Washington D.C., Nov 18, 2013 / 05:28 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Members of minority religious communities, particularly Christians in the Middle East, face grave persecution around the world, religious freedom experts warn.
“There are parts of the world today where to be a Christian is to put your life in danger. From continent to continent, Christians are facing discrimination, ostracism, torture, even murder, simply for the faith they follow,” said Baroness Sayeeda Warsi in a Nov. 14 article in the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph.
“Christian populations are plummeting and the religion is being driven out of some of its historic heartlands. There is even talk of Christianity becoming extinct in places where it has existed for generations – where the faith was born.”
The speech by the British Senior Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs preceded a Nov. 15 talk at Georgetown University on religious persecution around the globe. The talk was co-sponsored by the school’s Religious Freedom Project and the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding.
The Baroness’ comments are the latest in a swell of commentary on the wave of religious freedom restrictions occurring around the globe.
The 2012 Hate Crime Report released Nov. 15 by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe detailed the incidence of hate crimes on the basis of religion and race in Western Europe.
The report also details a rise in social intolerance and legal restrictions against the practice of Christianity, in addition to anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim crimes, and other expressions of discrimination on religious grounds.
A November edition of the “Congressional Quarterly” notes a rise in religious repression and religious extremism around the globe, and religious freedom scholar Nina Shea called on Congress to promote “religious freedom along with other foreign policy priorities.”
The publication referenced two 2013 reports conducted by Pew Research and the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, both of which noted a significant rise in the incidence and intensity of religious persecution of minorities between within the past several years. In addition, the studies noted a concerning rise in the persecution of Christians, particularly in the Middle East.
In her interview with the Daily Telegraph, Baroness Warsi, herself a Muslim, noted that while 1 in 10 Christians live in a country where they are a religious minority, the number of Christians in such countries is on the decline. Pointing to Iraq as an example, she stated that the number of Christians in the country (Read More)