Muslim Leader Warns against Christian Persecution

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A foreign office minister in the United Kingdom warned that Christians in parts of the world face extinction because of violence against them.

Muslim Baroness Sayeeda Warsi shared her concern last week, saying one in 10 Christians are a minority in their country.

"Large numbers of those who live in a minority situation around the world are persecuted," she said, during in a speech delivered at Georgetown University.

"I think tragically what's happening is that they are being seen as newcomers, being portrayed as 'another' within that society, even though they have existed there for many, many centuries."

"The birthplace of Christianity...the parts of the world where Christianity first spread... is now seeing large sections of the Christian community leaving and those that are remaining are feeling persecuted," Warsi added.

Warsi was 36 years old when she was elevated to the House of Lords in 2007. Born in England to Pakistani immigrants, she is now the highest ranking Muslim in Britain's government.

"The challenge appears to be that certain bits of the world want to talk about Islamophobia in the West and other bits of the world want to talk about freedom of expression and persecution of Christians. So it is very polarizing, and it's about trying to find that middle way," Warsi said.

"There are huge advantages to having pluralistic societies - everything from the economy to the way in which people develop educationally," she said. "And therefore we all have an interest in making sure that Christian communities do continue to feel like they belong and are not persecuted in the places where this religion was born."

She instructed leaders of all faiths and governments in the West on how they can fight the "new sectarianism" breaking out worldwide.

"Our response to this global crisis must not itself be sectarian," Warsi said. "It must not be a case of Christians defending Christians, Muslims defending Muslims, or indeed faith groups defending faith groups."

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