News from Hungary

Tristan Azbej: Jews and Christians face similar threats 

Young Hungarians and Israelis participated in a seminar on the promotion of dialogue and reconciliation between Jews, Christians and Gipsies. It was held in Budapest from the 19th to the 23rd of August and the programme included a visit to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum in Poland. Participants also attended a conference and joined in some of the festive events held during the Hungarian national feast day on August 20.

At the opening, Tristan Azbej, head of the Deputy State Secretariat for the Aid of Persecuted Christians greeted the participants. He then gave a summary of the measures taken so far by the Hungarian government against religious intolerance, the persecution of Christians and anti-Semitism. He pointed out that today, the threats faced by Jews and Christians are very similar. Tristan Azbej referred specifically to the persecution and violent attacks of both groups generated by radical Islam. He also mentioned the growing animosity of radical liberalism towards Judeo-Christian values.

The head of the Deputy State Secretariat also gave a brief reflection on Hungarian history in relation to religious freedom and the situation of the Jewish people. He explained that prior to the 1930’s, Hungary was always a step ahead of other European countries promoting this cause. The patriotic commitment of Hungarian Jews in the 1848-1989 revolution and also during the times of World War I are beautiful signs of that.  

Mr Tristan Azbej then explained how Hungary has taken a leading role in the fight against antisemitism and religious persecution. He described how today  Hungary has become one of the safest countries for Jewish people in the world, thanks to its zero-tolerance policies on antisemitism, and how the Hungarian government gives help to the communities of persecuted Christians in Africa and the Middle East.

The seminar was organized by several Jewish and Christian non-governmental organizations.

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