In the wake of official announcement of Mosul’s liberation from the so-called ‘Islamic State’ (IS) group, World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit called for a commitment to restoring the social and religious diversity of the city and region.
Mosul has been at the centre of a violent conflict that has left much of the city in ruins, killed thousands of people, and displaced nearly a million more.
“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 “, said Peter Prove, director of the WCC Commission of the Churches on International Affairs.
“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,” he said. “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 WCC is appealing to the Iraqi government, to the Kurdistan regional government, and to the USA and other members of the international community who bear particular responsibility for Iraq’s present situation, to commit the resources – political and 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.
“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”, Prove added.
“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.”
Tveit called 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. “We invite all member churches and church-related organizations, to join in supporting those who fled Mosul and the liberated areas of the Nineveh Plains, to assist them to return and to rebuild their lives and communities.”