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  • American FRRME | Scholarship Fund

    General David E. Greer Scholarship Fund Have you ever longed for something? Imagine experiencing that feeling with something as important as education. Education impacts your entire life. Out of the 7.2 million refugee children throughout the world, only 3.7 million have the opportunity to attend school. Globally 91% of children attend elementary school, whereas only 63% of refugee children have this opportunity; of that 63%, only 24% attend high school. Education protects and empowers refugees Education protects refugee children from forced recruitment into armed groups, child labor, and sexual exploitation. Education empowers refugees by giving them the knowledge and skills to rebuild their lives and communities. Are you wondering how you can help these children? This is where American FRRME comes in. Our former and beloved executive director, General David E. Greer, passed away unexpectedly in July 2020. His vision was to help refugees empower themselves and improve their lives through education. In loving memory of General Greer’s commitment to service and education, American FRRME established a tribute to honor his legacy – an annual scholarship that would enable dedicated, hardworking Iraqi refugee students the opportunity to attend school. The scholarship provides financial assistance to help cover tuition for these vulnerable youth so they can continue their studies with the hope for a brighter future ahead – something near and dear to General Greer and his vision. We want to fulfill this vision. Will you join us in bringing life to his vision by donating to the General David E. Greer scholarship fund? DONATE About Me

  • American FRRME | Meet Pastor Zaki

    Meet Pastor Zaki By Alice Seeley Published On May 17, 2021 Fourteen years ago, Pastor Zaki opened the only church in the Gardens area of Amman; The Nazarene Church. In 2015, God placed another desire in his heart. ​ A man came to see Pastor Zaki saying, “I want to give you money for the refugees.” Zaki replied, “There are no refugees here,” and sent him away. Later that day, Zaki was reading his Bible and God convicted him through these words from Leviticus: “When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself.” Suddenly, his eyes were opened to the plight of the refugees in Jordan. Pastor Zaki felt compelled to relieve the suffering of Iraqi Christian refugees. He immediately took action. ​ “We had a vision to start something here,” says Zaki. “We rented a house; we opened our doors and we started inviting Iraqis.” In Jordan, there has been an increased need for therapy. These refugees’ wounds are rooted in the past and continue to cause physical, emotional, and mental distress. Zaki decided to work in a practical way to help these refugees. “As the Body of Christ, we are Ambassadors to show His love for others. This is the beauty of the Body of Christ – we work together for His glory,” Pastor Zaki said. ​ With American FRRME’s support, Zaki opened a center for 300 refugee families. These families fled from the invasion of ISIS in Iraq. This center offers therapeutic activities, education classes including English, sewing, and music. The center also distributes food relief to the families. These refugees now have a safe place to work through their pain and connect with others. ​ This is only made possible through your donations! Please donate today to help provide therapy and other necessary services to the refugee community in Jordan. ​ American FRRME is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that promotes reconciliation, provides relief efforts, advances human rights, and seeks an end to sectarian violence in the Middle East.

  • American FRRME | Love Each Other

    Love Each Other as I Have Loved You By Alice Seeley Published On June 21, 2021 As Jesus loves us, we are commanded to love one another. As we slowly return to normal life post-COVID-19, let’s not forget to love those who are not as fortunate. We celebrate how many have now been vaccinated. Sadly these refugees are among the last on the list. They may never receive a vaccine. ​ The American Foundation for Relief & Reconciliation in the Middle East provides humanitarian assistance, health care, and education to refugees, including the Yazidis who fled genocide. These are necessary services, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Yazidis are a religious minority in the Middle East, much like Christians, as well as their own distinct ethnic group. They fled their homeland of Sinjar to Northern Iraq when ISIS invaded in 2014. 200,000 Yazidis were besieged by ISIS, executed, abducted into slavery, or forced into ISIS training camps. Today, hundreds of thousands of Yazidis remain displaced. They are in desperate need of help. These services are only made possible through your donations! American FRRME delivers necessary hygiene packages to the Yazdi IDP Camp in Shekan, Iraq. The refugees were beyond grateful! 8-year-old Ronahi told us how limited the refugees’ lives have been, and how much in danger they have felt from the virus.: “When Corona came, we had to protect ourselves, we wore masks because this disease doesn’t know children or their parents, it is dangerous for all of us.” As Jesus commanded us to love one another, will you help us in providing necessary supplies? Any amount makes a difference! ​ American FRRME is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that promotes reconciliation, provides relief efforts, advances human rights, and seeks an end to sectarian violence in the Middle East.

