Bringing Help and Support to Persecuted Christians
Christians are being persecuted and killed
Before the Iraq War in 2003, Christians in Iraq numbered approximately 1 million out of a population of 25 million. In September 2014, an estimated 300,000 Christians remained in the country. Likewise, in Syria, the combined effects of five years of civil war and the terrorism wrought by ISIS have been devastating. The war alone has left 220,000 people killed, 7.6 million internally displaced, and 3.9 million refugees. Islamic State militants have ensured that large swaths of the country have now become “Christian-free zones.”
It’s not just killing – it’s genocide
In the United States, the Knights of Columbus advocated for Congress and the Department of State to declare the atrocities committed against Middle Eastern Christians as genocide. Prior to such declaration, the Knights conducted an extensive public awareness campaign and, at the request of State Department officials, produced an extensive report on the genocide against Christians. The report was credited by both members of Congress and officials at the State Department as being instrumental in their conclusion that genocide is being committed against Christians and other religious minorities in the region. The State Department’s declaration of genocide on March 17 marked only the second time that such a determination has been made by the U.S. government while the crime is ongoing.
Your donations are making a difference
Many of you have joined the Knights of Columbus in its commitment to supporting these Christians in need. Since 2014, the Knights of Columbus have raised more than $10.5 million for relief, assisting Christians and other internally displaced persons and refugees in Iraq, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. We have partnered with dioceses and religious agencies working in the region to provide general relief, food, clothing, shelter, education and medical care.
“Our twin efforts are a concrete response to Pope Francis’ request for prayers and material assistance for those affected by this terrible persecution,” explained Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson. “We are asking our members, and all people of good will, to pray for those persecuted and to support our efforts to assist them by donating to this fund.”