Victim of Daesh to address Scottish youth

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By Michael J Robinson
A YOUTH rally is to take place uniting young people from across Scotland in an act of solidarity with those who are persecuted or oppressed for their religious faith.
The keynote address will be given by 20-year-old Sarmad Ozan, who fled Mosul, northern Iraq, after it was seized by Daesh (ISIS) in the summer of 2014.
Two years after leaving Iraq, Mr Ozan now lives in the UK and will speak at the Scottish Youth Rally in Carfin Lourdes Grotto, near Motherwell.
The event, on Thursday, 16th June starting at 10am, is being organised by the Scottish office of Aid to the Church in Need, the Catholic charity for persecuted Christians.
Bishop John Keenan of Paisley and Bishop Joseph Toal of Motherwell will attend, representing the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Scotland.
The event follows a similar rally held last year when 1,200 youngsters declared support for oppressed Christians in countries such as Iraq, Syria, Nigeria and Pakistan, where persecution has increased dramatically.
The event comes at a time of ongoing efforts to persuade governments, especially those in the West, to recognise Daesh atrocities in Iraq and Syria as a genocide against minorities including Christians and Yazidis.
The focus of the day on 16th June will be to raise awareness, encourage prayer, and take action in support of the persecuted Church.
ACN is calling on attendees to show the Scottish Government that young people want to stand up for religious freedom.
Each school will invite their students to petition the Scottish Government to promote religious freedom around the world.
The petition reads: “We call on the Scottish Government to stand with ACN Scotland in promoting religious freedom around the world through: 1) Prayer 2) Solidarity 3) Inter-faith dialogue.”
Those unable to attend the event will be able to follow the rally via Twitter @ACN_Scotland and using #ACNYouthRally.
Event organiser Lorraine McMahon, ACN’s Head of Operations in Scotland, said: “ACN Scotland is very excited to be holding our second youth rally.
“The rally is an opportunity for the youth of this country to stand up and be counted and say we will not sit back as Daesh eradicates Christianity and other minority groups from the Middle East.”
Ms McMahon added: “Come and join us in June to learn about the forgotten human rights issue of the day.”
She went on to say: “We are very fortunate in Scotland to live in a country where we can freely live out our faith. However, Christians in areas with severe religious intolerance pay a heavy price for their faith including, physical torture, rape, imprisonment, slavery, discrimination in education and employment, and even death.”
Schools must register in order to attend. Registration needs to be completed online and is now open at:
Registration closes on Monday, 13th June 2016.

Editor’s Notes

• You are invited to send a reporter, photographer, camera crew to Carfin Lourdes Grotto, ML1 5AL for 09:30 on the 16th June.
• For more information, contact Michael J Robinson, ACN Communication Executive in Scotland 01698 337 472 or 07908 033878.

Directly under the Holy See, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need. ACN is a Catholic charity – helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.

Founded in 1947 by Fr Werenfried van Straaten, whom St John Paul II named “An outstanding Apostle of Charity”, the organisation is now at work in more than 140 countries throughout the world.

The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, Aid to the Church in Need’s Child’s Bible – God Speaks to his Children has been translated into 176 languages and more than 51 million copies have been distributed all over the world.
Aid to the Church in Need UK is a registered charity in England and Wales (1097984) and Scotland (SC040748). ACN’s UK office is in Sutton, Surrey and there is a Scottish office in Motherwell.
While ACN gives full permission for the media to freely make use of the charity’s press releases, please acknowledge ACN as the source of stories when using the material.


John Pontifex
Head of Press & Information
Aid to the Church in Need (UK)
Direct dial: 020 8661 5161
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