LONDON – Great Britain’s Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, ordered a review today into the escalation of persecution of Christians around the world. Current estimates are that 250 Christians die every month as a result of persecution-related violence.
The aim of the reviews is to determine what the UK can do aid what is now more than 215 million Christians who live under the burden of discrimination and violence.
The review will focus on countries in MENA and Asia where violence has been reported repeatedly. In addition to mapping persecution of Christians in those countries, Hunt has given the Bishop of Truro a mandate to provide a thorough analysis of British government support and offer recommendations for a “cohesive and comprehensive policy response.”
Hunt noted that just a century ago, Christians comprised 20 percent of the population in the Middle East. Today they number fewer than five percent.
The International Society for Human Rights says that 80 percent of all acts of religious discrimination around the world are perpetrated against Christians.
Even though Great Britain has “long championed international religious freedom,” the Foreign Secretary said that he was not convinced that his country’s response to the threats facing Christians has “matched the scale of the problem.”
He postulated that one of the reasons the UK may have failed to reach out effectively has been because of their own awareness of the country’s colonial history. Regardless, Hunt said, “We must never allow a misguided political correctness . . . inhibit our response to the persecution of any religious community.”
Philip Mounstephen, the Bishop of Truro, agreed that “It is not in our national character to turn a blind eye to suffering. All religious minorities must be protected.” He added that the country should be willing to face the fact that Christians are the target of the greatest threats of persecution globally. His report to Hunt is due by Easter.
Hunt said that Great Britain must do more because “So often, the persecution of Christians is a telling, early warning sign of the persecution of every minority.”
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- GOV.uk, Foreign Secretary announces global review into persecution of Christians
- BBC News, Jeremy Hunt orders review into persecuted Christians’ plight
- Ted Eytan from Washington, DC, USA [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons