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Basra memorial rededicated: The Church of England Newspaper March 19, 2010 p 6. March 31, 2010

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Iraq.
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The Prime Minister The Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP lays a wreath on behalf of the nation. The Basra Memorial Wall was rededicated at its new home in the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The prime minister has rededicated the “Basra Memorial Wall” to honour the 178 British service personnel and one Ministry of Defence civilian employee killed in operations in Iraq.

On March 11, Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Conservative party leader David Cameron and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, members of the cabinet, the military service chiefs and over 500 family members of those killed in action attended the service at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

At the conclusion of the memorial service, wreaths were laid by HRH The Duke of Gloucester, Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Chief of the Defence Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, and Brian Tanswell whose son, Lt Tom Tanswell RA, was killed in Iraq in 2006.

Last week’s service was the second and final national commemoration of the close of UK operations in Iraq 2003-2009, which began with the service at St Paul’s Cathedral on Oct 9.

The Basra Memorial Wall was originally built outside the Headquarters of Multi-National Division in Basra by members of 37 Armoured Engineer Squadron as a monument to the dead. It was disassembled and brought back to the UK in 2009. The names of the dead are inscribed on the wall and in the center is a brass memorial plaque that was blessed by the Archbishop of Canterbury at the national service of commemoration for Iraq at St Paul’s Cathedral last year.

Speaking after the service, Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth said, “today we paid tribute to those who gave their lives in Iraq on behalf of the nation and in order to provide Iraqis with a better life. This memorial, set in this Arboretum of remembrance, is a fitting monument to their sacrifice.”

The prime minister told the British Forces Broadcasting Service “this now gives us a permanent memorial for the 179 who were killed and sacrificed their lives in Iraq.

“It is a lasting memorial; 100,000 troops went to Iraq and many of those members of our armed forces will want to visit this memorial too.

“It does give them a chance that they would not have had if it had remained in Iraq,” Mr. Brown said.

British Muslims told not to fight in Iraq: CEN 11.27.09 p 6. December 7, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Arms Control/Defense/Peace Issues, British Foreign Policy, Church of England Newspaper, Iran, Iraq.
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The Director of the Islamic Centre of England has called for British Muslims serving in the armed forces to quit the services, as it is ‘haram’, forbidden for them to fight fellow Muslims.

In an interview with the Times, Abdolhossein Moezi , who serves as Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei’s Special Envoy to Britain said Muslims could not serve in Western armies when those armies were engaged in fighting Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Not only do I not accept it for Muslims to go there, I don’t accept non-Muslims to go there as well. We say that Muslims are not allowed to go and kill Muslims. Do you think Christians are allowed to go and kill Muslims?” Moezi told the Times last week.

Moezi explained that his role as leader of the Islamic Centre was to provide spiritual guidance to all British Muslims, encouraging them to become good British citizens. “My personal belief is that if Muslim migrants are better Muslims in this society, they can shape their individual lives in a better way and could be better members to this society,” Moezi said.

The Iranian cleric’s call is not likely to carry great weight in the British Muslim community, as the vast majority of British Muslims are Sunni and do not recognize the spiritual authority of Shia leaders such as Moezi.

Suicide bomb damages Iraq church: CEN 10.30.09 p 6. November 3, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & the Middle East, Iraq, Terrorism.
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First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The suicide bombing of Iraq’s Justice Ministry has badly damaged St George’s Memorial Church, the “Vicar of Baghdad” Canon Andrew White reports.

On Oct 25 two car bombs exploded outside the Justice Ministry and a provincial government building at 10:30 am local time in Baghdad. Initial estimates report 147 people were killed in the blast and 721 wounded.

Suicide bomb damages Iraq church

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks, which analysts believe are designed to destabilise the country in the run up to the January general elections.

US President Barack Obama said the attackers showed a “hateful and destructive agenda,” while Foreign Secretary David Miliband said the attacks were a “terrible reminder of the threat from violent extremism. Such acts of terrorism can have no justification, and must be condemned without reservation.” In an email sent to supporters, Canon White wrote that the attacks had “done serious damage to the church compound, the clinic, the bookshop, the school rooms and the mothers’ union buildings. “

An Aug 19 bombing had blown out the church’s windows, he said, but Sunday’s attack “hit the church much more powerfully. Even the window frames and the doors were blown out. All of the cars in the compound and the Danish Memorial were destroyed.”

