Abducted in Iraq
A Priest in Baghdad
184 pages, 5.50 x 8.50
Hardcover | 9780268102937 | September 2017
eBook | 9780268102951 | September 2017
eBook | 9780268102968 | September 2017
How do we respond in the face of evil, especially to those who inflict grave evil upon us? Abducted in Iraq is Bishop Saad Sirop Hanna’s firsthand account of his abduction in 2006 by a militant group associated with al-Qaeda. As a young parish priest and visiting lecturer on philosophy at Babel College near Baghdad, Fr. Hanna was kidnapped after celebrating Mass on August 15 and released on September 11. Hanna’s plight attracted international attention after Pope Benedict XVI requested prayers for the safe return of the young priest.
The book charts Hanna’s twenty-eight days in captivity as he struggles through threats, torture, and the unknown to piece together what little information he has in a bid for survival. Throughout this time, he questions what a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq means for the future, as well as the events that lead the country on that path. Through extreme hardship, the young priest gains a greater knowledge both of his faith and of remaining true to himself.
This riveting narrative reflects the experience of persecuted Christians all over the world today, especially the plight of Iraqi Christians who continue to live and hold their faith against tremendous odds, and it sheds light on the complex political and spiritual situation that Catholics face in predominantly non-Christian nations. More than just a personal story, Abducted in Iraq is also Hanna’s portrayal of what has happened to the ancient churches of one of the oldest Christian communities and how the West’s reaction and inaction have affected Iraqi Christians. More than just a story of one man, it is also the story of a suffering and persecuted people. As such, this book will be of great interest to those wanting to learn more about the violence in the Middle East and the threats facing Christians there, as well all those seeking to strengthen their own faith.
Saad Sirop Hanna is the Apostolic Visitor for Chaldeans Residing in Europe, the auxiliary bishop of the Chaldean Patriarchate of Baghdad, Iraq, and a recurring visitor at the Medieval Institute of the University of Notre Dame.
"Bishop Hanna's story is one of self-discovery, deepening faith, and an eye-opening reality to the plight of numerous Christians in the Middle East. . . . the situation of these Christians is often ignored and marginalized for political reasons. We are attesting to the potential end of one of the most ancient populations and religious traditions in the world. The Apostolic tradition of the Church of the East, Chaldean and Assyrian tradition, and its theological and spiritual richness is at risk. The world needs to see and to listen to the voice of this suffering church."
“It is a fact of journalism that distant tragedies are not taken seriously unless a face, a personal experience, makes it real. This is such a personal story, and told perhaps better than any trained journalist might.” ~Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight
“Bishop Hanna’s testimony and story deserves to be read by anyone who has ever wondered how they would react if they were kidnapped, tortured, told to abjure their faith, and faced likely death. It should be read by anyone with even a passing interest in the violence and hatred that has disfigured Iraq and that now disfigures Syria. It should be read by anyone interested in the widely dishonoured Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights—born in the ashes of Auschwitz, and which asserts our right to freedom of religion or belief. And it should be read by anyone who feels they need to be better informed about the ancient churches of the Middle East and the existential threat that these Christians face.” ~David Alton, Professor the Lord Alton of Liverpool
"Writing with journalist Aris, Catholic priest Hanna opens up about the 27 days he was held captive in Baghdad, Iraq, in 2006. His first-person account begins with being waylaid while driving down a Baghdad street. He was quickly blindfolded, handcuffed, and taken captive while his abductors negotiated a ransom and tried, sometimes with violent beatings, to convert him to Islam. His plight garnered international attention when Pope Benedict XVI publicly appealed for his release. . . . The book is poignant in describing and lamenting the destruction of Iraqi culture."
"The world is a more dangerous place for Christians and for those who want to live out their faith peacefully. Despite facing death, Bishop Hanna will continue to preach love and serve the country that he loves. You can call his journey one of tenacity or perseverance and yet, it also mirrors the power of Christ in a way that is everlasting to the rest of the world."
“'Kafir! Kafir!' That was the word, meaning infidel or believer, the Muslim extremists shouted as they repeatedly beat Father Hanna in a futile attempt to force him to convert to their faith. In his memoir, Abducted in Iraq, Father Hanna provides a moving account of his treatment in captivity by this group from August 15, 2006, to his release on September 11. . . . As he refused to relent under ever more torturous treatment, Hanna became convinced that his ordeal could end only with his death." ~Catholic Library World