International concerns

8_Syrian-refugees-at-the-Zaatari-refugee-camp---Image-courtesy-of-UNHCRThe Uniting Church in Australia has expressed its deep concern at the continuing persecution of Christian minorities throughout the Middle East, particularly in Iraq and Syria.

The President of the Uniting Church in Australia, Rev Professor Andrew Dutney, said the communities were being impacted by war or directly persecuted to the point of annihilation.

“Our concern is not just that Christian communities that trace their origins right back to the First Century are at risk of disappearing altogether in the Middle East, but that these are our sisters and brothers in the body of Christ,’’ he said.

“In this body when one member suffers, every member suffers with it (1 Corinthians 12:26). ‘’

Prof Dutney also said the Church condemned the horrific acts of brutality, most recently and tragically against journalists who have bravely sought to ensure the world does not look away from those who are suffering.

“We ask our members to continue to pray for peace in the Middle East and support ecumenical efforts for assistance through the National Council of Churches in Australia,” he said.

“At the same time we acknowledge that the violence and values of extremists of the Islamic State are not representative of the vast majority of Muslim Australians, whom we recognise for their commitment to peace, community and mutual respect.’’

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