“Brothers and sisters, never war, never war!” Pope Francis.

Pope Francis in emotional peace plea

Pope spoke of first world war centenary and said his thoughts were on the Middle East, Iraq and Ukraine in particular
Pope Francis

Pope Francis made his comments at the end of his weekly Angelus address in St Peter’s Square. Photograph: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images

Pope Francis made an emotional plea for peace on Sunday in an impromptu addition to his weekly Angelus address in St Peter’s Square.

Wrapping up his regular address to the faithful, the Argentinian-born pontiff spoke of the centenary of the outbreak of the first world war and said his thoughts were on the Middle East, Iraq and Ukraine in particular.

His voice appearing to crack with emotion as he broke off from his scripted remarks to make a direct appeal for fighting to end, he said: “Please stop, I ask you with all my heart, it’s time to stop. Stop, please.”

The pope made no direct reference to the situation in Gaza, but his comments came after a humanitarian truce broke down on Sunday and fighting resumed. More than 1,000 people, mostly civilians and including dozens of children, have been killed since the outbreak of the current conflict.

“Brothers and sisters, never war, never war! I am thinking above all of children, who are deprived of the hope of a worthwhile life, of a future,” he said. “Dead children, injured children, mutilated children, orphaned children, children whose toys are things left over from war, children who can’t smile any more.”


Taken from: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/27/pope-francis-emotional-plea


Sudanese woman spared death for apostasy meets Pope Francis

Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim at the Vatican

Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim at the Vatican. Photograph: AP

Meriam Ibrahim was sentenced to death for apostasy in May, sparking an international campaign to save her life

and in Rome

Meriam Ibrahim, a Christian Sudanese woman spared a death sentence for apostasy after an international outcry, has met Pope Francis after arriving in Italy.

The 27-year-old and her family were received at the pontiff’s guesthouse for just under 30 minutes in an atmosphere “of serenity and tenderness”, the Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said in a statement.

“The pope thanked Meriam and her family for their courageous demonstration of constancy of faith. Meriam gave thanks for the great support and comfort which she received from the prayers of the pope and of many other people who believe and are of good will.”

Francis, 77, also wanted the meeting to have a symbolic aspect, Lombardi said. “With this gesture the pope wished also to show his closeness, attention and prayer for all those who suffer because of their faith and in particular Christians who suffer persecution or restriction to their freedom of religion.”

Earlier on Thursday, Italian television showed Ibrahim leaving the aircraft at Ciampino airport in Rome accompanied by her husband, two children and Italy’s vice-minister for foreign affairs, Lapo Pistelli.

Ibrahim was sentenced to 100 lashes for adultery and to death for apostasy in May, sparking an international campaign to lift the death sentence. More than a million people backed an Amnesty International campaign to get her released, with David Cameron, the British prime minister, and the US civil rights activist Jesse Jackson among world leaders who clamoured for her release.

While on death row, Ibrahim, a graduate of Sudan University’s school of medicine, gave birth in shackles in May. It was a difficult birth as her legs were in chains and Ibrahim is worried that the girl may need support to walk.

Ibrahim was told that her death sentence would be deferred for two years to allow her to nurse the baby.

Under the Sudanese penal code, Muslims are forbidden from changing faith, and Muslim women are not permitted to marry Christian men.

During her trial in Khartoum, she told the court that she had been brought up as a Christian, and refused to renounce her faith. She and Daniel Wani – an American citizen – married in 2011. The court ruled that the union was invalid and that Ibrahim was guilty of adultery.

Her convictions, sentences and detention in Omdurman women’s prison while heavily pregnant and with her toddler son incarcerated alongside her caused international outrage. After an appeal court overturned the death sentence, Ibrahim, Wani, and their two children tried to leave last month, but were turned back. The Sudanese government accused her of trying to leave the country with false papers, preventing her departure for the US.

Her lawyer, Mohaned Mostafa, said he had not been told of her departure on Thursday.

“I don’t know anything about such news but so far the complaint that was filed against Meriam and which prevents her from travelling from Sudan has not been cancelled,” Mostafa told Reuters.

Ibrahim and her family had been staying at the US embassy in Khartoum.


Taken from: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/24/sudan-woman

Solomon, Hammurabi and Suleiman


We (AMAIC), having identified Hammurabi, the Lawgiver, with King Solomon, in:

and having also found:

are therefore most intrigued to read of the following interrelated similarities for these three names, at (http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/how-sultan-suleyman-became-kanuni.aspx?pageID=449&nID=51035&NewsCatID=438):


How Sultan Süleyman became ‘Kanuni’

Niki GAMMISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News

What Kanuni Sultan Süleyman did to earn his sobriquet as ‘lawgiver’ has often been compared to the just ruler King Solomon, from the Old Testament

The first written, complete code of laws is nearly 4,000 years old [sic], from the time of Hammurabi, the king of Babylon … although fragments of legal codes from other cities in the Mesopotamian area have been discovered. Hammurabi is still honored today as a lawgiver. In the Bible, it was Moses whom the Jews singled out as a lawgiver and among the ancient Greeks, Draco and Solon. [For AMAIC identification of this Solon with King Solomon, see our: Solomon and Sheba (http://www.academia.edu/3660164/Solomon_and_Sheba)] Law in Byzantium and later in the West rests on the law as laid down by the Emperor Justinian in the sixth century C.E.


