The motion, passed unanimously, condemns the worldwide persecution of Christians and other religious minorities. The city also committed itself to protecting religious minorities from violence, discrimination and restrictions on freedom of expression within the scope of its possibilities. “This alliance shows that the MPs take the worldwide persecution of Christians seriously and that the city of Vienna is doing everything possible to be a safe home for religious minorities,” said the ÖVP, delighted at the cross-party approval.
“The worldwide persecution of Christians is a fact and must not be concealed. This decision helps to raise public awareness and to make discrimination and persecution visible ”, said the ÖVP politician Caroline Hungerländer. “Being a Christian was still as dangerous to her as it is today. Extremist ideas such as ‘Political Islam’ must be resolutely opposed ”, emphasized Maximilan Krauss from the FPÖ. “We are pleased about the joint initiative and the cooperation,” commented NEOS politician Thomas Weber.
The Covid-19 pandemic increases the pressure to be persecuted: The pandemic is also exacerbating the precarious situation for Christians. In several countries, Christians were defamed as responsible for the pandemic and they were ignored in the provision of relief supplies.
Islamist violence makes sub-Saharan Africa the deadliest region for Christians:
Compared to the previous year, up to 30 percent more violent attacks were documented. Several hundred Nigerian, mostly Christian, villages were attacked by Fulani shepherds, Christians were murdered and churches were destroyed. Boko Haram and the IS West African Province (ISWAP) carried out around 400 violent attacks in northern Cameroon alone (world persecution index 42nd place).
Expansion of the surveillance state – control of Christians down to the private sphere: China (world tracking index ranked 17th) is increasing the monitoring of the online and offline activities of Christian communities, also using facial recognition software, allegedly to contain Covid-19. Christians in several provinces face the removal of benefits such as pensions if they do not replace Christian images and crosses in their homes with images of President Xi Jinping. Those who do not place Xi Jinping above God will be punished by the nationwide “Social Credit System”. During raids, Bibles and other Christian property from state-registered and unregistered churches were confiscated and church leaders arrested. Children and young people under the age of 18 are prohibited from participating in Christian events. The regime has the Bible rewritten according to core socialist values. Christians are increasingly forced to hold their meetings “underground”.
Religious nationalism by governments and majority religions continues to grow: In India, violent Hindu nationalist mobs are attacking Christians and enforcing the government’s ideology “every Indian must be a Hindu”. Thousands of Christian-run hospitals, schools, and church organizations have been banned from receiving financial aid from abroad. In Turkey, President Erdogan made the nationalist claims of Islam clear by converting Hagia Sophia back into a mosque. More than 50 foreign Christians, many of them leaders, have been denied residence permits or visas in the past two years.