Safeguarding Policy

St.Alban’s has a safeguarding policy. Concerns about safeguarding should be raised with Mrs.L.Lewis, Tel 01709 544618.

postheadericon Government urged to do more for Christians fleeing from Islamic State

Government urged to do more for Christians fleeing from Islamic State

“We are proud to die for Christ.” With these words, three orphans and two nuns secured their release from their ISIS hostage-takers, according to a participant in a meeting at Westminster Central Hall on the crisis facing Syrian Christians last Monday (26 October). The London summit drew together representatives of Christian communities in Syria and Egypt, members of British Universities, representatives of the Bishops of Coventry, Peterborough and Europe, NGOs and advisers to the Archbishops’ Council and the Mission and Public Affairs Council.

The aim of the meeting was to debate how to secure the safety of Christian Communities in Syria and in the camps in Jordan, along with Yazidis, members of the gay community (some of whom have died most appalling deaths), women and large numbers of Muslims also targeted by ISIS. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has argued that no one group should be disadvantaged in the allocation of visas.

Organised by the Barnabas fund, its international director Patrick Sookhdeo was joined by Canon Andrew White, the President of the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East. The two were grateful for the ‘outstanding compassion’ of British Christians in their response to the crisis. The work of the Archbishops of York and Canterbury was also acknowledged, as was the contribution of Archbishop Idowu-Fearon of the ACC. However, they also had criticisms to make of the British Government because of its inaction in the face of the threat from ISIS. They also claimed that DflD was discriminating in who should receive help, and they accused the British media of being silent in their reporting. They pointed to the death threat hanging over 180 Christian hostages, for whom ISIS had demanded a ransom of £50000 per person.

It was emphasized that no ransom would be forthcoming, since there was no guarantee that it would secure their freedom, it would only encourage further kidnappings and fund more arms for ISIS. The meeting heard claims that the UK Government seemed to be blind to the reality that for Syrian Christians the options are convert, be killed or flee. Speakers said it was contradictory for the Government to argue for the EU to embrace Turkey while Turkey had called for an IS Consulate in Ankara. Some pointed instead to the response of the Australian Government in taking 12,000 Christian refugees. And Canberra’s system of allowing private sponsorship of refugees was also praised. Home Secretary Theresa May also outlined proposals for a similar private sponsorship system in the UK in her speech to the Conservative Party Conference in October. However, since then there has been little action on the part of the UK Government. Views were expressed that this might be related to the funding of UK institutions and businesses from Gulf States.

Last week two members of the House of Lords made an appeal to the Prime Minister to welcome Christian refugees. Lord Alton and Baroness Cox pointed out that nearby states were more kidly disposed to accepting Muslim refugees but the situation was not the same for Christians. There were calls for a liberalising of the rules to allow some Eastern European states to accept more Christian refugees. So far this has had a cool reception in Brussels. It was suggested that such a policy may result in those states being excluded from the Schengen visa zone.

Church of England Newspaper 28 October 2015

Notice Board

Leave a Reply