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Statement of NGO Representative at the United Nations Geneva on the death of Archbishop Rahho

Olivier Poquillon, OP

UNITED NATION - Geneva, Thursday, March 13, 2008 The body of Mgr. Faraj Rahho, Chaldean archbishop of Mosul (North western Iraq) was found buried in the outskirts of the city Thursday, March 13, 2008. He was abducted on the evening of Friday, February 29 by armed men, while on his way back home after a religious ceremony.

Present in Iraq for several centuries, 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. 

As recently reaffirmed several religious and community leaders Muslims in Iraq, the killing of the spiritual leader of the Chaldean community of Mosul in no circumstances be justified by any religious pretexts.

The Chaldean Church, whose Mgr. Faraj Rahho was a major dignitary in northern Iraq, is present in the country since the beginning of Christianity, there are nearly two thousand years. Christians in Iraq are an integral part of the Iraqi people with similar languages and customs. They have always played a key role in the development of social, cultural and economic fabric of the country.

The murder of Bishop. Faraj Rahoo comes in the wake of the Father Raghid Ganni, a priest of this diocese and three sub-deacons, murdered in June 2007 in the aftermath of the same Church of the Holy Spirit, in the city of Mosul.

The accumulation of abuses against the Christian community during the past few months, both in Mosul to Baghdad, contrary to the tradition and culture of Iraq they have helped to build. Such targeted violence against Iraqi Christians produced disastrous effects on the already very precarious balance ente communities constituting the country. Far from representing a solution to the country's difficulties, the loss of diversity within the Iraqi people not to exacerbate tensions and the plight of a people already widely felt by thirteen years of embargo and five years' occupation.

Dominicans for Justice and Peace calls on the religious and moral policies in Iraq to take all measures in their power to protect minorities and particularly the Christian community shaken by the murder of Mrg. Faraj Rahho.

NGO New York Representative Eileen Gannon
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