Don’t turn a blind eye to massacre of Christians - Reverend
RENOUNCE everything you believe in or die.
With the threat of this cruelty hanging over their heads, tens of thousands of people are fleeing Iraq and Syria to escape the persecution of terrorist group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
On Friday, church leaders called on Australians to stop turning a blind eye to the massacre of Christians and other groups by radicals from ISIL.
Reverend David Robinson, who has been elected the 12th Anglican Bishop of Rockhampton, described their actions as inhuman.
"I applaud and stand with all leaders, Christian and Muslim, who are seeking to bring attention to this grotesque and barbaric violence and calling for it to end," he told The Morning Bulletin.
"I'm not convinced that the persecution of minority groups ever gets the kind of media attention it deserves, I guess because these things are usually happening a long way from home."
It has been reported up to 100,000 Christians have fled their homes, and in some towns in Iraq the Arabic letter N has been spray painted on houses to identify Christian, or Nasarah, families.
The ultimatum is devastatingly simple for Christians and other religious minorities like the Yazidis; convert to Islam and pay a religious levy, or die.
"The persecution of minority groups because of their faith or ethnicity has been around for a long time," Rev Robinson said.
"Unfortunately, too often those in power have often chosen to say nothing rather than speak out against injustice. Jesus spoke out against oppression and injustice even though that came at great personal costs, and all Christians, especially Christian leaders, are called to model this pattern of behaviour."
Rev Robinson said he believes the government is becoming more responsive to the issue, but would like to see much more assistance given to refugees.
He called on the Australian government to offer asylum to those facing conversion or death.
"The Christian gospel speaks of loving all people and I would urge all Christians to pray for this situation and to work towards peace," he said.
"At a local level this may mean being prepared to befriend those of different faith and ethnicity and work together to stop persecution at all levels."
On Friday, in The Australian, Anglican Primate Philip Freier praised the government's aid response but warned the crisis was in danger of becoming genocide.