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Pope Francis says he won't rest while Christians are presecuted in the Middle East

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 25th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Pope Francis had some words for the world on Thursday concerning Christians in the Middle East. The Holy Father called attention to the plight of Christians in the Middle East and said he would not resign himself to a Holy Land without Christians.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Pope Francis, in meeting with leaders of several Eastern rites said, "Syria, Iraq, Egypt and other areas of the Holy Land sometimes overflow with tears. We won't resign ourselves to a Middle East without Christians who for two thousand years confess the name of Jesus, as full citizens in social, cultural, and religious life of the nations to which they belong."

Pope Francis reinforced his support for persecuted Christians everywhere, especially in the Middle East where Muslim majorities routinely persecute them.

For some conservative, extremist Muslims, the choice is simple. Convert and pay or die. There is no dialogue between Christians and Muslims of this stripe, just as lambs and wolves have no concord.

Unfortunately, these Muslims feel compelled to persecute Christians which normally results in displacement. Many Christians have recently had to flee ancient homes to seek asylum amongst the countries that would have them.

The Pope reiterated his belief that every person has the right to freedom of conscience and called for "everyone's right to a dignified life and to freely profess their faith to be respected." He added that as long as these people were persecuted, no matter what religion, he would "not rest."

Christians in Iraq, Syria, and Egypt have recently been targeted as extremist Muslims target them in those countries. Russia is considering asylum for about 50,000 Syrian Christians.

In Egypt, the Coptic Church there has faced significant persecution, despite the promised of previous president, Mohamed Morsi, to protect them. His promises counted for nothing as members of the Muslim Brotherhood attacked Copts.

Christians are routinely kidnapped and killed by extremists, especially in Syria where the Christian minority has lived peacefully for two millennia. Christians in that country attempted to remain neutral however that neutrality was construed as support for Syrian dictator, Bashir al Assad. Now, Christians, lukewarm to Assad, are forced to form militias and fight alongside his forces for fear that extremist Muslims will attack their villages and enclaves.

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