VATICAN CITY — Iraqi Cardinal Emmanuel-Karim Delly of Baghdad told me in a recent interview at the Vatican that he felt the international community had all but forgotten the plight of Iraqis as well as the country’s Christians who continue to suffer tremendously from a lack of infrastructure and religious intolerance.
The Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need publishes a number of reports each year to remind people that there are countless people worldwide who need our help as they are suffering — and perhaps dying — for their faith.
Just last week, the charity’s president, Father Joaquin Alliende Luco, presented its annual Religious Freedom in the World report documenting the limitations, coercion, violations, or persecution nations levy against people solely because of their faith or religion. That report found that 10 of the the top 13 countries with serious limitations on religious freedom were all countries in Asia.
Another publication called “Persecuted and Forgotten? A Report on Christians Oppressed for their Faith” looks just at the situation Christians face worldwide. This “snap-shot view” of the terrible oppression and violence Christians face is meant “to fill the gap in people’s knowledge about a subject that is worsening because it largely escapes media attention,” says the report’s Index of Persecution.
Countries the report lists where the plight of the faithful has deteriorated sharply since last year:
Algeria, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Egypt, Eritrea, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel and Palestine, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe.