The email below arrived in my in box today from Open Doors UK. It’s very good to see that there are plenty of MPs taking the issue of Christian persecution seriously and also that the Foreign Office has made a clear positive statement too. EDM 2371 states that:
That this House commends the progress made by the Algerian government towards creating an open and democratic society, in which individuals have the right to freedom of conscience and freedom of religious belief; welcomes the formal recognition given to Christians through the Eglise Protestante d’Algrie; expresses regret and concern that Ordinance 06-03 continues to restrict freedom of worship and expression of faith for individual Christians and churches in Algeria, giving opportunity for people to be fined or jailed for practising their faith; and calls on the Algerian government to repeal Ordinance 06-03 in the interests of progressing their objective of building a fully open, democratic and free society.
Early Day Motions (EDMs) are formal motions submitted for debate in the House of Commons. Few are actually debated, but EDMs do allow MPs to draw attention to an event or cause. MPs register their support by signing individual motions.
Persecution on the agenda in Parliament
Many of you asked your MPs to sign EDM 2371 on Religious Freedom in Algeria and the response has been fantastic!
The EDM has now reached a great 93 signatures, and many MPs who didn’t sign nonetheless communicated their support for freedom of religion. The Foreign Office also directly commended the EDM, writing:
I agree with the focus of EDM 2371 on the importance of freedom of religion and its balanced assessment of the situation in Algeria…The British Government considers human rights, including the right to freedom of religion, indivisible from our foreign policy objectives.
Your emails have helped to raise general awareness amongst MPs about the reality of Christian persecution. In the first two weeks of Parliament this year, Christian persecution was unprecedentedly raised in two debates and multiple parliamentary questions. MPs have also put forward an Early Day Motion about Christians in Nigeria »
We will be in Parliament next week to attend a Select Committee on British foreign policy and the ‘Arab Spring’: the transition to democracy. We are sending a briefing to the Committee to emphasise that freedom of religion is a vital component of any meaningful democracy. Also, we are planning to visit the Nigerian High Commissioner and the Algerian Ambassador to present your concerns face-to-face.
Please thank God for the present awareness of the persecution of Christians amongst Parliament and pray that these future meetings will be fruitful.
Keep Parliament Talking about Persecution
In October we were contacted by a political correspondent who wanted to report on the public briefing, Religious Freedom in Algeria. He has since put forward an e-petition asking the Government to take action on the persecution of Christians.
E-petitions are a great way for the public to indicate their concerns to the UK Government. If they get at least 100,000 signatures the subject of the e-petition will be eligible for debate in the House of Commons.