Your message to Iraqi and Syrian Christians

"Please pray for us who had to leave their homes by force in Iraq because of the situation. Please pray for protection, peace and provision to our families." (Iraqi viewer of SAT-7)

Christian Satellite 7 which broadcasts into Iraq and Syria wants people to show support to the Christians of Iraq and Syria by writing prayers or a message of love which may get read out, or shown on screen to viewers in the region.

 “The Supreme Council of the Evangelical Community in Syria and Lebanon said the killings and religious "cleansing" by "the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)...verge on being a bona fide genocide", which combined with the "catastrophic" three-year conflict in Syria, have created an "existential threat" to Christians and other minorities in the Middle East.” (SAT-7)

If you wish to give a message of support go to http://www.sat7uk.org/Campaigns/loveIraq

Christians on the left will also be holding a prayer event 10pm to 10:30pm for the Middle East this Sunday 21st Sep. Those of us who are at Labour Party Conference will be meeting in Lincoln Square for a Candlelit Vigil. (Brazenose St, M2 5LN) - very close to the conference venue.

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In the developing world, violence is an everyday threat

Most of us live without the constant fear of violence. Whilst it may not be a conscious realisation, we live our lives knowing that we are safe and protected and that we have good law enforcement which, on the majority of occasions, will successfully protect us from abuse.

But this is not true for everyone.

Throughout the developing world, fear of violence is part of everyday life for the poor. It’s as much a part of poverty as hunger, disease or homelessness and is devastating the developing world. It is only more difficult to see. Without effective justice systems to protect them from violence, the world’s poor live in a state of fear.

The poorest are so vulnerable because their justice systems – police, courts and laws – don’t protect them from violent people. While their wealthier neighbours can pay for security guards, high walls and safe homes, the poor cannot. The threat of violence is relentless and pervasive; the poor live with a constant threat of being raped, robbed, assaulted or exploited.

For the poor, the risk of violence is part of their every day.

Gender violence kills and disables more women and girls than cancer, traffic accidents, malaria and war combined – World Health Organisation

With incomes for the global poor hovering around $1-$2 a day, the average person cannot hope to pay legal fees – ILO

Critically, this violence is not only destroying individual lives, but undermining the world’s efforts to end poverty.

In nearly 20 communities throughout the developing world, International Justice Mission (IJM) fights everyday violence against the poor. Specifically, we focus on addressing: sex trafficking; sexual violence; slavery; police abuse of power; property grabbing; and citizenship rights abuse.

We protect the poor from such violence by partnering with local authorities to:
Rescue victims
Bring criminals to justice
Restore survivors
Strengthen justice systems

 

Griselda

Raped by three men when she was 13, Griselda finally received justice after five years of IJM’s support and is now thriving as she speaks up on behalf of other survivors.

Michael

After languishing in prison for 18 months for a crime he hadn’t committed, and enduring another 18 months of uncertainty after he was released on bail pending an appeal of the wrongful conviction, Michael’s name was finally cleared and he was a free man once again. 

Charito

Charito* was rescued from sex trafficking when she was 14 years old. With the conviction of her trafficker secured, Charito said, "The justice I've been looking for, for almost 8 years ... now I have it." 

 

But we don’t stop at rescuing people who have been abused. Our ultimate goal is to prevent the violence from happening in the first place. All of our work is designed to drive maximum-impact, long-term transformation that will make the poor safe enough to thrive.

Cebu, the Philippines: After four years of IJM casework, independent researchers found a 79% decrease in the availability of children being sold for sex in Metro Cebu, the Philippines.
Cambodia: In the early 2000s, several research studies in Cambodia found that between 15-30% of those prostituted were minors. Today, IJM’s research and investigation shows that the prevalence of minors in sex establishments in Cambodia’s 3 largest cities is down to 8.16% - and the prevalence of minors under 15 is now below 1%.

Throughout the world, IJM is fuelling the global justice movement by drawing the world’s attention to everyday violence, influencing leaders to become champions for protecting the poor and rallying all people of good will to the fight.

