threat to Christians ‘since Holocaust’

SHAFAQNA- The Archbishop of Canterbury has compared Islamic State’s persecution of Christians in the Middle East to the Holocaust and the reign of Genghis Khan, while the Prince of Wales has written a letter to Christians speaking of his heartbreak at their plight.

The Most Rev Justin Welby, during an interfaith vigil yesterday at Westminster Abbey, said the attempts to drive out Christianity were the biggest assault on the faith “since the invasion of Genghis Khan”, the Mongol leader who ransacked Baghdad in 1258.

During the vigil, he invoked the treatment of Jewish people during the Second World War after telling his audience: “Labelling people for persecution is something that we learned much about in Europe in the Thirties and Forties, and we are seeing it again.”

The archbishop also warned that the region was “in desperate danger of losing an irreplaceable part of its identity, heritage and culture” after the campaign by Islamic State.

When asked about the duty of the British government to offer asylum to those facing persecution in the region, he responded: “The last thing we want to do is empty the Middle East of Christians. What Christians need there is not only the long-stop of asylum, but also the provision of safe havens and security to enable people to re- establish their communities in the area.”

The Prince of Wales sent a letter to Louis Raphael I Sako, Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans and head of the Chaldean Catholic Church, Iraq’s largest Christian community, along with a donation through the charity Aid to the Church in Need.

He wrote: “It is my fervent hope and prayer that the leadership and actions of people of goodwill such as yourself and your brothers and sisters will help to overcome the diabolic evil that has wrought this terrible suffering and allow peace to return to the cradle of civilisation.”

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