Wilson Chowdhry with Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali and Zoe Baldock from Open Doors UK.
The former Bishop of Rochester, Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali addressed a packed audience for a debate on Freedom of Belief and the Persecution of Christians on Wednesday (30 January 2013).
The event was hosted by Rehman in Parliament and included residents and representatives from local Churches and religious groups in Gillingham and Rainham along with national and international charities.
Bishop Michael described the ongoing persecution in the "Islamic world" using several countries including Pakistan, Egypt and Syria as a focus for his lecture.
Bishop Michael estimated that religious freedom is threatened in 130 out of 193 countries in the world, where Christians are the victims in 80% of cases. Bishop Michael has written extensively on this subject and reminded us about the importance of tolerance."
Bishop Michael also spoke on the erosion of Christian values and heritage that once were an important baseline for structuring the laws and moral codes for the UK. He described this removal of one set of values for a more open and constantly churning moral view, as a reason for the decline in social cohesion and increased friction. He feared that challenges to the established church had resulted in a marginalized faith, in which our values and freedoms were being attacked, often for no more reason then the ability to do so.
Wilson Chowdhry who attended the lecture said;
"This revealing event highlighted the severity of attacks on the global Christian Community. Bishop Michael spoke of the church being in a state of slumber, which is true. While part of our body is hurting many of us are ignorant of their plight. Many parishioners throughout the UK are unaware that Christians exist in Pakistan or the Middle East? If we wish to stem the marginalization of Christians in the UK, firstly we should learn lessons from the treatment of Christians in the Islamic world. Their erosion of rights began with small legal changes that undermined their status, this resulted in loss of employment and education leaving a weakened community with no effective voice. If we are to avoid a similar fate we must speak up for them now and in the same breath save ourselves from a similar fate."
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