Iraq crisis: ‘Every single Christian wants to leave’

Christians in the Nineveh region of northern Iraq are unable to celebrate communion for the first time in two millennia, after Islamic State militants captured the area and took over the churches.

Canon Andrew White, vicar of the only Anglican church in Iraq, told the Telegraph that Isil have set up offices in the churches and have replaced crosses with the militant group’s black flag.

“Last week there was no communion in Nineveh for the first time in 2,000 years,” he said. “All [the churches] are closed, all their people have run away. It is so sad.”

Canon White said: “Many Christians here are very frightened about what has happened to their community up in the north. Some have relatives who have lost everything: their homes, furniture, cars. They have nothing left at all.”

“From the Iraqi point of view, the only way we can gain some kind of real safety and real removal of the Islamic State, as they call themselves, would be by having troops on the ground.

“But from a British point of view, I wouldn’t want our troops in Iraq, where they could be killed. So it is a difficult situation all round.”

His congregation at St George’s Church in Baghdad has fallen to a little over 1,000 members.

“To be honest, every single Christian wants to leave,” he said.

“I used to say to my people: ‘Don’t you leave. I’m not going to leave you, don’t leave me’. But now every one of them wants to leave and the ones who are left tend to be the poorer ones who couldn’t get away earlier.”

Full article: Iraq crisis: ‘Every single Christian wants to leave’ (The Telegraph)

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