CASCA saddened by tragic murder of Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho

kaska.jpg(Washington, DC) – Members of the Chaldean Assyrian Syriac Council of America (CASCA) expressed profound sadness and condemned the senseless murder of the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho. Archbishop Rahho had not been heard from since he was kidnapped on February 29 after celebrating Mass at the Church of Holy Spirit in Mosul. Despite efforts by the Iraqi and United States government, Faraj Rahho was found dead outside of Mosul.

“This is a sad day for the Chaldean/Assyrian/Syriacs of Iraq and for the entire world of Christianity. May God help and protect the defensless people of Iraq” said Jackie Bejan, the Executive Director of CASCA. “Despite this tragic outcome, we are grateful to the leadership of Representatives Eshoo, Wolf and Knollenberg in reaching out to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice for her urgent appeal to the Iraqi government and increase in U.S. efforts for the return of the Archbishop and safety of the Iraqi Christians.”

On March 6, Representative Anna Eshoo (D, CA) and Representative Frank Wolf (R, VA) sent over a letter to Secretary Rice expressing their concern over the abduction of the 67 year old Archbishop and the senseless killing of his driver and two bodyguards. The letter from Eshoo and Wolf asked Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice to “personally ask the Iraqi government to commit any and all necessary resources to ensure the Archbishop’s safe return.” Congressman Joe Knollenberg (R, MI) requested that Secretary Rice, “make a public statement regarding the kidnapping of Archbishop Rahho.”

Iraq’s true minorities are being driven from their homes and communities all across Iraq. Many have returned to their ancestral homeland in Nineveh, and many more have fled the country. The violence, economic and social displacement that drove them from their homes in Baghdad and other, once-integrated Iraqi cities has followed them to Nineveh. Today, violence permeates their existence and threatens to erase the presence of these people of antiquity from their ancestral homeland in Iraq altogether. The senseless murder of Archbishop Rahho, his bodyguard and his driver are just one more example of the threat the Christian minority is living under in Iraq.

CASCA was formed in 2007 to educate U.S. policymakers on the plight of Iraq’s Chaldean/Assyrian/Syriac Christian minorities and to advocate for policies that will support stability, security, aid, and reconstruction relief within Iraq and assistance and resettlement of the most vulnerable refugees of this fragile population outside Iraq. CASCA was formed from the following 4 organizations: The Assyrian American National Federation, The Assyrian National Council of Illinois, The Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce, and The Chaldean Federation of America.