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Christian Persecution Continues to Escalate
Chaldean Priest and Three Deacons Killed in Mosul

Fr. GanniMOSUL-- June 4, 2007-- Fr Ragheed Ganni, 34, was hit by gunfire in front of the Church of the Holy Spirit and three deacons, who served as his aides, were also killed. The murder took place after Sunday Mass where Father Ragheed was parish priest. Sources report that hours later the bodies were still lying in the street because no one dared retrieve them. Given the situation tensions in the area remain high.

In recent months Christians have become victims of what amounts to an open campaign of persecution often denounced by Chaldean and Orthodox bishops. International Dominican Justice Promoters have called for action to bring this violence to an end. (READ MORE)

Father Ragheed had been targeted several times in previous attacks. The Church of the Holy Spirit has also been repeatedly attacked and bombed in the last few years, the last time occurred but a few months ago.

Eyewitnesses told Ankawa.com that four gunmen, who arrived in a vehicle, sprayed their victims with bullets as they were leaving the church in the priest's car, killing them immediately before fleeing the scene. Colonel Sa'eed Ahmed Al-Jubouri of Ninewa Police confirmed the incident to the Voices of Iraq News Agency.

Father Ganni, was the secretary to the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Mosul. He received his Bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Mosul University in 1993, and studied theology in Rome before returning to Iraq in 2003. He was known to the Dominican friars in Iraq and taught their students.

Last month, the leaders of Iraq's Christian community, which was estimated to be about a million prior to 2003, called on the Iraqi government to protect them from attacks by Al-Qaeda militants in northern Iraq and in Baghdad. Reports indicatethat 600 Christian families had left the Dora district of Baghdad to other parts of the country since January 2007, as a result of a rising campaign of intimidation and assassinations by Sunni Muslim extremists, mostly members of the Islamic State of Iraq insurgent group.

Pope Expresses Sadness at Murder Of Iraqi Priest and Deacons

VATICAN CITY, JUN 4, 2007 (VIS) - Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. sent a telegram, in the Pope's name, to Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho of Mossul of the Chaldeans, Iraq, for the killing in that city yesterday of Fr. Ragheed Aziz Ganni and three sub-deacons. The text of the English-language telegram follows:

 "The Holy Father was deeply saddened to learn of the senseless killing of Fr. Ragheed Aziz Ganni and sub-deacons Basman Yousef Daoud, Ghasan Bidawid and Wadid Hanna, and he asks you kindly to convey to their families his heartfelt condolences. He willingly joins the Christian community in Mossul in commending their souls to the infinite mercy of God our loving Father and in giving thanks for their selfless witness to the Gospel. At the same time he prays that their costly sacrifice will inspire in the hearts of all men and women of good will a renewed resolve to reject the ways of hatred and violence, to conquer evil with good and to cooperate in hastening the dawn of reconciliation, justice and peace in Iraq. To the families and to all who mourn their dead in faith and in the hope which draws its certainty from the resurrection His Holiness cordially imparts his apostolic blessing as a pledge of consolation and strength in the Lord."

Funeral Mass

Members of the Chrisitan community gather for the funeral Mass of Fr. Ragheed Aziz Ganni killed with three deacons outside of Holy Spirit Church, Mosul.






Compiled from sources: AsiaNews.it and Ankawa.com Zenit.org.

International Justice Promoters Continue Call for Action

Dominicans in Baghdad and Mosul are under this real and imminent threat. The International Justice Promoters are urging Dominicans around the world to contact their local bishops, governments and Catholic conferences . You are urged to take part in this action helpful information is provided. READ MORE

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