Prince Charles fears return to ‘dark ages’

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Britain’s Prince Charles, right, looks at gifts presented to him with Archbishop Habib of Basra, Iraq, during a visit to meet Iraqi Christians, in London (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, Pool)
The Prince of Wales has said that he is concerned the world may be returning to “the dark ages of public executions”.

Speaking at a Catholic church service in west London, Charles said that we have a “duty of care” towards the families of those who are being executed on camera by terrorist groups in the Middle East.

“We hear much at present about the ‘duty of care’,” he said.

“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 church service at the Holy Family Catholic Church in Acton was for Chaldean Christians, a denomination of the Catholic Church that includes many Iraqis and Syrians.

There are approximately 4,000 Iraqi Chaldean Christians in the UK, and numbers have grown since the conflict with Iran in the 1980s.

More recently Christians in Iraq have come under attack from Isis militants who are trying to create a pure Islamic state in the country, and many have been attacked and forced to leave their homes.

Charles met Chaldean Catholics whose families are suffering because of persecution in Iraq.

Maijida Nissan, 64, has a brother and sister who still live in Iraq. She has lived in the UK for 29 years and has worked as a nanny.

Mrs Nissan thanked the prince for his work to draw attention to the plight of persecuted Christians, to which he responded with: “It’s the least I can do.”

She also said she was praying, and he replied: “We all do.”

Afterwards she said: “I am very happy that he came here, and thanks to God that he came here. God brings him here.”

Mrs Nissan’s brother’s house in Baghdad has been bombed twice, and he now lives with his family in a church in Erbil.

She said that his daughter, Meena, 11, had asked her to speak to the Royal family to tell them about her family’s plight.

In his speech to the congregation Charles said he felt strongly about the plight of persecuted Christians.

“I have 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.

“The pain and grief must be quite unimaginable as you see them persecuted because of their faith.”

He finished his speech by saying: “You can have no idea how much I feel for those who as I speak are suffering for their faith in such terrible circumstances.”

The prince also met Neville Kyrke-Smith, national director of Aid To The Church In Need, who support persecuted Christians worldwide, telling him: “You’re doing a fantastic job.”

Last month Charles released a video message to introduce the charity’s report about religious freedom, and in September he made a donation through the charity to support Iraqi Christians.

Archbishop of Basra Habib Jajou had come from Iraq to meet the prince.

He said: “We have to express our thanksgiving to him for the solidarity he has shown for our situation.”