More Iraqi Christians die

02 November 2006

CHRISTIANS in Iraq are being killed by terrorists, kidnappers, and US forces every week. When they flee, the UK should grant them asylum, a Syrian Orthodox monk, Archimandrite Toma Dawod, said in London on Monday.

The Archimandrite, who leads a congregation in west London, said that his Syrian Orthodox cousin Bassan Sallo, killed by US troops, had been buried in Mosul on Tuesday of last week. Mr Sallo's death had left a 25-year-old widow, Rana, and seven-year-old son, Fadi, with no means of support. The cousin had been the third Christian buried that day in the cemetery: the other two Christians had been shot by terrorists.

"Bassan Sallo was 35," Fr Dawod said. "He was a builder, and he was returning on Monday last week from visiting his cousin, who had been released by kidnappers. Everybody was happy.

"He was driving the car with his wife Rena. They entered an empty street and they were afraid. Something was wrong. So he turned the car. American and Iraqi soldiers in the school opposite shot at him. He was hit in the chest. His wife drove him to the hospital, where he had two bottles of blood. But he died at 10.30 on Monday morning.

"Nobody has said anything; nobody has said sorry. Who do we appeal to? We ask many questions, but who will answer  us? Who will pay for his wife and child? They  are poor people. We grew up together. He was like a brother to me."

Fr Dawod said that two or three Christians were being killed each week, either by American or Iraqi soldiers, or because they had been captured by kidnappers, or through terrorist atrocities.

"The brother of our priest, Yohanna, was killed last Thursday in Baghdad," he said. "He was driving his wife from hospital. There were a lot of cars, and the Americans opened fire as he passed them."

Terrorists had shot dead another Orthodox Christian, Husam Sarsam, a cameraman with Kurdistan TV, in Basra on the Monday of last week. They had tortured him first, he said. "We thank the Church of England for being against the war, and we thank the people who were against the war at the demonstration on Saturday. But where is the solution? There is no voice for the Christians in Iraq."

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