“Just war” criteria met that gives the British government the moral authority to use force to defeat ISIS, Archbishop Justin Welby told Parliament today.
Text of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s address to the House of Lords on 2 Dec 2015 on the debate to authorize the British government to join the US, France and Russia in the air assault against ISIS in Iraq and Syria
After welcoming the former Foreign Secretary William Hague to the House of Lords, the Archbishop said:
The Just War criteria have, to my mind, been met. But while they are necessary, they are not by themselves sufficient in action of this kind where we can end up doing the right thing in such a wrong way that it becomes the wrong thing.
To my mind, there are three components which currently need more emphasis and to some extent are missing:
In this role, through visiting all 38 provinces of the Anglican Communion, through the constant contacts we have with Muslim and Christian contacts in the region – as recently as three weeks ago in a conference at Lambeth Palace – I am constantly reminded that this is a global issue to which we are providing local solutions.
Isil is but one head of the Hydra: religiously motivated extremism is not restricted to one part of the world.
Secondly, our bombing action plays into the expectation of Isil and other jihadist groups in the region, springing from their apocalyptic theology. The totality of our actions must subvert that false narrative because by itself it will not work.
If we act only against Isil globally, and only in the way proposed so far, we will strengthen their resolve, increase their recruitment and encourage their sympathisers. Without a far more comprehensive approach, we confirm their dreadful belief that what they are doing is the will of God.
Thirdly, it is essential to defeat Isil and other extremist narratives. The Prime Minister’s strategy and the speech of the Noble Lady [Baroness Stowell of Beeston, the Lord Privy Seal, mover of the motion on behalf of the government] rightly recognised that military action is only one part of the answer. But there must be a global theological and ideological component – not just one in this country – to what we are doing; and it must be one which is relentlessly pursued and promoted. And it must include challenging Saudi Arabia and Qatar, whose own promotion of a particular brand of Islamic theology has provided a source from which Isil have drawn a false legitimisation.
It must also show clear support for global mainstream Muslim and other religious leaders.
There is, finally, room and requirement for greater generosity in our nation’s hospitality to refugees. But hospitality must be accompanied by a clear strategy that reduces the need for others to seek sanctuary and enables those who have fled to return. The communities who have lived there for 2,000 years should not simply be emptied from that region. The additional military force we are bringing to this quasi-policing operation, already active over Syria, symbolically and to some extent significantly adds to what is happening there. But far more than that, it enables us to act where our resources and expertise are world leading in the creation of post-conflict peace and nation building.
Only a holistic, theological and global policy will achieve our aims.