  • American FRRME | Olive Tree Hope Restored

    The Olive Tree Center’s Hope Restored By Alice Seeley Published On July 21, 2021 Join us via Zoom for a special, live event on August 6th at the Olive Tree Center in Madaba, Jordan, to observe the seven year anniversary of the ISIS invasion of the Nineveh Plain. We will be celebrating the survivors and their growth at the Olive Tree Center. There will be exclusive performances of music, dance, drama, and poetry that share the unique culture of each refugee and glorifies Christ. Each performance will serve to show how the refugees are finding healing at the center and to share their wealth of cultural knowledge and creativity with the world.

  • American FRRME | Remembering Pope's Call

    Remembering the Pope’s Call For Peace By Keely Jahns Published On May 26, 2022 In March 2021, Pope Francis made a notable visit to Iraq, during which he was moved to the “deepest part of his soul,” by the plight of Christians across the Nineveh Plain and the Greater Middle East. According to Archbishop Paul R. Gallagher, it was “possibly the most significant trip of the pontificate.” ​ In light of the recent outbreak of fighting on the Nineveh Plain, which has already displaced thousands of Yazidi families , we reflect on the words of the Holy Father about the need for interfaith, as well as intercultural tolerance and peace.The Yazidi are a non-abrahamic minority which practices a distinct culture and religion in a land under majority Muslim governance. They, along with Christians, Shabak, and other religious minorities, have suffered greatly at the hands of extremist movements that have swept across the Plain. ​ This violence is reminiscent of the waves of violence that killed, disappeared, and displaced hundreds of thousands in Northern Iraq and Kuridstan in 2014. It is a sobering reminder that although many have returned to resume their lives, adversity continues. The Holy Father’s words served to provide hope that one day, if we are truly to look to the teachings of our faiths, and follow our consciences, peace might be attainable. ​ “This is true religiosity; to worship God and love our neighbor,” he addressed the crowds during his 2021 Iraq tour, “back to our origins, to the sources of God’s work, to the birth of our religions” to pray together for peace as children of Abraham, the prophet common to Muslims, Christians and Jews.” ​ Pope Francis spoke against the backdrop of a magnificent ziggurat in the ancient city of Ur. His Holiness traveled to the ruins, considered to be the birthplace of the biblical patriarch Abraham by Christians, Muslims, and Jews. He delivered his message on physical common ground shared by all three faiths, in a land which has faced wave after wave of sectarian bloodshed. ​ In an address, the Pope urged Iraq’s Muslim and Christian religious leaders to put aside their differences, work through past conflict, and work together for peace and unity for all. “From this place, where faith was born, from the land of our father Abraham, let us affirm that God is merciful and that the greatest blasphemy is to profane his name by hating our brothers and sisters,” he said. “Hostility, extremism and violence are not born of a religious heart: they are betrayals of religion.” ​ Blasphemy, particularly against Islam, is a dangerous accusation across the Middle East. Although Iraq has no law specifically punishing Christians or Yazidis for practicing their faith, many nations across the Middle East have imposed extreme punishments for perceived blasphemy, with harsh consequences for accusations of proselytizing or converting from Islam. And although there are no laws “on the books,” that has not stopped groups and governments from engaging in violence against those perceived as different. ​ The pope said there could never be peace as long as people across the Middle East viewed people of different faiths as the “other.” ​ “Peace does not demand winners or losers, but rather brothers and sisters who, for all the misunderstandings and hurts of the past, are journeying from conflict to unity,” he said. ​ Francis told faith leaders that it was fitting that they come together in Ur, “back to our origins, to the sources of God’s work, to the birth of our religions” to pray together for peace as children of Abraham, the prophet common to Muslims, Christians and Jews.” ​ Although Abraham is considered the father of