syria

Alan Gomez 6-26-2017

Image via RNS/Reuters/Yuri Gripas

The court ruled that Trump may bar people from six majority Muslim countries — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen — if they have no “bona fide” relationship to the U.S. Those that have established ties will be allowed to continue entering the country.

That means officials at the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department will have to begin sorting through each application submitted by travelers from the six targeted countries to determine if they have enough of a link to the U.S. to enter.

Richard Wolf 6-02-2017

Image via RNS/Reuters/David Ryder

The Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to break its losing streak in lower courts and revive President Trump’s travel ban on immigrants from six predominantly Muslim nations.

The request came on June 1 in three separate petitions to courts in Richmond, Va., and San Francisco that blocked the president’s executive order barring most immigrants from countries deemed at risk for terrorism, as well as international refugees.

Image via RNS/Jerome Socolovsky

A federal appeals court in Richmond has delivered yet another blow to President Trump’s effort to institute a travel ban targeting six majority-Muslim countries, making a final Supreme Court showdown more likely.

The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled 10-3 on May 25 to uphold a lower court’s decision that barred the Trump administration from implementing its second attempt at the travel ban.

Brian Dooley 5-03-2017

Image via RNS/Brian Dooley

Tucked up near the Austrian border, about 160 miles from Budapest, is a small Hungarian town of 12,000 people. It’s a quiet place about three and a half hours, and two trains rides, from Hungary’s capital.

But the community has been split by the decision of the local Catholic parish priest, the Rev. Zoltan Nemeth, to allow some asylum-seekers to take shelter in a church building.

Image via RNS/Reuters/Stefano Rellandini

Pope Francis used his traditional Easter Sunday message to call the bombing of a refugee convoy near Aleppo, Syria, a “despicable attack”, and urged world leaders to “prevent the spread of conflicts” despite mounting tensions in Syria and North Korea.

In his Easter blessing, known as “Urbi et Orbi” (“to the city and the world”), the pope urged the faithful to remember “all those forced to leave their homelands as a result of armed conflicts, terrorist attacks, famine, and oppressive regimes.”

the Web Editors 4-17-2017

Image via fpolat69/Shutterstock.com

On April 15 a bomb attack struck buses that were transporting evacuees to safety from dangerous Syrian towns, reports BBC News. The attack killed 128 people, at least 68 of whom were children. The attack occurred at a transfer point for the evacuees.

As of yet, no one has claimed responsibility for the attack, and it is believed that Syrian rebels are not to blame, since some of their supporters were slated to evacuate from those same Syrian towns.

Image via RNS/Reuters/Carlos Barria

The two major streams of Christian engagement on war are pacifism and just war theory, which comes out of Catholic social teaching. The pacifist response to Syria strikes is clearly opposed. As for the just war analysis, it takes a little explaining, but reaches the same conclusion.

In the midst of so much death, how can we Christians celebrate Easter?

These questions can be paired with questions regarding our own sense of worship on that day. How much have we Christians replaced justice with worship, not taking one into serious relation with the other? Are we accustomed to worship in the total absence of justice?

U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Porter conducts strike operations against Syria in the Mediterranean Sea. Ford Williams/Courtesy U.S. Navy

"Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack," President Donald Trump said of Tuesday's chemical weapons strike, which Western countries blame on Assad's forces. "No child of God should ever suffer such horror."

Image via RNS/Reuters/Ammar Abdullah

Pope Francis condemned the suspected chemical weapons attack that killed over 100 people in Syria and renewed his call for an urgent political solution to end the war. Speaking at his weekly audience at the Vatican on April 5, the pope said he was horrified by the “unacceptable” massacre of civilians, including at least 20 children, on April 4.

A man breathes through an oxygen mask as another one receives treatments, after what rescue workers described as a suspected gas attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in rebel-held Idlib, Syria April 4, 2017. REUTERS/Ammar Abdullah

A suspected Syrian government chemical attack killed scores of people, including children, in the northwestern province of Idlib on Tuesday, a monitoring group, medics, and rescue workers in the rebel-held area said. The U.S. government believes the chemical agent sarin was used in the attack, a U.S. government source said, adding it was "almost certainly" carried out by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Image via RNS/Emily McFarlan Miller

It was her desire to hear the stories of real people — “not just faceless refugees or immigrants” — that brought the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton to a refugee resettlement agency that provides a range of services to refugees in the Chicago area.

“Especially now, when there’s this fear that’s been stirred up, and anti-refugee sentiment, it’s really critical to say, ‘No, these people are our grandparents, our aunts and uncles,” said the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the nation’s largest Lutheran denomination.

Displaced Iraqi people react at Hammam al-Alil camp, as Iraqi forces battle with Islamic State militants in Mosul, Iraq March 23, 2017. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily

The battle for Mosul, Islamic State's last major stronghold in Iraq, is now in its sixth month with Iraq forces backed by a U.S.-led coalition, air strikes and advisers now controlling the east side and more than half of the west.

Image via RNS/Screenshot from CNN

With his anti-Muslim rhetoric and planned travel bans, you’d think President Trump would be a favorite target for Islamic State’s propaganda. The jihadist caliphate in Syria and Iraq must be pulling out all the stops to slam him as the epitome of Islamophobia.

Well, think again. The extremist group that Trump vows to “totally obliterate” has hardly printed or broadcast a word about him since before the November election. The caliphate’s Ministry of Media acts almost as if he didn’t exist.

Matthew Schmalz 2-13-2017

Image via RNS/Fibonacci Blue/flickr.com

The world seems to be witnessing increasing levels of violence, fear, and hatred that challenge us each day. There are ongoing debates about how or whether to welcome immigrants and refugees to the United States; news headlines remind us about the plight of Syria and about the horrors of the Islamic State.

In such times, talk about mercy may seem more like wishful thinking. But mercy matters – now more than ever.

Image via RNS/Reuters/Khalil Ashawi

A Catholic priest who fled to the U.S. from war-torn Vietnam as a youth has written to President Trump, offering to surrender his American citizenship so that the president could confer it on a Syrian refugee, who would be barred under Trump’s controversial order banning travelers from Syria and six other Muslim-majority countries.

The Rev. Chuong Hoai Nguyen, a member of the Salesian order, also told Trump he would ask his religious superiors for permission to go live and work in one of the seven countries on the banned list.

Safety is defined in the nineteenth chapter of Leviticus as abiding in God’s sense of justice —“not be partial to the poor or defer to the great: with justice you shall judge your neighbor.” Justice is love and love is behaving out of fairness to all — even those we see as a risk. We cannot expect to be in safety unless we treat others as we wish them to treat us.

Jasper Vaughn 2-06-2017

While the ban remains inactive after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the U.S. government’s request to resume travel restrictions, legal challenges by Trump’s administration will continue. Christians must join in solidarity with our refugee brothers and sisters and continue to denounce both the ideology and methodology of the ban. 

 

Tim Breene 1-31-2017

When our desire for security is so great that it diminishes our humanity and our capacity, or willingness, to see the world through the eyes of another, we lose a precious part of who we were designed to be. Our hearts are hardened, calcified.

Image via RNS/Reuters/Muhammad Hamed

“We were wrong.”

That’s how former Deputy Secretary of State William Burns summarized one of the most notorious episodes in the history of American refugee policy. In 1939, the MS Saint Louis carried 937 Jewish refugees towards our shores. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration denied the ship access to the U.S. and forced it to return to Europe. A third of the passengers died at Auschwitz and other concentration camps.

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