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Congressman Dan Donovan

Representing the 11th District of New York

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Donovan hopes Pope Francis will address ISIS killing Christians

September 23, 2015
In The News

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- With Pope Francis arriving in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Rep. Daniel Donovan said he hopes His Holiness will address Christian persecution in the Middle East.

Pope Francis arrived in the nation's capital on Tuesday, will stay Wednesday and Thursday for various events, including speaking to a joint session of Congress Thursday morning.

He will arrive in New York City on Thursday afternoon, where he will hold an evening prayer service at St. Patrick's Cathedral.

On Friday, the pope will deliver an address to the United Nations General Assembly, visit the September 11 Memorial and Museum, visit Our Lady Queen of Angels School in East Harlem, and travel through Central Park to meet and greet New Yorkers before ending his visit by celebrating a mass at Madison Square Garden Friday evening.

He will leave Saturday morning for a two-day visit to Philadelphia.

Donovan, a lifelong Catholic, said, "Like many in New York and across the country, I consider it an honor and a privilege for His Holiness to grace New York City with his message of optimism, peace and acceptance. With bitter discord dividing our country, it's a refreshing and absolutely necessary shift in tone for our political discourse."

He continued, "As violence continues to grip the Middle East, I hope the pope offers guidance on addressing Christian genocide at the hands of ISIS and its affiliates. Reports of mass murder as part of a systematic campaign to dismantle Christianity in the Middle East run counter to religious and secular ideals alike. That such brutal persecution persists in our time should weigh heavy on our collective conscience."

A human rights report by the United Nations in March showed that ISIS "may have committed genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in its attacks against ethnic and religious groups in the country" including Christians, as well as on Yezidi population and other groups.

Various media reports have covered ISIS threatening Christians with death if they don't convert to Islam.

ISIS has beheaded and shot Christians in Libya, and The New York Times wrote a piece titled, "Is This the end of Christianity in the Middle East?" detailing ISIS enslaving, killing and uprooting Christians.