Prime Minister's religious freedom envoy says Government is acting on persecution recommendations

Neville Kyrke-Smith, Baroness Nicholson and Rehman Chishti hold a #RedWednesday banner(Photo: ACN)

The Prime Minister's Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief has sought to assure Christians that the Government and Boris Johnson are taking persecution seriously.

Speaking at Aid to the Church in Need's RedWednesday event this week, Rehman Chishti promised that the Government was taking action to implement the recommendations of the Bishop of Truro's review into persecution. 

The review, published in the summer, warned that the persecution of Christians worldwide was reaching genocidal levels and urged the UK Government to initiate a UN Security Council resolution aimed at protecting freedom of religion or belief for all people of faith. 

Mr Chishti said that the Government "will take each recommendation forward". 

"The Prime Minister has made it very clear that the UK government will take seriously the issues of religious freedom," he said.

He continued: "It's a priority for the Prime Minister, it's a priority for the Foreign Secretary and it's a priority for me as the Prime Minister's Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief."

#RedWednesday is held each year by ACN to highlight the reality of persecution and sees landmark buildings lit up red in an act of solidarity with those who are suffering because of their beliefs. 

ACN's national director Neville Kyrke-Smith told parliamentarians and faith leaders from the Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Christian communities that the next government must be held to account on the implementation of the Truro Review's recommendations.

He said: "We will need to challenge the new government to follow up on these promises and the report which was backed in parliament."

A service at Westminster Cathedral also heard from Edwin Suker, Vice President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, who had to leave Baghdad as a child because of religious bigotry.

He said: "History teaches us that what starts with an attack on one faith never stops there. Once the Jews were made to leave Iraq, all the other faith groups had to too."