LETTER TO OUR NEW PRIME MINISTER
The Rt Hon Boris Johnson, MP,
Office of the Prime Minister,
10 Downing Street,
London SW1A 2AA
Dear Prime Minister
May I take this opportunity to offer you my warmest congratulations on your appointment.
And also to say that Release International, like many Christian individuals and organisations in the UK, will be praying for the Government in the weeks and months ahead.
As I am sure you are aware the British Government last week pledged to accept in full all the recommendations of the Bishop of Truro’s report for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office to protect Christians from persecution around the world. The Government’s decision to champion persecuted Christians and put their plight front and centre of government policy will send a vital message to governments everywhere that this violence has to stop.
Christians in the UK including organisations such as Release, which supports believers around the world suffering persecution, were encouraged by this pledge to take the protection of Christians into the very heart of government policy. We were also delighted by your own recent pledge to ‘prioritise protecting religious freedoms and stand up for those facing persecution’.
We stand firmly with you in that and offer you our full support in making that a reality on the ground. As you will know, Christians in many countries do not experience the same freedom to express their faith as we enjoy in the UK. For example, in Nigeria, thousands of Christian villagers are being slaughtered by militants opposed to the Christian faith, in China churches are being closed and their leaders arrested and detained, in North Korea they are imprisoned for their faith, and in Pakistan falsely accused under blasphemy laws and separated from their families for what can be many years. The recent case of Asia Bibi is just one example.
The Bishop of Truro’s report highlighted definitively that Christians are far and away the most persecuted religious group in the world today. And according to research by the annual Pew Report* Christians face harassment in a staggering 143 countries. The report uncovered a record increase in restrictions on religion imposed by many governments around the world. It also found violence and harassment against religious groups were on the rise.
In light of this we are immensely grateful that the UK government is saying that the world will no longer be able to turn a blind eye to discrimination and violence against Christians. As you take steps to implement the Bishop of Truro’s recommendations, please be assured of the support and prayers of many Christians in the UK.
We were delighted to be part of the Bishop’s review and will continue to make ourselves available to support official initiatives to help persecuted Christians around the world.
Please be assured of our very best intentions at all times.
*Pew Research Center, A Closer Look at How Religious Restrictions Have Risen Around the World, July 2019.