“Misguided political correctness” had prevented the UK from providing support for Christians facing violence and discrimination around the globe.”
Christians are the “most persecuted religious group in modern times”, UK politician and Conservative leadership candidate Jeremy Hunt has revealed. If he wins the Tory leadership race, Mr Hunt said he will seek to protect Christians around the world as Prime Minister by enacting all the recommendations of a review he commissioned as Foreign Secretary last year.
He said he develop a term for anti-Christian hatred equivalent to Islamophobia and antisemitism and impose sanctions on countries that persecute Christians, adding that the UK government’s response to discrimination hasn’t always “matched the scale of the problem”.
Hunt said that “misguided political correctness” had prevented Britain from providing support for Christians facing violence and discrimination around the globe.” “At home, we all benefit from living in a tolerant, diverse society and we should not be afraid of promoting those values abroad.
“It is a sad fact that Christians are the most persecuted religious group in modern times. I am determined to show that we are on their side.”
He said that if elected he would implement all the recommendations of an independent report into their plight, published today by the Bishop of Truro.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, above, the Prime Minister’s special envoy for freedom of religion or belief, said the Government has already “acted on the rising tide of Christian persecution across the world with some success”.
He added: “We, therefore, note the findings of this independent report and will consider the recommendations carefully and how they may further enhance our work in tackling Christian persecution specifically and in strengthening our work on freedom of religion or belief.”
Comment by Jeremy Hunt
There is nothing more medieval than to despise someone on the basis of their faith. Yet across the world that is the experience of too many people.
It affects Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and Buddhists. But more than any other religious group, it affects Christians.
A quarter of a billion Christians still endure persecution.
Far from being a religion of wealthy Westerners, Christianity – true to the radical story of Christ – is still the religion of poor and marginalised groups across the world.
The situation is getting worse.
In the Middle East, the birthplace of Christianity, its followers have fallen from 20 percent of the population to just five.
Attacks on churches and on the rights of people to freely associate are commonplace.
This really matters.
Christianity is perhaps the world’s truly global faith.
It can be a tripwire for other forms of persecution and oppression.
If Christians are suffering you can be sure other minorities are as well.
In the UK we benefit immensely from being part of a society that welcomes difference and shows tolerance towards others.
I want to be a Prime Minister that stands up for these values across the world.
In the course of this review, it has become clear that we do not always do enough.
Whether it is because of political correctness, or post-colonial guilt, I will put an end to this failure.
The Archbishop of Truro has made recommendations that, as Prime Minister, I will carry out.
It means using our fantastic diplomatic network to even greater effect, and flexing our considerable muscle at the UN.
Last week I met Canon Andrew White, the vicar of Baghdad, who witnessed the brutality of Isis.
I take for granted the right to pray without having to fear for your life.
We must stand up for those who are not so lucky.