Catholic archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa set free

03:13:18 PM
18 2005

Catholic archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa set free

Violence in Iraq seems to be heating up with the approaching elections to be held on Jan 30. Car bombings, grenade attacks, kidnapping and assassinations are rife in the country.

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Yesterday masked gunmen kidnapped the 66-year-old Catholic archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa of Mosul in northern Iraq. He was near Syrian Catholic church when masked gunmen pushed him on gunpoint in a car. Archbishop Matti Shaba heading the church's Baghdad diocese said that church officials in Mosul had seen two carloads of attackers pulling Casmoussa from his car and then forcing him in the boot of one of their vehicles before getting away. He was released free shortly by the gunmen without any ransom.

Attacks on Christians by extremists have become a common occurrence in Iraq. There have been numerous incidents where churches were bombed in the past and they still continue being target of terrorist attacks. Last year two bombing attacks on church were carried out, one on Nov. 8, killing eight people and another on Oct. 16, killing five in Baghdad. There have been five coordinated attacks in Baghdad and Mosul on Aug. 1 that took lives of 12 people. Besides these, extremists have attacked liquor stores owned by Christians and have threatened women failing to cover their hair.

However, this is the first time that extremist have attacked a Christian leader of this status. “This country has become a jungle and the strong are eating the weak," Shaba said. He described Casmoussa as "a religious man who stayed away from politics. Why did they kidnap him? He was calling for religious tolerance," said Shaba.

Christians do not make up more than 3 percent of Iraq’s 28 million people. Due to the growing anguish against Christians in the country Iraqi Christians have been keeping a low profile in recent months. There have been cases where they were compelled to cancel midnight Mass at Christmas. Many Christians have left the country.

As the date for election is just few days away insurgents have become aggressive in terrorizing the people on order to stop Iraq from stepping in a democratic world.

"Is there going to be violence on election day? There is," said Gen. George Casey Jr., the top American commander in Iraq. "The enemy we're fighting is not 10 feet tall, but he's resourceful, and he's persistent.”

Source by Redazione

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