, , , , , , , ,

Map of Churches in Canada burned or vandelized. Source: tnc.news.

This is the day to recognize the victims of violence based on belief. Canadians would be mistaken to think this is a day for those living in places like Hong Kong, China, or the developing world – but this summer has resulted in a conspiracy of silence as over 50 churches across Canada have been burned or vandalized without a national outcry, or a whimper of care. As Rex Murphy puts it:

Considering the scale of these events, the reaction has been underwhelming.

In mid July the federal government hosted two summits, on two consecutive days combating anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. This is what is rather inexplicable, according to Murphy:

“While our federal government is rightly attending to acts of discrimination targeting Jewish and Muslim worshippers, there is, as far as can be determined, no scheduled summit dealing with the current wave of destructive hostility directed at Christian worshippers.

This is something rather more than puzzling given that in a very concentrated period of about two weeks, Canada has seen a total of 48 incidents [as of July 21] perpetrated against Christian churches, ranging from vandalism (paint on church doors, ugly graffiti) to their total destruction by fire.” (See Map of Churches burned or vandelized, tnc.news).

August 22 is the “International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence based on Religion or Belief”

This day could not come soon enough to the awareness of Canadians as both Pew and IDOP Agree: Religious Persecution Is Worsening Worldwide

The latest report on government restrictions and social hostilities in 198 nations follows the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. (JAYSON CASPER)

“Freedom of religion or belief, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to peaceful assembly and the right to freedom of association are interdependent, interrelated and mutually reinforcing. They are enshrined in articles 18, 19 and 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Upholding these rights plays an important role in the fight against all forms of intolerance and of discrimination based on religion or belief.

The open, constructive and respectful debate of ideas, as well as interreligious, interfaith and intercultural dialogue, at the local, national, regional and international levels, can play a positive role in combating religious hatred, incitement and violence.

Furthermore, the exercise of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and full respect for the freedom to seek, receive and impart information can play a positive role in strengthening democracy and combating religious intolerance.”

Acts of Violence based on Religion or Belief

Yet there are continuing acts of intolerance and violence based on religion or belief against individuals, including against persons belonging to religious communities and religious minorities around the world, and the number and intensity of such incidents, which are often of a criminal nature and may have international characteristics, are increasing.

That is why the General Assembly adopted the resolution A/RES/73/296, titled “International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief” strongly condemning continuing violence and acts of terrorism targeting individuals, including persons belonging to religious minorities, on the basis of or in the name of religion or belief.

The Member States reaffirmed their unequivocal condemnation of all acts, methods and practices of terrorism and violent extremism conducive to terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations, wherever and by whomsoever committed, regardless of their motivation, and reiterated that terrorism and violent extremism as and when conducive to terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations, cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group.

The General Assembly decided to designate 22 August as the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief.


“The General Assembly, in its resolution A/RES/73/296, designated 22 August as the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief recognizing the importance of providing victims of acts of violence based on religion or belief and members of their families with appropriate support and assistance in accordance with applicable law.

It strongly deplored all acts of violence against persons on the basis of their religion or belief, as well as any such acts directed against their homes, businesses, properties, schools, cultural centres or places of worship, as well as all attacks on and in religious places, sites and shrines that are in violation of international law.

Source: Religious Persecution is Worsening Worldwide

Our Primary Responsibility:

To promote and protect human rights, including the human rights of persons belonging to religious minorities, including their right to exercise their religion or belief freely.

What insight do you have on this day, and on the day in which we are living when there is open terror brought against Christians – not only in the 10-40 Window where they are the most targeted body in the world, but in a first world nation like Canada?

For more on forgiveness and a word against retaliation, see “The Scandal of Forgiveness in a Time of Terror.”