Archbishop of Canterbury asks Government for pressure on universities over antisemitism on campus

Canterbury171018On 4th November 2019 Lord Leigh of Hurley asked the Government “how many universities in England have adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism; and what steps they intend to take in respect of those which have not”. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, I declare an interest as president of the Council of Christians and Jews, founded in the depths of the Second World War by Chief Rabbi Hertz and Archbishop William Temple. I applaud the noble Baroness’s long history of standing up for freedom of religion and belief. Like the noble Lord, the CCJ hears numerous reports of no-platforming, intimidation and lack of free speech. I fully accept that universities are autonomous, but will the Minister look for ways in which pressure can be applied to ensure that these standards are kept? Does she agree that mere exhortation is not really working?

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Bishop of Leeds asks for Government position on International Religious Freedom Alliance

Leeds0518On 9th August 2019 the Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, received a written answer from Government regarding the UK joining the US-based International Religious Freedom Alliance:

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: HL17528 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the International Religious Freedom Alliance launched by the United States Secretary of State on 18 July; and what consideration they have given to joining that Alliance. Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds asks for Government position on International Religious Freedom Alliance”

Bishop of Chelmsford speaks in debate on religious persecution, welcomes Foreign Office report into persecuted Christians

On 11th July 2019 Lord Elton led a debate in the House of Lords  “That this House takes note of the extent of persecution of people of faith in this century.” The Bishop; of Chelmsford, Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, I too am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Elton, for this opportunity to examine the extent of persecution of people of faith. I will not repeat the heart-breaking stories of the terrible atrocities that besmirch our world, but they are of course the day-to-day reality for so many people of faith. I thank the noble Lord, Lord Alton, and others for telling those stories—they need to be heard.

The diocese I serve as Bishop of Chelmsford covers east London and Essex and contains some of the most diverse and rapidly changing communities in our land. Here, faith leaders and grassroots worshippers from all religions are engaged in some of the most humbling and encouraging initiatives to hold fast to that most irreducible of godly virtues: peace. Although east London is often a place where bridges are built, sadly, it is also too often an arena where the backwash from religious intolerance, persecution and strife from around the world is felt. We are a global village, but sadly we are also a global playground where much cruelty and intolerance go unchecked.

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Bishop of St Albans asks about situation of Christians in China

On 28th May 2019 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received a written answer to a question he had asked about Chinese Christians:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: HL15776 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the situation of Chinese Christians following reports that the government of China has labelled the expansion of Christianity a “grave harm to Chinese national security”.

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Bishop of Coventry asks Government about children in Iraq, terrorism in Sri Lanka and religious freedom in Pakistan

On the 23 May 2019 the Bishop of Coventry, the Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, received three written answers from Government to questions he had asked on (i) children in Iraq, (ii) terrorism in Sri Lanka and (iii) religious freedom in Pakistan.
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The Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports that some 45,000 children in Iraqi displacement camps are without civil ID documentation; and what representations they intend to make to the government of Iraq to ensure that those children are not excluded from Iraqi citizenship and society in the future. HL15663 Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry asks Government about children in Iraq, terrorism in Sri Lanka and religious freedom in Pakistan”

Bishop of Rochester welcomes protective security funding for places of worship

17.10 RochesterOn 7th May 2019 Baroness Williams of Trafford repeated a Statement by the Home Secretary on protective security funding for places of worship. The Bishop of Rochester, Rt Revd James Langstaff, responded to the statement: 

The Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, I too am very grateful to the Minister for repeating the Statement from the other place. From these Benches, I welcome it and echo some of the things that have already been said by the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, and the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, not least about the wider context, although I recognise that this Statement has a limited focus.

The Minister has already observed the tragic events in Christchurch, Sri Lanka and San Diego. It seems to me that one of the learnings from those events is the impossibility of predicting where, or even when, a dreadful event might occur. With that in mind, I am particularly grateful for the broadening of the eligibility criteria in relation to potential grants from the fund, whereby it is now not necessary for places of worship to have experienced an incident of hate crime in order to make an application. That is an important loosening around the unpredictability of where things might occur.

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Bishop of St Albans asks whether police receive guidance or training on dealing with street preachers

On 1st May the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received a written answer to a question on guidance to police about street preachers, and religious literacy training:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: HL15288 To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 3 April (HL14707), whether the Home Office provides any particular guidance to police officers in relation to freedom of speech and street preachers; whether police officers receive training on religious literacy; and if so, whether any such training is mandatory.

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