International Freedom of Religion or Belief Day — [Mr Charles Walker in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 1:56 pm on 25th October 2018.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Jeremy Lefroy Jeremy Lefroy Conservative, Stafford 1:56 pm, 25th October 2018

I congratulate Jim Shannon on a wide-ranging speech that covered many areas. I know colleagues will mention many countries of concern across the world; I will focus on what we can do here. Today, we are standing up in Parliament to say how important freedom of religious faith and belief is to all of us, as it is to many colleagues who are not here. It is the responsibility of this country, faith leaders and indeed individual worshippers and people of no faith to stand up, regardless of their faith, for all those around the world who are being persecuted.

I was born an Anglican and worship in a Baptist church, so I call on the leaders of those Churches and of all faith groups in this country to get up every time there is a problem with persecution—there are such problems most of the time—and say, “As a Christian, I abhor the persecution by Christians of a minority,” or, “As a Muslim, I abhor the persecution of members of other faiths—Christians, Hindus or Buddhists—by a Muslim majority country.” I would like to see that, because sometimes, I fear, we are hot on looking at the persecution of people who share our faith—it is right and important that we are—but a little less vocal when it comes to the persecution of others. The hon. Gentleman and my hon. Friend Andrew Selous mentioned the case in China that has been highlighted by the BBC. It is vital that, as Christians, we stand up for Muslims who, reports suggest, are being targeted there.