Persecution of Christians

Church Commissioners – in the House of Commons on 26th November 2020.

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Photo of Rehman Chishti Rehman Chishti Conservative, Gillingham and Rainham

What steps the Church of England is taking to prevent the persecution of Christians throughout the world.

Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous The Second Church Estates Commissioner

I would like to thank my hon. Friend for the enormous dedication and energy he put into this issue as the Prime Minister’s special envoy for religious freedom. The Church of England continues to press for the implementation of all the Truro report recommendations and challenges Governments and other faith leaders around the world who do not respect freedom of religion or belief.

Photo of Rehman Chishti Rehman Chishti Conservative, Gillingham and Rainham

I thank my hon. Friend for his kind words. Recently around the world, including in Nice and Vienna, evil acts have been committed in the name of religion. Pope Francis said in 2018:

“Every religious leader is called to unmask any attempt to manipulate God for ends that have nothing to do with him or his glory.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury expressed similar views in 2016 on tackling extremism through theological dialogue. Can my hon. Friend confirm what steps are being taken by the Church to work with other faith leaders around the world to further address the issue of persecutions of Christians, who are the largest persecuted faith in the world, and to address the issue of other individuals of all faiths being persecuted for their faith through theological and inter-faith dialogue?

Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous The Second Church Estates Commissioner

My hon. Friend will know that there is a debate later today on this very subject, and he is absolutely right about the importance of inter-faith dialogue, which is why three years ago the Anglican primates launched an inter-faith commission to build mutual understanding and trust between different faiths. The Archbishop of Canterbury, who has a particular heart for reconciliation, said it

“will bring together the wisest people across the Communion to work on this area in the places of highest tension with the aim of replacing diversity in conflict with diversity in collaboration.”