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Bishop of Baghdad says don't give in to hostage takers

Bishop Jean Benjamin Sleiman, the Latin rite Bishop of Baghdad, has stressed his solidarity with Italu over the abduction of two of its volunteers in Iraq, but said that the country must not give into terrorism.

Simona Torretta and Simona Pari, both 29, were kidnapped on Tuesday in the Iraqi capital. They both work for a group called A Bridge to Baghdad.

"Italians, don't be discouraged: the Iraq crisis is not only an Iraqi problem: it is also the Middle East's and Europe's," he told AsiaNews.

"Terrorism cannot be defeated by closing in on oneself, he stressed. "Re-establishing peace in Iraq also means guaranteeing security in Europe."

"Whenever a crisis such as this occurs, there is the tendency to rethink political decisions and the full range of commitments that have been made. Such a temptation is strong, as is the desire to close in on one's own interests and one's own country. But it takes wider boundaries and a larger context to defend one's country against terrorism."

Meanwhile the Chaldean patriarch of Baghdad is working for the freedom of the volunteers. Hearing of their plight, Archbishop Emmanuel III Delly said he would pursue every possible avenue to obtain their release.

"But it is important to know who has kidnapped them, to what group the kidnappers belong," the patriarch said in statements to SIR, the news agency of the Italian episcopate. "Whether or not we are successful in our objective is in God's hands."

Bishop of Baghdad: "I share in your pain, but don't back down against terrorism" ( 9/9/04)

NGOs in Iraq: staying put to rebuild country and coexistence ( 9/9/04)
John Paul II Prays for All the Kidnapped in Iraq (Zenit 8/9/04)
Baghdad Patriarch Aiming to Have 2 Captives Released (Zenit 8/9/04)
Iraqi prelate: Don't give in to terrorists (Catholic World News 9/9/04)

10 Sep 2004