09/02/2008, 00.00
IRAQ
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Fresh violence in Mosul, two Christians kidnapped and killed

The kidnapping of two Christians has ended in tragedy, after the family of one paid a ransom of 20,000 dollars. The community of Mosul hopes that the Muslims will strongly condemn the murders.

Mosul (AsiaNews) - The Iraqi Christian community is again in the sights of Islamic fundamentalists in Mosul: today news came of the death of a 65-year-old doctor, Tariq Qattan, kidnapped recently by a terrorist group. AsiaNews sources say that his family had paid a ransom of 20,000 U.S. dollars. But it was not enough money to free Tariq Qattan, one of the many Christians kidnapped by fundamentalists for extortion.

Also in Mosul, two days ago - although the news has just been released today - another Christian, Nafi Haddad, was kidnapped and killed. It is not yet known whether or not a ransom was paid. Despite the small signs of improvement that seem to come from Iraq, the Christian community is still witnessing more violence: Mosul has long been the theater of a genuine slaughter, forcing more than two thirds of the faithful to flee elsewhere in search of safety.

The diocese has paid a large tribute in blood in recent years, beginning with the tragic kidnapping of Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho, whose lifeless body was found last March 13 in an abandoned area just outside of the city. During the ambush that preceded the archbishop's captivity, the three men acting as his bodyguard were massacred by the terrorists.

In 2007, the Iraqi Christian community suffered 47 deaths, 13 of them in Mosul: these include Fr Ragheed Gani, murdered on June 3, and two other priests.

Between January 6 and 17 of this year, there was also a series of attacks on Christian property. A wave of bombings struck the Chaldean church of the Immaculate Virgin, the Chaldean Church of St Paul, which was almost destroyed, the entrance to the orphanage run by the Chaldean sisters in al Nour, a Nestorian church, and the convent of the Dominican sisters in Mosul Jadida.

The source for AsiaNews in Mosul hopes that the two latest homicides will be "forcefully condemned" by the Muslim community, which has just celebrated the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan. Atrocities carried out "in the name of religion", and which violate the precepts of the Qur'an. "For centuries, the Christian community has contributed in a fundamental way to the development of Iraq. It is the duty of Muslims to respect and protect it, because we all believe in one God, as is written in the holy book".

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Three Christians killed in kidnapping of Mosul bishop buried in Karamles
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Mosul: more kidnappings and murders of Christians, to force them to the plain of Nineveh
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