From Nick Shenow in Baghdad

Nick Shenow with Ramsi, the accountant at St George's in Baghdad

Nick & Ramsi

A World of Extremes and Laughter

Baghdad is a world of extremes. I now sit yards from St George’s Church. The minute I walk inside its walls and focus on Jesus, I find I am nearly in tears; God’s presence can be felt so strongly here. From that place of peace, to just across the city where on Sunday, a massive suicide car bomb was detonated outside the Police Academy. We were completely unaware until we looked at the BBC News the next day! Several were killed. Their body parts strewn everywhere. People can go from peace to extreme violence in the space of a few city blocks.

I have met with many in St George’s. They are a passionate and committed community full of hope. I love their outlook, their humour and healthy cynicism. As we drove through the city this morning a new building was pointed out to me. I thought, “Perhaps this reconstruction is a symbol of progress?” As if reading my mind one of the staff immediately answered me, “Ha, a new building. Nick, you know what happens when they put up a new building?” I said that I didn’t. “Someone comes and tries to blow it up. Just because!” Ironically we laughed at this absurd situation, two steps forward and one step back.

Of course wanton violence is part of the picture here. But it is only a ‘part’ of the picture. God is painting His parts too. For instance, I went to a home for children today with severe physical handicaps and learning disabilities who were cared for by ladies who have left everything to devote themselves to these little ones. I have spoken to a young Muslim man who is getting to know Jesus here at St George’s. I spoke with Lana, a Kindergarten teacher, who has asked if you would pray for the political situation to stabilise. Why? So the Kindergarten children in St George’s can have a future in Iraq. So with your prayers we can build a future for Iraq and paint a very different picture for God.

Just three more things: On Sunday I saw our food aid distributed to several hundred families. On Monday I saw a tooth extracted in the clinic – ouch. Finally and thirdly, today I decided to look with the eyes of faith. I saw signs of not just hope, but laughter and humour. I see God laughing. I see him laughing at his enemies: laughing at the wanton violence, laughing at those who kill their countrymen in the name of some other god. Through the acts of love and hope I see our God’s laughter is moving through the people of St Georges and God is winning in Iraq.

With love from Nick

Senior Sunni Clerics issue fatwa against sectarian violence

The Fatwa


In the name of God the Merciful.

Under the conditions experienced by Iraqis and many Middle Eastern people at the present time and in the light of the increase in the level of Iraqi sectarian violence and the volatile situation, we believe that the deteriorating political condition calls upon us as Sunni religious scholars to together as a group to issue a Fatwa.

We wish to declare the sanctity of all Iraqi blood wether Shia, Sunni or Christian. We call for a mechanism to educate the Iraqi Society in order to renounce all sectarian violence and instead create an environment of cooperation with civil society organizations and institutions of civil jurisdiction so not to allow our people in Iraq to divide into sectarian conflicts. We must work towards national unity amongst all Muslims (Sunni and Shia) and Christians; we all have the duty and right to live together in unity in our country Iraq.

Dr Sheikh Khaled Abdul-Wahab Mullah, Leader, Sunni Cleric Baghdad & Basrah
Shekh Saadi Mehdi Qutaiba Alindaoui, Sunni Leader Al Anbar
Sheikh Maher Al Jubori, Sunni Cleric Fullujah
Dr Sheikh Kubaisi Jalal, Sunni Cleric Rammadi
Sheikh Marwan Al Araji, Sunni Cleric Baghdad
Sheikh Hasham Al Dulami, Sunni Cleric Fullujah

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Insights from Sarah Ahmed, Director of Operations
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