Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud has pledged to be a “voice for the voiceless” as he branded the current levels of global Christian persecution “unacceptable”.
The Catholic French international stressed that “we, who are in a certain comfort, must think of those who are suffering enormously”.
“Thanks to my notoriety, I can be a voice for the voiceless,” he said, admitting that the persecution of Christians gives him “shivers”.
“Two-hundred-and-sixty million persecuted Christians in the world is unacceptable, we must talk about it”, he added.
Giroud’s comments came as he addressed a recent online charity gala, organised by French Connect London, a French-speaking church in London, along with the Christian association Plus Que Sportifs, to raise funds to help persecuted Christians.
Giroud literally wears his faith on his arm – the Frenchman has a tattoo on his right arm with the words ‘Dominus regit me et nihil mihi deerit’, which translates to ‘The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want’ – the first line of Psalm 23.
Commenting on the Christian values that have played a major part in his upbringing and his life, Giroud has previously said he has always “felt security” conforming to the words of the psalm.
“These serious words on my arm to reassure me, I know that if I need something, help, I can pray,” he said.
The former Arsenal player has previously been very open when discussing his Catholic faith, even admitting to praying on the pitch during difficult moments in a match.
Speaking in 2017, his final full year with Arsenal, Giroud said: “I have prayed in the middle of a match. Sometimes, when things aren’t going as well as you would like, you ask the help of Jesus.
“That helps me concentrate again. To focus on what is important. Speaking to Him allows me to clear my head. It only lasts a few seconds but it enables me to get rid of my frustration.”
Last year, Giroud also acted as guest editor for the September 2019 edition of French Christian magazine Jesus.
Speaking to French daily newspaper Le Figaro at the time, he opened up about his faith and why he had accepted the chance to edit the magazine.
“I try to speak about my faith whenever I can,” he said.
“I feel I have to use my media profile to talk about my commitment to Jesus Christ, and the matters that concern me,” he added.
Picture: Olivier Giroud. (Антон Зайцев/Wikimedia Commons).