Friday, 8 May 2009

True martyrdom

How often are Muslim extremist terrorists referred to as ‘martyrs’? Below however is a true martyr who, rather than deny his faith, died at the hands of cowards.

Ragheed Aziz Ganni, priest: born Mosul, Iraq 20 January 1972; ordained priest 2001; died Mosul 3 June 2007.

Ragheed Ganni, a Chaldean Catholic priest, had just finished celebrating Sunday evening Mass in the Holy Spirit parish in the northern Iraqi town of Mosul when gunmen stopped his car. Before opening fire on him and his three deacons (one of them his cousin), the killers demanded their conversion to Islam. They then shot the four repeatedly.

Although the first Catholic priest to be killed since 2003, Ganni was by no means the first Christian leader in Iraq to be targeted for execution. As the Islamist intolerance of Christians rose steadily in recent years and months, Ganni had several times been on the receiving end of threats and attacks. His church had most recently been bombed on 27 May. The three deacons had decided to accompany him to and from his church in a vain attempt to protect him.

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