Challenge to PM on ‘aid bias against Christians’

October 31, 2011 by  
Filed under newsletter-world, Persecution, United Kingdom, World

DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson

DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson

UK, October 28, 2011: AN Ulster MP has challenged the prime minister in person on why Britain is cutting aid to countries which persecute gay people — but giving away millions to countries which are killing Christians.

Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson, who was at Prime Minister’s Question Time in the House of Commons, said: “The prime minister has warned some African countries that unless they improve the rights afforded to gay people, then aid to them from the United Kingdom will be cut.

“However, there are African countries which are in receipt of millions of pounds of UK aid where Christians face great persecution.

“This persecution goes beyond the repression of their religious belief, but extends to the often violent destruction of churches and other property as well as attacks on the people themselves.

“Here in the United Kingdom there has been an incident where a cafe owner faced prosecution for the display of a bible verse on the wall of their property. Was Ann Widdecombe MP right when she said that in the 21st Century hedgehogs have more rights than Christians?”

Mr Donaldson was referring to the case of Blackpool cafe owner Jamie Murray, who was threatened with arrest by police recently unless he stopped playing DVDs of the New Testament in his cafe. They claimed the DVDs incited hatred against homosexuals.

That story prompted Ann Widdecombe MP to ask in a column: “Does the chief constable of Lancashire want to ban the Bible itself? After all, that is the logic of his position if what his force is doing meets with his approval.” She added that hedgehogs are better protected that Christians in Britain today.

Lancashire Constabulary told the News Letter they had not asked for the DVD to be stopped but apologised to Mr Murray for “misinterpreting” the law and for any distress caused.

The prime minister told Mr Donaldson in response yesterday: “Ann Widdecombe is often right, but not always. I do think the honourable gentleman makes an important point. The way we judge our aid decisions is to judge human rights across the piece. And that does mean how people are treating Christians and also the appalling behaviour that some African countries treat people who are gay.”

Mr Donaldson added afterwards: “It is a fundamental belief that we are all created equal yet whilst aid has already been cut to Malawi for their treatment of two gay men there has been absolutely no action taken against aid provided to Zimbabwe which currently receives £69 million of aid despite the systematic persecution of Christians there.

“This is an issue of equity and fairness and a question about our government not picking and choosing which groups of oppressed people we choose to stand for.”

In May, Mr Donaldson’s colleague David Simpson proposed a Westminster debate on the violent persecution of Christians internationally.

Mr. Simpson said: “Nigeria continues to witness wave upon wave of violence directed against Christians with hundreds of Christians killed in the aftermath of the election,” he said. Mobs massacred hundreds of Christians, burned more than 300 churches, and destroyed countless Christian homes.

“In Iraq, since the collapse of the Saddam Hussein regime, more than half of its Christian population has, as a result of violent suppression, been forced to either flee their homes or else flee the country altogether.”

Mr. Simpson added: “In the old Soviet bloc countries – from Russia itself, through to Belarus, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan or Uzbekistan – violence, prosecution and imprisonment are common.”


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