The Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu, has today published three prayers highlighting the worsening situation in Iraq where Christians and Muslims are being killed by ISIS forces.
The prayers highlight the experience of Christians of Mosul, Iraq's second biggest city, where families have been forced to flee and faced execution by Salaafi militants.
The prayers are echoed by comments from the Bishop of Coventry, the Rt. Rev. Christopher Cocksworth, in a Church of England interview conducted in the House of Lords https://soundcloud.com/#the-church-of-england/religious-freedom .
Dr. Cocksworth linked the forthcoming commemorations of the 800thMagna Carta with the situations in Gaza and Mosul:
"Magna Carta enshrined religious freedom into the British identity. That charter was very important, and it is one of our great gifts to the world. It's important because this particular freedom is an early indication of human rights. Where freedom of religion is being denied, other things soon follow. Freedom of expression, freedom of association follow and other even more sinister denials of human rights follow."
Commenting on the situation in Mosul Bishop Christopher said:
"It's happening in a very, very extreme and deeply worrying and disturbing form as we hear about the ejection of Christians from Mosul and the intention to eradicate Christians in the area Isis seeks to control. The same is happening in other ways with Shi'ites and terrible persecution and inhumanity. It is really important that Christians not only are deeply attentive to the plight of our brothers and sisters across the world who are suffering persecution as Christians but also we are attentive to wherever this right, this God given gift is being denied.
"It's important for us to stand together with other groups who are being persecuted and repressed and where their rights are being reduced and limited, so that we stand together and so that Christians can speak for Muslims and Muslims can speak for Christians and so on and we apply that right across the world."
The Archbishop of York's prayers are reproduced below and can be found here: http://www.archbishopofyork.org/pages/prayers-for-the-people-of-mosul.html
The interview with the Bishop of Coventry can be found here: https://soundcloud.com/#the-church-of-england/religious-freedom
Prayers for the People of Mosul:
Lord, in this city where Christians and Muslims have lived together for over 1400 years, we pray for healing, peace and restoration. Bring light out of this present darkness and hope from despair that guided by your Holy Spirit, all your children may find a new way forward together based on your love for us all. Amen
Holy God, your Holy family was driven into exile and many holy innocent boys were massacred, we hold before you today the suffering people of Mosul. Amen
Hold in your loving arms, all those who have been caught up in this conflict. We pray for those forced to flee their homes, all who have lost friends, family and possessions and who now face an uncertain future. Bless our Christian brothers and sisters who have seen the destruction of their churches and communities and for our Muslim neighbours who have also experienced destruction and suffering. Amen