Appeal needs public support

Violent extremism of the sort just seen in Australia and Pakistan, as well as here, aims to terrorise but should unite us.

Their cruelty is horrific but we are neither helpless nor alone in combatting such inhumanity.

Iraqi Kurds, for instance, are solid allies, have a deep affection for Britain and their second language is English.

We saved them from Saddam in the early 1990s and his demise in 2003 enabled them to build a dynamic and pluralist society.

The position of Christians in the Middle East is awful – but many have sought sanctuary in Kurdistan where there are churches and vibrant Christian communities because tolerance is a feature of this moderate Muslim country.

Their generosity to refugees and displaced people from the rest of Iraq is because they have often had to flee themselves and know what it is like to lose everything.

This year, a country of just five million people saw a sudden influx of people escaping from the barbarians of the so-called Islamic State.

Kurdistan now hosts about 1.5 million extra people and this is straining its resources.

I hosted a major rally at the Commons last week to launch the Kurdistan Emergency Appeal.

I heard how families face below-zero temperatures and many don’t have winter clothes or blankets to keep warm.

Many camps urgently need water, sanitation and heating.

Please lend a hand. Details of how to donate money are at www.kurdistanemergency.org

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone.