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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Priest imprisoned by Daesh thinks Canada can do more for Syria

Canada and Western nations can and must do more to stop the war in Syria, said Fr Jacques Mourad, a Syriac Catholic priest who was abducted and held captive for nearly five months by Daesh.

Fr Mourad, whose escape last year received worldwide coverage, had a specific message for Canadians during a visit to Montreal and Ottawa, Ontario, from 22nd to 25th October. It was his first trip to Canada.

Shortly after his liberation, Fr Mourad fled Syria, fearing for his life. He now travels in Western countries discussing the complexities of the war in his homeland.

“Before my abduction, I was in my monastery totally immersed in my work and spiritual mission. I lost everything: my monastery, my parish. I can’t live any longer in such a warn-torn country,” he said.

The Monastery of St Elian was built in the 5th century. It was abandoned in the 18th century but was revived in the 1980s by Jesuit Fr Paolo Dall’Oglio, an Italian who founded an ecumenical and interreligious community in Mar Musa, near Homs, in western Syria. Fr Dall’Oglio was kidnapped by Daesh in 2013 and remains missing.

Picture: Fr Jacques Mourad poses for a photo on 11th November 2015 in the reception area at Our Lady of the Annunciation Church in Beirut. The Syriac-Catholic priest, who was held captive by Daesh for nearly five months in 2015, called on Canada to undertake diplomatic steps to end the Syrian civil war. (CNS photo/Doreen Abi Raad).