04:52 GMT12 April 2021
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    The study commissioned by the UK Foreign Office has shown what it refers to as a modern-day exodus of Christians from the Middle East, with violence against them also spreading in other parts of Asia as well as in Africa.

    UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt yesterday blamed 'political correctness' for failure to confront the oppression of Christians, which he called the 'forgotten persecution', citing the interim findings of a report commissioned by the Foreign Office.

    Hunt, speaking in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa during his five-day tour of Africa, claimed governments have been "asleep on the watch" as anti-Christian actions spread.

    The UK Foreign Secretary vowed to wield Britain's diplomatic influence in a bid to defend Christians wherever they are under attack for their faith. He also admitted there was often hesitancy in broaching the issue due to concerns that confronting it would be interpreted as 'colonialist'.

    The findings of the report revealed that Christians are enduring genocide in some parts of the world and are by far the most persecuted religious group today.

    READ MORE: Easter Sunday Attacks Targeted the West, Not Sri Lanka – Scholars

    The study, led by the Bishop of Truro, the Right Rev Philip Mounstephen, found disturbing evidence that persecution is worse today than ever, and with Christians forced out of the predominantly Muslim countries in the Middle East and North Africa, the religion could be wiped out in areas where its roots go back the furthest.

     His report found that 245 million Christians now suffer extraordinarily high levels of persecution in 50 countries, reflecting a rise of 30 million year on year.

    READ MORE: Sri Lanka Attacks: Christians are Targets Everywhere, Including Europe – CIA Vet

    Christians, claims the report, have been under attack by extremist groups in Syria, Iraq, Egypt, north-eastern Nigeria and the Philippines, as well as in India and China.

    He added that urgent government support was called for to tackle the deplorable situation head on.

    The final version of the inquiry is set to be released this summer and will cover the Easter Sunday massacre in Sri Lanka, when multiple blasts on 21 April killed at least 253 people and injured over 500 others in hotels and churches.

    Daesh, a terrorist group which is banned in Russia and elsewhere, reportedly claimed responsibility for the tragedy.


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