UPROOTED: Largest displacement of worldwide religious communities reached last year
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
7/29/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
The year of 2013 turned out to be a very grim year indeed for religious tolerance and diversity. Millions of Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and others representing a range of faiths were forced from their homes on account of their religious beliefs.
In the nation of Central African Republic, widespread lawlessness and violence between Christians and Muslims resulted in at least 700 deaths in Bangui in December -- alone.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Entire neighborhoods and communities worldwide are emptying of longtime residents. Communities are disappearing from traditional and historic homes, to wander the map. In areas torn apart by civil war, this mass displacement has become the norm.
In Syria, as with much of the Middle East, the Christian presence is rapidly dwindling. After three years of civil war, hundreds of thousands have fled Syria to flee the ongoing violence perpetrated by the government and extremist groups alike. In Homs, the number of Christians in the city dwindled to as few as 1,000 from approximately 160,000 prior to fighting.
SAVE Iraqi Christians from Genocide
In the nation of Central African Republic, widespread lawlessness and violence between Christians and Muslims resulted in at least 700 deaths in Bangui in December -- alone. One million people throughout the country up and left during the year.
In the meantime, anti-Muslim violence in Meikhtila, Burma, led to up to 100 deaths and an estimated 12,000 displaced residents from the area in early 2013. Mob violence against Muslims here was no longer confined to western Rakhine State, where over 140,000 persons have also been displaced since 2012. Organized anti-Muslim hate speech, harassment, and discrimination against Muslims continued, exploited by those seeking to divide and pit Buddhist and Muslim communities against one another, often for political gain.
Globally, individuals were subjected to discrimination, violence and abuse, perpetrated and sanctioned violence for simply exercising their faith, identifying with a certain religion, or choosing not to believe in a higher deity at all.
The statistics are grim: Militants in Pakistan killed more than 400 Shia Muslims in sectarian attacks throughout the year and more than 80 Christians in a single church bombing. Both Shia Muslims and Christians faced violent and deadly attacks in Egypt, and Shia Muslims in Saudi Arabia continued to face discrimination and prejudice, as were others who did not adhere to the government's interpretation of Islam.
In Iran, officials threatened, detained and harassed members of almost all non-Shia religious groups. Hindus and other ethnic and religious minorities in Bangladesh faced increased harassment and physical attacks amidst political turmoil while in Sri Lanka violent Buddhist nationalist groups destroyed mosques and churches while security forces simply stood by.
It's not all hate and doom, however. There are growing signs of minorities rising to protect other minorities: In Egypt, Muslim men stood in front of a Catholic church to protect the congregation from attacks. After an increase of mosque attacks in the United Kingdom, a local orthodox Jewish neighborhood watch team began assisting Muslim leaders to ensure safe access to mosques and alert them to possible attacks.
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Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for FEBRUARY 2017
Comfort for the Afflicted. That all those who are afflicted, especially the poor, refugees, and marginalized, may find welcome and comfort in our communities.
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