» 06/20/2007, 00.00
8 Christian students and teachers are kidnapped in the Nineveh Plain
The group were travelling by minibus towards the village of Qaraqosh, in the North. Numerous cars stopped and surrounded them on the road; still no contact with the kidnappers. Yesterday in Mosul two Christians were assassinated in the quarter where Fr. Ragheed Ganni and his three sub deacons were murdered earlier this month.
Mosul (AsiaNews) – Yet again Christians are being kidnapped and murdered in Iraq. This morning 8 Christian students and teachers from the village of Qaraqosh – in the Niniveh Plain – were kidnapped on the road between Mosul and their village. The group of 50 people was on the way home from Mosul, where earlier this morning they had sustained entrance exams for University. The minibus onboard which they were travelling was stopped and surrounded by a caravan of cars ; the terrorists read a list of names of those who were to follow them, when no one responded to their orders they demanded to see identity cards. They took 3 teachers and 5 students away with them. The police witnessed the kidnapping without intervening. As of yet there is still no news of the authors of the kidnapping, nor of the health and conditions of the hostages.
But violence against the miniscule religious community does not stop at kidnappings. Yesterday in Mosul two Christians were killed in Nour quarter, the same area where June 3rd last the Chaldean Catholic priest Fr. Ragheed Ganni and three sub deacons were massacred. In the same city, stronghold of Sunni “resistance”, an unidentified group sequestered two men of Batnaya origin. The kidnappers have already demanded a ransom for their release.
Chaldean Patriarch Emmanuel III Delly – currently in the Vatican for the ROACO assembly, the Reunion of Aid Agencies for the Oriental Churches – today launched a fresh appeal “that the worlds conscience be awoken” and the International community take on its duty “to protect and defend the rights of Iraq’s people, Christian and Muslim”.
The killers of Fr. Ragheed and the three deacons wanted their conversion to Islam
New details emerge surrounding the assassination of the Chaldean priest and his three friends in Mosul. Sunni Islam’s highest authority in Iraq condemns the attacks against the Christians and lays “all blame at the door of the Government and occupying forces”. The Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See on the Nineveh Plain project “we work to build greater unity, not barriers”.
Two more Christians killed in an attack in Mosul
The victims are two Assyrian men from the National Union of Beth Nahrin. Persecution of Iraqi Christians continues in order to prevent them from taking part in the political process.
Bishop of Baghdad: "Christians, do not be afraid", but the fear of a new exodus remains
Bishop Shlemon Warduni emphasizes the "high participation of the faithful” in Sunday services, which took place without incident, but does not hide the risk of a "new exodus from the country." The prelate asks the central government for "guarantees of safety" and the Christian community "to pursue the value of unity”.
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”.
A Chaldean priest and three deacons killed in Mosul
Fr Ragheed Ganni, 34, was hit by gunfire in front of the Church of the Holy Spirit. Three deacons, who served as his aides, were also killed.
HONG KONG – CHINA – VATICAN
On “Hong Kong sectors” supposedly "against Francis"
John Mok Chit Wai
A scholar at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, who collaborates with AsiaNews, responds to accusations against the agency and people in Hong Kong with respect to criticism of the Vatican’s diplomatic approach towards China. Religious freedom is a fundamental human right and a universal value, whether in China, Russia or the Middle East. Between "Right" and "Left", China defines itself as left, yet it practices state capitalism and unfettered capitalism just as "right-wing governments" do. Gaudium et Spes calls on the faithful to engage in politics against the "arbitrary domination by [. . .] a political party,” like in China.
The "enemies" of Pope Francis
The charge made against AsiaNews that we are against the Pope and in favor of Putin, is an opportunity to outline what motivates our commitment to evangelization. And also to ask for greater professionalism from those who write about the Pope. The Pope does not need public defenders. Facilitating dialogue between "conservatives" and "progressives" to realize the Council and concern ourselves with the world so that it encounters Jesus Christ. Christ’s “enemies” were also his "friends."
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