Churches across the country are being urged to respond with prayer, advocacy and giving to the tragedy unfolding in Northern Iraq as minorities in the region face persecution, displacement and killings.
Bishop Alistair Redfern, Lead Bishop for International Development says: “The forced and bloody exodus of Christians and other religious minorities from Mosul and more recently Qaraqosh, the heart of Christian civilisation in the Nineveh region for almost 2,000 years, underline in very clear terms the appalling inhumanity of the perpetrators of these crimes.
We should not allow, however, the magnitude of the crimes we are witnessing to paralyze us from responding prayerfully with Christ-like love and compassion or from pressing the international community to accelerate and intensify their own humanitarian and diplomatic efforts. As the Archbishop of Canterbury made clear in his recent statement on the subject no effort should be spared to protect all groups forcefully displaced by this conflict. Where necessary the Government must make provision to provide asylum to those that are unable to return to their homes for fear of persecution and death”
To help the Church respond a dedicated Iraq Crisis resource page has been set up on the Church of England’s website. The page includes prayers, details of how people can contribute to a variety of Church based emergency appeals and an advocacy action to help keep this crisis squarely before the eyes of the international community. The Iraq Crisis resource page can be found here.
With the United Nations designating its highest level emergency for the humanitarian crisis in Iraq, it is already clear that this will be a sustained crisis and support will be a needed for the long term as well as to meet immediate needs now. The Iraq Crisis resource page on the Church of England’s website will be refreshed on a regular basis in order to enable the Church to express its solidarity for the vulnerable and marginalised communities in Iraq both now and in the future, and to help us coordinate our prayer and practical response.