The launch of Aid to the Church in Need – ACN’s latest Religious Freedom in the World Report held in Malta on April 29th, featured testimonies from project partners of ACN who have been tragically marked by the consequences of persecution and are living through a daily struggle together with the faithful in their care.
Chaldean Archbishop of Erbil Iraq, Msgr Bashar Warda told participants of the virtual launch that “Our troubles to survive in our homeland of over 2000 years seems to be never ending”.
He highlighted that Iraqi Christians remain a people without full citizen rights and since 2003 over 60 Churches and shrines have been destroyed, more than 25,000 homes seized , 150,000 Christians displaced, countless Christians have been kidnapped or murdered and no person has been brought to justice.
Bishop Warda emphasized that not having equal citizen rights is a form of persecution. When your voice does not count in your own country, you are isolated, and without legal protection and justice, the law and constitution makes the minorities second class citizens”, he added.
Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Nigeria’s capital, Abuja noted that the current act of kidnapping of Priests, Bishops, students, senior religious leaders and the seemingly endless acts of banditry, terrorism, other acts of criminality, deprive Nigerians of their religious freedom to worship.
However, he pointed out that, “what is very worrisome is not the litany of deprivation but the unhealthy relationship between Christians and muslims, antagonizing each other which can lead to severe polarisation and disintegration of Nigeria”.
The event can be watched on YouTube at https://youtu.be/3ajiduZrIa4