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Leaders advocate for end of Christian persecution comment (0)

May 29, 2014

WASHINGTON — Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox leaders joined forces May 7 to call for an end to the silence over persecuted Christian communities in Egypt, Iraq and Syria.

“What we are seeing here is ecumenical cleansing,” said Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, who called the region “the unsafest place in the world for Christians.”

More than 180 clergy, seminary professors, authors and activists have signed a “pledge of solidarity and call to action” that advocates for a special envoy focused on Middle East religious minorities in addition to a regional review of U.S. foreign aid to ensure recipients uphold principles of pluralism and religious freedom. They also seek assurance that religious minorities receive fair access to United States refugee assistance.

“The current trajectory, marked by political violence and, in the cases of Iraq and Syria, full-blown war, risks a Middle East largely emptied of the millennia-old presence of Christians,” reads the statement, citing cases of executed Christians, demolished churches, kidnapped clergy and forced conversions.

Andrew White, chaplain at St. George’s Anglican Church in Baghdad, said the people he sees at a church-related clinic wonder if Christians in the West have forgotten them.

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