Posts Tagged ‘Isis’

ISIS declares war on France

November 14, 2015
Paris Peace

Paris Peace

Listening to the radio last night, appalling news coming out of France. Coordinated terrorist attacks across Paris, many killed, ten o’clock 26 reported dead, midnight 36, early hours of the morning over one hundred, lunchtime today 126.

From eyewitness accounts, all the hallmarks of a commando style raid, only not against a military target but aimed at slaughtering ordinary innocent civilians.

France was already on heightened alert, due to host climate talks in a couple of weeks, and yet no warning, not even a whisper.

Not only well organised to carry out the attacks, well organised to have caches of weapons in place.

Where did they receive their training, where were they from?

We have had bombings in Turkey, in Lebanon, a Russian plane blasted out of the sky. Now coordinated attacks on Paris, and that follows on from the Charlie Hebdo massacre in January.

Last last night, France declared a State of Emergency, its borders were closed, roads in Paris were closed, people were advised to stay indoors.

The attack is seen as a declaration of war by ISIS. An attack on one Nato member is an attack on all.  France could invoke  Article 5.

The Schengen Agreement has to be suspended indefinitely, We cannot have the free flow of people, unchecked, across national borders.

We have to halt the flow of migrants into Europe, when we have not a clue who we are letting in. One of the Paris attackers is believed to be a Syrian who passed through Greece as a migrant. Isis in the past has said it will use migrants as a route into Europe.

The illegal migrant camps in France have to be broken up, breeding grounds for crime and terrorism.

For far too long we have been tolerant of Islamic extremists. We cannot allow women to wear the burka, with only their eyes visible through a narrow slit. We do not allow people to parade around wearing a Balaclava, so why a burka? If they do not like it they know what they can do they can head for Saudi Arabia.

There has to be military action against ISIS. Bombing is making the situation worse.

We have to cooperate with Russia.

We have to recognise we are in for the long haul. It could take ten years, it could take a generation.

Iraq, Libya, Syria, are failed states. We are dealing with the consequences of the break up of the Ottoman Empire, illegal wars by war criminals George W Bush and Tony Blair and climate change.

Post-WWII, we ran Germany, we had a programme of de-Nazification. This we will have to do in the Middle East. We have to give all a part in society, Kurds, Arabs, Muslims, Christians, Shia, Sunni. This was the mistake we made in Iraq, and as a consequence the country fell apart.

We have Syrians, or at least they claim to be Syrian, literally fighting their way into and across Europe, fighting with border police, fighting with each other. Why are they not in their own country, fighting to recover it? Contrast with the Free French, Free Poles, who fought with the Allies to recover their countries.

Wealthy Arab countries should pay for the cost of recovering the Middle East, if they refuse, seize their assets in the West.

We have to move to renewables (we need to anyway to deal with climate change), to end the flow of money into the Middle East.

ISIS will not talk. Canon Andrew White invited ISIS to dinner. They offered to chop his head off.

Prior to Peal Harbour, Americans were opposed to entering WWII. After Pearl Harbour, they were queueing to enlist.

The attacks on Paris last night is a wake up call. We cannot let ISIS expand.

On facebook last night, a page to let people know you are safe. And yet no mention in the media.

This evening the London Eye and London Bridge are lit in the French colours to show we stand with the people of France. As are many other buildings around the world.

Shukee Begum: the British mother and children who escaped Isis

September 23, 2015

This story does not add up.

Women takes her children to join ISIS.

Then she ‘escapes’.

Now she wants to return to the UK?

Canon Andrew White at St John’s Stoke

August 16, 2015
Andrew White at St John's Stoke

Andrew White at St John’s Stoke

When religion goes wrong, it goes very wrong. But if religion is part of the problem, it must form part of the solution. — Canon Andrew White

St John’s Stoke is about 20 minutes walk from Guildford town centre. An old church with a rather ugly extension.

Canon Andrew White, until recently the Vicar of Baghdad, was introduced by the Rector of St John’s.

