Following the Easter attack on a children’s park in Pakistan, the Religious Liberty Commission (RLC) of the Evangelical Alliance is calling on the British government to act immediately to enshrine freedom of religion or belief in all United Kingdom foreign policy.
More than 70 people were killed on Easter Sunday by a suicide bomber linked to the Taliban group Jamaat ul-Ahrar.
The RLC is made up of the following Alliance member organizations: Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Open Doors and Release International.
According to the Baptist World Alliance, 54 of those killed in the bombings in Lahore, the second largest metropolitan area in Pakistan, were Christians and at least seven were Baptists.
With the Lahore bombings in mind, which deliberately targeted Christians, and the many other atrocities carried out around the world against people of faith, the RLC has called on the British government to greatly increase the status of freedom of religion or belief across all foreign policy in recognition of the essential role it plays in underpinning other human rights and civil liberties.
“At a time when so many parts of the world are experiencing oppression by those who wish to deny or destroy religious freedom, our hope is that Britain can strengthen its record of promoting human rights by placing freedom of religion or belief at the heart of foreign policy,” said RLC spokesman David Landrum.
One source told the BWA that one Baptist member, a female, is still missing and unaccounted for.
“In Pakistan, it is getting very difficult for Christians to live and to breathe,” the source said.
He accused the government of not doing enough to protect Christians, a minority in the south Asian country, despite having known the threats they face.
“Pakistan should have provided security to all minorities, but the government has failed,” he said.
Pakistan, a majority Muslim country with a population of almost 200 million, has just over 2 million Christians.
Paul Hobson is editor of The Baptist Times of Great Britain – the online newspaper of the Baptist Union of Great Britain. A version of this news article first appeared in The Baptist Times and is used with permission. You can follow him on Twitter @PaulHobson10, The Baptist Times @BaptistTimes and the Baptist Union @BaptistUnionGB.