Prince Charles praying about 'agonizing situation' of Christians in Middle East

by Joni B. Hannigan |

(REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed)Jordan's King Abdullah (R) welcomes Britain's Prince Charles (C), near Jordan's Prince Ghazi (L), as they meet at the Royal Palace in Amman, Feb. 8. Charles embarked on a six-day tour of the Middle East this weekend beginning in Jordan.

AMMAN, Jordan (Christian Examiner) – The Prince of Wales Sunday spoke freely to BBC about the "agonizing situation" of Christians in the Middle East being persecuted by Islamic extremists, and partially lays the blame on "Internet" recruitment in Great Britain and elsewhere.

In the Jordanian capital of Amman to meet with Jordan's King Abdullah II, Prince Charles, on the first day of a 6-day tour of the Middle East, told a BBC reporter the "extent" of the spread of radical Islam gives pause for alarm.

The night before, Prince Charles met with a gathering of Iraqi refugees at the British ambassador's residence, according to the Telegraph.

"For what it's worth, you have nothing but my entire sympathy," he told them, reported the Telegraph. "I cannot imagine a worse situation to be in and it won't be of any consolation, but I have been praying every day for all of you."

In the interview Prince Charles hesitatingly talked about the radicalization of young people in Britain -- just days after ISIS released a video of the death of Jordanian pilot Lt. Moaz al-Kasaesbeh, filmed being burned to death while in a cage.

"The extent to which this has happened is the alarming part of it, and particular in a country like ours where the values we hold dear," the Prince said during the recorded interview. "You would think the people -- who come here, who were born here, who go to school here, would imbibe, would implant those values ... .

"The frightening part is that they would be so radicalized through contact with somebody else or through the Internet," Prince Charles said.

The Prince spent time Sunday also at the sprawling Zaatari refugee camp, 30 minutes from the Syrian border, which now houses about 85,000 refugees.

The border camp is well known to a Jordanian Baptist who is on a year-long sabbatical. He recently told Christian Examiner he is confident that King Abdullah as a "well-trained soldier" is a force to reckoned with in the region.

Dr. Nabeeh Abbassi, is an evangelical theologian and pastor whose humanitarian organization, the Arab Center for Training and Consulting Services (ACCTS), has provided food and non-perishable items for 1,000 families a month for Syrian and other families at Jordan's borders.

The aid is given without regard to religious affiliation, and in Irbid, a large border city in northern Jordan, relief is distributed through three local Baptist churches, a Nazarene church, and a mosque. ACCTS leaders meet regularly with United Nations leaders to assess needs, Abbassi said.

Abbassi's wife Ruba has headed relief efforts to supply the Zaatari refugee camp, where the Prince of Wales visited after being welcomed by King Abdullah, with blankets, heaters and other necessities.

King Abdullah was born in 1962 to his father's British-born second wife Princess Muna. He was educated in England and completed his high school education in the United States. He went on to study at Oxford and Georgetown Universities and in 1980 joined Sandhurst military academy and served in the British army in West Germany. He became a Major General in Jordan's special forces in 1998.

Dr. Abbassi told Christian Examiner King Abdullah has "a golden opportunity to finish this dirty job and relieve humanity from this evil group."