He has been released, but the kidnapping is “part of an escalating pattern of violence against local Catholics” in Baalbek, the stronghold of Hizballah.
A Lebanese priest who baptized a Muslim woman has been kidnapped and released.
The daughter of a Shiite cleric “said she was physically and psychologically tortured by her father for converting to Christianity three years ago, although she is a 24-year-old adult,” said Maronite Catholic Bishop Simon Atallah of Baalbek. “I have received an unconfirmed report that she had recently fled to an unknown destination after her father forced her to marry someone.”
The kidnappers thought that Father Walid Gharious knew the woman’s whereabouts and later released him. The nation’s president condemned the kidnapping.
According to the prelate, the kidnapped is part of an escalating pattern of violence against local Catholics.
“Last Wednesday, unknown assailants fired gunshots at the house of a priest from the Kairouz family in the town of Nabha, and a similar incident occurred on Sunday before the start of the municipal elections, when shots were fired at the Our Lady Church in Nabha,” he said.