People urged to share ‘foodless selfies’ for religious minorities denied COVID aid

People are being urged to share selfies of their dinner plates with their local MP. Not the usual “camera eats first” shot, but an empty dinner plate. 

It is part of a campaign of Christian persecution charity Open Doors UK & Ireland  to highlight how Christians worldwide are being ignored in food and aid distribution during COVID-19 lockdown. 

The Last in Line campaign, launching today (Monday) calls on the British Government to ensure UK aid reaches the most vulnerable – including those deliberately ignored because of their faith.  

Supporters of the campaign are asked to share pictures of themselves holding an empty bowl with a cross in it, across their social media channels, tagging their MP with #TheLastinLine.  

Advocacy campaigns officer at Open Doors, Izzy Stark said: “Right now, the plates of persecuted Christians are being left empty because they have been deliberately neglected when COVID-19 aid has been distributed.  

“We have learned of Christians being denied food rations in Bangladesh and getting much smaller aid parcels than their Muslim counterparts in Northern Nigeria. 

“In Vietnam, Christian families have been denied food parcels and told ‘Your God will save you!’ In India millions are not being given aid along with fellow members of the Dalit or ‘untouchable’ caste.  

“Open Doors partners are doing all they can to get to these people, but there also needs to be change higher up. 

“We are asking the Government to make sure that religious identity is factored-in when allocating UK aid.” 

The charity is calling for a monitoring process so that Christians – and other religious minorities – do not slip through the cracks, during the distribution process.  

According to one pastor in southern Kaduna State, Nigeria: “The sharing of the aid from our government is not just done wrongly – the Christians have actually been marginalised.  

“I’m not just saying this just because I feel so. I’m saying this because I’ve seen it.  

“People in neighbouring non-Christian communities have been given much bigger portions of rice and noodles.  

“We’ve had Christians faint and collapse in the struggles of trying to get food for their family.” 

Supporters of Open Doors can build momentum for the campaign by emailing a letter to their MP. The letter asks MPs to press the secretary of state for International Development, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, asking her to take steps to ensure that religious identity is considered when allocating aid. 

According to Izzy: “This is a golden opportunity for supporters of Opens Doors and MPs to use their power to act to help tackle this scandalous discrimination.” 

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