Kirkuk (AsiaNews) â€“ The Iraqi Church is â€œsuffering profoundlyâ€ from the â€œdarkness and silenceâ€ which reign over the kidnap of Mosulâ€™s Chaldean Archbishop, as anxiety and concern increase among the faithful and their pastors. A fresh appeal has been launched today by the Chaldean Archbishop of Kirkuk, Msgr. Louis Sako, pleading with the West not to fall into the trap of indifference in the face of violence in Iraq, or accept it as â€œnormalâ€, but to once again raise its voice against the injustices which afflict the nation and its people.
12 days on from bishop Rahooâ€™s abduction there is still news on his conditions. The kidnappers â€“ whose identity remains unclear- have placed â€œdifficult conditionsâ€ on his release and continue to deny mediators direct contact with the hostage. Added to this are increasing concerns over the state of the prelateâ€™s health, given that he is gravely ill and is in need of daily treatment. The fact that the city, a Sunni stronghold, is more that 90% under terrorist control is not facilitating search operations being carried out by the Iraqi government.
In an appeal sent to AsiaNews, Msgr. Sako urges that â€œthat once again silence will not shroud the pain of the Iraqi people, which is looked upon as something normal and ordinaryâ€. â€œIn a situation as critical as this â€“ he says appealing to the West and the worldâ€™s bishops Conferences – one cannot remain indifferent to oneâ€™s Christians brothers; they are asking us where is the charity, love and compassionâ€. The prelate clearly indicates how one can contribute to helping Iraq, even from afar: â€œPray for us, share our sufferance, worries, hope and help us concretely to remain in our land and denounce our injuries. A sign, a presence, or even a gesture will help us witness our faith and universal brotherhoodâ€.
â€œThe support of the worldâ€™s bishops, religious and faithfulâ€“ he adds â€“ will give us the impulse to continue to hope in peace and inter-religious coexistenceâ€. Msgr. Sako concludes with thanks â€œall of those who have shown there support and solidarity in a moment in which we feel abandoned and alone in our deep suffering and latest trialâ€.
Added to the appeals by the Pope, numerous Muslim leaders in the region have condemned the abduction. Today in the Archbishopâ€™s residence in Kirkuk 15 Muslim religious leaders will come to launch a fresh appeal for the release of Msgr. Rahoo. Tomorrow Iraqi Chaldeans both in Iraq, and abroad will unite in prayer for the safe return of the bishop: masses will be offered for him in communities throughout the world.