Christians, Muslims and Jews, there was not a Jewish representative available to attend the event. Judaism in Iraq, once a sizable minority of about 150,000, is now a micro-minority, with the community that exists in single digits. By March 2021, the number of Jews living in Iraq had dwindled down to five people. ​ Life is difficult for ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq and in neighboring nations, with numbers dwindling every year. ​ In 2019, in an impassioned address in London , the Reverend Bashar Warda said Iraq’s Christians now faced extinction after 1,400 years of persecution. Since the US-led invasion toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in 2003, he said, the Christian community had dwindled by 83%, from around 1.5 million to just 250,000. ​ Similarly, in 2014, Yazidi leader Vian Dakhil warned: “Our entire religion is being wiped off the face of the earth.” According to the UN, around 5,000 Yazidi men were murdered and up to 7,000 Yazidi women and children were kidnapped. Thousands are still missing. ​ Both the UN and the European Parliament have described these events, as well as the persecution of neighboring Christians and other minorities indigenous to the Nineveh Plain, as genocide. ​ “We believers cannot be silent when terrorism abuses religion; indeed, we are called unambiguously to dispel all misunderstandings. Let us not allow the light of heaven to be overshadowed by the clouds of hatred! Dark clouds of terrorism, war and violence have gathered over this country. All its ethnic and religious communities have suffered,” the Pope continued. “In particular, I would like to mention the Yazidi community, which has mourned the deaths of many men and witnessed thousands of women, girls and children kidnapped, sold as slaves, subjected to physical violence and forced conversions. ​ “Today, let us pray for those who have endured these sufferings, for those who are still dispersed and abducted, that they may soon return home. And let us pray that freedom of conscience and freedom of religion will everywhere be recognized and respected; these are fundamental rights, because they make us free to contemplate the heaven for which we were created.” ​ He went on to describe the journey of the prophet Abraham, and the lessons of unity and tolerance that his story can teach us. He ended his address with a call to tolerance: ​ “It was precisely through hospitality, a distinctive feature of these lands, that Abraham was visited by God and given the gift of a son, when it seemed that all hope was past (cf. Gen 18:1-10). Brothers and sisters of different religions, here we find ourselves at home, and from here, together, we wish to commit ourselves to fulfilling God’s dream that the human family may become hospitable and welcoming to all his children; that looking up to the same heaven, it will journey in peace on the same earth.” ​ We, like the Holy Father, wish for peace in Iraq and Kuridstan, and for the refugees of all conflicts to be able to return home and peacefully reestablish their lives. We know the aching of refugees for their homeland far too well. As an organization, we have worked with several minority communities across Iraq to help build brighter futures, including Yazidis. ​ American FRRME is deeply committed to interfaith unity, and is always ready and willing to help Iraqi refugees. Our mission is to initiate and foster long term self-sustaining programs and opportunities to help empower refugees and Internally Displaced Persons. Donations to American FRRME go to programs that will aid in the survival of families facing violence across the Middle East. The people of this region have suffered greatly during the bloodshed of the last century. ​ Please PRAY for the victims of violence in the Nineveh Plain. Pray for peace in the Middle East. Pray for the Yazidis, Shabak, and the Christian minority communities of the region, that they are able to heal and rebuild their lives in a brighter and more peaceful future. ​ We dream of a world where everyone may practice their culture and religion in peace, and truly wish to see that happen in Iraq. Pray for the widows, the orphans, and those who are losing their homes and their livelihoods. May the Lord restore peace and have his hand of protection over those fleeing violence, and may His children work to build a tolerant and unified future that allows all groups to live together in harmony.

