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» 02/12/2013
SYRIA
After Muslim rebels seize two priests in Aleppo, there are fears for their life
An Armenian Catholic priest, Fr Michael, and an Orthodox clergyman were abducted last Sunday in Aleppo's Christian neighbourhood. Sources speak to AsiaNews about barbarous murders carried out my Islamic extremists. A car bomb explodes at the Turkish-Syrian border crossing of Cilvegozu.

Aleppo (AsiaNews) - A group of rebels close to Muslim extremists on Sunday abducted an Armenian Catholic priest, Fr Michael, as well as a yet unknown Orthodox clergyman. Both were working in Aleppo. Sources, anonymous for security reasons, told AsiaNews that the city's Christian community is very concerned about the attack. "Extremist violence is getting worse day by day. Muslim militias are killing anyone suspected of ties with the regime, including women and children. People in the neighbourhoods are comparing these days to the Ottoman conquest five centuries ago."

For several weeks, residents had complained about the presence of al-Nusra Front forces, Islamic extremists who want to turn Syria into an Islamic state, feared even by the rebel Free Syrian Army.

On 6 February, Front troops stormed the Christian neighbourhood of Jdeideh where extremists had already destroyed the city's main Evangelical church in November.

Al-Nusra forces include many foreigners, including Muslims from Indonesia and the Philippines, as evinced by a statement posted online by the leader of Abu Sayyaf, an extremist Muslim group with ties to al-Qaeda operating in the Philippines. In it, Muslims are urged to go to Syria and sacrifice their lives for Islam.

"These fighters live for killing and violence. They act without pity and make distinctions among people," sources said. "When they kill, they turn to God as if they were making a sacrifice."

Meanwhile, clashes between the military and rebel groups continue across Syria with more than 60,000 people killed so far.

Yesterday, a car bomb killed 13 people near the Turkish border, at a road block in Cilvegozu, a border crossing some 100 kilometres northwest of Aleppo, the main route of escape for Syrian refugees fleeing the war. It has been in rebel hands for several months. (S.C.)


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See also
04/29/2013 SYRIA
Aleppo: two Orthodox bishops still captive, Christian neighbourhood shelled
10/07/2014 SYRIA
As monk, parishioners are abducted in Syria, Gregory calls on the world to stop extremists
10/15/2014 SYRIA - HOLY LAND
Apostolic Vicar of Aleppo is optimistic about Fr Hanna, who continues his mission among Syrian Christians
01/18/2013 SYRIA
Al- Nusra, a Jihadist brigade that scares Syrian rebels
04/22/2014 SYRIA
For Gregorios III, the destruction of Ma'aloula churches is a "war crime"
by Fady Noun

Editor's choices
EGYPT - ISLAM
What Tayeb and Sisi said is big step towards a revolution in Islam
by Samir Khalil SamirThe grand imam of Al-Azhar slammed literalist interpretations of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, as fundamentalists and Islamic terrorists do. He supports the urgent need for Islam's reform, especially in terms of teaching lay people and clerics. He also calls for an end to mutual excommunication (takfir) between Sunnis and Shias. Egyptian President al-Sisi chose to fight the Islamic state group after it beheaded 21 Coptic Christians, whom he called "Egyptian citizens" with full rights.
SAUDI ARABIA - ISLAM
For head of Al-Azhar, religious education reform is needed to stop Islamic extremismFor Ahmed al-Tayeb, it is urgent to come up with new educational programmes to avoid "corrupt interpretations" of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Islamic terrorism undermines the unity of the Muslim world. He blames Mideast tensions on a "new global colonialism allied to world Zionism". a speech by the Saudi king is read at the conference.
HONG KONG - CHINA - VATICAN
It looks like someone is trying to shout us down
by Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiunThe widespread optimism concerning the dialogue between the Holy See and China is largely groundless. Some Chinese bishops unable to speak freely are asked "leading" questions. The key issues remain unresolved, namely episcopal appointments and the fate of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Benedict XVI's Letter to Chinese Catholics, also cited by Pope Francis, provides guidelines. No agreement is better than a bad agreement. What happened to Msgr. Cosma Shi Enxiang and Msgr. James Su Zhimin? Hong Kong's bishop emeritus, champion of religious freedom in China, delivers a vibrant reflection.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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