Killings escalate in Iraq
The Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Glenn Davies, says fervent prayer and urgent action is needed as the persecution of Iraqi Christians escalates towards genocide.
ISIS militants, who have already forced many Iraqis from their homes in Christian towns and villages, are now reported to be systematically executing Christians, including children, some by decapitation.
"The reports coming from reliable Anglican sources in Iraq are horrifying" Dr Davies said.
In the last 24 hours, Canon Andrew White, the Anglican Vicar of St George's, Baghdad reported that the five-year-old son of a founding member of the parish was attacked and cut in half by the insurgents in the Christian town of Qaraqosh.
"Everybody is being slaughtered, massacred - and what they have to undergo is worse than you could ever imagine" Canon White told the BBC last night.
"Not content with dispossessing Christians of their homes, unspeakable acts are now being carried out on those who refuse to recant their faith" Dr Davies said.
"Australia should be in the forefront of offering help, asylum and immediately agitating for protection of this ancient Christian community which is so desperately vulnerable."
"Our brothers and sisters in Iraq urgently need our prayers and I hope all Australian Christians would join us in asking God to guide them to safety and restrain those who will do them harm."
This is the second appeal issued by the Archbishop of Sydney on the turmoil in Iraq.
A week ago, after the attack on the Northern town of Mosul (near the ruins of the biblical town of Nineveh), Dr Davies said "In the same area where God sent the prophet Jonah to turn back the people of Nineveh from their evil ways, we pray for a turning back of the evil which has come upon the Christians of Mosul."
France has already offered asylum to Iraqi Christians forced to flee Mosul and other towns.
The Archbishop of Sydney's Anglican Aid has launched an emergency relief appeal to help those fleeing their homes.
Feature photo: UNHCR/ACNUR Américas