Merkel's 'Christian persecution' comments draw ire

Merkel's 'Christian persecution' comments draw ire

Credit: Getty Images

BERLIN, GERMANY - JUNE 01: German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes Russia's President Vladimir Putin with military honours at her offices on June 1, 2012 in Berlin, Germany. Putin met Angela Merkel on his first foreign trip since regaining office, before visiting France. The two leaders are expected to discuss topics concerning the situation in Syria. (Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images)

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Associated Press

Posted on November 6, 2012 at 8:00 AM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 6 at 5:43 PM

BERLIN (AP) — Opposition lawmakers and human rights groups are criticizing German Chancellor Angela Merkel for claiming that Christianity is "the most persecuted religion worldwide."

Lawmaker Jerzy Montag of the opposition Greens party on Tuesday described Merkel's comments as "mistaken" and "not very helpful".

Rights campaigners said ranking faiths according to how persecuted they are is pointless.

Human Rights Watch noted that Muslims in Myanmar, members of Falun Gong in China and Jews in many countries worldwide also face persecution.

Merkel's comments came at a meeting of the German Protestant Church late Monday in which she emphasized Germany needed to protect Christian minorities as part of its foreign policy.

Merkel, the daughter of a pastor, also spoke out against strict separation of church and state and said Europe was built on Christian foundations.

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