Pope: Christians the most persecuted
Vatican City - Pope Benedict XVI says Christians are the religious group that suffers most from persecution.
He expressed this feeling in the Vatican's annual World Peace Day message for the new year. He laments that this year was again marked by "terrible acts of violence and religious intolerance".
Benedict said he is especially thinking of Christians in Iraq, where an attack on a Catholic cathedral in Baghdad in October killed two priests and more than 50 other faithful.
The Vatican on Thursday released the message, in which the pope equates lack of religious freedom with threats to world security and peace.
Benedict also decries what he calls "sophisticated forms of hostility to religion", including rejection of religious symbols at times in some Western countries.