10/18/2007, 00.00
IRAQ
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Abducted priests in Mosul, bishop slams government indifference

Mgr Casmoussa expresses his views on Ankawa.com, an Arabic-language website. Since the two clergymen went missing, no politician has lifted a finger for them. The prelate appeals for prayer and peace.

Mosul (AsiaNews) – Mgr Basile George Casmoussa, the Syro-Catholic archbishop of Mosul, has criticised head on both the central government and local authorities, guilty in his view of ‘indifference’ towards the fate of Christians in Iraq. He did so on Ankawa.com, an Arabic-language website.

The prelate has been involved in the difficult negotiations for the release of the two clergymen who were kidnapped last Saturday by an unknown group.

“Not one single politician has called us just to express their solidarity. Not one step of any kind has been taken,” he said, this despite the fact that everyone knows the deadline set by the kidnappers and the huge ransom they demanded.

In addressing the Christian community, Mgr Casmoussa calls on its members “to continue praying, because we need peace,” reminding everyone that “Iraqi Christians are loyal to their country and respectful of every group” who calls it home.

For many faithful, the archbishop’s words are a sign of the concern with which he is following the affair. But so far nothing new is known of the fate of Fr Mazen Ishoa, 35, and Fr Pius Afas, 60.

The kidnappers have demanded that a ransom of a million dollars be paid by October 20, Mgr Casmoussa said.

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