LONDON, OCT. 23, 2008 (Zenit.org).- When many people think of Christian persecution, the Roman Colosseum and catacombs come to mind. But according to a new report, the worldwide persecution of Christians is on the rise even today.
The charity group Aid to the Church in Need released an analysis of Christian persecution, called “Persecuted and Forgotten? A Report on Christians Oppressed for their Faith 2007/8.” The research shows that in the past two years, violence against Christians has intensified in 17 out of the 30 countries investigated.
The 112-page report considers nations such as Algeria, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq and Palestine, countries where the report shows that the Church’s survival is at risk.
Aid to the Church in Need’s United Kingdom director, Neville Kyrke-Smith, affirmed the gravity of anti-Christian persecution.
“What the [report summary] demonstrates is that Christians are the most persecuted group in the world today,” he said. “People are aware of an enormous number of human rights abuses throughout the globe, but they are not always aware of the denial of human rights to millions of Christians.
“The situation is worsening because it largely escapes media attention. We are suffering from a sort of ‘religious correctness’ which means that talking about the persecution of Christians is not acceptable to the secular media today, and sometimes they don’t even believe the facts.”
“Persecuted and Forgotten?” is endorsed by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, archbishop of Westminster, and Cardinal Keith O’Brien, archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Scotland.
Describing the report as “very disturbing reading,” Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor said, “We all have much to learn from the courageous witness shown by those persecuted for their faith and we should look to how we can express our solidarity with all those who need our prayers and support.”
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On the Net:
“Persecuted and Forgotten?” www.acn.org.uk/shop/reports/BPAF08_All.pdf
Summary of report: www.acn.org.uk/shop/reports/BPAF08_Index.pdf