As ever I am writing this based on my own thoughts and perspective of things. This one may come as a bit of a surprise to some as it is about my faith. Something I generally keep to myself. I am a Catholic, though I talk about it very little as I don’t want to make others feel uncomfortable and it’s my faith and shouldn’t be forced on those around me. However, as is the faith of others, it is important to me. Campaigning during lent has been difficult due to fasting and then using a lot of energy going door to door. I have had to make adjustments to that to make sure my health wasn’t affected by my fasting which was a personal disappointment. I was very much looking forward to Easter. Easter is an important time in our faith. It is a celebration of the resurrection of Christ.
This Easter has been difficult. Notre-Dame Cathedral, an extremely important Cathedral for Catholics caught fire. For generations, Notre Dame has been a place of pilgrimage and prayer and contains holy relics including the crown of thorns worn by Jesus during his crucifixion. To watch this holy building burning was difficult. Some believe this was an accidental fire, but with the series of arson attacks on churches in France over Easter it has personally left me feeling uneasy.
This unfortunately wasn’t the only event this Easter which shook the Christian community. On 21st April, Easter Sunday, the horrific terrorist attack took place in Sri Lanka. On this day, Easter Sunday three churches across Sri Lanka and three hotels were targeted in a series of suicide bombings. The current death toll is 359 according to the BBC, and a further 500 people wounded. It has also transpired that one of the attackers studied in the UK.
Terror attacks are not something new, but communities are still greatly effected by them. On 15th March 2019, 49 people were brutally murdered and 48 wounded during an attack on 2 mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, being the Nation’s deadliest attack. This like all the other attacks was and should be condemned.
However, the reason I am writing this blog is because I am seeing a real difference in the type of responses given my MP’s and world leaders to these awful attacks depending on the faith of those targeted. I have noticed that some world leaders have done all they can to not mention the word ‘Christian’ and referred to my community as ‘Easter worshipers.’ Astounding! What I have also noticed is that this is even the case locally and I am just extremely disappointed and angered by the different treatment Christians receive.
On 15th March 2019, the same day as the New Zealand attacks, our MP Sandy Martin wrote a letter to the mosques of Ipswich, condemning the attack and reassuring the community that Suffolk Police are “maintaining the highest possible alert to prevent Islamophobic attacks within our community” He also posted a copy of this on his Twitter condemning the attack.
Today as I write this on 25th April, I am still waiting for any comment publicly by our MP on the Easter bombings, but I know this wont happen. According to journalist Tyler Durden every month 105 churches / Christian buildings are burned or attacked and an average of 345 Christians are killed for faith-related reasons. Every Month!
I am asking the question of given that what we all want is peace and tolerance to each other, why are Christians treated differently in their time of need and support? Why such silence from our MP? Why is the Christian Community less important?