Barnabas Fund - International Headquarters River Street, Pewsey, Wilthire. Phone: +44 1672 565030 Latitude: 51 deg 23 min 18 sec N Longitude: 1 deg 45 min 48 sec W .
Plight of Christians in Middle East deba...

Email:

Plight of Christians in Middle East debated by House of Lords

To

Email address:
Separate multiple addresses with a comma (,). Maximum of 10

From

Your name:
Your email address:
Security test:
Please enter the numbers that appear here in the box below.
refresh captcha
CAPTCHA Image
Security code:

Details provided here will never be used in any other context

Plight of Christians in Middle East debated by House of Lords

Country/Region: United Kingdom, Europe

The Archbishop of Canterbury has warned that the position of Christians in the Middle East is “more vulnerable than it has been for centuries” in an important debate in the British House of Lords.

The-House-of-Lords-chamber-4X3.jpg
House of Lords Chamber
CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 by UK Parliament

Dr Rowan Williams introduced and closed an almost five-hour debate on Friday 9 December about the situation of Christians in the region in light of the “Arab Spring”. Barnabas Fund had produced a briefing paper, upon request, for this debate.

The Archbishop said that the Arab Spring “began as a distinctively non-sectarian set of movements” but “has inevitably opened the door to some of those Islamic political activists who suffered repression under the old regimes”.

He spoke of the potential consequences of the revolutions for Christians and other minorities. Highlighting the examples of Iraq and Egypt, from where many Christians are fleeing as a result of violence and persecution, Dr Williams said that the eventual outcome could be that Christians in the region had to either emigrate or retreat into enclaves. He said that the latter may be the only way to guarantee the safety of Christians there, but that many rightly feel the creation of enclaves was yielding an important principle.

The Archbishop’s concerns were backed by other Lords, with Chris Patten raising an even graver prospect:

We are facing religious cleansing in parts of the Middle East and may be entering what might be thought of as an Arab winter for Christians, Jews and other minority groups alike on a scale that we have not hitherto seen.

Lord (David) Howell, a Foreign Office minister, told the peers that the UK government would do "everything possible" to help fledgling regimes in North Africa and the Middle East in their efforts to embrace democracy and preserve Christians' rights amid political turmoil. He said:

As countries embrace reforms and democracy to varying degrees and in varied paces and ways in the process of the Arab Spring, it is absolutely crucial that religious diversity in the Middle East is respected.

The Archbishop reminded the Lords that Christianity was not an import to the Middle East, rather an export from it, and that Christians had been present in the region for 2,000 years. He stressed that no one was “seeking a privileged position for Christians in the Middle East”, but “a general commitment to civic equality and the rule of law”.

He said that “the security and well-being of the historic Christian communities in the region are something of a litmus test”, determining “the political health of the region” following the Arab Spring.

Help us: Share this article

Email:

Plight of Christians in Middle East debated by House of Lords

To

Email address:
Separate multiple addresses with a comma (,). Maximum of 10

From

Your name:
Your email address:
Security test:
Please enter the numbers that appear here in the box below.
refresh captcha
CAPTCHA Image
Security code:

Details provided here will never be used in any other context

christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

Other articles

Follow Barnabas

or

receive news & appeal emails as they are published

From Twitter

From Twitter_icon

    Daily prayer

    Daily prayer_icon
    • Pray for Bible school students in Vietnam who were subjected to a terrifying night-time raid by police and hired thugs. On 9 June, officers swooped from adjacent rooftops into the church compound that houses the school, while vehicle-loads of people were brought to the site to vandalise the building with bricks, stones and sticks. The students were beaten, punched and kicked before being taken away for interrogation; 20 were left in need of medical attention but were prevented from leaving to find it. Thugs continued to attack the compound over the next ten nights. Pray for the students as they recover from this brutal assault and that they will stand firm in their faith in the face of intimidation. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 11 hours ago

    • In an earlier incident in Saisomboon village, three teenage Christian girls were disqualified from taking their final school examinations because of their faith. The village chief said that in following Christianity, Noi (15), Net (15) and Nut (14) had forfeited their right to education. Five families from the village have now converted to Christianity. A spokesman for Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom expressed the view that the authorities were trying to find every possible way “to stop the spread of Christian religious freedom in the area”. Pray that the girls will be allowed to complete their education and that opposition to the Christians in the village will cease. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Aug 2014 00:00

    • Five Christians have been charged with murder in Laos after a sick woman sought prayer at her local church, converted to Christianity and later died. Mrs Chan, from Saisomboon village in Savannakhet province, had been ill for two years when she approached the church. Her health improved for a short time, and she and her eight grown-up children came to faith in Christ. The sons and daughters wanted a Christian burial ceremony, but the authorities forbade this unless they renounced their faith, which they refused to do. When Christians in the area protested, five were arrested and subsequently charged with Mrs Chan’s murder. Pray that the God of justice will have compassion on His people (Isaiah 30:18) and ensure their acquittal from this false accusation. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Fri, Aug 2014 00:00

    • A Christian from Loynam village in the Savannakhet province of Laos was arrested on the morning of 29 May and tied to a post before being imprisoned. Two weeks earlier, police and village security officers had gone to Mr Sort’s home and threatened him with eviction from the village and confiscation of all his property if he did not give up his faith. He refused, despite repeated attempts to coerce him. The village chief then seized around £300 of Mr Sort’s money. Give thanks that our brother, who has been a Christian for less than two years, has stood firm in his faith, and ask the Lord to renew his courage and strength (1 Corinthians 16:13). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Thu, Aug 2014 00:00

    • Iraqi Christians are losing even previously safe havens under the relentless assault of ISIS. On 25 June, the militant group attacked the historic Christian town of Qaraqosh, near Mosul, driving its mainly Christian population of around 40,000 to flee. Many Christians from Mosul had gone there after the fall of their own city earlier in the month. Kurdish forces were able to repel ISIS from the town, allowing some people to return to their homes for the time being, but their security remains extremely precarious. Pray that the ISIS advance will be stopped and that the Iraqi security forces will be able to regain the captured territory. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Aug 2014 00:00

    © Barnabas Fund 1997 - 2014 All rights reserved.
    Barnabas Fund & Barnabas Aid are registered trade marks