“Destroyed fragments” of those killed in the blast were “thrown through windows of the church, making the clean-up operation yet more unpleasant. Many of our staff and church members remain unaccounted for,” he said. Canon White stated the “carnage was terrible, but it could have been even worse. At 10.30am this morning, when the bombs exploded, there was no one in the church. If the bomb had been just a few hours later, the glass from the windows would have ripped through the congregation causing terrible human damage.

He added that “yesterday an enormous tree fell down outside the church, which prevented the suicide bomber from detonating his explosives where they would have caused maximum damage.”

“It is days like today that reminds us why our work in Iraq is absolutely essential,” Canon White said.

“We must continue to provide a place of worship for Iraqi Christians. We must continue to treat the medical needs of Iraqi civilians. And we must continue to engage with the senior religious leaders from across the sectarian divides, working with them to challenge the belief systems that lie behind this terrible slaughter,” he said, urging supporters to help him rebuild the shattered church and restore its outreach to the community.

Andrew White in major breakthrough on violence: CEN 8.29.08 p 7. August 31, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & the Middle East, Iraq, Islam, Politics.
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A meeting of Shia and Sunni leaders moderated by the church-led Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East held this week in Beirut has released a fatwa condemning sectarian violence.

Canon Andrew White (pictured), the vicar of Baghdad and President of FRRME joined by Robert “Bud” McFarlane, national security adviser to President Ronald Reagan from 1983 to 1985, facilitated the Aug 22-24 meeting of Iraq’s senior Sunni and Shia leaders. At its start, Canon White said the meeting “will be one of our most important meetings yet, as we aim to try and definitively reduce violence by working with the leaders to get the Fatwa against violence released.”

Read it all in The Church of England Newspaper.

Muslims leaders issue Iraqi fatwa against violence

New appeal for Iraq hostages: CEN 6.27.08 p 6. June 28, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & the Middle East, Iraq.
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The Bishop of Cyprus and the Gulf has appealed to the captors of five Britons for their release. On June 20, the Rt. Rev. Michael Lewis asked the captors, believed to be Shiite militants to “consider messages that are being passed to them from many sources asking for mercy and compassion.”

On his first pastoral visit to St. George’s Memorial Church in Baghdad last week, Bishop Lewis met with senior Iraqi government and religious leaders and raised the issue of the five kidnapped Britons. Following his meeting with the bishop, national security advisor Mowaffak al-Rubai’e told the BBC the government had “very good, strong intelligence telling us [the hostages] are alive and we roughly know the area where they are.”

However, the government does not “want to be aggressive in our approach, not to risk their lives.” The vicar of Baghdad, Canon Andrew White, who has spearheaded attempts to free the hostages stated he hoped the hostages would be released soon.

The bishop’s visitation at St. George’s was a memorable event, Canon White reported. “There we were rejoicing in war torn Iraq and our Bishop was finally with us.”

“He had come all the way to see us at great risk to himself. The Bishop is so important in Oriental society and for weeks our people had been looking forward to this wonderful day,” he said.

Bishop Lewis also opened a medical and dental clinic built in the former parish hall, and led a joint Episcopal/Lutheran service for coalition forces within Baghdad’s Green Zone.

Iraq hostage hope remains: CEN 6.20.08 p 6. June 24, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & the Middle East, Iraq, Terrorism.
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The vicar of Baghdad, Canon Andrew White reports that though a year has passed since Shiite militants kidnapped five Britons in Baghdad, hope remains that they will be released unharmed.

On May 29, the Foreign Office released a statement from the British Ambassador to Iraq, Christopher Prentice, who observed it had been a “long and extremely difficult year for these men’s families, who only wish to have their loved ones back home, safe from their ordeal.

He said the government “remains committed to working for the release of all those held and I appeal again to those responsible, to release these men, in order that they may return home.”

Family members of the five men spoke to the BBC on anniversary of the kidnapping, sharing their hopes and concerns. Canon White told The Church of England Newspaper it was “very important that the families are heard for their own sake”

It was also “important that the work on the spiritual track is not seen in any way as being linked to the UK Government. Our work has been endless on this issue in the past year. We feel that our present contacts are very important as were the recent words of Lord Carey. We firmly believe that we will eventually have all of our people back,” he said.

