8 Dec 2011, Moscow

     Participants of a high-level religious freedom meeting in Moscow last week vowed to keep the plight of persecuted religious minorities in the Middle East and Africa in the international community spotlight.

     About 100 million Christians worldwide -- mainly in the Middle East and parts of Africa -- are suffering persecution or are caught up in violent religious conflict, according to conference organizers.

     The three-day International Conference on the Freedom of Religion and Discrimination against Christians began November 30 and brought together a diverse group of leaders from the Orthodox, Protestant, Jewish, Catholic and Islamic communities. Topping the agenda was the growth of what some have called "Christianophobia" in many countries where dominant religions or ideologies exert significant political and social power.

Bettina Krause