British Quakers join calls for de-escalation of US-Iran tension

By agency reporter
January 11, 2020

Amid growing threats to global security, Quakers in Britain have called for a peaceful resolution to tensions between the United States, Iran and other countries.

The heightened tensions following the killing of Iranian military leader Qasem Suleimani and others in Iraq on 3 January 2020 and subsequent violence have led Quakers across Europe and the United States to speak out for de-escalation and dialogue. Quakers in Britain have joined these calls, and welcome statements made by various governments, including the UK authorities, urging restraint.

Quakers oppose all war, a deeply held position that comes from a belief that love is at the centre of existence and that all human life is of equal worth. Marigold Bentley, Head of Peace Programmes and Faith Relations for Quakers in Britain, said: “From our experience over centuries of work to promote peace through nonviolence, we can honestly say that violence in response to violence can only worsen human suffering and increase hatred and fear."

She added: “War is a failure. Modern warfare is failure on a colossal scale. It is failure to love our neighbours as ourselves; failure to love our enemies and to do good to those who hate us; failure to seek peace and pursue it; failure to leave no stone unturned in the search for a peaceful solution; failure even to imagine the limitless possibilities of peace that are before us; failure of governments to protect us through dialogue and diplomacy; failure of parliaments to uphold the basic principles of international law and ethical norms which call for utmost restraint in the spilling of blood; failure of military strategies and policies of 'deterrence' which are offered to us as a means to prevent such wars."

“Throughout this century the development of peacebuilding and peacemaking mechanisms has grown", said Marigold Bentley. “There are many opportunities for dealing with differences which do not involve violence. Quakers in Britain now ask that the very best of those peace mechanisms are brought to bear, that war is averted and humanity engages creatively with conflict using all the gifts and talents at our disposal."

* Quakers are known formally as the Religious Society of Friends. Around 23,000 people attend 478 Quaker meetings in Britain. Their commitment to equality, justice, peace, simplicity and truth challenges them to seek positive social and legislative change.

* Quakers in Britain


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