Unidentified Syrian refugees on the Turkish - Syrian border. thomas koch /

The U.S. State Department warned that religion-based terrorists as well as some governments across the globe are threatening the liberties of religious minorities.

“One of the best ways to deny these murderers their victory is by ensuring that those they have sought to destroy not only survive, but thrive,” said Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken, announcing the 2015 Annual Report on International Religious Freedom on Aug. 10.

Pope Francis sits with some Syrian refugees at the Vatican on Aug. 11, 2016. Photo courtesy of Osservatore Romano/Handout via Reuters

Pope Francis had lunch with 21 Syrian refugees at his private residence at the Vatican on Thursday, sending a powerful message to those in the West fervently opposed to welcoming those forced to flee the war-torn nation.

The Vatican’s chief media spokesman, Greg Burke, said the pope’s lunch guests included the Syrian families who returned to Italy with him from the Greek island of Lesbos aboard the papal plane after his official visit there in April.

Auschwitz. Image via BeeZeePhoto /

Siavosh Derakhti, a young Swedish Muslim honored in Europe and the U.S. for his campaign to counter anti-Semitism, always explains his motivation by invoking David.

the Web Editors 07-13-2016

Image via UK Home Office/Flickr

David Cameron stepped down from his role as prime minister of the United Kingdom on July 13, as he had announced after the Brexit vote.

In his resignation speech in front of 10 Downing Street, the traditional residence of the prime minster, Cameron called his tenure “the greatest honor” of his life. He will continue to serve in parliament as a representative of Witney.

Image via Brian McDonnell / Heart to Heart International / RNS

The call went out for 600 volunteers to make care packages for Syrian refugees. Nearly 1,000 Muslims, Sikhs, Jews, Buddhists, Christians, and Hindus answered it.

They formed assembly lines June 26 at the historic 69th Regiment Armory in lower Manhattan and stuffed toothpaste, nail clippers, soap, hand towels, condoms, washable menstrual pads, and other personal hygiene products into plastic bags to send to camps in Turkey for refugees of Syria’s civil war.

Image via Allen Clark / RNS

Ask Wah Nay Htoo how an evangelical church helped her refugee family after they arrived in Colorado and her list is long.

“Oh my goodness, Cornerstone helped our family a lot — everything,” said Htoo, 38, a Burmese woman who lived most of her life in a refugee camp in Thailand before moving to the Denver suburb of Lafayette in 2008.

the Web Editors 06-16-2016

Image via  /

A group of Republicans in the House of Representatives is working on legislation to ban all refugees from settling in the United States, reports Foreign Policy.

While the proposed legislation sounds similar to Donald Trump’s proposal to block immigration from all “areas of the world where there is a proven history of terrorism,” the refugee ban makes no distinctions based on country of origin.

Prizren, Kosovo. Image via Berat Hoxha [CC BY-SA 3.0] / Wikimedia Commons

Three years ago, Joshua Stanton was walking around Peja, a Balkan city where the skyline is punctured with the dainty minarets of three historic mosques, when he decided to put on his yarmulke.

“I am Jewish,” he thought. “I want to put it on.”

Ulrich Rosenhagen 06-03-2016

Image via REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch - RTX2533D / RNS

While many countries in Europe have sealed their borders to refugees, Germany has done the opposite. Last year, the country registered over 1 million asylum seekers, including 425,000 from ravaged Syria.

No other country in the European Union has accepted as many. For Syrians and others who risk their lives crossing the Mediterranean Sea in rubber dinghies, Germany has become a beacon of hope.

the Web Editors 06-01-2016

As of May 25, there had been 1,475 deaths since the beginning of the year. By May 30, that number climbed to 2,443 — 968 deaths in just 5 days.

Some officials are attributing this spike to smugglers taking risks with poorer boats as the weather gets nicer.

Image via Osservatore Romano / Reuters / RNS

Pope Francis is calling on Catholics to play a part in the “rebirth” of a united Europe that opens its doors to refugees.

The Argentine pontiff, who has been critical of European countries’ handling of the migrant crisis, made the comments as he picked up the prestigious Charlemagne Prize. The award, named after the founder of the medieval Holy Roman Empire, is given for work done in the service of European integration.

Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki. Image via REUTERS/Tony Gentile/RNS

A German Catholic leader’s defense of religious freedom has triggered a backlash following anti-Muslim statements by far-right politicians in the country.

Editor-in-Chief Ingo Brueggenjuergen of the Catholic broadcaster Dom Radio, which ran the interview with Archbishop Rainer Maria Woelki of Cologne earlier this week, said in a commentary April 27 that some critics are claiming the cardinal is out to destroy the Catholic Church.

Image via  /

A Roman Catholic bishop has challenged Austria’s plans to construct a fence to keep out refugees by refusing to allow the authorities to build on church land and arguing it runs contrary to the pope’s wishes. A fence “would contradict the spirit of the Gospel, Pope Francis’s clear message to Europe, and in particular for a diocese that was in the shadow of the Iron Curtain for decades,” Aegidius Zsifkokvics, the bishop of Eisenstadt, told the AFP news agency.

the Web Editors 04-21-2016

According to the United Nations’ refugee agency, up to 500 refugees may have drowned last week when an overcrowded ship sank, reports CNN. The 41 survivors of “one of the worst tragedies involving refugees and migrants in the last 12 months” are currently being housed at a stadium in Kalamata, Greece.

the Web Editors 04-19-2016
Janossy Gergely / Shutterstock

Refugees wander through Slovenia in 2015. Photo via Janossy Gergely / Shutterstock. 

Tennessee's House of Representatives voted 69 — 25 on April 18 to authorize the state's attorney general to sue the federal government for not consulting with the state on the placement of refugees.

The state similar efforts in Texas and Alabama, but becomes the first state that would sue on the grounds of the 10th amendment, which dictates that all powers not explicitly delegated to the federal government in the Constitution belong to the states.

Riyad with mother Nour. Image via Rosie Scammell / RNS

Three Syrian families flown to Rome by Pope Francis are calling their trip from the battle lines of a five-year civil war to safety in the shadow of the Vatican a “miracle” journey.

The heart of Rome’s Trastevere neighborhood, with its picturesque cobbled streets and vine-covered walls, could not be farther from the asylum-seeker camp the Muslim families were living in just three days ago.

the Web Editors 04-05-2016

Image via Drop of Light /

Just as Greece has begun deporting refugees to Turkey, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis will visit the Greek island of Lesbos.

the Web Editors 04-04-2016

Image via Anjo Kan /

In accordance with a new deal between the E.U. and Turkey, Greece has begun deporting refugees to Turkey, reports Al-Jazeera. Meanwhile, according to a report issued by Amnesty International, the Turkish government has been forcing Syrian refugees back to Syria. If this is true, Turkey would be violating international law.

the Web Editors 03-03-2016

Image via CNN Breaking News/Twitter

Migrants are stitching their own lips shut to protest the French government’s clearing of the refugee camp in Calais, known as the "the Jungle." Authorities are clearing the southern half of the camp and relocating the refugees, they say in response to unsanitary conditions. They bulldozed a church and a mosque in the camp on Feb. 1.

Stephen Mattson 02-17-2016

1. In the midst of a historically horrible refugee crisis, why didn’t you actively pursue helping the poor, the destitute, and those in desperate need?

Are followers of Jesus supposed to forsake compassion, sacrifice hospitality, and abandon love in favor of a political policy, national security, financial stability, and personal comfort? God is perfectly clear what the mandate is for helping those in need, and yet Christians continue to remain apathetic, passive, and even aggressively hostile toward the notion of aiding such victims.