Famous Paris Synagogue Joins Dramatic Visual Protest for Religious Freedom Around World
The world-famous Great Synagogue in Paris was among the French capital’s iconic religious symbols to be lit up entirely in red on Thursday, in a show of solidarity with the 60 percent of the world’s inhabitants who live without religious freedom.
Alongside the Sacré-Cœur Cathedral, the Russian Orthodox Cathedral and the Paris Great Mosque, the “Grande Synagogue,” on the Rue de la Victoire, was bathed in red light on Thursday evening to mark the publication of the 2018 report on global religious freedom by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), a Rome-based Catholic organization.
Thursday’s display of red light in Paris — symbolizing the color of the blood that is shared by followers of every religious faith, organizers explained — was repeated at other famous European churches, including Westminster Cathedral in London and the Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona.
The ACN report, which surveyed 196 countries, noted major violations of religious freedom in 38 of them — home to 60 percent of the world’s population. Among their number are some 500 million Christians who have experienced persecution and violence in Iraq, Egypt, Turkey, Iran and many other Muslim nations.
“Sadly, there are more and more infringements of this basic human right of religious freedom, which affect all religions,” said George Marlin, chairman of ACN’s American branch, in a statement supporting the report. “Though, by far, most of the victims of religious persecution are Christians.”
Continued Marlin: “We are therefore inviting people throughout the world to stand up together with ACN in defense of religious freedom and make a visible gesture of solidarity.”