London, Aug. 30 : The Vatican has said that "Christianophobia" must be fought with the same determination as anti-Semitism or Islamophobia.
The Mirror quoted Vatican Foreign Minister Archbishop Dominique Mamberti as saying that the deaths of 13 people in Orissa, India, there is a need for promoting religious freedom as a vital part of international relations and human dignity.
"In order to promote this dignity in an integral way, so-called 'Christianophobia' should be combated as decisively as 'Islamophobia' and anti-Semitism," he said.
His comments came as thousands of people, most of them Christians, sought shelter in makeshift government camps, driven from their homes by religious violence. It was alleged that Hindu mobs burnt over a dozen churches and attacked Christians after a Hindu leader was killed.
Mamberti said the events in India made the issue of religious liberty today all the more pressing.
While Hindu groups accuse Christian priests of bribing poor tribes and low-caste Hindus to change their faith, the Christians say lower-caste Hindus convert willingly to escape a complex caste system.
Pope Benedict has also condemned the violence against Christians in Orissa and deplored the killing of the Hindu leader.
Italy's foreign ministry said it would summon India's ambassador to demand "incisive action" to prevent further attacks against Christians.