Donate now to equip young Christians to lead with truth
2019 National Conference
Gender & Sexuality
Freedoms & Public Christianity
Sexualisation of Society
Poverty and Justice
Pray for Parliament
Donate now to equip young Christians to lead with truth
2019 National Conference
Pages tagged "religious persecution"
Latest on persecution of Christians and religious minorities in Iraq
· August 12, 2014 10:00 AM
Elizabeth Kendal is a religious liberty analyst. In this interview with the ACL's Katherine Spackman she gives an update on the persecution of Christians and religious minorities in Iraq. Ms Kendal says tens of thousands of Christians have fled Qaraqosh which is a significant Christian town in Northern Iraq. Many of the Christians have sought refuge in Arbil.
Senator speaks out for Assyrian Christians
· June 26, 2014 10:00 AM
An Australian Senator has highlighted the plight of the Assyrian community in Iraq in the Senate this week.
Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells condemned the actions of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), calling on a strong voice of condemnation from Australia and the international community. She said,
It is important that the plight of the religious minorities in Iraq, including the Assyrian Christians, be raised and continue to be raised at international forums such as the United Nations.
Assyrians, a mainly orthodox Christian ethnic group from present-day Iraq, have long face persecution for their faith and their ethnicity. The situation has recently deteriorated, with the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the north of Iraq. ISIS has slaughtered many Iraqi defence personal, as well as civilians.
The Assyrians face an additional threat. As ISIS has taken control of some areas, another group, the Kurds, have gained control of a number of Assyrian villages. While Kurdish forces are protecting the villages against ISIS for the time being, the Assyrians remain opposed to Kurdish occupation.
Last week the Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop
$5 million in assistance for those fleeing the violence.
ACL commends Senator Fierravanti-Wells for raising this issue in Parliament.
Read Senator Fierravanti-Wells’ speech
. Read also Minister Bishop’s comments in Parliament last week
“Greatest massacre of Christians in Syria”: dozens killed in Islamist siege
· October 31, 2013 11:00 AM
From the Barnabas Fund
“These events which happened in Saddad are considered the greatest massacre of Christians in Syria… We ask if the terrorists are gone permanently, or if there is the possibility of a return for a second massacre… We cried out to the world and no-one heard us. Where is the Christian conscience?”
Senior church leader in Syria
[caption id="attachment_29058" align="alignright" width="300"]
Islamist militants patrolling Saddad[/caption]
Dozens of people were killed when Islamist rebels besieged the Christian towns of Saddad and Haffar in Syria. As churches, homes and schools were looted and destroyed, 2,500 families fled while 1,500 were held as a human shield.
Militants from the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front stormed Saddad and Haffar on Monday 21 October and occupied the towns for a week. Until then, they had been relatively safe places, and hundreds of internally displaced families had sought refuge there.
A Barnabas Fund partner described the scene as 60 armed vehicles entered Saddad, a town that is mentioned in the Bible (as Zedad; Numbers 34:8; Ezekiel 47:15):
“As the vehicles and armed personnel made their way through the streets, the shouting of “Allah Akbar” [“Allah is great”] and the touting of the Quran made it clear to both permanent and displaced that their time of relative tranquility was quickly coming to an end. As the armed groups began to set up sniper posts and a campaign of shelling, the day moved from bad to worse.”
He said children were crying in fear as the militants took over the towns.
[caption id="attachment_29059" align="alignleft" width="300"]
A vandalised church in Saddad[/caption]
Estimates of the number of Christians killed during the siege of Saddad and Haffar range from 45 to 70; others were threatened and injured. Homes, businesses, schools and other public buildings, including the hospital, were looted and destroyed. Church buildings were attacked and graffitied with insults against Christianity.
Our partners helped Christian families to evacuate to neighbouring villages, the central city of Homs and the capital, Damascus. Barnabas sent funds to provide transport, blankets, food parcels and other essentials.
On Monday 28 October, government forces recaptured Saddad and Haffar, enabling people to return. They came home to a scene of devastation; around half of the buildings in Saddad had been destroyed, and there was no power, water or telephone connection.
It is thought that the towns were being used as a launching point for strikes against a nearby army base and arsenal. They are strategically located between Homs and Damascus.
