Western Nations Should Open Doors to Persecuted Christians

12 Christians were thrown overboard by Muslim refugees in a recent refugee tragedy in the Mediterranean sea (click here)

In a recent interview with ITV News, UKIP’s leader Nigel Farage has said he would “happily” accept Christian refugees into Britain because they have “literally got nowhere to go.”  

To hear the ITV interview with Nigel Farage (Click here)

Despite declaring his opposition to any European Common Immigration Policy, which he advised Britain to stay out of, he said: “Having said that, I particularly feel for the plight of Christians who have got no where to go in that region – I would happily as a country take Christian refugees.”

When he was asked why he would specifically accept Christian refugees, the UKIP leader said: “They’ve got nowhere to go, they’ve literally got no where to go as a direct result of what we’ve done in Iraq, Libya and right across that region they have found themselves homeless.”

Wilson Chowdhry, our Chairman, was invited to speak on this matter during a BBC Asia Network show yesterday (Thursday 23.04.15). During the show Mr Chowdhry highlighted concerns about the status of Global Christians, describing how two thirds of the 2.3 billion Christians in the world live in dangerous neighbourhoods, within the poorest areas, belong to ethnic, linguistic and cultural minorities, and are often at risk.  

To hear the  BBC Asia Network interview (click here)

Mr Chowdhry described the problems faced by Pakistani Christian refugees whose primary escape is by boats to nations such as Malaysia, Thailand and Sri Lanka, where many face worse or similar persecution in nations within which they are once again a minority. So despite their every effort to escape intolerance the asylum process has simply introduced a geographical change and nothing else.  

Wilson supported the notion of a priority asylum system for Christians in the UK, explaining that Christians escaping persecution can only expect real safety from persecution within nations where a Christian majority exists.  He reflected on the extreme persecution faced by Christians in Iraq, Iran, Syria and Nigeria where genocidal beheadings have shocked the globe.  Mr Chowdhry also explained that persecution for Christians is not simply the killings, but the severe discrimination that includes: lack of employment and educational opportunities, ‘untouchable’ status, extreme poverty and daily denigration.  He also described a figure of 700 Christian girls, kidnapped, raped and forced into Islamic marriage in Pakistan, a process that demoralises Christian communities and maintains community anxiety. This practice is reportedly endorsed by imams who teach that conversion in this manner is sanctioned by Islamic law and will receive God’s blessing.  

Wilson evidenced Britain’s woeful performance in helping asylum seekers from the  Pakistani Christian Communities, the statistics he shared illustrated how less than 50% of applicants from our community successfully attained leave to stay, despite the total number of applications being less than 130 in every reported year. Wilson felt a study was due into the success rates of asylum applications for people of other faiths. He felt that an imbalance had to be corrected. (click here for stats)

Wilson described similar precedents that already exist in both Canada (click here) and Holland (click here), both of whom have adopted asylum policies that seek to prioritise refugees with a minority background. In an article by Middle-East Eye, 19th December 2014, Costas Menegakis, parliamentary secretary to Canada’s immigration minister, said that Canada would prioritise the resettlement of Syria’s religious minorities, but rejected accusations of discrimination.

“To suggest that we are only going to focus on the one group of people is categorically false,” 
Menegakis said.

“We have seen countless examples in recent years of people being persecuted for their religious beliefs. We will prioritise persecuted ethnic and religious minorities … those at demonstrated risk, and we will make no apologies for that.”

Wilson Chowdhry, said:

“By endorsing special status for Christians in the UK we believe our government would be adopting a practice that is commensurate with other countries who have accepted that there is no alternative for Christians.  Sunni Muslims and Shia Muslims can escape to countries where their faith is a majority.  The common argument against special status is that humanity comes first, but when humanity fails, as it has in the Islamic world of the Middle East and North Africa, and is dissolving in the Hindu nation of India, and a variety of Buddhist nations, then what viable option really exists for Christian refugees other than safety in the Christian west?”

He added:

“We are talking about prioritising, and of course the BPCA believes that non-Christian asylum seekers should to be considered on the basis of their demonstrated need to escape danger. However, the very fact that many Christians cannot seek alternative nations should be a deciding factor towards demonstrated risk – simply an extra point score if you prefer. Christians are currently finding that they are required to hop from one country to another in order to escape further persecution in the new countries they hoped to find refuge in. Sadly 12 Christians lost their lives whilst travelling in a boat full of migrants seeking refuge in Europe, simply for praying to the wrong God – we must at all cost avoid importing hatred into our shores. Britain has a duty to protect and preserve the existing communities within its borders and any asylum seekers of all faiths entering Britain should be willing to accept our principles of freedom, equality and conscience.” 

In writing this article BPCA in no way endorses UKIP or any other political party.