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Prince Charles tells Iraqis of his distress about persecution

12 December 2014

by Francis Martin


Handshake: Prince Charles greets Archbishop Habib Bacha of Basra, in Acton, on Tuesday 

Handshake: Prince Charles greets Archbishop Habib Bacha of Basra, in Acton, on Tuesday 

THE Prince of Wales met members of an Iraqi Chaldean Christian community in London, on Tuesday. The event took place at the RC Church of the Holy Family, in Acton, west London.

Prince Charles told the congregation that he had been "deeply distressed by the horrific scenes of violence and persecution coming out of your beloved Iraq. I know that many of those who have been killed or forced to flee are members of your own families."

He was welcomed by the Chaldean parish priest at the church, Fr Nadheer Dako, and spoke with members of his congregation before listening to a performance by the choir. The Lord's Prayer was said in Aramaic before the Prince made a short speech.

He described his presence at the event as "a way of trying to show how much we feel for you". He referred to the Lord's Prayer, describing the chance to hear it in Aramaic as "an enormously special treat . . . because, somehow, it connects us even more closely with our Lord more than 2000 years ago".

Drawing on the dedication of the church, Prince Charles compared the Chaldean refugees to the Holy Family's fleeing from persecution after the birth of Christ. The Prince said that "as Christmas approaches, my heart goes out to all Christians who are being persecuted on account of their faith."

He spoke about his commitment to interfaith understanding: "It seems to me that all faiths to some extent shine a light on the divine image in every human life. If that is so, then surely to destroy another human being is to desecrate the image of the Divine, and to do so in the name of faith is nothing less than a blasphemy."

The Prince also expressed sorrow at the situation facing Christians in Iraq. "By being with you this Christmas time," he said, "I wanted to assure you of my constant thoughts and sympathy, and those of my family."

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