Prince Charles recently praised an Iraqi nun for her incredible faithfulness and courage in the face of great persecution at the hands of Islamic State militants. Speaking in Westminster Abbey Tuesday at a service “to celebrate the contribution of Christians in the Middle East,” the prince of Wales shared the story of Sister Luma Khudher, whom he met in person back in October.
After escaping ISIS militants in her home country, Sister Luma returned to Iraq’s embattled Ninevah Plain to serve the Christian community there.
During a 2014 attack on the Christian-majority town of Qaraqosh, Sister Luma “got behind the wheel of a minibus crammed full of her fellow Christians and drove the long and dangerous road to safety,” Prince Charles said, according to the Catholic Herald.
“Like the 100,000 other Christians who were forced from the Ninevah Plains by Daesh that year, they left behind the ruins of their homes and churches and the shattered remnants of their communities,” he noted.
Three years later, Sister Luma returned to Ninevah with a few fellow nuns, only to find their former home utterly destroyed by the violent extremists.
“But like so many others, they put their faith in God,” Prince Charles said, “and today the tide has turned – nearly half of those displaced having gone back to rebuild their homes and their communities.”
The heir to the throne said Christians returning to Iraq provide “the most wonderful testament to the resilience of humanity, and to the extraordinary power of faith to resist even the most brutal efforts to extinguish it.”
He added that he was “deeply humbled and profoundly moved by the extraordinary grace and capacity for forgiveness that I have seen in those who have suffered so much.”
“It is an act of supreme courage, of a refusal to be defined by the sin against you,” he said, “of determination that love will triumph over hate.”
Prince Charles called Christians like Sister Luma “an inspiration to the whole church,” a true example of what it means to live for Christ and love others.
The prince met Sister Luma when she visited England in October as a representative of Aid to the Church in Need, a Catholic nonprofit devoted to helping persecuted Christians around the world. A fluent English speaker who has her doctorate in biblical studies from Notre Dame, Sister Luma was able to describe her experience to the prince in her own words.
Iraq is ranked at number eight among the most persecuted countries for Christians, according to Open Doors USA’s 2018 World Report, making it one of the hardest places to share the Gospel.
Speaking before the crowd of around 1,000 at Westminster this week, Prince Charles shared his hope that one day Christians and Muslims with coexist peacefully in the Middle East, as they have in the past, noting that these groups have “shown that it is possible to live side by side as neighbors and friends.”
“Indeed, I know that in Lebanon, Muslims join Christians at the Shrine of our Lady of Lebanon to honor her together,” he said. “And I know that there are Muslim faith leaders who have spoken out in defense of Christian communities and of their contribution to the region.”
“Co-existence and understanding are not just possible, therefore; they are confirmed by hundreds of years of shared experience,” he said. “Extremism and division are by no means inevitable.”
(H/T: Catholic Herald)