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A Kurdish sniper looks at the rubble in the Syrian city of Kobani (AP)

The road back to peace

The Middle East is more polarised along religious lines than ever before. Yet recent history shows the region can return to the enlightened tolerance it once enjoyed

A detail from The Visitation by the Italian Mannerist painter Jacopo Pontormo

Let us pray for the Bethlehem of our day

Readings for the Fourth Sunday of Advent, Micah 5:1-4; Heb 10:5-10; Luke 1:39-44 (Year C)

People attend the lighting of the Christmas tree on Manger Square in Bethlehem, West Bank,  (CNS)

Patriarch Twal has also urged people to show solidarity with victims of violence and terrorism

Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako of Baghdad (CNS)

Patriarch Louis Sako of Baghdad spoke at an international conference on Christian persecution in the world

Cardinal Edwin O'Brien (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

Cardinal O’Brien, who ministered to dying troops in Vietnam, suggests US public is ‘very blase’ about ISIS

Pope Francis with African synod fathers outside the Vatican synod hall (Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk)

The synod fathers issued this appeal for peace at the end of the three-week family synod

Israeli border police walk past the wall being built between Palestinian and Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem  on Sunday (AP)

Francis says courage must be shown to end rising violence between Palestinians and Israelis

A Palestinian woman looks out a bus window during clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli troops in Hebron (CNS)

Four Israelis were recently killed in Jerusalem in an apparent act of revenge for the killing of a Palestinian woman at a checkpoint

African Christians worship in an Anglican church in Tripoli (PA)

The taking of the three men is the latest in a series of kidnappings of Middle East Christians

Wind picks up snow from the ground as a man waits to take a photograph of a statue dedicated to the victims of the Katyn massacre in 1940 (PA)

How should Christians respond to historical and current acts of violence? A Protestant evangelical community gives one example