“We cannot and don’t want to be an accomplice of indifference toward persecuted Christians”

Nearly one in seven Christians lives in a country where he or she is persecuted. This means that around 300 million Christians suffer daily because of their faith.

These are numbers that reflect the daily reality of many and which are largely unknown to the general public.

That’s why initiatives like #StandTogether want to give a voice to these victims who have no voice.

ROBERTO FONTOLAN
Chairman, StandTogether Project

We didn’t want and we don’t want to be an accomplice of such silence and indifference. We don’t want to be an accomplice of such inhuman fate so we started our initiative.”

This conference in Rome was organized by StandTogether and the United States embassy before the Holy See. It brought together organizations fighting for religious freedom around the world. These groups also give aid and refuge to those who are not given the right to freely express their faith. Aid to the Church in Need has been doing so since 1947.

ALESSANDRO MONTEDURO
Director, Aid to the Church in Need (Italy)
“Christians have known persecution for a long time because, in addition to being a peaceful community, it is a peacemaking community. They are a bridge, a dialogue and a buffer.
Not only between the Christian community and the Muslim community, but they also encourage dialogue within the Muslim communities themselves. So, for anyone who hates any other faith, it’s  unacceptable.”

For example, that is an unacceptable plurality for the Boko Haram terrorists who continue to spread terror in Nigeria. One of their victims was this woman, Rebeca Bitrus, who a few months ago in Rome recounted her terrible captivity at the hands of these extremists. For almost two years, from 2014 to 2016, she was subjected to torture, abuse, and rape.

Her story was heard once again at this conference. She said that, unfortunately, the situation in the area has not improved much.

REBECA BITRUS
Víctim of Boko Haram
“Every day the terrorists continue to come to our villages, the attacks have not ceased. When they arrive, they kill many Christians. Even now they are still committing massacres.”

Nevertheless, many Christians in countries such as Nigeria or Pakistan do not deny their faith even if their lives, or those of their loved ones,

are in danger. For this reason, initiatives such as this conference in Rome and the StandTogether project have taken on the mission of ensuring that their stories are not forgotten.