Prince Charles warns over religious persecution


The Prince of Wales has warned that the rise of “monstrous extremism” towards religious minorities could prompt a return to “the dark days of the 1930s”.

Speaking on a pre-recorded broadcast for BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day, the prince reflected on the scale of persecution of minority faiths across the globe.

In a veiled reference to the surge of support for far-right parties in Holland and France in the wake of Donald Trump's victory last month, he said: “We are now seeing the rise of many populist groups across the world that are increasingly aggressive to those who adhere to a minority faith. All of this has deeply disturbing echoes of the dark days of the 1930s.

“My parents’ generation fought and died in a battle against intolerance, monstrous extremism and inhuman attempts to exterminate the Jewish population of Europe.

“That nearly 70 years later we should still be seeing such evil persecution is to me beyond all belief,” he said. “We owe it to those who suffered and died so horribly not to repeat the horrors of the past.”

He added: “We might also remember that when the Prophet Muhammad migrated from Mecca to Medina, he did so because he too was seeking the freedom for himself and his followers to worship.”

The Prince also discussed the global crisis created by the growing number of displaced people around the world.

“According to the United Nations, 5.8 million more people abandoned their homes in 2015 than the year before, bringing the annual total to a staggering 65.3 million. That is almost equivalent to the entire population of the United Kingdom,” he said.

However, the Prince also stressed the plight of displaced people did not necessarily end “when they arrive seeking refuge in a foreign land”, in a veiled reference to the increasing number of attacks on refugees in Europe.

The Prince urged listeners this Christmas to remember “how the story of the Nativity unfolds with the fleeing of the holy family to escape violent persecution”.

The Prince has taken over as patron of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust after his mother, the Queen, announced this week that she was stepping down from the role.

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