I’ve sent this letter.
Dear Mrs Bishop,
I am the senior minister of an Anglican church in Sydney and wanted to write to you on behalf of our entire church family about the particular pressures now being felt by Christians in the north of Iraq and to encourage you in your response.
As you will know, the new Islamic “Caliphate” established by ISIS in northern Iraq and Syria has pursued a policy of intense persecution of all dissent, particularly along religious divisions. As you yourself noted in your speech to the ANU Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies on 26 June, “The emergence of this international terrorist group, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – ISIL, on this scale in this vital part of the world, threatens the stability and security of the whole region and by extension, global security.”
This is not just a tragedy for the wider region but on a personal scale for hundreds and thousands of Christians. ISIS is now pursuing the Qu’ranic policy of demanding a tax from all non-Muslims and has marked all the property of Christians with an Arabic ن “n” for “Nazarene” and with the label “property of ISIS”. Christians and others have been forced to leave their homes on a few days notice. The tax placed upon them is punitive and to remain and not convert to Islam would leave them facing death.
This policy of ISIS is effectively a form of ethnic cleansing which the global community has spoken up strongly over in the Balkans, Rwanda and in other places and yet now we appear to hear nothing from our leaders. I appreciate that there are currently other pressing matters to attend to (and we are very grateful for the government’s response to the current crisis in the Ukraine catalysed by the shooting down of MH17) but the tragedy in Northern Iraq can, surely, not be allowed to continue without global leaders speaking out publicly in the strongest possible terms and seeking every available solution. We would ask you to use your increased international profile at this time to play your part in raising global awareness and pursuing a meaningful response.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. Please be assured of our prayers for you and the government at this difficult time. The Bible encourages Christians to pray for their leaders and we do so gladly, grateful for a free, peaceful and stable nation and mindful that those are privileges that Christians in Northern Iraq do not have.
Rev. David Ould
You can write too. The Foreign Minister’s email address is Julie.Bishop.MP@aph.gov.au or you could use this contact form: