Westminster 8

Sammy receives Open Door World Watch report 

Persecution of Christians on the increase across the world
 
Recently I attended the Parliamentary launch of the Open Doors organisation report on the persecution of Christians across the world.
 
This organisation does excellent work monitoring the discrimination against, attacks on, and imprisonment of Christians across the world highlighting the countries where persecution is most rife.
 
Persecution can take many forms. In some cases it is high profile and grabs media headlines such as the widespread and public crucifixions of Christians by ISIL in places like Iraq and Syria to the insidious below the media radar day to day discrimination and violence which occurs in Saudia Arabia, Pakistan, India and numerous other countries. This takes the form of discriminatory laws, exclusion from employment, denial of education and lack of protection from the state when violent acts are carried out against Christians.
 
In Pakistan young Christian girls are frequently raped by Muslims and the police turn a blind eye. In India there are 15 serious assaults on Christians every week and no action is taken by the authorites. In North Korea there are 70,000 Christians imprisoned and on past trends it is expected that few will come out of jail alive. In Somalia and Saudia Arabia to publicly declare your Christian faith risks being beheaded.
 
Of the 34,000 people who flee their homes every week because of persecution and violence the highest percentage are Christians. Even when they reach what many regard as the safety of refugee camps they are not safe because within the camps they are attacked by the predominantly Muslim refugees. This does not only happen in camps based in the Middle East it has happened in the camp in Calais. In one incident a Christian had his lips stitched together for proclaiming his faith. In refugee camps in Germany there has been widespread violence against Christians where hundreds have required hospital treatment after being beaten and scores have been raped by muslim refugees in the same camps.
 
Our government should be more active in raising the treatment of Christians directly with Governments and at the United Nations. We should stop aid payments to those countries where there is a refusal by Governments to step in and protect Christians or even worse where Governments encourage and facilitate persecution such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. We could impose trade sanctions on some of these countries or directly aid persecuted groups by supporting them through paying for rebuilding of churches, training teachers encouraging Christian businesses and in places like Syria giving monetary help to enable Christians to rebuild their homes once their areas have been cleansed of the rebel forces who drove them out.
 
Open Doors has done a great job in opening eyes to the horrendous treatment of Christians across the world it is important that churches and individuals lobby the government of our country to act.

Meeting with Pastor Aminu from Nigeria at Open Doors event

Sammy met with Nigerian Pastor Aminu at an Open Door’s event at Westminster last week.
 
Sammy said he was greatly moved by the story which Pastor Aminu told MP’s and Members of the House of Lords.
 
He is a Pastor in a province in the North Eastern part of Nigeria where Boko Haram, who are a Muslim terror group, have been very active since before Christmas.
 
Pastor Aminu’s congregation has been diminished from 500 to 14 in the period from 14 November 2016 when Muslim’s in the area engaged in a pogrom against the Christians. Over that period he has buried scores of his congregation who have been murdered in their homes at night and the rest of them have had to flee the area for their own safety. There have been a number of attempts on his life but he is determined to continue to serve God in the area to which he has been called.
 
The actions against Christians are nothing new in this area because there has been Government sponsored discrimination on a systematic scale against Christians for many years. Christians are not allowed to stand for election, they are not allowed to hold posts in schools above the rank of teacher, they are barred from positions within the civil service and Christian students are not admitted to courses in Universities. Indeed Pastor Aminu’s own son has been refused a place to study law in the University that serves his area.
 
Whilst this Government sponsored discrimination and whilst the Government turns a blind eye to the systematic killing of Christians, the UK Government continues to give billions of pounds of aid to Nigeria on a yearly basis.
 
I believe that the Minister responsible for foreign aid ought to be attaching conditions to any money that is given to the Nigerian Government to ensure that the freedom of religion and the human rights of Christians in Nigeria are protected by law.
 
I will be urging the Government to stand up for Christians who are persecuted in Nigeria and to use financial leverage to bring pressure on the Nigerian Government to deal with this scourge of Muslim terrorism against the Christian population.
 
I would encourage people to pray for brave people like Pastor Aminu who will be leaving London this week to go back to an area where, as he told the gathering in Westminster, he may well lose his life because of his faith.
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