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04 September 2014

Archbishop condemns Islamic State violence against Christians

Archbishop condemns Islamic State violence against Christians

The Archbishop of Canterbury is condemning the extreme religious ideology of the Islamic State, which he says "knows no limits in its persecution of those who are culturally or religiously different".

Archbishop Justin Welby is challenging the religious intolerance seen in the birthplace of Christianity, noting that these Middle Eastern communities have been an "indispensable part of its history".

Speaking before the vigil yesterday that saw faith leaders unite to support those being persecuted in Iraq, Welby called for relief and safety to be provided for those displaced and in fear of their lives.

The Archbishop said: ""Today, particularly in Iraq and Syria, they are at great risk from violence fostered by extremist ideologies which no longer see them as being part of the future."

"Those who promote this intolerance must be challenged and the perpetrators of violence held to account without impunity," Welby said.

He urged the government to work within the international community to safeguard and provide for all those affected.

Tearfund, a member of the Alliance, report that Christians, Yazidis and people of other minority faiths live next to each other in rows of tents which have been provided by a local church which is serving as a makeshift camp. In one tent, 20 people sleep alongside each other in a tent designed for four after fleeing their homes.

Concluding his statement on Wednesday, the Archbishop quoted Revelations 1:9: "To our brothers and sisters in the Middle East, we use these words: We 'share with you in Jesus the persecution and the kingdom and the patience and the endurance'." 

Fred Drummond, director of prayer for the Alliance, has written a prayer for the Middle East. You can find it here.