A new report about the recent spate of Christian persecution around the world is set to be launched in Malta at the Corinthia Palace Hotel, Attard on Friday, 29th November at 5:00pm. Entitled, “Persecuted and Forgotten? A Report on Christians oppressed for their Faith 2017-19”, the report produced by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) draws on first-hand testimonies and latest analysis which provide an up-to-date snapshot on the situation of persecuted Christians around the world.
On the last Friday of November, the report will be presented in Malta by its Editor, the Head of Press & Information of Aid to the Church in Need (UK) John Pontifex. In his 17 years with the Catholic charity for persecuted and other suffering Christians, John has travelled widely in Africa, Asia and the Middle East – carrying out fact-finding visits to countries including Pakistan, India, China, Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Cuba, Iraq, Israel and Palestine. He has travelled to Syria every year for the last four years.
A journalist by training, in the countries he has visited, John has investigated human rights violations especially relating to Christians and other faith minorities. He has visited towns and villages where persecution has taken place, interviewing both survivors and Church leaders.
His visit to Malta is in line with his work to raise awareness of the plight of persecuted Christians and faith groups, both within the media, the political classes and other opinion informers. John is a regular media contributor on the topic of persecuted Christians and has been interviewed several times by the BBC, Sky News, as well as Catholic and other Christian media both in the UK and in countries around the world.
The 2019 report emphatically warns that Christianity is vanishing from towns and cities in the Middle East as, despite the defeat of ISIS, the impact of genocide has led to the exodus of increasing numbers of faithful. A clear example of this is the drastic decline of Christians in Iraq where there were 1.5 million Christians before 2003 but by mid-2019, their numbers are lower than 120,000 – a decline of up to 90 percent within a generation. Another example is Syria, the numbers of Christians have shrunk by two thirds since the conflict began in 2011.
The report found that the persecution of Christians has worsened the most in South and East Asia. Also in a number of African countries, Christians were threatened by Islamists seeking to eliminate the Church either by use of force or by dishonest means, including bribing people to convert.
ACN Malta invites all to this event – which is free of charge – to learn more about the situation of Christians and stand in solidarity with our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world. ACN (Malta) also helps Maltese and Gozitan missionaries, priests, religious and lay workers in various projects they might need.
To reserve seats, intending participants can call 21487818 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org by 27th November 2019.