By BosNewsLife Europe Service with reporting by BosNewsLife's Stefan J. Bos
STRASBOURG,FRANCE (BosNewsLife)-- A Christian Europarliamentarian has urged Ireland to use its European Union presidency to tackle the world's "growing persecution of Christians."
Peter van Dalen made the appeal during a debate in the European Parliament, where advocacy group Open Doors presented its 'World Watch List 2013' (WWL) of 50 nations where Christians allegedly suffer the most for their faith.
"...My concrete question to the Irish presidency is: 'What are you doing to tackle the problem of growing Christian persecution?'," he asked in official remarks obtained by BosNewsLife.
No immediate concrete steps were announced by heavily Catholic Ireland, which took over the half-year rotating EU presidency on January 1.
Van Dalen, of the Dutch ChristenUnie (ChristianUnion) party, made clear there was a sense of urgency as he learned from Open Doors that "in several countries minorities and Christians have no life" and that "persecution dramatically increases" globally.
"Think about North Korea, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan" as well as African nations and the Middle East, he said.
"In African countries such as Mali, Ethiopia and Nigeria pastors and church members are murdered every week, and churches burn. The situation is much worse than several years ago."
He also expressed concern about minority Christians in countries with "the so-called Arab Spring", referring to the recent ouster of autocratic leaders in the Arab world after massive protests.
"The new Islamic leaders are not as tolerant as we hoped for."
About 100 million Christians face persecution around the world, according to Open Doors estimates.
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