Andrew White commenced with a blessing in Aramaic, the language used by Jesus. If it was good enough for Jesus, it was good enough for him.

Andrew White then asked how many were Anglicans? Most hands shot up. How many Baptist? A few hands shot up. How many Pentecostal? Very few hands shot up. He then explained, in his church in Jordan, there were no denominations, they were all Followers of the Messiah, for which there was a single Arabic word. But today, he was an Anglican, as the Bishop was present.

Over 1700 of his congregation in Baghdad have been killed. Beyond that he does not know. When Baghdad became unsafe, Christians fled to Minerva from whence they came. When Minerva became unsafe, they fled to Turkey, Syria and Jordan.

In Jordan, he has established a church in an old Catholic Church, a school, a clinic and a hospital.

The church in Baghdad, St George’s, still has a clinic, which treats people of all faiths.

The children are very devout, as are their parents. Having lost everything their faith is all they have left.

Everyone has suffered.

One family, the father was told, convert to Islam, or we kill your children. He sought forgiveness for his conversion.

Another family, it was the five children who were threatened. The children refused. Each was shot in the head and their heads hacked off.

Andrew was in tears when he learnt. The children walked into his office, asked him not to cry, said they had had a dream, they had seen the children in Heaven.

ISIS destroy the Bibles they find. Small electronic Bibles, powered by solar power have been distributed, talking Bibles in English and Arabic.

There is no electricity. Pens have been distributed that also function as a torch.

ISIS has grown out of the failed policies in Iraq. Sunnis have lost position, power and money, they have become marginalised. Bombing is only making a bad situation worse. The only way to defeat ISIS is by military means, boots on the ground.

Ten years ago, Andrew White would have said he had hope for Iraq. Now he has no hope.

Their current work is engaging in the Sex Slave Market. They are buying back the girls being traded as sex slaves. $5000 a girl or more. Not ideal, but the only way to get the girls back.

It is not unusual for Andrew to have dinner with terrorists. You get nowhere without talking. ISIS they are unable to talk to.

Gordon Brown and others attack Jeremy Corbyn for talking to Hamas. Andrew White talks to the founder of Hamas and counts him as a friend. Not only talks to, but has got him to talk to a chief Rabbi and engage in peace talks. He has also got chief rabbis in Israel to talk to Ayatollahs in Iraq.

Without talking, we make no progress.

Present the Bishop of Guildford who closed the meeting with a prayer.

The Bishop was a fellow student with Andrew. One lecturer, ripped up an essay in front of Andrew, telling him he could not write.

After the meeting, there were books by Andrew, which he happily signed.

Andrew White with Bishop of Guildford and Archdeacon

Andrew White with Bishop of Guildford and Archdeacon

Canon Andrew White is founder and president of Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East (FRRME).

FRRME is pro-Arab, pro-Jew, brings relief and reconciliation to the broken parts of the Middle East.

He is also chairs Iraq’s High Council of Religious Leaders.

Launched in September, the Jerusalem International School of Reconciliation, or JISR (meaning “Bridge” in Arabic). JISR is the first project of its kind and will provide a platform for key religious leaders of the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths to come together and introduce the power of reconciliation to an international audience.

Syrian atrocities

November 2, 2014
Syrian boy sleeping between his parents

Syrian boy sleeping between his parents

In Syria, no fake blood, no silly costumes, just everyday reality.

And you think you have had a hard day.

Anglican Vicar of Baghdad: “Child I baptised cut in half by ISIS”

August 10, 2014

Warning: This is pretty horrific to read.

Andrew White at St George's

Canon Andrew White at St George’s

The five-year-old son of a founding member of Baghdad’s Anglican church was cut in half during an attack by the Islamic State on the Christian town of Qaraqosh.

In an interview today, an emotional Canon Andrew White told ACNS that he christened the boy several years ago, and that the child’s parents had named the lad Andrew after him.

