Christian communities throughout the country take part in a Day of Prayer on Sunday 11 September two days before the opening of one of the world's largest arms fairs, Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEI), in London's Docklands.
The Day of Prayer will take place on the tenth anniversary of the attacks on the Twin Towers and and will enable Christians to reflect on the legacy of that day: war, inter-community tension, and an increasingly militarised approach to human security.
The Day of Prayer marks the start of a week of activities organised by Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) as part of Stop the Arms Fair Coalition which will call for an end to arms sales to repressive regimes and an end to government support for the arms industry and DSEI. The last DSEI in 2009 hosted delegations from Algeria, Bahrain, Libya and Saudi Arabia, countries which have this year turned their weapons on civilian protesters.
The Day of Prayer is organised by CAAT's Christian Network, a non-denominational group of Christians opposed to the arms trade. There is no prescribed mode of prayer or worship and all Christian gatherings and individuals are welcome to join in.
The Christian Network has produced a Day of Prayer Pack with suggestions for worship, including prayers, Bible readings, hymns and service sheets, plus background briefings on arms fairs and the UK's role in the arms trade.
A previous participant in the Day of Prayer wrote:
I would like to say how pleased I was to be able to attend the service... [It] was very well put together, and I found it extremely moving.
Anne-Marie O'Reilly, CAAT Outreach Co-ordinator, says:
Christian peace activists play a vital role in CAAT's work. We are delighted that so many communities will be participating in the Day of Prayer for an end to the death and destruction of the arms trade. We urge all Christians to add your voice to the growing chorus of protest against the London arms fair.
For further information contact CAAT's Media Co-ordinator Kaye Stearman on 0207 281 0287 or email Kaye Stearman.
- Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) in the UK works to end the international arms trade. The arms business has a devastating impact on human rights and society and damages economic development. Large-scale military procurement and arms exports only reinforce a militaristic approach to international problems Around 80% of CAAT's income is raised from individual supporters.
- The Day of Prayer Information Pack is available free of charge from CAAT. Download a copy or order a paper copy from CAAT, 11 Goodwin Street, London N4 3HQ or email office.
- Christians will also take part in an inter-faith vigil at the site of the arms fair on Monday 12 September.
- Other activities during the week will include a mass lobby of Parliament on 13 September, DSEI opening day, and non-violent direct action.
- Defence & Security Equipment International (formerly Defence Systems & Equipment International), or DSEI, is one of the world's biggest arms fairs and has been held in the ExCeL centre in East London's Docklands since 1999. The 2011 DSEI arms fair is scheduled for 13-16 September 2011. DSEI receives major financial, logistical and political support from the UK government, most notably through UK Trade & Investment Defence & Security Organisation. Columbia, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were invited to DSEI 2009, the same year they appeared on the list of countries of concern in the Foreign Office's annual report on Human Rights.
- Clarion Events bought DSEI and two other arms fair in May 2008. They have since brought a number of other arms fairs and have joined the ADS, the trade organisation for the aerospace, defence and security industries. Further information on arms fairs is on CAAT website.