Persecution Continues to Escalate
Chaldean Priest and Three Deacons Killed
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
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
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
"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."
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.