"The IS is a threat to neighbouring countries but also for the Mediterranean region as a whole, including EU countries", said EPP Group Vice-Chairwoman Mariya Gabriel. The 17th EPP Group Annual Interreligious Dialogue on the persecution of religious minorities was held on 10 and 11 December in the European Parliament in Brussels. In his opening statement, EPP Group Chairman Manfred Weber underlined that religious minorities suffer from persecution in several "hotspots" around the world, Christians being among the most persecuted. "Religious people are a value to society and provide stability", he said.

The two-day conference was split into three sessions exploring the origins of religious persecution, the threat posed by the IS/Caliphate and the prospects. Many guest speakers from the Middle East and around the globe were invited to share their experiences and struggles. Many of them highlighted the urgency of matters, as the deteriorating political and security situation will lead to the eradication of Christian minorities in areas where they have been present for centuries and even more than a Millennium. They called for immediate action. The ‘Worldwide Religious Freedom Report 2014’ of the pontifical foundation 'Aid to the Church in Need' presented at the conference concludes that religious freedom has deteriorated in 55 countries around the world, with Christians being the most persecuted religious minority.

The EPP Group puts great emphasise on interreligious and intercultural dialogue and is committed to keeping the issue of the persecution of Christians and religious minorities on the European agenda.

NOTE TO EDITORS

The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 219 Members from 27 Member States

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