Lyle-Shelton-150x150As we worry about the budget's impact on our standard of living, our brothers and sisters in Christ in the Middle East fear for their lives.

Reports of murder, kidnapping, forced conversion and church destruction at the hands of Muslim extremists are common in places like Syria, Iraq and Egypt.

In the African country of Nigeria, more than 200 Christian school girls are still missing having been taken captive by the Islamist group Boko Haram.

It was good to see the Australian Government last week declare it a terrorist organisation.

Numbering 15 million, Christians are the biggest non-Muslim religious grouping in the Middle East.

Few now remain in Iraq and hundreds of thousands who trace their Christian roots back 2000 years to the early church have fled Syria.

According to a statement of solidarity signed by United States church leaders, 30 per cent of Syria's Christian churches have been destroyed.

According to the statement, no Christian tradition has been spared the persecution in the Middle East and Pope Francis has referred to this as the "ecumenism of blood".

Iraq's Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako said last December: "We feel forgotten and isolated. We sometimes wonder, if they kill us all, what would be the reaction of the Christians in the West? Would they do something then?"

When I read this, I felt deeply challenged.

We are not doing nearly enough. And while the Australian Government has announced an allocation of 500 places for people fleeing the Syrian conflict, I've been told by someone who recently visited refugee camps in Jordan that slow processing by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees means that this program is undersubscribed.

ACL will again be in the federal parliament next week highlighting the plight of persecuted religious minorities in Syria.

It's great that moderate Muslim leaders such as Jordan's Prince Ghazi bin Mohammed and Iraq's Grand Ayatollah Sistani have spoken out against the violence.

And there was mention in yesterday's The Australian of acts of kindness bestowed by Muslim neighbours on the last remaining Christians in the warn-torn Syrian city of Aleppo.

Earlier this month the Colson Center for Christian Worldview awarded its annual Wilberforce Award to the Anglican vicar of Baghdad, Canon Andrew White.

In the past 10 years, 1276 members of his congregation have been killed.

He wears a flak jacket in public and is accompanied by armed guards.

Receiving his award, he quoted a young Iraqi girl: "When you have lost everything, Jesus is all you have got left. We have lost everything but we have not lost Jesus".