Persecution of Christians
Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, orders an Independent Review
On 26 December 2018, Jeremy Hunt announced in the Telegraph, and subsequently published on the Foreign Office website, that he had commissioned a review into the persecution of Christians. He explained his reasons as follows:
"A century ago, 20% of the people of the Middle East were Christian; today the figure is below 5%. It is not hard to see why. On Palm Sunday in 2017, a suicide bomber in Egypt attacked a Christian Cathedral that has existed since the inception of Christianity, brutally killing 17 of the congregation. This is an extreme example, but it is by no means isolated. Last week, I met an Iraqi doctor who told me how patients had threatened her and her family with beheading when they heard she was a Christian who refused to convert. Step by agonising step, we are witnessing the erosion of Christianity as a living religion in its heartland.
Elsewhere, the situation is also deeply perilous. Across the world, about 215 million Christians suffer persecution, according to the campaign group, Open Doors. The International Society for Human Rights has found that Christians are the victims of 80% of all acts of religious discrimination...
So I have asked the Rev’d Philip Mounstephen, Bishop of Truro, to lead an independent review of whether we are doing all we can... I have asked Bishop Mounstephen to report back to me by Easter."
Click here for the full statement.
Why has he set a deadline?
Obviously it's because he wants to get the job done, then he can take some action, for example publishing a policy statement that will influence our foreign affairs. So it's an opportunity to do some campaigning and make our views known. The deadline is Easter, which means our submissions must be received by Thursday 18 April 2019, the day before Good Friday.
Launch of the Independent Review
A launch meeting was held at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office on 30 January 2019 where the Foreign Secretary made a speech, followed by the Bishop. For a transcript of the Foreign Secretary's speech, and a video of both speeches, click here.
What can we do?
We can support this Review by writing to the Foreign Secretary, and to our Constituency MPs, expressing our views about the persecution of Christians around the world.
Premier Christian Media has launched the Stop Christophobia campaign, available on their website by clicking the image below:
They ask you for your name and postcode and they send out two standard letters, one to the Foreign Secretary and the other to your constituency MP. Effectively it's the same as signing two petitions and very convenient if you are busy, because you can have it all done and dusted in a few clicks.
However, if you have a little more time you can do better. You can write your own letters which might be variations of the standard letters or you can start from scratch and say whatever you want.
- You can write to the Foreign Secretary at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, King Charles Street, London, SW1A 2AH or send an email to email@example.com saying that it's for the attention of the Foreign Secretary.
- To write to your constituency MP, click here and enter your postcode to identify your MP and display the postal and email addresses. For this type of enquiry, letters in the post should go to the Parliamentary address, not the local one.
Does Global Persecution Include the UK?
Yes, it most certainly does, and you might want to encourage the Foreign Secretary and the Bishop to look more closely at this matter. As you browse the pages of our website, or visit some of the organisations on our Links page, you will find examples of Christians suffering discrimination because of their support for traditional family values, or because they engaged in prayer or religious discussion in their places of work or study, or they wrote the wrong thing on Facebook, or they were preaching in the street. Please remember these issues when you write to the Foreign Secretary and your MP.
28 February 2019