MOSCOW, September 25 (RIA Novosti) – The leaders of Britain’s Baptist and Methodist Churches have released a joint-statement, asking questions and urging that the UK exhibit caution before joining the US-led bombing campaign against Islamic State positions in Iraq.
As Britain’s parliament prepares to convene Friday to approve a campaign of airstrikes against the IS insurgency, the religious leaders caution that “there are no easy solutions,” and that “an ideology –even one as dangerous and perverse as that of IS – cannot be defeated by the use of weapons.”
Reverend Lynn Green of the Baptist Union of Great Britain and Reverend Ken Howcroft of the Methodist Conference noted in their joint letter that any military intervention would have to be only “one part of a broad political and economic strategy which must have the support of countries in the region,” and that “there are a number of unanswered questions that must urgently be addressed.”
The church leaders praised Cameron’s meeting, which was aimed at involving Iran in the process of stabilizing Iraq and Syria, and noted that they “would like to see this on a much broader front,” perhaps hinting at the inclusion of the Syrian government in the dialog.
The document also questioned “the level of commitment among countries in the region to take steps to prevent the funding of violent extremism,” possibly hinting at the logistical, financial and military support which has been provided to Syrian jihadis by private individuals in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States.
In this regard, the statement echoes sentiments expressed in a joint statement by members of Britain’s parliament from the Labour and Green parties that the IS “is in part a product of the last disastrous intervention, which helped foster sectarianism and regional division.”
However, while the MPs’ statement argues firmly against “any further military action in Iraq or Syria,” the Church leaders’ statement notes that “military action could help to protect persecuted minorities and prevent IS from expanding.”
The full statement can be found here.
David Cameron and the leaders of Britain’s opposition parties are in apparent agreement on the issue, and bombing by British aircraft could begin as early as this weekend if the proposal is approved in Friday’s vote.
While the US began striking IS targets in Syria, winnng the approval of Syrian President Bashar Assad, Cameron noted that British involvement in Syria would be “a separate discussion and a separate vote.”