2011-05-12 12:23:00

Russia's chief rabbi condemns Christian pogroms in Africa, Middle East

Moscow, May 12, Interfax - The recent Christian pogroms in Egypt were politically motivated, Russia's Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar said.

"The media may rejoice at the 'democratic revolutions' as much as they want, but what we have seen so far is unprecedented growth in attacks on believing Christians in Egypt and Nigeria, Iraq and Cote d'Ivoire, and a number of other countries," Lazar said in a statement.

Jews have centuries-long experience of existence under "permanent threat of violence and pogroms," and their historical experience shows that "the matter is not about a clash between religions or cultures," Lazar said.

"Every time a crowd is set against a religious minority, interests of the authorities stand behind this. In former times, these were interests of kings, emperors and sultans, and now these are interests of politicians and party leaders cynically using religious slogans," he said.

Lazar insisted that the problem is not religious confrontation "but precisely a political affair," and when "a crowd of punks ransacks a church, those who sent it are not in a mosque but in offices of a political party or special services."

"Politicians in a number of countries are setting masses against the Christian minority today. I believe it is a crime to declare these crimes an internal affair of a relevant country. The current fashion for political correctness is in fact complicity in the killing of innocent people," he said.

Lazar called on the civilized community to intervene to stop the wave of terror, adding that if attacks on religious minorities are not stopped today, "then tomorrow the killings will not be limited only to Africa and the Middle East but will spread to the rest of the world."