Tonight 60 Minutes broadcasts Vicar: Dire Times For Iraq's Christians
Tells 60 Minutes Most Of Iraq's Christians Have Fled Or Been Killed
Nov. 29, 2007
(CBS) An Anglican clergyman in Baghdad, who has seen his flock murdered and forced into exile by Muslim extremists, says Christians there are worse off now than under Saddam's rule and are probably suffering more than any time in history.
The Rev. Canon Andrew White, an Anglican priest known as the "Vicar of Baghdad," speaks to 60 Minutes' Scott Pelley for a segment on the persecution of Christians in Iraq to be broadcast this Sunday, Dec. 2, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.
"There's no comparison between Iraq now and [under Saddam]," says White. "Things are the most difficult they have ever been for Christians - probably ever in history," he tells Pelley, referring to the nearly 2,000 years of Christian history in the area. That's because White estimates that 90 percent of Iraq's Christians, once thought to number over a million, have either fled or have been murdered by Islamic extremists during the religious civil war.
That includes his own church leaders and most of the men of his parish. "They are mainly killed. Some are kidnapped," says White. "Here in this church, all of my leadership were originally taken and killed." Their bodies were never recovered. "This is one of the problems. I regularly do funerals here, but it’s not easy to get the bodies," White tells Pelley.
PS: I just watched it. Very sad. I wondered who has been behind the attacks on Iraqi Christians. I wondered if any Shia militias are at all responsible (because I am sectarian like that) - Sadrists have been known to attack owners of liquor stores, which are usually run by Christians. It turns out the Secret Islamic Army is behind many of the attacks. Learn more about the Secret Islamic Army here. I'm not sure if they are affiliated with the Islamic Army in Iraq, which was touted by Iraqi VP Tariq al Hashemi and Al Jazeera as legitimate resistance.