19 Dec 2013

Christians being persecuted in parts of Middle East

8:30 am on 19 December 2013

Prince Charles says Christians in parts of the Middle East are being deliberately targeted in a campaign of persecution.

Prince Charles at a Syrian Orthodox Church in west London.

Prince Charles at a Syrian Orthodox Church in west London. Photo: Pool / AFP

During a visit to the Egyptian Coptic Church centre in Stevenage and the Syriac Orthodox cathedral in west London, the Prince of Wales and Prince Ghazi of Jordan heard accounts of Christians being murdered and families forced from their homes.

Later at a reception at Clarence House, attended by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop of Westminster and the Chief Rabbi, Prince Charles said he felt deeply troubled by the plight of Christians.

"For 20 years I have tried to build bridges between Islam and Christianity to dispel ignorance and misunderstanding," he told the audience.

"The point though, surely, is that we have now reached a crisis where bridges are rapidly being deliberately destroyed by those with a vested interest in doing so.

"This is achieved through intimidation, false accusation and organised persecution including to the Christian communities in the Middle East at the present time."

The BBC reports the falling Christian population in the Middle East has led to concerns over the religion's survival in the region of its birth.

British Christians have urged the government and church leaders to do more to help their co-religionists.