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Ann Widdecombe to champion rights of persecuted Christians

By on Thursday, 17 March 2011

Ann Widdecombe onstage at the 2011 National Television Awards (Yui Mok/PA Wire/Press Association Images)

Ann Widdecombe onstage at the 2011 National Television Awards (Yui Mok/PA Wire/Press Association Images)

Ann Widdecombe has been named as an envoy on religious freedom for the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, it was announced today.

The former Conservative government minister and star of the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing will work as Christian minorities’ champion for the charity, which is directly under the Holy See.

In the role, Miss Widdecombe will advise the charity on its work for persecuted and other suffering Christians, drawing on her wide media and political experience.

The post has a global remit and Miss Widdecombe may travel to trouble spots where Christians are persecuted.

Engaged in regular meetings with Aid to the Church in Need staff, she will raise awareness of the issues surrounding violence and intimidation of religious minorities including Christians.

The announcement coincides with the launch of the 2011 edition of ACN’s Persecuted and Forgotten? A Report on Christians oppressed for their Faith.

The report provides an audit of human rights abuses against Christians, declaring that persecution against them has worsened in two-thirds of the countries where religious freedom is denied the most.

According to reports, at least 75 percent of religious persecution is directed against Christians.

Miss Widdecombe said: “I have become increasingly alarmed by reports of violence and acts of intimidation against Christians.”

“We in this country are rightly concerned to protect the rights of minorities over here. We cannot therefore turn a blind eye to the plight of minorities in other parts of the world. In many cases, those suffering most are Christians.”

“It is time to put our heads above the parapet and speak up in the name of Christians suffering for their faith and I am delighted to support the work of Aid to the Church in Need which is doing excellent work to help persecuted Christians.”

As a Catholic charity directly under Pope Benedict XVI, Aid to the Church in Need supports 5,000 projects every year in 140 countries, helping to build churches, training seminarians, helping Christian refugees and providing Child’s Bibles and other Christian education and media programmes.

  • L A Davies

    Fantastic! Will be praying!

  • Londonistar

    So wonderful. I really hope this becomes the top priority for the Church. It would be great to see a demo organised for this. It is the most pressing thing affecting our generation. Thank you Anne

  • Jfgarcia

    No need to travel-plently of persecution within UK !!

  • Neill

    Hope she can visit Pakistan. People here need to know that the world is watching.

  • Chrisb

    She will be a great champion of persecuted Christians.

  • Wolfgang Munster Schnoozle

    Will she take on the eu atheist persecuting continental Christians complicit with the UK governments committing such acts here or will she shy away from the real enemy of God in our midst the European union is?

    I’m not holding my breadth

  • Dcruz

    it is really a good choice as she has a stong faith as well as defend it in ever way.This will also be an example for other christian politician ,leaders and aly people.She is highly educated too.

  • Dcruz

    I am sure she can embarass the E.U. if she cannot change the E.U.’s attitude against the faith that build the west and western civilization

  • Anonymous

    What a good choice, We need someone who’s fearless and commands respect and that’s what we have in Ann Widdecombe. Great news.

  • MarkT

    may the Lord bless you in all your works!

  • Christopher Lee

    This is one of the best news announcements I have heard in a long while. Also, the choice of the outspoken and and charismatic Ann Widdecombe could not be better. The Catholic Church needs someone like her to speak on their behalf especially in those parts of the world where Christians are continually persecuted for standing up for their faith. I urge all to pray for Ann in her new role. God bless.

  • DBMcGinnity

    Miss Widdecombe no doubt is a very assertive person, some say she is very formidable and I have every confidence in her knowledge and experience to get things done. But, there are more Muslims being persecuted in Pakistan and Iraq than Christians. What is this preoccupation with “Christians Only”, as if they were somehow special. Do not others of different religions and pagans bleed, and cry, and feel hunger and pain? Are not all the people on earth the “Children of God” and equally entitled to the love of God. It is this singular preoccupation with “Catholics Only” with arrogance, and self righteousness that has held the Church back since the very beginning. All the people on earth are made in the image of God, not just Catholics. Stop Digging a Hole!

  • Ratbag

    Way to go, Ms Widdecombe!

  • Anonymous

    difference of opinion of the majority of the public with illogical positions held by the Church.

  • Anonymous

    The EU has to be indifferent to religion in order to protect all religions equally. It is a basic principle of democracy. Sometimes the EU will rule in our favour, sometimes otherwise.
    We cannot complain only, and ignore judgments in our favour:

  • DBMcGinnity

    So You Think You Have Worries

    I am glad that His Holiness The Pope has decided that all the Jews were not to blame for the death on Christ, just a few (but the Jews nevertheless), naughty Jews.

    Catholics are to meet to discuss the traditional and modern forms of worship. That sounds good. You are going to spend at Assisi III debating and discussing dogma and ritual while “The Muslin Brotherhood” quiescently wait to wipe you out. If the Catholic Church thinks that the persecution of Christians in Pakistan and Iraq are a problem at the moment, well just wait until you find out what is in store for you. For Christians and Jews, the Crusades were something that happened hundreds of years ago, but not so with Muslims; it is time to pay ypu back. It is time for Christians to unite and support each other, not for doctrinal reasons but for survival itself.

    Miss Widdicombe is a very intelligent and experienced politician and she knows what is on the cards for Christians in Muslim countries once the radical fundamentalists take over as they surely will as they did in Iran. So, for get about democracy, Pakistan is a democracy (Oh, Yes!)