East- Aramean Chaldean priest in Baghdad kidnapped.
The Aramean Christians of Iraq, the indigenous people of this region, are fighting to survive. The Aramean Christians of Iraq consist of various denominations, like for example Syrian Orthodox, “Assyrians”, Chaldeans and Catholics.
The Arameans finding themselves in very weak position, no protecting from the government, are becoming more and more victim of various terrorist groups in Iraq. Threats to leave Iraq, confiscation of their properties, attacking women and girls, attacking their churches in order to clean the area of the Aramean Christians.
On 12th of October 2006, the West- Aramean Syrian Orthodox priest father Paulus Iskander was kidnapped and beheaded by terrorists in Mosul.
This time, the East- Aramean priest of the Chaldean church has been kidnapped by terrorists. Please find below more about this horrific and objectionable act!
A Chaldean priest is kidnapped in Baghdad
Fr. Nawzat P. Hanna, parish priest of Mar Pithion, was
abducted this morning in the capital’s al-Baladiyat quarter. Baghdad’s
auxiliary bishop: “We will pray for his immediate release, but we will
not submit to fear”. Local Christians warn of systematic plan by
terrorists to “clean-up” the city quarter by quarter.
Baghdad (AsiaNews) – Yet another Chaldean priest was kidnapped this morning in Baghdad. He is Fr. Nawzat P. Hanna, parish priest of Mar Pithion, from the Baladiyat quarter. Confirmation of the abduction reached AsiaNews, via Msgr. Shlemon Warduni, Chaldean auxiliary bishop in the capital, who has invited Catholics to “pray for Fr. Nawzat’s immediate release”. The abductors have already made contact with the Chaldean Patriarchate, but as of yet there is no further news.
The priest was leaving the house of an ill parishioner, when he was stopped by a group of persons who had been waiting for him, says the bishop. Msgr. Warduni is convinced that a motive for ransom is behind the abduction, but among Baghdad’s faithful the rumour has spread that this morning’s sequester is in response to the Patriarch and bishops recent denouncements of persecution against the Christian community there. “By kidnapping another priest – anonymous sources tell AsiaNews – the terrorists kill two birds with one stone: they get rich and at the same time force the Patriarch to transfer him abroad, thus giving the whole community a very strong message”.
In the meantime in the capital the witch-hunt against Christians continues. It has emerged, from what has been reported to AsiaNews, that the persecution is being carried out according to a well studied plan, quarter by quarter across the city. After Dora, Al-Baya’a, al-Thurat and al-Saydia, now it’s the turn of al-Habibia and al-Baladiyat. Those groups who subscribe to the “Islamic state in Iraq” are putting up posters which demand women wear the veil and distributing pamphlets imposing protection taxes on Christians. “They use the same technique on each and every quarter – locals tell – soon they will begin to call house to house to sequester all our possessions”. “The coalition and Iraqi forces are present on the round in these neighbourhoods – they lament – they can see what’s going on, but they refuse to get involved”. Thus many make the decision to leave their homes, packing their most precious belongings in cases and seeking refuge in those few Churches which are still open. But most are already full to capacity, forcing many families to live and sleep on the streets.
“We cannot go on living like this – affirms Msgr. Warduni – its inhuman, it’s humiliating”. And he adds “but we will not be bowed by fear, we will continue to make our voice heard and to denounce this tragedy which is the Iraqi people and above all the Iraqi Christian’s daily reality”.