Archbishop Kidnapped in Iraq (UPDATED)

Mosul is a base of operation for The Army of Ansar al Sunnah, and I suspect that this is their handiwork. Right: Archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa at the UCIP World Congress 2004.

Critical update 1/18/05: Archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa freed! No ransom paid. Details at this post.


The Catholic archbishop of the Iraqi city of Mosul was kidnapped Monday in what the Vatican called an "act of terrorism."

Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls told Reuters the Holy See had received news of the kidnapping of Archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa in Mosul. The spokesman demanded his immediate release but gave no details of the abduction.

BBC News:
A Catholic archbishop in the northern Iraq city of Mosul has been kidnapped by insurgents, the Vatican says. Archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa, 66, was abducted from outside his church in the east of the city.

The Vatican said in a statement that it deplored "in the firmest way such a terrorist act", and asked that the archbishop be freed immediately.

There have been a number of attacks on Iraq's Christian minority. Two churches were bombed in Mosul in December.


More on Archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa,a Syrian by birth, he was Archbishop of the Catholic Syrian Church--which is affilated with the Roman Catholic Church.

Recently quoted as saying, "The terrorist groups that carry out the attacks “hope that many, many more Christians will go. Their strategy is to create fear among the Christians and push them out of Iraq,”

UPDATE I: No claims of responsibility aired yet on al Jazeera, but only this story:

Casmusa, 66, leader of the city's Syrian Catholic community, was seized at around 5pm local time (1400 GMT) as he was about to enter his car, Father Faraj told AFP.

The armed men tossed him into the trunk of their vehicle before speeding away, according to the priest, who follows the rival Chaldean rite.

The Chaldean patriarch in Baghdad, Emmanuel Delly, said Casmusa "was abducted outside his home as he was returning from a pastoral visit in the diocese of Mosul".

"He was abducted and taken off in a car. We don't know who took him, nor the reason why," Delly told the missionary news agency Misna by telephone.

UPDATE II: There has been some discussion at other blogs as to the possible motivation for kidnapping the Archbishop, some speculating that this could be a simple act of extortion for money.

However, one need look no farther than a recent communique from Abu Musab al Zarqawi to see why Christians in general have a great deal to fear in the Middle East. Al Qaeda in Iraq justified the recent murder of Amer Nayef saying he was "the deputy police chief of the Jews and Christians" and that Nayef's son was murdered because he "serves the pagan guard."

The terrorists really believe that the liberation of Iraq was a reenactment of the Crusades. Iraq is just another chapter in the Crusades and who better to symbolize Christianity's victory than Archbishop Casmoussa?

The deep paranoia of Muslims in the Middle East plays out in such a way that all Christians should now consider themselves targets. Jews who once lived in Arab countries can tell you what I am talking about. All Jews in Muslim lands are considered potential spies for the "Zionist entity."

I suspect the same suspicions and paranoia will now scapegoat Christians as responsible for the ills of Iraqi society and as possible collaborators with the "Crusader forces."

Posted by: Rusty at 01:25 PM


1 This is crazy! Why on earth would they want a person of the cloth, of all people? They are usually the ones who oppose war. This is getting too close to home for me.

I say my original plan still would be the most effective way to get out of this. And most of know what that plan is.

Posted by: Laura at January 17, 2005 04:02 PM

2 This could be the beginning of the end for the Islamofacists.

Posted by: greyrooster at January 17, 2005 07:51 PM

3 I am sick over this story, but this isn't anything new, just the next chapter in a long story. (Hello, Sudan?) Muslims have routinely kidnapped thousands of Christians and held them for ransom or just kept them as slaves. (If you've ever heard of churches with names like "Our Lady of Ransom" that's why.) Many saints, most notably St. Vincent de Paul, offered himself (twice!) as a substitute for some poor bastard kidnapped by the Moors. (St. Anthony of Padua wanted to go the the Middle East and get himself martyred, but God had other plans.)
I hope His Eminence is all right.

Catholic Relief Services is sending millions of dollars and hundreds of volunteers to help Muslims in Indonesia. So much for winning the RoP over by our good works. Think any of their co-religionists eating, drinking and healing courtesy of the Catholic Church will speak out to condemn this?

(Sound of crickets).

Posted by: avenueBAlum at January 17, 2005 08:54 PM

4 I sent money to CRS in December shortly after the disaster.
Of course I can't fault the poor people involved in this disaster.
Islam,Budist,whatever,I had some ability to help the people.
Just hard to stomach this latest kidnaping. Sub humans involved here.
Hard to imagine coming to a political solution with this bunch. I really think there has to be a winner in this struggle or we will fight each other until the end.

