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Dr H.A. Hellyer @hahellyer
, 12 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
With much respect to @Jeremy_Hunt, this is a rather ill-advised and selective approach, in my opinion. Our Foreign Office should be focusing on persecution, not a religious group just because the majority of our country's population are affiliated to it.
Let us be clear: this statement does not come out of nowhere. There is a trend, that includes visits by British parliamentarians and public figures to express support for Bashar al-Assad's regime, under the rubric of 'defending Christians'.
Moreover, there are many communities in the Arab world & the wider region that suffer persecution, & we need to focus on the phenomenon as such. Yazidis have been the victims of an arguable genocide. We should be focusing on all persecuted communities, & all types of persecution.
As I have written elsewhere: if we are selective in terms of providing support for the vulnerable, the end result is the support of autocracy. That is one of the main arguments of autocrats in the region: "Support us, we support those you care about. Don't worry about the rest."
Moreover, the argument is rejected by minority populations themselves, with good reason. A healthy future of demographic minorities is to be treated with respect & dignity under the rubric of fundamental rights for all individuals & all communities. Not to be regarded as 'other'.
It is regrettable indeed that the Foreign Secretary's position is indeed that because Christianity is the established religion of the UK, such a specific direction is warranted. (See theguardian.com/world/2018/dec…) and approvingly by the 'Archbishop Cranmer' website.
Many UK diplomats find the disproportionate focus on Christian persecution to be frustrating. The issue isn't that Christian persecution isn't a problem: of course it is & it should be tackled. I've written about this many times over the years in various media. It is about *how*.
When we have a Foreign Secretary that views (according to the Guardian) that since Christianity is the established faith in the UK, it is legitimate for the state resources to be devoted to a specific review around Christian persecution, we have an issue.
All this is against the backdrop of policies rising around Europe that sees Christian refugees as 'different' from non-Christian refugees, thanks to the mainstreaming of the populist far-right. See Hungary for example:irishtimes.com/news/world/eur… .This is wrong & should be called out.
Indeed, Hungary has a State Secretary for the Aid of Persecuted Christians (within the PM's office); who insists "#Hungary is a #Christian democratic country"; "Christians are the most persecuted religious/belief group in the World" and to deny that is 'inhumane'. Incredible.
Imagine telling Yazidis that 'Christians are the most persecuted religious group in the world', after the former went through a genocide. But this is the mainstreaming of the far-right; and hardly surprising this takes place under Orban's regime. We should be very wary in the UK.
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