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Young Christian beheaded in northern Iraq

By and on Thursday, 19 May 2011

The decapitated body of a Christian man has been discovered in Kirkuk, northern Iraq, a few days after he was kidnapped.

Ashur Yacob Issa, 29, was abducted late Friday night or early Saturday morning and his mutilated body was discovered Monday morning.

His family had been asked for a ransom but was not able to pay the sum of more than £61,500 (€70,000) the kidnappers demanded.

Speaking to Aid to the Church in Need, the charity for persecuted and other suffering Christians, Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk condemned the killing, and went on to pay tribute to the strength and faith of his community despite the continuing threat of violence.

Archbishop Sako said: “In all these years, I have never heard of a single Christian converting to Islam, despite the many threats.”

He added that Muslims regularly go to his church seeking to convert, but he added: “I am not allowed to baptise them. There is no religious freedom!”

Speaking to Catholic News Agency Zenit, Archbishop Sako also appealed “to those who were capable of committing such an inhuman act” to remember Mr Issa’s widow and the children they orphaned.

He said: “If there is no human justice, sooner or later, there will be divine justice.”

Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil, who visited Britain in March to launch Aid to the Church in Need’s report on Christian persecution, told the charity: “The murder was meant to intimidate Christians so that in the future they will more readily pay ransom demands.”

Archbishop Warda suspected Islamist fundamentalists were behind the recent act of violence and called on Muslim clerics to make clear to their faithful that such murders are crimes against humanity.

He said: “It is unacceptable that in some mosques hatred towards other faiths is still preached.”

However Syrian Catholic Archbishop Boutros Moshe of Mosul told ACN that he thought the motive for the violence in the country was not primarily religious.

He suggested that it was driven by criminal gangs trying to make money, adding that some radical political movements were willing to use criminals – “Some even say the criminals are paid by the parties.”

A delegation from ACN is currently in Iraq evaluating the situation of the Church there.
Speaking with Iraqi Christians, they found that many of them question the value of interreligious dialogue with Muslims.

One priest said “The Muslims speak to us constantly about a ‘peaceful coexistence’, but then when something happens, violence does not seem to be condemned by Muslim clerics.”

According to Archbishop Warda since the invasion of Iraq in 2003 up to 573 Christians have been killed in religiously and politically motivated attacks.

He also stated that 66 churches have been attacked or bombed as well as two convents, a monastery and a church-run orphanage.

Hundreds of Christian families fled to the north at the end of 2010 after the attack on Baghdad’s Syrian Catholic Cathedral on October 31 where 58 people were killed and more than 70 others injured.

  • Anonymous

    At least Christians were safer under Saddam. Why are we risking Islamism in Libya by undermining another secular strongman? 

  • Dcruz

    This type of treatment is happening in many muslim countries and is likely to continue and may even happen in the west. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ken-Purdie/1162381995 Ken Purdie

    The Christian communities in the middle east, must have help from the west. Or they will simply not survive. It will be our fault. 

  • ms catholic state

    Because what happens to Christian communities in the Middle East isn’t a priority of our governments…..if it even comes into their thoughts at all.  They have no affinity with Christians anywhere.  Why…..that would be discrimination!! 

  • Anonymous

    Religion of Piece [sic] strikes again

  • Anonymous

    It certainly will be our fault and the only justification the government has for stayiing silent is not wanting to offend the governments of the Middle East; after all where else would our oil come from? That is the only reason the government has any interest in the Middle East; we keep hearing from the politicians about how we need to improve ties with the Middle East so that they can come to a peaceful settlement but what he means is that we want them to be happy so that we can buy oil off them; hence why they never speak out against things like this – it’s far too confrontational to the Middle East.

  • Fslone

    The Christains ( Catholics)  who are suffering  and dying in Iraq are our modern day Martyrs, Their blood are seeds that will spring forth more converts and saints.God bless them. If I only had the courage to die for my Catholic Faith.

