The Arabic letter for "N" is a tiny symbol that Islamic extremists use to mark the homes and businesses of Christians as a sign of contempt, much like the Nazis in World War II used the Star of David to identify Jews. But Father Benedict Kiely, a New England priest, has turned the Arabic N into a sign of hope, and given people here in the United States a way to stand with persecuted Christians who are being systematically exterminated or driven from the land of Jesus.
By all accounts, Father Benedict, a quiet man with a crisp English accent, has a dream parish. Nestled in one of the world's hottest winter playgrounds of Stowe, Vermont, mass at Blessed Sacrament on a Saturday afternoon seems more like après ski, than absolution, as skiers and snowboarders file in from the slopes.
"So we're using this symbol, the Nasarene, to show the world that we're with our brothers and sisters and try to help them practically in some small way."
- Father Benedict Kiely
But when the town of Mosul fell last summer into the hands of Islamic extremists, and Christian churches and homes were burned and destroyed and Christians themselves had to flee or be killed, Father Benedict says he felt helpless. He told Fox News, "It was so terrible to think that a place where Christians had been for 2,000 years, all driven out. And I was just thinking, 'What can I do? What can I do?'"
What he did was use the extremists' own weapon against them. The N that stands for Nasarean, marking followers of Jesus of Nazareth, as a sign of contempt, is now becoming a sign of solidarity and strength.