Prince Charles conveys 'profound shock' at Christian suffering in Syria

The Prince of Wales has conveyed his profound shock at the hardships experienced by Catholics in Syria and urged other Christians who can freely celebrate Christmas and practice their faith not to take their freedom for granted.

(REUTERS / Mark Blinch)Britain's Prince Charles tours a digital media zone at Ryerson University in Toronto, May 22, 2012.

Speaking to the Melkite Greek Catholic Community in London, the Prince of Wales said he has always tried to "build bridges" of understanding between religious communities. He said no words can express the heartbreak he feels seeing the amount of pain and suffering that Syrian Christians have to endure because of their faith, The Tablet relayed.

"It is so vitally important, in this season of Advent and throughout the year, that Christians in this country and elsewhere, who enjoy the rights of freedom of worship and freedom of expression, do not take those rights for granted," said Prince Charles. "And that we remember, and do what we can to support, our fellow Christians for whom the denial of such rights has had such profound and painful consequences."

In addition, Prince Charles asked everyone to remember and pray for all Christians who are persecuted for their faith. The Prince of Wales also called on people to do what they can to help the suffering believers move to a better life.

About a year ago, Prince Charles appeared on Radio 4's Thought for the Day to speak of religious freedom and Christian persecution. He said the scale of persecution of believers was not "widely appreciated" by many even though it has become an urgent problem worldwide, the Catholic Herald reported.

Moreover, the prince said there were some Christians whose religious freedom has become a daily choice between life and death. He cited a report detailing the increasing attacks on religious minorities such as Yazidis and Jews and said there were some countries where religious diversity was in the process of being eradicated.

In light of the situation, Prince Charles urged everyone to value and respect a person regardless of one's religious background. He said one must accept that everybody has the right to live peacefully in this world.