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Persecuted and Forgotten? A Report on Christians oppressed for their Faith 2013-15, compiled by Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, concludes that if the exodus of faithful from Iraq continues at existing levels, the faithful could all but disappear within five years.

International Report – Persecuted and Forgotten?

Christianity disappearing from parts of the Middle East

Königstein/Surrey/Montreal, October 15, 2015 – Christianity is disappearing from key parts of the Middle East. This is according to a report launched Tuesday by international charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). 

Persecuted and Forgotten? A Report on Christians oppressed for their Faith 2013-15, compiled by Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, concludes that if the exodus of faithful from Iraq continues at existing levels, the faithful could all but disappear within five years.

A faster rate of attrition is noted in Syria whose faithful have reportedly plummeted from 1.25 million before the war began in 2011 to sliding to a mere 500,000 today. The report describes what it calls a “religiously motivated ethnic cleansing” of Christians by Islamist terror groups especially in Iraq and Syria but also in parts of Africa.

Starting today, this report is available for Canadians in English in a PDF format on the web:  www.acn-aed-ca.org/……… The French version is scheduled for release in the month of November also on organization’s Canadian site in PDF format.  To obtain the full report – interested parties are asked to contact the ACN Canada office directly at 514-932-0552, ext 221 or 224.

ACN-20151009-30448Religious persecution ranked “extreme” in at least ten countries 

Examining countries of core concern in the Middle East and elsewhere such as China, Egypt, Eritrea, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Sudan, and Vietnam, Persecuted and Forgotten? draws on eye-witness reports and testimonies. The report concludes that since 2013 the situation of Christians has deteriorated in as many as 15 of the 19 core countries under review. Moreover, in 10 of these countries – which is more than half – the persecution is ranked as “extreme” – up four from the last edition of Persecuted and Forgotten? report which covered the period of 2011-13.

Ranking Islamism as the greatest threat, the 2015 Persecuted and Forgotten? report also highlights growing problems caused by other extremist religious groups – militant forms of Hinduism, Judaism and Buddhism – with attacks increasing in number and ferocity.

Totalitarian regimes, notably China, have put increasing pressure on the Church, according to the report, with severe threats facing Christians in Eritrea and Vietnam. The report also notes that in many cases Christians are persecuted not so much because of their faith but because of their perceived links with the West and a view associating the faithful with colonialism.

Pope Francis supports the initiative

Describing the report as “a shocking read for shocking times,” Persecuted and Forgotten? Editor John Pontifex – Aid to the Church in Need’s UK Head of Press and Information – said: “A cultural genocide of Christians is erasing the presence of faithful from large swathes of the Middle East, the very heartland of the Church,” adding, “Far from laying the entire blame for persecution against Christians at the door of extremist Islam, Persecuted and Forgotten?  demonstrates that many of the problems stem from non-Muslim extremist – nationalist – faith groups and historically communist totalitarian regimes.”

According to the report, the loss of Christians in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world represents a blow to community relations as the faithful have acted as bridge-builders in increasingly fragmented societies.

Last August, before receiving a copy, Pope Francis sent a message offering his support for the Persecuted and Forgotten? report. Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin has sent ACN a statement declaring: “His Holiness deeply appreciates the efforts of all involved in producing this report and in keeping before the world the plight and suffering of Christians persecuted for their faith. In this way, [the Pope] prays that those in positions of authority will diligently strive not only to eradicate religious discrimination and persecution in their own nations, but also to seek ever more effective ways to promote international cooperation in order to overcome these offenses against human dignity and religious freedom.”

In the report’s foreword, Archbishop Jeanbart writes: “We are confronting one of the most important challenges of our 2,000 year history. Despite our problems here in the Middle East, we are doing everything we can to help those who lack food, clothes, or other essentials.”

As a charity supporting persecuted and other suffering Christians, Aid to the Church in Need is prioritizing emergency aid and pastoral help for displaced and refugee faithful in the Middle East. Archbishop Jeanbart’s foreword states: “By God’s grace, and with the continuing help of organisations including Aid to the Church in Need, we have been able to respond to the urgent needs of our people.”

Click and select ‘ACN Press and other publications’ to request a copy of the full report of Persecuted and Forgotten?

 

Click Here to view the Executive Summary of Persecuted and Forgotten? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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