Prince Charles to Compares Persecution of Christians to Horrors of Holocaust in Christmas Message

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In his Christmas message this year, Prince Charles drew attention to the plight of persecuted Christians and other minorities worldwide and compared the atrocities committed against them  to the horrors of the Holocaust.
The Princes of Wales has previously denounced the 'horrendous and heartbreaking' persecution of religious minorities around the world. Photo: CHRIS JACKSON/GETTY IMAGES

In his Christmas message this year, Prince Charles drew attention to the plight of persecuted Christians and other minorities worldwide and compared the atrocities committed against them to the horrors of the Holocaust.

"I was born in 1948, just after the end of World War II in which my parents' generation had fought, and died, in a battle against intolerance, monstrous extremism and an inhuman attempt to exterminate the Jewish population of Europe," the Prince of Wales said in his message, released on Thursday.

"That, nearly 70 years later, we should still be seeing such evil persecution is, to me, beyond all belief. We owe it to those who suffered and died so horribly not to repeat the horrors of the past," he added.

The prince shared how, recently, he met with a Jesuit priest from Syria who warned that unless major action is taken, there will be no Christians left in Iraq in five years.

"We are also struggling to capture the immensity of the ripple effect of such persecution," Charles said, citing statistics from the United Nations that show the world's refugees now number close to 65.3 million people, which is close to the entire population of the U.K.

During Christmas, Christians think about the birth of Jesus Christ and are reminded of the full story surrounding why Joseph and Mary fled to Bethlehem, Charles said.

"I wonder, though, if this year we might remember how the story of the Nativity unfolds - with the fleeing of the Holy Family to escape violent persecution. And we might also remember that when the [Islamic] prophet Muhammad migrated from Mecca to Medina, he did so because he, too, was seeking the freedom for himself and his followers to worship," he said.

Charles suggested that regardless of one's religion, people should seek to value and respect other people, "accepting their right to live out their peaceful response to the love of God."

Syrian Refugees
(Photo : REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail)
Displaced children, who fled with their families the violence from Islamic State-controlled area of al-Bab, wait as they are stuck in the Syrian village of Akda to cross into Turkey, January 23, 2016.

This is not the first time the Prince of Wales has drawn attention to the plight of Christians and other minorities in the Middle East and Africa.

During a speech delivered in November honoring the consecration of a Syriac Orthodox Church in London, he said, "It is surely deeply encouraging, at a time when the members of the Syriac Orthodox Church in their homelands of Syria and Iraq are undergoing such desperate trials and such appalling suffering, that in Britain the Syriac Church is able to expand and gain in strength."

He also prayed that all members of the Syriac Orthodox Church worldwide, be "blessed with the kind of courage and faith that can ultimately transcend the unbearable misery and anguish that have been so cruelly inflicted upon you, your loved ones and your brethren."

In 2014, he urged faith leaders to ensure believers have respect for other religions instead of remaining silent over the suffering of minorities.

"'It is an indescribable tragedy that Christianity is now under such threat in the Middle East," he said. "It seems to me that our future as a free society - both here in Britain and throughout the world - depends on recognizing the crucial role played by people of faith.'

Syrian Refugees Christians
(Photo : IRIN News)
97 percent of the farm workers’ children were not attending school and nearly half were working in the fields.

He also encouraged governments to uphold the freedom of religion, but noted that this is often challenged, even in the West, adding: 'Sadly, in many other countries, an absence of freedom to determine one's own faith is woven into the laws and customs of the nation.'

The Prince said that his passion for religious freedom is rooted in his Christian faith.

"My own Christian faith has enabled me to speak to, and to listen to, people from other traditions, including Islam," he asserted.

Tags : prince charles, Prince Charles of Wales, Syria, syrian refugees, Middle East, Christian persecution, Christmas message