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Red Wednesday 2019 0005

Persecution ‘more widespread than many would think,’ says immigration lawyer

A Scottish immigration lawyer who defends persecuted Christians has said that ‘religious persecution is much more widespread than many would think,’ as Catholics marked Red Wednesday last week — by Colette Cooper

Pontifical charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) met with politicians and guests at the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday November 27—now known as Red Wednesday—to highlight the injustices committed against Christians around the world. The colour red symbolises martyrdom.

Hosted by MSP for Shettleston John Mason, a Baptist, the event allowed ACN to share the most recent information about religious persecution, with the audience treated to speeches from a number of people including immigration lawyer Jamie Kerr.


Extensive persecution

Mr Kerr, pictured, a specialist immigration law partner at Burness Paull, said: “As an immigration lawyer, I see cases of religious persecution on a regular basis and these types of cases in the Scottish courts are much more widespread than many would think.

“Persecution of Christians is happening around the world on a scale and with a brutality that is extremely worrying.

“It is therefore important that we joined together at the Scottish Parliament to show solidarity and support for those persecuted because of their beliefs and to send a message that we do care about this very important issue.”

According to ACN’s recent report, there were 80 attacks on Christians in Sri Lanka last year and more than 470 in India. According to one assessment more than 3,700 Christians have been killed in Nigeria.

Head of Operations for ACN in Scotland, Lorraine McMahon, also said the issue of persecuted Christians ‘cannot be ignored.’


Remembering martyrs

She said: “Red symbolises martyrdom and Red Wednesday is a day when the world can recognise and make known all of those who have been martyred for their beliefs.

“We cannot ignore this any more. We have to show the world we care about our freedom of belief. We have to tell their stories—but first we need to know their stories.

“The Red Wednesday campaign shines a light on religious persecution and we hope that it will inspire people, no matter what you believe, to engage and tell our communities why we want to light Scotland red in 2020.”

Archbishop Leo Cushley of St Andrews & Edinburgh, who attended the event, highlighted that the new records of persecution must be met with a practical response, motivated through prayer.


Lives threatened

“We can consider ourselves fortunate that while we may face hostility in this country, our lives are not under threat,” he said. “Not so for our sisters and brothers elsewhere.

“The evidence in ACN’s Persecuted and Forgotten 2019 report is staggering, particularly the human rights abuses and high levels of persecution suffered by Christians, which has reached a new high in the last three years.

“Our spiritual response of prayer must motivate our practical response.”

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