“When, we cannot say,” Canon White added.

Reports published in the Sunday Times that the kidnappers no longer trusted him or would work with him, were false, Canon White said. “The kidnappers have strongly denied this, but are very angry that this was even discussed” he said, noting it was difficult to translate into Western terms the “complexities of Iraq.”

Anti-violence fatwah looming in Iraq: CEN 5.30.08 p 7. June 1, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & the Middle East, Iraq.
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Read it all in The Church of England Newspaper

Iraqi Shiite and Sunni leaders are close to signing a fatwah condemning suicide bombings and sectarian violence in Iraq, the vicar of Baghdad, Canon Andrew White reports.

The proposed text calls upon Muslims to “reject and forsake all violence, forsake all killing and provocation” Canon White said during a trip to Washington earlier this month. The “spilling of blood, Muslim against Muslim, and thus suicide bombings are totally prohibited,” he said.

The product of years of inter-faith and peacemaking efforts by Canon White and other religious leaders, the proposed fatwah will be the first joint edict from Shiite and Sunni clerics on the Iraqi violence. “It’s not going to solve all of our problems, but it’s the beginning of the process towards the reduction of violence,” Canon White observed.

Talks have been under way over the past few months in Cairo and Denmark, White said, and the fatwah is expected to be released shortly. A Pentagon spokesman told USA Today that Canon White “believes he is very close to getting Sunni and (Shiite) religious leaders to sign on to this fatwa. It has the potential to be very positive.”

Jerry Jones, a special assistant to US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, called the draft fatwa a “tour de force” and the result of four years hard labor by Canon White and Iraqi Muslim leaders.

Lord Carey makes new Iraq hostage plea: CEN 5.23.08 p 6. May 24, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England Newspaper, Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & the Middle East, Iraq, Terrorism.
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The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey has issued a plea to the captors of five Britons held hostage in Iraq to let the men go.

“May I appeal to you as honourable people to release these men who have been away from their families for over one year—you know what that means,” Lord Carey said in a video recorded at the House of Lords on May 16.

Joined by the vicar of Baghdad, Canon Andrew White, (pictured) Lord Carey said “I greet you as honourable men. I greet you as men of faith. I believe, as you do, that faith is important in this broken world.”

Noting Islam’s call to be compassionate and merciful, Lord Carey appealed to the kidnappers as “as good people, to release these men who long to be back home once more.”

Canon White said the five men held hostage had been engaged in the reconstruction of Iraq, and spoke of his love for the country and its people. Closing the appeal with words of prayer in Arabic, the vicar of Baghdad repeated Lord Carey’s plea for mercy and forbearance.

The appeal by Lord Carey and Canon White marks a new chapter in the negotiations for the release of the five men, abducted by Shia militants on May 29, 2007 from Baghdad’s foreign ministry. The Foreign Office and the employer of the five contractors, GardaWorld, have so far resisted attempts by the families of the captives to publicize their case. However, Lord Carey’s latest appeal is understood to have received the tacit approval of the government.

Before Christmas, Lord Carey taped a video on behalf of the families of the hostages, speaking to the captives he urged the men to holdfast, and to know that they were “never out of our thoughts.”

Canon White, who was involved in the resolution of the 2002 siege of the Church of the Holy Nativity in Bethlehem, were Palestinian militants barricaded themselves inside the church for 38 days, has spearheaded the negotiations with the hostage takers. He told the media in London that the video appeal was “separate from everything the Foreign Office, the government of Iraq and the embassy is trying to do. We are working as religious leaders.”

On May 25 ITV will broadcast a one hour documentary by filmmaker Rageh Omar on the church’s mission in Iraq, entitled the “Vicar of Baghdad”, which highlights the work of reconciliation and reconstruction being undertaken by St. George’s Memorial Church and Canon White.

Baghdad church hit by rocket fire: CEN 4.25.08 p 7. April 25, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & the Middle East, Iraq.
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St. George’s Memorial Church in Baghdad came under rocket fire on Thursday evening, the vicar of Baghdad Canon Andrew White reports.

