Mosul (AsiaNews) – Iraq’s Christian community has been the victim of another targeted killing. This morning, an Orthodox Christian was killed in Mosul, northern Iraq. The dead man had been the victim of two attempted ransom abductions in the past, but in both cases, he was able to escape from his attackers. This time, the murderers waited for him as he went to work, firing at him several times in cold blood.
Sources, on condition of anonymity for security reasons, told AsiaNews that Arkan Jihad Yacob was an Orthodox Christian, and the vice director of a cement factory.
Born in 1948 in Mosul, the married father of four was the victim of two previous abduction attempts, ostensibly to extort ransom from his family. In both cases, he was quick enough to thwart his attackers.
This morning however, the men who went after him meant to kill and they succeeded. Arkan Jihad Yacob was shot several times as he made his way to work in an execution-style cold-blooded murder. His killers used a silencer.
The local community took part in Arkan’s funeral in Mosul’s Syro-Orthodox cathedral. With his death, Iraqi Christians find themselves again under attack from Muslim extremists.
The previous incident goes back to 16 May, in Kirkuk, when the body of a Christian man was found. He had been killed after being abducted, his body mutilated, because his family could raise US$ 10,000 to pay for the ransom (see “Kirkuk: young Christian abducted, tortured and beheaded,” in AsiaNews, 16 May 2011).
Speaking to AsiaNews, sources in Iraq say that Christians continue to endure an atmosphere of tensions and fear, as they continue to be targeted for abductions, which end in blood when they are unsuccessful. (DS)
Father José Rubio of the Diocese of San José, California, spoke on “Principles of Interpretation of Scripture” in the Catholic tradition. He noted that interpretation of Sacred Scripture, or “exegesis” as it is commonly known, has changed markedly in the last 80 years in the Catholic Church, due to the resurgence of Catholic biblical scholarship in the first half of the 20th century.
“Christians believe that the whole Bible is inspired, that the Scriptures are true. But at the same time we affirm that biblical truth is not necessarily the same as historical truth,” he said.
His presentation highlighted how the Bible is not seen as dictated directly, but that it took over a millennium to be compiled. The authors wrote various parts in the context of their culture and society. But while the sacred texts were formed in the context of the community of the inspired writers, it was also necessary that those texts be received by that community. Thus, Christians see the Bible as the word of God written in human words. It is a collection of books of different literary genres that were received and accepted by the community of faith.
Father Rubio said most biblical scholars seek to understand the historical and cultural situation that produced the text and the social and cultural setting of someone reading the text today.
“We are conditioned by our unique situations to interpret texts differently,” he said.
Siddiqi presented on “Sunni Methods of Interpretation of Scripture.” He noted that the two sources of Islam are the Qur’an and the Sunnah/Hadith, which are the “words, deeds and approvals of the Prophet, reported by his companions.”
He said that the Qur’an needs to be interpreted in order “to explain its language and grammatical structure, immaculate and inimitable style, to elaborate its principles of faith, beliefs and arguments, to develop laws from its legal principles and injunction,” to use it for general guidance, preaching and taking lessons for daily life. “In a sense the whole of Islam is an interpretation of the Qur’an and Sunnah,” he said.
He explained the two initial forms of interpretation. The first is tafsir, meaning to explain, elucidate, interpret. It is a science by which the Qur’an is understood, its meaning explained and its rulings derived. The second is ta’wil, which seeks to return to the original meaning of a word or statement to explain and interpret. At first the two were used interchangeably, but they are actually different.Tafsirseeks to explain a particular word while ta’wil will choose one of its connotations. Put simply,tafsir is simple explanation and ta’wil is allegorical. Throughout Islamic history there is a rich development of interpretation which culminated in the compilation of classic commentaries which are still used frequently today. Many seek to interpret the Qur’an in the context of the modern age.
Sayed Moustafa al-Qazwini, from the Islamic Educational Center of Orange County presented on principles of interpretation from a Shi’a Muslim perspective. He mentioned that Shi’a Muslims believe that no verse of the Qur’an was left uninterpreted.
“When the revelations would descend upon the Prophet, he would then give instructional teachings to his close companions. This included the proper pronunciation of the verses, the proper recitation of the verses, the explanation and interpretation of the verses and how to implement and practice the verses in daily life,” he said. He said one of the ways the Prophet would explain the Quran is through the Quran itself, using later verses to explain earlier ones.
Additional Catholic participants in the dialogue included Father Michael F. Kiernan of the Diocese of Sacramento, California; Msgr. Dennis L. Mikulanis of the Diocese of San Diego; Rt. Rev. Alexei Smith of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles; and Father Leo Walsh, USCCB Staff. Other Muslim participants included Karim T. Abdullah, Ph.D., and Maryam Kim Kieu, Ph.D., of Seattle; Kalim Farooki, Shura Council of Southern California and chairman of the Islamic Society of Corona/Norco; Imam Taha Hassane, Islamic Center of San Diego; and Sherrel A. Johnson of CAIR, Greater Los Angeles Area.
The next meeting of the West Coast Dialogue between Catholics and Muslims will be May 22-23, in Orange, California. The dialogue is co-sponsored by the USCCB Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs and the Islamic Shura Council of California, with the cooperation of the Islamic Society of Orange County (an affiliate of the Islamic Society of North America) and the Islamic Education Center of Orange County, which is in the Shi’a tradition of Islam.
