The ‘Vicar of Baghdad’ says destroy them

Don’t listen to me, listen to someone who is daily witnessing the horrors of Islamic terrorism and the totalitarianism of ISIS.

There used to be 1.5 million Christians in Iraq but now there are only 260,000, he says. Some are calling it genocide. Surely he no longer believes that negotiations with Isis could work? White stares at me from behind owlish spectacles. “Can I be honest? You are absolutely right. You can’t negotiate with them. I have never said that about another group of people. These are really so different, so extreme, so radical, so evil.”

So what is to be done? “We must try and continue to keep the door open. We have to show that there is a willingness to engage. There are good Sunni leaders; they are not all evil like Isis.”

But surely there is only one logical conclusion to be drawn? He sighs, and answers slowly. “You are asking me how we can deal radically with Isis. The only answer is to radically destroy them. I don’t think we can do it by dropping bombs. We have got to bring about real change. It is a terrible thing to say as a priest.

“You’re probably thinking, ‘So you’re telling me there should be war?’ Yes!”

This guy has a price on his head, a brave, brave Christian man in a sea of violence.

They were coming for him and his people. Friends were being killed or fleeing for their lives. So Andrew White did what he always does when faced with an enemy. “I invited the leaders of Isis [Islamic State] for dinner. I am a great believer in that. I have asked some of the worst people ever to eat with me.”

This extraordinarily self-confident priest is best known as the vicar of Baghdad, leader of a church in the chaos outside the protected Green Zone. He made his offer last year as the terrorist forces threatened to take the city. Did he get a reply?

“Isis said, ‘You can invite us to dinner, but we’ll chop your head off.’ So I didn’t invite them again!”

And he roars with laughter, despite believing that Islamic State has put a huge price on his head, apparently willing to pay $157m (£100m) to anyone who can kill this harmless-looking eccentric. Canon White was a doctor before he became a priest and could be one still, in his colourful bow-tie and double-breasted blazer with a pocket square spilling silk. But appearances are deceptive.

For the last two decades, he has worked as a mediator in some of the deadliest disputes on Earth, in Israel and Palestine, Iraq and Nigeria. He has sat down to eat with terrorists, extremists, warlords and the sons of Saddam Hussein, with presidents and prime ministers.

White has been shot at and kidnapped, and was once held captive in a room littered with other people’s severed fingers and toes, until he talked his way out of it. He is an Anglican priest but was raised a Pentecostal and has that church’s gift of the gab, even though multiple sclerosis (MS) makes him drawl like a posh barfly.

That is some balls.

But he is right, we can’t negotiate with terrorists, and we sure as hell can’t negotiate with Islamic fundamentalists. They actually do want to kill us.

Instead of listening to liberal elite tossers, who ISIS would throw off the Sky Tower in a heartbeat for their own apostasy, homosexuality or simply for being a feminist, listen to people who are actually dealing with the holocaust being perpetrated against humanity in Iraq and Syria. It’s all well and good to sit in your comfy IT job in Texas and gob off on Twitter and on blogs, but this guy is dealing with reality and I’d far rather listen to him.

We are in a war for our civilisation and appeasers are oxygen thieves.

He really does believe in loving his enemies – even when they put a price on his head, and when war seems inevitable. “Sometimes the impossible can happen,” he says, looking for hope.

“If you want to make peace, you can’t just do it with the nice people. Nice people don’t cause the wars.”



– The Indepdent

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.