Bishop John McAreavey, chair of the council for Justice & Peace of the Irish Catholic Bishop’s Conference, told the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade that Christian persecution is at an “unprecedented” high, pointing to statistics that show 11 Christians are killed every hour of the day.
Citing a Pew Research survery, McAreavey told the committee that Christian persecution is being gravely underestimated, as “Christianity is now the world’s most oppressed religious group, with persecution against them reported in 110 countries.”
He continued: “Many of these countries have significant trade links with Ireland. Persecution is increasing in China. In North Korea a quarter of the country’s Christians live in forced labour camps. Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and the Maldives all feature in the 10 worst places to be Christian.
“According to the International Society for Human Rights, a non-religious organization, 80 percent of all acts of religious discrimination in the world today are directed against Christians.”
At least 100,000 Christians are killed every year because of their faith in Jesus Christ, McAreavey said, adding that an even greater number of believers are “being tortured, imprisoned, exiled, threatened, excluded, attacked and discriminated against on a widespread scale.”
The bishop also shared statements from the Chief Rabbi of Britain, Jonathan Sacks, who recently said that the suffering of Christians in the Middle East is “one of the crimes against humanity of our time,” comparing it to Jewish pogroms in Europe and asserted that he’s “appalled at the lack of protest it has evoked.”
The killing and torturing of Christians in the Middle East is “a threat to our common humanity and to the religious and cultural patrimony of the world” and places “peace and stability of the entire planet” at risk, the bishop continued.
McAreavey also addressed leaders of Western nations who’ve so far refuse to commit to helping Christians in the Middle East.
“Perhaps because of a fear of being seen as less than aggressively secular in their own country,” he said, many governments of majority Christian countries in the West seem reluctant to give direct aid to churches and religious minorities.”
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SOURCE: The Christian Post