This month, the Knights of Columbus will provide food to some 13,500 families in Erbil who have been displaced by the ISIS takeover of Mosul and Nineveh in Iraq. A national television commercial featuring Fr. Douglas Bazi, a Catholic priest who was kidnapped and tortured and now runs a refugee camp, will also air in the United States, hopefully prompting viewers to send even more aid. “Christians in the Middle East face persecution and extinction simply for their belief in the one who taught us to love one another,” Supreme Knight Carl Anderson said in a press release. “Despite the genocidal persecution against them, they have continued to be an inspiration to the power of their faith, and to the love of God and neighbor. They need our solidarity and support, and we are pleased to help provide it.” The organization has already donated millions in aid to the displaced Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East, but this shipment of food supplies will bring their assistance to over $4 million. Each package contains food basics such as cooking oil, wheat, beans and canned fish and meat. Including transportation and packaging, each kit costs $60. In the commercial, Fr. Bazi, who now runs the Mar Elia refugee camp in Erbil, pleads with viewers to “pray for my people, help my people, and save my people” saying that, “genocide is the easy word for what is happening to my people.” Those wishing to donate can do so online by visiting www.christiansatrisk.org or by sending checks or money orders payable to Knights of Columbus Charities at P.O. Box 1966, New Haven, CT 06509-1966. The memo portion should indicate that the check is for Christian Refugee Relief. One hundred percent of all donations directly support humanitarian relief, the press release noted. People can also help raise awareness of the plight of Christians in the Middle East by sharing the commercial on social media and using the hashtag #ChristiansAtRisk.
Catholic News Agency was founded in 2004, in response to Pope St. John Paul II’s call for a “New Evangelization." It is an apostolate of EWTN News.