Church Official Claims UK Aid Policy is 'Anti-Christian'

A Roman Catholic cardinal has slammed the U.K. government for its plans to increase aid to Pakistan even without getting commitments from the Asian country that it would uphold religious freedom for Christians.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien accused the U.K. government of implementing an “anti-Christian foreign policy,” BBC reports.

“To increase aid to the Pakistan government when religious freedom is not upheld and those who speak up for religious freedom are gunned down is tantamount to an anti-Christian foreign policy,”  the news agency quotes O’Brien.

The cardinal added that the government of Pakistan and those in the Arab world should be pressured to ensure that freedom to practice any religion is upheld. He urged U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague “to obtain guarantees from foreign governments before they are given aid.”

O’Brien’s call follows the release of a report by Aid to the Church in Need, a Vatican-approved agency, suggesting that 75 percent of religious persecutions across the globe were directed against Christians, BBC notes. The Roman Catholic Church has also highlighted the killing of Pakistani Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, the only Christian member of the Pakistani Cabinet, earlier this month, the news agency adds.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.