Justin_Welby

Pictured: Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury

Church leaders in the UK have disagreed over support for military intervention in Iraq and Syria where Christians continue to be persecuted, the Archbishop of Canterbury said.

Leaders from all sides of the Christian faith, many with strong links to the Middle East, met at Lambeth Palace today to discuss the “state of emergency” in the region.

And the Archbishop joined an inter-faith vigil outside Westminster Abbey where Jewish, Muslim and Christian leaders gathered to “stand together” in support of all minorities suffering in Iraq.

They urged the Government to work with the international community to safeguard and provide humanitarian relief to the thousands suffering violence, including those from other religious minorities.

However, Archbishop Justin Welby said the leaders held different views over whether UK troops should be sent to the region.

Asked about their view on military intervention, he said: “From the views we’ve had, there’s a mixture of views, I don’t think people are of one mind about that.

“We are aware that history has not been totally encouraging in that area.

“There are a mixture of views, some people feel that there needs to be more intervention at least to buy some time. Others feel that that would be wholly unhelpful.”

He added that the Middle East is in “desperate danger” of losing an “irreplaceable part of its identity, heritage and culture”.