In Support of Religious Freedom

More than 61 per cent of the world’s population live in countries where religious freedom is not respected, according to a recently released worldwide report.

The biennial Religious Freedom in the World report  was published by the international Catholic pastoral charity and pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need International.

It was the 14th edition of the aid group’s report covering all religions in 196 countries, carried out every two years with the assistance of independent journalists.

The report states that from June 2016 to June 2018, the situation for minority faith groups deteriorated in 18 of the 38 countries assessed and almost half were found to have significant religious freedom violations. Two of the most populous countries in the world, China and India were identified in particular with the rising incidence of persecution attributed in part to an increase in “aggressive ultranationalism”

In China, for example churches have been destroyed and Uighur Muslims have been forbidden from observing the holy month of Ramadan, while Tibetan Buddhists continue to face persecution.

Churches and monuments worldwide will be bathed in red light on selected days in November when some of the world’s iconic buildings and places of worship will be floodlit in red: the colour of martyrs. The purpose is to join with people of all faiths to raise a strong voice in support of the persecuted who cannot profess their religion freely and to pray and stand in solidarity with all those who are persecuted and suffer unjustly for their peacefully-held religious beliefs, including:-
• Christians in Egypt and Iraq
• the Baha’i community in Iran
• Catholics in the southern Philippines
• the Rohingya in Myanmar
• Jewish communities in Europe
• people of all faiths in China.

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