Christian Council warns of religious intolerance  POTSDAM


Christian Council warns of religious intolerance

POTSDAM, Germany, Jan 30 (AFP) - The World Council of Churches (WCC) on
Tuesday warned at a conference here of increasing religious intolerance where
Christianity is the minority faith around the globe.

The body said that in countries such as Pakistan, Nigeria and Egypt -- where Islam is the dominant religion -- Christians in the minority can "often feel abandoned and isolated."

The Council's report warned that an "increasing trend among Islamic
communities, sometimes promoted from outside, for implementation of Sharia (Islamic) laws, has created an environment of fear and insecurity among Christian minorities" which it says experience discrimination.

"Matters are further complicated by a view in some Muslim circles that
Christians are... a legacy of the colonial past. They are often blamed for
globalization that is seen as a form of re colonization by the Christian
west," the report says.

But the Council found that Christians often respond "to the presence of holy
warriors with equally militant crusades."

In such circumstances, the Council warned mosques and churches "are
increasingly used as platforms for promotion of political agendas," meaning
that "both become targets when tensions rise."

The Council stressed that the solution lay in communication between members
of different religions, saying "interfaith dialogue needs to be further
promoted and strengthened."

But dialogue, it insisted should be "not only among progressives and
academics, but also at local community levels, and it should reach out
wherever possible to the extremist elements of religious communities in

The full list of countries identified by the WCC as problem areas for
Christians included Pakistan, Indonesia, Nigeria, Sudan, Ghana, Sierra Leone,
Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine and Bosnia-Hercegovina.

The Council brings together 337 Protestant and Orthodox churches from around
the world representing some 500 million believers.

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