Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali has criticised the West’s reticence on violence against Christians and other minority communities in the Middle East, South Asia and other parts of the world.

Writing in the latest edition of Standpoint magazine, the bishop said the UN had taken the necessary steps to protect people in Libya from attacks by their own government, but questioned why the UN or the West was “unable to tackle the widespread and growing persecution of Christians?”

He voiced particular concern over Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan, where the Christian communities face regular attacks and harassment at the hands of Muslims.

“In the case of Iraq, why is there so much resistance to a declaration that Christians, Mandaeans, Yazidis and other minorities need to be protected and that, where necessary, their safety in certain zones will be guaranteed by the international community?” he said.

The bishop suggested that international guarantees would give Christians in Iraq greater confidence concerning their future in the country. Without that, he said that the only option available to them at present was to flee the country.

“If the continued presence of these ancient communities is to be safeguarded, the international community needs to act now.”

He warned that Christians were facing a similar situation in Pakistan but with the added difficulty of legally enshrined discrimination.

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