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Rossiyskaya Gazeta cites a DECR representative’s story about persecutions against Christians in Africa

Rossiyskaya Gazeta cites a DECR representative’s story about persecutions against Christians in Africa
Version for print
11 December 2021 year 11:40

In its issue of December 9, 2021, Rossiyskaya Gazeta daily points out the unprecedented scale of persecutions carried out against Christians in a number of African countries. In particular, the newspaper cites the Rev. Dimitry Safonov, executive secretary of the Interreligious Council in Russia and secretary for interreligious relations of the Department for External Church Relations, who, in his remarks delivered at the Defend the Future conference, cited terrible figures: every minute, radicals throughout the world kill one Christian and in Africa over 10 Christians for their faith.

As for the manifestations of Christianophobia, the most problem countries, according to Father Dimitry, are Nigeria, Congo, Mali, Burkina-Faso and Ethiopia. 

“Regrettably, this problem is hushed up, especially in the West”, the priest noted, “The scale of crimes, the cruelty are unprecedented. It is a real genocide. Whole villages are burnt down, eradicated physically”.

Where there are terrorist organizations or local radical forces operate, the authorities, he said, sometimes try to do something, but only “for appearance’s sake”. 

“In Nigeria, for instance, the Fulani tribes eradicate literally daily whole villages” the priest says, “And all this is covered up as it were a war for land, but it is nothing of the kind. Of course, they capture land but their task is to eradicate Christianity”. 

Last year, a Public Council under the Secretariat of the Russia-Africa Partnership Forum was set up. 

“Today this topic has reached the national Russian level as an item of the agenda on common dialogue with Africa. The Russian Federation Ministry of Foreign Affairs supports us in this endeavour because the scale of the persecutions defies any assessment indeed”, Father Dimitry said as member of this Public Council. 

He mentioned that the Russian Orthodox Church and leaders of other religions in the country have proposed “to include this problem in the international agenda”, for instance, by suspending the international aid given to those African countries which connive at the genocide of the Christian population. 

He also pointed to the considerable growth in the manifestation of Chrisitanophobia in other parts of the world, including Europe. According to him, the 2020 final report published recently by the international Catholic Aid to Churches in Need foundation fixed the recent “unprecedented growth” of anti-Christians actions and cases of vandalism in European countries. Perpetrators destroy commemoration crosses, attempt to set Christian churches to fire and do set them to fire, leave offensive inscriptions on their walls and attack the clergy. “European countries have not seen such a rise in the number of crimes of this kind for all the history of observation”, Rev. Dimitry Safonov stressed, expressing hope that during the next Defend the Future forum a special section will be organized to deal with the problem of the persecutions against Christians. 

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The Defend the Future Forum was held in late November 2021. It was organized by the Russian Jewish Congress (RJC) with the support of the Moscow Government, the Federal Agency for the Affairs of the Nationalities, Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the World Jewish Congress. This year, the event was attended religious leaders, experts, state officials and public figures from 40 countries of the world.

DECR Communication Service/Patriarchia.ru

Version: Russian

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