  • American FRRME | Refugee Crisis in Iraqi Kurdistan

    The Refugee Crisis in Iraqi Kurdistan By Alice Seeley Published On June 22, 2020 Church set on fire by ISIS Since 2011, over 2 million refugees have fled their homes and have found refuge in Iraqi Kurdistan. Now, 28 percent –almost one third– of Iraqi Kurdistan’s overall population is made up of refugees. ​ Kurdistan is a region in Northern Iraq. Unlike many other places where refugees flee, Kurdistan is landlocked and cannot be reached by boat. And despite its lack of official nation status, Kurdistan has provided housing, food, and other essential services to the many refugees seeking help there. ​ The Kurds themselves are no strangers to persecution. In fact, they are one of the most persecuted minorities of our time. Since World War I, the Kurdish people have been victims of constant attacks by the Turkish government. ​ According to reports, between 1925 and 1939, 1.5 million Kurds were deported or killed. On March 16, 1988, Iraqi warplanes attacked the Kurdish town of Halabja in northern Iraq with mustard gas and sarin. 5,000 people- mainly women and children – died within minutes of the attack. Another 7,000 to 10,000 suffered long-term health problems due to this attack. ​ Most of today’s refugees in Kurdistan have fled from Syria and other parts of Iraq due to the rise of ISIS. Nearly 4 million Iraqis fled their homes starting in 2014 because of the terror group, becoming IDPs. The American Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East has been working diligently with IDPs in and around Iraqi Kurdistan. American FRRME seeks to assist wherever people have been persecuted for their beliefs within this region of the Middle East on the ground, providing food, clothing, shelter, education, and even assistance with entrepreneurial enterprises through our Nineveh SEED projects. ​ FRRME America is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that promotes reconciliation, provides relief efforts, advances human rights, and seeks an end to sectarian violence in the Middle East. ​ To make a donation to American FRRME, please visit NETWORK FOR GOOD.

  • American FRRME | Save the Date

    Save the Date: August 6, 2021 By Alice Seeley Published On July 2, 2021

  • American FRRME | Seeds of Hope

    Seeds of Hope As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, the refugees American FRRME supports in Jordan remain resilient. They continue to teach that through these tough times, faith, patience, fortitude, friendship, and hope for better times will overcome the fear of the unknown this pandemic brings. Though life as a refugee in Jordan continues to come with its vast share of challenges and hardships, with the need for support being great, hope is blossoming within the refugee community. Despite the challenges of COVID-19, American FRRME’s team has found ways to continue to support refugees. One such way is the Olive Tree Center in Madaba, which, despite COVID-19 restrictions, remains a place of hope and healing. Recently, this hope has presented itself in the previously undeveloped grounds of the Olive Tree Center. Iraqi refugees, in shifts of two at a time, practicing social distancing and wearing masks and gloves, have started to create a beautiful vegetable, fruit, and flower garden on the Olive Tree Center grounds. This garden –made by refugees, for refugees–will eventually bring much-needed food support while also providing jobs to the refugee community. This project relieves the monotony of endless days trapped inside, allows them to breathe fresh air in a safe space, and obtain a sense of accomplishment from breathing life into the ground. Though the results won’t be seen immediately, the seeds that have been planted will eventually transform the garden, bearing fruit and serving as “seeds of hope”. Though the future is uncertain, hope, help, and healing can be provided, as we continue to nourish and strengthen refugee communities. Azad, the head gardener, said: “Life as refugees in Jordan was very difficult even before the pandemic. We are not allowed to work, yet we have to find a way to provide for our families. We felt frustrated and hopeless. The garden of hope has allowed me to provide not only for my family but also for the larger Iraqi refugee community.” He adds, “This project has been a huge blessing on our lives. I hope we can continue to make it the best garden ever and expand it more and more. I already have plans to add three clementine trees. I have many hopes for this garden and for what it can continue to do in the community.” The Olive Tree Center hosts weekly produce distributions. Refugee families come on a rotating basis, to ensure that each week, different families benefit from the community garden. When asked what he thinks about a future garden of hope for other refugees throughout Jordan, Azad says “I am so happy to hear there will be other gardens of hope. Food is so expensive here and it is very difficult to find ways to buy it without being able to legally work. Thank you American FRRME for this opportunity! Iraqi refugees need this chance to be able to provide for their families and community. Being able to teach others gardening, and to be outside doing something that helps the community has brought me much joy during this time. I am teaching my son how to garden as well. It has been very special to be outside together doing something I love and sharing that with him.” He continues, “I used to garden in Iraq, but here I didn’t have a garden or a chance to do it so. It has been a blessing to teach my sons and others a hobby from my past that benefits the whole community. Helping others makes me forget a lot of my frustration, being able to provide physically again for the community motivates me not to lose hope for a better future.” ​ This garden of hope is only made possible through your generous donations! American FRRME is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that promotes reconciliation, provides relief efforts, advances human rights, and seeks an end to sectarian violence in the Middle East.