“I’m almost in tears because I’ve just had somebody in my room whose little child was cut in half,” he said. “I baptised his child in my church in Baghdad2. This little boy, they named him after me – he was called Andrew.”

The fact that Andrew’s brother was named George after St George’s Anglican Church in Iraq’s capital demonstrates the strong ties the family had to the church there. The boy’s father had been a founder member of the church back in 1998 when the Canon had first come to Baghdad. Canon White added, “This man, before he retired north to join his family was the caretaker of the Anglican church.”

Though the move north should have proved safer for the Iraqi Christian family, the Islamic State made sure that it became a place of terror. “This town of Qaraqosh is a Christian village so they knew everybody there was part of their target group,” said Canon White. “They [the Islamic State] attacked the whole of the town. They bombed it, they shot at people.”

The Islamic State group captured Qaraqosh overnight Wednesday/Thursday after the withdrawal of Kurdish forces.

The boy’s family, along with many other townspeople, have now fled to Irbil. However, news reports suggest this may be the Islamic State’s next destination.

Anglicans at the forefront of relief

The violent takeover of parts of Iraq by the Islamic State is threatening to bring about what the UN has said would be a “humanitarian catastrophe” in the beleaguered nation.

Canon Andrew White said that Anglicans there have been working hard to provide a lot of support for the Christians who have fled Mosul and Nineveh to the north, as well as the many other minority groups targeted by the Islamic State.

“Anglicans are literally at the forefront of bringing help in this situation and there’s no-one else,” he said adding that the church is supplying much-needed food, water, accommodation and other relief items thanks to financial contributions from supporters overseas. The church’s activities are led by a Muslim, Dr Sarah Ahmed.

“We need two things: prayer and money. With those two we can do something. Without those we can do nothing.”

Those wanting to donate can do so at http://frrme.org/. As regards prayer, Canon White said, “I have three ‘P’s that I always mention which is for Protection, Provision and Perseverance. We need protection, we need to provide for those people and we need to keep going.”

It’s clear from social media posts on Facebook and Twitter that members of the Anglican Communion right across the world are praying for this situation. Many have also indicated their support for persecuted Christians in Iraq by changing their social media avatars to the Arabic symbol for ‘N’ denoting Nazarene which ISIS has been using to identify Christian homes.

Leaders speak out

In recent days, Anglican leaders from countries including Egypt, Wales, Brazil and South Africa have all expressed their dismay at the situation unfolding in Iraq.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, issued the following statement today on the situation in Iraq, shortly before he travelled from the Philippines to Papua New Guinea.

“The horrific events in Iraq rightly call our attention and sorrow yet again. Christians and other religious minorities are being killed and face terrible suffering.

“What we are seeing in Iraq violates brutally people’s right to freedom of religion and belief, as set out under Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is extremely important that aid efforts are supported and that those who have been displaced are able to find safety. I believe that, like France, the United Kingdom’s doors should be open to refugees, as they have been throughout history.

“The international community must document human rights abuses being committed in northern Iraq so that future prosecutions can take place. It is important and necessary for the international community to challenge the culture of impunity which has allowed these atrocities to take place.

“With the world’s attention on the plight of those in Iraq, we must not forget that this is part of an evil pattern around the world where Christians and other minorities are being killed and persecuted for their faith. Only this week I received an email from a friend in Northern Nigeria about an appalling attack on a village, where Christians were killed because of their faith in Jesus Christ. Such horrific stories have become depressingly familiar in countries around the world, including Syria, South Sudan and the Central African Republic.

“We must continue to cry to God for peace and justice and security throughout the world. Those suffering such appalling treatment in Iraq are especially in my prayers at this time.”

Other Christian leaders have also spoken up about the situation in Iraq including Roman Catholics, who, in England and Wales, have designated Sunday, 9 August, as a Day of Prayer for Christians in Iraq. The Syrian Orthodox Patriarch yesterday wrote to the UN, following an emergency meeting of Patriarchs, calling on the UN Security Council to “fulfil their responsibilities in stopping this genocide”.

