Archbishop Sako Worried for Christians in Iraq

Nurse, Father of 2, Found Dead

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KIRKUK, Iraq, OCT. 5, 2009 ( The situation for Christians in Iraq is a cause for worry, according to Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk.

The archbishop said this Sunday in response to the kidnapping of Imad Elias Abdul Karim, a 55-year-old Christian nurse who went missing Saturday in Kirkuk. reported that the police found him dead Sunday night, and noted that the body had «obvious signs of torture.»

Archbishop Sako had made a public appeal for the man’s release, and in doing so called the situation of Christians in Iraq «worrying.» He noted that increasingly, «Christians are a target of violence.»

«Everybody knows,» he added, «that Christians are citizens of this country and this city and no one has any doubts about their devotion to their country or their sincerity.»

He denounced «acts against Christians who want to have a role in rebuilding the nation,» and he called on «government authorities, the decent people of Iraq and Kirkuk, to do everything to protect all citizens, whoever they are.»

Archbishop Sako appealed for «dialogue and sincere cooperation,» and petitioned the «kidnappers of Imad Elias Abdul Karim to fear God» and to release the hostage so he could «return to his family and children as soon as possible.»

AsiaNews reported that the nurse, a husband and father of two children, was getting into his car when a group of three people shot him, and then kidnapped him.

He had only been missing about a day when his lifeless body was found abandoned on the streets of Kirkuk.

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