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Asking the Tough Questions: Is Cultural Intolerance of Christianity Hurting Persecuted Christians Abroad?

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Christian Legal Centre’s Roger Kiska, at the invitation of the Hungarian government, has taken part in a gathering of the leading international voices combating Christian persecution and providing Christian aid to areas affected by Islamic extremism. In this report, he explains how western governments are failing persecuted Christians worldwide.

At the gathering, government representatives, church leaders and organisations like the Christian Legal Centre were able to discuss how to build partnerships to bring relief to the persecuted Church.

The Hungarian government has made great strides in leading European discussions in relation to some difficult questions: (1) Is the current lack of vetting of migrants from the Middle East and North Africa causing a national security crisis in Europe?; (2) Why is not more priority being given to Christian asylum seekers in the current European scheme?; and (3) Why has the media and western response to the plight of persecuted Christians been largely silent?

The Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orban, spoke boldly about our moral duty to not only help our brothers and sisters in Christ abroad, but to ensure that Christianity continues to live here in Europe. The Minister of Human Capacities Zoltan Balog went a step further, recalling recent events at Oxford University where a Christian Union was banned from having a presence at Freshers Fair.

He mused that when a culture becomes so intolerant of Christianity, one of the poisonous fruits of that is to ignore the suffering of persecuted Christians in Syria, Iraq and Nigeria. And church representatives from the region spoke to the lack of any meaningful humanitarian response to the crisis affecting Christians from western governments.

The candour of such high-level leaders might be shocking to western sensibilities. But the questions posed are very real and very relevant.  For us in the United Kingdom, has the current cultural zeitgeist made us wilfully ignorant to the atrocities occurring against Christians in the Middle East? Has it become such a political liability to speak on Christian issues, that we have not even been able to stand up for those suffering crimes against humanity and genocide?

Of course, there are parliamentarians of great integrity who have spoken boldly on these issues in the United Kingdom; but they are few and far between. We need to do better. Lives depend on it. His Excellency Bashar Matti Warda, Chaldean Archbishop of Erbil, perhaps spoke the most poignant words at the International Consultation, when he lamented that we must help now if we do not want to see 2000 years of Christianity in the Middle East become a museum.

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