Christian Solidarity Worldwide by Anne Fraser
Christian Solidarity Worldwide continues to work for the right to FoRB (freedom of religion or belief) across the world, with Christian values at the heart of all that it does.
In 2020 Mervyn Thomas, the CEO and a founder member of CSW, became Founder President with Scot Bower taking over the Chief Executive role. Scot has a charity background and lives in Guildford. He is hoping to build on the legacy of CSW in helping those persecuted for their religion or belief.
Recently CSW has campaigned for Professor Richard Solomon Musa Tarfa, who is co-founder, with his wife Mercy, of Du Merci orphanages for unwanted Christian children in Nigeria’s Kano and Kaduna states. He was released on bail in December after nearly a year in pretrial detention. He is currently charged with “criminal abduction of minors”. The children who were seized during raids on the orphanages remain in the government-run Nasarawa Children’s Home. They are not permitted to leave the premises to attend their school or church and have complained of being mistreated on account of their religious beliefs. CSW is asking that charges against Professor Tarfa be dropped and that the children be returned to the only parents they have ever known.
‘Sorry, I’m not buying it!’
If you have been following the news recently, you may have heard about the Uyghur and other predominately Muslim ethnic groups in China, and the Chinese government’s policy of placing them into “re-education” camps. Once released, many are sent as forced labour to clothing factories supplying Chinese and Western brands. CSWis part of a coalition campaigning against this. Many groups, including Jewish organisations, see the camps and labour as very close to the persecutions that took place in Nazi Germany. Companies are also being encouraged to sign the Coalition to End Uyghur Forced Labour’s ‘Brand Commitment to Exit the Uyghur Region’. Encouragingly, on 6th January 2021, it was announced that Marks & Spencer had become the first major fashion brand to publicly commit to the Call to Action on Uyghur cotton.
How can I help?
Contact a company you recently bought clothes from and ask them to prove that they don’t source their cotton from the Uyghur Region – you could send a tweet, go on the brand’s Facebook page, write a letter to your favourite brand, or sign the petition from CSW partners, Freedom United. For details on how to do any of these things, and to read the FAQS about the campaign, please visit: https://www.csw.org.uk/notbuyingit
For more information on the situation regarding religion in China, read CSW’s latest report:
On the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted in November we were able to show a powerful CSW video in our service. This showed how religious persecution had affected Christians in various countries and we used the opportunity to pray for those situations. In the Wells Home Group, we have also been praying for issues and cases of particular concern.
Finally, I would love to draw your attention to the online magazine, “Connect and Encourage” where you can find people to write to. It is at https://www.csw.org.uk/connectencourage or you can ask for a paper copy to be delivered to your address. Please do follow instructions that ensure the safety of recipients. In Nigeria, for example, the Rev Yunusa Nmadu is head of CSW-Nigeria and General Secretary of ECWA (Evangelical Church Winning All). Please pray for him and his staff and write letters of support as they travel to help communities at a time when abductions are rife.
Your prayers, letters and cards can really help. “My wife told me that she received many cards from England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. She said these people were all praying for me. It made me feel like I was part of a big family.” Nguyen van Dai, Vietnam
Thank you so much for your continued support and prayers.