BBC News – John McManus
Christians in parts of the Middle East are being deliberately targeted by Islamist militants in a campaign of persecution, Prince Charles has said.
The Prince of Wales made his comments after visiting the British branches of churches based in the region.
The prince heard accounts of Christians being murdered and families forced from their homes.
The upheavals of the Arab Spring have left many religious minorities vulnerable to accusation and attack.
Deeply troubled Charles, accompanied by Prince Ghazi of Jordan, visited the Egyptian Coptic Church centre in Stevenage and the Syriac Orthodox cathedral in west London.
The two royals met church members who had either suffered intimidation or family members whose safety they feared for.
Later at a reception at Clarence House, attended by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of Westminster and the Chief Rabbi, Prince Charles said he felt deeply troubled by the plight of Christians.
“For 20 years I have tried to build bridges between Islam and Christianity to dispel ignorance and misunderstanding,” he told the audience.
“The point though, surely, is that we have now reached a crisis where bridges are rapidly being deliberately destroyed by those with a vested interest in doing so.
“This is achieved through intimidation, false accusation and organised persecution including to the Christian communities in the Middle East at the present time.”
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