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2nd December 2016 — a statement on Syria.

"The acts of intolerance and hatred carried out in the name of ISIS are wholly abhorrent.

As Methodist people we join with others across Britain and the world to pray for the victims of these ongoing terrorist acts. It is clear that measures must be taken to overcome this evil. In doing so we must remain firm to our own values.

Our Response must not be driven by anger or fear, but compassion and longing for peace. A strategy that protects civilians is required to achieve these aims — not simply aerial bombardment. Our understanding must be informed by listening to the voices of Syrians themselves including Christian and other minorities who have suffered greatly.

We continue to pray for all those affected by terrorism and also for our politicians as they consider how the UK might best use its influence in this situation."

  • The Revd Steve Wild and Dr Jill Barber, President and Vice President of the Methodist Conference

The Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Church of Scotland, the Methodist Church in Britain and the United Reformed Church have released a joint statement on military action in Syria:

Our churches: -

Express our abhorrence of the actions of ISIS/Daesh in Syria and their support of terrorist actions elsewhere and bring before God in prayer all victims of recent terrorist attacks and the families and communities affected by these atrocities.

Are grateful for the vital work of the security services in the UK in suppressing acts of terrorism.

Note that regional partners and Syrian factions have differing and contrary interests and welcome the efforts of the Vienna peace process to gain agreement on an approach to countering terrorism and to search for a way forward for the political process in Syria.

Are convinced that Daesh can only be defeated through a comprehensive economic, diplomatic and security strategy that has the involvement of all partners in the region and the full support of the UN Security Council.

Assert that aerial bombing is unlikely to have a decisive role in defeating Daesh and that even the use of precision weaponry is likely to cause civilian casualties and trauma within communities.

Urge the UN Security Council to call to account all parties in Syria who have committed crimes against humanity and call on the UK and its allies to avoid security strategies that are based on a reliance on those same militias.

Suggest that any military support from the UK in Syria be contingent on a clearer endorsement by the UN Security Council that is unambiguous as to the legal basis for intervention.

Call on our members to continue to pray for all who suffer as a consequence of more than four years of conflict, including refugees in the region and in Europe and also for those tasked with negotiating solutions and bringing security.

Call on our members to reach out in love and solidarity to members of other faith communities, to challenge the divisive rhetoric that sets communities apart and to show the love of Christ by building bridges where there are fractures.

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