The Archbishop said: "All societies need a common fund of stories and sayings – not just to help them get along, but to help them agree about their goals and ideals. For several hundred years, the King James Bible was probably the most important bit of that ‘common fund’ for most English-speaking people."
The exhibition lays out a timeline of the translation of the Bible into the languages of everyday life, with key manuscripts and books offering insight into the practical processes and underlying motives.
Besides the 1611 King James Version, highlights of the exhibition include medieval translations of the Bible into English; a beautifully illustrated first edition of Luther's German Bible and the Gudbrandar Bible (1584) in Icelandic; translations intended for missions, such as Gospel editions in Maori and Mohawk; and documents showing the drive towards twentieth century English translations such as the New English Bible.
The exhibition is open until 29 July 2011, Wednesday-Friday, and on Saturdays in July. Admission is by pre-booked tickets. For further information see the Lambeth Palace Library website.http://www.lambethpalacelibrary.org/content/2011exhibition
CATH NEWS REPORT: The man in charge of Australia's national curriculum has warned that any moves to axe religion classes could drive parents out of the public system and into private schools, said a report fromSunday Age in the Sydney Morning Herald.
Professor Barry McGaw, the chairman of the national curriculum authority said: "I don't see anything wrong with a special religious instruction that operates precisely on [the current] grounds. If we deny any place to religion in public education and wish to make it entirely [secular], we are actually basing it on a particular world view.
"And the problem with that is that religious parents might opt out of the public school system, and that would not be a good thing."
Religious instruction classes, 96 percent of which are Christian, involve volunteers teaching the doctrine of particular religions for 30 minutes per week in state primary schools, The Sunday Age said.
Many who oppose the lessons, including academic Anna Halafoff of the Religion, Ethics and Education Network Australia, propose an alternative - introducing a new academic subject to teach children about the world's religions as part of the curriculum.The Age has in recent weeks reported that Evonne Paddison, the leader of Christian group Access Ministries - which is involved in the classes in Victoria's state schools - said it provided a ''God-given open door to children ... to go and make disciples''.
Professor McGaw, however, said there were no plans to develop a separate subject on religion.
However, another curriculum expert, Tony Taylor from Monash University, who examined the Access Ministries curriculum, concluded it was ''primitively anti-educational ... a crude form of missionary indoctrination that went out of style in the 1950s''.
''Mainstream Christian schools would be mortified if this kind of ludicrous, inappropriate and exasperating garbage was found in their classrooms,'' he said.
Since 2007, CREC, whose international headquarters is in Lyon, has not organized study sessions in France, but its international team of trainers goes on the spot, responding to requests that come from communication operators (responsible for radio and television , diocesan directors of the media, in charge of the press ...) and also to Bishops and seminarians. Study sessions have been held in Burkina Faso, Mali, Côte d'Ivoire, Mauritius, Ethiopia, South Africa ... Others are planned in Liberia, Togo, Benin. CREC offers these training sessions with the support of the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith, of Missio (Germany) and of the Pontifical Society of St. Peter the Apostle for the seminarians courses.
SUNDAY, MAY 29, 2011
Feast: May 29
St. Maximinus was one of those pastors whom God raised in the most dangerous times to support his church. He was born at Poitiers, nobly descended, and related to Maxentius, bishop of that city before St. Hilary. The reputation of the sanctity of St. Agritius, bishop of Triers, drew him young to that city, and after a most virtuous education, he was admitted to holy orders, and, upon the death of Agritius, chosen his successor in 332. When St. Athanasius was banished to Triers in 336, St. Maximinus received him, not as a person disgraced, but as a most glorious confessor of Christ, and thought it a great happiness to enjoy the company of so illustrious a saint. St. Athanasius stayed with him two years; and his works bear evidence to the indefatigable vigilance, heroic courage, and exemplary virtue of our saint, who was before that time famous for the gift of miracles. St. Paul, bishop of Constantinople, being banished by Constantius, found also a retreat at Triers, and in St. Maximinus a powerful protector. Our saint, by his counsels, precautioned the emperor Constans against the intrigues and snares of the Arians, and on every occasion discovered their artifice, and opposed their faction. He was one of the most illustrious defenders of the Catholic faith in the council of Sardica in 347, and had the honor to be ranked by the Arians with St. Athanasius, in an excommunication which they pretended to fulminate against them at Philippopolis. St. Maximinus is said to have died in Poitou in 349, having made a journey thither to see his relations. He was buried near Poitiers; but his body was afterwards translated to Triers on the day which is now devoted to his memory. St. Maximinus, by protecting and harboring saints, received himself the recompense of a saint.
5 Philip went down to a city of Sama'ria, and proclaimed to them the Christ.
6 And the multitudes with one accord gave heed to what was said by Philip, when they heard him and saw the signs which he did.
7 For unclean spirits came out of many who were possessed, crying with a loud voice; and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed.
8 So there was much joy in that city.
14 Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Sama'ria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John,
15 who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit;
16 for it had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
17 Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.
|Psalms 66: 1 - 7, 16, 20|
|1||Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth;|
|2||sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise!|
|3||Say to God, "How terrible are thy deeds! So great is thy power that thy enemies cringe before thee.|
|4||All the earth worships thee; they sing praises to thee, sing praises to thy name." [Selah]|
|5||Come and see what God has done: he is terrible in his deeds among men.|
|6||He turned the sea into dry land; men passed through the river on foot. There did we rejoice in him,|
|7||who rules by his might for ever, whose eyes keep watch on the nations -- let not the rebellious exalt themselves. [Selah]|
|16||Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for me.|
|20||Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me!|