Archbishop: Iraqi Christians Not Losing Hope

BAGHDAD, Iraq, FEB. 12, 2008 ( The fact that three kidnapped Christians in Iraq were prepared to die for their faith before converting to Islam shows that the faithful there aren’t losing hope, said the archbishop of Kirkuk.

Archbishop Louis Sako told the SIR news agency of the Italian bishops today of the recent case of 40 students who were traveling on a road to Baghdad last week and were kidnapped by terrorists.

The archbishop said the group included three Christians “who were ordered to be converted to Islam. The 3 students strongly refused, saying they were prepared to die for their faith.”

The group of 40 was eventually released, but the prelate said the courage of the three Christians means, “despite so many difficulties, our devotees are not losing faith or hope, they are actually strengthening them.”

Commenting on the process of reconciliation between Muslims and Christians, Archbishop Sako said: “Even during Lent, our Islamic brothers come to see us, but it takes time to promote initiatives and we have to learn.”