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Chief Rabbi laments the persecution of Christians in Iraq

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As the Christian and Yazidi peoples of Iraq face continued persecution by extremist oppressors, with survival hinging on imminent escape and braving the challenges that come with it, the Chief Rabbi condemns those who distort religion for evil gains.

“I offer my deep sympathies and full, unreserved support to the Christian and Yazidi communities in Iraq, who are suffering at the hand of those who distort Islam and in its name bring death, destruction and misery. As we are witnessing in Iraq and elsewhere the denial of freedom of religion in such a brutal manner is antithetical to everything we stand for.

Such a gross distortion of religion presents a real danger to civil society and is an affront to the liberal democratic values we cherish. We must recognise the threat that this extremism poses to us everywhere and accept our collective responsibility to boldly confront and oppose it.

If they do not succumb to forced conversion the Christian and Yazidi communities of Iraq face an unthinkable choice – stay and be slaughtered or flee and starve. We must help them in their hour of need and guarantee their long term freedom and security.

I call on all people, irrespective of their own faith, to value and respect people of all faiths. Our thoughts and prayers are with the persecuted Christian and Yazidi communities of Iraq.”