In Wednesday’s (18 July) PMQs, Chris Philp, MP for Croydon South, asked, “Around the world Christians are facing a rising tide of persecution and violence. Does the Prime Minister share my concern at this trend and in particular cases like those of Sunil Saleem, a Christians man who was beaten to death at a hospital in Lahore, in Pakistan?”
The Prime Minister, Theresa May, responded saying, “As a government we stand with persecuted Christians all over the world and we will continue to support them. I think it is hard to comprehend today that we still see people being attacked and murdered because of their Christianity.”
Dr Matthew Rees, Senior Policy and Advocacy Advisor, said, “I was very pleased to hear the Prime Ministers whole hearted support for this issue. We have been working with Chris Philp for some time and it is great to see him advocating for persecuted Christians.”
Chris Philp was alerted to Christian persecution thanks to one of his constituents who is an Open Doors supporter, Reverend Sue Thomas. Rev. Thomas met with Chris Philp as part of an Open Doors ‘Meet your MP Day’, held at Westminster in July 2017 where she raised the issue of persecuted Christians and specifically highlighted the plight of Christians in Iraq and Syria with him.
In May 2018 Chris Philp organised a Westminster Hall debate about persecuted Christians overseas, with help from Open Doors. Two months later, on 18 July Chris Philp raised the issue of persecution once again, this time directly to the Prime Minister in a PMQs question.
Reverend Sue Thomas said, “I had no idea this issue would be carried forward so rapidly into the processes of Parliament and debate. To hear Chris speak out in Prime Minister’s questions about Christians being harmed and killed, last Wednesday, is amazing. He has become the greatest advocate on their behalf, drawing together cross party support to speak up for those who have no voice. I am so pleased for the support that Chris is giving so brilliantly.”
Dr Matthew Rees, said, “This goes to show that when constituents take action and present their MP with a passionate account of why they should champion the persecuted church in Parliament, it can really make a difference. Thanks to one supporter meeting Chris Philp MP last July, the Prime Minister has now heard about the plight of Christians in Pakistan and Eritrea. I would encourage every Christian to consider meeting their MP to discuss the persecution of Christians worldwide. The advocacy team at Open Doors would be pleased to support anyone who wants to get involved.”
To find out more about championing the issue of Christian persecution with your MP please email firstname.lastname@example.org.