According to Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén, taking care of and helping persecuted Christians is a natural obligation of Hungary as a State that has a Christian identity as well as Christian ties in its history, culture and traditions.

Mr Semjén said at the press conference held on Friday, on the closing day of the conference on the persecution of Christians held in Budapest: there is an evident persecution of Christians today, four out of five people persecuted for religious reasons are Christian, and this phenomenon can be observed in some 100 countries.

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He added: Hungary is very generous in taking Christians in, but the goal is not to make the Christian East empty. The solution is not for the Christians to resettle into Europe or the United States. They should be helped by enabling them to retain their Christian positions in their native countries, in the ancient territories of Christianity, he laid down. He believes it is important that only those should leave who cannot stay under any circumstances because they are in an impossible situation or their lives are in jeopardy.

The Deputy of the Prime Minister urged the Court in The Hague to finally start prosecuting Islamists committing anti-Christian genocide.

Mr Semjén further mentioned that what is happening in the European Union today is a „light” version of the persecution of Christians, but is nonetheless not without dangers: namely, the conscious destruction and abandonment of Christian civilisation. This enables Islam to push into Europe „like a hot knife through butter”. European Christian identity has been crushed, thanks to anti-Christian „machinations”, the Deputy Prime Minister said in evaluation. He said: one of the visible signs of this process is that European forums are not prepared to make any manifestations, despite the obvious facts, to the effect that Christians are being persecuted. They are talking about human rights, or perhaps religious grievances instead.

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Regarding Hungary’s efforts to help, he said: circumstances compelled us to institutionalise these efforts, and this is why a Deputy State Secretariat for helping persecuted Christians was set up under the auspices of the Ministry of Human Capacities. He also mentioned that the EU took the view that these tasks could also be fulfilled by an NGO, a human rights organisation outside the realm of the state apparatus.

He told the press: entire villages, hospitals and schools have been rebuilt, those injured in the December 2016 bomb attack in Egypt were treated in Hungary, and the families of Coptic Christians beheaded by the organisation called Islamic State were also helped. Considerable sums of money are being mobilised, and they are seeking to provide customised support, he indicated.

Mr Semjén said in answer to the question regarding the number of Coptic families taken in: far more than one thousand permits have been issued. He asked members of the press to exercise empathy vis-a-vis the persecutees by treating this issue sensitively. The secret services of the countries from which they fled may gather information about these people, and in consequence, both they themselves and their families may find themselves in danger, he said.

Mr Semjén said in response to the suggestion that anti-Christian sentiments appear to be intensifying in Turkey: a certain degree of Islamisation can be observed, but one cannot draw a parallel between this and what is going on in the Islamic countries where Christians are being persecuted. Relations with Turkey are outstanding, and Christians are not persecuted at a state level. There has never been any objection to the fact that Hungary maintains priority relations with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Deputy Prime Minister added.

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Minister of Human Capacities Zoltán Balog told the press that more than 300 participants from 32 countries attended the international conference entitled Searching for Answers to a Long-ignored Crisis. He highlighted: the task is not only to help where there is trouble, but to also draw the attention of the international public to the topic and to initiate international action.

He added: they would like to take joint Central-European action so that this project should not just be „Hungary helps”, but also „Central-Europe helps”.

Mr Balog highlighted: it is in everyone’s best interest that members of the active young generation who are capable of working and studying and millions of whom are setting out for Europe and North-America should enrich the countries where they were born. He also said that, as part of the Stipendium Hungaricum Programme, six thousand young people are studying in Hungary who will then return to their native countries. He remarked: forty per cent of these young people are Muslims, but they are equally welcome, provided that they respect our culture and laws.

The Minister introduced the new Deputy State Secretary responsible for the area at the Ministry, Tristan Azbej, and Travelling Ambassador Péter Heltai, who is also in charge of the coordination of the individual aid programmes which support not only Christians.

(Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister/MTI)