‘Martyrs’ of Iraq should be recognized as saints, Arab Christian group’s petition exhorts

iraqi_martyr_priests_cna_world_catholic_news_11_23_101.jpgJerusalem, Israel, Those killed for their faith in Iraq should be recognized as saints, a group of Arab Christians says.
 “We ask that the martyrs of Iraq be canonized, because the example of their lives and their sacrifice is an inspiration to us all as Christians, Arabs and non-(Arabs) alike, living in the Middle East,” the group commented, according to Fides.
 More than 50 were killed in an Oct. 31 massacre at the Syrian Catholic Church of Our Lady of Salvation in Baghdad. The dead included two priests, Fr. Thair Sad-alla Abd-al and Fr. Waseem Sabeeh Al-kas Butros.
 “Their names join the list of Christians who have died in Iraq for their faith, as Christians of the region continue to face a serious threat,” the petition states. The organizers say they want to reaffirm their desire “to live our Christian faith in the same land where Christ died and rose for our salvation and where his apostles proclaimed the Good News to our ancestors.”
 Asking that the martyred be recognized and honored as saints, they particularly mentioned the two priests and their companions killed at the Baghdad cathedral; the Chaldean sisters Fawzeiyah and Margaret Naoum, who were killed on March 26, 2007; Chaldean priest Fr. Raghid Aziz Ganni and subdeacons Yousef Aoud, Wahid Hanna Isho and Gassan Issam Bidawid, who were killed in Mosul on June 3, 2007.
 They also listed Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul Paulos Faraj, who was found dead on March 13, 2008, after being kidnapped by militants.
 The list includes several Orthodox Christian priests and a Protestant minister.
 The website for the petition is located at http://www.martyrs-iraq.org