Social Justice and Life

Religious Persecution in the Middle East

Over the past three years, The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has grown dramatically in territorial control and has completely destabilized the countries of Iraq and Syria. While expanding its geographical boundaries, ISIS has killed thousands, forced women and girls into sexual servitude, seized arms and has tried to forcibly convert thousands of Christians.    

Their brutal treatment of civilians has led to the deaths of thousands of Christians in that region. Christians and other religious minorities are under daily threat of violence and displacement. This extremist group with once strong ties to al-Qaeda have taken control of large areas in Iraq and Syria while persecuting Christians and destroying monasteries and churches. ISIS defines their purpose as the desire to establish an Islamic caliphate (state) throughout the Middle East.

This grave humanitarian crisis has forced thousands of Christians to flee their homes, while being robbed of their few personal possessions as they ran. Individuals are no longer able to meet their basic needs and humanitarian organizations have likely little access to these regions. It is essential that all people of conscience pray and advocate for an end to the religious genocide in Iraq.

Please utilize the resources on this webpage to learn more about this crisis and pray for our brothers and sisters in the Middle East.

Iraq and Syria
  Human Rights in the Cradle of Christianity
  Facts about Middle-Eastern Christians
  Background on the Middle East
  Letter to the United Nations
  Prayer for the people of Syria
  Humanitarian assistance for Iraq and Syria









Op-ed on genocide in Syria

Carl Anderson, CEO of Knights of Columbus, pens op-ed for the Washington Post on Genocide in Syria

Action Alert—House Resolution 390

Since 2011, the unrest in Syria and Iraq has led to a humanitarian crisis displacing more than 6.9 million individuals many of whom are children. The casualties are staggering (UNHCR). The United States House of Representatives has introduced House Resolution 390, Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act of 2017. This vital piece of legislation provides emergency federal financial relief to refugees of this crisis while also calling into accountability those who have perpetuated these crimes.

Please contact your legislator and encourage them to support this critical piece of legislation to support our brothers and sisters who are facing atrocities in their homeland.

Text of House Resolution 390

Sample e-mail to send to your congressman (Word doc.)

To find your legislator, visit

To contact Congressman Mike Kelly (3rd District), please visit:

To contact Congressman Glenn Thompson (5th District), please visit:

Catholic Charities
Patrice Swick, director
Social Justice and Life
429 East Grandview Blvd
Erie, PA 16504
Click here to send email.