News from HungaryWorld News

More than 300 million Christians suffer persecution and discrimination

Tristan Azbej

"More than 300 million Christians suffer persecution or discrimination worldwide nowadays," said the Secretary of State responsible for implementing the Hungary Helps program to the world's largest Catholic television network, EWTN.

EWTN discussed with the Secretary of State in light of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) report released in May, which indicated that religious persecution has increased further; therefore, their recommendation called upon the world’s governments to make efforts to ensure religious freedom within their countries. The report also highlighted that there are currently 17 countries where severe violations of religious freedom can be discussed.

In the interview, Tristan Azbej justified the creation of the Hungarian Secretariat for Persecuted Christians in 2016, stating that “the Hungarian government, which upholds Christian democratic values, felt a self-evident moral duty to support the cause of persecuted Christians from the moment it first learned of the atrocities they were suffering.” He added that in his opinion, “not only Christian but also countries with other religious roots have a moral obligation to assist the religious community currently suffering the most persecution in the world.”

“Although Christian persecution varies geographically and in form, and currently there is no need for life-saving interventions like those previously undertaken for the rescue of the Yazidi minority in Iraq, persecution has unfortunately increased; despite the collapse of the Islamic State caliphate, the number of Christians living in the Middle East has been decimated, so that in Iraq, for example, from a previous population of 1.5 million, today only about 200,000 Christians live, which represents an 80 percent decrease.”

The Hungarian government supports not only Christianity in the broader region of the Holy Land by aiding the remaining congregations’ social, educational, and health institutions but also supports non-Christians and Muslims, as Christian churches’ institutions alleviate the suffering of other peoples living with Christians — he added.

Speaking of other parts of the world, he highlighted the sub-Saharan region and within it, Northern Nigeria, as negative examples.

“The extremist Islamist terrorist organization Boko Haram is still conducting purges reminiscent of the 2014 events in Iraq and Syria, which nearly amount to genocide” – states Azbej

This is evidenced by a report from the past year that accounted for 5,000 proven Christian murders, while this number is likely still just the tip of the iceberg.

The Secretary also mentioned that in West Africa, in addition to the Islamic State, Nigerian jihadists belonging to the Fulani ethnic group are also active, with the Fulani having killed about 300 Christians over two days last Christmas in Nigeria.

Tristan Azbej stated that in the past six years, the Hungarian government has already provided concrete assistance to more than 2 million needy people worldwide through its Hungary Helps program aimed at aiding the world’s Christians; he emphasized that this number includes not only Catholics but also people from other Christian denominations, as the programs are ecumenical.

Regarding his visits to the Italian capital and Vatican City, he said he is meeting again with officials from the Italian government and the Holy See because he wants to further strengthen the already effective cooperation and bilateral relations with both parties.

Source: MTI

Leave a reply