Britain’s most senior Muslim politician, Sayeeda Warsi, has warned that the persecution of Christians has become ‘a global crisis’.
Minister for Faith Baroness Warsi described ‘a rising tide’ in attacks on Christians in the war-torn regions of Egypt, Iraq and Syria where they often become ‘scapegoats’ for events taking place thousands of miles away.
Warsi, a mother of five and the daughter of Pakistani immigrants, pointed out that Christian minorities are threatened by Muslim majorities in the very places that gave rise to Christianity.
In an open letter to L’Osservatore Romano, the official Vatican newspaper, she wrote: ‘The bitterest irony of this persecution – ostracism, discrimination, abuse, forced conversion, torture and even murder – is that it is taking place in a region where Christianity has its roots.
‘Sometimes these cases are examples of collective punishment: people lashing out at Christian minorities in response to events happening many miles away.
‘Other times, a Christian is just a convenient ‘other’ – a scapegoat.’
‘The threat to religious freedom, I believe, has become a global crisis.’
The number of Christians killed for their faith around the world doubled in 2013. The senior Tory said that majority Muslim communities have a duty to defend Christian minorities.
She said: ‘History teaches us that we have only defeated intolerance and hatred when we have all come together, whatever the cause. The majority communities need to defend the minorities.’
The peer, who is also a Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister of State, said that ‘the government has elevated (religious discrimination against Christians and other minorities) to a key priority in the government’s human rights work.’
An estimated 100 million Christians around the world suffered persecution for their faith in 2013.
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