Please sign Barnabas Fund's petition for persecuted Christians in Syria
· October 07, 2013 11:00 AM
Please join with Barnabas Fund in calling on Western governments to take action on behalf of persecuted Christians in Syria by signing a petition.
and follow the links to sign the petition.
Barnabas Fund exists to provide practical aid for the Church where Christians face persecution, discrimination or disadvantage in various countries around the world.
Around 600,000 Syrian Christians have fled the country and even more are internally displaced. They have not only been caught in the crossfire of Syria's civil war, but have also suffered violent attacks at the hand of Islamic extremists.
Please sign the petition and promote it within your church and community.
for more information on the petition and the persecution of Syrian Christians.
Religious liberty analyst Elizabeth Kendal on Political Spot about church attack in Pakistan
· September 24, 2013 10:00 AM
Elizabeth Kendal is a religious liberty analyst and advocate. In this interview with the ACL's Katherine Spackman she talks about the recent attack on Christians in Peshawar, Pakistan which killed about 85 Christians and injured 100 others.
Melbourne: Copts gather in prayer for persecuted Christians in Egypt
· August 20, 2013 10:00 AM
On Saturday 17th August, Coptic Christians gathered at St Paul's Cathedral in Melbourne where Bishop Suriel of the Coptic Orthodox Church held a service to pray for Christians persecuted and killed in the current violence in Egypt.
ACL was represented by Paul Whitehead (above image, 7th from right); Liberal MP for Menzies Kevin Andrews was also present, along with representatives for the Prime Minister and the Catholic Church.
Bishop Suriel was interviewed by 702ABC Sydney yesterday about the current persecution and violence against Coptic Christians in Egypt in light of the mass on Saturday. You can listen to the interview and read more about the issue
Violence against Coptic Christians has escalated in Egypt since the Muslim Brotherhood came to power. In April this year, a violent attack against Christians at St Mark's Cathedral in Cairo left two people dead and many wounded. Dozens of churches around the country have been looted and torched, and threats have been made against the new pope in Alexandria. Christian women have also been sexually harassed and abused on the streets of Cairo, and shops and homes in Christian villages have been graffitied and vandalised.
The ACL has long advocated for greater action to be taken by the Australian government to ensure the protection and safety of such vulnerable minority groups. Earlier this year, the
ACL urged the government
to condemn these attacks and to put pressure on Egyptian leaders to uphold freedom of religion in the country.
Chris Bowen raises plight of Egypt's coptic community in parliament
· May 30, 2013 10:00 AM
Last night the
Federal Labor Member for McMahon Chris Bowen spoke about the plight of Copts in Egypt in the House of Representatives. The transcript of his speech can be read below or
and his video address is below.
Tonight I wish to raise in the House of Representatives the plight of the Copts of Egypt. Copts make up between five and 10 per cent of Egypt's population, but they are suffering persecution and they are suffering violence as a growing concern. Copts have always been a group in Egypt who has been at risk but now we are seeing the Coptic community having their property stolen or destroyed, their members harassed and beaten, and their places of worship burnt or demolished. Due to a recent increase in tax, we have seen an estimated 100,000 Coptic people leave the nation of Egypt.
Now it is very clear that there is an obligation on every government of every nation of the world to provide protection to its citizens, protection regardless of race or religion. That obligation of protection of citizens falls on the government of Egypt, just as it falls on every other government in the world. We saw perhaps the first spectacular outbreak of violence with the Maspero massacre of October 2011, in which Copts staged a peaceful demonstration outside a local television station. They were protesting against the demolition of a church in northern Egypt.
By happenstance I was visiting St Mark Coptic church of Arncliffe the next day, and I recall being briefed on the events in Maspero square the night before—just before I visited the Church of St Mark in Arncliffe— and talking to the congregation of that church about the Australian government's concerns. We saw the deaths of more than 20 Coptic Christians in that massacre and the injury of many, many others. We saw St Mark and Pope Peter church in 2011 being attacked, and more
recently we have seen more attacks on the cathedral of St Mark in Egypt. An attack on a cathedral anywhere is an attack on cathedrals and on freedom everywhere.
I know that there are many, many people in Australia who are deeply concerned about the situation of Copts in Egypt, as I am, as other members of the House are and as the government is. I know the foreign minister, Bob Carr, is very alive to these concerns. I know he has raised the plight of Copts directly with President Morsi.
