Iraqi bishop says serpent's head finally crushed
Bishop Rabban al Qas from the Kurdish region of northern Iraq has described the capture of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is a "moment of joy for all Iraqis" that signals the beginning of "peaceful rebuilding" of the country with the help of a "liberating" military presence.
"The serpent's head has been finally crushed," he told the Italian PIME missionary organisation's news website AsiaNews.it.
Bishop al Qas, 54, is recuperating in hospital after being injured in an explosion, said there is "no longer any fear".
He said: "During the months of allied occupation, people continued living with their past fear that Saddam was everywhere... 9 April was the day of our political liberation. But only as of today, there is freedom of spirit."
Bishop al Qas predicted that Saddam's demise means "Al-Quaeda will soon be over with".
"Al-Qaeda was able to plan attacks in Iraq thanks to the Iraqis that guided them in loco. But now for whom will these Iraqis work? Who will pay them now that Saddam has been arrested?"
However Bishop al Qas said that even if Saddam Hussein is evil, "his dignity must be respected".
"But he needs to confess his crimes, to admit he killed and had killed millions of people. Even Christian forgiveness presupposes confession and atonement."
"The serpent's head has been crushed: Our fears are finally over" (AsiaNews.it 15/12/03)
Iraqi bishop sees "serpent's head crushed" (Catholic World News/AsiaNews 15/12/03)
Finding Saddam, losing Mazen (National Catholic Reporter 15/12/03)
Patty Fawkner SGS, Director of Uniya, comments on the treatment of Saddam Hussein (Unia Jesuit Social Justice Centre 15/12/03)
"The Only Possibility for Freedom": Iraqi bishop says Iraq needs the Coalition (National Review Online/Zenit 9/12/03)
Bishop Rabban Al-Qas (catholic-hierarchy.org)
16 Dec 2003