  • DB McGinnity

    “LIVE AND LET DIE” I have just heard a sad story about Malachy, the son of my friend. He was aged 43 and deeply religious in the Roman Catholic “Traditional Right Wing” context  i.e. God’s chosen Ones. In a state of ultra piety, he thought that he has been inspired by the Holy Spirit to be a martyr for Christ , and used to endlessly sing “in spite of dungeon fire and sword”. Because there is no actual war going on where he could die in battle, he decided that he would go to somewhere where martyrdom would be assured. He downloaded and printed a “Jyllands-Posten” Cartoon and formed it into a label poster much like an electioneering lapel badge. He also wrote a word in Farsi and Urdu that suggested that “The Prophet’s” parents were not married. He took himself to Basra and proceeded to display his work of art to the inhabitants of the town on a Friday afternoon after the Mosque prayers. According to his mother, his wish for martyrdom has been granted. His body was identified using DNA technology, because his head has never been found. He literally lost his head, as opposed to the metaphorical headless Holy Souls of the Roman Catholic “Traditional Right Wing” Soldiers of Christ brigade This sort of action is the embodiment of the Tudor bloodletting insanity of the “Traditional Right Wing” of The Roman Catholic Church, that should be outlawed as a nuisance to dignity and decency. This sort of lunacy is no different from fundamental Muslim suicides. After reading some the ‘dark comments’ of the “dark ages” Traditional Right Wing” blogs, it would not surprise me if “We like them (Muslims) Could Die for Thee” applied, just as Malachy died for the love of God. What a bloody waste within contemporary civilization. After hearing that news I have decided to stop blogging and to emulate the conduct of my tomcat: “Charles Stuart Parnell”, who ‘bonks’ all night and sleeps all day, without conscience. He does not drink “Glenlivit’, but I will. I would not want to be in Heaven with some of the “Traditional Right Wing” bloggers. It would be insufferable and interminable (literally) boredom, for all eternity. I would rather be where it was hot with fellow sinners.

  • Stappy21

    why?the western nations invisible leaders and the political elite are lucifarians/satanist.they want u and your ilk dead,to be used as blood ritual.u really think they are christian?think it not!

  • jayvee

    what you are suffering is nothing but out of your deeds. The big bastard US was trying to capture the wealthy gulf states by destabilizing the governments there. Now, not only Christians even other religions are suffering at the hands of Muslim terrorists. Be it India, which actually bearing the brunt of not only the Muslim terrorism but also the cunning red-bastards sponsored terrorism in the north-east. Pakistani Muslim pigs are absolutely brainless being guided by two satanic forces of Allah called the Al-Qaeda and Taliban. Muslim will realize their mistakes only when Pakistan perishes out of their own wrong doings. Russia is already feeling sorry about following and promoting filthy Communism. Countries like North Korea, Libya and China will follow the suite once their nation splits in to pieces.

  • SJS

    These Muslims are simply obeying the Koran and killing Christians as they wish. Islam is a diabolic cult and most Muslims live in fear of their own leaders.The people of the world must speak out and condemn the Koran. Conversion to the Roman Catholic faith is their only hope.

  • Rockc

        Alot of prayers need said for the killers and the victims    we need to pray for peace      The consolation is God see’s peoples hearts and everyone will be judged according to the way they have lived their lives.   Love  for humanity will bring peace only through Jesus and Mary can this happen.  It makes me feel so sad to see the hatred and horrors of this world. 

  • Rockc

     Jesus said on this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail over it.     Evil will never win against Good     It may look pretty dire at the moment but God will win infact he already has.  


    Hi, on the Muslim question.  Traditional Catholics cite as one of their main theological gripes with the church that the Council gave official recognition, asked for Catholics to respect, and praised the practice/truth of Islam/Muslim faith.  Traditional Catholics feel it’s heretical to even recognise the Muslims/Islamic people. 
    However, when you read Lumen Gentium, the Council fathers actually reach out to ‘Mohammedans’, which then, now and even 100 years ago was a pejorative terms for Muslims or Islamic people in general, a word Muslim and Islamic people had at least a known antipathy towards in 1964. The document also states there’s a grain of truth in the faith of the Mohammedans in that it’s an Abrahamic faith but stop short of saying it’s a syncretic-religious, political, pan-Arabic blueprint for state-hood.  This may or not be implied. Or they may feel they’ve said enough already.
    Furthermore, in the next paragraph, the Council fathers reiterate their strong desire that both the heirarchy of the church together with the laity continue to exhort those who have fallen into the worship of idols or other diabolical practices to return to the light.
    Read together, it reads like a very cleverly worded condemnation of Mohammedanism, too subtle, and too clever perhaps for many Roman Catholic, Protestant, or Islamic (Mohammedans)  to see the real message i.e. Mohammedanism is diabolical, return to the light Mohammedans, Jesus Christ accepts sinners.
    You can also see what the Holy Father means when he says that many of the Concilliar documents have been misinterpretated either wilfully or due to lack of understanding.  Additionally, Blessed JPII may have clouded the waters further by the Koran kiss in 1999.
    But it’s at least worth considering what the real message is here given the perilous situation of Catholic/Orthodox Christians in the Middle East and whether it can inform a truly Catholic response to the problem.
    God Bless.

  • Anonymous

    The utter barbarity is stunning.   Although, I suppose it doesn’t match the barbarity of killing a million babies in utero each year.

  • http://twitter.com/Rosembud Ana María

    The world must stop Muslim murderers. This is a non sense calamity of cruelty and intolerance.