02/06/2006, 00.00
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Bishop Padovese: Fr Andrea killed, while Islam is in revolt, "not incidental"

The Apostolic Vicar of Anatolia tends to exclude motives involving criminals dealing in prostitution.

Rome (AsiaNews) – It appears increasingly probable that Fr Andrea Santoro's assassination was related to Islamic fundamentalism: Bishop Luigi Padovese, Apostolic Vicar of Anatolia is convinced of this.  Contacted by telephone, he told AsiaNews that the fact that Fr Santoro was killed while the entire Islamic world is being rocked by protests over the Mohammad caricatures "does not seem incidental."

"This morning," he related, "I went to the morgue.  Fr Andrea was killed with two shots: after the first, he was able to shout out to a young many who was in the Church with him to take cover, the second shot killed him."

Is there any news on the killing?

It seems very likely that it was not a young man.  Both the young man in the church and the volunteer from Rome who helps out in the parish have spoken of an adult.  Fr Andrea was kneeling, the person who shot did not even need to enter, he stayed at the church's door, at a distance of 4 or 5 metres.  He took aim and fired.

Are there any hypotheses on the killer's motives?  Theories have been advanced on a link with protests over Mohammad caricature or on an act of vengeance by criminals due to Fr Andrea's efforts to help prostitutes.

I would exclude the second hypothesis.  Fr Andrea was a moderate even in this and I don't think his work was at such a level to provoke someone to eliminate him.  One could perhaps have expected some kind of threat from criminals.

So you think there can be a connection with the protests over the Mohammad caricatures?

The fact that the he was killed at this point in time does not seem incidental to me; otherwise, it could also have happened some other time.  Besides, the atmosphere here too is heated, not to say over-heated.  And here too, fanatical Islamics can be found.

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