Vicar of Baghdad Canon Andrew White Says ISIS Threatened to 'Chop Off' His Head after He Invited Them for Dinner

May 05, 2015 06:52 PM EDT

Canon Andrew White, also known as the Vicar of Baghdad, recently called the Islamic State extremist group an " evil regime" which is "totally against reconciliation" and at one time threatened to cut off his head after he invited them to dinner.

The minister, who is widely respected for his peacemaking efforts between Christians and Muslims, was ordered by Archbishop of Canterbury to leave his church in Baghdad last December as Christians in Iraq came under increasing threat from the Islamic State terrorists.

However, White revealed that during his time serving as head of St. George's Church-- the only Anglican church in Iraq--he invited members of the extremist group into his home to share with them the love of Christ.

"I have a tradition. I always invite people, even bad people, to come have dinner with me. I invited some of the ISIS leaders," White told WLOX. "They said, 'If we come, we'll chop your head off.' I didn't invite them again," said White. "We can't work with ISIS. We can't discuss things with ISIS. There is no hope of discussion or moving forward. They are totally against reconciliation."

In an earlier interview with Christian Today, White expressed concern over some idealistic Christian sympathizers who have traveled to Iraq and Syria to join the fight against ISIS, emphasizing the violent nature of the extremists.

Recounting a conversation he had with one of his Iraqi Christian guards, White explained that the Christian fighters are "universally hopeless at fighting, let alone fighting ISIS."

"I said to him (Iraqi Christian guard), 'What would you do if ISIS were coming toward us?' He said, 'I would rip off my uniform and run.' So I said, 'Why do you do this job?' He said, 'I do it because I need the money,'" said White.

"Christians are no good at being soldiers. If going to join the new militia makes them feel good, great. But it will achieve absolutely nothing. We are dealing with an evil, evil regime as we saw in Libya with the beheadings of the Coptic Christians. There is very little that any Iraqi Christian or British Christian can do to help. The best thing they can do is stay at home," he added.

Since June, the Islamic State has overtaken large swaths of Iraq and Syria  in an attempt to establish a caliphate, or a region ruled by a strict version of Sharia law. The group has killed and displaced hundreds of thousands of Christians in an attempt to rid the region of religions other than Islam.

Over the past few months, ISIS has released several propaganda videos showing the execution of Christians and threatening the "nation of the cross" with further attacks.

Speaking to Christianity Today, Canon White, who currently heads the Foundation for Relief and REconciliation in the Middle East, explained that the "best way" for Western Christians to help solve the tragedy in the Middle East is to look after the Iraqis who have fled to the United States.

"I want them to look after the Iraqi Christians here, in Chicago, in Detroit, in San Diego. That's what they need to do. In Iraq, we can look after ourselves," he said. "We are having to invest money here in the US for Iraqi Christians. We need all the money we can get for there, but I'm having to spend it here for Iraqi Christian refugees. This is where we need help. If you ask me what can Christians here do to help this tragedy in Iraq, look after the Christians who escaped.