Prince Charles praises persecuted Christians’ inspiring faith

Prince Charles says Christians from the Middle East have shown “inspiring faith and courage” in the face of oppression and persecution.

Making a plea for peace and saying “extremism and division” are not inevitable, Charles said he had been privileged to have met many people “with such inspiring faith and courage” who were battling oppression and persecution, or who have fled to escape it.

Speaking to 1000 people at an ecumenical service at Westminster Abbey on Tuesday “to celebrate the contribution of Christians in the Middle East,” Charles recalled his “great joy” of meeting Sister Luma Khudher OP in October.

Saying Khudher and other Iraqi refugees are a testament to the “extraordinary power of faith,” Charles explained that in 2014, as extremists advanced on the Christian town of Qaraqosh, Khudher “got behind the wheel of a minibus crammed full of her fellow Christians and drove the long and dangerous road to safety.

“Like the 100,000 other Christians who were forced from the Ninevah Plains by Daesh [Islamic State] that year, they left behind the ruins of their homes and churches, and the shattered remnants of their communities.

“The sister told me, movingly, of her return to Ninevah with her fellow sisters three years later, and of their despair at the utter destruction they found there,” he said.

“But like so many others, they put their faith in God, and today the tide has turned – nearly half of those displaced having gone back to rebuild their homes and their communities.”

Charles said the return of Christians to Iraq represented “the most wonderful testament to the resilience of humanity, and to the extraordinary power of faith to resist even the most brutal efforts to extinguish it.”

He said that in meeting people like Khudher, he was repeatedly “deeply humbled and profoundly moved by the extraordinary grace and capacity for forgiveness that I have seen in those who have suffered so much.”

“It is an act of supreme courage, of a refusal to be defined by the sin against you,” he said, “of determination that love will triumph over hate.”

Christians who face persecution, endure and overcome “are an inspiration to the whole church, and to all people of goodwill.”

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News category: World.

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