Decapitated Syrian-Orthodox priest laid to rest in Mosul

Asia News October

Funeral held today. Captors demanded public apologies for Benedict XVI’s Regensburg address and payment of US$ 250-350,000 ransom. Christians are enduring more brutal violence; a 14-year boy is crucified.

Mosul (AsiaNews) – Fr Paulos Eskandar was laid to rest in Mosul today. The decapitated body of the Syrian-Orthodox priest was found in an eastern district of this Iraqi city yesterday. He was abducted last Monday by an unknown Islamic group which posted a hefty ransom of 0-350,000, the Assyrian International News Agency (AINA) reported. The group also demanded that signs be posted on his church apologising for the Pope’s Regensburg remarks as a pre-condition for negotiations.

AINA also published a letter from an Iraqi priest who fled to Sweden, describing what amounts to a full blown campaign of terror against Christians in Iraq.

Based on accounts from Christians still living in the country, Fr Adris Hanna warns that “Christians are living a terrified life in Mosul and Baghdad. Several priests have been kidnapped, girls are being raped and murdered, and a couple of days ago a fourteen-year-old boy was crucified in the Christian neighbourhood of Albasra.”

Father P. Hanna also reported that he spoke “to a group of nuns who were robbed and treated brutally on their way between Baghdad to Amman in Jordan.”

He ended his letter with a plea: “We must do what we can to stop [the massacre] . . . . We must do something.”

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