Syria: Catholic Priest Beheaded by al Qaeda-Linked Rebels as Men and Children Cheer
Religion TodayReligious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
- 2013 Jul 01
Syrian Catholic priest Francois Murad was beheaded last weekend by jihadi fighters, The Blaze reports. Murad, 49, who was setting up a monastery in Gassanieh, in northern Syria, was attacked at the monastery last Sunday by extremist militants trying to topple President Bashar Assad. While earlier reports suggested Murad may have been shot to death, Catholic Online reported Saturday: "The Vatican is confirming the death by beheading of Franciscan Father Francois Murad, who was martyred by Syrian jihadists on June 23." The Catholic news service quoted local sources who reported that the radical al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra, or Al-Nusra Front, was behind the savage killing. In video posted by Live Leak purporting to show the execution, dozens of men and boys are seen cheering on as three men are seated on the ground awaiting their grisly fate. The men are methodically beheaded one at a time by men holding what appears to be a simple kitchen knife, after which the heads are placed on top of the bodies. According to Catholic Online, the first victim was Murad. A frenzy ensues, with dozens drawing out their smartphones to capture the bloody scene, as a chorus of Allahu Akbar ("Allah is the greatest") is sung. Several observers are seen moving within inches of the bodies in an effort to capture close-up photos. Catholic Online is raising alarm that western nations are providing support to the rebels who have shown a proclivity toward persecuting Christians: "This should make it clear to Christians around the world what jihadists are about. Make no mistake. Catholics and [other] Christians around the globe are under dire threat, particularly from the spread of militant Islam. Until the threat is recognized and taken seriously, martyrdoms like this will continue."