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Wednesday, 23 October 2013

House of Lords discusses persecution of Christian's outside of Britain and the challenges faced by Christian asylum seekers to the UK.

A gathering of humanitarians of different faiths convened at the House of Lords yesterday at a meeting hosted by Baroness Berrige, Chair All Party Parliamentary Group on International Freedom of Religion and Belief.  In attendance were His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop, Coptic Orthodox Church, United Kingdom,  Rubab Mehdi Rizvi, Chair Person International Human Rights Association,  Lord Ahmed of Rotheram,  Nadeem Ali, Mayor Waltham Forest,  Professor Iain Benson, Barrister, Professor Extraordinary, Faculty of Law, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, Executive Committee Member. Global Centre for Pluralism, Toronto, Canada,  Lord Avebury, Vice-Chair Parliamentary Human Rights Group,  Toaha Qureshi, MBE,  Cameron Younis, Pakistani Christian,  Rev'd Canon Dr Shannon Ledbetter, Community Canon, Blackburn Cathedral and Wilson Chowdhry Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association.

The meeting focused on the process of Asylum in the UK and the exiting persecution of Christians and other minorities abroad.  

Lord Avebury commented on the existing Asylum process indicating that overall his perception was that the existing framework was correct, but clarifying he would be interested to hear about way to improve the process.  

Cameron Younis a Pakistani Christian described how he had started two schools to stem the growing illiteracy amongst the Christians in Pakistan.  

Canon Shanon Ledbetter chaired the meeting and spoke of the need for people of good conscience from within major faiths, to promote unity amongst their congregations.

Bishop Angaelos form the Coptic Orthodox Church siad;

"Democracy and Theocracy cannot live together."  He added; "We need pious people who use their faith to care for all segments of society."

Professor Iain Benson said; "We all need a richer conception of our obligations in Society"  

Professor Benson shared a paradigm for the espousal of a better global society, and Wilson Chowdhry Chairman of the BPCA questioned him on how feasible it was, for nations such as Pakistan with their adoption of a Theocratic constitution and laws, to engage with such methodology.  Especially where the model required proper assessment of the needs of "Associational Groupings," meaning that minority needs would have to be equally prioritised.

Professor Benson replied; 

"It will be very difficult but a paradigm shift is necessary and it may require revolution."

Wilson responded by seeking clarification on whether Professor Benson would support sanctions from the United Nations, European Union and stronger nations, to bring change to Pakistan and other nations with poor humanitarian records.  

Professor Benson said;

"Yes it is imperative we use all available resource to bring change, and bodies such as these should undertake the functions they were created for"

At the end of the meeting Wilson Chowdhry said;

"Recent incidents of persecution in the Islamic World, have highlighted concerns regarding the safety of Christians.  The effects of these attacks reverberate across the globe and create unnecessary tension in more harmonious societies.  This accumulated hurt is an undesirable social malaise, that can only be cured through a more proactive global effort to restore dignity to the oppressed."

Canon Shanon and Baroness Berrige.

Bishop Angaelos considers the evidence before him.

Rubab Mehdi Rizvi spoke of the hope for a better Pakistan.

Professor Iain Benson

Wilson Chowdhry and Canon Shanon


  1. Hopefully they will change the plight of our voiceless Christian community under fear of false accusations of blasphemy laws and extreme hatred towards religious minorities in Pakistan which was never intended by the Founder of Pakistan.