Friday, 23 May 2008

Bishop of Chelmsford raises question of religious freedoms in Iran

From They Work for You.

The Bishop of Chelmsford (Bishop) | Hansard source

My Lords, the Minister may or may not be aware that we on these Benches have been mourning the death of Bishop Dehqani-Tafti, a former bishop in Iran, whose son was murdered in the early years of the ayatollahs. Will he accept that in states where there is a strong and predominant religious and political tradition there is a particular duty to protect the liberties, beliefs and styles of life of those whose beliefs are in strong contrast? Will he also accept that the Government in Iran do not have a good record in these matters?

Lord Malloch-Brown (Minister of State, Foreign & Commonwealth Office; Labour) | Hansard source

My Lords, the right reverend Prelate is correct. A draft penal code is being considered by the Iranian Parliament, which makes apostasy, heresy and witchcraft punishable by death. We are concerned about the impact that those provisions would have on religious minorities in Iran. On 1 April my colleague, Dr Howells, called in the Iranian ambassador to express our concerns.

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