The Australian Christian Lobby today backed calls by Australia’s Coptic Leader, Bishop Suriel, for the Australian Government to offer protection to more than 20 Christian families in the wake of this week’s massacre in Egypt.
The Australian Christian Lobby has welcomed news the Federal Government would consider expanding Australia’s refugee intake of survivors from the war zones in Iraq and Syria.
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Foreign Editor of the Australian, Greg Sheridan, states that Christians in the Middle East are one of the highest risk groups, yet preferencing them is seen as discrimination.
The Australian Christian Lobby has renewed its longstanding call for the federal government to double the humanitarian intake.
Some of the $500 million budget savings from closing immigration detention centres should be reallocated to increasing the refugee intake, according to the Australian Christian Lobby.
Managing Director Lyle Shelton said this was a big saving off the budget’s bottom line and the government should use it to help persecuted religious minorities fleeing Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.
Last week’s massacre in Kenya and the ongoing brutality of Islamic State highlight just how dangerous life is for many Christians and other religious minorities, including Shia Muslims.
As IS burst out of Syria into Iraq forcing Christians and other minorities to convert, flee or die there was a surge of solidarity by Australian Christians.
Get a Christian perspective of news and politics with the latest political commentary from ACL on “The Politics in Focus”. This TV segment airs fortnightly on the Australian Christian Channel as part of Seventh Day Adventist Media’s weekly InFocus program. Tune in on Fridays at 7pm or Saturdays at 12pm.
Liberal Member for Longman Wyatt Roy’s call for a doubling of Australia’s humanitarian intake should be heeded, according to the Australian Christian Lobby.
Mr Roy’s call comes a week after the Coalition’s junior partner, The Nationals, voted unanimously in favour of an urgency motion seeking an increase at its Federal Council meeting in Canberra.
ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton said 19,500 people had signed ACL’s on-line petition calling for an increase in the wake of the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities by the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.
“The Government deserves credit for stopping people smuggling, halting the deaths at sea and removing children from detention,” Mr Shelton said.
“But the problem of 51 million displaced people in the world is massive and has been further exacerbated by the persecution of hundreds of thousands of Christians and other religious minorities in Syria and Iraq.
“While Australia’s refugee intake of 13,700 is generous on a per capita basis, much more needs to be done to help suffering people.
“Extraordinary brutality requires extraordinary generosity and Australia, as a relatively wealthy nation, is well-placed to do more.”
Mr Shelton said Mr Roy was right to point out the escalating persecution of Christians in north Africa and the Middle East.
While resettlement of refugees was necessary, the international community should also be ultimately seeking to establish safe havens for Christians and other persecuted religious minorities so that they could return to their homes in Syria and Iraq.
“The Islamists’ goal of purging Christians, Yazidis and other Muslim minorities should not be allowed to stand,” Mr Shelton said.
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