Hunt orders persecuted Christians review

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt (front row, second left), the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby (front row, second right) are joined by other Christian leaders including Archbishop Angaelos of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Britain (left), and dignitaries and politicians with survivors of Christian persecutionImage copyright
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Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby (centre, front row) are joined by some survivors of Christian persecution

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has ordered a review into the plight of persecuted Christians around the world and how much help they get from the UK.

The review, led by the Bishop of Truro, will look at government efforts to help some of the 215 million Christians who faced discrimination and violence last year, according to the Foreign Office.

Officials say violence against Christians is rising dramatically, with an average of 250 killed every month.

Mr Hunt said the UK “must do more.”

“Britain has long championed international religious freedom,” he said.

“So often the persecution of Christians is a telling early warning sign of the persecution of every minority.”

The Foreign Office said the review would “consider some tough questions and offer ambitious policy recommendations”.

The Bishop of Truro – the Rt Reverend Philip Mounstephen – is expected to report back by Easter.

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Asia Bibi’s husband pleaded for asylum from the UK, US or Canada

The intervention comes after an outcry over the treatment of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who faced death threats after being acquitted of blasphemy in Pakistan.

Ms Bibi spent eight years on death row until her conviction was reversed by Pakistan’s Supreme Court earlier this year.

Large crowds took to the streets to protest against the court’s decision, as her husband pleaded for asylum from the UK, US or Canada, saying the family were in danger.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May defended in Parliament after being asked whether she had intervened to stop the UK government offering asylum.

Mrs May told Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith he “shouldn’t necessarily believe everything he reads in the papers”, adding “the absolute prime concern” was the “safety and security” of Asia Bibi and her family.

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