(Irondale, AL) – EWTN Global Catholic Network has launched a new Arabic language news service headquartered in Erbil, Iraq. EWTN Chairman & CEO Michael P. Warsaw announced the opening of the new agency on March 25, the Solemnity of the Annunciation. The Association for Catholic Information Middle East and North Africa or ACI-MENA will publish original news content in Arabic using a network of correspondents across the region. The news agency will operate from the campus of Erbil’s Catholic University (CUE). A ceremony marking the occasion was held in Erbil, which included His Excellency, Archbishop Bashar Warda of the Chaldean Catholic Archdiocese of Erbil.

“I am pleased to announce that EWTN has begun a service reporting news from the embattled and underserved Christian communities in the Middle East,” Warsaw said. “This is an important milestone in the growth of EWTN News around the globe, and I am pleased that we are taking this significant step to better serve our courageous brothers and sisters in the region who have endured so much.”

“Because it is published in Arabic, this agency will also augment the service offered by ACI-Africa, our Nairobi, Kenya-based Catholic news agency, which EWTN launched in 2019 and which publishes content in English, French and Portuguese,” added Warsaw. “ACI-MENA will provide a new voice to help spread the Gospel and news of the Church to these Christian communities in their own language.”

ACI-MENA will be headed by Mr. Bashar Jameel Hanna, a Chaldean Catholic layman originally from Baghdad.

Hanna studied philosophy and theology for nine years at the Babel College in Iraq and graduated with a degree in civil engineering from the University of Nantes in France. Hanna speaks Arabic, French, English and Aramaic fluently, and has a significant understanding of classic Arabic.

ACI Group is part of the larger EWTN News, Inc. division, which also includes Catholic News Agency (CNA), the German language news service CNA Deutsch, and several other Catholic news outlets, including the National Catholic Register, EWTN News Nightly, EWTN News In Depth and several other television news programs.

In its 41st year, EWTN is the largest religious media network in the world. EWTN’s 11 global TV channels are broadcast in multiple languages 24 hours a day, seven days a week to over 390 million television households in more than 150 countries and territories