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ICC Note

The armed men were surprised when they saw Fr. Ragheed Ganni had not closed his church as they had demanded. He responded, “How can I close the house of God?” At this response, they shot him and his three friends. Many Christians who choose to remain in Iraq, echo those same sentiments. The work of the Lord is not finished, especially now that ISIS has lost territory, Christians in Iraq see themselves as integral part of the rebuilding process. Fr. Ganni’s  fellow church members have solutions on how to create an Iraqi society that lives in peaceful coexistence. They believe the first step should be abolishing Islam as the official state religion, so that all people can practice their faith freely without one group feeling superior.  

06/10/2017 Iraq (Catholic News Agency) – When Fr. Ragheed Aziz Ganni was confronted by armed men after celebrating the Eucharist at his Chaldean Catholic parish in Mosul, they asked him why he was still there and why he hadn’t closed the church as they had demanded.

“How can I close the house of God?” he responded, right before they shot and killed him, alongside three friends and subdeacons at the parish: Waheed, Ghasan, and Basman.

An Iraqi priest born in 1972 in a town in the Plain of Ninevah, Fr. Ganni moved to Rome in 1996 to study at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas on a scholarship from the pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need.

In 2003 he decided to return to Iraq, despite the war following the American invasion, and the persecution of Christians that was taking place. He served at a parish in Mosul until the day of his death, June 3, 2007.

Ten years after his death, Fr. Ganni’s friend and fellow priest, Fr. Rebwar Basa, has written a book about his life and death, and about the ongoing situation of Christians in Iraq. He spoke to CNA at a presentation for A Catholic Priest in the Islamic State, published by Aid to the Church in Need.





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