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USA News

Biden urged not to forget about persecuted Christians during Holy Land visit

by Sophie Drew

The World Council of Churches is urging US President Joe Biden to draw attention to the plight of Christians in the Holy Land during his visit to Israel. 

Biden’s visit spans the 13th to the 16th of July; Biden will spend two days in Jerusalem for talks with Israeli leaders before meeting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday in the occupied West Bank.

From there, he will fly directly to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for talks with Saudi officials. 

The international Christian group are asking Biden not to “contribute to the normalisation of this abnormal situation,” by sweeping the issue of Christian persecution under the rug. 

Peter Prove, Director of International Affairs for the World Council of Churches, said: “In recent months, there have been no fewer than seven joint statements by the local heads of churches in Jerusalem, collectively highlighting the increased threats that they experience and the challenges of their role as leaders of the Christian community in Jerusalem. 

“These threats take different forms. 

“Sometimes they are violent physical attacks against clergy, sometimes they are abuse and harassment. 

“Sometimes they are measures that amounts to expropriation of properties that have been held by the churches or Christian individuals. 

“All of this is collectively constituting a really serious threat to the status quo, to the future Christian presence in Jerusalem and in the Holy Land. 

“…These are the issues that we're trying to draw to President Biden's attention and to really ask him to engage with, frankly and directly.”

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