  • American FRRME | Remembrance Event

    Displays of Hope, Help, and Healing from the August 6th Remembrance Event at the Olive Tree Center by Keely Jahns August 25, 2022 HOPE, HEALTH & HEALING On August 6th, 2022, the American Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation (American FRRME) hosted a remembrance event with the Iraqi Christian community at the Olive Tree Center in Madaba, Jordan, to commemorate the eighth anniversary of the 2014 ISIS insurgency in Iraq. They gathered to sing, pray, and remember the day that changed their lives forever. Their expressions of joy and perseverance were in direct contrast to the terrorists that attempted to destroy their hope eight years before. Join us as we revisit some of the highlights of this night, with special selections from some of the music and poetry that was shared at the event. The youth at OTC gathered to sing this moving song from the Iraqi homeland: Bless My Country an Iraqi Hymn No matter what the situation is, you will be able to open the seas, no matter how dark the earth is, the sky is full of light. As Nehemiah came to you with tears and called for you, We are all coming to scream, O Jesus stretch out your hands. Bless my country, bless my country, O hearer of prayer in the hearts of all human beings. Bless my country, bless my country, turn to the cry of our hearts and send us rain. Your Holy Spirit gathers bones from every valley, Long live, speak, bow down to you, confess your name, O redeemer. On the cross I cast my sins away, the sins of my fathers and my children, O merciful heart, forgive and listen to the groans of my country. Bless my country, bless my country, turn to the cry of our hearts and send us rain. Your Holy Spirit gathers bones from every valley, Long live, speak, bow down to you, confess your name, O redeemer. On the cross I cast my sins away, the sins of my fathers and my children, O merciful heart, forgive and listen to the groans of my country. Bless my country, bless my country, O hearer of prayer in the hearts of all human beings. Bless my country, bless my country, turn to the cry of our hearts and send us rain. Fada and Karmen from the Hope Group read a joint poem about their experiences leaving their home as refugees. Poem by Fada and Karmen – “My Emigration from my Country” When I emigrated from my country, a day that history will always remember. When I left my town with teardrops in my eyes, I looked up to the sky with a broken heart. I asked God at that moment, is this a dream or the reality? What is happening to us? How shall I leave my country, my memories, and the place I grew up? The birds above the trees sing and say: “Why is this country so quiet?” Elders, women, youth, and kids wondering why is this happening? On those nights, eyes couldn’t fall asleep and the enemy lives in my town, the town that was built by my brother, father, and Grandfather. Only God can heal the pain of our deep wounds, giving us patience, faith, and love to endure the pain of leaving our beloved country. Oh, my country, my country…The day I emigrated. The youth gathered to perform a contemporary worship song in English. 10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord) a contemporary worship song by Matt Redman, performed by the children at the Olive Tree Center Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my soul, worship His holy Name. Sing like never before, O my soul. I’ll worship Your holy Name. The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning; It’s time to sing Your song again. Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me, Let me be singing when the evening comes. Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my soul, worship His holy Name. Sing like never before, O my soul. I’ll worship Your holy Name. You’re rich in love and You’re slow to anger, Your Name is great and Your heart is kind; For all Your goodness I will keep on singing, Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find. Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my soul, worship His holy Name. Sing like never before, O my soul. I’ll worship Your holy Name. And on that day when my strength is failing, The end draws near and my time has come; Still my soul sings Your praise unending, Ten thousand years and then forevermore. Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my soul, worship His holy Name. Sing like never before, O my soul. I’ll worship Your holy Name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my soul, worship His holy Name. Sing like never before, O my soul. I’ll worship Your holy Name. Joy in the Face of Adversity Philippians 4:4 – 5 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.“ The refugees at OTC presented their stories, their songs, and their art with joy and resilience that is a true testament to hope that never fades. Their creativity and perseverance is in opposition to those who once tried to take it away. American FRRME’s Mission of Hope, Help, and Healing American Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East (American FRRME) is a U.S.-based Christian charity that aims to bring hope, help and healing in the Middle East, assisting Iraqi Christian refugees and other religious minorities. ​ American FRRME works to support the ongoing needs of Iraqis – primarily Christian Iraqis – who fled Iraq and Kurdistan during the ISIS insurgency in 2014. The organization supports those displaced within Iraq many of whom remain living in Internally Displaced People (IDP) camps in Baghdad and northern Iraq, as well as supporting those who fled to neighboring Jordan. ​ Working in partnership with churches in Iraq and Jordan, American FRRME is on the ground, providing food, clothing, education and more. In 2019 we established the Olive Tree Center in Madaba, Jordan. The center provides a safe and accessible place for Iraqi refugees to gather together and celebrate their culture together. Crucially, the center provides education and therapeutic activities including English classes, sewing, art and music, along with a mosaic and wood workshop and fresh produce garden.

