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Dominican Order Denounces the Assassination
Statement of NGO Representative at the United Nations Geneva on the death of Archbishop Rahho

Olivier Poquillon, OP

UNITED NATION - Geneva, March 13, 2008 --The body of Chaldean Archbishop Faraj Rahho of Mosul, in northwest Iraq, was found buried in the city of Mosul Thursday, February 13, 2008.  He had been kidnapped Friday night, February 29th by armed men, as he was leaving the church area after a religious ceremony.

Present in Iraq for several centuries, the Dominican Order vehemently condemns the kidnapping and assassination of Archbishop Faraj Rahho, man of God, devoted to peace, dialogue and service to his people.

He was coming from reaffirming several religious and community Muslims of Iraq.  The death of the spiritual leader of the Chaldean community of Mosul cannot be justified under pretense of religious reasons.

The Chaldean Church, of which Archbishop Faraj Rahho was one of the leaders, in the north of Iraq, has been present in the country since the coming of Christianity nearly 2000 years ago.  The Christians of Iraq are integrated with the people of Iraq by the same language and culture. From earliest times Christians have been involved in the development of social life, culture and economics of the country.

The death of Archbishop Faraj Rahho, deprived of care by his kidnappers, is a reminder of what happened to Father Raghid Ganni, a priest of the same diocese and three deacons, assassinated in June 2007 as they were leaving the same Church, Holy Spirit in the city of Mosul.

The accumulation of actions against the Christian community during these last few months, more in Mosul than Bagdad, is contrary to the Iraq culture towards a people who have helped to build Iraq.  This violence aimed against the Christians of Iraq produces serious effects on the equilibrium of the country which is uncertain at present and is being carried by the community and members of the Assembly of the country.

Iraq is far from offering a solution to the difficulties in the country caused by confusion at the center of the diverse Iraq Population. The troubles and tensions of the people, remain due to 13 years of embargo and 5 years of occupation.

Dominicans for Justice and Peace call on the authorities of politics, religion and ethics in Iraq to take all necessary measures in their power to protect minorities, especially the Christian community, whose needs have been proved by the assassination of Archbishop Faraj Rahho who gave his life for his community so they can continue to live freely on the land of their ancestors.

Olivier Poquillon, OP
Permanent Delegate of the Dominican Orfder  to the United Nations Human Rights Council, Geneva

Translation from French  by: Sr. Therese Groulx, OP

Pope Benedict XVI Mourns Death of Kidnapped Iraqi Prelate MORE

Cardinal Delly at Archbishop's Funeral Urges Peace MORE

Eileen Gannon, OP, DLC 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." MORE

World Leaders Join in Condemning Death of Kidnapped Prelate MORE

AsiaNews Service Reports

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