Anti-christian hate ‘yet to be given a name’
THE persecution of Christians is being ignored because there is no definitive word to describe it, according to a UK archbishop.
Anba Angaelos, the Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London, argued that because there are no equivalent words for anti-semitism or Islamophobia, the problem is “not seen as the phenomenon
‘Anything that targets people for their faith must be addressed’
which we know it is”. His comments came after an announcement that the Government is to spend £12million on a programme to champion religious freedom around the world.
Archbishop Angaelos argued that because there is no certain expression or concept of Christian persecution, it is simply being “left to happen”.
He said: “We know it’s a phenomenon in many countries, just as deplorable as anti-semitism, Islamophobia and anything else that targets people precisely for their faith and so, therefore, must be addressed at the same level.”
He suggested that having a word or concept that can be easily understood and recognised would allow people of “all faiths” to come together to speak against it.
The archbishop told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “In the world of 280 characters on Twitter, and very quick news feeds, I think that is part of the problem. You can’t have a hashtag that says ‘persecution of Christians... x, y or z’.”
Asked if he had yet managed to find a suitable word or phrase, the archbishop said: “Not yet… this can’t be mine, I can’t own it alone.”
In Pakistan in 2016, 26 children were among 75 people murdered in a suicide bombing targeted at Christians celebrating Easter Sunday.
And in June this year 238 Christians died in a Fulani herder militia attack in Plateau State, Nigeria.
The religious freedoms scheme will bring together MPS, academics, religious leaders and development organisations.
The archbishop said the programme was “not about policy”, but “taking away the tools of those who want to persecute”.