  • American FRRME | Religious Freedom in the Middle East

    Religious Freedom in the Middle East By Alice Seeley Published On June 24, 2020 Church set on fire by ISIS For peace to be obtained religious freedom and the ability for members of different religions to coexist peacefully is necessary. ​ Religious freedom is a global concern yet more people are persecuted for their faith now than at any other time in history. Nowhere are threats to religious communities more visible than in the Middle East. This lack of religious freedom has led to persecution and the genocide of religious minorities. ​ In some countries in the Middle East, religious freedom simply does not exist. Others, like Turkey, were once mainly Christian, but due to persecution and genocide, Christians are now a tiny minority. Christian communities may not have full legal status and Christians may face restrictions on their ability to own property. Still, other countries nominally have religious freedom but in practice severely restrict Christianity. Christians in these areas are not free to practice their faith without discrimination and even arrest and live in fear of ISIS. ​ When Christians in the Middle East are impacted by persecution and violence the American Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East is there to provide relief and help them get back on their feet. Outreaches such as Nineveh SEED (Sustainable Enterprise Economic Development) provide direct assistance to those who are affected by religious persecution when it takes the form of violence. ​ American FRRME is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that promotes reconciliation, provides relief efforts, advances human rights, and seeks an end to sectarian violence in the Middle East. ​ To make a donation to American FRRME, please visit NETWORK FOR GOOD.