All of the church’s windows were blown out by the blast and the church, built in the 1930’s to commemorate British war dead in the Mesopotamian Campaign of the First World War, sustained some structural damage in the April 17 attack.

However, Canon White reports there were no injuries from the attack.

“This in itself is a miracle- the church was full at the time, with people attending our Thursday prayer meeting. It is indeed a miracle. It will cost us to get the damage repaired, but we are so grateful that nobody was injured, or worse,” he said in an email from Iraq.

Archbishop killed by his Iraqi kidnappers: CEN 3.20.08 p 6. March 21, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Iraq, Roman Catholic Church.
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archbishop-rahho-2.jpgThe Archbishop of Canterbury has released a statement condemning the “appalling” murder of Msg. Paulos Faraj Rahho, the Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul.

“Our prayers are daily with the people of Iraq, especially with the vulnerable Christian community, and particularly today with the Chaldeans and Archbishop Paulos’ family,” Dr. Williams said on March 14, the day after the body of the Archbishop was discovered in a shallow grave.

Gunmen seized the Chaldean Archbishop for ransom following a service at the Church of the Holy Spirit in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Feb 29, killing his driver and two guards.

In St. Peter’s Square on Palm Sunday, Pope Benedict concluded the midday worship service with a call for peace in Iraq. Archbishop Rahho’s “beautiful witness of fidelity to Christ, to the Church and his people, whom he did not want to abandon despite numerous threats, moves me to cry out forcefully and with distress: Enough with the bloodshed, enough with the violence, enough with the hatred in Iraq!”

“I make an appeal to the Iraqi people, who for five years have endured the consequences of a war that has provoked upheaval in its civil and social life,” the Pope said. “Beloved Iraqi people, lift up your heads and let it be you yourselves who, in the first place, rebuild your national life.”

In an email from Iraq, the Anglican vicar of Baghdad, Canon Andrew White wrote “there are not words to describe the pain of us all on the news of the cruel murder of Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho. He was indeed a great man of God, and a great shepherd of his flock.”

Canon White wrote that “since the surge in Baghdad, Al Qaida has moved north to Mosul. What is more, we know that they are very short of money, and that they hate Christians. A huge sum was asked for, but the church could not pay it.”

“Sadly it was therefore inevitable that the Archbishop would be killed,” he wrote and was a symbol of the “the very real danger faced by Christians in Iraq.”

Archbishop’s kidnapping “criminal, not political”: CEN 3.07.08 p 6. March 8, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Crime, Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & the Middle East, Iraq, Terrorism.
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archbishop-rahho.jpgFriday’s kidnapping of the Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul was likely a criminal rather than a political act, the vicar of Baghdad, Canon Andrew White tells The Church of England Newspaper.

“Most of the kidnapping of Christians are economic rather than political,” Canon White said in a March 1 email from Baghdad.  The kidnapping of Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho is “distressing,” but has only made headlines in the West because he is an Archbishop.

“The fact that he is a Chaldean Archbishop also makes things worse as it is known that they are linked to the Roman Catholic Church so it is perceived that they should have plenty of money,” he said.

While the security situation has improved in recent months, “the fact is that this is still the most dangerous place in the world.”  However, “the kidnapping of the Archbishop is not in any way a sign that things are getting worse but the continuation of the same saga,” Canon White said.

Gunmen seized the Chaldean Archbishop following a service at the Church of the Holy Spirit the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Friday, killing his driver and two guards.

Pope Benedict XVI called the crime “despicable” and urged the gunmen to free the archbishop.

“The Holy Father asks the universal Church to join in his fervent prayer so that reason and humanity prevails in the kidnappers and Monsignor Rahho is returned to his flock soon,” the Vatican statement said.

Speaking to the congregation following a midday Angelus held at St. Peter’s Square in Rome on March 2, Benedict repeated his call for the “immediate” release of the Archbishop—“who is also in very poor health.”

“May the efforts of those who control the fate of the Iraqi people be multiplied so that, thanks to the commitment and wisdom of all, this people may again find peace and security, and the future to which it has a right not be destroyed,” the Pope said.

“For the moment,” Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, the Chaldean patriarch told L’Osservatore Romano, “we have no news and no claims of responsibility from the captors. We only have a lot of fear.  The people leave and go elsewhere. Prayer is our only consolation.”

