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U.K. orders review of anti-Christian violence around the world

In this Dec. 25, 2017 file photo, a Pakistani soldier stands guard at a church that was attacked a week earlier by Islamic State militants in Quetta, Pakistan.
In this Dec. 25, 2017 file photo, a Pakistani soldier stands guard at a church that was attacked a week earlier by Islamic State militants in Quetta, Pakistan. EPA/STR

Britain has commissioned an independent review into the persecution of Christians to find practical steps to support followers of a religion that it said has been subject to a dramatic rise in violence worldwide.

Some 215 million Christians worldwide faced persecution for their faith last year, it said, with Christian women and children particularly vulnerable and often subject to sexual violence as a result of their beliefs.

Last year, on average, 250 Christians were killed very month because of their faith, it said.

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“So often the persecution of Christians is a telling early warning sign of the persecution of every minority,” Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said in a statement on Wednesday.

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“Today I have asked the Bishop of Truro to look at how the British government can better respond to the plight of persecuted Christdiscians around the world.

“We can and must do more.”

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Click to play video 'Protests for second day after Christian acquitted of blasphemy in Pakistan' Protests for second day after Christian acquitted of blasphemy in Pakistan
Protests for second day after Christian acquitted of blasphemy in Pakistan

The review will map Christian persecution in key countries across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, analyze British support and recommend a comprehensive policy response, the government said.