  • American FRRME | Privacy Policy

    Privacy Policy Privacy Policy Your privacy is important to us. It is The American Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation’s policy to respect your privacy regarding any information we may collect from you across our website, https://americanfrrme.org/. Information we collect Log data When you visit our website, our servers may automatically log the standard data provided by your web browser. This data is considered “non-identifying information”, as it does not personally identify you on its own. It may include your computer’s Internet Protocol (IP) address, your browser type and version, the pages you visit, the time and date of your visit, the time spent on each page, and other details. ​ Personal information When you interact with certain parts of the website, for example the contact form, we may ask for personal information, such as your name and email address. This data is considered “identifying information”, as it can personally identify you. We only request personal information relevant to providing you with a service, and only use it to help provide or improve this service. ​ How we collect information We collect information by fair and lawful means, with your knowledge and consent. We also let you know why we’re collecting it and how it will be used. You are free to refuse our request for this information, with the understanding that we may be unable to provide you with some of your desired services without it. ​ Use of information We may use a combination of identifying and non-identifying information to understand who our visitors are, how they use our services, and how we may improve their experience of our website in future. ​ Data processing and storage We only retain personal information for as long as necessary to provide a service, or to improve our services in future. While we retain this data, we will protect it within commercially acceptable means to prevent loss and theft, as well as unauthorized access, disclosure, copying, use or modification. That said, we advise that no method of electronic transmission or storage is 100% secure, and cannot guarantee absolute data security. ​ Cookies We use “cookies” to collect information about you and your activity across our site. A cookie is a small piece of data that our website stores on your computer, and accesses each time you visit so we can understand how you use our site and serve you content based on preferences you have specified. ​ If you do not wish to accept cookies from us, you should instruct your browser to refuse cookies from our website, understanding that we may be unable to provide you with some of your desired services without them. This policy covers only the use of cookies between your computer and our website; it does not cover the use of cookies by any third-party services we use on our site. ​ Third-party access to information We may use third-party services for our website and marketing activity. These services may access our data solely for the purpose of performing specific tasks on our behalf. We do not share any personally identifying information with these services without your explicit consent. We do not give these services permission to disclose or use any of our data for any other purpose. ​ We will refuse government and law enforcement requests for data if we believe a request is too broad or unrelated to its stated purpose. However, we may cooperate if we believe the requested information is necessary and appropriate to comply with legal process, to protect our own rights and property, to protect the safety of the public and any person, to prevent a crime, or to prevent what we reasonably believe to be illegal, legally actionable, or unethical activity. ​ We do not otherwise share or supply personal information to third parties. We do not sell or rent your personal information to marketers or third parties. ​ Limits of our policy This privacy policy only covers The American Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation’s own collecting and handling of data. We only work with partners, affiliates and third-party providers whose privacy policies align with ours, however we cannot accept responsibility or liability for their respective privacy practices. ​ Our website may link to external sites that are not operated by us. Please be aware that we have no control over the content and policies of those sites, and cannot accept responsibility or liability for their respective privacy practices. ​ Changes to this policy At our discretion, we may update this policy to reflect current acceptable practices. We will take reasonable steps to let users know about changes via our website. Your continued use of this site after any changes to this policy will be regarded as acceptance of our practices around data and personal information. ​ Your rights and responsibilities As our user, you have the right to be informed about how your data is collected and used. You are entitled to know what data we collect about you, and how it is processed.

