On 21st May 2018, Lord Ahmed tabled an Oral Question ‘To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to encourage Iran and Saudi Arabia to work together to bring peaceful solutions to the conflicts in Syria and Yemen.’ The Bishop of Worcester, the Rt Revd Dr John Inge, asked a follow up question:
The Bishop of Worcester: My Lords, does the Minister accept the continuing pressing need to improve religious literacy, not least concerning Sunni and Shia, within and without Whitehall if we in this country are properly to understand, let alone address, the problems to which reference has been made? Continue reading “Bishop of Worcester asks about religious literacy in Government, especially of Islam”
On 15th May 2018, Lord Ahmad repeated the answer to an urgent question asked in the House of Commons on violence at the Gaza border and its impact on the Middle East peace process. The Bishop of Worcester, the Rt Revd John Inge, responded:
The Lord Bishop of Worcester: My Lords, I am grateful to Her Majesty’s Government for the careful yet very specific response they have given to the appalling loss of life at the border between Gaza and the state of Israel yesterday. The thoughts and prayers of this Bench are with all those affected. It is good to know that the Minister supports an independent review of what happened. At the same time, will the Minister agree that, while the United Kingdom recognises the integrity of the border—and, indeed, of all Israel’s pre-1967 borders—and the security of Israel’s prosperous and pluriform society, the defence of its interests must offer tangible hope to those with whom it hopes to engage in dialogue? The phrase, “a glimmer of hope” was mentioned a moment ago. I was in Gaza about four years ago. The situation then was desperate and deteriorating. It is infinitely worse now. What real, substantial hope can be given to those who live in what is effectively a vast open prison? Continue reading “Bishop of Worcester asks Government about ‘real, substantial hope’ for Gaza”
On 15th March 2018 the Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, received answers to six questions on Jerusalem, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Church Lands Bill:
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 6 November 2017 (HL2966), what is their assessment of (1) the Status Quo as it refers to the relations between the Christian Communities of the Holy Land with the governments of that region, and (2) Her Majesty’s Government’s historic and current responsibilities in maintaining and defending that agreement. Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark asks Government about Israel: Church of the Holy Sepulchre and Church Lands Bill”
On 25th January 2018 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered questions from MPs on marriage registration, vocations, gay conversion therapy, Christians in the Middle East, and counter terrorism measures at York Minster and other religious premises. The full transcript is below:
Continue reading “Church Commissioners’ Questions – marriage, vocations, gay conversion therapy, Middle East Christians, counter terrorism”
On 11th July 2017 the Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, received a written answer to a question on the supply of electricity in Palestine:
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, what steps they are taking to respond to the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza, following the decision by the government of Israel to implement a request from the Palestinian Authority to reduce the flow of electricity supplies from Israel to Gaza. Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark asks Government about humanitarian situation in Gaza”
On 5th July 2017 the House of Lords held a short debate on a question from Lord Turnberg, “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to mark the centenary of the Balfour Declaration in November.” The Bishop of Chester, Rt Revd Peter Forster, spoke in the debate.
The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, I want to make two points in my two-penn’orth of time.
First, the Balfour Declaration did not arise in a vacuum and in part reflected the very considerable contribution made by Jewish people, mainly recent immigrants of course, to Britain and the then war effort. To take an obvious example, it was a Jewish chemist at the University of Manchester who devised a clever new way to manufacture acetone from sugar and carbohydrate. It was a vital chemical in short supply for the manufacture of cordite. That chemist, Chaim Weizmann, went on to become the first President of the State of Israel. Continue reading “Bishop of Chester on the Balfour Declaration”
On 4th July 2017 Lord Howell of Guildford moved “that this House takes note of the Report from the International Relations Committee The Middle East: Time for a New Realism (2nd Report, Session 2016–17 HL Paper 159).” The Bishop of Chester, Rt Revd Peter Forster, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, in my contribution to our debate on these complex matters, I will comment on two areas. I do so with great appreciation for the report, so comprehensively introduced by the noble Lord, Lord Howell. It is full of excellent, empirical detail. We ought also to pay attention to certain overarching factors or narratives.
For my first point, I go back 30 years to the excellent BBC series presented by the historian John Roberts, “The Triumph of the West”. A book of that title was published to accompany the series. I reread it recently and thought how perceptive and prescient it was. Perhaps politically correct censors would not allow the title these days, but John Roberts’ compelling thesis was that the essential message of contemporary history was the dominance and penetration of western civilisation, driven on by the power unleashed by modern science. The term “globalisation” had yet to be coined, but in part of course it names the phenomenon. Modern science derives from western European civilisation from the 16th century onwards and carries many of the implicit assumptions of our culture. John Roberts’ name is not as well known these days as it should be. I knew him a little because he was a history don and later warden of my old college, Merton, although in those days I was an unreconstructed and perhaps even reprobate chemist. Sadly, he died prematurely but his works are still worth reading again, as I say. Continue reading “Bishop of Chester says soft power crucial to future UK influence in Middle East”