Do they expect us to believe it all again? With weary familiarity, I have been reading the government’s claims that we face a heightened “terror threat”. UK governments have been making this claim every so often since 2001. It is usually followed by a fresh restriction of civil liberties or the departure of British troops to yet another war zone.
This morning, I was invited onto BBC Ulster’s Sunday Sequence programme to discuss my response as a Christian pacifist to the situation in northern Iraq. Our discussion followed headlines reporting that English church leaders have criticised the UK government’s response to Islamic extremism.
The stories from Iraq are getting worse. There is news of massacres and threatened massacres, reported deaths and abductions, the sufferings of Yazidis, Christians and the many Muslims who reject the message of ISIS. It makes me sad and angry in equal measure.
The recall of Parliament during a recess is a signifier that grave matters are afoot. As the debating forum of a democracy, it does more than make decisions – it expresses itself in full view of the electorate it is there to represent.
‘It looks as if the end could be very near.’ This was the emotional response of Canon Andrew White, the Vicar of Baghdad this morning, when asked about the prospects for Christianity in Iraq. He was at pains to stress that Christians and Muslims in Iraq have lived and worked together peacefully for centuries: it is terrorism, not Islam that is the problem.