Islamist attacks against Christians in Muslim countries are creating an atmosphere of fear and creating martyrs of the faithful in exceedingly growing numbers, the Archbishop of Canterbury said in an interview with BBC Radio.
In the interview, reported in The Telegraph
, the Most Rev. Justin Welby said that there had been more than 80 Christian “martyrs” in the last few days alone.
He was speaking about the suicide bombing of All Saints Anglican Church in Peshawar, Pakistan.
The Archbishop — head of close to 80 million Anglicans around the world — added that Christians were also being singled out for violence in other Muslim-majority nations.
Christian communities which have existed “in many cases since the days of Saint Paul” are now under threat in countries such as Syria and Egypt, he said.
Al Ahram reported
approximately 40 churches were looted and burned in arson attacks in Egypt since mid-August.
Sky News reported
al-Qaida linked jihadists have targeted Syria’s embattled Christian community.
Welby, who leads almost 80 million Anglicans around the world, said Christians have a duty to pray for their killers.
He said that in many instances, turmoil in these areas of the world is caused by multiple factors including historical conflicts that have little to do with religion. But these factors cannot explain recent attacks on Christians in places such as Peshawar. .
“I think Christians have been attacked in some cases simply because of their faith,” he said. “I think it is true to say — and also in Peshawar — that we have seen more than 80 martyrs in the last few days.”
He said these Christians “have been attacked because they were testifying to their faith in Jesus Christ by going to church.”
“That is outside any acceptable expression in any circumstances for any reason of religious difference,” Welby said.
“As Christians one of the things is that we pray for justice and particularly the issues around the anger that comes from his kind of killing,” he added. “But we are also called as Jesus did at the cross to pray for those who are doing us harm.”
He said British Muslim leaders were appalled by the attacks, as were Muslim leaders around the world.
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