Christians to pray and protest over arms trade this Sunday

 This Sunday, 8 June Christian campaigners from many backgrounds will pray and campaign for an end to the arms trade, following a year of increasing public concern over the issue. The Christian Network of the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) is organising the Day of Prayer, which will be marked throughout the UK. Prayers are expected at Anglican, Baptist, Mennonite, Methodist, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic and United Reformed Churches and Quaker Meetings. Christians supporting CAAT include the Anglican Bishop of Salisbury David Stancliffe, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Brentwood Thomas McMahon and the Baptist Norman Kember, who survived kidnapping in Iraq. CAAT is backed by several Christian organisations including Independent Catholic News, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Pax Christi, the SPEAK Network and the Student Christian Movement. CAAT includes people of all faiths and none. The CAAT Christian Network brings together CAAT's Christian supporters. CAAT spokesperson Symon Hill said: "I thank God that the Christian community in Britain is playing such a strong role in struggles against the arms trade. The outrage over BAE's influence is just one sign of the sharp rise in public concern. The last year has seen considerable success, such as the closure of the MoD's marketing unit for private arms dealers. This Sunday let's be inspired by the example of Christians who campaigned to end the transatlantic slave trade over two hundred years ago. With God's help, we can defeat another trade in human lives." The Day of Prayer is part of Stop the Arms Trade Week, which runs from 1- 8 June. It follows a year of significant progress for CAAT. In April the High Court ruled that the government had acted unlawfully in cutting short a Serious Fraud Office investigation into BAE's Saudi arms deals. The same month saw the closure of the Defence Export Services Organisation (DESO), a government-run agency to promote private arms sales, which has been replaced by a weaker unit. Last week the company Reed Elsevier sold its arms fairs in response to a public campaign.

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