Report: UK gov't must take action to prevent persecution of Christians

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Report: UK gov't must take action to prevent persecution of Christians

By Nick Hallett/ catholicherald.co.uk

The British government should consider imposing sanctions on countries that persecute Christians, and adopt a definition of anti-Christian prejudice similar to those applied for Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, a report has recommended.

The report, by Philip Mounstephen, the Anglican Bishop of Truro, also said British diplomats and Foreign Office staff should be trained in “religious literacy” so they understand the scale of the issue.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt commissioned the report at Christmas last year. Mr Hunt, who is one of the two candidates to replace Theresa May as Prime Minister later this month, said he would implement all the report’s recommendations if he wins.

“The sense of misguided political correctness that has stopped us standing up for Christians overseas must end,” he said. “At home we all benefit from living in a tolerant, diverse society and we should not be afraid of promoting those values abroad. It is a sad fact that Christians are the most persecuted religious group in modern times. I am determined to show that we are on their side.”

Mr Hunt, who is an Anglican and a regular churchgoer, has previously warned that Christians in the Middle East are on the “verge of extinction” and that Britain was not doing enough to match up to the “scale of the problem”.

The report said evidence suggests acts of violence and other intimidation against Christians are becoming “more widespread”. In some places, particularly in Africa and the Middle East, they can be said to be suffering “genocide”.

Contrary to the opinion of western elites, Christianity is “not primarily an expression of white western privilege” since the faith is concentrated in the global south and thus “primarily a phenomenon of the global poor”.

“There is a sense that for a number of reasons we have been blind to this issue,” the report added, “and those reasons would certainly include post-colonial guilt: a sense that we have interfered uninvited in certain contexts in the past so we should not do so again.”

Henrietta Blyth of Open Doors UK and Ireland, a group that monitors Christian persecution, said: “The UK government must act now. It must focus attention on the countries where persecution is most severe and where the situation is rapidly deteriorating.”

“This review is a good first step to addressing this,” she added. “For it to be effective it must deliver real, tangible and lasting change for those suffering persecution.”

Mon, 07/08/2019 - 15:01
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