The Prince of Wales has suggested that the international community is failing to meet its obligations towards victims of jihadist violence and warned that the availability online of footage of executions could take “this so so-called modern age” “into the dark ages”.
In a brief address to Chaldean Catholics gathered in west London on Tuesday, he said: “We hear much at present about ‘the duty of care’. Then, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am bound to ask, whether there is not a duty of care towards the victims of violence and their families who, like you, are daily distraught by the graphic transmission of violent images of their loved ones?”
The prince visited the Holy Family church in Acton, west London, which hosts the only Chaldean Catholic congregation in the UK. He spoke to Iraqi parishioners who had lost their family homes and possessions since Islamic State jihadists seized the northern city of Mosul in June.
"I feel extraordinarily inadequate trying to express how much I feel for what all of you are forced to go through, such indescribable agony,” he told the Chaldean Catholics, who came from across Britain for his visit.
In the last year the prince has spoken out with increasing concern about the plight of Christians in the Middle East, and has visited Coptic, Armenian and Syriac Orthodox congregations based in England.
Fr Nadheer Dako, who is the head of the Chaldean Mission in the UK, thanked the prince for “sharing in our suffering” and urged him to use his influence for the “desperately helpless” displaced Christians in Iraq who needed protection and housing as winter approached.
Fr Dako’s predecessor, Habib Jajou, who is now Archbishop of Basra, flew in to deliver a message from the Chaldean Patriarch in Baghdad, Louis Sako.
In his message the patriarch appealed to the UN and the EU for a protected area north of Mosul for Christians, Yazidis and other ethnic groups as the violence shows no sign of ending.
The patriarch recalled the letter the Prince had written him in August expressing his “profound sympathy” over the barbaric persecution Christians were experiencing under Islamic State (IS) insurgents, and said the Prince and the Queen were “in my prayers all the time”.
Archbishop Jajou presented the Prince with gifts including his own grandfather’s 160-year-old New Testament in Aramaic.