Beliefnet
Pray for the Persecuted Church

In the ongoing violence against Christians in Iraq, a 29-year-old father of three was kidnapped for ransom, then when his family did not have the $100,000 demanded, he was tortured, his eyes gouged out and he was beheaded.

The horrific death of Ashur Yacob Issa was decried by the Archbishop of Kirkuk, who called it an “inhuman act” that goes “against every human and religious principle”.

Violence against Iraq’s small Christian community has skyrocketed in recent months. Issa’s last name means “Jesus” and is a common surname among Iraq’s  Christians.

The crime sent a shockwave through the city, especially in its Christian community.

“No man who believes in God and respects life can commit such acts,” said Archbishop Louis Sako speaking to AsiaNews. “Let them think about those who are left without a father and a husband. Even if human justice is not done, divine justice shall, sooner or later.”

Large numbers of Iraqi Christians have fled the country in the last three years, leaving only a very small church that keeps a low profile.

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