Pope Francis sends message of hope to Christians being 'driven from Mideast'
And Urges Muslim leaders to condemn terrorism carried out in the name of Islam
On December 8th, Pope Francis said Christians are being “driven from the Middle East,” in a message to Iraqi Christians forced to flee by Islamic State group jihadists.
“I think of the wounds, of the pain of women with their children, the elderly and the displaced, the wounds of those who are victims of every type of violence,” Francis said according to a transcript.
Thousands of Christians took refuge in Arbil after IS jihadists in June overran Mosul, Iraq's second city, and forced hundreds of thousands of them, as well as members of the Yazidi community, to flee their homes.
“Due to an extremist and fundamentalist group, entire communities, especially, but not only, Christians and Yazidi, have suffered and continue to suffer, inhuman violence because of their religious and ethnic identity,” the pope said.
“Christians and Yazidi have been forced out of their homes; they have had to abandon everything to save their lives, but they have not denied their faith.
“Even holy buildings, monuments, religious symbols and cultural heritage have been affected by the violence, almost as if to cancel every trace, every memory of the other.”
After the Pontiff visited Turkey, he urged Muslim leaders worldwide to “clearly” condemn terrorism carried out in the name of Islam, and called for an end to the persecution of Christians in the Middle East.