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Religious leaders in hostage appeal


Two imams attending an interreligious meeting organised by the Community of Sant'Egidio in Milan, were yesterday part of a joint appeal from four religious leaders for the release of four aid workers, two Italians and two Iraqis, who were taken hostage in Baghdad overnight.

The plea was issued by Mohammed Bachar Sharif al Faidhi from the Committee of Muslim Ulema, Iraqi's most senior organisation of Sunni Muslim scholars; brothers Mohammed and Jaouad Mahdi al Khalisi from the Iraqi reform council; and Shlemon Wardnuni, the Catholic bishop of Baghdad.

"In the name of God the merciful, in the name of all the religious clerics meeting here in Milan ... we urge the kidnappers to release immediately and without pre-conditions the two Italians - who were working in the interest of Iraq and the Iraqi people - and their Iraqi colleagues," the four religious leaders said.

"Such acts damage Iraq's interests and only serve the interests of the enemies of Iraq and the Iraqis," they said.

The four senior clerics were in Milan, northern Italy, for a large religious gathering organised by the Community of Sant'Egidio, a Catholic charity that has helped mediate in a number of international conflicts.

The union of Islamic organisations and communities in Italy has also appealed for the release of the four aid workers - two Italian women and two Iraqi men - who were taken by armed men from their offices in Baghdad overnight.

The Italians, Simona Pari and Simona Torretta, and one of the Iraqis were working for Italian charity Un Ponte Per Baghdad (Bridge to Baghdad), while the second Iraqi worked for a non-governmental organisation called Intersource

SOURCE
Religious leaders in hostage appeal (The Australian 9/9/04)

LINKS
Pope, Annan, EU, Arab League… world calls for Abducted Italian aid workers to be released (Missionary Service News Agency 8/9/04)
Sant'Egidio': Real Islam, force of peace in Europe (Missionary Service News Agency 8/9/04)
Kidnapping women and killing children or how Islamic terrorism is morphing (AsiaNews.it 8/9/04)
Two Italian women seized in Baghdad (AsiaNews.it 8/9/04)
Vatican watcher questions "lack of coherence" in confronting challenge of fanatical Islam (Catholic News Agency 8/9/04)
Cardinal Martino says world is living "Fourth World War" (Catholic News Agency 8/9/04)
Spread of "Culture of Death" Worries Pope (Zenit 7/9/04)
Italy politicians work to free hostages in Iraq (Associated Press/Sacramento Bee 8/9/04)
Holy Father decries "savage attack' at Russian school, prays for victims and their relatives (L'Osservatore Romano 8/9/04)
Catholic agencies support Beslan with action and prayer (Independent Catholic News 8/9/04)
World needs "the spirit of Assisi," peace, not violence (Vatican Information Service 8/9/04)
Prayer for children in Beslan, a future of peace for all (Vatican Information Service 8/9/04)
Spanish bishops in solidarity with Beslan victims (Catholic World News 8/9/04)
Pope opposes military response to terrorism (Catholic World News 8/9/04)
Catholics stunned by Beslan tragedy (CathNews 7/9/04)

9 Sep 2004