“Things are still more than desperate for all Iraqis,” Canon White said.  “From our own Anglican congregation we have had 58 people killed or kidnapped in the past year. There are still bombs, rockets and countless shootings.”

“We need the Anglican world not to forget us and to know that we have one of the largest if not the largest Churches in Iraq. We have to support our people totally with food, medicine healthcare and education,” he said.

Lord Carey appeals for hostages: CEN 1.04.08 p 4 January 7, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England Newspaper, Iraq.
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Lord Carey has broadcast an appeal for the release of the five Britons held by Shia militia in Iraq. On Dec 12 the former Archbishop of Canterbury read a statement on television from the families of the five men pleading for their safe return.

On May 29 the five—an IT consultant and four security guards-were abducted by 40 gunmen dressed as Iraqi police officers from the Iraqi finance ministry in Baghdad. A group called the Islamic Shiite Resistance in Iraq released a video demanding that Britain withdraw its forces from Iraq within ten days, or it would execute the men.

Speaking one day before the kidnappers’ deadline, Lord Carey read a statement from the hostages’ families. “We have been apart from you, our husbands, sons, brothers and fathers for over 6 months now and we hope and pray that you will be back home with us soon. It has been a difficult time for us all being apart from you, particularly at this time of the year. We love you and miss you very much and want you to know that you are never out of our thoughts.”

“We appeal to those holding you; please allow our loved ones to hear this message and let them know how much we love them. We know that you have the power to return them to us and we ask you to do so. We remain serious and committed to exploring all the options open to us to bring about their safe return.”

Lord Carey added his own appeal saying at “this holy time of Eid and Christmas, this is a peaceful time which is important for Muslims and Christians alike, that we may be able to see the safe return home of these men as soon as possible.”

The vicar of Baghdad, Canon Andrew White said the threat to kill the hostages was real as the situation in the turbulent capital was fraught with danger. “We are working flat out on this case,” he told supporters, urging continued prayer for the captives.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown also called for their immediate release saying, “the taking of hostages is completely unjustified, wholly unacceptable and we are making it clear they will not change our policy in any way.”

“We will do everything in our power to secure our objective, which is the immediate release of the hostages,” he said.

Bishop’s Unity Plea:CEN 12.14.07 p 7. December 14, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & the Middle East, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Turkey.
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The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, Bishop Mouneer Anis of Egypt led the Anglican delegation to last week’s meeting of the 9th General Assembly of the Middle East Council of Churches. (MECC)

Gathered in Paphos, Cyprus from Nov 26-30, church leaders from the Coptic, Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican and Evangelical traditions released a statement affirming Christian unity amidst continued political and social upheaval. The MECC is a fellowship of churches in Egypt, Lebanon, Israel, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Iraq and Cyprus that seeks to foster cooperation among the disparate Christian minorities of the region.

Dr. Anis reported that the plight of Iraq’s Christians was a topic of concern for the Assembly, which “expressed its deep sorrow for the oppression and injustice with which the region’s population is afflicted, of wars and occupation, of destruction and death, of capacity and suppression.”

The delegates expressed their hope that the recently concluded Annapolis summit would break the cycle of violence in the region and urged Western Christians to stand in solidarity with their fellow believers in the Muslim world.

The final communiqué “looked forward to the day when people in the Middle East are liberated from the occupation and the injustice in Palestine, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Sudan and Cyprus.”

They also called upon the people of Palestine, Iraq and Lebanon “to be united and to cease being apart and killing each other” such that “the unity that accepts the other with all its differences is strengthened through the honest and free dialogue.”

While united in their opposition to the political and ideological forces facing Middle Eastern Christians, concerns over the “sheep stealing” underlay the deliberations. Evangelical Christian groups have made in roads amongst the younger members of the Orthodox and Coptic communities, creating friction between the regions traditional churches and its newer arrivals.

American intellectuals question Dr. Williams: CEN 11.30.07 p 8. November 30, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Archbishop of Canterbury, British Foreign Policy, Church of England Newspaper, Iraq, Israel, Politics.
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The Archbishop of Canterbury has sparked a firestorm of controversy over comments he gave to a British Muslim magazine attacking Anglo-American policy in Iraq and lauding the British Raj.

