2 July, 2015

Persecution of Christians: EPP Group has responsibility to help

Persecution of Christians“We must continue playing the leading role in supporting persecuted Christians around the world. It is our responsibility to offer them a helping hand in today’s accelerated crisis situation”, said MEPs György Hölvényi, Teresa Jiménez-Becerril Barrio and Jan Olbrycht at an EPP Group Hearing on the persecution of Christians.

Along with other political groups in the European Parliament, the EPP Group has always had a leading role in standing up for the rights of religious minorities. Its Intercultural Dialogue unit was set up some 20 years ago, and has been in close connection with religious communities ever since. As Christian Democrats, we have a special responsibility to do our utmost in the struggle against the persecution of Christians. And the EPP Group not only deals with interreligious issues when there is a crisis; this topic has always been the focus of our attention. But now, the stakes are higher than ever. We must prevent a 2000-year-old culture from extinction. Therefore we cannot refuse these people who are asking for our help.

György Hölvényi MEP, Co-Chairman of the EPP Group’s Working Group on Intercultural Relations and Interreligious Dialogue, pointed out that the EPP Group’s special concern for the persecution of Christians is clear: “We have a common cultural heritage. As a result of our traditions, Europe’s responsibility must be directed firstly towards suffering Christians who are counting on our support. To not grasp the outstretched hands of the suffering is not only contrary to European values, it is simply inhumane. I have already stressed here in the European Parliament and I repeat: we should be proud of Europe’s helping hand.”

In her speech, Teresa Jiménez-Becerril Barrio MEP highlighted: “We can no longer turn a blind eye to the hatred against the most sacred right of all, namely the right to live and express one’s faith anywhere in the world. The EPP Group, the Group with Christian roots, is here to show its unity against barbarism and intolerance because we will always defend life; never death and destruction. We are the leading Group taking action to condemn the atrocities by fundamentalists towards Christians, the Group which stands side by side with the victims and which calls upon all parties involved to stop the killings against Christians.”

“This Hearing has shown that the lack of freedom in society leads to the lack of religious freedom, and this leads to persecution. Thus the persecution of Christians is a consequence of this phenomena”, concluded Jan Olbrycht MEP, Co-Chairman of the Working Group on Intercultural Relations and Interreligious Dialogue.

The Hearing particularly focused on the broader Middle East region. Distinguished high-level religious representatives from different regions along with EPP Group MEPs took part in the Hearing.