Perhaps in place of the specially selected human rights the appear to be set to be the gu8iding principals for future British policy!

By Martin Parsons, Conservative Home

In the days following Christmas the Christian church has traditionally remembered the visit of the wise men to Jesus. The word magi is in fact a Persian loan word indicating their origin in either what is now Iran or western Afghanistan. The whole story reminds us that Christianity far from being a western religion in fact came to birth in the Middle Eastern world and that there are millions of Christians in the Middle East and the Persian speaking world whose churches predate much of western Christianity. Matthew’s Gospel records that after the visit of the magi the Roman puppet king Herod ordered the massacre of all children under two years old in Bethlehem. The tyrant it seems, as many tyrants are, felt threatened by even the hint of a possible alternative to his brutal rule.

As the Christian church remembers the visit of the magi, now is also a good time to reflect on the suffering of Christians in the region where Christianity originally emerged. The Middle East is unfortunately full of tyrants prepared to imprison, torture and even massacre anyone they think just might threaten their power. Think Qadaffi, think the Assad regime in Syria, think the Mubarak regime in Egypt. Yet even before these regimes began to fall a shadow had begun to rise – the empowerment of Islamists who want to enforce sharia (Islamic law) on the entire population of their countries, including on non Muslims. In parallel with this, and in many cases not unrelated to it, has been a significant increase in acts of intimidation including kidnapping and terrorist acts targeted specifically at Christians and churches, who form the largest non Muslim minority in most Islamic countries. These acts have generally aimed at securing the implementation of sharia enforcement on Muslims and non Muslim alike and in some cases have also additionally aimed at what is now being termed ‘religious cleansing’ – the attempt to create a ‘pure’ Islamic state by the eradication of non Muslim minorities.

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