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Westminster Hall debate highlights persecution of Christians in the Middle East: The Church of England Newspaper, November 22, 2013 November 25, 2013

Posted by geoconger in British Foreign Policy, Church of England, Church of England Newspaper.
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Christians are in danger of being driven out of the Middle East, MP Fiona Bruce warned last week, urging the British government to aid the victims of the campaign of terror waged by militant Islamists.

In remarks made at a Westminster Hall Adjournment Debate on the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, Mrs. Bruce, the member for Congleton (Cons.) highlighted findings of a newly released report prepared by the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).  The report, “Persecuted and Forgotten? A Report on Christians oppressed for their Faith 2011-2013”, found that intolerance had grown in 20 of the 30 countries surveyed.

“In virtually every country in and around the [Middle East], Christians report suffering either high, high to extreme, or extreme persecution,” she said.

Christians “have suffered from a domino effect of violence that began in Iraq, spread to Syria and overshadows Egypt, leaving the survival of the Church in jeopardy.”

“We should be crying out with the same abhorrence and horror that we feel about the atrocities towards Jews on Kristallnacht and on other occasions during the Second World War,” she said.

The member for Upper Bann, David Simpson (DUP) told the gathering ““Every hour, a Christian is tortured and murdered somewhere in the world.”

“Surely, in this day and age, something more can be done to protect people and their faith,” he said.

David Burrowes MP said: “The term ‘Christian persecution’ is sometimes bandied about carelessly… if there is Christian persecution in this country then at worst its victim is likely to be sued, but in the Middle East the victim will be killed. That is the stark reality that we are facing…”

The member for Rutherglen and Hamilton West, Tom Geatrex (Lab.) warned of problems facing Christians in Malaysia, where a court “has effectively outlawed the Bible, particularly in the eastern states of Malaysia”, after ruling that the word “Allah” may only be used in the context of the Muslim faith.

Other members of Parliament spoke of the persecution Christians faced in Iran, Egypt, Syria and Turkey. Mrs. Bruce observed the problem of militant Islam was not confined to the Middle East. “Western Muslims are going to fight alongside jihadists in Syria… returning home to become potential jihadists themselves.”

“Western countries are not fully grappling with this problem,” she said.

Foreign Office Minister, Hugo Swire MP, said the government was aware of the problem and noted that “protecting human rights, including religious freedom, is an important part of British foreign policy.”

Outrage over church demolitions in the Sudan: The Church of England Newspaper, July 1, 2012 p 5. July 3, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Episcopal Church of the Sudan, Persecution.
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Bishop Kondo dedicating Saint Johns, Haj Yousif in 2009

The Sudanese government has demolished an Anglican Church in Khartoum, claiming that as all South Sudanese have been ordered to leave the country, there is no need for any Christian churches in Khartoum.

On 18 June 2012 Khartoum police ordered all South Sudanese to leave the Khartoum suburb of Haj Yousif within 72 hours and demolished St John’s Episcopal Church. Dedicated on 24 May 2009, the Diocese of Khartoum reported the church had been built by the members of the community to serve the town’s Christian population.

However, Bishop Kondo told Radio Tamazuj the police claim the church was now no longer being used. “They argue that all Christian Sudanese have moved to South Sudan. But the authorities are fabricating lies. There are still many South Sudanese living in Sudan. Moreover, the church acts as a place of worship to all, not just the South Sudanese” the bishop said.

On 25 June the heads of the World Council of Churches [WCC] and the All Africa Conference of Churches [AACC] issued a formal protest over the “renewed destruction of church property in Khartoum.”

The WCC and AACC “strongly condemn the demolition of the Episcopal Parish Church of Saint John” by “government authorities.”

The attack on Saint John’s was part of a pattern of discrimination against Christians and follow government sanctioned attacks on churches and schools.  “We are further reminded that, the government of Khartoum had, for the first time in the country’s history, denied its citizens the Christmas holiday in December 2011.”

“We express our fears that all these events may not be isolated but rather calculated attacks on Sudanese civilians who are not of the Muslim faith and their property in Khartoum, and in particular Christians,” the church leaders said, adding that “it is now public knowledge that Christians of Muslim background have also been targeted and have been dispossessed of their properties and their spouses.”

“We once again regret that despite repeated rhetoric about freedom of religion and the protection of the minorities in the Republic of Sudan, the government policy seems to be bent on threatening and discriminating against Christians in Khartoum. By protecting religious fundamentalists who wreck mayhem and havoc on innocent civilians with impunity, the Republic of Sudan undermines the tenets on which a multi-religious society is based.”

The church leaders said they “cannot remain silent while such a horrific violation of human rights and threat to lives continues unabated” and called upon the Islamist National Front government to “fully investigate the motive of these repeated incidents and apprehend those responsible for these criminal acts, and to provide adequate and true security to Christians in Sudan.”

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.