Posted by: Brad at January 17, 2005 11:42 PM

5 Not so long ago, Christian churches had been bombed. (actually twice ) A young girl from Mosul, living in Baghdad now has her own blog, I believe called "A star in Mosul." When the first bombing of the Christian churches, she first apologized to the Christians in her country and then Christians around the world. She went on to say a member of her family was getting married and all the Christians in the neighborhood came out and surrounded the mosque so the wedding could go on without a hitch. The Christians came and protected the mosque so the wedding could happen. Then she said "See, we can all get along if we try."

I haven't got a clue as to why they would abduct a well-known archbishop but there will be hell to pay if he's killed.


Posted by: firstbrokenangel at January 18, 2005 12:13 AM

6 Say a prayer to Santo Nino Cautivo for Archbishop Casmoussa.

Posted by: Lorenzo at January 18, 2005 01:16 AM

7 Hi Laura,

Yup, we all know what that solution is but when I say it I get called an ignorant scumbag!! Yeah right!


Posted by: firstbrokenangel at January 18, 2005 02:29 AM

8 I don't believe they will kill him. Someone in their organization must have some brains. Of course, they killed Margaret without major outpouring against them. Maybe that incident gave the murderers courage.

Posted by: greyrooster at January 18, 2005 05:48 AM

9 Shouldn't we consider all muslims to be potential spies for Islamic terrorists groups. If we did not have muslims in America would America be safer? I think so. I think this horrible religion should be outlawed. Wish to be muslim? Go live in a muslim land. If this shit continues muslims in America and other countries won't be safe anyway. Just a matter of time. When the ball starts rolling it won't stop. Sooner or later retaliation will start. Unfair? yes. But it will happen.

Posted by: greyrooster at January 18, 2005 06:01 AM

10 Thank goodness he was freed Tuesday without any ransom being paid.

Posted by: Dave at January 18, 2005 08:24 AM

11 Firstbrokenangel, you could get yourself a clue, but this of course depends on what side of your brain you use. Logical thinking involves two problem-solving styles which individually reflect the way the brain's adjacent hemispheres work: the left side concentrates on detail and analysis, the right side specializes in lateral and creative thinking. Both hemispheres are linked, but one side usually dominates an individual's way of thinking at any given time. If you have a tendency toward left-brain activity, you would solve problems by relying on information and facts before reaching a decision. Your major drawbacks are a resistance to new ideas and the potential suppression of creativity by evaluating ideas before they are fully formed.
If you have a tendency toward right-brained activity and solve problems creatively and flexibly to come up with lots of solutions. Your main disadvantage is getting bored with detail and wanting to rush on to the next challenge without having resolved previous issues.
You could, of course, have centered-brain activity, with both sides working in equilibrium. This mental elasticity enables you to comfortably apply either an analytical or a creative approach. You may, however, not be either systematic or imaginative enough, which could undermine your depth of understanding or limit your ability to switch between left-and right-brained decisions. What part do you use? I can provide boosting tips, if you wish. I hope I've helped you to get "a clue".

Posted by: Anti War at January 18, 2005 08:44 AM

12 Anti War: WTF??????????

Posted by: Laura at January 18, 2005 09:17 AM

13 Laura, lol, I'm not being hostile towards firstbrokenangel, I'm just trying to help him get "a clue".

Posted by: Anti War at January 18, 2005 09:45 AM

14 FYI, it's a goyl!!!

Posted by: Laura at January 18, 2005 04:50 PM

15 Help HIM get a clue? That says it all. FIRSTBROKENANGEL, FIRSTBROKENANGEL, FIRSTBROKENANGEL. Get it dip shit! What side of your brain are you using? The one you sit on? Details are normally left to those left behind who fail to see the big picture.
Secondly, your a small time academic nerd. So obvious its getting boring.

Posted by: greyrooster at January 18, 2005 07:48 PM

16 Greyrooster, is your comment aimed at me? If you want I can give you a FREE psychological profile. A lot of work needs to go into you, however, there is hope. I would consider you are a right-brainer, the right hemisphere is associated with spatial construction, non-verbal creativity, and visual processing, but has no specialist regions. But if you were to be a left-brainer, then this hemisphere is associated with linguistic function, speech production, the ability to write and understand written words, and plays a crucial role in mathematical calculation and logical deduction.

Posted by: Anti War at January 19, 2005 09:53 AM

17 Who says you're qualified to do anything? You? I've always thought people who are interested in psychology entered it for one reason. They're nuts and wish to understand why they are so sick.

Posted by: greyrooster at January 19, 2005 07:03 PM

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