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Bishop of Chelmsford leads calls for prayers and humanitarian action in Iraq

12:41 02 September 2014

Bishop of Chelmsford Stephen Cottrell is leading calls for more humanitarian action to be taken by the government in northern Iraq.

Bishop of Chelmsford Stephen Cottrell is leading calls for more humanitarian action to be taken by the government in northern Iraq.

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Church members from across the Diocese of Chelmsford - including the Redbridge Deanery - are calling for the government to increase the country’s humanitarian effort in Iraq.

The Bishop of Chelmsford Stephen Cottrell has also issued a call for prayer for the Iraq crisis at Chelmsford Cathedral this Wednesday.

The prayers, between 12 noon and 12. 15pm, will focus on the need for peace and stability in the Middle East.

This event will coincide with a prayer vigil led by Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, at Lambeth Palace followed by a vigil outside parliament.

Bishop Cottrell said: “Many thousands of Christians and other people from all backgrounds in minority communities have been displaced by ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq).

“All those communities have been subjected to terrorism, ferocious brutality, abductions and killings.

“The survivors have been forced to flee from areas controlled by ISIS where they were given the message – convert, leave or die.

He also added: “Vulnerable children, women and men are now stranded in dire conditions. They stand in desperate need of safety, shelter, water, food and sanitation.”

Amnesty International revealed today it had new evidence ISIS was carrying out “a wave of ethnic cleansing” against minorities in Northern Iraq.

The majority of the thousands of fatalities in the region have been civilian.

Bishop Cottrell finished by calling for unity with the Muslim community who “are feeling insecure” because of the way ISIS is claiming to act in the name of Islam despite British Muslim leaders recently issuing a fatwa - an Islamic religious ruling - condemning the group.

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