'End could be very near' for Iraq's Christians after ISIS ultimatum

Persecution has led to an exodus of Christians from IraqAP

Iraq's Christians are "disappearing" and the situation is desperate for those who have remained in ISIS-controlled areas, the vicar of the country's only Anglican church has warned.

Canon Andrew White, affectionately nicknamed the vicar of Baghdad because of his unwavering commitment to the country, suggested the ISIS takeover of Mosul and other regions may lead to a total wipe out of the Iraqi Christian population.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4, he said some of those who had fled their homes were now stranded in the desert or on the streets. 

"Things are so desperate, our people are disappearing," he said.  "We have had people massacred, their heads chopped off.

"Are we seeing the end of Christianity?  We are committed come what may, we will keep going to the end, but it looks as though the end could be very near." 

There are very few Christians in Mosul after ISIS issued an ultimatum to them to leave, pay a tax, or convert by 19 July.  In the days before the deadline, Human Rights Watch reported that Christian homes in Mosul had been marked.  

Canon White is currently in the UK to raise awareness of the crisis and much needed funds to support those affected. 

He said: "We do not want Britain to forget us.  We - and I'm saying 'we' talking like an Iraqi Christian - have always been with the British because they have already been with us. 

"Individual churches, individual Christians in Britain, have been a bigger help than anybody around the world."