*** DEBUG END ***

Islam, democracy, and intervention in Iraq

27 June 2014


From the Revd Larry Wright
Sir, - It is salutary to remind ourselves that Iraq is a democracy. As part of an NGO delegation, I spent ten days there in April monitoring the General Election. It was one of the few delegations who ventured beyond the Green Zone.

At most polling stations, we met officials and voters - men and women - who were proud to be part of a democratic process; and, of those eligible to vote, the turnout was 60 per cent. These were the first elections since the coalition's withdrawal, organised entirely by the Iraqi High Electoral Commission.

At meetings, senior political and religious leaders were unanimous that democracy was the one legacy of international intervention which they should embrace. The current incursion by extremist forces from Syria is a political and humanitarian tragedy threatening their still-fragile democracy, and a further humiliation to Western governments (the United States and the UK in particular), who appear to have no credible strategy for dealing with the rise and rise of militant jihadists in the region.

After invading, occupying, and restructuring the political institutions of Iraq, the least we could do is see the process through to its optimal conclusion: a functioning, viable, democratic state. Its viability is now under threat, and we must work and pray to rescue what remains of the democratic legacy, bought at so high a cost.

100 Bridge Street West
Birmingham B19 2YX

From Canon John Goodchild
Sir, - Your leader comment on the rise of ISIS (20 June) suggests we intervene to help the suffering in Iraq and Syria. We cannot, however, sort out Muslims' problems for them. If we support one sect, it gives others a pretext for attacking them.

Muslims may come to their senses and stop killing each other more quickly if Western powers keep clear. Muslims could not have stopped Protestants and Catholics killing each other in the 16th and 17th centuries. Using violence will only encourage more violence. We should use our resources just for rescuing and resettling Christians.

39 St Michaels Road
Liverpool L17 7AN

Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

Letters to the editor

Letters for publication should be sent to letters@churchtimes.co.uk.

Letters should be exclusive to the Church Times, and include a full postal address. Your name and address will appear below your letter unless requested otherwise.

Forthcoming Events

Green Church Awards

Closing date: 30 June 2024

Read more details about the awards


Festival of Preaching

15-17 September 2024

The festival moves to Cambridge along with a sparkling selection of expert speakers

tickets available



Festival of Faith and Literature

28 February - 2 March 2025

The festival programme is soon to be announced sign up to our newsletter to stay informed about all festival news.

Festival website


ViSIt our Events page for upcoming and past events 

The Church Times Archive

Read reports from issues stretching back to 1863, search for your parish or see if any of the clergy you know get a mention.

FREE for Church Times subscribers.

Explore the archive

Welcome to the Church Times


To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)