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ICC Note: The European Parliament passed a resolution on Thursday, October 10th, condemning the violence and persecution against Christians in Syria, Pakistan, and Iran. The past few months have seen a dramatic increase in hostilities against the minority Christian community in these countries as extremist interpretations of Islam that promote violence to create an Islamic state have gained greater influence.
10/10/2013 Iran / Iraq (European Parliament) – Parliament passed three separate resolutions on Thursday, condemning violence and persecution against Christians in Syria, Pakistan and Iran, calling for protection for journalists and free access to the internet in Sudan and condemning acts of terrorism and sectarian violence in Iraq.
Violence and persecution against Christians
MEPs expressed concern for Christians in Syria, condemning attacks on them by militants in Maaloula and the surrounding area, and calling for monasteries in the region to be protected and for immediate support and humanitarian assistance to nuns and orphans trapped in the Convent of St Tekla. They also condemned attacks in Pakistan on the All Saints Church in Peshawar, and expressed deep concern about the general situation of religious minorities in Pakistan and especially the Christian churches.
MEPs urged the Pakistani authorities to overhaul the blasphemy laws and their current application thoroughly, as they can be misused against people of all faiths in Pakistan .The fate of Pastor Saeed Abedini in Iran is also a matter of deep concern to MEPs, who called on the government to exonerate and release him immediately.

Iraq
MEPs strongly condemned the recent acts of terrorism and sectarian violence in Iraq, calling on the authorities “to facilitate a full and swift independent international investigation (…) and to cooperate fully with that investigation”. All leaders and players in society should “start to work together to end the bloodshed and ensure that all Iraqi citizens feel equally protected”, adds the resolution. MEPs also voiced concern about the spill-over of violence from the Syria conflict to Iraq. …
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