UK's Prince Charles warns of persecution of Christians

UK's Prince Charles warns of persecution of Christians

London (AFP) - Britain's Prince Charles warned of a threat to Christians in the Middle East and urged the need for compassion between different faiths.

"It is an indescribable tragedy that Christianity is now under such threat in the Middle East," Charles said on Tuesday in a video message posted on the website of The Telegraph newspaper.

"An area where Christians have lived for 2,000 years, and across which Islam spread in 700AD, with people of different faiths living together peaceably for centuries."

The region's minorities are at risk from rising unrest across the region, and from extremist groups such as the Islamic State, which has violently carved out a large area of control in Iraq and Syria.

Filmed in a domestic setting, seated in front of a fireplace, the son of Queen Elizabeth II and heir to the throne spoke of his concern that religious freedom was not respected around the world.

"Rather than remaining silent, faith leaders have it seems to me a responsibility to ensure that people within their own tradition respect people from other faith traditions," Charles said.

"My own Christian faith has enabled me to speak to, and to listen to, people from other traditions, including Islam."

"Such interfaith dialogue is a necessary condition for peace in the world, and should be seen as a duty for all Christians, as well as believers from other religious communities," he added.

The message was recorded for the publication of a report finding that Christians are "the most persecuted religious minority" in the world.

The report by Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need found that Muslim countries were often the location of the most serious violations of religious freedom, but that freedom was also in decline in Western countries.