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» 02/17/2011
IRAQ
Kirkuk: kidnapped Christian freed after family pays ransom
Iyad Salman Dawoud Askar, a married father of two, was kidnapped February 13. The kidnappers had demanded a sum of 50 thousand dollars for his release. In 2009, the man lost his brother, killed during a kidnapping attempt. AsiaNews sources: expectations and hope for the events in the Middle East, but fear of more violence remains.

Kirkuk (AsiaNews) - Iyad Salman Dawoud Askar, a Catholic of Kirkuk, kidnapped on February 13 by a group of criminals was released last night by his abductors upon payment of a ransom. At the moment, there is no confirmation on the total amount paid by the family. AsiaNews sources in the host city greet the happy ending withwith "joy and satisfaction", but do not hide their fear for the future of Iraq and the Christian community.

On 13 February, a group of armed men kidnapped Iyad Salman Dawoud Askar, a 53 year old Catholic and married father of two children (one boy and one girl). The man was taken by the criminals in front of his home, in the Dor al- Zira'a area, close to Ithifalat square, in the south-west of the city.

At first the kidnappers asked for 50 thousand dollars ransom. Police sources confirmed the payment of a sum of money, but the amount paid for his release late yesterday afternoon, is unknown. The family of Askar in 2009 had been the victim of a kidnapping attempt. On that occasion he his brother Sabah Daud Askar was killed.

AsiaNews sources in Kirkuk, anonymous for security reasons, express "joy and satisfaction" for his release. Recent events have led to moments of "expectation and hope" but also "fear for what happens in Egypt and other countries in the Middle East." Hope a movement for democracy will be born and, at the same time, fears of fundamentalist drift which could take over these events. "The extremists - concludes the source - may start targeting us again." (DS)


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See also
09/15/2009 IRAQ
Kirkuk: Christian doctor, held by kidnappers for a month, is freed
12/14/2007 IRAQ
Arrested in Kirkuk a gang specialised in kidnapping Christian doctors
09/07/2009 IRAQ
Mosul: more kidnappings and murders of Christians, to force them to the plain of Nineveh
08/26/2010 IRAQ
Karakosh - Baghdeeda: a Christian originally from Mosul is kidnapped
01/16/2009 IRAQ
Mosul, fresh anti Christian violence. Murder and torture

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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