Monday, October 6, 2014
The Rev. Andrew White, vicar of St. George's Anglican Church in Baghdad, says he fears that after several millennia Christianity may be at an end in Iraq.
"The future's very bleak," he said in an interview with CNSNews.com. "For the first time, I've had to consider the very real fact that Christianity may be at an end here. "We don't know if it will survive. Nobody wants to stay here. Everybody wants to get out of here."
Asked to describe the current situation in Baghdad as militants with the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) terrorize Iraq, Rev. White said it "is basically the worst it's ever been. People are very fearful."
Islamic State jihadists have carried out mass executions, abducted women and girls as sex slaves, and used children as fighters in systematic violations that may amount to war crimes, the United Nations said.
They have been terrifying communities into submission by slaughtering those who resist, and are especially targeting minorities, including Christians. American air strikes seem to be doing little to stop the Islamists' advance.
At the time of his CNSNews interview, Rev. White said Islamic State forces were "two miles away" from Baghdad.
"People are fleeing in the hundreds," he said. "We saw all the people who were made to leave Mosul and Nineveh, and now we've seen several come back to Baghdad because things are so bad in the north."
He said that Christians in northern areas of Iraq, where the Islamists have been attacking Christian villages, "are literally homeless. They've no longer got their homes or their security, and they're living in camps. Things are really bad."
White works with the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East to provide aid and promote reconciliation among different religious groups in Baghdad.