Will the Islamophobia never end?
“Iraq: Kidnappers Behead Priest in Mosul,” from Compass Direct:
October 12 (Compass Direct News) — Iraqi kidnappers who abducted a Syrian Orthodox priest three days ago left his beheaded corpse in an outlying suburb of the northern city of Mosul last night. Father Boulos Iskander, 59, was snatched off a Mosul street on Monday afternoon (October 9) while searching for car parts at local mechanic shops.
The Muslim kidnappers telephoned the priest’s oldest son soon afterwards, demanding $350,000 ransom from the family. After negotiations in several more calls, the kidnappers gradually reduced their demands to $40,000 but added another stipulation: that the priest’s church must publicly repudiate Pope Benedict XVI”s remarks about Islam in his lecture in Germany last month. The family managed to raise and pay the ransom, and the St. Ephram parish of the Syrian Orthodox Church placed 30 large signboards on walls around the city, distancing itself from the pontiff’s comments. But then the telephone calls stopped. Fr. Iskander’s dismembered body was discovered last night (October 11) at about 7 p.m. in the remote Tahrir City district, two kilometers (1.2 miles) from the center of Mosul. His arms and legs had been severed and arranged around his head, which rested on his chest. His remains were brought to a local hospital, which then notified his church.
News of the priest’s murder reached Damascus as Patriarch Zakka Iwaz was meeting with bishops of the Holy Synod of the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch. The Bishop of Mosul Saliba Chamoun returned immediately from Damascus to Mosul in time to conduct the funeral service this afternoon. He announced during the service that he had been commissioned by Patriarch Iwaz to bestow on the martyred priest an honorary title of “archimandrite,” a cleric just below the rank of bishop. A Syrian Orthodox clergyman present at Fr. Iskander’s funeral service today told Compass that at least 500 members of the Mosul Christian community attended, many of them weeping profusely. “Many more wanted to come to the funeral,” he said, “but they were afraid. We are in very bad circumstances now.” Fr. Iskander is survived by his wife, Azhar, sons Fadi and Yohanna, a married daughter, Fadiyeh, and a daughter, Mariam, 13.
May his memory be eternal.