The United Nations has marked today as the first day of observation to commemorate those who suffer religious persecution. It is not before time. People of all faiths and none are suffering persecution every day.
In India, Hindu supremacists are targeting Muslims, while in Sri Lanka, Buddhist leaders are preaching against Islam. In Africa and the Middle East, Christians are a tiny, dying, defenceless minority. In Africa, various Islamist groups and individuals are attacking, and attempting to annihilate, Christians.
Islamaphobia is a growing phenomenon in many countries, including Ireland, while anti-semitism continues to spread throughout the Islamic world but is not confined to it.
The designation of a specific day to highlight religious persecution is welcome, as it is almost impossible to combat such persecution without first acknowledging that it exists. It is scarcely sufficient, however.
Remembrance alone is not enough. What is needed is concerted effort to eradicate religous persecution in all its forms.