The vicar of Baghdad, Rev. Andrew White, is reportedly suspended from his charity as an investigation starts over allegations of his involvement in terrorist group funding.The Anglican leader announced his suspension as president of his organization, Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East (FRRME), Thursday, June 23 on his Facebook page. He explained that the suspension resulted from "inaccurate statements" he made "about our work with and funding for the former slave girls taken by ISIS."The British Charity Commission also confirmed on the same day that it launched an official inquiry on the FRRME on June 9.
The foundation released an official statement on its website declaring that it "believe[s] at this stage that the alleged incident stemmed from a genuine desire by Canon White to help others."
White founded FRRME in 2010 to provide emergency relief to Iraqi Christian refugees and other persecuted religious minorities. According to Telegraph, White posted on his Facebook account last year that the foundation involved itself with "women and girls who have been rescued as sex slaves."
According to Religion News Service, organizations like Rape Is No Joke criticize such works because it only leads to funding the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) who abduct the women.
"We never gave the bad guys one penny. We were just helping those who had been released," said White in an email interview with RNS.
White fostered the growth of St. George's Church in Baghdad and became a prominent figure for Christianity in Iraq during post-Saddam years. He only left after Archbishop Justin Welby ordered him home in 2014 after ISIS placed a $57 million (£36 million) bounty on White's head.
"I've been shot at and bombed and they've tried to blow me up," White said in an interview with The Sunday Times, after his return to the United Kingdom. "People say, 'Aren't you afraid where you are?' Never, not one day; I love it. I feel really sad that I'm not there now."
Back then, White criticized the West for not doing enough to prevent the state of destruction. The number of Iraqi Christians drastically dropped from 1.5 million in 1991 to some 200,000 today.