Pope’s Christmas address condemns ISIS ‘brutal persecution’

Pope Francis condemned the “brutal persecution” of minorities by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria insurgents in his Christmas message today, and urged people not to be indifferent to the suffering of so many around the world.

Tens of thousands of people turned out on St. Peter’s Square to hear the Argentine Pope deliver his “urbi et orbi” (to the city and the world) blessing and message, marking the second Christmas since his election last year.

Pope Francis also appealed for an end to conflicts in African countries, urged dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians, condemned the attack by Taliban militants that killed more than 130 students in Pakistan last week, and thanked those helping the victims of the Ebola epidemic.

But he reserved his toughest words to defend the victims of ISIS fighters who have killed or displaced Shia Muslims, Christians and others in Syria and Iraq who do not share the group’s ideologies.

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