As part of its ongoing support of persecuted
Christians in the Middle East, the Knights of Columbus committed more
than $1 million to Iraqi and Syrian Christians for Easter.
Announced during Holy Week, the support includes $800,000 in new
financial assistance and $250,000 as part of its ongoing commitment to
rebuilding an Iraqi Christian town. The funds will help with food,
clothing, shelter and education for Christians targeted by Islamic State
“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,” said Knights of Columbus CEO Carl
Anderson in a March 27 statement.
“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,” he added.
A news release said that with the $800,000 in new funds, the Knights
of Columbus has committed almost $19 million to date in aid to
Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq and Syria since 2014.
That total includes $2 million committed to the rebuilding of the
predominantly Christian town of Karamles in Iraq’s Ninevah Plain.
Karamles had been overrun by ISIS, which destroyed homes and desecrated
churches before the town was liberated last year.
“Our people know that without the direct support from the Knights of
Columbus to Christians in the region, and without its assistance in
making our case to the United States government, Christianity might
already have been driven out of Iraq completely,” said Chaldean Catholic
Archbishop Bashar Warda of Irbil, Iraq.
Of the $800,000 from the Knights, about $500,000 will help support the food program run by the Catholic Archdiocese of Irbil.
An additional $300,000 will be sent to the Syriac Catholic
Patriarchate to support its aid programs for the nearly 3,000 families
from Iraq and Syria who have lost everything and are in need of
assistance with food, clothing, shelter, and access to education and
Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan said he has relied
on the Knights’ “compassion and understanding of our plight in the
Middle East, particularly in Syria and Iraq.”