Catholic Culture 7 June 2011
Every year 105,000 Christians are killed because of their faith.
This shocking figure was disclosed by Italian sociologist Massimo Introvigne, representative of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) on Combating Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians, at the "International Conference on Inter-religious dialogue between Christians, Jews and Muslims, sponsored the Hungarian presidency of the European Union (EU) in Gödöllo, near Budapest.
"Every five minutes, Introvigne said in his speech, "a Christian is killed for his faith." The figure does not include the victims of civil wars, or wars between nations, but only the people put to death because they are Christians.
"If these figures are not cried out to the world, if this massacre is not stopped," Introvigne continued; "if it is not recognized that the persecution against Christians is the first worldwide emergency with regard to religious discrimination and violence, dialogue between religions will only produce wonderful symposia but no concrete results."
The conference on peaceful coexistence between religions was hosted by the Hungarian government as a highlight of its EU presidency of the European Union and saw among its participants Cardinal Péter Erdo of Budapest; the Custos of the Holy Land, Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa; Archbishop Antonio Maria Veglio, president of the Pontifical Council for Migrants; Maronite Archbishop of Beirut Paul Matar; Metropolitan Hilarion, "foreign minister of the Russian Orthodox Church; the representative of the European Jewish Congress Gusztáv Zoltai, that of the Organization of Islamic Conference Ömür Orhun; and the general secretary of the Committee for Islamic-Christian dialogue in Lebanon, Chakib Hares Chehab.
The Egyptian diplomat Mahmoud Aly assured participants that his country is about to pass laws that will protect Christian minorities, by prosecuting crimes as hate speech and banning hostile gatherings of outside churches.
"But the danger is for many Christian communities in the Middle East to die out for emigration, Cardinal Erdo said. "For all Christians will escape feeling threatened. And Europe should be preparing for a new wave of emigration, this time of Christians fleeing persecution." Metropolitan Hilarion, for his part, recalled that "at least one million of the Christians enduring persecution in the world are children.
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