By:Madeeha Bakhsh –
A Christian charity Knights of Columbus has announced that it will be donating more than 1 million dollars to the persecuted Christians in the Middle East. This pledge comes in the light of the Holy Week being observed all over the world.
Christianity in Middle East
CEO Knights of Columbus, Carl Anderson in a recent statement revealed: “As we recall the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus, it is particularly timely for us to remember and support our brothers and sisters in Christ who have, in places like Iraq and Syria, endured so much persecution for their faith”. He further continued that: “Having faced suffering and even death at the hands of ISIS, we hope that our assistance will help these communities to rise up again and rebuild for the future”.
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Around 500,000 dollars will be used for a food program run by the Chaldean Archeparchy of Erbil. Additional 300,000 dollars are committed to the Syriac Catholic Patriarchate of Antioch. This way about 3,000 Christian families from Iraq and Syria who have been displace or affected by violence and conflict in their homelands will be aided. These affected families will be offered food, clothing, shelter, and aid with education or even medical care.
The Knights of Columbus are contributing another 250,000 dollars for the purpose of rebuilding Karemlesh- a town in the Nineveh plains of Iraq. Primarily a Christian town, Karemlesh was destroyed after the terror group ISIS captured it. However, it has been recaptured and the locals are trying to rebuild the town. Since 2014, Knights of Columbus have contributed 19 million dollars in various projects to provide aid to the persecuted Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East.
Highlighting the significance of these efforts, Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil said that financial support from the Knights of Columbus has been instrumental to maintain presence of Christianity in the area. “Our people know that without the direct support from the Knights of Columbus to Christians in the region, and without assistance in making our case to the United States government, Christianity might already have been driven out of Iraq completely,” Archbishop Bashar Warda said.
Syriac Catholic Patriarch of Antioch Ignatius Joseph III Younan also acknowledged the charity work by the Knights of Columbus saying he relied on the “compassion and understanding” displayed by the charity in “our plight in the Middle East, particularly in Syria and Iraq.”