Cardinal Vincent Nichols has decried the recent events in Iraq as being akin to genocide.
The Archbishop of Westminster not only denounced the “focused, deliberate killing and oppression” of Christian groups in Iraq as “horrendous,” but said this constitutes “the definition of genocide,” reported the Telegraph on Sunday.
Stressing that civilians of northern Iraq must be protected from the “evil force” at work in the country, the leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales called for prayers.
In response to Islamic State (IS) militants’ rampage across northern Iraq, he said it’s a “cruel, tyrannical movement,” and likened their behavior to that of “medieval marauders seeking to impose their worldview on the cradle of Christianity, Judaism and Islamic faiths.”
Moreover, Cardinal Nichols denounced the violent and oppressive actions of the IS against many ethnic and religious groups across the country, including the reported slaughter of Yazidis by Islamic State forces.
In the past few months, IS fighters have seized territory across Iraq and Syria and reportedly continue to slaughter Iraqi religious minority groups, sources say.
Fighters have been targeting Christians and Yazidis in the north, where thousands of Yazidi civilians are trapped in the Sinjar mountains.
While the United States has carried out four rounds of air strikes targeting IS fighters near Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, the UK is likewise under pressure to respond, both militarily and with humanitarian aid. But like the Unites States, it is reluctant to do so.
The UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron is under pressure to recall Parliament to discuss a response, but while he continues to be on holiday in Portugal, this discussion couldn’t occur any sooner than three weeks from now.
The UK’s Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has also admitted he doesn’t foresee a combat role taking place, placing hopes for a larger scale military intervention in doubt.