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Pope Says Christians Being Driven From Middle East

Pope Francis said Christians are being "driven from the Middle East in suffering" in a video message to Iraqi Christians who were forced to flee their homes by the Islamic State (IS) militant group.

The video was broadcast on December 6 to Christians who have taken refuge in the Iraqi city of Erbil after IS militants overran the city of Mosul in June forcing hundreds of thousands of Christians and members of the Yazidi community to flee their homes.

Francis also said "due to an extremist fundamentalist group, entire communities, especially, but not only, Christians and Yazidis, suffered, and still suffer, inhuman violence because of their ethnic religious identity."

Cardinal Philippe Babarin delivered the video during a visit to Erbil.

The Pope said in his message, "I firmly advocate a stronger international consensus to solve the conflict that is plaguing your home countries."

Based on reporting by AFP and dpa