Prince Charles warned that Christianity is starting to disappear from the region in which it was born, the Middle East, due to a campaign of persecution by Muslims.
“It seems to me that we cannot ignore the fact that Christians in the Middle East are increasingly being deliberately targeted by fundamentalist Islamist militants,” he said.
The heir to the British throne spoke to religious leaders Tuesday after visiting with Christians from Egypt, Iraq, and Syria who told him how members of their faith have been subject to intimidation, have been forced from their homes and in some cases have been murdered.
In his impassioned plea, Prince Charles discussed his own Christian faith, Britain’s Daily Telegraph reported.
“Christianity was literally born in the Middle East and we must not forget our Middle Eastern brothers and sisters in Christ,” he said, referring to the birthplace of Jesus just days before Christmas is celebrated. “Their church communities link us straight back to the early church as I was reminded by hearing Aramaic, our Lord’s own language spoken and sung just a few hours ago.”
“Yet today the Middle East and North Africa has the lowest concentration of Christians in the world – just four per cent of the population and it is clear that the Christian population has dropped dramatically over the last century and is falling still further,” the British royal said according to quotes reported in the Telegraph.
“We all lose something immensely and irreplaceably precious when such a rich tradition dating back 2,000 years begins to disappear,” he added.
The Prince of Wales characterized the campaign against the Middle East’s Christians as using “intimidation, false accusation and organised persecution.”
Earlier in the day before the interfaith reception at which he delivered his remarks, Prince Charles visited the Egyptian Coptic Church center in Stevenage and the Syriac Orthodox cathedral in London where he met those who faced violence themselves and others whose relatives are in danger, the BBC reported.
“The Coptic Church traces its origins back to the 1st Century when it was founded by the apostle St Mark. The Syriac Orthodox Church says it was established by St Peter who became its first bishop,” the BBC reported.