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IRAQ: “I will never forget what IS did to us”

ACN 20180719 74088 2After years of living as refugees, a Christian family has the courage to make a new beginning and Aid to the Church in Need is helping them. 

“I will never forget what IS did to us.” Musa is a peaceful, good-humoured man. However, the 63-year-old still gets angry about what his family and the Christians in Iraq suffered at the hands of the Islamist extremists. In August 2014, in the middle of the night, he, his wife and their six children were forced to flee Qaraqosh, which had up until that point been the largest Christian city in Iraq. When the relentless jihadist advance pressed ever closer, the family panicked. They left everything behind and sought refuge in Erbil. For the first few days, Musa and his family lived on the streets, sleeping on the ground. The influx of 120 000 refugee Christians in such a short space of time was simply too much for the city to cope with.

An ACN delegation visits Musa and his family at their house: With ACN’s help, Musa’s house has been made habitable again. © Aid to the Church in Need.

NIGERIA: Nigerian bishop fears "An Ethnic Cleansing of Christians" by Fulani Herdsmen

“PLEASE DON’T make the same mistake as was made with the genocide in Rwanda. It happened under our noses, but no one stopped it. And we know well how that ended.”

These are the words of Bishop William Amove Avenya of the Diocese of Gboko, in Benue State, Nigeria, where Christians form the majority of the population.

Bishop William Amove Avenya from Gboko Diocese in Nigeria during his visit at the Italian National Office of ACN in Rome

Bishop William Amove Avenya from Gboko Diocese in Nigeria during his visit at the Italian National Office of ACN in Rome © Aid to the Church in Need

He is only the latest of the bishops of Nigeria’s Middle Belt to have raised his voice to denounce what is an increasingly worrying phenomenon—the attacks by Islamist Fulani herdsmen on Christians in the region. In recent days there have been new attacks in the area of Jos, the capital of Plateau State, killing more than 100 people.

INDIA: Attacks and Harassment Against Christians at Historically High Levels

20100210 023An update from Christians and religious minorities 10 years after the Khandamal Riots.

The Pastoral Centre of Konjamendi (Khandamal) was destroyed during the riots:
Pictured above is the Pastoral Centre's Director - Father Desmond. Diocese Cuttack (Orissa), November 2008 
© Aid to the Church in Need

2008 was a year Catholics in the Indian state of Odisha suffered a terrible suppression at the hands of Hindu fundamentalists intent on extinguishing the presence of Christianity.

Murders, the burning of buildings and homes, the public rape of Christian women; these  atrocities were committed in the state’s Khandamal district to force the faithful of the local Church to convert or leave.

NICARAGUA: “The Town of Masaya is Under a Hail of Bullets

CRISIS IN NICARAGUA – CARDINAL BRENES TELLS ACN:

“Please put pressure on the government, urging it to show respect for the bishops, the priests and the population.” This was the appeal issued via ACN by Cardinal Leopoldo José José Brenes Solorzano, the Archbishop of Managua, Nicaragua.

The Cardinal also spoke about the difficult situation in Masaya, a town some 30 km south of the capital Managua, which has become a symbol of the opposition to the government of President Daniel Ortega and which since 6am local time Tuesday has been besieged “by over 1000 soldiers and police. So far no deaths have been recorded, but undoubtedly there will be numerous injured victims. The town has been submerged under a wave of bullets”, the Cardinal stated.

Red Wednesday 28 Nov, 2018

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Red Wednesday is an initiative of Aid to the Church in Need set down this year for 28 November.

It is a day to gather and pray in solidarity with those who are persecuted and suffer unjustly for their peacefully held beliefs.

Persecution in the world’s worst-affected regions has reached a new peak, the impact of which is now being felt in all its horror.

In Syria and Iraq the crisis is immense and the evidence shows that Christians have fallen victim to a genocide conducted by Daesh (ISIS). In Syria 13.1 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. 5.5 million have fled the country, half of them are Christians.

Iraq and Syria are countries of serious concern but there are also abuses of religious liberty taking place in 23 other countries/regions including (but not limited to) India, Pakistan, China, Africa and South America.

The purpose of Red Wednesday is for us to join with people of all faiths to raise a strong voice in support of the persecuted who cannot profess their religion freely:

Christians in Egypt and Iraq
the Baha’i community in Iran
Catholics in the southern Philippines
the Rohingya in Myanmar
Jewish communities in Europe
people of all faiths in China.

Red Wednesday coincides with the release of the 2018 Religious Freedom in the World Report. A document produced every two years by Aid to the Church in Need the Report assesses issues relating to religious freedom for all faith groups in 196 countries. It can be viewed from 23 November at: http://religious-freedom-report.org/ 

As well as the release of the Religious Freedom Report 2018 we will gather and pray in solidarity with those of all faiths who are persecuted and suffer unjustly for their peacefully held beliefs.

Let’s spread the word and use social media to make #RedWednesday 2018 a campaign that cannot be ignored.

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