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EU must take a firm stand on persecution

Growing problem must not fall victim to political correctness, says Catholic charity

EU must take a firm stand on persecution
Neville Kyrke-Smith
THE European Union (EU) must not “fudge the issue” of persecution of Christians around the world, the UK office of the international charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) said yesterday.

The statement followed a meeting of EU foreign ministers this week which failed to agree a statement on persecution of religious minorities because it did not include specifically mention Christians.

“Politicians need to acknowledge the reality of the persecution facing many Christians in the world today and not hide the issue because of religious correctness,” said ACN UK’s national director, Neville Kyrke-Smith.

“This is a serious situation. Over the past six months we have seen a growth in oppression and violence being used against Christians … and it needs to be seriously addressed.”

The meeting broke down after Italian Foreign Minister, Franco Frattini, criticized EU foreign and security policy chief, Catherine Ashton, for claiming it was politically incorrect to name any specific religious group.

Frattini, backed by France, objected to the omission of any reference to the persecution of Christians.

“The final text didn’t include any mention of Christians, as if we were talking of something else, so I asked the text to be withdrawn,” Reuters news agency quoted Frattini as saying.

An earlier European Parliament resolution on the issue had noted various attacks on Christians, including the bombing of a chapel in the Philippines on Christmas Day.

Kyrke-Smith said: “I am not entirely surprised the European Union has failed to move forward the issue of Christian persecution due to political correctness.”

He said the failure “stems from a false liberalism that undermines true freedom.”

Operating directly under the Holy See, Aid to the Church in Need supports Christians who are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need. Founded in 1947 by Father Werenfried van Straaten, whom Pope John Paul II named “an outstanding Apostle of Charity”, the organization now works in about 130 countries.

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Christian persecution continues in Orissa

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