The attacks on Christians in Nigeria around Christmas and other religious festivals in the country amount to religious persecution, MEP György Hölvényi of the junior ruling Christian Democrats told a European parliamentary debate in Strasbourg. “Ambushes, brutal murders and attacks on churches timed to coincide with Pentecost and Christmas Eve cannot be interpreted any other way. This is the persecutions of Christians,” Hölvényi said. He warned that “some European decision-makers’ ideology has made them blind to human suffering when it comes to Christians”. Without Western support, those communities were becoming ever more vulnerable, he said. Jihadists killed 5,000 people in Nigeria last year alone, some 4,000 of them Christians, he said. The Nigerian government seemed unable to stem the violence, he said. “We Europeans cannot turn a blind eye to violence against Christians … this is a matter of human rights. It is time that silence be replaced by action,” he said.