The launch of ACN’s religious freedom in the world report 2021 revealed that religious freedom is under threat as never before and millions of believers continue to suffer more and more infringements of this basic human right.
According to the report, over 5.2 billion people live in countries where religious freedom is violated and an astonishing 1 out of every 3 countries in the world suffer violations of religious freedom.
However, in his presentation during the launch of the ACN Report, the National Director of ACN Malta, Mr. Stephen Axisa noted that it is not all bad news.
“There were positive steps in the period under review and one such development is the rapprochement between Christians and Muslims led by Pope Francis”, he said.
The Pope’s visit to the UAE in 2019 as well as his 2021 visit to Iraq are great signs towards deepening interreligious dialogue, tolerance and religious coexistence.
Also speaking at the event, Head of Projects for ACN International, Ms. Regina Lynch explained that as measures to counteract violations of religious freedom, ACN sponsors projects aimed at raising awareness, building tolerance and understanding and erasing prejudices between Christians and Muslims. In the predominantly Islamic country of Mali, for example, ACN is helping the Institute for Islamo-Christian Formation to make interreligious courses accessible to more students.
ACN is also supporting the Catholic University in Erbil with scholarships, where young Christians, muslims and Yazidis can come together to also learn tolerance of each other and how to live together.
“I would like to underline that these projects where people can work together for dialogue is extremely important”, she said.