Syrian Jihadists behead Catholic priest

“The Vatican is confirming the death by beheading of Franciscan Father, Francois Murad, who was martyred by Syrian jihadists on June 23.

Below is the news release from the Vatican, via

On Sunday, June 23 the Syrian priest François Murad was killed in Gassanieh, in northern Syria, in the convent of the Custody of the Holy Land where he had taken refuge. This is confirmed by a statement of the Custos of the Holy Land sent to Fides Agency. The circumstances of the death are not fully understood. According to local sources, the monastery where Fr. Murad was staying was attacked by militants linked to the jihadi group Jabhat al-Nusra.

Father François, 49, had taken the first steps in the religious life with the Franciscan Friars of the Custody of the Holy Land, and with them he continued to share close bonds of spiritual friendship. After being ordained a priest he had started the construction of a coenobitic monastery dedicated to St. Simon Stylites in the village of Gassanieh.After the start of the Civil War, the monastery of St. Simon had been bombed and Fr. Murad had moved to the convent of the Custody for safety reasons and to give support to the remaining few, along with another religious and nuns of the Rosary.

“Let us pray,” writes the Custos of the Holy Land Pierbattista Pizzaballa OFM ” so that this absurd and shameful war ends soon and that the people of Syria can go back to living a normal life.” Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo, titular of the Syrian Catholic archeparchy in Hassaké-Nisibis reports to Fides: “The whole story of Christians in the Middle East is marked and made fruitful by the blood of the martyrs of many persecutions. Lately, father Murad sent me some messages that clearly showed how conscious he was of living in a dangerous situation, and offered his life for peace in Syria and around the world. ”


This should make it clear to Christians around the world what jihadists are about. Make no mistake. Catholics and 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.

We have a link to video provided via LiveLeak. We must warn you, the video is extremely graphic. We believe the first victim is Father Francois, and the second victim that is depicted is another person said to be a collaborator with the Assad regime.

The video CLEARLY depicts the beheadings of these victims. DO NOT follow the link unless you are over the age of 18, and are prepared to view content of this nature.

Catholic Online believes it is very important the world knows that Christians are being murdered for their faith, and that martyrdom isn’t an ancient phenomenon.



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7 responses to “Syrian Jihadists behead Catholic priest

  1. Christopher Proudlove

    Jews are under more threat. Why did you leave this out, Trevor?

  2. Can you expand a little on that comment?

  3. Christopher Proudlove

    First the Saturday people, then the Sunday people. Don’t you know what’s going on, Trevor? This will help:
    Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin June 2013 Update
    — ‘for we do not wrestle against flesh and blood . . .’ (Ephesians 6:12f)

