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Australia, Sydney: Parliament of New South Wales:
Mr. Guy Zangari: Iraq Conflict

by Assyrian Universal Alliance (AUA) - Australia Region. Parliament NSW, June 19, 2014.

Posted: Friday, June 20, 2014 at 12:27 PM UT

“We have seen senseless torture of innocent people broadcast to the world, the looting and takeover of private homes and reports of ISIS burning down all Christian Churches throughout Iraq.”

Guy Zangari - Shadow Minister for Citizenship and Communities.

Private Members Statements:
Iraq Conflict, page 73.

Mr GUY ZANGARI (Fairfield) [4.42 p.m.]: I draw the attention of the House to a range of concerns raised by my local constituents, community groups and vested organisations concerning the recent escalation of violence in Iraq. We have seen conflict between armed militia groups who identify as ISIS or ISIL—which stand for the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" and "Islamic State of Iraq and Levant"—moving from the northern regions of Iraq throughout the country. ISIS was established during the peak of the Iraq war and its members have fought alongside Al Qaeda and other Sunni groups. It has been reported recently that the Jihadists fighting in Iraq and Syria are planning attacks on British soil.

While the world has been watching the recent escalation of violence in Iraq, a number of community organisations in Sydney have been raising their concerns about the plight of its people and the grave dangers they are facing. The conflict has seen a number of cities from Mosul to Fallujah fall under the control of ISIS militants resulting in water and electricity supplies being cut. In the past 24 hours, Iraq's main oil refinery has been set upon by ISIS militants who have allegedly now taken control. According to reports, there have been fears of ISIS moving towards the city of Baghdad in large numbers, armed and ready. Given that we have now heard reports of both Australian and British residents who have travelled to northern Iraq to fight in support of ISIS, this is definitely a matter of great concern for us locally.

We have also seen reports of the conflict as it has been played out on the local television stations, online and via social media. We have seen senseless torture of innocent people broadcast to the world, the looting and takeover of private homes and reports of ISIS burning down all Christian Churches throughout Iraq. The futility and gruesomeness depicted in images is now unfortunately making its way to innocent children here in Australia through such streams. Luckily, our schools are proactive and are assisting their students using a variety of measures and offering them as much support and care as possible. In fact, next Tuesday, Mary MacKillop College in Wakeley will be holding a mass to offer petitions and prayers of intentions for those affected by the conflict.

The conflict has caused large-scale displacement of people who are fleeing and escaping to other countries. A large number of my constituents have been deeply impacted by the conflict in Iraq. I am sure many members have heard the outcry and anguish from their constituents who are going to hell and back as a result of this conflict. I believe a number of members have also been contacted by the many community groups that are working tirelessly to raise awareness and to seek support for their countrymen. I have been in contact with the Assyrian Universal Alliance [AUA], which has recently sent a delegation to Canberra to speak to the Government and the Opposition about the plight of the victims in Iraq. The AUA has also been to the New South Wales Parliament to seek support and assistance from Government, Opposition and crossbench members.

I have been contacted personally by a number of concerned members of the local Assyrian and Chaldean communities who have requested advocacy from their elected representatives on their behalf. Given the turmoil in Iraq and the enormous number of victims who are being displaced from their homes as a result of this conflict, we will be seeing an increase in the number of people seeking refuge throughout the world. We need to welcome these victims with open arms and to offer as much help and support as we can to those who have been displaced as a result of the tyranny reigning over Iraq.

I acknowledge the efforts of the Syrian Resource Centre in Fairfield. The centre is at the forefront of service delivery to people who are the victims of torture, stress and anxiety as a result of being displaced from their homeland. The centre does great work to ensure that those who have fled this persecution feel safe and welcomed in our community. As the local member and as the shadow Minister for Citizenship and Communities I will do my utmost to help those who have fled persecution in Iraq, and I am sure that other members will join me in offering their support.

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