  • American FRRME | Egypt Releases Coptic Christians

    Egypt Releases Nine Coptic Christians Jailed for Attempting to Rebuild Church By Keely Jahns Published On April 28, 2022 On April 24th, 2022, after outcry from human rights organizations, the Egyptian State released nine Coptic Christians who were detained for attempting to rebuild their community church. They had been detained for nearly three months. ​ Coptic Christians, the largest non-Muslim religious minority in the Middle East, make up roughly 10 to 15 percent of Egypt’s predominantly Sunni Muslim population of 103 million people. The community has long complained of discrimination and underrepresentation. ​ The nine residents of Ezbet Faragallah village in Minya governorate, south of Cairo, were part of a protest of about 70 people who on January 22nd had demanded the restoration of their church, which had burned down five years earlier. The act is widely believed to have been arson. Most in the village, including the clergy, believe it was burnt down by extremists; but an Egyptian law restricting Christian worship kept them from putting down a single brick to rebuild it. The church was burnt down in 2016, and clergy petitioned the government for the right to restore it, but received no response from authorities, even when it was fully demolished by the local government in July 2021. ​ This delay is in direct contradiction of the restriction itself, which maintains that there should be a period of no longer than four months between the submission of such a request and an official response. Clergy and adherents are forbidden from building new churches, rebuilding damaged churches, or even making repairs to their churches without special approval from the Egyptian government. Mosques require no such approval. ​ Why such a double standard exists can be traced back to Article Two of Egypt’s Constitution: “Islam is the religion of the State … The principles of Islamic Sharia are the main source of legislation.” Sharia law follows the Muslim faith and belief in Allah and does not specifically address non-Muslim places of worship; strictly interpreted, the law forbids the building or renovating of churches in Egypt. Although the law is not uniformly enforced across Egypt, the aversion toward Christians in Egypt lives on. ​ According to Amnesty International, the Egyptian authorities point to Law No. 80/2016, on Building and Repairing Churches, as an advancement of the rights of Christians in Egypt; however, in practice, the law is often used to prevent Christians from worshiping by restricting their right to build or repair churches, including those damaged in sectarian attacks. ​ The nine villagers belonging to the The Church of Saint Joseph and Abu Sefein protested and were charged with “participating in an assembly that endangers public peace, and committing a terrorist act with the aim of disturbing public security,” according to the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR). ​ According to EIPR, authorities have conditionally approved less than 40 percent of requests to build or repair churches since the law came into effect, with only 20 percent granted final approval. ​ In a statement last month , the rights watchdog Amnesty International called for the residents’ release, saying the authorities had “for years ignored calls to rebuild the church, leaving around 800 Coptic Christians without a place to worship in their village.” ​ They were released this past Sunday when Coptic Christians, as well as Orthodox Christians around the world, celebrated Easter – a true victory on Christianity’s holiest day. ​ The restrictions against Christians in Egypt are unfortunately not unique. Islamic Shariah, and anti-Christian sentiment are common across the Middle East. In many predominantly Muslim countries, your religion is a part of your birth certificate and is determined by the religion of your parents. ​ This leads to discrimination on a social level, which is in most circumstances, perfectly legal. And, although anyone may change their paperwork in order to officially denote a conversion to Islam, in most Middle Eastern countries, converting from Islam to Christianity, or any minority religion, is not legally recognized. ​ Those who wish to publicly convert from Islam to Christianity often face legal action under strict blasphemy laws, which include imprisonment, forced conversions back to Islam, and even death. According to Pew, 90% of countries in North Africa and the Middle East had some form of blasphemy laws. ​ These punishments are sometimes carried out by the courts, but are also often carried out by mob violence. In some nations, such as Pakistan, where a seminarian was recently stabbed to death in a “witch hunt,” based on a child’s dream , a mere accusation of proselytizing can lead to violence. ​ The Egyptian Criminal Code explicitly outlaws blasphemy. Nestled among prohibitions on advocating “extremist thoughts,” “instigating sedition,” or “prejudicing national security.” Article 98 also outlaws “disdaining and contempting any of the heavenly religions or the sects belonging thereto.” Although the strong anti-apostasy measures of neighboring nations are not technically in place in Egypt, the Egyptian Criminal Court’s anti-blasphemy precedent has been used to go after so-called “apostates” in the past. And although the Egyptian government recognizes other Abrahamic religions, in practice, government and society is centered around the practice of Islam to the point of exclusion for other faiths. ​ As the Middle East becomes increasingly more hostile to Christians and other ethnic and religious minorities, American FRRME stands committed to programs that provide hope, help, and healing to those escaping sectarian violence. Our programs in Iraq are intended to help those who have lost everything to extremism with the hope to return to their homes and rebuild their lives. Our programs in Madaba offer vital assistance, as well as therapy programs and education to refugees and their children. ​ American FRRME is committed to long term self-sustaining programs and opportunities to help empower refugees and Internally Displaced Persons. Donations to American FRRME go to programs that will aid in the survival of families facing violence across the Middle East.

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