Here in the UK, we are applying IJM’s unique global experience to strengthen the UK justice system and encourage the UK – including the government, the Church and a new generation – to lead the way in addressing everyday violence, both globally and locally.

You are encouraged to join us at the Friends Meeting House, Manchester on Tuesday 23rd September for the Labour Party Conference Prayer Breakfast, led by IJM. Learn more about everyday violence, pray for an end to this hidden plague and be inspired to take up the call for justice.

 


*A pseudonym has been used for the protection of this IJM client.

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International Development Bill

The International Development (Official Development Assistance target) Bill

STimms.jpgThe International Development Bill has passed and heads to committee stage, Stephen Timms MP comments that,

"The commitment to meet the UN target that international aid spending should be at least 0.7% of GDP was made by the last Government.  It has been delivered by the current Coalition.  There is no doubt in my mind that the achievement of a cross party consensus on this issue, and the success of this Bill at second reading today, is largely due to effective campaigning on the part of the Churches."

Further information can be found at http://www.turnupsavelives.org.uk/why-legislate

 
A transcript of this debate can be found at http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/hansard/commons/todays-commons-debates/read/unknown/12/
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Statement on the plight of Christians & other minorities in Iraq

Christians are suffering and dying in Iraq. The terrorist group Islamic State (IS, formerly known as ISIS) is killing them, displacing them and seizing their properties. Now Iraq’s ancient Yazidi community is experiencing similar abuses.

 

This is a catastrophe for the people of Iraq and the region and if left unchecked it could also have profound implications for freedom and democracy across the globe. Religious freedom is a fundamental right that has been described as a ‘litmus test’ for the depth of democracy. That’s why attacks on this right cannot be ignored.

 

We believe that if Western governments allow groups like IS to persecute populations with impunity, it will set a dangerous precedent in global affairs. The situation in Iraq is particularly important because Western governments were complicit in creating the vacuum into which the terrorists have now stepped. It is unacceptable for Western governments that embarked on the process of bringing freedom and human rights to Iraq to continue neglecting this situation. It is vital that all of Iraq's religious and ethnic minorities are guaranteed a future in their country.

 

The UN Secretary General and Security Council have urged international assistance for the Iraqi government and people. Therefore, we call upon our own government to provide practical assistance for those displaced by the current violence who wish to remain in their country. We also echo the call of the Church of England for Iraqi Christian refugees and those from other minority communities who wish to escape persecution to be granted asylum in the United Kingdom in accordance with the international refugee convention.

 

Events in Iraq form part of a broader pattern of increasing persecution of Christians and other religious minorities. In many countries, including Syria, Iran, Nigeria, Mali, CAR, Sudan, Libya, Algeria, Egypt, Indonesia, Kenya, Somalia and Afghanistan, well-armed Islamist extremists are not only persecuting Christians severely, but are also violating the rights of all who do not share their restrictive dogma. The international community must unite and take action to stem the seemingly inexorable advance of violent insurgencies that use religion to justify their severe violations of fundamental freedoms and their wanton disregard for human dignity. Western governments have a responsibility to play a leading role in this action. And taking a stand on Iraq needs to be the starting point.

 - RELIGIOUS LIBERTY COMMISSION STATEMENT ON THE PLIGHT OF CHRISTIANS AND OTHER MINORITIES IN IRAQ WHICH CHRISTIANS ON THE LEFT FULLY SUPPORTS.
The Religious Liberty Commission (RLC), formed in 2012, exists to bring organisations working on behalf of persecuted Christians together to speak with one voice. RLC members are: Release International, Open Doors (UK & Ireland), Christian Solidarity Worldwide and the Evangelical Alliance (UK).  
 
Each member organisation has its own distinctive mandate but we all feel the issue of Christian persecution is so important that we want to speak together regularly to raise awareness of key developments globally, in a significant and collaborative way.
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++Justin Addresses National Prayer Breakfast

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, delivered a keynote speech this morning on 'Global Christianity in the 21st Century' at the National Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast, Westminster - the first time an Archbishop of Canterbury has addressed the event. 

