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Russia takes up the cudgels for protecting Christians in troubled Middle East

A badly damaged Greek Orthodox church in the old quarter of Aleppo (Photo courtesy Open Doors International)

Russia has taken up the cudgels to protect Christians in the Middle East and North Africa where Islamic State followed by  Al Qaeda is on the rampage.

Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, who is spearheading the campaign for the protection of Christians worldwide has asserted that the world community should take steps to stop persecution of Christians in the Middle East and North Africa. Lavrov was speaking on Rossiya-24 TV channel, urging to raise a voice for ironing out this problem.

Lavrov said that the Russian foreign ministry and the Russian Orthodox Church were working together on several projects to raise consciousness about the plight of Christians, and the need to protect them, in the Middle East and North Africa, Russian Tass news agency reported.

Lavrov urges to raise voice to shield Christians from persecution in the Middle East

"Hundreds of thousands of them (Christians)  have fled after democracy was imposed there. At first in Iraq, then in Libya and Syria. The Christian population is mostly suffering from the Syrian conflict. The Syrian Arab Republic is one of the cradles of Christianity. It is necessary to raise a voice so that the international community does not only pay attention to this problem, but takes particular measures to curb the persecution of Christians," Lavrov stressed.

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There has been a mass exodus to Europe, especially to Sweden and other Scandinavian countries of pristine Christian communities such as the Assyrians and the Chaldeans from Iraq.

Russia’s Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate holds a forum on the sidelines of a meeting held by the  Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to raise the voice for the safety of Christians.

"[The forum] brings together partners from the Vatican, the Holy See, the foreign ministers of Armenia, Hungary, Belarus, Lebanon and other countries, which see a risk for further normal, calm and safe existence of Christians in the Middle East," Lavrov observed.