Notes

1. The brutal, extremist group, which claims to have fighters from across the world, announced the creation of a “caliphate” – an Islamic state – across its claimed territory in Iraq and Syria a month ago. Learn more at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-28116033

2. Baghdad is part of the Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf http://www.cypgulf.org which is part of The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, a Member Church of the Anglican Communion.

Originally published by Anglican Communion News Service.

A common cry of Christians not only in Iraq, but across the Middle East, is why has the West forgotten us. That cry could be particularly aimed at churches.

The last few days, the atrocities committed by ISIS, appears to have woken the world up. That documented by Canon Andrew White merely the tip of a very horrific nightmare.

I was shocked when I saw the Kurds withdraw, as they are the only ways capable of taking on ISIS.

At least US, UK, and France had finally decided to act, with both military action against ISIS and humanitarian aid to those most in need.

The Kurds urgently need heavy weapons, ammunition.

The West should have intervened after the First Gulf War, Saddam Hussein was defeated, but the West allowed him to regain control.

With the second Gulf War, the West destabilised the country.

Al Maliki is a disaster as Prime Minister and must be removed.

The atrocities being committed by Israel in Gaza, has led directly to support for ISIS. ISIS has already mounted incursion into Lebanon.

If Israel defeats Hamas, into that void will step ISIS.

In London, Islamist supporters of ISIS, now control a London estate, with the ISIS flag flying over the entrance. Islamists from UK and France are fighting with ISIS. Now UK and France have mounted military attacks on ISIS, we can expect those Islamists if they return, to carry out terrorist attacks in UK and France.

It is wrong, as the media does, to refer to ISIS as a terrorist organisation. They are an insurgency that carries out terrorist atrocities.

Canon Andrew White at Alton Maltings

June 20, 2014
Andrew White Alton book signing

Andrew White Alton book signing

I never knew Alton had a Maltings. Signposting needed from the town centre.

An excellent job done on the interior of the building. Strangely, you enter at rafter level. A large meeting hall (ideal for concerts) and a cafe. I did not explore the lower levels, but was told contained meeting rooms.

Tea was served in paper cups. Not good for the environment. The coffee I was told was single sourced.

Following a blessing in Aramaic, Canon Andrew White started by giving the background of how he came to be in Iraq.

At age ten, he was asked by his teacher, what would he like to be.

An anaesthetist and a priest.

You cannot be both, and you are a Pentecostalist, and they do not have priests.

Andrew was an anaesthetist at St Thomas in London, where he headed the cardiac arrest unit, then gave it up to be a priest.

Christian theology he did not find very interesting,and changed to oriental studies, part of which included studying in Israel at an Ultra-Orthodox University.

He became a curate, then a priest, and was then sent to Coventry, to be part of the peace and reconciliation unit. It had until then focussed on Europe. With his background in the Middle East, it changed focus to Middle East.

He was sent to Iraq, to St George’s Church, an Anglican Church that was derelict.

At first he was not wanted, you are bombing us. No, it is not I who is bombing you.

He had a minder. One day, the minder told him he was invited to dinner. He was to be guest of the two sons of Saddam Hussein. He at first decided to decline the invitation, but his minder pleaded with him to say yes, else he and his family would be executed.

Originally, St George served the diplomats, the military, but when it proved too dangerous, the Iraqis.

First week one hundred, second week two hundred, third week, three hundred, fourth week four hundred. Not bad growth rate, one hundred a week. Eventually six and a half thousand.

More than just a church. A food distribution centre, a school, a clinic.

Several types of service: wacky for the children, Anglican for the Embassy, very formal Catholic for the Iraqis.

The service at St George’s is in Aramaic

Iraq had a very good education system, Iraqis were well educated. It has now collapsed, those with education and the means, have fled the country, leaving behind the poor and uneducated.

More than looking after the church, also involved in peace and reconciliation.

