It's wrong to say ISIS has nothing to do with Islam, says Archbishop of Canterbury

(Photo courtesy Lambeth Palace)The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, with survivors of the 2013 Peshawar church bombings at St. Thomas Church, Islamabad, Pakistan on Nov. 19, 2016.

People should no longer say the atrocities of ISIS have "nothing to do with Islam" because such a description restricts efforts to fight extremism, the Archbishop of Canterbury has warned.

In a Nov. 17 speech made in Paris, Archbishop Welby called on all religious leaders to "stand up and take responsibility" for the actions of extremists who claim to be following their faith, The Independent newspaper reports.

The Islamic State, ISIS, ISIL and IS are all names for a self-proclaimed state of Islamist extremists who say they want to introduce a true form of the Muslim religion that many see as barbaric in the 21st century.

"If we treat religiously-motivated violence solely as a security issue, or a political issue, then it will be incredibly difficult - probably impossible - to overcome it," said Welby at the Catholic Institute where he was receiving an honorary doctorate.

"A theological voice needs to be part of the response, and we should not be bashful in offering that," said the archbishop who is the most senior cleric in the 88-million strong Anglican Communion according to Independent Catholic News.

Welby, visited Pakistan last weekend to express solidarity with the Church of Pakistan and church communities across the country, Lambeth Palace said.

During visits to Lahore and Islamabad, the archbishop met with church communities who have endured terror attacks in recent years, and took part in prayer and worship.

The Anglican leader was hosted and accompanied throughout the trip by Bishop Samuel Azariah, Moderator of the Church of Pakistan and Bishop of Raiwind.


Chrisitians are a tiny minority of Pakistan's 202 million people and more than 90 percent of them are Muslim of whom the overwhelming majority are Sunnis. Many Christians face face social discrimination and Pakistan's strict blasphemy laws have also seen many Christians fall into trouble for allegedly insulting Islam says UK's

In his Paris speech Welby noted there needs to be, "a move away from the argument that has become increasingly popular, which is to say that ISIS is 'nothing to do with Islam', or that Christian militia in the Central African Republic are nothing to do with Christianity, or Hindu nationalist persecution of Christians in South India is nothing to do with Hinduism."

He said until religious leaders stand up and take responsibility for the actions of those who do things in the name of their religion, there will be no resolution.

"If we treat religiously-motivated violence solely as a security issue, or a political issue, then it will be incredibly difficult - probably impossible - to overcome it," the archbishop said.

Welby'a comments came after several high profile figures, including Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, had repeatedly urged people to stop referring to the group as "Islamic State" as they say the terrorists go against all of Islam's teachings and use that they use the name for propaganda.

Islamic State is also known as ISIL, IISIS and Daesh.

The archbishop said that it is essential to recognize extremists' religious motivation in order to get to grips with the problem, The Telegraph reported.

If religiously-motivated violence is treated solely as a security, or a political issue, then it will be extremely difficult and probably impossible to overcome it said Welby who is also the spiritual leader of the Church of England.

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