Hungary was the first country in the world to address the aiding of persecuted Christian communities at government level, the deputy state secretary for aiding persecuted Christians said after opening the Hungarian National Museum’s exhibition on persecuted Christians in New York late on Tuesday.
Speaking to MTI by phone, Trisztán Azbej emphasised the importance of Hungary’s initiative to support persecuted Christians around the world.
“It’s our job to raise the awareness of western Christian countries
— or at least countries that are Christian in name — about the fact that Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world and that those facing persecution need to be helped,” Azbej said.
“One way to raise awareness is through the National Museum’s exhibition, which depicts the tragedy of Middle Eastern Christian communities through photographs, objects and recorded testimonies,” he said.
The exhibition, which last year was shown in Washington, is interactive and “presents dramatic moments but does not imply hopelessness”, Azbej added.
Asked about the reception of the Hungarian government’s aid programme in the United States, Azbej said that when he had attended an international conference on aiding persecuted Christian communities in Washington last year, he had also discussed the programme with staff members of US Vice President Mike Pence. US officials had taken notice of Hungary’s initiative and had asked for advice and connections that could help them launch a similar scheme, Azbej said.
It was shortly after this that the US government announced its own aid programme for persecuted Christians, which was to be independent of the UN’s scheme and would send contributions directly to those in need, he noted.
The opening of the exhibition was also attended by Chaldean Catholic cleric Bashar Matti Warda, Archbishop of Iraqi Kurdistan’s Erbil, who told MTI that Hungary’s aid programme was vital to Middle Eastern Christian communities.