Iraqi martyr’s last words: We cannot close the house of God

He was a priest in Iraq, shot down for his faith by terrorists and now Fr. Ragheed Ganni’s heroic story is being told throughout the world through this book.

His friend, Rebwar Basa, explains Fr. Ganni’s final courageous moments after celebrating Mass on June 3, 2007 with three deacons.

FR. REBWAR BASA
Author, “A Catholic Priest in the Islamic State”
“They left with the car and the terrorists followed. They got out of the car and asked them to raise their hands. They raised their hands and after there was a tense dialogue between one terrorist and one of those murdered, Fr. Ragheed. They asked Fr. Ragheed, ‘We said to close the church, why did not you close it?’ His response, with so much courage, simplicity, and cunning was, ‘We cannot close the house of God.’ In this moment they killed him with the other three deacons.”

Fr. Ragheed suffered numerous bullets wounds, puncturing his face, identity card and even a little picture of Mary he carried with him.

However, his prayers were answered, as just a few days before he had written what he called, “My last prayer.” In it, he did not ask to be saved or freed from trouble, but instead asked, “Lord give me the strength to not humiliate your priesthood that I represent.”

FR. REBWAR BASA
Author, “A Catholic Priest in the Islamic State”
“The most powerful take-away from Fr. Ragheed’s testimony is resisting the terrorists’ manners for five years and that is what we are sharing. Today we need this courage. Because love, is always stronger than hatred.”

Now this hatred which consumed ISIS is continuing to attempt to destroy this martyr, even moving now to the place where he’s buried, trying to destroy his memory. However, Basa says there are some people who are helping them in Iraq.

FR. REBWAR BASA
Author, “A Catholic Priest in the Islamic State”
“I would like to take this occasion to thank the Pontifical Aid to the Church in Need because they has always been there for the Iraqi Church suffering from persecution throughout her history, which recently has been more intense. Aid to the Church in Need had helped Fr. Ragheed with a scholarship when studying in Rome. So they knew Fr. Ragheed and he also met the founder of this institution, Fr. Werenfried van Straaten.”

Now, through this book and the testimony of all who knew him, they have presented his life to the Church to consider him for possible sainthood in the future. As for now, he is a current martyr added to the long line of those who have sacrificed their life for the Church.