In an interview published in Emel Dr. Rowan Williams said America had lost the moral high ground it had in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks in New York.

“We have only one global hegemonic power at the moment,” he said. America was “not accumulating territory; it is trying to accumulate influence and control. That’s not working.”

This was the “the worst of all worlds,” he said, adding that “it is one thing to take over a territory and then pour energy and resources into administering it and normalising it.”

“Rightly or wrongly that’s what the British Empire did – in India for example. It is another thing to go in on the assumption that a quick burst of violent action will somehow clear the decks and that you can move on and other people will put things back together -Iraq for example.” Dr. Williams told the Muslim lifestyle magazine.

He also condemned Israel’s security wall, designed to halt Palestinian terror attacks against civilians. “Whatever justification given for the existence of the wall, the human cost is colossal,” he said.

The archbishop was also less than sanguine about the state of Western civilization, noting that “Our modern western definition of humanity is clearly not working very well.” There was “something about western modernity which really does eat away at the soul, lamenting the cultural mindset to “speed us up” or that we have “to fix everything.”

A self-professed “hairy lefty,” Dr. Williams’ opposition to the Anglo-American overthrow of Saddam Hussein is long standing, and his comments reflect “nothing new” aides to the Archbishop tell The Church of England Newspaper.

However, the Archbishop’s foreign policy comments have been dismissed as naïve and historically and intellectually incoherent. Indian newspapers have scoffed at Dr. Williams’ suggestion that the British Raj was a benign influence, motivated by the ‘white man’s burden’.

davis_hanson.jpgWriting on the website of the US conservative magazine the National Review, Prof. Victor Davis Hanson urged Dr. Williams to “read a little history about the British experience in India before he offers politically-correct but historically laughable sermons like the one he gave to a Muslim ‘lifestyle’ magazine.”

A Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford and syndicated political columnist, Dr. Hanson disputed Dr. Williams’ conclusions and suggested his concerns about the decline of the West were misplaced.

“If he is worried about the soul of civilization in general, and the U.S. in particular, he might equally ask his Muslim interviewers about the status of women in the Muslim world, polygamy, female circumcision, the existence of slavery in the Sudan, the status of free expression and dissent, and religious tolerance—he should try to visit Mecca on his next goodwill, interfaith tour.”john-bolton.jpg

The US government rejected as factually inaccurate Dr. Williams’ claims. The US was the “largest donor of aid of any country in the world” and poured “billions of dollars of financial, technical, and medical assistance” into Iraq a statement released by the US embassy in London said.

The former American ambassador to the UN, John Bolton told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme Dr. Williams’ comments were “incoherent” and urged him to “concentrate on his day job”.

Aides to the Archbishop denied Dr. Williams’ disparaging comments about the US and Israel were purposely released two days ahead of the latest round of Middle East peace talks.

Mothers Union Helps its Baghdad Chapter: CEN 8.10.07 August 9, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & the Middle East, Iraq, Mission Societies/Religious Orders.
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The Mothers’ Union has sent a grant of £5,000 to its Iraqi chapter to support the work of St. George’s Memorial Church, Baghdad in providing food, shelter and clothing to refugees and the needy in the strife-torn city.


The Emergency Relief Fund grant was made on Aug 1, the Mothers’ Union announced and will assist the 400-member chapter in its on-going relief work. The Mothers’ Union at St. George’s has been raising funds and producing crafts to purchase food, bedding and school supplies for orphanages in the city, a local home for disabled children, and to support Christian families displaced by violence.


The vicar of Baghad, Canon Andrew White, who is Chair of the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle-East (FRRME) said he was impressed with the way the chapter had “co-coordinated and distributed the emergency relief aid. They’ve been fantastic.”


“Aid is not just going to Christians but to Muslims too, and to members who are themselves in need. All receive help equally. We have been so impressed with how these volunteers have coordinated the relief work, that I hope that not just this funding, but humanitarian projects funded by FRRME will be handled by the Mothers’ Union,” he said.

Mothers’ Union chief executive, Reg Bailey said “It is a hallmark of the Mothers’ Union that it is a grassroots membership which volunteers assistance at the local level as and when it is needed.”


