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Comment on ‘Liberation of Mosul‘

Comment on ‘Liberation of Mosul‘

10 July 2017

Comment on ‘Liberation of Mosul‘

Yesterday’s announcement by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi of the liberation of Mosul comes 8 months after the commencement of the military campaign to retake the city, and 3 years after it was captured by the so-called ‘Islamic State’ (IS) group. While every right-minded person in the world must surely welcome the reduction and removal of the inhumanly brutal IS regime, reports of the loss of life, displacement of its inhabitants, and the devastation of the city indicate that it has come at a terrible cost. The further suffering of its people and the destruction of the physical city are now added to the toll of IS’ extremist violence and their destruction of the social and religious diversity which had enriched Mosul’s long history until 3 years ago.

However, armed force cannot by itself defeat the extremist ideology of IS. Indeed, if armed force is the only or principal response to this phenomenon, the liberation of Mosul will only serve to encourage a new dissemination and proliferation of violent extremism. Nor will the conclusion of this military campaign restore the social and religious diversity of the city and the region of the Nineveh Plain from which so many people, including Christians and ethno-religious minority communities have fled seeking refuge from IS brutality.

The World Council of Churches (WCC) appeals to the Federal Government of Iraq, to the Kurdistan Regional Government, and to the United States of America and other members of the international community who bear particular responsibility for Iraq’s present situation, to commit the resources – political and well as financial – to rebuild Mosul and the liberated areas of the Nineveh Plain, not only the physical infrastructure but also the communities which have been displaced and a peaceful and secure society in which members of all its all components enjoy equal rights and dignity.

As conveyed to governmental and intergovernmental leaders by the WCC church leaders’ delegation during its visit to Iraq in January 2017, security for all the diverse components of Iraqi society – and the very future of the ancient Christian community in Iraq – requires not only physical security, but also legal and constitutional security, and social and economic security. All these elements must be addressed to ensure a more peaceful and secure future for the people of the region. The members of the international community have an ethical, moral and legal responsibility to provide all necessary support to the governmental authorities of Iraq, nationally and regionally, in achieving this future.

The awful alternative is a desolation rather than a liberation, to further cycles of instability and conflict, and a region and a world that is less rather than more secure.

We call on all WCC member churches, ecumenical and interfaith partners, and all people of faith and good will, to join in prayer for the people and society of Iraq at this time of both opportunity and risk. We invite all member churches and church-related organizations, to join in supporting those who fled Mosul and the liberated areas of the Nineveh Plain, to assist them to return and to rebuild their lives and communities.


10 July, 2017

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit

General Secretary

World Council of Churches