UP Catholic 10 28 2016 E Edition Page 12

12 October 28, 2016 THE U.P. CATHOLIC www.upcatholic.org Peace in the Middle East is helped by the presence of Christians within a pluralistic society in which they are full and equal citizens, said Knights of Columbus CEO and Supreme Knight Carl Anderson as he accepted the Path to Peace Award on Oct. 12 in New York. The Path to Peace Award is sponsored by the Path to Peace Foundation, which was founded 25 years ago to support the work of the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations. It was conferred by Archbishop Bernardito Auza, apostolic nuncio and permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, for the Knights life-saving work in the Middle East and for their humanitarian work throughout the world. In his remarks, Anderson said Christians in the re- gion have provided a remarkable witness by forgiving their persecutors, noting that they are the ones most deserving of an award and of all the support we can give them, especially in Iraq and Syria. He also called for an increased level of government funding directed to communities that have faced genocide to ensure their survival, and for the cre- ation of real equality regardless of religious belief. Anderson stated, The regime of second-class citizenship faced by Christians in much of the region before the advent of ISIS has been seen as the breed- ing ground for the genocide. We must insist that Christians and other non-majority communities are no longer marginalized. Noting that Western countries and those in the Middle East may not always have the same concept of rights, he added, Dialog is, of course, necessary if we are to make any progress in this regard. But dialog is possible only when all the participants agree upon the meaning of the words they use. He also stated that direct funding must be made available for those communities who are victims of genocide. Currently, both U.S. and U.N. officials in Iraq have confirmed that they prioritize aid to individuals in need of assistance but do not consider the situation of groups even if the groups have been targeted for genocide and now are in danger of extinction. The idea that we should help everyone is noble, said Anderson. But the idea that we should help only individuals and ignore communities facing extinction is not. He underlined that victims and survivors of geno- cide should be prioritized. By prioritizing direct funding and human rights, Anderson concluded, We will not only have saved the faith of a people, we will have ensured that their witness of mercy and reconciliation which is the only authentic path to peace continues to be a leav- en in this region. In announcing that Anderson and the Knights would receive the Path to Peace Award, Archbishop Auza noted that, under Andersons leadership, the Knights of Columbus used their resources to put to- gether a compelling 300-page report on the violence against Christians in the Middle East that compelled U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to declare what was happening to Christians, Yezidis and other reli- gious minorities in the region a genocide. The genocide declaration was made in March, and Anderson spoke in April at a Holy See Mission-spon- sored conference at the United Nations. He has also testified on the issue several times on Capitol Hill in the last year. Past recipients of the Path to Peace Award include U.N. Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali (1993), former President Corazon C. Aquino of the Philip- pines (1995), and former President Lech Walesa of Poland (1996). COURTESY OF PATH TO PEACE FOUNDATION Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Carl Anderson receives the 2016 Path to Peace Award. Knights CEO calls for US aid and equal rights for genocide survivors in Middle East

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