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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

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Saddened by "the timidity of the civilised world," Baghdad patriarch's heart bleeding "for the innocent in Iraq, Syria and Gaza" "Forget us not!" says Mar Louis Sako in a message to Card Barbarin on the occasion of the march of solidarity with Iraqi Christians, held today in Lyon.
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Pope: I am with the persecuted Christians of Mosul and the Middle East "May the God of peace inspire in all a genuine desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is never defeated with violence. Violence is defeated with peace." At the Sunday Angelus Francis comments on the parable of the wheat and the weeds. God is "patient" He knows "the same weeds in the end, may become good wheat". But "at the time of the harvest, that is, of judgment, the reapers will execute the order of the master separating the weeds to be burned".

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by Bernardo Cervellera
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