The Vicar of Baghdad Andrew White spoke to the BBC this week, reporting on the crisis unfolding in Northern Iraq.
The “Vicar of Baghdad” has issued a plea for help to the international community to come to the aid of those fleeing the depredations of the Islamic State (IS). In an August 7, 2014 interview with the BBC’s News Night, the Rev. Canon Andrew White, Chaplain of St George’s Anglican Church in Baghdad, urged the West to “wake up to the needs of the people, all of the people”.
On August 6 IS forces captured the predominantly Christian town of Qaraqosh, prompting its inhabitants to join refugees from Mosul and the Nineveh plain in flight to Kurdish controlled territory. These people “need to be given some future, some hope”, Canon White said.
Asked by the BBC if he would advise members of his congregation to leave Iraq, Canon White said that he had long urged they stay. Though he is being treated for complications arising from Multiple Sclerosis, he was not going to leave. But Christians should now “be prepared to die for your faith.”
“People’s heads are being cut off. Children are being slaughtered and cut in half,” he said.
Canon Andrew White said that Anglicans there have been working hard to provide a lot of support for the Christians who have fled Mosul and Nineveh to the north, as well as the many other minority groups targeted by the Islamic State.
He told ACNS: “Anglicans are literally at the forefront of bringing help in this situation and there’s no-one else,” he said adding that the church is supplying much-needed food, water, accommodation and other relief items thanks to financial contributions from supporters overseas. The church’s activities are led by a Muslim, Dr Sarah Ahmed.”
“We need two things: prayer and money. With those two we can do something. Without those we can do nothing.”