However the difficult situation in Iraq cannot be met solely by local voluntary organizations. The Mothers’ Union supports the “call for the international community to do all it can to encourage governments to bring urgent assistance to people of all faiths and none, within Iraq,” he said.

Canon Reveals Plight of Iraqi Christian Community: CEN 8.03.07 p 7. August 2, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & the Middle East, Iraq.
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THE PLIGHT of Iraq’s embattled Christian minority is dire and little has been done to alleviate the suffering, the vicar of Baghdad, Canon Andrew White told the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) at a hearing recently in Washington.

Coalition forces have ‘done nothing to support the Christian community,’ nor respond to Christian ‘suffering’, while the country’s Jewish community — once one of the largest in the world, has shrunk to eight people, Canon White said.

Read it all in The Church of England Newspaper.

Iraq's Chritians 'need assistance'

Canon’s Iraq Exit: CEN 7.13.07 July 13, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Al Qaeda, Church of England Newspaper, Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & the Middle East, Iraq.
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Security concerns have forced the return to Britain of the vicar of Baghdad, Canon Andrew White. Credible evidence that Canon White would be kidnapped by Islamist extremists prompted the British embassy in Baghdad to fly him out of country on Tuesday.

Canon White reported he had been given a hint from an Iraqi al-Qaida leader of forthcoming terror attacks in the UK, now understood to have been the doctors’ bomb plot in London and Glasgow.

Last month Canon White working with the Iraqi government and the US Department of Defense convened the largest Iraqi religious congress held in 40 years. The Baghdad religious congress brought together the country’s leading Shia and Sunni clerics and produced a document calling for reconciliation between the country’s religious factions, disarming of private militias and support for the democratically elected government.

Chilling Message that Predicted Bomb Plots: CEN 7.06.07 p 1. July 5, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Al Qaeda, British Foreign Policy, Church of England Newspaper, Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & the Middle East, Iraq.
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Hints that an al-Qaeda doctors’ plot to attack Britain were being planned were given to the vicar of Baghdad, Canon Andrew White in May.

In an email to supporters from Baghdad dated July 3, Canon White, the executive director for the Foundation for Reconciliation and Relief in the Middle East and vicar of St George’s Memorial Church in Baghdad, stated that “just over
two months ago” he had informed his supporters in the West “that I had the worst meeting of my life. I said I have seen the Devil today.”

He went on: “I met this awful man in Amman,” Jordan, who he called the Devil’. “I even refused to continue the meeting and told the Sheikh who had brought him to me never to let me meet him again,” he wrote.

The ‘Devil’ told Canon White “that they were going to start killing in the UK then the USA. One sentence I remembered but did not understand was ‘those who cure you will kill you’.”

Canon White stated he did not comprehend the meaning of the phrase at that time, but in light of the attacks in Glasgow and arrest of several foreign doctors allegedly behind the plot “those terrible words ‘those who cure you will kill you’
suddenly made sense.”

The ‘Devil’, Canon White subsequently learned was an Iraqi Sunni living in Syria and a senior al-Qaeda leader. Details of the meeting were passed to the Foreign Office, he said.

It remains the worst meeting that I have ever had. I hope I never have one like it again,” Canon White stated.

Converts Receive Death Threats: CEN 6.01.07 p 7. May 31, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Al Qaeda, Church of England Newspaper, Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & the Middle East, Iraq.
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Al-Qaeda has issued a death threat to Christian converts in Kurdistan the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports.

“We are hunting those who have converted to Christianity or Zoroastrianism as we consider them renegades and God’s punishment must be implemented by killing them,” the Islamist terrorist group said in a statement released on the internet on April 22.

Al-Qaeda urged Kurds to join the “Mujahedin and hoist the jihad flag against the crusaders who are occupying Iraq, instead of supporting them.”

Read it all in The Church of England Newspaper.

Episcopal Bishops urge Iraq withdrawal: CEN 5.25.07 p. 6 May 25, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & the Middle East, Iraq, The Episcopal Church.
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Over 100 Episcopal bishops have written to US President George W. Bush and Congress urging a pullout of US troops in Iraq.

In a statement released on May 15, the bishops urged the government to “map out” a clear strategy for pulling the US Army out of Iraq and implementing a “responsible transition to Iraqi governance.”

Read it all in The Church of England Newspaper.