Catholic monk abducted by suspected jihadists

It was gathered that despite their role as mediators in the Syrian conflict, priests continue to be targeted by Islamist groups

Assyrians hold banners as they march in solidarity with the Assyrians abducted by Islamic State fighters in Syria earlier this week, in Beirut, Labanon, February 28, 2015. Militants in northeast Syria are now estimated to have abducted at least 220 Assyrian Christians this week, a group monitoring the war reported.

A Catholic monk of the Mar Elian Monastery in Syria has been abducted by armed jihadists.

According to International Christian Concern, Father Jacob Murad had refused to leave the monastery despite the recent advances made by the Islamic State, Worthy News reports.

"As the priest and pastor, I will never leave this place so long as there are people here….," said Murad.

It was gathered that despite their role as mediators in the Syrian conflict, priests continue to be targeted by Islamist groups.

Todd Daniels, ICC regional manager for the Middle East, said the abduction of Father Murad demonstrated that Islamist groups are not only seeking to establish an Islamic State, but are also intent on stamping out Christianity.

"Father Murad, as a result of the love of Jesus shown in the Gospel, has dedicated his life to love and serve the Syrian people and this is the antithesis to the extremist Islamic ideology represented by the jihadists of ISIS…."

Murad and his Mar Elian community had been providing sanctuary for hundreds of displaced by ISIS, including many children.

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