    By Elizabeth Kendal
    Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin (RLPB) 216
    Special to ASSIST News Service
    AUSTRALIA (ANS) — ATTENTION Canberra, Australia.
    Elizabeth Kendal: Symposium on the Persecution of Christians in the 21st Century
    Analysis of global trends and the Biblical response to a confronting reality
    Saturday 29 June 2013 from 7p.m. at the Canberra House of Prayer for All Nations, 28 Guilfoyle Street, Yarralumla. Supper included. RSVP
    JUNE 2013 UPDATE — During June we prayed concerning . . .
    * TURKEY (RLPB 213), which is polarising along secular versus Sunni fundamentalist lines.
    UPDATE: Turks who are objecting against Prime Minister Erdogan’s dictatorial rule, along with his re-Islamisation and re-Ottomanisation of Turkey, are continuing their protests despite mass arrests and heavy-handed police responses. At organised mass rallies, PM Erdogan has described the pro-religious-freedom, pro-secular demonstrators as terrorists and hooligans who are being manipulated by foreign forces in a conspiracy led by Western media. Above all, the demonstrators are being accused of offending Islam. Pray for Turkey, particularly that the Holy Spirit will guide the Church in holy wisdom.
    * SYRIA (RLPB 214), where the Syrian Arab Army, with support from Hezballah, has liberated the strategic town of al-Qaisar from rebel control. The battle for Aleppo looms, with many difficulties (particularly that of maintaining supply). In battles between Hezballah and Sunni jihadists, local Christians may well find they are wedged between competing foreign Islamists, none of whom have any regard for Syrian Christians. Pray for the Church in Syria.
    ‘Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
    for in you my soul takes refuge;
    in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
    till the storms of destruction pass by.’
    (Psalm 57:1 ESV)
    UPDATE: According to Stratfor Intelligence (21 June), the head of Free Syrian Army (FSA), Salim Idriss, anticipates that US weapons will ‘change the balance of power on the ground’. As noted in previous RLPBs, the FSA is a Muslim Brotherhood force that regards the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusrah Front as an ally. Furthermore, thousands of FSA soldiers are defecting to al-Nusrah each month. Imported weapons will not only further escalate and prolong the conflict, they will doubtless end up in the hands of al-Qaeda jihadists. Their agenda includes the total eradication of all traces of Christianity, the establishment of al-Qaeda bases and jihad against the West. Pray that God will intervene to advance his own glorious purposes. (Proverbs 19:21)
    * PAPUA, INDONESIA (RLPB 215), where Javanese Muslim colonisation along with Islamisation and militarisation are slowly effecting the genocide of Papua’s indigenous, mostly Protestant Christian Melanesians. Historically, Papua benefited from the coming of the earlier Western pioneer missionaries and nation-builders. Now the West is ignoring the plight of the Papuans — will it acknowledge its complicity in their genocide? (Proverbs 24:12)
    (Updating RLPBs 210 and 211)
    On 13 June a band of Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) fighters attacked two villages in Bria, a mining region in central CAR. Six local people were killed and ten wounded as the LRA went on a desperate looting spree. The villagers fought back, killing four LRA. The LRA responded by launching a fresh attack in which they killed six more villagers, putting their decapitated heads on display as a warning. Meanwhile, the Muslim rebel coalition (known as Seleka), which seized control of CAR in March, is barely holding together. The fighters — many of them foreigners — are protesting about their living conditions. Consequently, fighting could erupt within the rebel ranks. The security situation for CAR’s mostly Christian population remains dire. Multitudes have been displaced. Food and medical supplies are in short supply. More than a million people are in need of aid, including some 595,000 children under the age of five years old. Pray for the Church in CAR.
    On 11 June the Luxor Misdemeanour Court found Demiana Abdel-Nour (23), a Coptic Christian school teacher, guilty of ‘insulting Islam’ and fined her 100,000 Egyptian pounds. Three parents had complained that Miss Abdel-Nour allegedly showed disgust when she spoke of Islam in a religion class. The accusation led to Miss Abdel-Nour’s arrest and imprisonment, against which Amnesty International protested. Miss Abdel-Nour was later released on 20,000 Egyptian pounds bail, pending further investigations. The school and the Ministry of Education had both investigated and found her innocent. Despite this, the Luxor court deemed her guilty in a ruling that went partly towards appeasing the Islamist protesters who were seeking much severer punishment. This is the latest in a series of blasphemy charges to impact Egypt since the Muslim Brotherhood came to power. Pray for the Church in Egypt.
    Morning Star News reports that on 9 June assailants on a motorbike threw an explosive device into the Earthquake Miracle Ministries Church in Mrima village, in the coastal region of Mombasa. Fifteen worshippers were injured, many critically, including two pastors. Al-Shabaab militants from Somalia are suspects.
