Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By

6/4/2008 (6 years ago)

Asia News (www.asianews.it/)

On the first anniversary of the martyrdom of Fr.Ragheed Gani,the only witness to the killing speaks out.

Highlights

By

Asia News (www.asianews.it/)

6/4/2008 (6 years ago)

Published in Asia Pacific


DAMASCUS (AsiaNews) - He could have run away, saved himself, but he went to meet his destiny without fear.

Fr Ragheed Gani, killed one year ago in Iraq, died because up until the very end he remained convinced that Christians should not be afraid, that "God's house cannot be closed!".

On the first anniversary of the "martyrdom", the only witness to it is speaking out: Bayan Adam Bella, wife of one of the three subdeacons murdered in cold blood together with their pastor on June 3, 2007, in Mosul. This is the same diocese that last March lost its bishop, Faraj Rahho, also a victim of terrorism.

The woman, interviewed by Ankawa.com, is now a refugee in Syria together with her four children. They live with her brother-in-law's family.

She suffers greatly and is full of questions over a fate that she is still not able to understand, and over her continuing difficulties in obtaining a visa. But now, twelve months later, she finally has the strength to give a more complete account of those tragic moments.

After celebrating the Eucharist in his parish, the Church of the Holy Spirit, Fr Ragheed had departed by car together with one of the deacons, his cousin Basman Yousef Daud.

Bayan was in a car behind them, together with her husband, Wahid Hanna Isho, and the other deacon, Gassan Isam Bidawed. Recently the three had begun to accompany the priest wherever he went in an effort to protect him after repeated death threats.

"At a certain point", the woman recounts, "the car was stopped by armed men. Fr Ragheed could have fled, but he did not want to, because he knew they were looking for him. They forced us to get out of the car, and led me away.

Then one of the killers screamed at Ragheed, 'I told you to close the church, why didn't you do it? Why are you still here?'. And he simply responded, 'How can I close the house of God?'

They immediately pushed him to the ground, and Ragheed had only enough time to gesture to me with his head that I should run away. Then they opened fire and killed all four of them".

At this point, Bayan fainted. In the hours immediately after the killing, the bodies remained abandoned on the road because no one dared to get close to them. They were all buried in Karamles.

Bayan has many questions: "Why did they make me a widow, why did they tear the word 'papa' from the mouths of my children? What did we do wrong? What did my husband do?", she asks, addressing the terrorists.

In August of 2007, she asked the UNHCR for humanitarian asylum in the West, but the difficulties are enormous.

"At first no one believed my story. How can they shut the door in the face of such suffering?". In January of 2008, she met again with UN staff. Now she is waiting for nothing more than to start life over for herself and her children.

Ceremonies commemorating the four martyrs were held in northern Iraq. In Rome, the Pontifical Irish College organised a conference last May 31 entitled "Witnesses to Christ, Past and Present", to recall the sacrifice of Ragheed, a former student of the college.

Cardinal Kasper, head of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, and Monsignor Parolin, undersecretary for relations with states, participated in the event.



Comments


More Asia Pacific

Move by Bangladesh to LOWER legal age to marry raises international outrage Watch

Image of Bangladesh has the highest child marriage rate in Southeast Asia, which puts young women there at higher risk of sexual exploitation and domestic violence.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Bangladesh has an ongoing problem with child marriage: two out of three girls there marry before they reach adulthood. A proposal to lower the age to 16 years of age has prompted a storm of international criticism. Women's rights activists are calling it "a ... continue reading


Islamic State planned beheadings in Australia Watch

Image of Mohamed Elomar, an Australian who joined the Islamic State, and one of the primary examples of homegrown extremism.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Australian officials have prevented an Islamic State plot to carry out and film the beheading of a random person in Sydney, as part of a series of public executions intended to strike terror into the West. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Pre-dawn raids across ... continue reading


Parish dedicated to John Paul II the first in Chinese-speaking world Watch

Image of Construction of the church began in February 2014, thanks to donations from the local Catholic community. Father Orifiamma said the parish still needs financial help to finish paying for the costs of construction.

By CNA/EWTN News

The Diocese of Kaohsiung in Taiwan has become the first in the Chinese-speaking world to have a parish dedicated to St. John Paul II, where a first-class relic of the Polish saint's blood is kept. Kaohsiung, Taiwan (CNA) - Archbishop Peter Chen-Chung Liu of Kaohsiung ... continue reading


Pauline Sisters celebrate their 50 years in Goa, India Watch

Image of In keeping with the Founder's vision, the Paulines have gone beyond the confines of churches and schools to reach out to people in their homes and marketplaces.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Pauline Sisters are due to celebrate their 50 years of presence in Goa, India, this September 20th. Goa is the former headquarters of the Asian Church. On September 20. The Pious Society of the Daughters of Saint Paul, or DSP opened its first house in India ... continue reading


China takes fight to internet! Begins banning mail-order bride websites Watch

Image of Chinese and Cambodian authorities are targeting bride-buying websites in a new anti-human-trafficking initiative, aimed at preventing the exploitation of women from poorer countries.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Online bride-shopping websites are being targeted by Chinese and Cambodian authorities in a new anti-human-trafficking initiative, aimed at preventing the exploitation of women from poorer countries. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "We support the crackdown and ... continue reading


QUITE A BOAST! North Korea has 'the world's most advantageous human rights system,' leaders say Watch

Image of North Korean dictator Kim Jung-Il poses for a photo as he oversees a tactical rocket firing drill last June.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Widely regarded as the most oppressive government on the face of the Earth, a report from North Korean officials heralds that the nation has "the world's most advantageous human rights system." The international community largely scoffed at this bold, ... continue reading


Vietnamese children will be able to be adopted by American parents after six-year ban Watch

Image of Americans who wish to adopt Vietnamese children can only to do with child older than five years of age, those with special needs or groups of siblings.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

American parents who wish to adopt children from Vietnam will be able to do again shortly after a six-year ban. However, Vietnamese children who can be adopted by U.S. citizens must be older than five years of age. While the ban has been lifted, this new ... continue reading


Hundreds of children rescued from Illegal Muslim schools in China Watch

Image of Chinese authorities have been waging a battle against Muslim separatists in the western region of Xinjiang, which has left hundreds dead. A recent raid saved nearly 200 students from an illegal Islamic school.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Officials in China's Xinjiang region have rescued 190 children and detained 85 people in a series of widespread raids on underground Islamic schools. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The sweep was reported in China's state-run Legal Daily, and reported that the ... continue reading


Nearly half of all girls in South Asia are married before they turn 18 years of age Watch

Image of One in five girls are married before the age of 15, giving India the highest rates of child marriage in the world, the report said.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to a United Nations report, nearly half of all girls in South Asia marry before they turn age 18. Published by the U.N. children's agency UNICEF last week, the report lays bare what it calls "glaring inequalities." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


After devastation of Typhoon Haiyan, Church moves in to construct 25 chapels and emergency shelters Watch

Image of A chapel that was destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan as it ravaged much of the Philippines in November 2013.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The social service arm of the archdiocese of Manila is building 25 chapels in areas of the Philippines that were devastated by the super typhoon that passed through in 2013. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Church restoration is very important because it ... continue reading


All Asia Pacific News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Proverbs 21:1-6, 10-13
1 Like flowing water is a king's heart in Yahweh's ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 119:1, 27, 30, 34, 35, 44
1 How blessed are those whose way is blameless, who ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 8:19-21
19 His mother and his brothers came looking for him, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 23rd, 2014 Image

St. Padre Pio
September 23: Francesco, named in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, was born to ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter