The leader of the Church of England, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby said that the Islamic State militant group that is running roughshod over much of Iraq and Syria presents an “extraordinary, once in a millennium threat.”
The Archbishop said that it is the responsibility of religious leaders to speak out on the Islamic State.
“I do think it’s the duty of religious leaders to speak about this because although it’s not entirely a religious matter, it’s religious, it’s social, it’s economic, it’s cultural, it’s historic, it has a strong component of religion in it and religious leaders must speak out clearly, as many have been doing including with extraordinary courage,” he said.
He also commended the many Muslim leaders and scholars who have spoken out in condemnation of the crimes of the Islamic State.
“A lot of Islamic leaders have been speaking out to say this is not right, not authentic, not something that should happen,” he said. “And we need to take away any pretended, supposed and false justification for religious violence from those who are perpetrating it.”
He also spoke of a London meeting he attended last month with Christian leaders from the Middle East, who spoke of the threat posed against Middle Eastern Christians by the Islamic State.
“We spent two hours listening to their stories. The memorable comment was that this is the worst threat we faced since the Mongol invasion of 1259. This is an extraordinary, once in a millennia threat,” he said.