8th August, 2014

The Hon. Tony Abbott, MPnasrani Prime Minister
Parliament House
Dear Prime Minister,


I write with a heavy heart as I read of and watch the systematic and gruesomely violent persecution of Christians and other minorities in Iraq at the hands of the Islamic State.  Media reports and eye-witness accounts detail methodical and organised persecution, massacres, the raping of woman, and the beheading of children. 
I note that the BBC is reporting today that up to a quarter of Iraq's Christians have been forced to flee their homes, and even what they carry is being confiscated as they pass through checkpoints.  The Institute for the Study of War observes that the Islamic State claims to have levied the "jizya" tax on non-Muslims, although recent reports indicate that their ultimatum has now narrowed; convert to Islam, leave, or die.  I believe that in excess of 200,000 Christians have now fled towards the Kurdistan region of Iraq.  As you have said, Prime Minister, these men, women and children are facing "a truly horrific future should they fall into the hands of this terrorist movement.”  A humanitarian crisis is unfolding.
This violence directed at Christians is creating an intolerable burden on neighbouring countries and regions, which will linger for years to come.  But perhaps even more significantly, it seems to me that we who enjoy such wonderful freedoms in Australia cannot sit idly by while Christians are systematically targeted, attacked and murdered.
Prime Minister, will Australia use its position on the UN Security Council, a position used so effectively in the aftermath of the MH17 disaster, to gain recognition that a genocide is taking place before our eyes?
I understand that France is willing to offer asylum to Iraqi Christians forced to flee.  Please, Prime Minister, will our country, with "boundless plains to share," also increase our intake of refugees to welcome many of those who have fled for their lives empty-handed?
As temperatures in the region soar, and people fall in the heat from exhaustion, hunger, and thirst, I respectfully ask, what additional humanitarian aid is our nation able to give, out of our abundance?
Finally Prime Minister, I wonder if you can tell me what you think the average Australian, the men and women of our great and blessed country, can do in the face of such a crisis as this.  Please tell me, so that my friends, my community, my church, and I can play our part.  May it never be said, that we were content to stand silently while our brothers and sisters were slaughtered for their faith in Jesus.
Prime Minister, please be assured of my prayers for you and for our government, as you lead our nation in the midst of this challenge.  I will pray especially for wisdom, for courage, and for compassion.  Perhaps most of all for compassion, that in God's kindness, this might become a defining characteristic of our great nation
Yours faithfully,
Clayton Fopp
Senior Pastor
Trinity Mount Barker

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