24 April, 2014 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 03/14/2008 16:36
IRAQ
Mosul Christians, angry and desperate
AsiaNews speaks to the faithful about archbishop Rahho who was found dead yesterday. Fears are growing that the community might cease to exist. Iraqi police blame al-Qaeda for the murder. Islamist terrorists plan to run Christians out of the country.

Mosul (AsiaNews) – Anger, fear and frustrations are the most common feelings expressed by Mosul Christians after the body of Mgr Faraj Rahho was found yesterday after 14 days in the hands of his kidnappers. No group has so far claimed responsibility for his abduction and subsequent murder but Iraqi police are convinced that al-Qaeda is behind it. In the meantime today, thousands of ordinary people as well as political and religious leaders, both Christian and Muslim, attended the prelate’s funeral in Karamles. It was celebrated by the Chaldean Patriarch, Card Emmanuel III Delly.

AsiaNews spoke to some of the archbishop’s parishioners still living in this Sunni stronghold. Fadia said: “For us he was the last hope. The fact is that, despite threats and dangers, his standing by us gave us the courage to continue. I don’t know what’s in store for us. I don’t know where we’ll find the strength.”

“The thing about him that was impressed on my mind was his smile,” added Bassam. “Even though he was sick and in danger, he still toured parishes to celebrate Mass and bear witness to show his friendship and faith. Now I am concerned that by striking at him they have tried to strike at the head of our Church in this city.”

General Khaled Abdul Sattar, spokesman for the Iraqi police in Nineveh province, said today that the bishop’s death was the work of al-Qaeda.

Sources close to those involved in the negotiations told AsiaNews that a few days after the abduction they realised that they were dealing with terrorists out to get “money to fund jihad and drive Christians from the country.”

“As days went by, the bishop’s release was never literally mentioned in the phone conversations,” the anonymous sources said. “All they wanted was millions of dollars, weapons and men. They wanted their prisoners freed, but never mentioned him.”

“They did more than that even. In-between insults and the threats, they accused us Christians of not taking sides, of not contributing to Iraq’s liberation. They told us that our presence in the country was worthless; that we were not taking sides or fighting; that for us there was no place here anymore.”

This corroborates what happened in other cases of abduction of priests, namely that the kidnapping industry is not merely about money but is also moved by sectarian considerations.

Monsignor Rahho himself had spoken about a plan to rid the country of its Christians, a plan that was clearly being applied in Mosul since the city is split long confessional lines.

US President George W. Bush yesterday condemned the bishop’s murder. But many young people in Mosul are asking: “Where are the Americans and our government? Where were they when Mgr Rahho was abducted? For a month since the offensive to clean up the city was announced, we see helicopters fly over the city, but by and large there is nothing new happening. Fundamentalism is still running things and the city is beyond the authorities’ control.”

Mgr Rahho was archbishop of Mosul for the past seven years. He was not only a point of reference for the city’s small Chaldean community but also a symbol of dialogue with Muslims.

“He had a lot of friends among Muslim leaders and was directly involved in promoting peaceful co-existence,” said a Mosul man.

He had launched important initiatives which over time had become symbols of ecumenism; one example is the ‘Charity and Joy Brotherhood’ for the disabled. Set up in the St Paul parish in 1986, it spread to the rest of the country involving Catholic churches as well as others.

Today in Iraq Christians from all denominations are mourning the bishop as are doing Muslim religious leaders. Chaldeans in the Diaspora, in Syria for example, are also under shock.

“It is as if a bomb exploded near us. I don’t know if we can get over it this time,” said Farred from Mosul, in Damascus for the past six months.

“My family is still there, but I hope they can get out. I can’t see any future for our community in today’s Iraq.”

Tomorrow in the Syrian capital the Chaldean community will meet in prayer, and the Chaldean archbishop of Aleppo, Mgr Antoine Audo, will celebrate Mass in the Church of St Theresa.


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
03/17/2008 VATICAN
Like Mgr Rahho Iraqi Christians must continue building peace, says Pope
04/18/2008 IRAQ
Love for our “Muslim brothers and for Iraq” in Mgr Rahho’s Will
08/01/2005 IRAQ
The Church in Iraq does not give in to terrorism
08/01/2005 IRAQ
In Mosul 81 children meet the challenge of their First Communion
03/07/2008 IRAQ
Kidnappers reaffirm their demands in Mosul archbishop’s abduction

Editor's choices
ITALY - ASIA
Easter, victory over death and impotence
by Bernardo Cervellera
SYRIA
I will miss you Fr Frans, you inspired us all, says Syrian Jesuit
by Tony Homsy*A young priest from the Society of Jesus remembers the life and work of Fr Frans van der Lugt, who was killed in Homs after he refused to abandon residents beleaguered by hunger and war. "He gave and continues to give everything for the Church, Syria, and peace. His story and qualities made him an exceptional missionary and witness to the Gospel." Reprinted courtesy of 'The Jesuit Post'.
FRANCE - IRAQ
Chaldean Patriarch on the uncertain future of eastern Christians, a bridge between the West and Islam
by Mar Louis Raphael I SakoThe wars in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan have made things worse for their peoples, especially minorities. As Western policies have been a failure, fundamentalism has grown with the Arab Spring losing out to extremism. Muslim authorities have a role in protecting rights and religious freedom. The presence of Christians in the Middle East is crucial for Muslims.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.