HC Deb 15 February 1856 vol 140 c833

said, he begged to ask the First Lord of the Treasury, whether the Sultan's recent edicts, granting civil and religious equality to all his subjects, abolished the penalty of death upon a Mussulman becoming a Christian; and, if not, whether Government would exert its diplomatic influence to repeal that law?


Sir, Her Majesty's Government have received a telegraphic communication, stating that certain edicts have been signed by the Sultan, but the edicts themselves have not yet reached this country. I will not say what may be the effect of those edicts, but I will assure my hon. Friend and the House that the Government have for many years earnestly urged the abolition of the penalty to which he adverts, and, that if it does not form part of that edict, no exertions shall be wanting to induce the Sultan to abolish that penalty. At the same time, my hon. Friend and the House must see that matters relating to religious opinions and prejudices of this kind are very difficult to handle. The Turks have persecuted until lately Mussulmans who have become Christians, but it must be remembered that in some of the Italian States Christians have been persecuted who have changed from one sect of that religion to another.