NEWS | John Sandeman
Tuesday 24 November 2015
Patrick Sookhdeo has resigned from Barnabas Fund (also known as Barnabas Aid), a charity he founded which supports persecuted Christians, after a year of controversy.
Sookhdeo has been a outspoken and high profile campaigner for Christians in difficult circumstances, particularly in Muslim-dominated countries. But in February he was was found guilty in a British court case of sexual assault and of intimidating witnesses. He was ordered to serve a three-month community sentence, and to pay £3500 prosecution costs and a £60 victim surcharge. He resigned from his position as director of Barnabas Aid soon after but was reinstated by the International Board in June.
Eternity understands that the majority-world board members in the Barnabas structure were strong supporters of Sookhdeo, not believing the account of the woman who accused him. Australian readers should note that, in the United Kingdom, sexual assault is a broad charge, and the Sookhdeo incident was at the lower end of the scale, as indicated by the penalty imposed by the court.
“It has been a privilege to serve the persecuted Church for many years,” Sookhdeo said in a Barnabas announcement. “I have always been motivated by the needs of Christians facing suffering. I hope for many years to come I can continue serving those whom the world often doesn’t notice. My inspiration has always been Barnabas, the encourager, who stood up for the suffering saints of the early Church. Please pray for me, as I pray for others.”
Barnabas added “It is with great sorrow that the board of trustees of Barnabas Aid International announce the resignation of Dr Patrick Sookhdeo as a trustee of Barnabas Aid International and from his positions as International Director and CEO of Barnabas Aid as of 22nd November 2015.
“Dr Sookhdeo founded Barnabas Aid and has led it with zeal, vision and integrity for 22 years. We are immensely grieved that current circumstances oblige him to step down.”
Sookhdeo grew up as a Muslim in Guyana, but became a Christian as a young man. He has written over 20 books about Islam and Christianity. He had grown Barnabas Aid to the point where it was larger in Britain than similar organisations like Open Doors but not as large as Voice of the Martyrs, according to Christianity Today.
Sookhdeo has contributed several articles to Eternity, but the paper has not used his material since his court case started. We have used other material from Barnabas Fund instead.