It is a sad and terrible fact that Christian minorities who have lived peacefully in Muslim countries for generations are finding themselves subject to increasingly violent persecution. Churches have recently been attacked in Egypt, Iraq and Nigeria, and the assassination in Pakistan of Salmaan Taseer for defending a Christian woman who had been sentenced to death was particularly horrible. The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Anglican Bishop of Lahore and, indeed, the Christian community as a whole in Pakistan are working hard to foster inter-faith collaboration in Pakistan during this time of difficulty.
Will my hon. Friend join me in paying tribute to the former assassinated Governor of Punjab, Salmaan Taseer, for the work that he did on this particular issue? Will my hon. Friend ensure that representations are made to the Government of Pakistan to ensure that the excellent work of Governor Taseer can continue?
Salmaan Taseer was an incredibly brave man and his death is a tragedy for Pakistan. We would all do well to remember the words of Jinnah, the father of Pakistan, who said in terms that
“you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship”.
What I suspect every Member of this House hopes for is that there shall be freedom of religion throughout the world, and I am sure that, as a Chamber, we will continue to campaign for that wherever we have the opportunity.