Baghdad, IRAQ – "Violence should not call for more violence! We are on the side of justice, not the death penalty,” Chaldean Bishop Warduni affirmed from Iraq. "If he were still alive, Archbishop Rahho himself would not permit that someone would die for him.”
Contentions rise high as Chaldeans call on the Iraqi government to spare the life of the man convicted of killing the Archbishop on February, 29 outside of a church. The Archbishop was leading the Way of the Cross during Lent when Ahmad Ali Ahmad, a ilitant from al-Qaida, led a group to abduct the Archibishop and kill his sub deacons.
Chaldean Auxiliary Bishop Shlemon Warduni of Baghdad said, "Let us recall that the principles that have always inspired the Church are forgiveness and reconciliation."
Bishop Warduni was the representative of the Church who tried to contact the kidnappers after they abducted Archbishop Rahho. For days there was no news from the archbishop or his kidnappers. Finally, after a phone call from the assailants, the archbishop's body was found March 13 in a shallow grave. He was 65.
Other Iraqi bishops have made similar public declarations calling on the Iraqi government to not answer violence with violence.
"We are in favor of justice, but not of capital punishment," said Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk. Bishop Shlemon Warduni, an auxiliary in Baghdad, agreed, saying that Archbishop Raho was totally dedicated to reconciliation and peace rather than further bloodshed.
On Sunday, it was announced by the Iraqi government spokesman, Ali al-Dabbagh. that Ahmad Ali Ahmad (A.KA Abu Omar) would be condemned to death for involvement in the crime. No date has been given for his execution.
Questions still remain as to the motive, directive, and intent of the killing of the Archbishop. The Iraqi government eagerly looking forward to move beyond the assassination and demonstrate a semblance of law and order.
Clearly demonstrating the tenants of their faith, the Chaldean church continues to reaffirm its stance, at great risk to themselves, that peace and love of one another is the only answer.