UN emergency meeting over Iraqi Christians, Pope calls for help

Protesters in Detroit

The UN Security Council called an emergency meeting yesterday, after fanatical Islamic State fighters seized Iraq's largest Christian town. Pope Francis appealed to the international community to intervene as a humanitarian tragedy unfolds.

- AFP/Yahoo/Catholic News Service

French President Francois Hollande offered to support forces combating the fighters during talks with Kurdish leader Massud Barzani and Pope Francis called on the world to protect the Christian minorities of northern Iraq after the fall of Qaraqosh, reports AFP on Yahoo7.

And US President Barack Obama is expected to 'imminently' decide on possible airstrikes or airdrops of food and medicine for tens of thousands of religious minorities dying of heat and thirst while fleeing IS forces, an administration official told The New York Times.

At UN headquarters in New York, France requested the urgent talks set to begin earlier this morning. 'France is very deeply concerned by the latest advances in the north of Iraq and the taking of Qaraqosh, the biggest Christian city in Iraq, as well as by the intolerable abuses that were committed,' French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in a statement.

He urged world governments to 'mobilise to counter the terrorist threat in Iraq and support and protect the population at risk.'

The latest advance saw the Sunni extremist Islamic State extend its writ over northern Iraq and move within striking distance of semi-autonomous Kurdistan.

CNS reports that Fr Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, told reporters that the Pope was appealing 'to the conscience of all people and every believer,' repeating what he had said July 20 after a similar forced exodus of Christians from Mosul: 'May the God of peace create in all an authentic desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is not conquered with violence. Violence is conquered with peace. Let us pray in silence, asking for peace.'

Photo: Michigan Catholic

FULL COVERAGE

World alarm grows over IS onslaught in Iraq (Yahoo7)

Obama Weighs Airstrikes or Aid to Help Trapped Iraqis, Officials Say (The New York Times)

Pope asks for international action to help Iraq's persecuted Christians (CNS)

Iraq Christians flee as Islamic State takes Qaraqosh (BBC)

100,000 Iraqi Christians have fled their homes and face risk of genocide, warns Patriarch (The Tablet)

Iraqi Christians facing risk of genocide, patriarch warns (CNA)

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