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MAJOR CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS GROWING CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION

A key conference on Christian persecution is being staged in Truro on June 6.

Working alongside CSW, Aid to the Church in Need and HART (Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust), Release International is supporting A global persecution of Christians: Where do we go from here?

The conference, staged by Caucus for the Persecuted Church, takes place at Truro Methodist Church from 10am to 4.30pm on June 6.

Fiona Bruce MP, PM’s Special Envoy on Freedom of Religion or Belief

The Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Fiona Bruce MP, will be giving a keynote address, along with Bishop Philip Mounstephen, whose Truro Review into Christian persecution has been accepted as government policy.

Other key speakers include Baroness Cox of HART, Mervyn Thomas of CSW, John Pontifex of Aid to the Church in Need and Release International CEO Paul Robinson.

Persecution rising

Conference speakers will provide an overview of Christian persecution, which is increasing around the world.

Fiona Bruce stated in May: ‘Some 360m Christians across the world suffer persecution for their faith. Somewhere in the world every two hours a Christian is killed for their faith.’

‘Shocked by the scale of persecution.’ Bishop Philip Mounstephen

Her appointment was the result of a government review in 2018 by the Bishop of Truro into the UK’s response to growing Christian persecution.

Bishop Philip Mounstephen said he was stunned by what his research uncovered. ‘I was shocked by the scale, the scope and the severity of the phenomena. Christian persecution is global – and it’s not just about Islam.’

Release International contributed to Bishop Philip’s investigation. His Review has now become government policy, impacting the UK’s approach to aid and trade.

Nigeria

Countries under scrutiny at the Truro Conference are expected to include Nigeria, where more Christians are being killed than in any other nation.

Conference speaker Baroness Caroline Cox says between 13,000 and 19,000 Nigerians have been killed since 2009, many for their faith. She writes: ‘The violence appears designed to reduce the number of Christians in the region.’

She concludes: ‘The attacks… may rise to the level of ethnic cleansing or even genocide.’

Growing levels of violence are also being noted in the neighbouring Sahel region of Africa, where Islamist terrorism is on the rise.

Intolerance

Release International produces an annual Persecution Trends report, which this year highlighted Nigeria, the Sahel, and India as areas of growing persecution.

Paul Robinson, CEO Release International

Paul Robinson, Release International CEO, said: ‘In many nations, we see a rising tide of intolerance towards Christians, accompanied by an increase in violence. Islamist militants are becoming more aggressive in Africa, as they attempt to drive Christians from the land.

‘The violent intolerance of these insurgents is being mirrored in India, where right-wing religious nationalists are attempting to eliminate the Christian presence in parts of the country.

‘Intolerance and persecution are set to get worse with growing food and climate insecurity.’

Release International is active in around 30 countries worldwide, working through partners to prayerfully, pastorally and practically support the families of Christian martyrs, prisoners of faith and their families; Christians suffering oppression and violence, and Christians forced to flee.