The Knights of Columbus announced this week that is establishing a fund to assist those – particularly Christians as well as other religious minorities – facing a horrific and violent persecution and possible extinction in Iraq and the surrounding regions.
The Knights has pledged an initial $500,000 and will match an additional $500,000 in donations from the public.
“The unprovoked and systematic persecution and violent elimination of Middle East Christians, as well as other minority groups, especially in Iraq, has created an enormous humanitarian crisis,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. “Pope Francis has asked the world for prayers and support for those affected by this terrible persecution, and we are asking our members, and all people of good will, to pray for those persecuted and support efforts to assist them by donating to this fund.”
Anderson added: “It has shocked the conscience of the world that people are systematically being purged from the region where their families have lived for millennia – simply for their faith. It is imperative that we stand in solidarity with them in defense of the freedom of conscience, and provide them with whatever relief we can.”
Those seeking to assist with the relief efforts can donate to K of C Christian Refugee Relief by visiting www.kofc.org/Iraq or by sending checks or money orders to: K of C Christian Refugee Relief, Knights of Columbus Charities, P.O. Box 1966, New Haven, CT 06509-1966.
Donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Knights of Columbus Charities, Inc., is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a charitable organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code, and 100 percent of all donations collected by Knights of Columbus Charities, Inc., will be used for humanitarian assistance for those Christians – as well as other religious minorities –being persecuted or displaced in Iraq and the surrounding region.
The Knights of Columbus has a long history of providing humanitarian relief and has done so following Sept. 11, 2001; last year’s typhoons in the Philippines; Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Sandy; tornadoes; flooding in Mexico; and tsunamis in Indonesia and Japan.
In addition, the Knights of Columbus has also long supported persecuted Christians. Throughout the 1920s, the Knights provided humanitarian assistance and created international awareness of the persecution of the Catholic Church in Mexico.
The Knights of Columbus is the world’s largest Catholic fraternal organization with more than 1.8 million members worldwide.
Dedicated to charity, Knights last year provided more than $170 million and more than 70 million hours to charitable causes, assisting substantially with several humanitarian disasters from North America to Asia.