Christians are the most persecuted group in the world, leaving the European Parliament to ponder ways to stop the violence.
By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK) | 12/3/2015 | Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
‘No religious community is as subject to hatred, violence and systematic aggression as the Christians.’
Martin Schulz, the President of the European Parliament (EP) held a high-level meeting in Brussels to discuss religious persecution and stated Europe could no longer ignore Christian persecution, which is the world’s most persecuted group.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) – During the meeting on Wednesday, Schulz said Christian persecution is “undervalued” and “hasn’t been properly addressed.”
EP Vice President Antonio Tajani referred to Europe’s protection of persecuted Christians throughout the world when he said the country sometimes “falls into the temptation of thinking [it] can ignore this task.”
Speakers at the meeting mentioned human rights organization Open Doors, which reported 150 million Christians around the world are victims of rape, arbitrary imprisonment and torture, with the worst cases found in North Korea, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan, Iran, Pakistan, Eritrea, Nigeria and Maldives.
In an Open Doors 2015 report, “Islamic extremism is by far the most significant persecution engine” of Christians, with “40 of the 50 countries on the World Watch List affected by this kind of persecution.”Schulz added, “It should shake us up that on our continent, Christians are not safe.”
Tajani said Islamists believe Christians are the new “crusaders” of Europe, siting Islamic persecution in the Middle East has caused over 70 percent of Christians to flee Iraq since 2003, with 700 thousand more who were forced to abandon their homes in Syria following the beginning of civil war.
“No religious community is as subject to hatred, violence and systematic aggression as the Christians,” Tajani said. He also suggested radicalized religion is the root of the problem, but could also serve as a solution.
He said, “In the name of religion, we have an obligation to condemn all those who show contempt for life and kill in the name of God. Whoever shoots in the name of God, shoot against God.”
Bishop Jean Kockerols, another speaker at the meeting, said Christian intruders in Muslim-dominated countries needs to be disproved, particularly because Christians in the Middle East and the Indian sub-continent dates back to centuries before the spread of the Koran.”
Tajani said, “The West must break the silence on the persecution of Christians in the world,” and Europe needs to be “a model of society in opposition to religious radicalism and brutal and criminal projects, such as creating an Islamic caliphate in Iraq and Syria and then extending its tentacles into Libya.”