Prior to 2003, there was not a problem of sectarian violence. One was an Iraqi. Now one is a Sunni or a Shia. Under Saddam Hussein, Sunni minority ran the country, now it is a Shia majority.

ISIS aka ISIL is an insurgency and a terrorist organisation. It is well funded, paymasters are Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar.

The country has de-facto broken into three.

In the last year, over 1200 of the congregation of St George has been killed. In the last two weeks, 1000 have been killed.

People fled Baghdad as deemed not safe, back to their homeland, back to Mosul. Minerva is a Christian area. It is this area that has been overrun by ISIS.

Churches need to take much more account of what is happening in the Middle East.

Next week, Andrew returns to Iraq, to begin reconciliation talks with Sunni leaders.

Running the church, its various programmes, reconciliation, all costs money. It is only made possible by the generosity of people in the UK. If every church, held but one collection for the work that is being done, it would make a huge difference.

Sales of books went very well.

The meeting had been publicised in other churches. Farnham Parish Church had a poster in the porch. More though needs to be done communicating with the wider community. The press invited.

The dire situation in Iraq will only improve if the government changes, and is inclusive of all Iraqis, including the Christians, who are the minority of the minority.

The talk was filmed, and it is hoped once edited, to have uploaded to the net possibly as early as Sunday. It will be added here once available.

Andrew White is author of several books, including Vicar of Baghdad and Faith under Fire.

Andrew White is recipient of the Wilberforce Award.

When Isis Wept for Egypt

January 31, 2011

How is it that I have no words to speak of the trouble in Egypt? I look for a healing light within me to cast as a balm upon the open wounds I see. I look to my Isis statue (black basalt) and, oddly tonight, I see it. Running like a gash across her forehead, dried white salt falls as if it were blood or tears of the goddess. In truth, the marks may have been made by holy water, during the last 30 days; but the symbol strikes me with its poignancy now.

On December 21, prior to my meditation with Isis (lunar eclipse at winter solstice, if you recall), I went to my altar to work with an Isis crystal and found it had broken, resting as it was all by itself in the case. I put the broken wand upon the altar and left the room to find matches for the candle. I did not intend to use the wand. When I returned the wand moved by itself, rolled off the altar and the other half of the crystal broke. It occurred to me that that something was afoot, that a life I had known had just been irrevocably broken.

Two weeks later on the day of the solar eclipse in January, during the Coptic Christian celebrations of Christmas, we learned of attacks against the Alexandrian congregation. And now 30 days later at the full moon in January, these shadows that passed over Egypt are passing again across the hearts of every one of us as we watch the demonstrations in Cairo. Much larger darkness looming over Egypt, but it breaks my heart to be its witness.

Inside my head, I hear the keening of Isis, the wail for the shattered body of her husband, the wail for the brother who takes arms against another brother, the calling down of some good to come from out of all this sorrow. And in that moment, while Isis grieves, Horus is conceived. He is the healing to come.

I believe that healing is coming to Egypt, and I believe that change will accompany it. We are watching an aeon turning. The divine exists in all things, even in the broken crystal, a broken body, a broken country, a broken heart.

Imagine. A new constellation has arrived, Ophiuchus, the wounded healer who holds the head and the tail of the serpent in his two hands even as the snake encircles his waist. He is the Islamic snake charmer Al Hawaa, the Greek father of medicine Asclepius and the Egyptian god of healing Thoth. Wisdom comes from the hero’s battle with Apophis and Set. We must pass through the trial that eventually leads to a new understanding and brotherhood.

How can we respond to the change? Stand still in the midst of its challenge. Hold out your hands and fill them with light. Know that truth is always more than one thing. Hold the opposition while you stand in balance. Bless what your heart tells you and what you do not yet know. And with your light-filled hands offer the highest and best to the Creator of All, who in Infinite Wisdom already knows the prayer in your heart and will answer it.

Posted by Normandi on her blog.

Also see

We lost our fear

Isis

October 15, 2010

Isis by Tina Malia from the album Shores of Avalon.