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» 03/04/2008
IRAQ
Kidnappers of Mosul bishop, raise the ransom
Yesterday evening, another telephone call, increasing the ransom and dictating conditions which “complicate the case”. Still no guarantees on the “wellbeing” of the bishop, abducted on February 29th. These latest developments raise fears that these are no ordinary criminals interested solely in money. Iraq’s premier sends a message to the Chaldean Patriarch.

Mosul (AsiaNews) – The men who have the fate of Msgr. Paulos Faraj Rahho, Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul in their hands since February 29th last, have raised the ransom and dictated “political conditions” for his release, according to AsiaNews sources in Iraq, close to mediators who are negotiating his safe return. Late yesterday afternoon another phone call was made.  The group which holds the bishop hostage, used Msgr. Rahoo’s mobile phone to communicate, but has still given no proof of his wellbeing. “It almost seems as if his release- anonymous sources in Mosul tell – is of secondary importance in their demands and the conditions which they have imposed greatly complicate matters, leading us to think that they are not just simple criminals interested in money”.  Concern is increasing for the 67 year-old hostage who suffers ill health, for which he needs daily treatment.

In diocese throughout Iraq prayers are said around the clock for Msgr. Rahho’s safe return, while local TV’s continuously transmit appeals from Christian leaders and the Pope for his release.  Ample space is also given to the condemnation of Shiite and Sunni leaders who have defined this kidnap as “against every principal of Islam”.  Today the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nuri al Maliki, specified that “attacking Christians means attacking the Iraqi people”.  In a message sent to Chaldean Patriarch Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, the premier says that he has given instructions to “the minister for the Interior and the security forces in the province of Niniveh to work without rest to guarantee, as soon as possible, the return of the Archbishop of Mosul”.  Card. Delly has just arrived in Baghdad from a recent visit to Amman.

The Archbishop was kidnapped last Friday after having celebrated the Way of the Cross in the Church of Holy Spirit Parish, on the eastern outskirts of the city.  In the abduction three men, with the archbishop, were killed. A Sunni stronghold in the north of the country, Mosul is more or less under the full control of terrorists and religious militias.  Just a few weeks ago, US forces in Iraq along with Baghdad decided to launch a massive military operation to “clean-up” the area.  Ordinary citizens, from across the religious divide, are suffering the consequences of this difficult situation.  But Christians are once again being faced with stark choices, leave their homes or; convert to Islam; pay the jizya – the tax imposed by the Koran on non Muslim subjects- or death.

 

 

 


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See also
05/19/2008 IRAQ
Iraqi bishops against death penalty for Archbishop Rahho's killer
08/06/2007 IRAQ
Mosul, "focal point" of Wahabi extremism in Iraq
01/16/2009 IRAQ
Mosul, fresh anti Christian violence. Murder and torture
06/27/2007 IRAQ
Two Christians abducted in Mosul a week ago are freed
03/11/2008 IRAQ
Silence must not descend on Archbishop of Mosul

Editor's choices
IRAQ-ITALY
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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