Image: Church Militant
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY (CHURCH MILITANT) -- Laments a 'wall of silence' hides torture and murder
Christians must speak up for other Christians, says a Hungarian official in the wake of a speech he gave July 26 at the 2019 Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom in Washington, D.C.
In a newly tweeted summary of his speech, Tristan Azbej, Hungary's state secretary for the aid of persecuted Christians, "sadly" reported that "Christianity is the most persecuted religion, all over the Earth."
Azbej reported that "[e]ighty percent of the people who are persecuted for their faith in the world are Christians," calling the global persecution of Christians "one of the greatest security challenges in the world today."
Azbej cited numbers on Christian persecution:
245,000,000 Christians are being persecuted all over the world, meaning every ninth man and woman who are Christian are under persecution
11 Christians are being killed every day all over the world
1,266 churches were either ruined or attacked during the last year
The Hungarian state secretary also urged international organizations to shun "hypocrisy and political correctness" in regards to Christian persecution and "be brave enough to speak about it openly, honestly and in a straightforward manner."
The secretary said, looking at discussions going on in the European media or among the political elite, "[Y]ou have to see that Christianophobia is being portrayed as if it was the last acceptable form of discrimination."
He noted that in the many declarations and resolutions of international organizations, "you will hardly find any reference to tortures and challenges, which the Christian communities have to face all over the world."
There is "a wall of silence" surrounding the persecution of Christians, Azbej lamented.
Azbej's self-introduction at the ministerial provoked immediate applause: "My title is State Secretary for the Aid of Persecuted Christians. I believe I am the only government official in the world with this title."
The Hungarian leader also pointed to the Hungarian Constitution, starting with references to "God," which he says speaks to "the role of Christianity in preserving the Hungarian nation."
Hungary has been a Christian nation for over a millennium. King Stephen I (975–1038) was the first Christian king of Hungary and established a stable Christian culture in the Carpathian Basin. He reportedly showed diligence to God and his people — including special charity toward the poor and sick.
He was devoted to his wife, Gisela, who was the sister of Saint Henry II. The king was also greatly committed to the Virgin Mary — who to this day remains Queen of Hungary — and had several churches built in Her honor both in and out of Hungary.
"Hungary has protected Christianity many times throughout its history, and is still proud to be Christian," Azbej reminded his audience.
"Hungary feels responsibility not only for Christians living on its territory, but for all Christians who are the victims of persecution around the world," Azbej said. "The majority of persecuted Christians live in the Middle East and Africa, and the Hungarian Government is providing assistance to their [larger] communities," including in Nigeria, Syria, Lebanon, Sri Lanka and Egypt.
Azbej harkened to Hungarians' experience with persecution, most recently under the communist regime.
"Back then practicing Christian religion was only possible in secret, and we don't want those times to return, to be repeated anywhere in the world," he said.
He took the opportunity to announce the upcoming Second International Conference on Persecuted Christians, based upon the initiative of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, will take place in November 2019 in Budapest.
In solidary with persecuted Christians throughout the world, Azbej and Hungary Helps, the agency Hungary established to help the persecuted, added the Arabic letter ن (comparable to "n" in English and pronounced like "noon") to its Twitter handles.
The ن stands for Nazarene or Nasrani, Arabic words for Christian. Islamic State group militants painted ن on Christian homes in northern Iraq indicating the inhabitants must convert to Islam, pay a religious tax or face execution — thus the letter ن has become a symbol of Christian unity.
"I really do believe that if the Christians do not speak up in favor of the Christian communities, no one else will do so," Azbej said.