Priest murdered in Iraq
A Syro-Orthodox priest, Father Youssef Adel Abudi, 40, was shot by a group of armed men outside his home in Baghdad in Saturday. Hundreds attended his funeral yesterday.
Youssef was director of an integrated school attended by Christians and Muslims of both sexes and is believed to have received death threats because of this work. Fr Youssef served the Church of St Peter. His parish priest, Father Doglas Youssef Al Bazi, was kidnapped in November 2006 and released nine days later.
The Pope sent a message of condolence to Mar Saverius Jamil Hawa, the Syro-Orthodox bishop of Baghdad, to offer to Father Adel's wife and family his "deepest sympathy." The note was signed by the Pope's secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.
In his message the Holy Father assured the local Church of his "nearness in prayer, entrusting the soul of this devoted servant to the infinite mercy of God," and called for prayers for peace in Iraq.
The Assyrian International News Service has published the following is a list of priests kidnapped or killed in Iraq in the last 19 months:
March 13, 2008
Archbishop Paulus Faraj Rahho was kidnapped on February 29 in Mosul. His body was found on March 13. Three traveling companions, Faris, Rami, and Samir, were killed at the time of the kidnapping.
June 6, 2007
Father Hani Abdel Ahad, in his early 30s, was kidnapped a north-eastern section of Baghdad called Suleikh, along with five boys who were going with him to visit the city's minor seminar.
June 3, 2007
Father Ragheed Ganni and three deacons were gunned down in their car in Mosul. The car was booby trapped with explosives to prevent anyone from retrieving the bodies.
May 20, 2007
Father Nawzat P. Hanna was kidnapped in Baghdad and freed three days later. He was beaten while in captivity.
December 5, 2006
Father Samy Al Raiys was kidnapped in Baghdad and subsequently released after ransom was paid.
November 30, 2006
Father Mundhir al-Dayr of the Protestant Church in Mosul was found dead with a bullet in his head. He was abducted on November 26 and was found dead four days later. A message from the abductors demanded one million dollars as ransom or they will "kill all Christians starting with Fr. Al-Dayr."
November 19, 2006
Father Doglas Yousef Al Bazy was kidnapped in Baghdad and released nine days later after ransom was paid.
October 9, 2006
Father Paulos Iskander (Paul Alexander) was kidnapped by an unknown Islamic group and beheaded and dismembered three days later.
August 15, 2006
Father Saad Sirop, 34, head of the Theology Department at Babel College, the only university-level Christian institution in Iraq, was kidnapped in Baghdad and released one month later.
For more information see: the Assyrian International News Agency website: http://www.aina.org/news/20080406183624.htm