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    » 01/16/2009, 00.00

    IRAQ

    Mosul, fresh anti Christian violence. Murder and torture



    36-year old Chourik Bagrad, was massacred with multiple gunshot wounds to the head. Another believer was kidnapped New Years eve: he was released on payment of a ransom of 50 thousand dollars. AsiaNews sources relay that Mosul is a “volcano about to explode”.

    Mosul (AsiaNews) – The lifeless body of a young Christian was found yesterday by the army in Mosul (Northern Iraq).  The abandoned body uncovered in a street in the east of the city was that of 36 year old Chourik Bagrad.

     AsiaNews sources in Mosul – a city with one and a half million inhabitants, 360 km north of Baghdad – confirmed that it was a an execution style killing: multiple gunshot wounds to the head.  His body was later discarded in al-Bakr district, where it was found by police and brought to the morgue for an autopsy.  Chourik Bagrad was a Christian from the Armenian Church and his brother works in Mosul University.

    The same sources refer that a Christian was also kidnapped New Years Eve in Mosul.  The man, whose name we choose not to publish for security reasons, was kidnapped and held hostage for four days.  He was only freed after the payment of 50 thousand dollars ransom.  During his detention he was tortured over and over again.  “If we hadn’t paid the ransom – the source confirms – they would certainly have killed him.  They are criminal gangs, who kidnap for money.  The want the Christian’s money”.

    Despite government claims and reports proclaiming that security standards have improved, Mosul remains “a volcano ready to explode at any moment”.

    The situation for Christians there is still tragic.  In October alone 16 faithful were killed and 2000 families forced to flee.  Groups linked to Al-Qaeda are operative in the area, targeting Christians in killing sprees, destroying their homes and properties, threatening them with letters, abductions and attacks.  A hate campaign perfectly constructed to drive them from the land of their birth.

    In 2007 Msgr. Paulo Farj Rahho, the Chaldean bishop of the diocese was killed, his body found on March 13th in abandoned land outside the city limits.  During the attack that led to his kidnap the three men who were with him for his safety were killed.  In 2007 the death toll of Mosul’s Christian community was 13: among them we remember Fr. Ragheed Gani massacred on June 3and another two priests. (DS)

     

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    See also

    26/08/2010 IRAQ
    Karakosh - Baghdeeda: a Christian originally from Mosul is kidnapped
    Louyaé Behnam was kidnapped yesterday by a group of armed men. The family has already paid a ransom of 15 thousand dollars, but the kidnappers have not yet released the man. Throughout the country attacks continue after the withdrawal of U.S. troops.

    30/12/2009 IRAQ
    Christian student kidnapped by Islamic group in Mosul
    The girl was abducted from the faculty of education. In the past, attacks have occurred against Christian university students because they wear make up or they refused to wear the veil. Attacks and kidnappings are a "warning" to force the mass exodus of Christians. Some people speak of "ethnic cleansing" on a religious basis.

    16/02/2010 IRAQ
    Mosul, anti-Christian violence: two murders and a kidnapping in 24 hours
    The Christian community is once again under attack from armed gangs, while the government does nothing to stop the attacks. In two raids two traders killed, a third man injured. “A large sum of money” demanded for the kidnapped Christians. Christian leader in Erbil: political ties between the expulsion of Christians from Iraq and the recent carnage in Baghdad.

    04/03/2008 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.

    08/06/2007 IRAQ
    Kidnapped Chaldean Priest : No to the Niniveh plain ethnic project
    Opposition to the “Assyrian” ghetto to save Iraq’s persecuted Christians today finds a qualified representative: Fr. Saad Hanna Sirop, one of the first Chaldean priests to have been kidnapped in Baghdad, and for whose release Benedict XVI intervened. A victim of Iraq’s violent anti Christian persecution, he too views the idea of an ethnic-religious enclave as diametrically opposed to Iraq’s history and the purpose of evangelization. Moreover, Fr. Saad maintains that the project’s real aim is not protection of the Chaldean and Assyrian Christians, but to protect ambitious “personal and economic interests”.



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