BAGHDAD, IRAQ (ANS) -- As the Middle East continues to be in turmoil, an Anglican minister serving in Iraq says that he is seeing more believers fleeing Iraq.
Canon Andrew White, who serves as vicar of St. George’s in Baghdad, writes: “As I watch television, I see stories of killings in Gaza, Israel and Syria -- such terrible news. 40 people killed in Gaza, 3 in Israel and 9 in Syria; that is 52 people, quite terrible.”
Canon White wrote: “By 12:00 today there had been serious bombings and 119 people had been killed.
“Just as we were about to go to our service I wrote on my Facebook account the following: ‘We are about to go and worship now. G-d has not left us, everybody else has. We have just had 119 people killed in two terrible car bombs and you do not see even one line about in any of the international media.’”
“Our people are really frightened and feel forgotten,” said Canon White.
“People have started fleeing again in their masses, things are just so bad. People have nothing.
"One of our staff saw one of our congregation begging on the street yesterday. He asked her why she was doing this. She said all the food she had from church has run out and she has no money to pay her rent. We will give her everything she needs today, but another example of the terrible needs. All may have left us, but our Lord is still here.”
Canon White explained that “none of our people were in the bombings, but things have so deteriorated here recently."
He continued: “The violence is so terrible and once again we are seeing so many of our own people fleeing to Turkey and Lebanon. We have not seen people fleeing like this for several years.”
He stated: “The fact is, we were warned by one of the most senior religious leaders that this was being planned. Iraq is no longer a news issue. We cannot blame the media for this. So many of the journalists have been targeted here and many killed, especially locals. The media have moved to the traumas elsewhere in the region.”
Canon White concluded: “Our gospel reading today was from Mark 13. In it, Jesus tells the disciples that before the Second Coming there would ‘wars and rumors of wars.’
“Well we have sure got them. Our congregation all took hope in this, because ‘soon and very soon we are going to see the KING.’”
Michael Ireland is an Internet journalist who has served as chief correspondent and senior international correspondent for ASSIST News Service since 1998. He is an international British freelance journalist who was formerly a reporter with a London (United Kingdom) newspaper and has been a frequent contributor to UCB UK, a British Christian radio station. He has reported for ANS from Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Israel, Jordan, China and Russia.
Publication date: November 23, 2012