By Mark Banks
His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales will give a video address on the subject of religious freedom to Parliamentarians and representatives of different faith groups in the House of Lords next week.
The address will be shown at the launch of the Religious Freedom in the World Report – 2014 report, at 3:30pm on Tuesday 4th November.
Produced by the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, the report is a comprehensive assessment of the state of religious freedom for all people of faith around the globe.
The Prince of Wales last spoke publicly about issues affecting persecuted Christians at a reception for Christians from the Middle East held at Clarence House last December.
Now, almost a year later and by video message, His Royal Highness addresses the present-day issues of religious freedom specifically facing religious minorities in Iraq and Syria.
Also speaking at the event – to be held in the Attlee Room, House of Lords – will be Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama, the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, which has seen an upsurge of religious tensions and violence including the abduction of 276 schoolgirls by militants Boko Haram.
Other speakers present will include Archbishop Antonio Mennini, the Apostolic Nuncio (Papal Ambassador) to Great Britain.
Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, Assistant Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, is also due to speak at the event.
Dr Martin Stern, will also give his testimony as a survivor of the Holocaust, and will give his reflections on his experiences and their relevance to contemporary issues of religious freedom.
Covering the period autumn 2012 to summer 2014, the Religious Freedom in the World Report 2014, compiled by in-country experts – journalists, academics and commentators – includes analysis on 196 nations; almost every country around the globe.
The report examines the degree to which nation states uphold the principle of religious freedom – as enshrined primarily in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – and the impact of destabilising extremist groups within society.
The full report – complete with continent analysis – will be made available only on the web.
In the UK, this will be accessed via a tablet-friendly microsite, which can be viewed at www.religion-freedom-report.org on the day of the launch.
A 32-page executive summary of the report, which will be available at the Parliamentary launch event, includes a map and a table identifying countries where persecution is worst.
The document, which includes a foreword by Paul Bhatti, brother of Shahbaz, murdered Pakistan Federal Minister for Minorities, also includes 10 case studies describing serious religious freedom abuses as well as several examples of good practice, in which different faith communities have worked towards cooperation and understanding.
On Tuesday, 4th November at 5pm, the video recording of The Prince of Wales’s speech will be available to view on www. religion-freedom-report.org (select UK language version).
For information about His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales please contact the Clarence House Communications Team on 020 7024 5832 or visit www.princeofwales.gov.uk
Directly under the Holy See, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need. ACN is a Catholic charity – helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.
Founded in 1947 by Fr Werenfried van Straaten, whom St John Paul II named “An outstanding Apostle of Charity”, the organisation is now at work in about 130 countries throughout the world.
The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, Aid to the Church in Need’s Child’s Bible – God Speaks to his Children has been translated into 176 languages and more than 51 million copies have been distributed all over the world.
Aid to the Church in Need UK is a registered charity in England and Wales (1097984) and Scotland (SC040748). ACN’s UK office is in Sutton, Surrey and there is a Scottish office in Motherwell, near Glasgow.
While ACN gives full permission for the media to freely make use of the charity’s press releases, please acknowledge ACN as the source of stories when using the material.
For more information contact John Pontifex, ACN UK Head of Press and Information. Tel. 020 8661 5161.