VATICAN CITY, FEB. 28, 2010 ( In many parts of the world, Christians are suffering the hatred that is generated by religious fundamentalism, says a Vatican spokesman.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, presented this analysis in his editorial on the most recent episode of "Octava Dies," a weekly Vatican Television program.

"Again, in recent days, violence against Christians has been rekindled," he explained. "Some time ago I had in my hand flyers with terrible threats that were systematically distributed in Mosul in Iraq to the houses of Christians asking them to leave the city.

"The recent brutal murders confirm the same systematic strategy against which the local authorities do not seem capable of providing effective remedies."

At least eight Christians have been killed in the last two weeks. The last murder occurred Tuesday, when an armed commando entered the home of an Assyrian Christian family, killing the father and two sons in front of his wife and daughter, whose lives were spared by the criminals.

Some 15,000 Christians remain in the Muslim-majority city of Mosul, where their families have lived for 2,000 years.

"How can the Christian communities survive in these conditions?" he asked. "And yet they are native communities, totally inserted into the culture and the local history, of which they constitute a vital component.

"It's not hatred of the West or of foreigners, but [hatred] of the Christian community."

"Today Iraq is the most well-known case, but in some regions of India anti-Christian violence continues, as in Pakistan and other countries in Asia and Africa," he said. "Religious fundamentalism generates hatred and violence, and religious minorities -- and Christianity is a minority in many parts of the world -- are suffering on account of it.

"Often one calls upon the international community to mobilize. But on the current scene in the Western world many forces are working to fight and destroy the Christian presence and its influence in the areas where it is, or was, a majority.

"Is it realistic to expect its sincere defense there where it is in the minority and does not count much from the point of view of political or economic interests?"

"Christians," Father Lombardi concluded, "who remember the fate of their Master, cannot be surprised about being persecuted, but justice and law must prevail everywhere, even for them."