Last Saturday, ACL's managing director Lyle Shelton called for an increase to Australia’s humanitarian intake when he addressed a crowd of about 4,000 who rallied in Melbourne to condemn the persecution of Christians in Iraq.
The rally was organised by leaders from Australian churches with Middle Eastern roots as a show of solidarity with the hundreds and thousands of Christians who have been driven from their homes in northern Iraq under the threat of 'convert to Islam or die' by Islamic state militants.
Mr Shelton said he wants the government to increase its intake from the current 13,700 refugees a year it takes. ACL has launched a campaign calling on the federal government to increase Australia's humanitarian migrant intake and to offer asylum to those fleeing persecution. You can add your voice by signing the petition at refugees.acl.org.au
"The Australian Christian Lobby is calling upon the federal government to increase our humanitarian intake so that we can take some of these refugees and share some of the burden," Mr Shelton told the crowd.
Other speakers on the day included Bernie Finn MLC, Bishop Suriel of the Coptic Orthodox Church and Father Geoff Harvey of the Antiochian Orthodox Church, as well as other leaders from the Assyrian, Syriac, and Chaldean churches.
ACL supporter Collin Nunis, who was also at the rally, said that "Though this rally was born out of very unfortunate circumstances, the rally was also a blessing as it brought Australian Christian churches together in solidarity and spirit; Christians from all walks of life professing one faith."
We continue to hear stories of persecution Christians are facing in Syria and Iraq.
An ACL supporter in Victoria said he has received a text message from a Syrian business associate based in Abu Dhabi about the continuing persecution of Christians in his homeland.
The text message he received from the associate said:
- Yesterday my relatives - a woman and child - were killed in Damascus and terrorists gunmen now occupy their home.
- The situation is very bad in the capital.
- I told you more than 120,000 Syrian Christians threatened with death in the coming days.
- It's really holocaust for the Christians in Syria and Iraq.
- I have no home to go back to it, but we trust in Christ to help us.
Last week, ACL's Katherine Spackman interviewed religious liberty analyst Elizabeth Kendal about the plight of Iraqi Christians who have been ordered by ISIS militants to leave the city of Mosul or convert to Islam. You can listen to the interview here