The Prayer Breakfast, organised by Christians in Parliament and the Bible Society, was attended by both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition for the first time in its history.

In his address the Archbishop said:

"The Church of the 21st century is among the most efficient and the best deliverers of help for the poor that exists on the face of the earth... Isn’t it wonderful, let’s celebrate what’s good – it’s easy to be cynical about politics – but let’s celebrate what’s good: that with cross-party support in this country we have maintained international aid at 0.7 per cent of GDP. That we have introduced – again, across the parties – the Modern Slavery Bill, leading the world and tackling trafficking, which I was talking to the Pope about yesterday. That last week, again across politics, there was support for the greatest conference on sexual violence in conflict that has existed. Those aren’t cynical vote winners, from any politician in this room; but they arise from a spirit of generosity, which is right and proper...."

"...The church is not an NGO with lots of old buildings. It is the Church of God, rejoicing in the realities of cultural diversity in a way never known before: global, cross-bearing, confident and welcoming. The Church holds for the world the treasure of reconciliation, and offers it as a gift freely given out of its own experience of struggling with the reality of it, of being reconciled ourselves through the sovereign love of God in Jesus Christ. The global Church is above all God's church, for all its failings, and in passionate devotion to him will offer the treasure He puts in our hands, unconditionally, always pointing in worship, deed and word to Jesus Christ."

A full transcript of the Archbishop's address, as delivered, is available on his website, here.
 

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What are we going to do about Ukip?

EU09UKIP1.pngWhat are we going to do about UKIP? It is clear that there is strong support for the ‘anti-Europe’ sentiment in most areas in our country. I live in a relatively safe Labour area in Leeds and UKIP increased their vote share (of those who actually voted) by more than 20% for the local elections, and got three of the six seats up for grabs in Europe. I think this is quite worrying, but if we are going to win the next general election we need to have a clear positive agenda.

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Read our newsletter online

Just a quick note to let you know that you can read our latest newsletter online by clicking here

You can also see the previous issue on the same page. As time passes, we will build an archive of Christians on the Left publications to read online.

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Keep focused on the mission

After Labour lost the 2010 General Election we realised we needed to reconnect politics with people. We needed to rebuild a broad-based coalition around our values that was inclusive and which gave a voice to many who felt politics no longer did anything for them. It would be a real shame if Labour let these results tempt it away from this mission.

 

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A tale from the campaign trail

Hitchin_campaigning_3.jpgRachel Burgin selected as parliamentary candidate in Hitchin & Harpenden

On 29th March 2014, Rachel Burgin was selected as the prospective parliamentary candidate for the Hitchin & Harpenden constituency. She is tasked with taking on Peter Lilley MP at the next General Election. This is her story.

There is a school of thought that says Christians shouldn’t get involved in social action: they should simply preach the gospel. That’s right: no foodbanks, homelessness shelters, debt advice services, no rebuilding Iraq and Afghanistan after the wars, no feeding the hungry in Africa. Just tell people about Jesus: pure and simple.

My life over the last ten years has a different message. I’m not a “career politician”: I didn’t plan to come this way. I just set out to serve God in the best way I could.

 

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Shane Claiborne talks to Christians on the Left

Watch our video

Shane Claiborne is the visionary leader of The Simple Way, a faith community in inner city Philadelphia that has helped birth and connect radical faith communities around the world.

Shane writes and travels extensively speaking about peacemaking, social justice, and Jesus. Shane’s books include Jesus for President, Red Letter Revolution, Common Prayer, Follow Me to Freedom,Jesus, Bombs and Ice Cream, Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers – and his classic The Irresistible Revolution.

While on tour with Christians on the Left Director Andy Flannagan, they took time out to chat about economics, neighbourhood, politics, faith, and fun.

You can watch it here

If ever there was a video that is worth sharing, this would be it. 

Take ten minutes to be encouraged over this Bank Holiday weekend. Then share it as widely as you can!!! We are attracting plenty of new members via Twitter and Facebook, but it only works when members do the sharing!!!

Here's a URL for your tweets, posts and shares: http://bit.ly/ChrLShane

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