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13 October 2006

Relatives of beheaded Iraqi priest say kidnappers demanded apology for pope Muslim comments

medium_iskander.2.jpg(iht.com)  Relatives of an Orthodox priest who was kidnapped and found beheaded three days later said Thursday that his...

MOSUL, Iraq Relatives of an Orthodox priest who was kidnapped and found beheaded three days later said Thursday that his captors had demanded his church condemn the pope's recent comments about Islam and pay a US$350,000 (€280,000) ransom.
More than 500 people attended a memorial service Thursday for father Amer Iskender in the northern city of Mosul after his decapitated body was found Wednesday evening in an industrial area of the city.
Iskender was a priest at the St. Ephrem Orthodox church in Mosul.
"He was a good man and we all shed tears for him," said Eman Saaur, a 45-year-old schoolteacher who said she attended Iskender's church regularly. "He was a man of peace."
Relatives, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal, said the unidentified group that seized Iskender on Sunday had demanded a ransom and that his church condemn a statement made by Pope Benedict XVI last month that ignited a wave anger throughout the Muslim world. In a speech at a German university the pope quoted a medieval text that characterized some of the Prophet Muhammad's teachings as "evil and inhuman," declaring Islam was a religion spread by the sword.
Before Iskender was kidnapped, his relatives said, the church already had put up signs condemning the statement and calling for good relations between Christians and Muslims. The message was posted again, they said, after the priest's kidnappers made their demand.
"It was a tragedy," said Hazim Shaaiya, 60, who had come to the memorial service to pay respects. "Father Amer Iskender was a peaceful, kind religious man."
Relatives said the priest's oldest son had been in contact with the kidnappers on mobile telephones. He negotiated the ransom payment down to US$40,000 (€32,000) and had agreed to pay, but contact abruptly ceased Tuesday night.

18:13 Posted in Real Islam | Permalink | Comments (4) |  Facebook |


Five soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division are accused of raping and murdering Abeer al-Janabi near the town of Mahmoudiya on March 12. A sixth soldier is accused of failing to report the crime.

The soldiers allegedly saw the victim at a checkpoint in the town and plotted the attack for a week, according to federal court documents. Three of her family members were killed in the assault.


But the victim's male relatives have refused to allow her body to be exhumed because of objections from a local Muslim cleric. Islamic law frowns on exhumations as desecration of the dead.

"Chief among our concerns is carrying out justice. But when you get town officials or an imam saying that exhuming the body doesn't jive with our cultural sensitivities, that creates a massive stumbling block," a U.S. military official in Baghdad close to the investigation said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to media.

Without forensic evidence, prosecutors must rely heavily on statements from the suspects. Defense lawyers will doubtless claim those statements were made under duress and seek to keep them from the jury.

While some evidence has been collected at the home where the assault allegedly occurred, officials say none of it confirms guilt.

"There is certainly enough evidence to get us into court. It remains to be seen whether the evidence that has been collected thus far is enough to carry us to a capital conviction," the U.S. official said.

The soldiers — Sgt. Paul E. Cortez, Spc. James P. Barker, Pfc. Jesse V. Spielman and Pfc. Bryan L. Howard — are accused of rape and murder. They are thought to have conspired with former soldier Steven D. Green, who was arrested in the case last month in North Carolina.

Green, who was discharged from the Army because of a personality disorder, likely will be tried in federal court. The former Army private pleaded not guilty to one count of rape and four counts of murder and is being held without bond.

Sgt. Anthony W. Yribe, is charged with failing to report the attack but is not alleged to have been a direct participant.

Those still on active duty face an Article 32 hearing, the military equivalent of a grand jury proceeding, to determine if they should stand trial. If the case does go to trial, the murder suspects could face the death penalty.

Yet Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has complained that Iraqi courts should try cases of abuse by American soldiers — something the U.S. command strongly resists — and last week called for a review of an agreement giving foreign troops immunity from Iraqi prosecution.

"Those who are free from being punished misbehave, and they have misbehaved a lot," al-Maliki said.

The U.S. military always has insisted it will punish soldiers who commit crimes against Iraqis. During a visit last week, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld underscored that position, insisting that "no one" in the U.S. force "is immune," meaning from U.S. though not Iraqi prosecution.

The attack was the latest in a string of allegations that U.S. soldiers and Marines in Iraq have killed civilians, including the alleged massacre of dozens in Haditha.

Posted by: Five soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division are accused of raping and murdering | 18 October 2006

Why do people hate the USA?
"Dropping bombs on people really pisses them off"

Make some noise now and call for the closure of the US detention camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.


Posted by: Close Guantánamo now! | 18 October 2006

See the difference? The US soldiers are being handled. Where is the Iraqi government (?) regarding the people beheading of the priest? Where are those cowardly criminals who kidnapped and murdered? Where is justice against them?

Posted by: care | 19 October 2006

Care, The Iraqi government is controlled by the USA remember, and those soldiers who were "handled" as you gently put it only represent appox. 1% of you Christians raping Iraqi girls and boys and getting away with it.

I do not like Sadaam but remember there were no beheadings under his watch.

Posted by: Scott Mohsen | 19 October 2006

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