Theresa May says UK will stand up for religious freedom


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Theresa May says the UK “must stand up for the right of everyone” to practise their faith in peace.

In her Easter message, the prime minister said she will spend her time “giving thanks in church”, but for many Christians “such simple acts of faith can bring huge danger”.

About 245 million Christians worldwide are estimated to be facing persecution.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn compared Jesus’ experiences to the challenges currently facing some refugees.

Mrs May, a vicar’s daughter and practising Christian, said: “Churches have been attacked. Christians murdered. Families forced to flee their homes.

“That is why the government has launched a global review into the persecution of Christians.

“We must stand up for the right of everyone, no matter what their religion, to practise their faith in peace.”

The government review, led by the Bishop of Truro, was launched in December to look into how much help the UK gives persecuted Christians.

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Asia Bibi, a Christian, faced death threats after being acquitted of blasphemy in Pakistan

In the Labour leader’s Easter message, Mr Corbyn said the experiences of Jesus as a refugee were “still familiar to us today”.

He said Jesus was “a refugee whose parents were forced to flee their home”, who went on to “know what it was to be ostracised, rejected and tortured”.

He added: “The refugee crisis is a moral test. Jesus taught us to respect refugees.”

Mr Corbyn also used his message to criticise the government for failing to take in child refugees, as well as Home Secretary Sajid Javid’s handling of the Channel migrant crossings over the winter.

He said: “In Britain, we have a proud history of providing a safe refuge to those in need. But this government refuses to meet our legal obligations to child refugees in Europe as required by the Dubs Amendment.”

The Dubs amendment, designed by the Labour peer and former child refugee Lord Dubs, was a scheme which aimed to let unaccompanied migrant children into the UK – but was ended by the government in 2017.

The Home Office responded by saying that the UK had provided protection to over 34,500 children since the start of 2010 and the government was “determined to deliver on its commitment” to relocating 480 children under the ‘Dubs amendment’.

Mr Corbyn went on: “At the end of last year as refugees tried to cross the Channel, Sajid Javid threatened to deploy the Navy.

“But in response, the Bishop of Dover said ‘it is crucial that we all remember we are dealing with human beings here’.”

The Labour leader added that “we can learn from Christian values” with churches leading the way in offering support to refugees.

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