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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
VATICAN
Pope: I am with the persecuted Christians of Mosul and the Middle East "May the God of peace inspire in all a genuine desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is never defeated with violence. Violence is defeated with peace." At the Sunday Angelus Francis comments on the parable of the wheat and the weeds. God is "patient" He knows "the same weeds in the end, may become good wheat". But "at the time of the harvest, that is, of judgment, the reapers will execute the order of the master separating the weeds to be burned".
CHINA - VATICAN
Beijing, seminarians desert graduation ceremony: We will not celebrate Mass with illegitimate bishops The rector of the seminary is the illegitimate bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin: Students refuse to concelebrate with him and reject Msgr. Fang Xingyao, who has participated in several illegal episcopal ordinations. The directors close the year without awarding diplomas and send students home: rumors of some courses being "suspended" in September. The precedent of 2000, when 130 young students chose fidelity to the Pope over compromise with the government.
HONG KONG-CHINA-VATICAN
Card Zen: Religious freedom and civil liberties are united, for China and Hong Kong
by Bernardo CervelleraA wide ranging conversation with the bishop emeritus of Hong Kong: the courage of Msgr. Ma Daqin, who sent a message to Pope Francis; underground Catholics are also prepared to be arrested; suspicions about Beijing’s sincerity towards possible dialogue with the Holy See. And in Hong Kong, the march for a referendum on democracy; support for "Occupy Central"; the fear of the government and arrests. Card. Zen reaffirms that religious freedom and civil liberties go hand in hand.

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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