing forth the alliance are intrinsically hidden. Therefore, the focus of the government must be to make decisions that not only reflect Nigeria’s commitment to credible international action, but also favour all Nigerian’s irrespective of ethnic or religious affiliation. In the joint statement released by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry…

Pope Francis prays for Kidnapped Jesuit Priest

  Pope Francis has appealed for the release of Father Paolo Dall’Oglio, a Jesuit priest kidnapped two years ago in Syria. The Italian priest, who worked in Syria for the past 30 years, was kidnapped in July 2013 by the so-called Islamic State. Father Dall’Oglio engaged in Christian-Muslim dialogue, notably through the monastic community he founded north of Damascus and was vocal against government repression. In his address, Pope Francis remembered the second anniversary of the Jesuit priest’s abduction and called for his freedom.”I make a heartfelt and urgent appeal for the freedom of this esteemed religious man,” he said….

Muslim Leaders Call for Release of Kidnapped Priest

  Local Muslim leaders in Syria have called for the release of a kidnapped missionary priest. On May 21st, Father Jacques Murad was abducted in the village of Al-Qaryatayn in Homs, Syria. The priest, who lived in the monastery of St. Elias, was known for his dedication to dialogue, closeness and friendship towards the local community. According to Fides new agency, “Muslim leaders of the community, village chiefs, and clan leaders denounced the kidnapping and are now trying to open a channel and find a path for his release.” A local source reported however that those who seized the priest…

Patriarch Decries School Bombing in Syria

“May the world heed the cries, tears and the prayers of the children of Syria. “These were the words of the head of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church who has decried the recent bombing of an Armenian Catholic School that killed one child and wounded 60 others. According to a report by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), Patriarch Gregory III Laham responded to the tragedy, saying: “What is the point of all this carnage tantamount to a war of extermination?” The incident occurred 15 April when the bomb landed in the school playground during a spate of violence…

US ‘concern’ at Syria weapons delay

The US is “concerned” that Syria is behind schedule in handing over its chemical weapons, Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel has said. Mr Hagel told reporters in Poland that Damascus “had to take responsibility for fulfilling its commitment”. The US believes that only around 4% of the chemicals declared by the Syrian government have been removed. Delegates from Syria’s government and opposition are attending peace talks in Geneva for a sixth day. A new report from Human Rights Watch, published on Thursday, claims the Syrian government has been “deliberately and unlawfully” demolishing thousands of homes in opposition strongholds. The organisation said…

Syria’s Nuncio Sees Positive Response to Pope Francis’ Initiative

Archbishop Mario Zenari, the Apostolic Nuncio in Syria, reflected on the prayer vigil led by Pope Francis on Sept. 7. Various Christian communities and other faiths held similar vigils around the world in solidarity for the Pope’s call for peace in the region. According to Vatican Radio, Catholic and Orthodox Bishops, members of the government, parliament and Muslim community, took part in prayer vigil held in the Greel-Melkite Catholic Church in Damascus. Archbishop Zenari stated that many have approached him to “thank the Holy Father for this beautiful initiative.” “Local television stations and journalists were present and I’m sure that…

Pope Francis Questions True Intentions of War

The Holy Father called attention once again to the horrors of war during his weekly Angelus address on Sunday. Pope Francis’ remarks came the day after a prayer vigil held in St. Peter’s Square on Saturday that brought more than 100,000 people to pray for peace in Syria. Reflecting on the Gospel of the day, the Holy Father began his address by speaking on the Christ’s message on being his disciples. “Many people, in fact, approached Jesus. They wanted to be his disciples; this especially happened after some miraculous sign, which confirmed him as the Messiah, the King of Israel,”…

Syria: US Bishops, Syrian Islamic Leader join Pope in prayer

The Grand Mufti of Syria, Ahmad Badreddin Hassou, the spiritual leader of Sunni Islam in Syria has expressed his desire to join the Pope in  praying for peace in the world especially in Syria. Fides news agency reported that “an exploratory request to that effect was sent by the Islamic leader to the Apostolic Nuncio in Damascus, His Excellency Monsignor Mario Zenari, and in coming days the feasibility of this desire will be evaluated on both sides.” Fides also reported that several Christian leaders in the Middle East affirmed that the Pope’s appeal found its way into “everyone’s hearts.” “The…

Holy See Mourns Death of Syrian Monk

Fr. Francois Mourad Murdered by Extremists in Predominantly Christian Village Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches mourned the murder of Fr. Francois Mourad, a monk who lived in Syria. According to Fides News Agency, Fr. Mourad was killed in the convent of the Custody of the Holy Land where he had taken refuge. While the circumstances of his death are not confirmed, local sources believe that the monastery of St. Anthony of Padua where he was residing was attacked by militants linked to an Islamic extremist group known as Jabhat al-Nusra. The monastery is located in…

Pope Francis urges Relief Organizations to Contemplate Jesus’ suffering in the People of Syria

Pope Francis, on Wednesday, June 5,  met with humanitarian and relief organizations that are dealing with the ongoing crisis in Syria. The meeting was organized by the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”, which coordinates the Church’s charity work. Among the participants were representatives of the following Catholic charity organizations: Aid to the Church in Need International, the AVSI foundation, CAFOD, Caritas Internationalis as well as the local Caritas organizations in Austria, France, Germany, Jordan, Lebanon, Luxembourg, the Middle East and North Africa, Syria, and Turkey. Also present was the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, Catholic Relief Services, the International Catholic Migration…

Russian, US and UN officials to meet on Syria

US and UN officials will meet next week to prepare for a proposed peace conference in June between warring sides in Syria, UN and US officials said on Thursday. “We can confirm that on 5 June 2013 in Geneva, US, Russian and UN officials will hold a three-way meeting to further the preparations for the international conference on Syria envisioned under the US-Russian initiative,” a UN spokeswoman said in a statement. The meeting was agreed to in talks last week between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. The…