CCC church leaders write to PM Harper on Canadian military response in Iraq and Syria

The leaders of the CCC’s 25 member denominations have written to Prime Minister Stephen Harper over the nature of Canada’s involvement in the military response to ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Read an excerpt from the letter below, or download the full letter in English [PDF]. En français.

Download a copy of the CCC President’s cover letter [PDF]. En français.

The Vatican’s News.va covers the CCC’s letter (Google translate link).

“Easter Monday, 6 April 2015

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
Prime Minister of Canada
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2
Fax: 1 613 941 6900
Email: ac.cg.mp@mp

Re: Canada’s Current Military Mission in Iraq and Syria

Dear Prime Minister Harper,

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ.

With you and all Canadians we are deeply troubled by the rise of what has been called by several names: the Islamic State (IS), the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). This group has been responsible for brutal killings and kidnappings, and other deliberate and massive violations of basic human rights including the displacement and murder of historic Christian communities and the targeting of other religious minorities. These atrocities amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. We commend the Government of Canada for recognizing the gravity of this situation.

We also have serious questions about how Canada is responding. Military intervention will not bring an end to the conflict without a broader internationally sanctioned strategy for achieving sustainable peace in Iraq and Syria. Our partners in the region have expressed concerns about acts of violence that will foster new or renewed grievances, further fracturing the social fabric of Middle Eastern society and making the restoration of peace a more difficult task. We are convinced that military efforts to end or limit the present atrocities must be accompanied by other steps.

We have consulted widely with Churches and our other partners and agencies in the Middle East since the summer of 2014 to hear their concerns and receive advice on how we as Canadian churches, and Canada as a country, can make the most constructive contribution to building peace in Iraq, Syria and in the wider Middle East region. Members of The Canadian Council of Churches continue to reflect on the implications of extending Canada’s military mission to Syria.”

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