On 23 March, the UK government announced a lockdown, including the first legal closure of churches by the government since Magna Carta. For a nation which has historically been seen around the world as the birthplace of freedom of religion, this was a dramatic step to take. However, government closure of churches set a dangerous precedent not just for freedom of religion in the UK, but also around the world.
Take Algeria for example: last October in response to a parliamentary question on the closure of churches there, Foreign Office minister Lord Ahmad stated,
“We are concerned by reports of church closures in Algeria, including the recent closure in Boghni. We continue to engage with the Algerian authorities on this issue, including raising the importance of freedom of religion or belief as set out in Algeria’s Constitution…”