Telegraph Blogs – Canon Andrew White: Iraq: The most dangerous place in the world for Christians

The Christians of Iraq are some of the oldest and long standing Christians in the world. Here among these wonderful people is still spoken the language of our Lord. Ninety-eight per cent of my people at St George’s, Baghdad originate from “Niniwah” (Nineveh) and are the result of the most miserable evangelist ever, who arrived by submarine transportation 2,700 years ago – Jonah. Another miserable person turned up 700 years later called doubting Thomas. He was on his way to India. He told the people that their Messiah had come. They believed him and, to this day, the Christians in Iraq revere Jonah and Mar Thoma.

Yet I look around our church and most of our members (over 2,000) are women and children because our men have been killed or kidnapped. All of our members apart from me are Iraqis and all have suffered terribly. Last year alone, 93 of my people were killed. This year already, five of my people have been killed. All of my original church leaders were killed in 2005 and all Christians in the country who had the means have left and gone to Jordan, Syria or Sweden so that those left behind tend to be the poorer members of the community.

(Jordon, Syria, or… Sweden?) And:

Regarding the Iraqi Government, at no point has it ever taken negative action towards Christians. The Iraqi Government does care about its Christians. Members of the Cabinet even regularly come to church. The council and the governor often see how they can help us. But whilst individuals and churches have helped us help the Christians of Iraq, never once has any Christian relief agency ever helped us. It is far too dangerous for them to send people in so they do not help us. It is this point that really frustrates me, that those in some of the greatest need cannot be helped because it is too dangerous to have a presence.

Read the whole thing.