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Iraqi priest abducted and tortured in Iraq because he was Christian
by Layla Yousif Rahema
Iraq/Islam (for the full article, go to Asia News) Fr Hani Abdel Ahad, abducted in Baghdad in June of last year and held for 12 days, tells AsiaNews about his captivity, the daily violence he experienced, the psychological threats and physical torture he endured. Money is not the only motive behind the abduction of priests. “I experienced first hand the deep hatred terrorists have for Christians and suffered on my body their plans to drive them out Iraq ,” he said. Still convalescing for the hardships he had to endure, he is thankful to God for his faith, only “hope for a better future.”

Fr Hani Abdel Ahad looks tired. Even when the 33-year-old priest laughs, there is no mirth in his smile. His speech is slow and his gaze distant. From the pain. Father Hani was abducted on 6 June in Baghdad . Only three days earlier, Fr Ragheed Gani, a Chaldean parish priest, and three deacons were shot dead. His kidnappers demanded a “huge ransom” but money was not the only reason behind their deed. His testimony shows that whilst abducting Iraqi priests is a lucrative industry, “religion” is also a motive. The ultimate goal is to sow terror in the Christian community so as to force it into exile. The latest coordinated attacks against Christian targets on Epiphany are a case in point.

Father Hani was released after 12 days as a captive. “I am fine,” he said then, but seven months later the young Chaldean priest is still trying to heal. In the hands of his abductors he was tortured and threatened in a number of ways. Every day his tormentors tried to get him to convert to Islam. Failing this they broke his nose and a vertebra. His spine was also hurt. And there are less obvious wounds due to “many things I can’t talk about,” he said.