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Dominicans Mourn and Decry Violence
Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul Found Dead

Bishop RahhoMOSUL, IRAQ- March 17, 2008- The body of Archbishop Faraj Rahho, 65, Chaldean prelate of Mosul was found buried on the outskirts of the city Thursday, March 13. He was abducted February 29 by armed men, while on his way home from celebrating the Stations of the Cross at Holy Spirit Church. Three of his assistants were killed in the attack. Rahho was the highest-ranking Christian cleric to be targeted by armed groups since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq five years ago.

Pope Benedict XVI called the kidnapping and death of Archbishop Rahho "an act of inhuman violence that offends the dignity of the human being and seriously harms the ... coexistence among the beloved Iraqi people."

According to news sources, Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, vowed that "the perpetrators of this horrible crime will not escape the long arm of justice." The Iraqi leader blamed Al Qaida terrorists, who maintain a stronghold in Mosul.

The Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Emmanuel III Delly presided at the Friday funeral for Archbishop Raho. Under heavy security, Christian mourners carried the archbishop's coffin to a grave outside Mosul.

Speaking on behalf of the Dominican Order, Olivier Poquillon, OP, Permanent Delegate to the United Nations in Geneva said, "The Dominican Order strongly condemns the kidnapping and murder of Monsignor. Faraj Rahho, man of God dedicated to peace, and dialogue in the service of his people." (read complete statement)

NGO Representative at the UN in New York, Eileen Gannon, OP, said, "Archbishop Rahho’s kidnapping and murder is an offense against God and the values held dear in Christianity and Islam. We extend our sincerest condolences to all the Christians of Iraq in this difficult and painful time and promise them our prayers and solidarity." (read complete statement)

Dominicans across the Order and here in the US are deeply saddened and decried the tragedy that comes just as the fifth year of war in Iraq ends and another year of violence begins. On March 19th US Dominicans are asked to mark the end of five years of war with prayer
using the Rosary.

The vulnerability of Christians in Iraq has been of concern to Dominicans for a long time. The International Dominican Justice Promoters have advocated for action in their international alerts. US Justice Promoters and other advocates have tried to bring their plight to the world's attention as well.

Last year, Master of the Order,
Carlos Azpiroz Costa, OP, asked the pope to intercede directly with President Bush on behalf of those threatened with violence and who are being killed, kidnapped and terrorized.

Dusty Farnan, OP, (Adrian) said, that the North American Dominican Iraq/Middle East Committeee was "stunned at the news of the death of Archbishp Rahho." Farnan is the North American Co-Promoter of Justice and Peace.

"We join in solidarity with all who mourn his passing both in Iraq and around the world, especially with religious leaders of the world, Islamic and Christian. We affirm Pope Benedict's statement calling his death an 'inhuman violence'. He has died a martyr on behalf of all Iraqis and we can now pray through his intercession for an end to violence in Iraq and around the world."

A funeral was held on March 14th in Mosul.

Pope Benedict XVI Mourns Death of Kidnapped Iraqi Prelate MORE

Cardinal Delly at Archbishop's Funeral Urges Peace MORE

World Leaders Join in Condemning Death of Kidnapped Prelate MORE

Olivier Poquillon, OP, Permanent Delegate to the United Nations in Geneva, Responds to Death of Archbishop Rahho MORE

Eileen Gannon, OP, NGO Re-resentative to the UN in New York calls the Death of Rahho
"an offense against God and the values held dear in Christianity and Islam."

AsiaNews Service Reports

NPR Report
Archbishop's Slaying Rocks Iraq's Christian Minority

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