Sultan Süleyman becomes Kanuni

Between the reigns of Fatih Sultan Mehmed and Suleiman, the empire had greatly expanded and had to face different legal systems and traditions. …. Süleyman oversaw the codification of a new general code of laws. Not only were previous codes of law taken into account, new cases and analogies were added. Fines and punishments were regularized and some of the more severe punishments were mitigated.

The kanunnames are collections of kanuns or statutes that are basically short summaries of decrees issued by the sultan. The decrees in turn were made on the basis of a particular individual, place or event but when issued, these particular details were not included. The publication of such a general kanunname throughout the empire was the responsibility of the nişancı, an official whose duty it was to attach the sultan’s imperial signature on the decrees issued in his name.

The role of the sheikhulislam among the Ottomans is somewhat ambiguous. He was supposed to be responsible for the application of shariah law and for the entire system of courts and judges who were educated in its contents and used it in cases brought before them. The most famous of these judges was Ebu ‘s-Su‘ud, whom Sultan Süleyman appointed to the position in 1545 and who held it until he died in 1574. He was part of the sultan’s efforts to codify Ottoman laws (the kanuns) and bring them into line with shariah which even the sultan was required to obey. Prior to his appointment, judges had been free to interpret shariah law as they wished to but now this was no longer the case. The sultan held the judicial power and judges had to follow what he decreed. Although it is commonly believed that an imperial decree could only become a law after it had been approved by the sheikhulislam as the judge of final appeal, Heyd pointed out that there is no proof of this. In many cases, the sheikhulislam issued fatwas (decrees) long after the imperial decree went into force.

What Kanuni Sultan Süleyman did to earn his sobriquet as “lawgiver” has often been compared to the just ruler King Solomon, from the Old Testament. Certainly after the codification of Ottoman law under Kanuni, no attempts were made to make changes until the 19th century, when Ottoman westernizers wanted to adopt European law.


As Christians Abandon Mosul, Pope Francis Prays for End of Persecution in Mideast

By Katherine Weber , Christian Post Reporter

July 22, 2014|8:30 am

Pope Francis prayed for an end to Christian persecution in the Middle East on Sunday, one day after Christians were forced to flee the village of Mosul in Iraq following threats from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), a jihadist militant group.

While leading a moment of silence in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on Sunday, Francis said that Christians suffering persecution in the Middle East will be the subject of his “constant prayers.”

“Violence isn’t overcome with violence. Violence is conquered with peace,” the pope told the crowd gathered at St. Peter’s Square. “Our brothers and sisters are persecuted, they are chased away.”


The Catholic leader’s plea came one day after thousands of Christian families were forced to pour out of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city with a 6,000-year-old Assyrian history. The families chose to flee to northern Iraq, where they would be protected by Kurdish forces, after members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant demanded that they either pay the “jizya,” or tax for being non-Muslim, convert to Christianity, or die.

Members of the jihadist militant group announced the demand on Saturday, reportedly painting the doors of Mosul inhabitants who were Christian. In response, media outlets are reporting that the vast majority of Christians have fled the area, packing up their cars and family members and heading for safer areas in the north.

According to Fox News, while Iraq’s Christian population used to be about one million before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, the number has since diminished to 450,000 as Islamic militants target Christian churches and pressure them into leaving the country.

Recently, Islamic militants have taken over the Chaldean Catholic and Syriac Orthodox cathedrals in Mosul. Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako recently penned an open letter to Iraqis, warning them that the disappearance of Christians from the country could result in a serious humanitarian crisis.

“[…] for the first time in the history of Iraq, Mosul is now empty of Christians,” Sako’s letter read, in part. “Iraq is heading towards a humanitarian, cultural and historical disaster,” the patriarch added.

Since June, the ISIS has made significant advancements in gaining security control in both Syria and Iraq. In response to the recent persecution of Christians in Mosul, Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani has asked international humanitarian agencies to set up relief and aid for the thousands of Christian families displaced from their homes.


Taken from: http://www.christianpost.com/news/as-christians-abandon-mosul-pope-francis-prays-for-end-of-persecution-in-mideast-123648/



Suleiman the Magnificent Suspiciously Like King Solomon

He is therefore called the second Solomon by many Islamic scholars ….

