Hungary Decries Worrisome Global Rise in Christian Persecution

Christian persecution

The number of Christians facing persecution around the world has risen to 260 million over the past year, said Hungary’s State Secretary for the Aid of Persecuted Christians in an online conference this week.

In a conference organized by International Christian Concern (ICC), state secretary Tristan Azbej noted the startling increase in number of Christians facing persecution for their faith, insisting that the international community “must hear their cry for help.”

While the world struggles to face a global COVID-19 pandemic, for many “coronavirus seems like the lesser evil” compared with the existential crisis they are forced to face every day, Mr. Azbej said.

Azbei stated that according to the most recent statistics, the number of Christians facing persecution globally has risen from 245 million to 260 million in just one year and during this period nearly 3,000 Christians have been murdered and 3,700 arrested for their beliefs.

Approximately one-third of the world’s population faces some form of religious persecution, with Christians being the most persecuted community, the state secretary said, a situation only made worse by the pandemic.

Azbei reiterated the efficacy of the approach of the Hungarian government to Christian persecution, insisting that persecuted communities should be given assistance to stay in their homelands, rather than encouraged to migrate elsewhere.

Mr. Azbei’s remarks were echoed by Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó, who urged joint efforts to stop Christian persecution in a Facebook video Monday.

A concerted effort is needed to stop Christian persecution both in Europe and across the entire world, Mr. Szijjártó said.

Addressing an online conference organized by the International Religious Freedom Alliance, Szijjarto said the world’s need for Christianity to help build communities is greater than ever before.

“Unfortunately, Christianity is still the most persecuted religion on earth and we should not forget about that, not even under these challenging circumstances we are experiencing now,” Szijjártó said, noting that on average eight Christians are killed each day around the world for their faith.

Observing that some 9,500 attacks have been carried out against Christian churches or properties this year, Szijjártó urged his European audience to “be aware that this is not just a remote phenomenon.”

“This phenomenon has been here in Europe now,” Szijjártó said, underscoring recent terrorist attacks in France and Austria and the vandalization of statues of Pope John Paul II in Poland.

Such “extremist attacks” against Christian communities must be stopped, the minister said.

“This is a common responsibility of ours that we do have to push back these extreme anti-Christian movements,” he said, while adding that measures enacted against the spread of the coronavirus pandemic should not limit the right of Christian communities to practice their faith.


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