    BORNO: On 13 June Boko Haram jihadists attacked four communities in Gwoza Hills, Borno. The jihadists descended on the villages with cries of ‘Allahu Akbar’ and torched four churches with explosives. They also stole grain and livestock. The militants seized Rev. Jacob Kwiza of COCIN (Church of Christ in Nigeria). Eye witnesses report that the militants slit his throat when he refused to renounce Christ and convert to Islam.
    PLATEAU: Ethnic Fulani Muslims continue to attack villages in Wasa Local Government Area, south-east of Jos. In the latest attack, a Christian man was killed and four churches were torched on 18 June. Christian ministry is reported to be paralysed by the endless violence.
    According to Morning Star News, al-Shabaab militants in Jamaame district, southern Somalia, had been monitoring Hassan Hurshe (28) since he returned with his family to Somalia from Kenya in 2010. Having concluded that Hassan had become a Christian, they seized him and executed him publicly in front of horrified onlookers. Hurshe had converted to Christianity in 2006, married in 2008 and fathered a baby boy in 2009. His family has since fled the area.
    To ensure all meat sold in Tanzania is halal, only Muslims may be employed in the meat industry. Tensions are escalating, particularly in Geita in the north-west, as Christians resist both Islamisation and the Islamic monopoly. In February Pastor Mathayo Kachili of the Tanzania Assemblies of God Church was beheaded by Muslims rioting against Christians found slaughtering their own meat. [See RLM, 19 Feb 2013]. Furthermore, Tanzania’s demographics are shifting: Tanzania may soon be majority Muslim, if it is not so already. In late May, attackers attempting to get to Pastor Daudi Nzumbi, who leads the Free Pentecostal Church of Tanzania congregation in Geita, were driven off by his large dogs. On 2 June a Muslim mob broke into the home of Pastor Robert Ngai, who leads the Evangelical Assemblies of God church in Geita. He is in intensive care with deep machete wounds. This was definitely attempted murder. Pray for the Church in Ta nzania.
    Hoang Van Ngai (38) was an ethnic Hmong elder of Bui Tre Church in the legally recognised Evangelical Church of Vietnam (South). Ngai was arrested on 15 March in Dak Glong district, Dak Nong Province, South Vietnam, along with his older brother, Hoang Van Pa, his wife and sister-in-law, without an arrest warrant. Hoang Van Pa says he could hear his brother screaming in pain as he was beaten and tortured through the night in the cell next door. By 17 March Hoang Van Ngai was dead. According to Hoang Van Pa, his brother was targeted because he had protested against corruption and abuses of power. Ngai refused to pay bribes, strenuously defending his church when the authorities demanded that he close it. As Morning Star News reported, the killing terrorised the Hmong community. When the Chairman of the People’s Committee claimed that Ngai had killed himself, Ngai’s family refused to accept it because Ngai’s body was covered with evidence of torture and severe beatings. So the family submitted an urgent petition to the Dak Nong Chi ef of Police, contesting the claim. According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (11 June), the authorities have now notified the family that their investigation shows Ngai did die from ‘suicide by self-electrocution’. Religious liberty has declined markedly in Vietnam since its Communist Party realised it can persecute with impunity. Pray for the Church in Vietnam.
    To view this RLPB with all hyperlinks, visit the Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin blog.
    Elizabeth Kendal is an international religious liberty analyst and advocate. She is an Adjunct Research Fellow in the Centre for the Study of Islam and Other Faiths at the Melbourne School of Theology, and Director of Advocacy for Canberra-based, Christian Faith & Freedom.

    Elizabeth Kendal is the author of Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah speaks to Christians today (Deror Books, Dec 2012)

  4. Another long winded post that doesn’t expand on your query.

    “Jews are under more threat. Why did you leave this out, Trevor?”

    You appear to be chiding me for not mentioning Jews then when i ask you expand on your comment you give a list of attacks on Christians Unbelievable!

    Btw, the Conservative government of this country are funding and arming these Jihadis…The very same government YOU voted for on the strength of their leader being a Zionist….Again, unbelievable!

  5. Christopher Proudlove

    Yes, Trevor, I made a mistake when voting in the last general election. I should have stuck to Ukip. Cameron has let down Christian Zionists. Like you, Trevor, he seem impervious to the San Remo Treaty which gives Israel the right to settle Jews on uninhabited land between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea.

  6. If any is ” impervious” to the San Remo treaty it’s you.

    Btw, does Ukip have members who are Anti Semites?

  7. Does Ukip have members who are Anti Semites?

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