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Friday, December 31, 2010

Broadcaster to Participate In Iraq Emergency Summit
Norm Nelson receives official invitation to participate in crisis negotiations

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

LAKE FOREST, CA (ANS) -- The headline for the New York Times for December 30, 2010 reads: Christians Are Casualties of 10 Baghdad Attacks. It was written by John Leland and Omar Al-Jawoshy.

A hostage is freed after the rescue operation at the Sayidat al-Nejat Catholic Church in Baghdad
(Photo: AFP)

Here is part of the story: BAGHDAD — One week after an Islamic extremist group vowed to kill Christians in Iraq, a cluster of 10 bomb attacks rattled Baghdad on Thursday night and sent additional tremors of fear through the country’s already shaken Christian minority.

Two people were killed and 20 wounded, all of them Christians, according to the Ministry of the Interior. The bombs were placed near the homes of at least 14 Christian families around the city, and four bombs were defused before they could explode.

(Full article can be found at: www.nytimes.com/2010/12/31/world/middleeast/31iraq.html?_r=1&ref=todayspaper )

In the midst of the ongoing massacre of Christians in Iraq, an emergency summit of the country’s top religious leaders is being convened on January 8, 2011 in Copenhagen in an effort to end the sectarian violence gripping the nation. Dr. Norm Nelson, President of Compassion Radio - “America’s Radio Voice for Global Mission,” - has been invited by the summit’s convener, The Rev. Canon Andrew White, known as “the Vicar of Baghdad,” to participate in the four-day crisis deliberations.

Canon Andrew White who is known as “the Vicar of Baghdad,”

The gathering, which will be attended by members of The High Council of Religious Leaders in Iraq (HCRLI), brings together 10 senior religious authorities from the Sadrist, Kurdish, Sunni, Shia and Christian communities as well as government officials. Canon White has commented that “negotiations will be difficult and delicate. These men have significant enmity towards each other, yet, if they can talk together, they have the power to bring peace.”

Dr. Nelson told the ASSIST News Service in an exclusive interview that he believes that “the religious genocide” occurring in Iraq is “not getting the attention it deserves in the U.S.”

He went on to say, “Neither American Christians nor the public generally seems to have an awareness of this tragedy, believing, as our politicians are inclined to say, that the Iraq War is essentially over.

“Rather, it is now recast into an attack on Christians, mobilized in large measure by the al-Qaeda in Iraq thugs whose stated intent is to purge Christianity from the now-named Islamic Republic of Iraq.”

Nelson, who only days ago returned to the United States from Damascus, Syria, where he spent a week interviewing Iraqi Christian refugees who have fled the violence in their homeland.

“It is gratifying to be a part of this desperately needed summit,” he said. “The bombings, murders, kidnappings and other terrorist acts targeting the Iraqi Christian population threatens to drive Christianity – which has existed in this place since apostolic times – out of Iraq entirely.

“American Christians must not be uninformed or apathetic about this escalating tragedy which is an unintended but very real consequence of the Iraq War. Our prayers and material support of our persecuted Iraqi brothers and sisters are needed now!”

Soon after the emergency summit, Nelson will be traveling to Baghdad to gather additional material for a Compassion Radio-produced documentary that will focus on the present crisis in Iraq and the plight of refugees fleeing the country. He has traveled extensively throughout Iraq since 1997 developing close ties with Iraqi churches, meeting with governmental leaders and providing spiritual and material assistance to people in need.

The New York Times article includes this quote from the Rev. Meyassr al-Qaspotros who urged his followers not to flee the country.

“I just wonder, when does this ignorance end?” he said in an interview. “When does this bigotry end? When is there an end to weak-minded people not treating or thinking of other people as a human?”

He added, “I want to tell the Christians in Iraq not to leave their country despite the dangers. Let’s die here — better than living oppressed in another country. It’s our responsibility to sacrifice for this country in order to take it out of the deep hole and to live peacefully again among the people of Iraq as we used to live before, and even better.”

Since October, at least 1,000 Christian families have left Iraq for the relative safety of semi-autonomous Kurdistan in the north, and others have sought refuge in Syria, Turkey and Jordan, according to the United Nations. By most estimates, more than half of Iraq’s Christians have left the country.

Norm Nelson

Norm Nelson concluded by saying: “The war in Iraq is not over. I believe this is the most critical moment in the history of the modern Iraq. The repercussions of decisions to be made in the days and months immediately before us will be felt worldwide and touch the lives of every American. We must pray that God will guide the discussions at the Copenhagen Summit and we must reach out to support – both prayerfully and materially - the refugees who are struggling for survival in Syria, Jordan and other countries around the world. We fellow Christians simply cannot remain uninvolved.”

Anyone wishing to interview Norm Nelson on the current Iraqi situation can do so by calling 1.800.868.2478, or 949.470.2890. Further information on Norm Nelson and Compassion Radio can be found at: www.compassionradio.com


Dan Wooding, 70, is an award winning British journalist now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for 47 years. He is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS). He was, for ten years, a commentator, on the UPI Radio Network in Washington, DC., and now hosts the weekly “Front Page Radio” show on KWVE in Southern California and which is also carried on the Calvary Radio Network throughout the United States. The program is also aired in Great Britain on Calvary Chapel Radio UK. Wooding is also a regular contributor to The Weekend Stand on the Crawford Broadcasting Network, and a host for His Channel Live, which is carried via the Internet to some 192 countries. He is the author of some 44 books. Two of the latest include his autobiography, “From Tabloid to Truth”, which is published by Theatron Books. To order a copy, press this link. Wooding, who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, has also recently released his first novel “Red Dagger” which is available here

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