Pope Francis I. Photo courtesy of: Newsmax
by, Sandy Fitzgerald | Newsmax
It is Christianity’s “turn” to suffer religious persecution, Pope Francis told a World Jewish Congress delegation visiting his home in Rome Wednesday night, saying that Christians are being killed while the world remains silent.
Francis and World Jewish Council President Ronald Lauder both condemned attacks against the world’s Christians, reports Haaretz, particularly in the Middle East, where extremists with the Islamic State (ISIS) have targeted Christians in Iraq and Syria.
“In the world, there is still great suffering,” the Pope told the delegation. “First it was your turn. Now it’s our turn.”
Francis also told the 40-member delegation, which included WJC CEO Robert Singer and Claudio Epelman, director of WJC Latin America in Argentina, that he wants to visit refugees in Jordan who have fled there to escape violence in Syria and Iraq.
Lauder told Haaretz that Christians in Iraq and Syria are even being identified with a symbol bearing the letter Jewish letter nun, or N, for Nazarene, which he said identifies Christians’ homes much “as the yellow star was used in the past against European Jewry.”
“Israel is the only place that is safe for Christians in the Middle East, ” Lauder said.
Also during the meeting, Francis drew comparisons between the World War II Holocaust and the persecution of Christians in Syria and Iraq, reports The Telegraph.
“Pope Francis told us privately that he believes we are in World War Three,” said Lauder. “But unlike the first two world wars, instead of happening all at once this war is coming in stages,” he said.
Further, Lauder said, that the Pope’s words meant that “first Jews suffered savage attacks that were met with the world’s silence and now it is Christians who are being annihilated and the world is silent.”
The Islamic State has also encouraged “lone wolf” attacks against Western Christians, The Telegraph reports, while emptying Christian towns in Iraq and Syria and demanding Christians either convert, flee, or face death.
The Pope has in the past said, that ISIS should be stopped, reports The Telegraph, saying “in cases like this, where there is an unjust aggression, then it is licit to halt the aggressor.”
However, he stressed “halt,” rather to “bomb or make war” against the insurgents.
The Pope’s words, plus his standing as the most prominent Christian leader in the world, has led the Islamic State to issue “credible threats” to murder Pope Francis, a warning that comes as the pontiff plans a trip to Muslim-dominated Albania on Sunday, Iraqi Ambassador to the Vatican Habib al Sadr told the Italian newspaper La Nazione, reports Breitbart.
Sadr said he does not have specific details of a threat but is convinced the Pope is in real danger.
“I think they could try to hit him during his travels or even in Rome, because there are members of ISIS who are not Arabs but also Canadians, Americans, French, British, and Italian,” Sadr said.