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Iraq archbishop speaks out as abductions increase

ICC Note

“It is not only Christians who are targeted but other groups. And yet the Christians feel the injustice of the situation very keenly because they have never played any part in the conflict within the country.”

By John Pontifex

27/8/2008 Iraq (ACN News)-A leading bishop in Iraq has appealed for government action to stem the growing tide of kidnappings, saying that Christians feel especially at risk.

Hitting out at alleged media and government reluctance to confront the problem, Archbishop Jean Sleiman said there were “countless” reports of people being abducted.

The bishop, based in the Iraqi capital, described families and friends of kidnapped people coming to plead for his help to secure their release.

Speaking from Baghdad in an interview with the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, Archbishop Sleiman said: “We have more problems, especially kidnapping.

“The media ignores this matter,” he said, adding: “It is important to ask the government to pay attention to these issues and not only the general political situation.”

In the interview the archbishop described how only recently (Tuesday 19/08/08) he met a Christian man whose brother-in-law and son had been kidnapped and found dead a month later.

The archbishop, a Carmelite from Lebanon , continued: “It is not only Christians who are targeted but other groups. And yet the Christians feel the injustice of the situation very keenly because they have never played any part in the conflict within the country.”

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