Statement from the Archbishop of Canterbury on Iraq

Posted Aug 8, 2014

[Lambeth Palace] The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, issued the following statement Aug. 8 on the situation in Iraq, shortly before he travelled from the Philippines to Papua New Guinea. He has just begun a 10-day visit to the Anglican Provinces in the Philippines and Oceania.


The horrific events in Iraq rightly call our attention and sorrow yet again. Christians and other religious minorities are being killed and face terrible suffering.

What we are seeing in Iraq violates brutally people’s right to freedom of religion and belief, as set out under Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is extremely important that aid efforts are supported and that those who have been displaced are able to find safety. I believe that, like France, the United Kingdom’s doors should be open to refugees, as they have been throughout history.

The international community must document human rights abuses being committed in northern Iraq so that future prosecutions can take place. It is important and necessary for the international community to challenge the culture of impunity which has allowed these atrocities to take place.

With the world’s attention on the plight of those in Iraq, we must not forget that this is part of an evil pattern around the world where Christians and other minorities are being killed and persecuted for their faith. Only this week I received an email from a friend in Northern Nigeria about an appalling attack on a village, where Christians were killed because of their faith in Jesus Christ. Such horrific stories have become depressingly familiar in countries around the world, including Syria, South Sudan and the Central African Republic.

We must continue to cry to God for peace and justice and security throughout the world. Those suffering such appalling treatment in Iraq are especially in my prayers at this time.


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Comments (7)

  1. What actually is the Archbishop going to do? Everyone who has a Title speaks out, so who is sending
    goods, money, actual help to our fellow Christians?

    1. Sarah McD says:

      Noreen, lots of churches, organisations and individuals are sending money to support people on the ground. We can always do more, but rest assured, something is being done. I think we need government action now, though, don’t you? Sarah

  2. Michael Grear says:

    ISIS is just the current “pointy tip” of the Fundamentalist Islamic iceberg only because they are actually killing Christians. Look at Islamic kidnappings of Christian girls, the destruction of schools for girls, denigration of women via dress codes and public beatings and beheadings. One cannot even bring a Bible or crucifix into Saudi Arabia let alone build a church, Christan school, or hospital.
    Christian leaders gather priests, rabbis, and inmans together to decry violence from a chrpurch setting. When was the last time you saw an Islamic leader ask a priest or rabbit to stand in a mosque and ask for peace? Milk toast statements from Canterbury will never yield results for you are talking to barbarians…not religious. Jesus invited Romans to change their ways…but did they?

  3. Bill Calvin says:

    What a weak, mealy mouthed statement.
    Not one single mention of either of the “I” words.
    ISIS
    Islam
    Any wonder Christianity is sliding into oblivion if this is the best a “leader” of Christianity can do.
    Pathetic.

  4. Kate Battye says:

    News stories are deeply deeply shocking me.
    “Children beheaded”
    Women buried alive”
    Men enslaved”
    Child cut in half”

    These are punishments of the Stone Age, what more has to take place before any of the worlds leaders decide to actually send troops and force.

  5. Maureen Smith says:

    Please can the Archbishop stop being so darn politically correct. Speak clearly and condemn violent radical Islam. Speak clearly about the dangers of Sharia and the potential effects on our freedoms especially for women. I am worried for the future of my children. I don’t mean to condemn your average peace loving Muslim but it’s the spirit behind these radicals. We need to have a national day of prayer as 2 Chron 7 v14

    1. At last I have seen someone actually say something, I have been screaming about for many years” the politiciallycorrect bragade” have had afree hand to squash peoples inspirations and to sit on their hands and do nothing! Now with the spread of Militant Islam and disgraceful behavoir look at where we are now.it reminds me of the apeasment policies of the 1930’s and look where that led to !

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