THE Archbishop of Canterbury has backed the proposed airstrikes
on Islamic State (IS) targets in Iraq (
News, 26 September), but has warned that this
"transgenerational struggle" will require more than just bombs.
Speaking in a debate in the House of Lords, Archbishop Welby
said that the world will not be able to defeat Islamist extremism
by force of arms alone: "ISIL [another name for IS] and its
dreadful barbarity are only one example of a global phenomenon. We
will not thus be able to deal with a global, holistic danger if the
only weapons we are capable of using are military and
administrative, and if we focus only on one place.
"We do need to take this action now. But it is also necessary
over time that any response to ISIL, and to this global danger, be
undertaken on an ideological and religious basis that sets out a
more compelling vision, a greater challenge, and a more remarkable
hope than that offered by ISIL."
Later, after a six-hour debate, MPs voted by an overwhelming
majority - 524 to 43 - in favour of the Government launching
airstrikes in Iraq. One Labour MP, shadow education spokeswoman
Rushnara Ali, resigned from the front bench in order to abstain on
Archbishop Welby said that Britain must face up to the fact
that, for some young Muslims, jihadism was more attractive than the
"consumer society" offered here. "Religious leaders must up their
game, and the Church is playing its part," he said.
"It is the role of the church I serve to point beyond imperfect
responses the message of Jesus Christ and
justice, healing and redemption that he offers. But, in the here
and now, there is justification for the use of armed force on
humanitarian grounds to enable oppressed victims to find safe
"The action proposed today is right, but we must not rely on a
short-term solution on a narrow front to a global, ideological,
religious, holistic, and trans-generational challenge."
At the same time MPs in the House of Commons were debating a
Government motion to join in American airstrikes on IS in Iraq, but
not Syria. David Cameron told the House that IS was not a "threat
on the far side of the world", but posed a direct challenge to
Britain's national interests.
He said that the Iraqi government had asked Britain for help,
which provided a strong legal basis for airstrikes against IS.
"There is no realistic prospect" of defeating the terrorists who
recently beheaded the British aid-worker David Haines, without the
use of military action, Mr Cameron argued.
"If we allow ISIL to grow and thrive, there's no doubt in my
mind that the level of threat to the country would increase," he
For the Opposition, the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, said that IS
was a threat to anyone who "does not subscribe to their deeply
perverted ideology", which has "nothing to do with the peaceful
religion practised by people across the world, and by millions of
our fellow citizens, who are appalled by what we see".
He said that military action - but not including deploying
soldiers to Iraq - was necessary to contain and begin to counter
IS. He described the Islamists as "a murderous organisation" that
also has "ambitions for a state of its own - a caliphate across the
Middle East, run according to their horrific norms and values".
Earlier, the Vatican's secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro
Parolin, had told a UN Security Council meeting that
"terrorism represents a fundamental threat to our common
He said: "International cooperation must also address the
root causes upon which international terrorism
feeds. Together with the legal tools and resources to
prevent citizens from becoming foreign terrorist fighters,
governments should engage with civil society to address the
problems of communities most at risk of radicalization and
recruitment and to achieve their satisfactory social