“Religious persecution knows no boundaries, nor respects faith”

It has already been one of the bloodiest years for Christians in 2019. Nearly every week they are attacked some where in the world. A few days ago in Burkina Faso a jihadist group enter a parish and killed six people. Some days later four more Christians were killed during a procession.

In Niger, Italian missionary Pierluigi Maccalli was kidnapped eight months ago by an Islamist group. The situation is no better in Nigeria, Christians are being attacked not only by the Boko Haram but also the Fulani shepherds.

In the Middle East, despite the military defeat of the Islamic State, jihadist ideology continues to spread in areas such as Syria and Iraq.

Additionally, in Sri Lanka, people are trying to return back to normality after the terrible terrorist attacks at Easter.

KNOX THAMES
Special Advisor for Religious Minorities, U.S. Department of State
“Religious persecution knows no boundaries. It respects no faith. It attacks everyone. Unfortunately we are seeing a rising tide of persecution around the world. However, the good news is we are also seeing many governments, civil societies and religious groups coming together to try to meet that challenge.”

Knox Thames is the U.S. Special Advisor for Religious Minorities. He spoke during a conference held in Rome to reflect on religious freedom, one of the most violated liberties in the world.

CLARE JARDINE
Congregation of Our Lady of Sion
“There is the general disregard for religion in the world today. It is one of the lowest, least important freedoms I think in the world today. So there is that commonality between all religions.”

Sr. Clare Jardine belongs to the Congregation of Our Lady of Sion. It is a religious order specializing in inter-religious dialogue with  Jewish people. She warns anti-Semitism is still very much present in the world today.

CLARE JARDINE
Congregation of Our Lady of Sion
“Many Jews now are afraid to wear their religious dress the ‘kipá’ for the men. They are afraid to place their mezuzah on their door post, which is a part of the Jewish tradition. The mezuzah is a little case which contains some scriptural verses. There is a fear of doing these things, showing their identity because of fear of persecution.”

The re-emergence and rise of anti-Semitism in many countries is especially a concern for Pope Francis. He has often reminded Christians that they share common roots with Jews and anti-Semitic behavior is unacceptable.