Speaking during a parliamentary debate, Fiona Bruce MP highlighted increasing reports of “extreme persecution”, especially in the Middle East.
Bruce said that Christians in the region “have suffered from a domino effect of violence that began in Iraq, spread to Syria and overshadows Egypt, leaving the survival of the Church in jeopardy.”
“We should be crying out with the same abhorrence and horror that we feel about the atrocities towards Jews on Kristallnacht and on other occasions during the Second World War,” she said.
Bruce made these remarks leading a Westminster Hall Adjournment Debate on the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, making reference to the recently-released report, Persecuted and Forgotten? A Report on Christians oppressed for their Faith 2011-2013.In the report, the UK-based international charity, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), indicated that intolerance against Christians had increased in 20 of the 30 countries under review.
She went on to say: “The ACN report discusses how in virtually every country in and around the [Middle East], Christians report suffering either high, high to extreme, or extreme persecution.”
Due to the “global implications” of this persecution against Christians, she called on the UK government to respond.
In response to the debate, Foreign Office Minister, Hugo Swire MP, said, “Protecting human rights, including religious freedom, is an important part of British foreign policy.”
Other MPs present at the debate also highlighted the global reality of Christian persecution.
Christians face persecution in some 130 countries worldwide, said David Simpson MP, who went on to offer the following statistic: “Every hour, a Christian is tortured and murdered somewhere in the world.”
“Surely, in this day and age, something more can be done to protect people and their faith,” he said.
“The term ‘Christian persecution’ is sometimes bandied about carelessly,” said David Burrowes MP. “If there is Christian persecution in this country then at worst its victim is likely to be sued, but in the Middle East the victim will be killed. That is the stark reality that we are facing.”
In Malaysia, said Tom Geatrex MP, the Bible has been “effectively outlawed,” especially in the eastern part of the country. He also spoke about “the recent decision in Malaysia to ban Christians from using the word ‘Allah”, which has been used in Malay as a term for God for centuries.”
Bruce expressed the concern that “Western countries are not fully grappling with this problem.”
She expressed her hope that, “as a result [of this debate], we will have many more debates in the House on the persecution of Christians” to motivate the UK government to take action against the persecution of Christians worldwide.