10/29/2004, 00.00
DOSSIER EUROPE - INDIA

Europe's deafening silence vis-à-vis Asia's persecuted Christians

John Dayal, president of the All India Catholic Union, hopes Europe will pay closer attention to the issue of minority protection in South Asia.

New Delhi (AsiaNews) – India's Christians are full of hope and expectations that Europe's new constitution might lead the old continent to make a greater commitment to protecting religious minorities and promoting civil society in India, this according to John Dayal, President of the All India Catholic Union, an organisation that unites the country's Catholic associations. He said this in an interview with AsiaNews in which he expressed his best wishes to Europe but also criticised it for its indifference towards the protection of religious minorities. 

"As with other citizens of the world," Mr Dayal said, "we congratulate the peoples of Europe for their new constitution and pray that it will usher in a new era of continental democracy and unity, in which nightmares such as the First and the Second World War, Hitler and the Holocaust, and Bosnia Herzegovina will ultimately be things of its dark past."

"We also hope it will usher in a new era of fraternity and equity, a new era for refugees whichever country they are from and howsoever different they are from the local residents," he added.

Yet, Mr Dayal stressed that "our happiness is restrained because of our own experience of Europe, particularly of post-Christian or modern Europe. We have noticed with concern that Europe has maintained, both at the institutional and governmental level, and at the popular level, a deafening silence at the untold atrocities, for instance, against Christian communities in Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Burma, Bhutan and Sri Lanka." He went on to accuse Europe of being "deaf to laws that target Christians" in South Asia.

Finally, he said: "We hope a new Europe will awaken to a new responsibility in developing and nurturing civil societies in South Asia where freedom of religion an human dignity are at the core of the law of the land, and of common practice." (MA)

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