On 19th July 2018 Baroness Berridge asked the Government “what plans, if any, they have to appoint an Ambassador on Freedom of Religion or Belief.” The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, I too extend my congratulations and those of the Lords spiritual to the noble Lord, Lord Ahmad, on this appointment. Does he agree that in several countries of the Middle East, where the Christian faith has existed since the time of the apostles—Iraq, Syria and Egypt among them—the scale of persecution renders the condition of the remaining Christian communities one of great humanitarian priority?
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: I absolutely agree with the right reverend Prelate. I assure him that one of the primary motivations behind my right honourable friend appointing me to the role is exactly that: the increasing concern about the plight of Christian minorities across north Africa and the Middle East. There are always, however, glimmers of hope in that grey cloud. Recently, I visited Tunisia and Algeria. As the right reverend Prelate may know, because of our diplomatic efforts and those of others, Algeria has announced the reopening of two of the churches it had closed. As I arrived, I was pleased to be informed that a third church that had been closed has now been reopened. Christian minorities in that part of the world and beyond are an important priority and part of my role.