By Jim Fair

Pope Francis on August 23 recalled World Day Remembering the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief, which was recognized the previous day.

“Yesterday, World Day Remembering the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief was celebrated,” the Pope said. “Let us pray for these, our brothers and sisters, and let us also sustain with our prayer and solidarity those, and there are many, who today are persecuted because of their faith and religion. There are many.”

The Holy Father’s plea came after praying the noonday Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

Freedom of religion or belief, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to peaceful assembly and the right to freedom of association are interdependent, interrelated, and mutually reinforcing. They are enshrined in articles 18, 19, and 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Upholding these rights plays an important role in the fight against all forms of intolerance and of discrimination based on religion or belief, according to the UN.

The US warns that there are continuing acts of intolerance and violence based on religion or belief against individuals, including against persons belonging to religious communities and religious minorities around the world, and the number and intensity of such incidents, which are often of a criminal nature and may have international characteristics, are increasing.

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