German church leaders warned that religious free-dom is under threat across the world, and that a Christian presence in areas of the Middle East is at risk of disappearing entirely. The German Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches (EKD) published a report focusing on religious conversion to Christianity as a “litmus test for religious freedom.” The 70 page report, entitled “Ecumenical Report on the Religious Freedom of Christians Worldwide,” was released during the German Bishops’ Conference. While the Berlin conference is organized by bishops of Germany’s Catholic dioceses, the report was published jointly by the country’s Catholic and Evangelical church organizations. The EKD shared the report on Twitter. Representatives from both churches said that Christians are especially at risk of having their religious rights infringed upon.
Petra Bosse-Huber, the EKD’s bishop responsible for foreign ministries, said: “In our secularized Western society, we can often barely imagine what it means when people are hindered from visiting a mass or reading and studying the Bible with others.”
The report said Christians in the Middle East and North Africa, along with other religious minorities, face the greatest threats. Long-term trends and the effects of the “Islamic State’s” (IS) terror “threatened the end of a Christian presence in some countries.”
The report also highlighted sub-Saharan Africa, including Northern Nigeria, as a region where Christians are victims of Islamist terror, as well as China, Vietnam and countries of the former Soviet Union, where they face repressive authoritarian regimes.