I know he has also raised the plight of Christians in the Middle East more generally with former Secretary of State Clinton, current Secretary of State Kerry and Foreign Secretary Hague. I also think it is important that Australia uses its role as a member of the UN Security Council to be prosecuting the case for enhanced protection of Christians in the Middle East. I think the plight of Christians in the Middle East is one of the world's crises at the moment that is not receiving enough attention. Clearly the plight of the Copts of Egypt is one of those situations that is not receiving enough attention, and all members of the House and the other place would do well to ensure that it receives more attention. I know that former foreign minister Rudd felt this matter particularly keenly, and he hosted a reception of Copts on his visit to Egypt when he was foreign minister of Australia.
It has been my great pleasure to work with many members of the Coptic community, to work with Sayedna Bishop Daniel and Sayedna Bishop Sureil of Melbourne on these issues during my time as both a minister in the government and as the member for McMahon. I have also worked with the Australian Coptic movement. I have attended their rallies, including a recent rally in Sydney at Martin Place. We had hoped that the earlier rallies would be the last. We had hoped that the rallies in 2011 would be the last because we would no longer need to rally for freedom of religion for the Copts of Egypt. But alas we have had to continue to rally. Alas we have had to continue to fight and argue—and we will continue to do so.
As I said, it is incumbent on all governments to protect their citizens in every regard. It is incumbent on all governments to ensure that their people can live in peace and freedom and harmony. And the Copts of Egypt are not currently living in peace and freedom and harmony, and it is incumbent on the government of Egypt to ensure that they can. In many cases the revolution we have seen in the Middle East has resulted in poor outcomes, in worse outcomes for Christians. We have seen that in Iraq; we are seeing that now in Egypt. The Arab Spring has turned to an Arab winter for many, many people in the Middle East. Those people in the Middle East, in Egypt, and their friends and relatives in Australia, in my electorate and in electorates around the country need to know they have many friends in the House of Representatives, as indeed they do.
In the media - a wrap up of the last week's commentary
· April 10, 2013 10:00 AM
In the last week, the ACL has been quoted in the media on the issue of religious persecution in Egypt and on proposed changes to abortion legislation in Tasmania. See below for links to mentions in the media.
On proposed changes to abortion laws in Tasmania:
The Examiner -
Flood of views on abortion bill
On an attack on Coptic Christians in Egypt:
The International News Magazine -
ACL condemns latest attack against heart of Christianity in Middle East
Also, ACL's Chief of Staff Lyle Shelton was interviewed by UCB Australia while participating at Easterfest in Toowoomba late last month.
He shares some of his beliefs about the role of Christianity in today's society and the importance of maintaining a strong Christian voice in politics.
Click the YouTube video above to watch Lyle's interview.
Bishop Suriel on the Political Spot about symbolic attack on Christianity in Egypt
· April 09, 2013 10:00 AM
Bishop Suriel of Melbourne and Affiliated Regions talks to ACL's Katherine Spackman on the Political Spot about the latest attack on Coptic Christians in Egypt. The attack occurred at the epicentre of the International Coptic Orthodox community and is seen as a symbolic attack on Christianity in the middle east. See ACL's media release on the issue
MR: ACL condemns latest attack against heart of Christianity in Middle East
MR: ACL condemns latest attack against heart of Christianity in Middle East
· April 08, 2013 10:00 AM
Monday, 8th April 2013
The Australian Christian Lobby has expressed concern at the latest attack on Coptic Christians in Egypt which occurred at the epicentre of the International Coptic Orthodox community and has urged the Australian Government to denounce these attacks.
ACL’s Chief of Staff Lyle Shelton said the latest attack against Copts at St Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo, in which a person died, was at the headquarters of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate.
“The Coptic Community in Australia sees this as a symbolic attack on Christianity on Egypt which is incomprehensible,” he said.
“No minority in any country should be subjected to fear of expressing their faith. Sadly violence against Copts has escalated since the Muslim Brotherhood came to power,” he said.
“It is important that the Prime Minister’s Office and Office of the Minister for Foreign Affairs condemns these attacks today and urges action from the Egyptian Government to protect its citizens and to uphold freedom of religion.
“The Coptic Community is in a minority position in a Muslim country. This is simply another incident in a long line of suffering for these people by attackers deliberately targeting them for their faith,” he said
Sign in with Facebook
Sign in with Twitter
Sign in with Email
Optional email code
Get instant access to news about political issues facing christians