Prince Charles says silence on Christian persecution must end

The Prince of Wales says Muslim leaders must warn their followers about the tragedy of the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Prince Charles recorded a video message for the launch of a report by the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need.

He said that faith leaders must ensure their followers respect believers in other faiths “rather than remaining silent”.

The report concludes that Christians are the “most persecuted religious minority” in the world.

It notes that Muslim countries dominate the list of places where religious freedom is most under threat.

It also argues that religious freedom is in “decline” in western countries, because of a fear of extremism and a growing belief that faith should have no place in public life.

The Prince spoke of his anguish at the plight of Christianity in the region of its birth.

“It is an indescribable tragedy that Christianity is now under such threat in the Middle East – an area where Christians have lived for 2000 years, and across which Islam spread in 700AD, with people of different faiths living together peaceably for centuries,” he said.

“It seems to me that our future as a free society – both here in Britain and throughout the world – depends on recognising the crucial role played by people of faith.

“And, of course, religious faith is all the more convincing to those outside the faith when it is expressed with humility and compassion, giving space to others, whatever their beliefs.”

Setting out his own suggestions to improve the situation, he said: “First and foremost, rather than remaining silent, faith leaders have, it seems to me, a responsibility to ensure that people within their own tradition respect people from other faith traditions.

“We have yet to see the full potential of faith communities working together.”

He said this would require people to have both a “maturity in one’s own faith” and an “essential humility”.

Prince Charles emphasised the importance of his own personal Christian faith, but he also signalled that he saw his role as to “defend” followers of other faiths including Islam.


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