Porte des Bombes turns red in memory of those who died for their beliefs

Prime Minister Dr. Joseph Muscat has given permission for a major historic landmark, Portes de Bombes monument, to be lit up in red tomorrow Friday 25 Nov  from 7.00 – 11.00pm in memory of all those who were killed for their religious beliefs.

This illumination is taking place on the day of  the launch in Malta of a major Report published by international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need warning that religious freedom is under threat in one in five countries around the world.  The Religious Freedom in the World 2016 report describes the current situation in 196 countries and highlights 38 countries in which there have been significant violations of religious freedom in the last two years.

The Report highlights a phenomenon it calls “hyper-extremism”, embodied by groups such as Islamic State which not only preach a hardline creed but systematically seek to annihilate everyone else who does not conform to their ideas, including members of their own faith. This is creating major instability, record numbers of refugees and poses a serious threat to world peace.

The Report launch is being held on 25 November 2016 in St Anthony chapel at the palace of San Anton under the distinguished patronage of Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, President of Malta.

The Porte des Bombs illumination is part of a major campaign conceived by Aid to the Church in Need to honour the victims of religious hatred worldwide and raise awareness of religious persecution. On Wednesday Westminster Abbey, the Roman Catholic Westminster Cathedral, the Coptic Orthodox Church Centre in Stevenage, the Houses of Parliament and a string of other landmarks around Britain turned  red to draw attention to the plight of people around the world being killed or persecuted for their faith. Churches, mosques and synagogues were among buildings illuminated. Previously, Italy’s famous Trevi fountain and Brazil’s famous statue of Christ Redeemer were also lit up in red as a symbolic gesture to the martyrs who shed their blood for their beliefs.

John Pontifex, editor of the Report, spoke about the illumination campaign: “The idea is that people of all faiths come together, united around  this one colour which commemorates all those of whatever faith who have suffered because of their religious beliefs.

“It is an opportunity for us to remember that there are many thousands of people, not least Christians but also people of other faiths, being killed or persecuted because of the faith that they profess.”

The Religious Freedom in the World report 2016 can be seen on www.religious-freedom-report.org