Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán called on Europe to end its silence over Christian persecution during the 2nd Conference on Christian Persecution in Budapest on Nov. 26.
In a video on the conference posted to his Facebook page, the Hungarian prime minister said that – like the apostles – a small number of dedicated people can achieve great results.
“Hungarians make up 0.2 percent of the world’s population. Does it make sense for such a small nation to stand up and act? Our answer is yes. And your presence, attention, encouragement and the fact that you are here today convinces us of this, not to mention the history of Christianity. The twelve apostles certainly represented a smaller proportion of humanity at their time than Hungarians today, yet we are all here,” Orbán said.
Orbán said during the conference that despite Christians being the target of 80 percent of all religious persecution in the world that “Europe remains silent over and over again.”
“A mysterious force shuts the mouths of European politicians and cripples their arms,” he said. “Christians are not allowed to be mentioned on their own, only together with other groups that are being persecuted for their faiths.”
Data shows that Christians are the most persecuted religious group in the world. A recent report commissioned by the United Kingdom’s government states that persecution of Christians is reaching near “genocide” levels. A report issued by the U.S. State Department states that approximately 245 million Christians live under severe persecution and that four out of five people persecuted for their religion are Christians.
This persecution often takes the form of outright murder, with 11 Christians being killed every day for practicing their religion.
Orbán sees Hungary as a bulwark against Christian persecution, and although it is a small country, he believes it will give courage for others to act.
“We are convinced that doing the right thing inspires good deeds, the determination of Hungarians breeds courage, the example can catch on. Action will liberate the paralyzed and restore faith in the importance of individual effort,” he said.
Orbán has been vocal about Christian persecution in an attempt to raise awareness about the plight of Christians, a topic often overlooked by the media and aid organizations.
Despite much of Europe turning its back on Christians, Orbán said that Hungary has taken the step of actually protecting Christianity through its Constitution.
“Hungarians believe Christian values lead to peace and happiness and that is why our Constitution states that protection of Christianity is an obligation for the Hungarian state,” he said.
“It obligates us to protect Christian communities throughout the world suffering persecution.”
During the conference, Orbán highlighted the country’s “Hungary Helps” program, which was created in 2017 by Orbán’s government with the purpose of helping Christian communities living under oppression. The Hungarian government provides direct aid instead of going through international NGOs or the United Nations.
The program has provided nearly €24 million to Christians around the world, including five Middle Eastern countries and two from sub-Saharan Africa, often regions where Christianity is under the gravest threat.
U.S. President Donald Trump sent a letter to the conference, voicing his support for Hungary’s efforts to support Christians and religious liberty. The letter, which was read out loud during the conference, stated, “The United States has always vehemently defended the inalienable right to live and worship freely according to one’s conscience and beliefs,” Trump wrote.
“I am gratified that Hungary’s State Secretariat for the Aid of Persecuted Christians and the Hungary Helps program share America’s conviction in defending and advancing religious liberty, and I thank them for convening this gathering,” the letter continued.
Orbán also indicated that Europe’s Christian culture is also under threat, but while this persecution is not always violent, it comes in other forms, such as “population exchange through mass migration, stigmatization, mockery, and the muzzle of political correctness.”
The Hungarian prime minister believes that mass migration in Europe is a major threat.
“Western Europe has already provided dozens of militants to the Islamic State, and uncontrolled immigration has produced a radical change in the demographics of the population,” he said.
If Europe does not reverse these trends, Christianity and the entire continent itself will suffer the results.
During the conference, Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Sziijártó emphasized the bias against Christians, even at the highest levels of the EU.
“Whenever I try to raise the topic of persecuted Christians in EU ministers’ meetings, everybody says, ‘Peter, it’s better to say ‘religious minorities’. Well, I want to say ‘persecuted Christians’!” Sziijártó exclaimed.
The conference featured a number of speakers, including Christians who have experienced persecution first-hand.
Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch and All the East, spoke on the suffering of Christians in Syria, saying, “After 5 years of sounding the alarm, our cries haven’t been heard by many and very few tangible steps have been taken to counter this real threat to our existence as indigenous people in the land of our forefathers.”