Germany's bishops have said states must protect the human rights of every citizen, no matter what religion they practice. In an interview, they also call on Germany to help threatened religious minorities.
Germany should help religious minorities, Catholic leaders say
Germany's Catholic bishops on Wednesday spoke out against the recent increase in violence against Christians.
"We ask that Christians and others religious minorities be able to live in security and dignity in their homeland, where they and their ancestors have lived for hundreds, and in some cases thousands of years," Karl Juesten, prelate and head of the Commissariat of German Bishops, told the Hannoversche Allgemeine daily.
Juesten said states must protect the human rights of every citizen living in their territories, no matter what religion they practice.
In the interview, Juesten went on to say that Germany was also obligated to take in religious refugees, should the situation become worse.
However, he suggested that the German government should also use its diplomatic influence to help threatened religious minorities remain in their homelands.
Juesten added that it wasn't just countries with an Islamic majority where religious minorities are being oppressed, pointing out that Christians in India have also been aggressively suppressed by nationalistic Hindus.
The comments come as Coptic Christians prepare to celebrate Christmas on Friday, nearly a week after a New Year's Day bomb attack killed 21 fellow worshippers at a church in Alexandria, Egypt. Germany's oldest Coptic congregation in Frankfurt is expected to receive extra police protection during the holiday.
Author: Martin Kuebler (dapd, dpa)
Editor: Rob Turner