I know no State which is happier than this one. It is furnished with all God’s gifts. It controls war and peace; it is rich in gold, in people, in ships, and in obedience; no State can be compared with it. May God long preserve the most just of all Emperors.”
The Venetian ambassador reports from Istanbul in 1525
Compare 1 Kings 10:6-9:
Then [Sheba] said to the king [Solomon]: “It was a true report which I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom. However I did not believe the words until I came and saw with my own eyes; and indeed the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame of which I heard. Happy are your men and happy are these your servants, who stand continually before you and hear your wisdom! Blessed be the Lord your God, who delighted in you, setting you on the throne of Israel! Because the Lord has loved Israel forever, therefore He made you king, to do justice and righteousness.”


A new Solomon is risen
Süleyman I was everything a magnificent ruler should be. He was just, making the right decisions in cases set before him. He was brave, leading his armies in battle until he had greatly expanded his sultanate. He was wealthy, living in luxury and turning his capital Istanbul into a splendid city. And he was cultured, his court teeming with philosophers and artists, and the Sultan himself mastering several arts, especially that of poetry.
He was born on November 6, 1494 to Hafsa Sultan at Trabzon on the Black Sea coast as the only son of Selim I. Süleyman ascended to the throne in 1520 and stayed there for all of 46 years. During his reign he furthered the work of his forefathers until he had made the empire of the Ottomans into one of the world’s greatest.
The Sultan was named after Solomon, who was described as the perfect ruler in the Quran. Like the legendary king of the Jews, Süleyman was seen as just and wise, and a worthy follower of his namesake. He is therefore called the second Solomon by many Islamic scholars, although he was the first of that name among the Ottomans. Like the Solomon of old, this ruler was surrounded by splendour and mystery, and his time is remembered as the zenith of his people.

Arab societies have been hijacked by extremists” – Archbishop of Kirkuk

Posted by ACN News Interview on 7/7/2014, 5:31 pm
Board Administrator

ACN News Interview: Monday, 7th July 2014 – IRAQ

“The Arab societies have been hijacked by extremists”

An interview with the Chaldean Archbishop of Kirkuk Yousif Mirkis, by Oliver Maksan of the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need.

(Chaldean Archbishop of Kirkuk Yousif Mirkis © Aid to the Church in Need)

Q) Your Excellency, do you fear the end of Christianity in Iraq?

Quite definitely. We are in the process of disappearing, just as the Christians in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and North Africa have disappeared. And even in Lebanon they now constitute a minority.

Q) What would Iraq lose with the disappearance of its Christians?

The social ecology would be destabilised. Every society needs all its components. This was seen in Germany eighty years ago: at that time a group was also shut out of society. In Iraq we are experiencing a new 1933. I see a lot of parallels with Europe between the wars. Just as Germany was unstable prior to 1933 following its defeat in the First World War, so the Arab world has come apart at the seams since 1967. At that time we Arabs lost the Six-Day War against Israel. The effect of this has been traumatic up to the present day. Just as the First World War produced the Second, so the defeat of ’67 is the origin of the current crisis.

Q) Under which the Christians in particular are suffering.

The Christians are part of a humiliated society. They’ve worked hard and made their contribution. Look at Lebanon or Syria. And of course also here in Iraq. It’s important to know that there were no Christian ghettos in Iraq. Christians have been present in all areas of society. They have the highest literacy rate. Before 2003 Christians made up only 3 per cent of the population. And yet nearly forty per cent of the medical specialists were Christians. And the proportion of Christians in engineering occupations was exactly the same. I think that’s quite impressive. In addition we provided a major portion of the intellectuals, writers and journalists. These were educated people with a western orientation. The Christians were the engine of Iraq’s modernisation.

Q) What are the reasons for this major contribution?

The reasons are historical. The churches have traditionally maintained many schools and hospitals. Furthermore the Christians were always open-minded, multilingual and oriented towards the west. That accounts for the high level of education. But with the continuous emigration we are of course losing our dynamism.

Q) And the exodus has been accelerating for ten years now.

Yes, it’s not easy to be a Christian in Iraq today. Prior to 2003 we represented about three per cent of the population. Today we are perhaps one per cent. You know, Iraqi history goes in cycles. About every ten years we experience a new problem which causes believing Christians to leave. I was born in 1949, one year after Israel was founded. This traumatised the Middle East. Then our Iraqi king was assassinated. But the Christians had it good under the monarchy. They enjoyed a lot of freedoms. Then the king’s murderer, who had become the country’s president, was himself killed. And his murderer suffered the same fate. Then there was the 1967 war against Israel, the Iran-Iraq war and so on. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned everything. All this generated instability and emigration.

Q) But surely a new situation has arisen with the ISIS terrorists and their hatred of Christians, hasn’t it?

