“The local media reported three bombings in Qamishli, which occurred the same day of the assassination, and were also claimed by ISIS, showed concern that militants were also coordinated attacks against Christians in the city,” he added.
Catholic speakers at the conference include Cardinal Peter Erdő, Primate of Hungary and Archbishop of Budapest; Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Mueller, former prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith, Archbishop Antoine Camilleri, apostolic nuncio to Ethiopia, Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme of Maiduguri, Nigeria, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of Sokoto, Nigeria, and Archbishop Ephram Yousif Mansoor of Baghdad, who represented Syriac Catholic Patriarch of Antioch Ignatius Joseph III Younan at the conference.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban gave the plenary address to the conference. U.S. President Donald Trump also wrote a letter to the conference participants, which was read aloud by his assistant Joe Grogan.
The Hungarian and the U.S. governments agreed in November to jointly fund rebuilding projects in Qaraqosh, the largest city in Iraq with a Christian majority.
“Hungarians believe Christian values lead to peace and happiness and this is why our Constitution states that protection of Christianity is an obligation for the Hungarian state, it obligates us to protect Christian communities throughout the world suffering persecution,” Orban said.
“The Hungarians amount to 0.12% of the population of the world. Is there any point for a country of such a size to stand up for the protection of Christians? Our answer is yes,” the prime minister said.
Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Vice President Viktor Hamm reminded the conference that the Hungarian people themselves suffered Christian persecution in the not too distant past under Soviet occupation.
Hamm himself was born in a Soviet labor camp in what is now northwest Russia. “My grandfather was executed by the Soviet regime. My father spent years in the gulags,” he said.
Evangelical Pastor Andrew Brunson was also present at the conference at a Thanksgiving Gala Dinner. Brunson was released in Oct. 2018 after being imprisoned for two years in Turkey.
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"The cross that carried the body of the savior of the world, and that inspired the lives of saints and pastors in the Church for 2 millennia continues today to be the guiding light ... that prompts today disciples of the Lord to partake in his cross,” Cardinal Mueller said at the conference.
“Be promoters of peace, and continue the silent witness of the Lord’s presence in the world,” he said.