Aleppo (AsiaNews) - The public execution of Muhammad al-Qatta, a young
coffee seller brutally assassinated on Sunday by a group of jihadists in Aleppo
for insulting Muhammad, "is a terrible event that shocked the entire
population of the city, Muslims and Christians, who do not want an Islamic
state in Syria," Mgr Jean Clement Jeanbart, Melkite Archbishop of Aleppo, told AsiaNews. For the prelate, such an act
is yet another example of the brutality of foreign militants fighting in Syria.
"Christians," he explained, "are terrified by these militias and fear
that in the event of their victory they would no longer be able to practice their
religion and that they would be forced to leave the country." Sending more
weapons to the country would only lead to more such cases of violence, he
Reported by Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an organisation run by rebels
in exile Muhammad al-Qatta's case has been repeated around the world.
The incident occurred on Sunday in one of the districts of the city
controlled by Islamist insurgents. The young man was working at his kiosk when
two men approached him demanding a cup of coffee for free. The boy protested, saying
that "even Muhammad himself would have done the right thing and paid."
Outraged by the answer, the two fighters took away little Mohammed. After
beating him, they led him to the streets getting people to bear false witness against
him by saying that the boy had insulted the prophet and Islam.
After reading the verdict, the teenager was blindfolded and killed with
two shots to the neck and the back, in front of his parents and a crowd of over
a hundred people, forced to watch the execution. What actually happened has yet
to be confirmed however.
In a video aired
on a rebel website, a woman claiming to be Muhammad's mother describes her son's
brutal killing, saying that the boy was working to help the family.
This morning, the Islamic court of the "Caliphate of Iraq and the
Levant", the name by which Islamists call the districts of Aleppo under
their rule, issued a statement in which it denied responsibility in the case, claiming
that it had never authorised Muhammad al-Qatta's execution or trial.
For Mgr Jeanbart, Islamic Courts are a scourge that plagues most of the
areas controlled by al-Qaeda affiliated foreign militias, which are also
opposed by local pro-rebel groups, not to mention by supporters of Bashar
"As soon as they reached the city," the bishop said, "Islamist
guerrillas, almost all of them from abroad, took over the mosques. Every Friday,
an imam launches their messages of hate, calling on the population to kill
anyone who does not practice the religion of the Prophet Muhammad. They use the
courts to level charges of blasphemy. Who is contrary to their way of thinking
pays with his life (see video)."
The prelate called on all Catholics to pray for Syria. "Let us turn
to God for an end to the conflict and the violence and for the reconciliation
of our people." (S.C.)