New York, NY, September 24, 2013 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today expressed alarm at the growing death toll in Pakistan, Nigeria, Egypt and Syria as a result of attacks against Christian minorities, including the latest deadly attack by two suicide bombers outside the historic All Saints Church in the northwestern city of Peshawar on Sunday, which killed at least 85 people.
“The attacks on innocent civilians at their homes and places of worship in Pakistan, Nigeria, Egypt and Syria are shocking and abhorrent,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “These countries are not doing enough to protect their minority Christian communities or to enforce the rule of law. Bloodshed in the name of terrorism and religious extremism is unacceptable in any circumstances, and these terrorist attacks targeting Christian minorities are particularly heinous. No one should be singled out for violence because of their religious beliefs.”
As members of the international community convene at the United Nations, Mr. Foxman said that “the international community must step up to condemn such attacks,” and that countries where minorities are at risk must do their utmost to ensure, in President Obama’s words, that they “embrace a vision of society where everyone can contribute -- men and women, Shia or Sunni, Muslim Christian or Jew.”
Human rights monitors recently reported that more than 40 churches and other Christian institutions and schools have been attacked in Egypt since the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi. Coptic Christians in particular have been singled out for assaults and discrimination.
In Nigeria, anti-Christian violence has killed an estimated 12,000 people since the beginning of 2012, including at least 50 attacks on Christian Churches, according to the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom. And in Syria, Christians have been attacked and kidnapped by extremist groups linked to Al Qaeda and other groups.