THE rector of Bolton Priory, the Rev Simon Cowling, has written to Skipton MP Julian Smith, asking him to urge the government to offer sanctuary to some of the tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians who have been forced from their homes by the forces of the Islamic State.

In the letter, Mr Cowling points out that offering sanctuary would send out an unambiguous message about the government’s fundamental stance on the rights of all religious minorities in Iraq and the wider Middle East.

He also reminds Mr Smith that the extensive military intervention in Iraq ten years ago gives the UK government a measure of moral responsibility for assisting those who have become unwitting and innocent victims of the current political, ethnic, and religious instability in Iraq.

The full text of the letter can be seen at