Mosul (AsiaNews) – Another leader of the local Christian community in Mosul has been kidnapped and killed: this is the second such crime in the city in less than two months. Meanwhile, from Baghdad, the Chaldean Patriarch has made an urgent appeal for the release of a priest kidnapped on 4 December in the capital, of who there is no news as yet.
Today, AsiaNews sources in Iraq confirmed the death of Elder Munthir, 69, a high-ranking leader of the Presbyterian Church in Mosul. Kidnapped on 26 November, the man’s body four days later was found with a bullet in the skull, as recently reported by the Compass Direct news agency. This is the second kidnapping of a Christian from Mosul that has ended in tragedy in as many months. On 11 October, the body of Fr Paulos Eskandar was found. Fr Eskandar was a Syro-Orthodox priest who had been kidnapped two days earlier. According to anonymous sources in Mosul, the kidnappers of Munthir had demanded a ransom of one million dollars, adding threats like: “We will kill all Christians, starting with him.”
Mosul joins Baghdad as one of the most insecure Iraqi cities for Christians to live in right now. In the Iraqi capital, the Chaldean community is anxiously awaiting news of Fr Samy Al Raiys, rector of the Major Seminary of the Patriarchate, who was kidnapped on the morning of 4 December near his home.
The Patriarch of the Chaldean Church, Emmanuel III Delly, has signed an “urgent appeal” for the priest’s release, which was published on the website of the patriarchate. The religious leader called for “charity and brotherhood among all the children of the Mesopotamian land so that we will be able to live as our ancestors did, working together with one heart for the flourishing of the motherland.” Delly said this was the aim of the work and prayers of priests and religious: “As you know, my brothers, our priests do not deal with politics but share the pain of the people who suffer, their task is to pray and to serve souls, and God is their strength and their rock.” Hence he asked for the “reason behind these hostilities against those who desire only the good” of the country.
The Patriarch finally urged the kidnappers of Fr Samy to release him and “not to undertake such actions anymore”. His appeal, written in Arabic, added: “It is only in this way that tranquility will return to the hearts of Iraqi Christian brothers, who share with you the pain and passion of these difficult days that we are experiencing together.”