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Catholic Foundation Features Mozambique, Burkina Faso in Campaign against Persecution

Aid to the Church in Need (ACN)

Violation of Christian freedom is on the rise in nearly a half of Africa, Catholic charity and pontifical foundation, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) United States, has said while announcing an international campaign to create awareness on religious persecution.

In Africa, Mozambique and Burkina Faso are the most “striking cases”, the pontifical organization has said, adding that 42 percent of all African countries are experiencing serious violations.

ACN makes reference to its Religious Freedom in the World report, which the organization produces every two years, and says, “two-thirds of the world’s population live in countries where there are serious violations of religious freedom.”

“The numbers are increasing, and such violations now occur, for example, in 42 percent of all African countries, Burkina Faso and Mozambique are just two striking cases,” the organization says in a Thursday, October 28 report.

The foundation has also announced that in November, people of goodwill will gather around red lights in an international campaign aimed to raise alarm over the rise in religious persecution.

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ACN has named the campaign #RedWeek, describing it as a moment of “shining a light on Christian persecution and violations of religious freedom.”

“In November, red light will bathe hundreds of cathedrals, churches, monuments, and public buildings around the world as part of an international campaign to raise awareness of the persecution of Christians and the need for religious freedom,” the organization reports.

The Catholic Pontifical foundation says that the campaign that was launched in 2015 has now spread to many countries all over the world.

“This year, the #RedWeek campaign will put the spotlight on how girls and women from Christian and other faith minority backgrounds suffer abduction, forced marriage, forced conversion and sexual violence,” the leadership of ACN says in the October 28 report.

The executive president of ACN, Thomas Heine-Geldern, said that the campaign is “sending a clear message of solidarity with persecuted Christians throughout the world.”

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The campaign, the ACN official notes, is a way to give a voice to the foundation’s project partners “those who have been tragically marked by the consequences of persecution.”

“For us, the free exercise of religion is one of the pillars of liberal democracy. Every form of discrimination based upon religious affiliation must be decisively rejected,” Mr. Heine-Geldern says in the report.

Scheduled to take place between November 17 and November 24, this year’s #RedWeek campaign will kick off in Austria with an event in St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, followed by other countries.

“A long list of buildings will be illuminated in red, among them the cathedrals of Montreal and Toronto in Canada, the Basilica of Montmartre in Paris, and major buildings in Slovakia,” ACN reports, and adds, “In Australia schools in six dioceses plan to wear red and in Belgium, people will light candles for persecuted Christians.”

According to the organization that supports the persecuted Church all over the world, people experiencing persecution are often unable to speak for themselves.

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“This year, a report drawn up by the ACN’s UK office will give a voice to young women subjected to sexual violence and forced conversion,” ACN says, making reference to its report entitled “Hear Her Cries—The kidnapping, forced conversion and sexual victimization of Christian women and girls.”

“The report will be presented in the UK Parliament at Westminster on #RedWednesday, November 24, and the Foreign and Commonwealth government building is slated to be lit red,” ACN leadership reports.

The foundation has expressed optimism that across the world, Christians will gather to pray for persecuted brothers and sisters, for the right of religious freedom, and that they will go to church to honor those who are unable to go themselves.