Donald Trump has become the first sitting US president to ever convene a meeting at the UN on the issue of religious freedom.
‘That’s very sad in many ways’, Trump said. The President called the issue one of his ‘highest priorities’.
‘Today, with one clear voice, the United States of America calls upon the nations of the world to end religious persecution. Stop the crimes against people of faith’, he said.
‘Release prisoners of conscience. Repeal laws restricting freedom of religion and belief. Protect the vulnerable, the defenceless, and the oppressed’.
President Trump also asked for ‘the governments of the world to honour the eternal right of every person to follow their conscience, live by their faith, and give glory to God’.
He called for solidarity with ‘250 million Christians around the world who are being persecuted’.
Meanwhile, Christians across the world have been urged to set aside 17 November as a day of prayer for the persecuted church.
According to Release International, one of a coalition of Christian organisations mobilising prayer for the 23rd International Day of Prayer, the rising tide of persecution begs the need for definitive intercession worldwide.
Paul Robinson, chief executive of Release International, has advocated making the whole of November a month of prayer to remember those being persecuted for their faith.
Figures from the International Society of Human Rights have claimed 80 percent of all those being targeted according to their religion are Christians.
Pakistan is among the world’s worst countries for the persecution of religious minorities, particularly Christians. For this reason, Release International has highlighted the Muslim-majority country as its specific area of prayer focus.
In a statement, Release pinpointed the strict blasphemy laws in Pakistan, which have been used to make false allegations against Christians, with appalling consequences for those falsely accused.
‘Despite the persecution in Pakistan, the church remains strong in faith and hope’, Mr Robinson said.
Open Doors is also among those organising the day of prayer. On its website, the Christian organisation has provided a pack called Can you believe it?, which features true-life stories from five persecuted Christians.