Yes. But I would put this in a broader context. The antagonism between the west and the Islamic world has replaced the confrontation between the west and the Soviet Union. It is a war between the modern and the retrograde. For example, the Salafists refer back, even in their name, to their seventh century ancestors, whom they wish to imitate.

Q) The Christians’ orientation towards the west is certainly also a reason why the extremists harbour such hatred for them. Do you agree?

Yes. That is one of the roots. But the jihadists don’t only hate them, but also all those who do not agree with their world view.

Q) But how can we combat this extremism intellectually?

The best antidotes are dialogue and culture. The more culture a country has the less susceptible it is to fanaticism. My hope is with the young generation. I have always endeavoured to shape them. For instance, I have published not only a Christian magazine aimed at adults, but also one for children. In this we focussed on love of God and one’s neighbour, respect for others. 15 per cent of my readers were Muslims. They appreciated what we were doing. The Iraqi people are not innately fanatical. Like the Islamic world as a whole they have been hijacked by fanatics. And now they can’t move.

Q) But given their dwindling numbers do the Christians have the strength to conduct this dialogue and make their cultural contribution?

We are in dialogue with the Muslim elite. Whenever we meet at conferences we are like brothers. But the problem is that the Iraqi elite have themselves become marginalised. To a certain extent a massacre of the intellectuals has taken place over the past few years. For example, since 2013 more than 180 university professors have been killed in attacks. A large portion of the medical specialists have left the country. It is not only we Christians who have been weakened, but also the Muslim elite. And this has disastrous consequences.

Q) Have you already become resigned to your defeat in Iraq?

No, I’m only trying to be realistic. But there is still the faith that hope brings. I myself will not be going. But what am I supposed to say to young people who ask me in this situation for reasons why they should stay? In the past ten years we have lost a bishop and six priests. In addition there are about a thousand of the faithful who have died in attacks. I can understand why they are going. Not everybody shares the faith and the hope.

Q) But in view of the current situation in Iraq, what social contribution can the Christians make?

We must listen to the words of Jesus and be the salt of the earth. The diocese of Kirkuk is now, for example, preparing a relief operation to provide food to Muslims who have fled to Kirkuk from the areas occupied by ISIS. This is not intended as a proselytising action. But they should know that their Christian brothers love them. And many of the faithful are donating to this even though they have to scrimp and save to do it. This is our role.

Editor’s Notes

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.
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 162 languages and 48 million copies have been distributed all over the world.
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.

For more information or to make a donation to help the work of Aid to the Church in Need, please contact the Australian office of ACN on (02) 9679-1929. e-mail: info@aidtochurch.org or write to Aid to the Church in Need PO Box 7246 Baulkham Hills NSW 2153.

On Line donations can be made at www.aidtochurch.org


Taken from: http://members4.boardhost.com/acnaus/msg/1404718301.html


Iraq: Churches Bombed, Nuns and Children Kidnapped



The Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul, Amel Shamon Nona, has described the desperate situation in Mosul since it was captured on 9 June by ISIS. He said: “A few days ago the Iraqi air force began bombing in Mosul, and the air raids are increasing each day in intensity. Yesterday the roads that cross the Nineveh Plain were full of convoys of cars with Muslim families fleeing from Mosul to Erbil and Iraqi Kurdistan”.

The airstrikes continue to empty the city of civilians, while militants continue to control the districts and incursions by armed groups in churches are registered. Between yesterday and the day before yesterday Archbishop Nona said, “armed groups raided the Syriac Orthodox Church of St Ephrem and the Syrian Catholic Church dedicated to St Paul. The raid lasted about ten minutes, and the cross at the altar has been removed from the Syrian Orthodox Church”.

In the early days after the fall of Mosul in the hands of insurgents, Muslim groups had presided over the churches to prevent looting.

Two nuns and three orphans were kidnapped in Mosul on 28 June. Efforts to obtain their immediate release have so far not been successful. Meanwhile, in the cities and villages in the Nineveh Plain there is no electricity and water supplies are starting to create humanitarian emergencies among the population, partly due to the hot weather that is affecting the region.

The whole area of the Plain, up to a few tens of kilometers from Mosul, is now under Kurdish military control. But the Kurdish Peshmerga militia do not manifest plans to coordinate with the Iraqi government troops. Several analysts speculate an unwritten pact of non-aggression between Kurds and Sunni insurgents: a possible break-up of Iraq would encourage the project of independence which has always been cherished by the Kurds in northern Iraq. For this reason Kurdish leaders now have a tacit convergence of interests with the jihadists, who in turn, in their rapid advance in the Iraqi territory, could count on the support of the Sunni tribes linked to Baath, Saddam Hussein’s Party, whose network was ousted after the fall of the regime.


Taken from: http://www.aina.org/news/20140704043555.htm