Reprinted from NewsMax.com
Murder of Chaldean Archbishop Provokes
Friday, March 14, 2008 1:06 PM
By: Kenneth R. Timmerman
By: Kenneth R. Timmerman
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Another priest was found murdered in northern Iraq on Thursday,
sparking U.S. lawmakers, human rights advocates, and the Vatican to
demand that the Bush administration take more vigorous measures to
protect Iraq’s beleaguered Christian community.
It has also provoked outrage among some of President Bush’s staunchest
“The murder of Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho is on the hands of
President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice,”
William J. Murray, the chairman of the Religious Freedom Coalition,
“Their refusal to assist the persecuted Christians in Iraq has
emboldened Islamists to pillage, rape, and murder them. Had the Bush
administration been proactive, the archbishop’s life could have been
sparred,” Murray said.
“The administration will not even allow Christians in Iraq to form a
police force while giving Islamist extremists such as Shiite cleric
Muqtada al-Sadr the right to maintain small armies,” Murray added. “The
blame here belongs to George W. Bush.”
The body of the Chaldean Catholic archbishop, who was 65, was
discovered near Mosul yesterday. He was kidnapped on Feb. 29 after
celebrating mass at the Church of the Holy Spirit near Mosul city.
During the ambush, gunmen shot and killed Rahho’s driver and a
bodyguard. A second bodyguard died later of gunshot wounds at a
Police in Mosul received an anonymous phone call on Thursday telling
them where the body of the archbishop was buried, according to the
Assyrian International News Agency (AINA). Police said that the
condition of the archbishop’s body indicated that he had been dead for
around a week and that his body showed no bullet wounds.
“The president has yet to publicly acknowledge the scope of the
crisis facing the remaining Iraqi Christian community,” Father Keith
Roderick, the Washington representative of Christian Solidarity
International, told Newsmax.
Roderick said he worried that the Iraqi Christian community, close to 1
million strong before the U.S.-led liberation of Iraq in 2003, “is
headed toward extinction.” He called on the president to respond with
“a policy to ensure greater security and a plan to resettle the upwards
of 40 percent of the Christians who have fled their homes because of
violence and threats of violence.”
Just one day before Rahho’s body was found, aides to Pope Benedict XVI
told editors at the Washington Times that the Pope would plead with
President Bush and U.S. officials during his upcoming Washington visit
to intervene with the Iraqi government on behalf of the kidnapped
On March 6, Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., and Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va.,
wrote to Rice, asking her to “personally ask the Iraqi government to
commit any and all necessary resources to ensure the archbishop’s safe
Rep. Joe Knollenberg, R-Mich., wrote separately to Rice, asking her to
“make a public statement regarding the kidnapping of Archbishop Rahho.”
Rice remained silent.
A search of public statements by Rice on the State Department Web site
yields a single, parenthetical mention of Chaldean Christians in Iraq
dating from May 2005.
Yesterday, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack issued a statement
of condolence to the Chaldean community after the archbishop’s body had
been found, calling the murder “ a terrible and tragic act of
The Chaldean Assyrian Syriac Council of America (CASCA) called the
archbishop’s murder “a sad day for the Chaldean Assyrian Syriacs of
Iraq and for the entire world of Christianity,” and warned that it was
“just one more example of the threat the Christian minority is living
under in Iraq.”
In Detroit, the Chaldean Federation of America has launched a program
to funnel aid to Iraqi Christians who have fled their homes to
neighboring Jordan and Syria through its “Adopt a Refugee Family
In less than six months, the program has “adopted” 1,000 refugees, and
hopes to adopt 5,000 refugees by the end of 2008, program Chairman
Basil Bakal told Newsmax.
© 2008 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
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