Bishop's terror Christmas message

SUFFOLK'S senior bishop is today using his last Christmas message to church members to warn that civilisation is under threat from anti-terror measures.

SUFFOLK'S senior bishop is today using his last Christmas message to church members to warn that civilisation is under threat from anti-terror measures.

Rt Rev Richard Lewis, Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, contrasts what happened to the Holy Family more than 2000 years ago with today's situation in the middle east.

He suggests that if there had been a tabloid newspaper in Jerusalem at the time of Christ's birth and his family's flight to Egypt, the headline might have been: “Asylum Seeker's Baby Terror Threat”.

He says there are many parallels between the Christmas Story and today's situation in the Middle East.

Bishop Richard writes: “Mary, to all intents and purposes a single mum, no sooner gives birth than she and her partner are on the run as refugees, seeking asylum in Egypt.

“The story of how they made it through the checkpoints and over hostile terrain remains unknown and is one of countless refugee stories which has never been told.”

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He said that in the middle east today there were still problems with refugees and with people being forced out of their homes.

And at the same time the human rights of prisoners - especially those in Guantanamo Bay and others facing “extraordinary rendition” - are being overlooked by countries more concerned about the dangers of terrorism.

Bishop Richard says in his message: “Terrorism is a real threat and it would be mindless neglect not to treat it seriously and take the necessary steps to prevent it and deal with perpetrators.

“But there is one thing which is more terrifying than terrorism and that is when a state begins to dismantle the fundamental building blocks of a civilised society, which include freedom from torture, freedom from state kidnapping and freedom from imprisonment without trial, review or advocacy.”

His message is contained in the December issue of the East Anglican newsletter which is distributed through churches across the diocese.

The bishop is due to retire from his role in the middle of next year.

Weblink:

www.stedmundsbury.anglican.org

n Is the bishop right? Is our civilised society under threat from draconian anti-terror laws? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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