10/05/2004, 00.00
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After the two Simonas let us not forget the other hostages, Baghdad Patriarch says

Patriarch Delly calls on all Catholics to pray and work to restore peace in Iraq.

Baghdad (AsiaNews) – Former Italian hostages Simona Torretta and Simona Pari went to the Vatican to thank John Paul II for his repeated calls for their release. The Pope just told them: "Thank God you are alive."

AsiaNews asked Mgr Emmanuel Delly, Chaldean Patriarch of Baghdad, to comment the "Simonas's" visit with the Pope. He spoke to AsiaNews of the small role the Chaldean Church played in the liberation of the two women. "We did all in our power to free the two women," he said. "We knocked on every door till the Lord opened one," stressing however that "there are many more hostages in the kidnappers' hands. Let us hope that they, too, will be soon free."

He said that every day Muslims and Christians pray for peace in the country and urged the West to pray and work to restore peace in Iraq".

Your Beatitude, yesterday we learnt of the death of Ayad Anwar Wali, an Iraqi-Italian hostage, a Muslim . . .

There were victims not only yesterday but today as well. Let us pray God that He may open the minds of those who commit such evil deeds. Violence strikes Christians and Muslims alike and many Muslims have been kidnapped and killed. In these days of hardship and darkness the two communities share the same fate. Let us pray that more people join Iraqis in working for peace whatever their religion. Let us not make any difference between Christians, Muslims, Chaldeans, etc. We are one family and must work together so that peace can prevail in our long-tormented country.

Where can one find the strength to persist in such a difficult situation?

Let us not rest a minute without praying God to help us and her Mother, to protect us. Muslims, too, go to the mosque everyday to pray for peace. I urge you to pray as well and thank all those who pray and work to restore peace in Iraq. (DS)

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