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Let in Middle Eastern Christians, urge Church leaders

Church leaders have written to the PM urging a compassionate response to the suffering of Middle Eastern Christians

October 28 2016Australian church leaders have written to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull lamenting the slow progress in resettling refugees from the Middle East and expressing particular concern for the persecuted Christian minorities.

“While the suffering of all people greatly disturbs us, we express particular concern for the Christian minorities of the Middle East,” says the letter signed by the Anglican Primate of Australia, Melbourne Archbishop Philip Freier.

“Through ministering to our own congregational members, many of us have personal knowledge of the horrors of the genocidal war and violence that are shattering many historic Christian communities in Iraq, Egypt and Syria,” says the letter.

Sent to the Prime Minister on Wednesday after a meeting in Sydney at the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA), it is also signed by leaders of the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Coptic bishops of Melbourne and Sydney, the Baptist Church, Lutheran Church, Churches of Christ, Uniting Church, Congregational Federation, Salvation Army, Society of Friends and the NCCA.

The church leaders say they rejoiced when the Government committed last year to bringing an initial intake of 12,000 refugees from the Middle East, but “we are frustrated by the slow implementation”.

The leaders urge “a clear and compassionate response to these sufferings” and remind the Government again that their churches are ready and willing to help resettle the suffering victims of such horrors.

They ask the Prime Minister to meet the leaders as soon as possible.