Friday, January 07, 2011

EU action urged following attacks on Christians

"The Associated Press, Link

WARSAW, Poland -- Poland's Foreign Ministry says four EU governments have asked the bloc's Foreign Policy Chief to take up the issue of recent attacks against Christians.

Ministry spokesman Marcin Bosacki told The Associated Press on Friday that the foreign ministers of Poland, Italy, France and Hungary have sent a joint letter to Catherine Ashton suggesting that the EU "look into" the recent "wave of attacks on Christians." Bosacki refused to disclose further details. A bomb attack on worshippers of Egypt's Coptic Christian minority on Christmas Day in Alexandria killed 21 and left nearly 100 wounded. Deadly attacks also hit Christians on Dec. 25 in Nigeria and the Philippines. An attack last fall on Catholics in Baghdad claimed 68 lives."

"Concern has been raised, but there has been an absence of international outrage. France is trying to change that. Its Foreign Minister, Michele Alliot-Marie, wants a European response. She has written to the EU's foreign affairs czar, Catherine Ashton, asking for the union to draw up a plan of action in response to what is happening to Christians in the Middle East. She is putting the defence of Christians on the agenda and specifically wants Europe's foreign ministers to respond. She said we had moved beyond the situation of being "simply sad and disturbed".

Her intervention has been followed up by President Sarkozy. He said Christian minorities are victims of "religious cleansing" in the Middle East. "We cannot accept," said the French president, "and thereby facilitate, what looks more and more like a particularly wicked programme of cleansing in the Middle East - religious cleansing"...And many are looking to the European Union to play a leading role. Yesterday the leader of the Copts in the UK, Dr Ibrahim Habib, was interviewed by the BBC and said "the EU has a duty to protect Coptic Christians". Others are calling on the EU to "defend religious freedom"." Link

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