New York, NY, June 24, 2013 … In response to the kidnappings of two Orthodox Christian Syrian bishops during a joint humanitarian mission near the northern Syrian city of Aleppo earlier this year, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is urging all parties to the conflict to ensure the safety of religious minorities in the Middle East.
Archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim of the Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese of Aleppo and Archbishop Boulos Yazaji of the Greek Orthodox Church were abducted on April 23 on a road between Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) and Aleppo. According to reports, the driver was killed in the attack and no group has claimed responsibility.
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and Rabbi Eric J. Greenberg, ADL Director of Interfaith Affairs, issued the following statement:
While the escalating violence against civilians in Syria concerns us all, we also express particular concern for the safety of the religious leaders of Syria’s Greek Orthodox and Syriac Orthodox churches, who were abducted during this humanitarian mission. We unequivocally call on these religious leaders to be quickly returned to their respective communities.
We remain deeply concerned over the alarming levels of violence against Christians throughout many countries in the Middle East and urge leaders of those countries to send a clear message ensuring the protection of religious minorities.
In a letter to Metropolitan Emmanuel of France, ADL expressed concern for the well-being of the two seized archbishops and highlighted the need for increased protection for religious minorities the Middle East.