Sunday, 30 March 2014

Justice for the persecuted people of God - Christian Solidarity Worldwide national conference and related issues

Yesterday I attended the Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) national conference at Marsham Street, Westminster, London SW1.  Worship was led by Dave Bilbrough and Helen Yousaf, both originally from Romford.

These events are a good antidote to my ecumenicoscepticism, and ecumenicophobic tendencies.  It was good to hear how Mervyn Thomas, CSW CEO, a Pentecostal Christian, is working in partnership with Dr Thomas Farr, a Roman Catholic, who is director of the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World affairs.

The situation in North Korea is alarming, as it has been for many years.  The visiting this prison state is said to be like entering the pages of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four.  Big Brother Kim is on giant posters all around the streets and buildings. His henchmen are like the thought police, watching all citizens and waiting for signs of defiance and divergence from the party line. It seems to be a nightmare land that is as oppressive as the old Papa Doc Duvalier regime with Les Tontons Macoutes terrorising the civilian population. North Korea is a country ruled by fear with diabolical oppression. There are ongoing investigations into crimes against humanity perpetrated by the North Korean state. Many violations are well documented by CSW and Amnesty International, and other well informed organizations and individuals. It has been brought to the attention of the United Nations.  UK Baptist Christians have been praying for a breakthrough and opportunities to work in North Korea.

Yesterday's conference was challenging. It gave delegates a deeper understanding of certain areas of severe persecution and oppression of religious minorities. A stand against religious intolerance in Pakistan cost Cecil Chaudhry his life. CSW seeks to be a voice for the voice, a means of working for justice in countries where religious freedom is denied and discouraged.

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