The “Vicar of Baghdad”, the Rev. Canon Andrew White has been suspended with pay pending the findings of a Charity Commission Statutory Enquiry.
The “Vicar of Baghdad”, the Rev. Canon Andrew White has been suspended with pay by the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East pending the findings of a Charity Commission Statutory Enquiry. Last week the FRRME board released a statement saying it was “cooperating fully with the appropriate authorities. It would be inappropriate to comment further on an active investigation other than to say that the Foundation believe at this stage that the alleged incident stemmed from a genuine desire by Canon White to help others.” Canon White is alleged to have used FFRME funds to ransom captives held by ISIS, thereby violating laws that forbid payment of funds to terrorist groups. In a post made on Facebook Canon White wrote: he had “been suspended from my role as president of the FRRME.” He stated this action was taken in “response to some inaccurate statements I made about our work with and funding for the former slave girls taken by ISIS. What is clear is that at no time did we pay money to any terrorists. Whilst I cannot work on behalf of the FRRME, I continue to lead worship and support individuals that we are helping.” Canon White retains the confidence of his supporters and key leaders in the Middle East. On 1 July the Rabbi Michael Melchoir appointed Canon White the Director of Jerusalem and Middle East Inter-religious engagement for Mosaica. In 2002, Rabbi Melchoir initiated the Alexandria Process, a series of meetings between the Mufti of Egypt and Grand Imam of al-Azhar Mosque Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. George Carey, and Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron – Israel’s Chief Rabbi. With Elie Wiesel, Rabbi Melchior established the Mosaica Center for Interreligious Cooperation – MERPI (Middle East Religious Peace Initiative) to “lead to the implementation” of the principles of the Alexandria Declaration. In a video statement released on 2 July 2016 Rabbi Melchoir said it was a “big honor” to have Canon White join the Mosaica team. “Working together, the rabbi and the canon,” presaged “good news and hope for the people of the Middle East.