per-se-cu-tion / pûr-sĭ-kyo͞o-shən
1. the act of persistently oppressing or harassing others due to their differing beliefs, especially due to religious or racial differences
Happily the Government of the United States which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.
George Washington, 1732 – 1799
2. the state of being the act of persistently oppressed or harassed due to differing beliefs
For over three hundred years, refugees from political oppression, religious persecution, famine, poverty, and a rigid class system which limited educational and economic opportunities have been leaving their native villages and cities and coming to the United States in search of freedom and a better life.
Eileen Simpson, 1918 – 2002