Opposition MPs have criticised the Chancellor, Angela Merkel, for claiming that Christianity is "the most persecuted religion worldwide".
Jerzy Montag of the Green party described Ms Merkel's comments as "mistaken" and "not very helpful" yesterday. Rights campaigners said ranking faiths according to how persecuted they are is pointless. Human Rights Watch noted that Muslims in Burma, members of Falun Gong in China and Jews in many countries also face persecution.
The comments by Ms Merkel, who is the daughter of a pastor, came at a meeting of the German Protestant Church on Monday in which she emphasised Germany's need to protect Christian minorities as part of its foreign policy.