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Persecution: Ancient Scourge, Modern Crisis

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 April 2022

Philip Mounstephen*
Bishop of Truro Chair of Foreign Office's Independent Review into Christian Persecution1


Freedom of Religion or Belief (or FoRB), the abuse or loss of which leads to persecution, is both an ancient scourge, and also a profoundly serious modern crisis. It is right that we concern ourselves with the egregious persecution so many of our Christian brothers and sisters the world over experience: and out of love for our neighbour, and respect for the common good, we must extend that concern to all who, in this world today, are discriminated against, marginalised, beaten, threatened, tortured and killed simply because they believe something different from the majority around them. To espouse such a cause is profoundly appropriate for any Christian seeking to engage with integrity in public life today.

Copyright © Ecclesiastical Law Society, 2022

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This is a lightly edited version of a speech delivered to mark the 175th anniversary of the National Club on 4 November 2021. It is reproduced with permission.


2 The Times, Editorial, 31 May 2014.

3 An interim report was published in April 2020, with the final report following in June: <>, accessed 28 January 2022.

4 The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has subsequently been reconstituted as the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), assimilating the work formerly undertaken by the Overseas Development Office.

5 Report, note 3.

6 Report, note 3.

7 Report, note 3.

8 James Duddington MP, Minster for Africa, in a letter shared with Lord Alton, September 2021.

12 Luke 10:36–37.