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Editorial supervisor, Dr. Helmy Guirguis
 
Dr. Helmy Guirguis 71, the president of the UK Copts, passed away on the 31 of January, 2015 after a struggle with illness. UK Copts mourns its founder and leader. He is a leader that touched so many by his life and has been fighting for the coptic case till his last breath. The commemoration mass for his 40th day will be held on Sunday 15th of March, 2014 starting 8 AM in Saint Mary and Saint Mark Coptic Orthodox Centre of Birmingham (Lapworth) .For commiserations, please send us an email to info@copts.co.uk

MPs debate persecution of Christians

 



MPs raised concerns over the increasing persecution of Christians in the Middle East in a debate held in Westminster Hall this week.

“Extreme suffering”

Conservative MP Fiona Bruce, who led the debate, warned that in relation to Christian persecution virtually every country around the Middle East region “reported suffering of either high, high to extreme or extreme suffering,” according to a 2011 report published by Aid to the Church in Need.

She added: “That includes Egypt, Yemen, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan across to Pakistan. In virtually every one it has got worse since their last report in 2011, except Iraq and there only because there was such large scale attacks in the period of 2009 to 2010.”

“More than one comment has been made to me that to address this particular issue, the persecution of Christians, could be seen as promoting some sort of colonial or neo-colonial attitudes.

“May I respectfully say I really do think we must get over that. We must find a way round that. It must not inhibit us from acting. Millions of people's lives and livelihoods are at stake here.”

Conservative MP David Burrowes said that 80 per cent of all persecution is aimed at Christians, whilst Ms Bruce warned that the presence of Christianity in five continents could soon be lost as a result of the on-going atrocities.

Tortured and murdered

MPs were told that Christians are persecuted in an estimated 130 countries around the world, with a Christian being tortured and murdered every hour.

Responding to the statistics, Ms Bruce told MPs: “We should be crying out with the same abhorrence and horror as we have towards the terrible atrocities against the Jews of Kristallnacht and at other times in Germany at the time of the Second World War.”

Ms Bruce said that examples of persecution included the recent treatment of four Iranian Christians who were sentenced to 80 lashes for drinking wine for Communion, whilst Ceredigion Liberal Democrat MP Mark Williams said that 450,000 Christians in Iran are denied access to Bibles in their language.

“Illegal to publish Bible”

He said: “Christians are not allowed to express their faith openly, whether through the written or spoken word. Indeed, it is illegal to publish the Bible in Farsi, which means that Christians are forbidden from worshipping in their own language.

“A couple of weeks ago, my church celebrated Bible Sunday; in Wales, we were celebrating the translation of the Bible into Welsh. I find it difficult to imagine what it must be like to have to practise religion in a foreign language.”

He added: “Christian men and women in Iran are treated as foreigners in their own land, particularly converts from Islam, who are considered more than simply foreigners or second-class citizens; they are considered traitors and are routinely sentenced to death or face trumped-up charges for converting.

“It is no small wonder that so many have been forced to flee Iran. One of the greatest exoduses of people across the modern world has been people fleeing Iran.”

Also contributing to the debate, shadow Foreign Office minister Ian Lucas, called on governments of the countries involved to be reminded to follow their commitments under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948

Mr Lucas said: "The irony in all of this is many of the signatories of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 are the countries that we've referred to. Egypt, Iran, Syria - all countries that have signed up."

Watch the full debate here (BBC)>

___________________________________________

Christian Concern

http://www.christianconcern.com/our-concerns/mps-debate-persecution-of-christians

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