This week: Fr. Faiz Jerjees speaks with the Iraqi Prime Minister at St George’s in Baghdad

We are a small charity but we have a lot of clout

This week, the newly appointed Prime Minister of Iraq, Adil Abdul-Mahdi, paid a visit to St George’s Church in Baghdad. As you will know, we support the ministry there and fund a medical clinic in the church grounds free to people of all faiths. We also provide food packages and rental assistance to the poorer members of the congregation. Fr. Faiz Jerjees, Chaplain of the church and our partner in Baghdad, spent some time talking with the Prime Minister about his reconciliation work. Faiz has been recognised by successive Iraqi governments for this work, which we also support.

Fr. Faiz and Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi pop by St George’s school which educates Christian and Muslim children

While our man in Baghdad was meeting with the Iraqi Prime Minister, our team in London was meeting with the Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt. Some of you will have read our previous post on this but for those who didn’t – we were invited to the launch of an independent, global review into the persecution of Christians. The review will be led by the Bishop of Truro, Rt Rev Philip Mounstephen, and will deliver ‘recommendations on practical steps the government can make to better support those under threat’. FRRME CEO, Mike Simpson, spoke personally with the Foreign Secretary and the Bishop of Truro. We will follow this up with some recommendations of our own which we hope will be included in the final review. 

Bishop of Truro Rt Rev Philip Mounstephen and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt launch the review into the persecution of Christians

The British Government is changing its approach

The British Government has already acknowledged the persecution of Christians by ISIS as ‘genocide’, as has the US Government and EU. However, it has done little in terms of offering direct financial support. Indeed, there seems to be an antipathy on the part of Western governments to help Christians under fire. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt gave some insight into why this might be. He said that ‘postcolonial guilt’ was hindering the fight against Christian persecution. In short, the British Government is self-conscious about helping Christians but wants to change. 

Christopher Segar (FRRME Trustee) and Mike Simpson (CEO) at the Foreign Office in London where the review was launched

According to the latest evidence, Christians are the most persecuted religious group in the world. The International Society for Human Rights estimates that 80% of all acts of religious discrimination in the world are against Christians. The difficulty is that the UK must maintain diplomatic relations with countries where Christians are treated like second class citizens. Interestingly, the Bishop of Truro claimed that some Christian persecution stemmed from autocrats’ dislike of the way in which the Christian doctrine challenges absolutist power. 

We wholeheartedly welcome this review. It is bold of the Government to hold itself open to account in this way. Both here in the UK, the US and in Iraq, we are working very hard to lobby the big hitters on the issue of persecuted Christians. Your support for our foundation makes this possible. If you would like to make a donation in support of our work, please see the giving options below. Thank you!

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Supporting our work in the Middle East

To support our lobbying efforts and our work in Iraq and Jordan helping displaced and persecuted Christians, please make a donation now via our donate page (there are numerous options for how to donate). Or you can send us a cheque made out to ‘FRRME’ to: FRRME, PO Box 229, Petersfield, Hants, GU32 9DL, United Kingdom.