European Parliament to hold high-level debate on persecution of Christians

A high-level conference on inter-faith dialogue and the situation of Christians around the world will be held tomorrow at the European Parliament, hosted by EP Vice-President Antonio Tajani and attended by President Martin Schulz and Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans. MEPs and experts from a number of countries will focus on the persecution of Christians around the globe and discuss specific proposals for action.

The event is very important, given that for the first time it specifically highlights the persecution that Christians suffer at the hands of radical Muslims, thus explicitly naming victims and perpetrators. At last the EU institutions open their eyes to reality: this is not about a “religious conflict” in which two rival groups do injustice to each other, but it is about one group’s brutal and completely unprovoked attempt to exterminate the other.

Mr Tajani, who is responsible, as vice-president, for inter-religious dialogue, said: “Every month at least 200 churches or places of worship are attacked. Every day, in every region of our planet, we register new cases of systematic violence and persecution against Christians. No other religious community is faced with such hatred, violence and aggression as is the Christian community.”

Mr Schulz will draw the conclusions of the debate, with Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the Commission. The meeting, which is held under Article 17 of the EU Treaty, on inter-religious dialogue, will also feature contributions by Anthony L. Gardner, US ambassador to the EU, Andrea Riccardi, from the Community of Saint’Egidio, Dr Paul Bhatti from Pakistan and Ms Helene Berhane from Eritrea, who will sing a gospel song before the closing remarks.

The conference will take place from 09.15 to 12.30 on Tuesday, 1 December, in room 6B001, Paul-Henri Spaak building, Brussels.