For release: Friday August 1, 2014

Australia should raise its humanitarian intake to assist Iraqi and Syrian Christians fleeing the ‘convert or die’ regime of the terrorist Islamic State, according to the Australian Christian Lobby.

ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton will call for an increase in the humanitarian intake to target Christians and other minorities when he addresses a rally in Melbourne tomorrow called to show solidarity with the persecuted Christians of Iraq.

“France and Kurdistan have been very generous in offering asylum to persecuted Christians and Australia should also share some of the burden,” he said.

While Australia’s leaders are understandably distracted by the other crises in Gaza and Ukraine, we must not forget the purge and murder of Christians and other minorities in northern Iraq.

“Hundreds of thousands have fled, churches have been destroyed and there are widespread reports of genocide.

“Christians have lived in this region for 2000 years and are the indigenous people of the area yet they are being driven out of their homes by murderous terrorists,” he said.

Mr Shelton said the echoes of the Holocaust were chilling with the Arabic letter N for Nazarene (Jesus) marked on Christian houses in the same way the Star of David symbol was used by the Nazis to designate Jews.

ACL has also begun an online petition for people to add their voice to the call for an increase in the humanitarian intake to help the persecuted.

Mr Shelton said Christians were by far the most persecuted people group in the world today.

The rally will be held at 1:30pm at Federation Square.