NICK HALLETT. Christian persecution ‘near genocide levels’

The worldwide persecution of Christians is at near “genocide” level, a report for the British government has said.  The review, led by the Anglican Bishop of Truro, Philip Mounstephen, said Christianity is set to be “wiped out” from parts of the Middle East as people are killed or forced to flee.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who commissioned the report last Christmas, blamed “political correctness” for the failure of governments to tackle the issue.

Speaking in Addis Ababa, Mr Hunt said: “I think we’ve all been asleep on the watch when it comes to the persecution of Christians.

“I think not just the Bishop of Truro’s report but obviously what happened in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday has woken everyone up with an enormous shock.

“I think there are various reasons for this but the report makes it very clear that there are different reasons in different parts of the world why persecution of Christians in specific happens and, combined together, they’ve crept up on us.”

The interim report said that while various religious groups suffer across the world, Christians are the most persecuted. In Palestine, they now make up just 1.5 per cent of the population, while in Iraq numbers have dropped from 1.5 million before 2013 to fewer than 120,000.

“Evidence shows not only the geographic spread of anti-Christian persecution, but also its increasing severity,” Bishop Mounstephen wrote.

“In some regions, the level and nature of persecution is arguably coming close to meeting the international definition of genocide, according to that adopted by the UN.”

“The main impact of such genocidal acts against Christians is exodus. Christianity now faces the possibility of being wiped out in parts of the Middle East where its roots go back furthest.”

Mr Hunt said politicians must not be afraid to speak out on the issue.‘

“What we have forgotten in that atmosphere of political correctness is actually the Christians that are being persecuted are some of the poorest people on the planet. In the Middle East the population of Christians used to be about 20 per cent – now it’s 5 per cent

Nick Hallett, “Christian persecution ‘near genocide levels’Catholic Herald, 06 May 2019


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3 Responses to NICK HALLETT. Christian persecution ‘near genocide levels’

  1. Kien Choong says:

    It seems to me that many different groups could legitimately claim to be “the most persecuted” – e.g., the Armenians, the Jews, various indigenous groups. While Christian groups in many non-Western countries undoubtedly face persecution, I would be careful about simply asserting that “Christians are the most persecuted” without being clear that those persecuted Christians are not Christians in Western countries. As otherwise, it would be wrong for Westerners to think of themselves as “persecuted”, when in fact it is unlikely that Christians in the West suffer persecution in the way that Armenians, Jews, indigenous groups, etc have historically been persecuted.

    I suggest saying that “many Christian minorities suffer persecution” vs “Christians are the most persecuted”, while recognising that many non-Christian minorities also suffer persecution.

    BTW, I grew up as a member of a Christian minority in a largely Muslim country (Malaysia), and while I know many Christians in Malaysia often feel (with reason) that they are persecuted, I doubt the persecution that we suffer is as terrible as those suffered by minorities elsewhere, whether Christian or non-Christian.

    • Kien Choong says:

      On reflection, it seems right to say that minorities in general tend to be more vulnerable to persecution, regardless of their religious identity. It is also plausible that minorities suffer less persecution in societies with a larger proportion of educated people.

      If Christian minorities are more vulnerable to persecution than (say) Muslim minorities, perhaps it is because there are relatively more Christian minorities living among “less educated majorities”.

      In short, we ought to be careful to simply assert that Christians are the most persecuted religious group, not for reason of “political correctness”, but because that claim is arguably misleading. Persecution is a function of (i) minority status, and (ii) education level among the majority; it is not a function of religious identity per se.

  2. Evan Hadkins says:

    Not so much political correctness as oil I think.

    Who Britain sells arms to might be a consideration too.

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