Discrimination and intolerance of Christianity in Europe was debated for the first time in the European Parliament, in a meeting hosted by Nathan Gill, MEP. ‘Christianophobia in Europe: a case study’ called for vigilance from Europe’s leaders as discrimination against Christians was growing.
Violence and marginalisation
Hendrik Storm, Chief Executive of Barnabas Fund, said that for many years they had observed serious human rights abuses around the world, but were increasingly beginning to see encroachments on freedom in Europe itself. ‘It’s easy to sit back and ignore the damage because, like erosion, it’s not always immediately visible on the surface. But look a little closer and you can begin to see the cracks,’ he declared.
He and other speakers during the case study highlighted instances of violence, marginalisation and discrimination against Christians throughout Europe in recent times. Nissar Hussain, a convert from Islam to Christianity, was attacked on a number of occasions over a period of years. He was eventually forced to flee his home in Bradford, UK after he and his family were subjected to persecution. In many other cases, Christians faced less dramatic experiences of marginalisation and discrimination in their places of work or their community. Speakers referred to the banning of crosses in workplaces and socially conservative believers being effectively banned from public roles.
‘You can’t pick and choose which types of freedom you want to defend. Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, academic freedom or freedom of religion. You must defend all of them. Those freedoms are only one generation away from being lost,’ said Hendrik Storm. ‘Every generation has to fight for, protect and then hand over these hard-fought freedoms. We have enjoyed these freedoms and it is up to us to ensure that our generation is not the one which gives them away.’
On our doorstep
Nathan Gill, MEP, said: ‘It’s the first time that Christianophobia within Europe has been discussed in the EU. There has often been a focus on Christian persecution around the world, but seldom do we look at what is happening on our doorstep. It’s important to raise awareness that our rights as Christians are being eroded. We need to stand together as practising Christians to oppose religious intolerance.’
The case was made for creating a new religious freedom law.