10/08/2004, 00.00
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British hostage killed

Terrorists who murder are killing Islam, Mgr Sleiman says.

Baghdad (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Abu Dhabi television reported that Kenneth Bigley, a British hostage abducted more than three weeks ago, was killed last night in Latifiya, a town south-west of Baghdad. The network said on Friday it had received a videotape showing the hostage's death but has decided against showing it. Mr Bigley was seized last September 16 by a Tawhid-e- Jihad, an Islamic group that also took captive two US nationals who were later decapitated.

The UK Foreign Ministry has been in close touch with the victim's family but has not officially confirmed his death.

Reuters reports that Iraqi Interior Ministry officials had no information on the TV report.

"I was optimistic and still am despite the news of my brother's death," said Paul Bigley. In the last few weeks, Mr Bigley had been working trying to get his brother freed. "I have not had any official confirmation," he said, "and so I am praying that it might not be true."
The latest information about the British hostage dates back to last week when, in a dramatic video message,  he pleaded with British Prime Minister Tony Blair to do all he could to free him.

In a landscape where tragedies and violence are daily occurrences some voices still raise hopes for unity and peace. "The terrorists who claim to act for religious reasons are killing Islam," said Benjamin Sleiman, the Latin Archbishop of Baghdad, who was attending a conference on Europe at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan (western Poland).

The Archbishop emphasised that in Iraq, "the main problem is political, not religious" adding that "the war in Iraq was never a clash of religions and civilisations. Every Church is opposed to the conflict".

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See also
Christians are needed to rebuild Iraq, says Shiite leader
We knocked, a door opened, Baghdad Patriarch says
Kidnapping women and killing children or how Islamic terrorism is morphing
After the two Simonas let us not forget the other hostages, Baghdad Patriarch says
Bishop of Baghdad: "I share in your pain, but don't back down against terrorism"


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