Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Religious Freedom in the World was one of the sources of the resolution.
ACN will shortly be publishing its biennial report* on the oppression of Christians -- Persecuted and Forgotten? Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, condemned the recent terrorist attacks targeting places of worship, in a statement on 19th January. She said: "I think we can all agree that these attacks are unacceptable, perpetrated by extremists with an agenda of intolerance that must be condemned and resisted." "Long-established Christian communities in the Middle East face difficulties, which have led to significant displacement in some countries and dwindling numbers in the region as a whole. "The EU will not turn a blind eye to their plight. We consider their demand to have their rights respected as citizens of their own country as entirely legitimate." This was echoed by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe which adopted 17 points on "Violence against Christians in the Middle East" on 27th January. The assembly specifically condemned the 31st October 2010 attack on the Syriac Cathedral in Baghdad, Iraq and the New Year bombing of the church in Alexandria, Egypt. The assembly stated: "The situation [in the Middle East] has become more serious since the beginning of the 21st century and if it is not properly addressed, it could lead to the disappearance of Christian communities in the Middle East, which would entail the loss of a significant part of the religious heritage of the countries concerned."

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